Today I will let the photo speak for it's self so to speak.....
Thursday, August 19, 2010
I notice a few days ago that the grapes were starting to turn. I also noticed the birds were already snacking! Last year by the time I got out there they had picked the entire crop clean! I was determined this year to not let that happen. I had a very good crop this year, beautiful, big and sweet! This is bowl number on of 5 and the birds pecked holes in at least one bowlful of grapes. I don't mind picking, I don't like cleaning. They smell so good when you cook them, they are easy to smush thru the colander and take for ever to strain thru the jelly bag. The juice leaves stains on my tupperware, my counter and my finger nails but the end result is the best tasting grape jelly you have ever tasted!
My grandma had grapes, that's why I wanted them. Glad she did, glad I do. Thanks Grandma Ida, love you...miss you!
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
In a few days school starts again. I am a school cook so I enjoy the summers off and dread the start of school every fall. I would love to stay home but am very thankful God provided a job I can walk to and be home when my kids are home. This year it is especially hard to see the school year begin, my baby,Isaac, the handsome young man above is a senior this year. It is exciting to see our children grow into adults, to become all that they can be. But some of the steps towards that are bittersweet. I am finding that with my third son every step is more intense, his learners permit, his drivers test, his first solo car drive, his first prom, his class ring, his first job, his senior year. So many firsts for him, so many lasts for me. I pray that I will slow down and catch the memories as we make them this year. Far too soon our sweet baby boys have become young men. But I am oh so very proud of each of them. I love you Zach, Ethan and Isaac!
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
One of my stops in Itasca State Park was the Tallest/Oldest White Pine in MN. Nearby there is a fallen hero, a tree that was probably at least as old and big and beautiful if not more so. Now it lays in pieces near by. The base of the tree is still standing, rotting out. The process of returning to the earth happens in small stages and each time I visit I love to study the exposed grain, the growth rings, the textures, colors and shapes. This is just a tiny glimpse of the beauty of one huge old tree, no two spots on it are the same, just as no two trees are the same, just as no two human beings are exactly the same. I think our lives sometimes break us down, weather and wear us. The storms of life cans remove our protective "bark". Time and life lessons smooth our rough exterior and the sunshine of good times brings contrast and beauty.
One of the things I love about summer and hiking in the woods is the wild variety of floral and fauna one can see. These pretty blue asters (I think) http://www.minnesotawildflowers.info/flower/smooth-blue-aster were a sweet surprise! So dainty and delicate yet they survive and even thrive in the wilderness of the forest in northern MN. A reminder to bloom where you're planted....you never know who may come along and be delighted to find you just where you are!
It is only mid- August and yet as I look around, the signs of fall are about. There is a crispness in the air in the early morning, apples hanging heavy on the tree, deep purple grapes on my vines and just a bit of color as my eyes peruse my back yard. There are yellow leaves on the trees and on a few on the ground. I see a bright red leaf in my strawberry patch and big orange thorn apples on my rose bush. When I hiked in Itasca there was lots of fall color there too. These pretty leaves in yellow and purple. The poison ivy was red, yellow, orange, purple, rust and browns. I saw a few leaves on the ground and some golden on the trees. I love summer, hate saying goodbye to it......So I soak up every bit of beauty and color, scent and sun's ray I can to remember during the long cold, white and sometime bleak winter. Tuck away at least one warm, bright, colorful memory today!
Monday, August 16, 2010
I have spent a lot of time outdoors in my lifetime. Grew up a country kid.....cow pasture, hayfield, berry woods, the outdoors was my playroom. Yet every time I take a walk, go hiking or spend time in nature I see things I have never seen before! Often in places I have spent time in before. The wonder of creation and the amazing ingenuity of the creator sometimes takes my breath away! There is most likely something you've walked past before but never seen, slow down and really look around you. I hope you find something wonderful that leaves you delighted, intrigued....breathless......
There are so many unique and interesting things in nature. I saw this fern and thought how the parts of it look a little like a line of pine trees. Could be because I had been walking around looking at the pine tree trunks in the woods, along my path and like in the previous post, above me. What do you see? Soldiers standing at attention, people in line at the coffee place, a choir singing praise music on Sunday morning? It is good to exercise our imagination on a regular basis. Like our bodies, it works better when we do!
First I apologize for getting a whole week behind! I will post multiple posts in the next couple days to get caught up.
After the festival on Sunday I spent a little more time in the Itasca State Park...a fave place of mine in Minnesota. It was at least 90 and high humidity but when I'm hiking I hardly notice!
There are lots of these tall straight pines in Itasca, the previous post showed them along my hiking path. This pic shows what you see most of the time when you look straight up! When there's a wind you can hear the needles whispering, the creaking of two trees pushing against each other and you can see them sway when you look straight up. I hope you take the time to notice the details in the "forest" what ever that might be for you. I hope you recognize the beauty and extraordinary int the commonplace!
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
I grew up in Northern MN and most summers we would find our way to Itasca State Park. We would meet cousins there for a family reunion. It was always so much fun! I've always loved the tall straight white and red pines that are so much a part of the this beautiful park. This past weekend I enjoyed several small hikes thru the beautiful forests. Some of my paths were like this, wide, groomed so to speak while others were just a narrow trail thru grass or brush. Doesn't this make you want to follow to see where it leads, to find what's just around the bend? I know what's there, more beauty. And I will follow the path again and again to see and experience the ever changing beauty of nature!
I spent a couple hours in Itasca State Park on Friday before going over to the Itasca Family Bluegrass Festival. I love to hike in the woods so I found a couple short hikes to take. On my first one this lovely little dragonfly posed for me on the ends of a fern leaf. I came to the realization that I may be happiest just traipsing thru the woods with my camera!
Monday, August 9, 2010
It's that time of year again! The wild berries and fruits are starting to mature. Time to pick some of them and make them into delicious treats for the long winter! Chokecherries are great for jelly and syrup. I spent many happy hours in the berry woods picking chokecherries, blueberries, wild raspberries, wild cranberries, wild plums, and June berries. I would also help clean them and mom would make jellies, jams, sauce or juice. My favorite is still the wild cranberries. We don't have berry woods here in ND but mom still picks every year. I'm so glad she is willing to share some of her cranberry sauce with me!
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
This is another pic I pulled up from our little trip in June. There were beautiful rose bushes outside the Sertoma Butterfly House in Sioux Falls SD. We spent a very enjoyable afternoon there and my son and his wife were so patient with us. This one is for Zach and Whitney..... Love you guys!