A Family that Plays Together Stays Together

Our family likes each other! In fact, we have had family gatherings or events almost every month this year! It’s pretty amazing and so much fun. When everyone visits our Northwoods home, we can expect to have both outdoor and indoor fun no matter what the weather. We enjoy playing all kinds of games, riding around the yard being pulled by my husband in his handmade wagon, going for walks together (night walks are the best in winter), and going to the lakes to relax.

Most recently, our family came home for a wood-splitting weekend. Our son-in-laws and daughters worked very hard to help my husband and I split and stack all of our winter wood. I was amazed to see it all stacked! I truly did not think it would get done in the few hours we all worked together. Many hands makes light work!

But once the work was done, it’s time to play! What a blessing to all be together so many times this year!

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Wow! She’s a Whopper!

Giant Snapping Turtle

Giant Snapping Turtle

Each spring we can see Snapping turtles or Painted turtles digging a hole in the ground in which to lay their eggs. They can choose the shoulder of a road (really?), someone’s garden, or in the middle of a yard. But, for the first time, a snapper chose to look in our yard for an appropriate place to dig her nest.

In the morning before work I spotted her in our yard. I could see her moving toward my flower bed along the south side of our house (perfect place, I got that!). She was a whopper! Before she reached the flower bed I barricaded entry using the chairs on our patio. She tried to wedge herself through without success. By this time, one of my work associates came in and she ended up moving the mother-to-be to a different part of the yard where she promptly (well, let’s remember she’s a turtle so “promptly” is a relative term) began digging.

Nope, that was not the perfect place either. So she moved to our gravel driveway and began digging. By this time, my husband and I headed to bed knowing we had an early start for a weekend away.

When we awoke the next morning, we found this turtle trying very hard to dig through the packed red granite driveway. She, obviously, was not making great headway. My husband left a 5-gallon bucket by her side to alert any delivery trucks that she was not a large rock in the driveway but a turtle (very thoughtful of him). We wished her well and off we went.

Upon our return, our driveway was a mess! And no sign of the Snapper. There were numerous large divots in our driveway suggesting that she had made many attempts throughout the weekend without any success of following through on any one hole! I do not know whether or not she ever found the perfect location for her nest. I could only wish her well on her mission, get out the rake, and begin leveling out the driveway!

 

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Enjoying our Fawns

Mother and Fawn

Mother and Fawn

We have regular visitors in our yard each evening and, if I could spend the day sitting and watching, probably throughout the day. The question that pops up each spring is: Have you seen a fawn yet?

May is the month when fawns are born and this year it seemed like early June before I caught a glimpse of one a couple of miles from home on my walk. However, now we have our own daily sighting of a mother with her fawn in our yard. They are both so wary and watchful while also curious. We enjoy their presence so close to our home. Without owning any dogs or other outside animals that might pose a threat, we reap the benefits of having all kinds of wildlife in our yard.

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Walking is a daily goal

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Balsam Lane in the Fall

I have been a runner for much of my life. No long distance running (although I have completed 2 half-marathons).  Just running for good health and meditation. About 4 years ago I was training yet again for another half-marathon and developed a knee injury which left me out of commission for months before it was properly diagnosed. Since then, I have opted for the very occasional run but like to stick to walking as my daily regimen.

I don’t have time to walk each and every day but I try my best to take the time. It’s good

meditative time. Perhaps time to work out a problem I’m wrestling with. Or time to just soak up the daily beauty of my route. No matter what the reason, I am now logging in my miles with an online tracker just for fun to see how far I actually walk a week, month, or year. It’s a way to push myself,  if I want, and a way to be more mindful about how much walking I am getting done.

I am fortunate to live in a quiet area that has a 3-mile route that is beautiful. Throughout the year (and remember, our winters are long), I make it a goal to get out the door (no special equipment or clothing necessary) and walk each day. My body and mind thanks me every single time!

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My Shiitake Mini-Farm

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Shiitake Mushroom Kit

My neighbor was thoughtful in gifting me with a shiitake mushroom mini-farm/kit after returning from a trip to CA this winter. He knows I enjoy new things.

The mini-farm comes with very clear instructions on how to grow Shiitake mushrooms from a block. I have had 2 harvests of mushrooms thus far. Currently, the spore block is back in the refrigerator to “rest”. Once done resting for 3 weeks, I will pull it out and enjoy another harvest. When the mushrooms are growing, I keep the kit near our work area for all of us at work to enjoy. We are all amazed at how quickly the mushrooms sprout up!

This would make an really cool gift for a family with young ones or a budding young scientist. There’s not a lot of work involved at all and it’s fun. http://www.farwestfungi.com/

I have dehydrated some of the mushrooms for a treat during the winter months (we don’t get any shiitake mushrooms in our grocery stores here) and cooked the rest. What a delicious treat!

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