Friday, May 29, 2009

Mama and the new batch

The black cat (with extra toes) has finally brought out her kittens.  I saw them for the first time this past weekend and only saw two at that time.  I got home from work tonight and was working in my garden (until after sundown) when I noticed that she actually has 4!!!  Uncle Dave has a cat door that goes into the barn so they can come and go freely but still have shelter when then need it.  He even placed a block under it so the babies can manage the climb a little easier.  Mama sat on the block tonight and all the kittens scrambled to get to her to nurse.  It was one of the cutest things I have ever seen.  She is a good mama.

She has two that kind of look like calicos, one tiger, and a black one.  Their papa is the orange and white tom cat (he lives down the road).  Looks like the cat food bill is going up this summer.

p.s.  One kitten kept falling off and took a little breather as seen in this lower photo.  I thought it was funny because it almost looks like the black kitten is sitting on her head.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial day weekend

This weekend I got to use my camera a little bit more and had a nice time relaxing with a friend who came to visit.  We went to the farmers market and the bakery in Frankenmuth and went shopping.  This first photo is of course from the market.  We also went fishing at Charlie's friend's pond (and caught quite a few fish).  The next two photos were shot near the pond after I got tired of fishing.  

There was also a hot air balloon event going on that we spotted on our way to my Brother in law's 40th birthday party.  We pulled over to the side of the road to get a few photos.  As the balloons drifted closer some of them started to come down.  It turns out that we picked the perfect spot as they started landing on the road right in front of us.  
I'm sad that the weekend is over -- but it was a good, long weekend.  Hope you enjoyed the photos!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

strawberry jam, asparagus and morels

I made my very first strawberry jam last week.  It is freezer jam and was a lot easier than I thought it would be.  It is delicious too!  If you can get some fresh strawberries this year from a local farmer or the farmers market, I would recommend trying it.  Just buy a box or two of sure-jel and follow the recipe provided.

As I mentioned previously, we didn't have much luck looking for asparagus.  The one in the photo below was really thick in diameter.  I shot this photo to show what asparagus looks like in the wild.  Notice the pale dried up stalks from last summer's growth.  The old stalks are one of the better ways to find a patch in the Fall.  All you have to do is remember where they are in the Spring and you have free veggies!

Most of the asparagus we found was already branching out as seen below.  Eventually, they become quite large and look like wispy Christmas trees.  When we found a few like the one below we still checked the area for smaller ones.  We found plenty that had already been cut by someone else.  Oh well.

My friend from work brought me some morels today.  They are gorgeous and we can't wait to eat them.  These are cut in half and soaking in water to get rid of the bugs and dirt.

Monday, May 18, 2009


The lilacs were cut from the yard -- the photo shot in my spare room and edited in iPhoto.  I'm still having fun with my camera.  Keep watching for more photos.

Once the sun came out on Saturday I planted more things in my garden.  Things are coming along nicely and soon I can show off the little tiny plants.

Charlie and I went hunting for asparagus this weekend as well.  We found three large stalks right away, then ALL of the rest that we found had already branched out and were too far along.  I can't wait to own my own property and plant my own asparagus.  I'm also going to attempt a mushroom patch at said property.  We don't have much luck looking for morels.  Luckily, a friend from work had terrific luck this weekend and told me she would bring in a bag of white morels for me!  I'm excited!  I must find a good recipe to use them in...
oh, but anyway -- I will post a couple of pictures of what to look for when hunting for asparagus because I promised Amy that I would write about it.  Give me a couple of days though as it is getting late tonight.

p.s. does anyone out there have a watermark program they would like to recommend?  I'd like to put a digital watermark on some of my images so I can show them to people but not have to worry about someone stealing them.  If I can't figure that out, I'll just have to lower the quality of the photos I post so they can't be printed.  

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Two more from the new camera

Here are a couple more images from my new D90.  This first image was taken yesterday morning from our porch.  The birds just love this tree with all the feeders and houses.  In the fall there are thousands of berries, but right now it has the most gorgeous flowers.

The second photo was taken this morning before I went out to the Farmer's market.  I put out some slightly sour milk for the barn cats and this little guy was loving it.  I cropped out over 90% of the original photo and messed around with the saturation, contrast, etc.  I'm pretty happy with the image over all.  It isn't anything I could enlarge and print real big (because I have already cropped it quite a bit) but it gives me an idea of what I'll be able to do with this camera.

I did check out the Frankenmuth farmer's market this morning -- it was opening day.  Only about half of the normal amount of vendors were there, and of course they didn't have a bunch of stuff yet.  I didn't really care though.  I just like the feeling of being at the market.  It is hard to explain.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

My new Nikon D90

So far, I have only snapped off a couple of photos with my new camera -- but I love it already!
I have to read the manual yet.  It is huge!  
For now, a quick portrait of Dave....

And a view of the house...

I bought the kit lens as well.  It is an 18-105 mm.  The image of the house is at 18 mm.  
Anyway, more photos will ensue.  

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Some images from the weekend

I had wanted to post this a few days ago, but life is so busy sometimes.  I went to Grand Rapids last Friday and Saturday to visit my friends and family (particularly Mom -- it was her birthday along with being Mother's day).  I thought I'd post a few snapshots.  On Friday, Mom and I and Grandma took off in the convertible and went to Everlasting Blooms.  Here is a photo of a cute planter made from a vegetable drawer from an antique fridge.  I love it!

On Saturday Mom and I went to the Farm at Quiggle Lake.  A group of my friends are farming the land and creating their own community (they sound like a bunch of hippies if you ask me -- lol -- I love you guys).  Here is the gorgeous Lily and one of their chicks.

And the sheep...
And my good friend Rich -- about to build an outhouse.
And this is just a photo of some tulips by my parent's home.

I had a great weekend, and I don't really have the time to go into details.  Basically, I got to see a lot of the people I love.  I also bought a new camera which will be the subject of my next blog.  I'm very excited but don't have time to write about it tonight.  I must get to bed.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

A day in the sun

This past Sunday was absolutely gorgeous.  We spent the entire afternoon and into the evening outdoors.  Charlie and his brother work with a guy that is fairly self sufficient and has his own homestead out in the middle of nowhere (I will call him "D").  We went over to his place along with my brother in law, his wife and their 3 kids.  First we went out into the woods to look for morel mushrooms.  Although we didn't find any morels, we filled two paper bags with beefsteak mushrooms.  I came out of the woods blistered and bruised (ill-fitting size 12 rubber boots + shin level fallen trees = ouch) but it was good to hike and get lots of air.  Oh, and a photo of a gorgeous trillium...

Then we fished on D's pond.  Charlie caught a nice trout and someone else caught a bluegill.  D. cooked up a mess of food while everyone kept fishing.  He made venison burgers, potatoes, corned beef hash, beefsteak mushrooms, applesauce, and of course the fish.  I don't eat meat but the rest of the food was amazing.  Apparently D. does a lot of hunting.  He has a sweet dog named Clover -- he made her a fox hat.  Here she is modeling it for you...

Here is a photo of D. and his bee hive.

And a photo of the honey he sent home with us, and some homemade raspberry wine that was also gifted.  Yum!
Overall, it was a great day.  I got some sun and fresh air, spent some time with Charlie and some of his family, and daydreamed about having my own little homestead someday soon.

Now it is mid-week and I'm just getting this post together.  Monday rolled around and life got busy again.  Last night and tonight I managed to plant some peas, lettuce and onions.  Much more news will be coming from the garden.

Sassy seems to have a urinary tract infection.  Right now I am trying to treat her with homeopathics but I worry that I am doing the wrong thing for her and am considering taking her to the vet for antibiotics.  If you pray for animals, send one out for her -- because she is uncomfortable.

One photo - an update

Sunday, May 3, 2009

It's what's for dinner

I got a good deal on some sweet corn at the store yesterday so we had some for dinner last night.  It isn't as good as the kind that grows on the farm, but it was still a nice treat.
I need to work on getting some seeds planted out in the garden soon.  It has been very wet here so I was trying to let things dry out a bit first.  Uncle Dave says that this time last year all the local farmers had all their crops planted by now (and this year they have barely started).  So, it looks like things could run a little behind schedule.
I have started seeds in a couple of those little mini green house trays with peat pellets.  Our season is just too short in Michigan to wait until May to plant peppers and tomatoes.

I'm hoping to spend some quality time with nature today.  We thought about going morel mushroom hunting today.  I'll share more about it if we do.