Category Archives: Outbuildings

Capturing the Splendid Fall

Although the weather has turned cooler the past few days, the month of October has been a series of one lovely fall day after another here in Minnesota.  The temperatures were above normal, the sun was almost always shining, and the fall colors seemed more vibrant than usual.  Like many, the weather drew me outdoors and I often found myself reaching for my phone to capture some of the beauty just outside my front door.  All the photos below were taken with my iPhone 5s and edited in Instagram.

This first photo was taken in the evening and features a small border garden along our granary with Sedum and ornamental grasses.  All of the red hues captured my eye.

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Outside in the garden one morning, I stopped to take a picture after noticing the rays of sunshine highlighting the yellow maple, contrasted with the still-blooming shrub roses and Russian sage in my garden.  The barn in the background was the perfect backdrop.

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The lovely morning sunlight caught my eye once again a week or so later, as it lit up the Autumn Blaze Maple outside my bedroom window.

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And finally, this picture is from the woods that surround our home, spilling down the hillside to the river and to our field.  In the evening, as the sun would start to set, the warm light would shine through the yellow canopy of leaves and the scene felt so magical.  For about a week, I made sure to step outside each evening to take in the spectacle of light.

IMG_2989Wherever you might live, I hope your fall has been equally as splendid.  While the leaves have all fallen off the trees now, perhaps we will still be blessed with a few more days of warm temperatures and abundant sunshine. Once can always hope! 🙂

Lynell

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Filed under Barn, Flower, Gardens, Photography

A Winter Blast

Our progress towards spring suffered a setback last night, as we awoke to around 8-9 inches of fresh snow.  School was canceled and we once again face the task of clearing and piling snow. Ugh! snow1 As discouraging as it is to see, with temperatures forecasted to reach into the 50’s and 60’s next week, we know this scene is only temporary.snow2 I decided to step out on to the porch this afternoon to capture a few pictures of the white stuff.  One of the things I enjoy about blogging, and one of the primary reasons I do it, is that it allows me to document events like this from year to year.  I always find it interesting to look back at pictures from earlier years to see evidence of late snowfalls and later proof that spring and summer eventually do arrive.  Last year, we received a big snow fall on April 18th.  A week later I posted and shared pictures of the dramatic changes that can occur in Minnesota during the spring time over a short period.  (See the post here).

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Below is a shot from our porch towards the river.  Grudgingly, I must admit that it is a pretty sight today.

snow3Nonetheless, I am hoping that it looks very different by next week.  I am SO ready for winter to move along so that I can get outside and into my gardens.  Spring cannot come soon enough!

I hope spring has arrived in your neck of the woods!

Lynell

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Miscellaneous, Outbuildings

Snowy Sunrise

We received another 10 inches or so of snow yesterday through this morning.  The wind is howling and the snow is drifting quickly.  School was canceled, yet again.  I was unsuccessful in making it out of our driveway this morning for work and got stuck in a three-foot snow drift.  There really is no point in complaining about the long winter any more though.  It is old news.

So, since I cannot think of anything very positive to say about Minnesota, our winters, the weather, etc., I thought I would just post this picture I took this morning.  I took it with my iPhone 5s and did a quick edit in Instagram.

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Hope you are staying warm and out of the howling winds.  Spring will come eventually, right?

Lynell

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Filed under Barn, Daily life, Outbuildings

Seeing RED

The thing that I like least about blogging is the writing part.  Sometimes I just do not have anything particularly interesting to say.

The thing that I love about blogging is the pictures.  I love to take pictures. I love to see other people’s pictures.  And I love to share my pictures.

So, that’s exactly what I am going to do in this post – just share a few of my pictures.  As I looked at the latest collection of my shots, I noticed a lot featuring various shades of red. Below are just a few.

Our prairie-fire crabapple tree outside the kitchen window is full of red fruit and reddish leaves.

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A closer-up view of the fruit.  And notice the red granary is in the background.DSC_0036

My Autumn Joy Sedum plants have turned a very dark pinkish-red.  Even after several hard frosts, they are still looking good. DSC_0050

Some leaves from one of our many Autumn Blaze Maple trees around here.  While many other trees have shed their leaves, these are hanging on to theirs for now.

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While walking through the woods behind the house to mark small maple trees for transplanting next spring, I came across this red fence post.  It is a remnant from the previous owners who once had cattle in the woods around the house.
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Our singular Amur Maple tree is showing off some nice shades of red.
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And one of my favorite sites around here…our red barn.  red2

A view of two of the brilliant-colored Autumn Blaze Maples.
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And last, but not least, here come the guys across the field on our Razor – Jesse on the left and our youngest behind the wheel.  Ok, this picture does not really fit into my “red” theme, but I like it anyhow.  And there are some red trees in the background. 🙂
red4We have spent today starting our preparations for winter.  Jesse started his first round of the leaf battle and I stayed inside to remove screens and wash the windows.  I want to make sure I have clear and unobstructed views when the snow starts to fall.  😦

Lynell

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Filed under Barn, Daily life, Granary, Outbuildings, Photography

Morning Light

We left town last Friday morning for a long weekend out at West Point to visit our two cadets and to attend the Homecoming football game. As we were heading out the door on our way to the airport, the sun was coming up and it was just one of those sunrises…the pink, orange and yellow kind.

Jesse encouraged me to snap a few pictures with my iPhone.  The barn against the sky was just too pretty to go undocumented. I did a quick edit in Instagram to lighten it up.

barnskyThe weekend went by in a flash and we are back at home again on the farm.  Our cadets are coming home this upcoming weekend for a visit over a long weekend for them.  It will be nice to have everyone at home, even if it is only briefly.

Lynell

Where we love is home – home that our feet may leave, but not our hearts.

-Oliver Wendell Holmes



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Filed under Barn, Photography

April 18th and Still Waiting…

We are still waiting on spring.  The six plus inches of snow we are receiving today is certainly not a welcome sight. As you will notice from the picture below, we have not gotten around to taking down our Christmas lights yet.  This picture could so easily be from the Christmas season, but sadly, today is the 18th day of April!!
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These views from the farm might actually be considered pretty if taken during the Christmas season…or maybe even if it were February.

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But it is not Christmas and it is not February. Did I mention it is the middle of April?!

Snow is not necessarily uncommon at this time of year in Minnesota, but this winter has been very long and we have had very few spring-like days.
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The good news is that snow does not last long this time of year because the sun’s rays are much too powerful.  So, if the sun does ever come out, we know the snow will melt quickly.  I will cling to that thought..that’s all I can do at the moment to stay positive.

I hope the weather is better in your part of the country, wherever that might be!

From snowy central Minnesota,

Lynell

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Filed under Daily life, Miscellaneous, Outbuildings

Cold-Smoking: Pork Ribs

I finally found time a few weeks back to fire up the smoke-house for some cold-smoking as the weather warmed up above freezing during the day.  Unless you are buying hogs by the 1/2 or 1/4, you will typically buy pork ribs from your grocer or butcher that are frozen. Since we have plenty of freezer space and a vacuum sealer, I like to smoke several racks of ribs so that we can pull them out of the freezer for a rib dinner whenever we are in the mood.

I start thawing the ribs two days before I’m going to run the smoker. One day to thaw, and another day (or at least overnight) to let them dry. After the ribs are thawed, I dry them off with paper towels and then liberally coat them with a dry rub. There are several good rubs available on the market; I like Famous Dave’s or Rendezvous (from Memphis), or you can mix up your own concoction.

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Make sure to coat both sides and all the edges with the dry rub so that the seasoning can do its magic.ribs2

After the ribs are dry rubbed, separate them on cookie sheets so that they can dry in the refrigerator for 1 day or at least overnight. The reason to let them dry is that wet meats tend to allow the soot from the smoke adhere to the meat.

You can see that spring had not yet arrived (it still hasn’t), but with day time temps in the 20’s the heat from the smoker will keep the meat from freezing in the smokehouse. Frozen meat does not absorb smoke very well.

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After finally getting the firebox dug out from the snow, I was ready to start the fire. My favorite wood for smoking any kind of pork is white oak, although red oak is a close second. If I have some apple wood available, I will add a few sticks of apple to layer in some sweetness from the fruit wood.ribs4

I had enough space in the smokehouse to add in a chicken that I had brined in salt, sugar, and rosemary. If you haven’t yet tried brining your chickens and turkeys, I highly recommend it!

You can see the smoke starting to draft up through the floor of the smokehouse.

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Now that a good draft has started, I close the door and add a little more wood about once an hour. Depending on how smokey you like your ribs, you can smoke them from 2-6 hours. I like mine right at 4 hours.ribs6

This smokehouse is so easy and fun to use, but just to make sure everything goes right, I like to open a couple of beers and keep a close eye on it.ribs7

The last step of the process is to vacuum seal the ribs to ensure freshness for up to one year. If you don’t have a vacuum sealer, you can also wrap the ribs in a good butcher paper, but you will probably want to cook them within a few months.

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A few tips on cooking ribs. The key is to cook them low and slow. Coat them with a little barbecue sauce and place them in a cake pan covered tightly with tin foil, or you can wrap them individually with tin foil to seal in the juices. I like to cook them at about 220 F for about 4 hours, or just until they are ready to fall of the bone. Then I like to finish them off for a few minutes under the broiler in the oven or on the grill to give them a nice caramelized flavor, but don’t overdo this last step because it is easy to dry them out too much.

And the most important tip?  Enjoy with a nice full-bodied beer or a hearty glass of red wine!

Jesse

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Filed under Food, Smokehouse, Smoking