Tag Archives: Photography

Apple Trees and Abundant Blossoms

Our four apple trees are in full bloom.  We don’t know a lot about apple trees and honestly have not had that great of luck with apples through the years.  Back in 2000, when we first purchased the property, we planted about six apple trees out in the meadow before we even started building the house.  Neither of us remembers the variety and we did not keep any tags.  The trees failed to thrive in the hard-packed clay and we eventually lost all but two of them, which we moved over behind the chicken coop where the soil is better.
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They have grown quite a bit over the years and a few years back we added two more small apple trees on the other side of the garden.  The trees seem to have heavy blooms every other year…and this is an ON year with and abundance of blossoms.  The sweet smell catches your attention as you walk past.  apple4a

Surely the bees are enjoying these lovely white blossoms during the day.  It was later in the evening when I took these photos and there were no bees in sight.  They return to the hive in the early evening and hunker down for the night so it was no surprise that I didn’t see any.
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We have never used any pesticides to spray our apple trees and when we do get fruit it often has issues – it is mis-shaped, has worm holes, etc.  One year we had enough to make some applesauce and apple butter, so I guess it has not always been a total failure.  Maybe one of these years we will put some effort into consistently growing good fruit.
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In the meantime, we will enjoy the blossoms and the few pans of fresh apple crisp that we make each fall.

Lynell

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A Dash of Color

I have been a gardening maniac for the last few weeks.  With the late spring, it feels like things are moving along quickly and there is SO much work to do just to get the gardens set for the season.  When I need a break from the physical labor of gardening I will sometimes grab my camera and stroll around the grounds to take some photos.

My bleeding hearts are in full bloom behind the house. Such magnificent flowers!bleedingheart

Volunteer Violets are blooming in the garden too. My Grandma called them “Johnny Jump-ups” and they will always remind me of her.  As a small girl, when I would go to visit she would always send me home with a bouquet of these flowers for my mom.  They were prolific at her house, almost like weeds.  She would wet a paper towel, wrap them gently around the stems, and finish it off with tinfoil to hold in the moisture.  I was always so proud to bring these little gems home to my mom, who would put them in a very small crystal vase and place them in the windowsill.  It is these memories that make my heart happy each spring when these lovely flowers appear in my garden.

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And then there are the tulips.  One can never have enough tulips.  I do not have enough tulips.

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I need to remember that this fall.  I really do need to plant more tulips.  They are such a beautiful way to welcome spring.

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I planted these a few years ago when I put in my new Magnolia tree.  I don’t even know the variety, but I really do love them.  The bright color stands out boldly from all the green spring foliage and makes a real statement.DSC_0330

These purple tulips are pretty too, but their color is more muted and seems to get lost a little in the sea of spring green.  I’m not complaining though.  They are beautiful too.purpletulipsI have a lot more pictures of spring blossoms and flowers to share.  Things are really blooming around here!

Hope you are enjoying spring blooms in your part of the world!

Lynell

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Woodland Carpet

Spring time brings with it a beautiful display of woodland flowers in the woods surrounding our house.  Wildflowers carpet the ground and because the mosquitos haven not yet hatched, it is still enjoyable to stroll through the woods and take in the views.
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I wrote a post a few years back in which I identified some of the flowers growing in the woods.(Woodland Wildflowers)  I could not resist photographing them again though. They are just too inviting.

Sanguinaria canadensis, or Bloodroot.
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Claytonia virginica, or Virginia Spring Beauty.DSC_0333

At the time I took the photos in my earlier post, the Trilliums had not yet bloomed, so I did a later post featuring them. (Trillium’s Turn).

For some reason, this year all the flowers seem to be blooming at the same time.  Maybe the late spring?

Trillium grandiflorum, or Trillium (Large-flowered Trillium).

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I came across one flower that I did not photograph or identify in my earlier post.  I headed over to the Minnesota Wildflower website again to help with identification.

Uvularia grandiflora, or Large-flowered Bellwort.

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I spent some time photographing this flower when I noticed this big bumble-bee enjoying it.  I found it very relaxing to sit quietly among the flowers in the woods watching the slow and methodical work of the bumble-bee.DSC_0348

And finally…a stroll in the woods with my camera is always peaceful, but rarely solitary.  Eventually the animals always decide to check on me and see what I am doing.

DSC_0359I don’t mind though.  After all, keeping us company is what pets are for, right?

Lynell

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Love my Magnolia Tree

We are loving spring around the farm.  We are getting in the gardens, raking the leaves out and tilling up the soil.  My Star Magnolia tree is bursting with its showy blooms.
photo-1aIt is such a beautiful sight.  I love this magnolia tree.

-Lynell

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Spring? Finally.

Last Friday we received about a foot of heavy wet snow.  It was depressing and everyone was complaining and crabby, including me.  It felt like spring would never arrive.  April has been a strange and very snowy month.spring1

One week later and it looks like this…

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Yes, I think spring has finally arrived.  The last two days we have enjoyed temperatures in the low 70’s.  It is not expected to last all week, but it sure has helped to melt the snow and get spring kicked into gear.

Last weekend, when it was still cold, we hosted a smoking party at our house.  Jesse was going to fire up the smokehouse while the temperatures were still cool with the snow on the ground, so he invited friends to bring over anything they wanted to smoke.  We had a real assortment of good stuff:  almonds, peanuts, cheese, cheese curds, leg of lamb, pork chops, pork roasts, ribs, and chickens.  Once the smokehouse was loaded up, we enjoyed chatting and having some beverages while we waited for the smokehouse to work its cold-smoking magic.

We also started cooking sap to make maple syrup the same day.  The sap ran very late this year due to the crazy spring.  We were not sure if it would run at all, but the trees finally started dripping and actually produced a lot of sap.

Jesse found this stainless steel pan at a restaurant equipment store and it works great on our outdoor stove to cook the sap.  It has a lot of surface area to help with evaporation and to cook the sap down faster.  The sap looks just like water when you first collect it from the tree to start cooking.

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As it cooks longer, it starts to brown up and begins to have a sweet caramel-like aroma.  We cooked down enough sap last weekend to make one gallon of syrup.

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This past Thursday evening Jesse fired up the stove once again and cooked down the rest of the sap overnight.  In total, we ended up with two gallons of syrup.  Yum!
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Yes, spring is here.  The birds have been singing, the geese are honking, and the frogs have awoken and are singing their lovely spring song.

All varieties of wildlife are on the move. During the day yesterday, I was working at home and as I glanced up from the file I was reading, I noticed these turkeys come walking past the back of the barn and headed towards the river. I grabbed my camera and snapped a few shots.

We joke sometimes about living in a nature preserve.  I guess we have the river to thank for the wide array of wildlife we get to see and/or hear (the owls hooting at night are my favorite) on a daily basis.
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Along with the melting snow comes spring flooding.  The water has risen rapidly in the last two days and the river is overflowing.
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We spent yesterday evening and today outside enjoying the warm temperatures by starting our spring cleanup.  I cut down any perennials that stood through the winter and raked all the leaves out of the gardens.

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Tired of the chickens coming up by the house and digging in the dirt of my perennial garden, we decided to lock them in the vegetable garden fence today to enjoy the sunshine.  Ironically, we built this very fence in part, to keep the chickens out of the vegetable garden.  They loved kicking around the bit of straw, pecking at the grass, and digging in the dirt all day.
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Underneath the piles of leaves I discovered some flowers eager to get growing.  These tulips had obviously decided that spring was here, despite the foot of snow we received just a week ago.
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Likewise, the peonies are bursting out of the ground.  I love peonies so much.  They remind me of my grandma.

spring8Our old girl was out soaking up the sunshine today too. I love her an awful lot too.

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The beehives are sitting empty across the field awaiting their new residents.  We ordered two nucs of bees that should arrive in about 10 days.  The nucs contain some frames of brood and a queen, so they are already somewhat established.  Since we are starting over again after a year of bee-keeping drama (swarming, robbing, etc.), it will be nice to have the hives get up and running quickly.
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So, after a very long winter, it seems as though spring has arrived.  Finally.

There may likely be a few more bumps along the way, but we are definitely headed in the right direction.

Lynell

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Project Planning

The planning of summer projects is in full swing around here.  Jesse has sketched out ideas for the pergola that we plan to add to our new patio and fire-pit area that we put in last year.  By drawing it out to scale on grid paper, we can better judge the proportions of the structure and how it relates to the rest of that space.
pergolaPlanning for our spring projects helps to ease the misery of this long Minnesota winter.  Spring must be around the corner, right???

Lynell

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More Snow…and Tulips

Winter seems to just keep going on and on here.  We received several more inches of fresh snow this morning.  February is almost over though, so logically, I know the end is getting near.DSC_0006

Nonetheless, the drudgery and length of winter here in Minnesota can sometimes get me down.

This morning, as I walked into Target, I saw bouquets of tulips on display.  I knew that a splash of spring in the house would definitely lift my winter weary spirits.
photoSo, I decided to treat myself and I chose a beautiful pink color for big impact.  I couldn’t wait to get them home.
photo1I feel so much better already.  Life is so dull without flowers.  Thank you, Target, for this lovely pick-me-up.

Come on, spring!  Hurry up!

Lynell

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Stay Warm!

It was -4F outside this morning, with wind chills around -25F. Even colder temperatures are forecasted for this evening and into tomorrow morning. Brrrrrrr!!!!

Our robin continues to visit the crabapple tree every day for a snack and to just hang out.  Poor fellow must be cold, don’t you think?

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Wherever you are today, I hope you can stay warm!

Lynell

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It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Winter

The temperatures have plummeted here in Minnesota and we had our first snow storm a week or so ago.  The majority of that snow has melted, but enough remains on the ground that it is hard to ignore the fact that winter has arrived.

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Our Buzzing Crabapple Tree

The Prairie Fire crabapple tree right outside my kitchen window is in full bloom .  It is quite a sight and smells delightful.

Apparently, we are not the only ones that are enjoying the tree.  After two days of rain, snow and freezing temperatures, we were outside Sunday enjoying the sunshine when we noticed a distinct humming sound coming from the tree.  A closer examination revealed that the tree was loaded with honeybees and a few random bumblebees. Continue reading

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