Monday, October 27, 2008

First Snow

We're getting our first meaningful snow this week. It makes me think about the power of forgiveness.

Only six months ago winter had pushed us to the ragged fringes of sanity, but today, these first flakes are so incredibly beautiful, refreshing--and surprisingly welcome. It's a winter baptism after a short, but hectic summer.

While April snow is an obnoxious guest that refuses to leave, an October snow is a prodigal son, with whom all is forgiven.

At least until April.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Weekend Guest

So, what happens when you cut big holes in your house with a chainsaw on a fall weekend? Well, naturally an owl flies in and spends the night!

A bewildered little sawhet owl, probably migrating through on his way down from Canada, stopped in for a visit recently. Apparently a gap in the temporary plastic covering the hole for a new window was just too tempting to pass by. He made his way up the stairs and perched on a nightlight where he was discovered by guests.

After a bit of pandemonium, and a few flash photos, I punched a window screen out and he flew back into the night.

Exciting time here in the Northwoods.

Home Improvement

So, ever since we bought this old farm, my "real job" of travel writing and photography has slowed a bit as I work to remodel our house. Here's a bit of recent video showing what it takes to install a new window in a 100-year-old log home. Note the blue exhaust from a bit of old gas and the chiming of both the smoke alarm and CO2 alarm at the same time--quite an achievement!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008


Who has time to blog when fall is falling all around? One thing I'd like to share from the past few weeks is our annual Apple Fest, or Apple Camp, or Sauce Fest or whatever you want to call it. Friends gather and help process several hundred pounds of semi-wild apples from our property and surrounding abandoned farms. Some apples are perfect table fruit, but most look fit only for the deer. All of them get quartered, steamed to a mush, then milled to separate out the skins and seeds. Add a little sugar, maybe some spices, and voila--sauce fit for a king. Or at least a toddler. We divide up the sauce and take it home to can on our own. This year we set a new record of around 40 gallons. Now that's what I call getting sauced.