Monthly Archives: May 2014

Happy Memorial Day–Enjoy summer

When we first moved to the country I never wanted to leave the property and that was fine for awhile. But even farmer’s need to take a break and step back and reset. I find for me the best way to do that is the wilderness. I am blessed to have a family property I can retreat to, but even with having a place available I hadn’t been there since we moved. Finally this weekend I was able to get away and it was like heaven. I have to say being out there away from life’s pressures, enjoying nature, I just feel more myself and more able to enjoy life and family.


My children took the weekend’s opportunity to enjoy trying out the camera. Two and Mavis especially enjoyed this with Two saying he wanted to be a photographer. Here is a portrait he took of Effie.


Mommy t-rexxy by Mavis.


Pray Grant by Two.


I love just going for walks with the children.


One thing I really want to learn is how to identify the things of nature–plants, trees, birds, bird calls, etc. Here is a plant I discovered on this camping trip. I believe it is a marsh marigold.


It wasn’t all fun and games. The gentlemen worked to put up an outhouse.


Finished outhouse by Mavis.

So work, play, relax, love, enjoy and reset that was the name of the game this weekend. Honestly it was so needed. I hope you are taking time regularly to recharge and reset. What things do you like to do?

Spring Fun + violet jam

Finally it feels like spring around here. As I was transferring my blog to the new host I was going through some old posts and found that 2 years ago when we first moved here our crab apple tree flowered in late March. However it has yet to flower this year. Just last week Avril asked, “are the snow days over?” and I realized like her I had been kinda holding my breathe. But when I assured her that they were she was so relieved that it was fun to see.

Last weekend Proeun finally got a chance to get into the fields with Bessie.


Chores have been so much more fun now that it has warmed up. Speaking candidly it is not all fun and games on the farm but I try to focus on the good as much as possible and one of the things I have really enjoyed is getting to know this land throughout the seasons. I have been interested in herbs and foraging for a long time now but there is something extremely special about finding where these plants grow on your own property and being able to come back year after year. Plantain is an easy one and last year I found yarrow. We have a white oak tree and there are more herbs that I want to identify.

But while checking facebook recently a friend of mine was talking about violets and I realized that this year we have an overabundance (as well as and abundance of dandelions, ahem). I remembered a violet jam from one of my favorite blogs Soule Mama. Now I actually had the goods to make my own.






I ended up doing most of the harvesting while the children played but it was fun and they would come over every once in awhile to check on progress. During the cooking process they helped more, that’s where the fun is anyway though it probably too less then five minutes to whip up a batch. Now I have a new spring time tradition and it is so fun to make things grown right on our own land.

But on a humorous note all you moms out there know that once the seasons change it is often times hard to find the clothing items from last year, especially shoes and in this season shoes rapidly disappear. Here is Effie’s solution.


Sure sign of spring–bird nests

It is always interesting how nature intersects with our human constructions. I remember seeing pigeon nests as a child tucked away in I beams in the skyway in downtown St. Paul. More recently hawk’s nests on electrical poles along the highway. But this year we have our own story.


The children have been anxiously waiting for the snow to melt, then there were the cars and tractors in the way, finally this weekend the hoop was clear but we noticed something interesting.


We had noticed a bird flying back and forth. I knew what it was but honestly had never seen a nest before. We are trying very hard to hold back our curiosity and not disturb them too much but we had to take just a quick peek. The children we completely amazed and I was too. I have never seen a bird nest up close and personal and in use. So we have all agreed that there will be no basketball until those little babies move all and we are anxiously watching (from a distance most of the time) the progress they make. So many lessons,

How do birds make nests? We recognize much of the building material.

How long for baby birds to hatch and Mature? Still working on that

Also learning how to observe but not disturb and how to be considerate of even the smallest creatures. On a side note with all this rain we are learning a lot about worm saving. Yes bird saving and worm saving don’t really go together but that can be a lesson for another day.

Spring Finally Here?! Time for the Open House

After a crazy weird winter (read long, cold, a lot of snow) I just realized yesterday, literally, that spring may actually be here. I realized that I have been delaying letting myself think about spring because I didn’t want to make the mental adjustment and then wake up to a foot of snow. I have woken up to a foot of snow a couple times this “spring.” Winter for us started October 20th when we were coming home from our lone camping trip of the year. We had our canoe on top and were driving through snow. That’s Minnesota!

But last night the first thunderstorms rolled through. And again today. And all of a sudden I was hit by the realization that yes spring is here. It is quite a relief actually.


Our ancient white oak gets a little shower. And we all breathe an audible sign of relief. It is not likely that snow will cover us again until the fall.

One thing I really want to do more of this year is relaxing with the children and just enjoying them. Our oldest turns 10 this year, double digits! Time flies and so I continue to look for opportunities to just be with them, “doing life.” One of my favorite things to do is bake. Often the afternoons find me and at least a couple of the children in the kitchen making snack.

My favorite recipe site is Yummy Mummy. I even bought her cookbook. Today to honor spring we are cooking up a new recipe–Lavender cupcakes. It is from the cookbook. While most of her recipes are pretty healthy I used white flour with the germ and succanat in place of the granulated sugar and it worked out really well. One note all the dairy products are supposed to be at room temperature so plan ahead. It was a good lesson for the children.


We are also planning for our Spring Open House on Sunday, May 18th from 1-4:00. Hope you can stop by and say hello.

What are you doing to celebrate spring?


New Blog plus a look back

What a week! A few weeks ago I found out I would have to update our website, virtually redoing it with a new product. Then last week I found out I would have to do the same for the blog. Oy! Well luckily it didn’t end up being as bad as I thought thanks to our web hosting company’s (GoDaddy) awesome customer service. They walked me through the whole process and Voila, new blog. I am still tweaking it but so far I am loving it. One thing I love is the archives list. Going through the old blog and switching it over allowed me to reflect on my experiences along the way. I remember when Jack looked like this now he looks like this.

Jack 2014


I remember when Home was the Eastside of St. Paul and now Rush City is our home. When I started this blog I had 3 children, now their are 3 little Doeuns and my how they grew. Oh well, nothing like going through old posts to feel nostalgic. I hope you like the new blog and do check out the archives.