Monday, April 26, 2010

More Signs of Spring

Wow ... where does the time go? I've had " make a post on blog" for over a week now, but it just keeps rolling over to the next list! Spring has arrived full force, and it has made my schedule near to impossible!

I have a new toy! After a realistic evaluation of the orchard a couple of weeks ago I realized that nearly every tree I own has grown to a height that is beyond the 16' ladder range. Murphy's law, of course dictates that all the best apples will grow on those out of reach branches, so I invested in a pole chain saw. It is a lovely, lean, mean cutting machine! It is also very, let me repeat, VERY heavy piece of equipment, that can reach about 20' into the tree. After even more evaluation, I have hired a retired tree trimmer to help me a few hours a day to top cut all the trees. It's going fairly well, the only negative being that my arms and wrists are less than happy with this plan. It's not exactly what I had in mind for my tax return money, but hopefully it will pay for itself this fall!

After a hard days work, a body is doggone tired ...

and some days the help needs a little nap on the porch!
(Maizee & Beamer)

The past 2 days have been cool and rainy, but it will only take a day or so of warm sunshine to open the apple buds. There is nothing quite as magical as walking through the trees when they are in full bloom, and inhaling their sweet scent! My bees arrived last week, and seem to be adjusting from the long ride from Texas. I'm really fortunate that they are here. Bees are in short supply, and are trucked from region to region following the blossom season of the spring crops, but spring has arrived earlier than normal here, so many of the bees are still in Maine working on the blueberry crops.

I had a house full of company this past week. Granddaughter Kari was here helping for the first part of the week, then Shae, Kurt, Jim, Jan, and Kari all came for the fishing opener. There wasn't much fishing as it rained all weekend, but the men accomplished miracles around here! The dock is in the lake, a huge fire of driftwood, stumps and apple branches burned all weekend, the porch got wired, and plans were made to hopefully complete another bathroom before my daughter's August wedding. I am so blessed to have such a giving, hard working family! Thanks everyone!

I haven't downloaded the pictures from the weekend yet, but here's Pam the week before working on the same fire!

But at the end of the day, it's always a treat to sit back & enjoy the sunset with a cup of tea.

Yup ... life is good on the banks of Big Stone Lake!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The passing seasons ...

My mother would often ponder on the fact that the older you get, the faster time passes. At the time I thought that sounded rediculous, but like always, mom was right. The seasons seem to march by as quickly as turning pages in a good novel, and I have no power to slow them down. I am just forced to follow along, and take my part in the chapters.

If there was ever a perfect spot to watch these seasons unfold, I would have to think that it's here on the banks of Big Stone Lake. Minnesota is one of those states fortunate enough to experience all four seasons in all their glory ... although I'd guess most of us would prefer a bit more Spring and Fall, and a lot less winter.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Spring has sprung at the ranch!

Spring has finally arrived at the Apple Ranch ... the true sign being the number of wood ticks that both Maizee the dog and I have attracted! Many of my friends have sent pictures of their beautiful spring flowers, and I am envious! All I have to show so far is mud, wet leaves, and endless piles of driftwood and debris left from the flood. I anticipate many hours of clean up in my near future!

The design course that I have started begins with a section on blog design, and I thought it would be a good motivator for starting a blog for the ranch. I realize that for the most part what goes on here isn't of much interest to the outside world. But - come apple season, when people are judging if it's time to stock up on Honey Crisps, or the Firesides are finally ready, it might be of interest.  At the very least, perhaps it will save me some of the dozens of daily calls with questions.