Thursday, January 29, 2009

A shot from a trip to Sleeping Bear dunes area in Michigan. This was a late afternoon view to the west, from the top of one of the dunes. That water is much further away than it might appear in the photo.

Here is a shot of our solar oven. Yes, a cloud was passing over, but on clear days, it works quite well. We didn't use it as much this past year, but I plan to use it more, and experiment with seeing which recipes work best.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

skiing the back 40

We ran up to our new Wisconsin place this weekend, the explore the area more, and plan out next steps for the house. And, yes, we skied in the beanfield. They have had quite a bit of snow, even more than we've had in Chicago, so we saw hardly any sign of bean stubble, except where the deer had been digging. Oh, yes, LOTS of deeer sign. Time for me to start thinking about hunting again. Next fall, I'll be wearing blaze orange. Here is a cool winter picture from our trip up to the MichiganU.P. for Thankgiving. We walked along the shore of Lake Superior to get some fresh air and burn some turkey calories. I'll take more farm pictures next trip up.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

winters of yore

Well, the weather this winter has been unusual compared to the ones we've been having for the last decade or so. Colder, and lots more snow. Here are a couple photos taken yesterday after the shoveling was done. Actually, I like big snows. I can use the shoveling exercise, as well as the cross country skiing. And darn it, things just look prettier covered in snow.
This snow is how I remember winters as a kid. I do more shoveling now, and drink less hot chocolate, but it's all good.
Front of house, mailman accessible now. Got the Christmas lights down just in time.

No mojitos and al fresco dining on the deck for a while.

Driveway clear till the snow plow comes by again.

Friday, January 9, 2009

A couple more pictures. The noodles drying on the rack are from last summer. We had a lot of extra spinach one week, so we blenderized them and made spinach noodles. We also made some basil noodles. They both worked pretty well, and would do it again if we have extra next summer. We store them in mason jars so they stay dry. We also find the noodle drying rack quite handy for drying sweaters.
This photo is of the grand canyon of Pennsylvania. It is not as deep or dramatic as the grand canyon, but is much greener, and the geologoval history is interesting. We car camped through Pennsylvania on the way to Joe's wedding last summer.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

two mortgages

Well, we have been talking about buying some property in Wisconsin to retire to in the future, and we actually closed on a 44 acre farm with a house this past Friday. We had gone land hunting on a few trips to the southwest of Wisconsin, called "the driftless region" since it was not glaciated and flattened like most of the upper midwest. It's a pretty area, with lot's of small farms.

The last few years, since the kids all graduated college, we have been kind of enjoying the extra available cash by relaxing our normal frugality. Well, back to clipping coupons and trying hard to stay on the budget. We think it's a smart move to buy, since as we've all been reminded, stocks aren't always the best bet to save for the future. Anyway, here are a couple pictures. They show one of the features that really attracted me. The attached sun room/greenhouse makes the house energy efficient, and has good potential for upgrading with solar panels. I'll tell more about the "farm" later.