Sunday Afternoon

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Even after we spent our passions so recklessly the night before
on singing and smiling and making love,
writing blank checks for desire
emptying our pockets for each other,
I wake up to more of you.
More coins between the cushions
more wealthy aunts leaving us their fortunes.
Some nights I know we’ll lose the house
we’ve spent so much.
I wake up hoping we have one last dollar
to keep the debtors away.
But we must be printing the stuff,
because there is always more,
always more of you.
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Wax on!

One of the many benefits of being a beekeeper. :{

Moustache wax!

Skinny Jake's bees wax moustache wax

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Breaking Cluster

2012 beekeeping season

The bees broke cluster today. When the mercury inched above 45 degrees I noticed a few carniolans poking their heads out of the top entrance. A half hour later there were hundreds of bees circling in the air taking their cleansing flights and removing their dead sisters from the hive. Continue reading

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Making Cheese

homemade cheddar

This was a big weekend for me. A weekend that’s been a long time coming. It was cheese making weekend. My buddy Steve and I have been talking about getting our hands on some fresh milk and making some cheese. He’s been in the cheese world for some time, and I’m new to it. I actually had no idea what the cheese making process entailed. It seemed like alchemy to me.

Farmhouse cheddar cheese

I read a few books and headed over to Steve’s on Saturday morning where we cultured, separated and pressed a beautiful wheel of farmhouse cheddar. I was so excited that the next day Kerstin’s and I drove up to McCann’s goat farm in Milaca to get raw goat milk to make chevré.

homemade cheddar cheese

Kerstin also turned out a few quarts of fresh goat milk yogurt. I had a bowl of it for breakfast this morning. The last two days I have been turning cheeses in the basement, changing their cloths, separating curds and whey, and living in a cloud of surreal happiness. I’ve been wanting to do this for longer than I even knew. Making cheese is so elemental, simple, and requires craft. Art and science shepherding one of life’s simplest most powerful substances—milk—into a preserved, delicious, living wheel of cheese.Making farmhouse cheddar cheese at homecheddar cheese moldraw goat milk yogurt

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They Will Be Mine…

Milking Dairy Goats book

I finally got this book in the mail yesterday. It’s torn. It’s tattered. But it’s here. And I only paid $1 for it. A little over two years ago Kerstin and I sat down with a legal pad, our bank statements and a bottle of wine. We let fly all of our dreams for our future together. The pattern that we saw emerge was life on a small farm with enough space to grow most of our own food, keep several beehives, and raise a small herd of goats for yogurt, cheese and milk.  We made a five year plan and we’ve been saving money hand over fist to stay on schedule. With only three years left, I decided that I darn well better

Continue reading

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A few years ago Kerstin and I started a blog called A Grain A Day. We updated it daily and had a staff of regular contributors for awhile. It did well—we even flirted with Kashi for an advertising spot. The time and commitment it took to publicize and produce content wore us down and we neglected the site for awhile. Kerstin has recently revived it and has a great post today about lemon juice.

The basic underlying principle of design is patterns. For a blog that means, primarily, consistency. Consistency in voice, in topic, in display, and in regular posting. Seeing A Grain A Day back on the air waves has given me inspiration to continue thoughtfully designing my web presence.

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A Month Out

I’m a month out from the 2012 beekeeping season, and for the last four or five weeks I have been buried in books, forums, blogs and conversations about bees. I’m at a fever pitch, to the point where a recent dinner guest casually asked me how the overwintering of my hives was going and I commandeered the evening’s conversation, delving into the peculiar avantages and disadvantages of this year’s mild winter to the hives. As I heard the phrases “chilled brood” and “early artificial swarming techniques” escaping my mouth, I knew I had gone too far, but I couldn’t stop myself from giving voice to the winter’s worth of thoughts I’ve had buzzing in my mind’s hive.

As of today, both hives show signs of life. I even cracked open the Milton Hive (in our backyard) last week on a warm day to see the cluster. When temps drop below 45 degrees Fahrenheit bees group together in a tight cluster to keep warm. Earlier in January when we had some really warm days in the 40s I even saw a few dozen bees take flight. In a few weeks I will start feeding them some pollen to stimulate the queen to lay eggs and begin a new batch of bees for the spring blossoms.

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Stove it. Bench it.

Cedar sauna panelingCedar sauna panelingTraditional Finnish saunaFinnish sauna benches

Sauna benches

Outdoor finnish sauna stove

Fire in the hole!
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Sauna Update

cedar saunaCedar shakesOutdoor Finnish SaunaCedar shakes have gone on the roof. Paneling has begun in the steam room. Hoping to steam things up by the next full moon. :)


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