St Croix River Road Ramblings

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Sunday, September 22, 2013

A Sunday in September

Margo is in Pine Island finishing up a few post-cancer treatment checks last week, headed back up here Monday with Scott coming up Wednesday so we can get our pumpkins, squash, apples and syrup ready for the 8th Annual River Road Ramble.  

Last year we didn't really get into it with health problems keeping our gardening limited, apples unsprayed and maples untapped. This year is back to normal almost.

The Ramble looks to be a good mix of sales and stops -- more to the north end of the area than usual.  As soon as I get the map and itinerary, I will post it.  

Mom, certain I would be starving without Margo here, invited me down for Sunday brunch with brother Everett.  Brother Marvin, who turned 69 yesterday, had his wife home and so didn't need feeding by Mom. 

The new roof is done there and it didn't leak with the couple of rains last week.  However, the TV antenna on the roof was down and a temporary shorter one in use.  Mom missed some of her programs, and asked if we could put it back on the roof again.  

Living alone is not quite so lonesome if you invite Whoopi, Jenny, Ellen and Dr. Phil in during the day; catch up with the news with Scott Pelly and Frank and Amelia, and get a good range of TV preachers on Sunday.  

Ev and I decided to try the big antenna on the ground rather than on the roof--not wanting to poke holes in the new shingles and not wanting to tumble off during the process.  We drove a pipe into the rain softened ground near the house and set the antenna on a tall mast into the pipe and aimed it toward the Twin Cities and adjusted it.  Living on top of a big hill is helpful for TV reception.  We got all the channels you expect and a few more and they all came in fine! 

 We re-batteried the remote and re-educated Mom on its use (she had given up on it and was getting up to adjust everything at the TV).  "Just use these two buttons--On/Off and Channel Change--don't even touch the others.  We set the TV at max volume as she likes to watch without her hearing aids.  After a couple of tries she seemed to be OK with it and we carefully put away the other 5 remotes lying around the TV -- one from two TV sets before this one.  There sure should be a simpler version of these!

Decided to go for a woods walk after lunch at the cabin and took along some plastic bags to pick wild grapes. None last year, but a good crop this year.  I like wild grape jelly.  Got plenty to make two batches of jelly--now just have to pick them off the stems and save the good ones (a good evening TV watching job).  

Lots of large pumpkins this year

Once the deer start eating them you have to quickly get them picked or they will clean them up.  Already ate a whole one and started on this one last night.  Maybe pumpkin fed deer would have a good flavor!
The pumpkin/squash garden did pretty good even with some weeds
Wild grapes are pretty good this year.  Some actually are a little on the sweet side.  Normally wait until after frost, but they are already starting to raisinize. 

Mowed along the road fence--looking down the big hill to the west

A branch on a diamond bark willow tree--the kind that make good walking sticks. You peel the bark and clean out the indented diamonds for character.

Some wild small crab apples. Lots of wild apples in the woods from tiny thorn apples to larger ones from tame apple seeds.  Each apple from seed is different and I keep an eye out for a good wild apple that might be one I want to graft for an orchard tree.  

This frog was sure he was camouflaged and that I couldn't see him--but jumping around on top of a ridge seemed out of place for a frog. I suppose the recent rains got them on the move.  Not very many around anymore.  

Partridge berries are thick this fall--will be eaten up by winter. 

A wild apple:  small, green scabby, mottled, and susceptible to worms, but a surprisingly good tarty flavor.  Also stays on the tree so a couple of good points.