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We took the house my mom grew up in, the house my grandparents shared for over fifty years and made it a place for us to grow old in! This portion of the website is devoted to just us, our day to day life, what we're working on, what we're planning on working on and all of the challenges along the way!

Preparing for Harvest at Grandma’s House DIY

Preparing for harvest on our farm at Grandma's House DIY, fall has come and its time to get organized, preparing for deer and produce!
Sep 15 2017 -

Preparing for harvest, fall and winter at our little farm in northern MN. It has officially begun, the leaves are turning, the air has a bite to it (though on Tuesday it was 87 degrees) and my horses are getting the fuzzy look of teddy bears. My husband has been preparing for this time of year since spring, clearing out and planting food plots, finding the perfect places for his deer stands and putting out game cameras. He is happier right now then he is at any other time of the year! Read the rest of the post »

One last summer Festival and our 2nd Year Wedding Anniversary!

One last summer Festival and our 2nd Year Wedding Anniversary! Cheers to the miles it took to get here, taking a break and enjoying each other!
Sep 08 2017 -

Our second year wedding anniversary came and went on September 5th and Joe and I took the opportunity to attend one last summer festival. Though I was born and raised here there are still many festivals and celebrations within 100 miles of us that remain on my bucket list. As locals I think we all kind of avoid them (some consciously others unconsciously) because we get so tired of the incredible amount of people that hit our area so hard on the summer weekends. I’ve asked, “What are you doing this weekend?” and the answer has been, more then once, “I’m going home and I’m staying there!” lol, I’ve also given that answer plenty of times! Read the rest of the post »

Fall is on the way, summer is nearly over and winter is coming!

Winter is coming to northern Minnesota, harvesting the garden, finishing the to do list, looking forward to the pumpkin festival and missing summer already
Aug 25 2017 -

Ever heard the term “Winter is coming.”? Well, before George RR Martin wrote Game of Thrones and it got made into a tv show, Minnesotan’s had been saying it FOREVER and with the same dark, brooding and depressed tone. Fall is really on its way and here in northern MN we’ve been experiencing a cold snap that was only supposed to last the first week or two of August… Well, it just keeps on going and I think we’re all watching the forecast getting more and more gloomy. It is still nice here, really we can’t complain, but I do believe our swimming, tubing and lake days are basically done. With temperatures dropping down in the 50s and 40s at night, even with highs in the 70s, our summer activities are rapidly coming to a close. Read the rest of the post »

August photo gallery: Tad poles, Caterpillars & Tiger lilies

August photo gallery: Tad poles, Caterpillars & Tiger lilies during the dog days of summer as we wind down to fall on our farm in northern Minnesota
Aug 18 2017 -

It is no secret for those of you have been following along here with me that August is my very favorite month. Every year I just can’t help but write a post about it. August is the month Joe first drove up my driveway, the month of his birthday and it has always been my favorite month to live in northern Minnesota. It is usually hot, dry and, truly, the dog days of summer here. August is accompanied by the starting fade of daylight (being this far north it becomes obvious this time of year that winter is REALLY coming) the shorter days are usually accompanied by cooler nights and long afternoon shadows. Read the rest of the post »

Summer just never lasts long enough

Summer on the farm at Grandma's House DIY, going through the grief and the realization that summer is already half way over and it never lasts long enough!
Jul 28 2017 -

As always, around this time of the year, I look up and wonder where the heck summer went. It has been incredibly hot here with not nearly enough rain and, in testament to that, we are now raising several hundred tad poles in our horses’ water trough! (I can’t for the life of me get a good picture of them but I will keep trying.) It turns out that this happening on dry years is not at all uncommon. They’ve been in there for about four weeks now and are just starting to grow little legs. This spring I had told Joe I wanted to add fish to our water tank to help keep it clean and mother nature took care of it for me! Those little tad poles are keeping all the algae down with vigor and eating any mosquito larva in there too! Read the rest of the post »

Summer perennial flower gallery at Grandma’s House DIY

Flower gallery of northern Minnesota wild that bloom in the summer perennials, daisies and many others in the farmyard and barnyard at Grandma's House DIY
Jul 07 2017 -

A flower gallery of our summer blooms in our little farmyard. With spring giving way to summer all of our early blooms have now finished their flashy beauty – including my peonies which I will miss until next year. Our dramatic purple and lavender irises only gave us two blooms this year (which surprised me as usually they are the first to bloom like crazy) but my peonies certainly made up for them. All of our crab apple, choke cherry and plumb trees were adorned gorgeously this spring and we are anticipating some lovely fruit later this summer. My grandma’s old flower garden never ceases to amaze me with its resilience and, every year, something else comes up that we hadn’t seen in years and, every year, I mark some flowers for transplanting into my own flower garden come this fall or next spring. Read the rest of the post »

This last weekend at Grandma’s House and a few lessons from 2016…

Jun 30 2017 -

Every year here I have found that I get a little bit better and learn a little more on how best to serve our little farm and us. Some lessons are obvious ones but still took time, like how often and how efficiently to clean our hardwood floors and how much toilet paper I need to order with my Amazon pantry purchase to coincide with how many paper towels to buy at the same time so that they run out at about the same time etc. Life really is a learning experience and I don’t doubt that every year adjustments will need to be made and more lessons to be learned for the rest of our lives. Read the rest of the post »

Peonies Gallery: Thank you Grandma for such a lovely gift!

A peonies gallery of my gorgeous peony blooms, pink, white, magenta and other perennial flowers that my Grandma planted over the last fifty years!
Jun 23 2017 -

A Peonies Gallery post and a few other blooms thanks to my Grandma! Along the south side of our 100 year old farm house my Grandma planted a row of peonies several decades ago. As the years went by and the health of my grandparents declined the peonies over grew with grass and were almost lost. I snatched as many as I could find nearly ten years ago and moved them to my mom’s house where they actually flourished until she moved to another home and we moved here to the old farm house. It only seemed right for me to dig them up, once again, and bring them back home where they belonged. Read the rest of the post »

Raccoons, pigeons and squirrels: Our home for the usually scorned

Night time visitors, feeding the raccoons, the squirrels and the pigeons, all are welcome on our farm
Jun 16 2017 -

This is just a little post about the raccoons we are happy to now have visiting us every night. Many of you that follow along on my blog here know that I have a full and complete “do no harm and leave no foot prints behind” policy. I am notorious for informing anyone on our property that if they kill it here I will MAKE them eat it. I don’t have any problem with hunting, raising or harvesting our/your own food and that is whether it is us (or the wild animals we share our farm with) as long is it is taken in necessity, quickly and with the least amount of waste possible. Read the rest of the post »

New site design: Please bear with me while I work out the kinks!

Memorial day weekend at Grandma's House DIY, old barn watching a storm come in, blooming lilacs, farm spring photo gallery 2017
Jun 09 2017 -

Hey guys! I am so excited to have FINALLY finished coding our new site design! Many of you know that I’ve been a website designer for many many years (though I’m basically retired) I still enjoy designing WordPress templates from time to time and, goodness knows, being able to code has given me a jump here in blog land. But it also handicaps me in a way as well because, you see, I’ve been working on this new site design for over six months! When you’re able to code and truly start from scratch it is very easy to get kinda paralyzed and after working myself down to two complete designs I needed a good month to step away and not look at them anymore. Read the rest of the post »

Gallery: Memorial Day Weekend 2017

Memorial day weekend at Grandma's House DIY, old barn watching a storm come in, blooming lilacs, farm spring photo gallery 2017
Jun 02 2017 -

Joe and I both had a three day weekend over this last memorial day and Saturday was absolutely perfect. Over 70s in the sun it felt hot but the breeze was the cool promise of storms coming. We worked on our wood pile all morning together, him cutting and me splitting. We don’t cut down live trees and almost our entire pile right now was given to us by neighbors. The gift of heat in northern Minnesota where the temperatures can fall well into the minus thirties and beyond. We heat entirely with wood and, though it may seem early in the year to be worrying about next winter, quite frankly, it is never too early. It is the best kind of work, physical and very real in this age of digital everything. We take breaks periodically and sit together, bodies hot and sweaty, covered in saw dust and the smell of pine and oak, tamarack and elm. Read the rest of the post »

Planting and spring on the farm in northern Minnesota

Spring in northern MN planting the garden, receiving flowers for no reason, loving each other
May 12 2017 -

A long long long time ago I was dating someone who sent me flowers one day when I was at work. A friend/co-worker came by (who knew the whole story) and said, “Oh what lovely I’m-sorry-I-was-an-ass-flowers!” And I remember thinking in that moment (as I threw those roses in the trash) that not only was I now a fully single gal but also that I had no interest in getting flowers ever again in my life for that reason. I wanted to get flowers for no reason other then I had someone who loved me. All of these things went through my mind last week when a dozen roses showed up and a note from Joe that simply said, “I love you.” Yup, No-reason-except-that-I-thought-of-you-flowers is absolutely how I roll and, fortunately, it is also how my husband rolls 🙂 Read the rest of the post »

Spring is here! Oh… wait, no its snowing … oh spring is back! … its snowing again

Project to-do lists, finishing a garden, expanding the horse pasture, finished a raised garden planter and planning PVC pipe gutters and then it snowed
Apr 28 2017 -

Something I think everyone notices when they live in a true “four seasons” environment is that when spring does get here it is accompanied by lots and lots of plans. We all wait for winter to end like hibernating bears and then when summer does finally get here we’re all so busy I think the majority of us feel like we don’t have the time to enjoy it. Though I will heartily complain about the snow on the ground outside right now I am also very aware that we have already been able to begin hacking away at our spring/summer projects at least a month a head of when we would have expected to. (I have been reminded by at least three people now that it is not a strange thing for it to snow here in May!) Read the rest of the post »

Spring is truly here and I have begun remodeling “The Little House”

A veggie garden with railroad ties, some mystery seeds, new flower boxes and a new remodel project called the little house!
Apr 14 2017 -

Oh my gosh you guys I am just bursting at the seems to tell you all about my next project! The Little House! Ok, some back story first. This little 500 square foot place was initially built around 60 years ago by my grandpa for his dad and then my grandma’s dad lived there for awhile too! Since then its gone through several remodels and renovations. Decades after it sat empty my dad and brother added a slab foundation to the back of it that contained a tiny bedroom/closet and bathroom, a well and a septic tank. They also insulated it, sheet rocked it and gave it new shingles and siding. They also poured the basement floor (it was dirt before) and also carpeted it to increase the living space. So many members of my family and friends have called this place home off and on throughout the years and the last ten years my dad lived there after my folks’ divorced. This little place is literally not 200 yards from my front door. Read the rest of the post »

I’ve started my seedlings and you know what that means: SPRING IS ALMOST HERE!

Spring is here in northern MN, I started my seedlings, I donated to the monarchs for milkweed and cold started them and I have myself a new rocking chair!
Mar 24 2017 -

Hey guys, it is so wonderful to finally be able to say that spring is finally coming to our northern home in Minnesota! According to the calendar the official first day of spring has come and gone of course but being this far north means that that isn’t exactly translating to the actual outside temperature. Regardless, spring IS coming and we’re seeing temperatures now above freezing almost every single day. Could we still have a snow storm and see ridiculous cold? Of course we could! But we probably won’t. On average last frost for us will either be May 1st or June 1st so I’m a little early with starting my seedlings but that won’t stop me! Read the rest of the post »

31st Birthday: I really can’t party like I used to

Partying like its 2012 on my 31st birthday, a big secret kept by my husband, my best friend and my mom! Best bday ever in my life!
Mar 03 2017 -

So I mentioned last week that Joe had some big secret up his sleeve that he (and everyone in my life that knew about it) were very impressively keeping from me. All I knew was that it could be 4 hours away (maybe just one way maybe both ways) and that we would be spending the night on Saturday. After that, everyone either lied or said nothing lol They really managed it and, to this day, I am so impressed with my hubby that he managed to keep the secret for nearly a month! Read the rest of the post »

Long overdue basement updates and what’s coming up next!

Long overdue updates about how we're coming along with finishing my basement wood workshop, second kitchen and tool cave, pallet wood, wood working, diy
Feb 24 2017 -

I have a way of finishing something and then procrastinating on telling you guys about it because then I get distracted and on to something else. The basement is basically done with just a few more finishing touches that I want to do along the way. I finished covering all of the walls with either old doors, plywood, pallet wood or barn wood. (And anything else that I could find.) From there I told you guys how I finished the bathroom and remain totally stoked about it – though it is still missing an actual toilet. I also told you guys how I finished building my big shelf a while ago and then proceeded to hall all of my tools down there and get them all organized. For the first time in my life when I need a screw driver I know exactly where it is lol. Read the rest of the post »

Valentines day on the old farmstead

Valentines day at Grandma's House DIY. Getting through the winter blues and rut and crabbiness, looking forward to vacation.
Feb 17 2017 -

I’ve been thinking about spring a lot lately. (This time of the year I think just about EVERY Minnesotan is thinking about spring!!) After getting absolutely hammered with snow and cold like hasn’t been seen in nearly a decade we have received our first real reprieve. For the last two weeks we’ve seen highs in the above freezing temperatures and some serious highs are coming this weekend! After that? Well… lets just say its pretty snowy and cold on the extended forecast. (Which should surprise no one.) For now though the sound of water dripping off the roof and the bare patches of ground showing through all of our snow is absolutely incredible and seeing multiple folks wearing shorts (including my husband) is always great for making me feel like summer really is coming! Read the rest of the post »

A winter weekend in the life of: Grandma’s House DIY

A winter life a Grandma's house DIY in northern MN, ice fishing, heating with a wood stove in our kitchen, chopping wood and filling the horse's water tank
Jan 27 2017 -

Joe is always up before I am and when he gets up his first priority is to get the fire going. We heat entirely with wood in our wood stove that sits in the kitchen so, during the winter months, keeping the fire going is a full time job. I have a “kind of” smart clock by my bed that includes a little sensor I stuck outside so the minute I wake up I get to see what the temperature is outside and inside. Right now its 62 inside and -12 outside. I double check my phone and it is actually -17 outside, oh fun *sarcasm*. Today Joe’s plan is to spend it in the wood shed, chopping, stacking and bringing more wood in to fill our closet under the stairs. I will help him later but first I have to fill the horse’s water tank and I am not looking forward to it. Last weekend we had trouble keeping it from freezing because it was REALLY cold out (closer to -30) after two days of hell we finally figured out the right combination of two tank haters, one on either side of the tank. (I’ve already ordered another tank heater just to have on backup.) Read the rest of the post »

A fall (full) weekend in the life of: Grandma’s House DIY

A fall (full) weekend in northern Minnesota at Grandma's House DIY!
Jan 20 2017 -

Here’s a bit of a flashback! I had intended to post this this last fall when I wrote it and never got the chance to. Now that we’re in the dead of winter it was fun to be reminded what it was like a couple of months ago. The biggest most obvious thing I’m taking away from this is: WOW, I’m not into winter but it is nice to have a bit of a break! Right now our weekends are not nearly this full, with dad’s house finished (finally!) and my basement basically done (also a finally!) and hunting season over with and Joe not working out of town anymore our weekends now are quite a bit less crazy lol, makes me almost appreciate winter a teeny tiny little bit 😉 Read the rest of the post »

Hello from the frozen tundra; ice fishing in northern MN

Going ice fishing when its twenty degrees below zero in northern MN, feeding corn to the squirrels and finding ways to stay warm in a frozen tundra.
Jan 06 2017 -

At some point here you guys are going to get tired of my talking about our incredibly wintry winter but, honestly, its kind of all consuming. A friend of mine posted a meme on Facebook that read “only 6 Mondays until spring!” yeah, she apologized because we are actually 10 Mondays from the official day of spring and, let’s be honest, we’ve had snow storms on March 20th so it could be a while after that too! My aunt tells me that on January 15th we will be half way through with winter and that does ease the blow a little bit. It was -20 this morning when I got up at 8am and it felt like -37. We’re all sorts of optimistic up here and my father would say, “That’s why you people can live here!” Well, he’s not wrong. In conversations about the weather this morning at work I’ve already heard (or said myself) the following optimistic statements, “Well, at least the wind isn’t blowing!” “The roads are clear because its too cold to snow, that’s good!” “The sun is out and and its really not that bad when you stand in it!” Read the rest of the post »

Letting go of 2016 – its a new year!

A new year at Grandma's house DIY, future projects, letting go of 2016 and time off spent with my awesome husband Joe, so much love.
Dec 30 2016 -

In 2015 Joe and I “finished” renovating this house, moved in and got married in the back yard. It was a big year for us, most of the spring and summer is a total blur, I ran from dawn until dusk every single day. I will never forget that hot August, two weeks before the wedding, I was painting the kitchen cabinets I just finished building going over and over and over again what had to get done before September 5th when we would be hosting 150 of our friends and family. It was wild. I’m so glad I’ll never be doing that again but it did prove something to me: we are much more capable then we ever give ourselves credit for. Every year after 2015 is going to appear tame to me I think (and thank goodness) 2016 is no exception. It’s funny how we look back and think, “Did anything happen in 2016? What did we do with all that time?” Even though the one thing I remember the most was thinking, “There is never enough time!” Read the rest of the post »

Old doors and the shocking cold we’re having

Very cold snowy road northern minnesota winter
Dec 16 2016 -

As I’m writing this (Wednesday morning Dec 14th) the sun is shining with enormous sun dogs flanking it and they’re so bright it looks like we have 3 suns! The reason for the sun dogs is that it is literally only minus five degrees outside. That’s right, we have a high that is a negative number today, tomorrow and throughout the weekend too. Oh wait, its gonna warm up enough on Friday (a whopping heat wave of 10 degrees above zero!) so it can snow. lol wow. Have I mentioned I’m not a big winter person? Yeah, I can’t say that any of this excites me in any way. On Saturday we now have a low of -25 degrees! It could break a record! We’ve been hit so hard with such cold, wind and snow that the roads have been treacherous almost every day for the last month, I literally LOATHE my drive home from work and the fact that it gets dark at 4:30 now too isn’t helping matters at all… Read the rest of the post »

Renovation Flashbacks

100 year old farm house rut renovation DIY, taking one small step at a time
Dec 09 2016 -

I was browsing Pinterest the other day and stumbled upon one of my pins from what feels like a REALLY long time ago. The renovation is this big gray blur most of the time for me, I don’t think of it very often I think because my mind is still on the working “to do” list of what still needs to be done. We had a conversation at my day job the other day about how easy it is with projects (especially DIY and house projects) to build it up and worry over it so much that you end up paralyzed and not even able to start. This has always been a problem for me. “Fear of nothing” is what I call it. Seriously, what’s the worst that could happen? Going into the house renovation I had to pump myself up to the point of almost ridiculousness for fear that I would become overwhelmed and thus: paralyzed. Read the rest of the post »

A thankful holiday and winter storm pictures!

Going from 60 degrees to a 50mph north wind and 16 inches of snow in 24 hours, winter is definitely here in northern minnesota!
Nov 25 2016 -

Well, there really isn’t any denying it anymore: winter is here. I hadn’t realized how much I had been depending on the ten day forecast promising 40 degree temps until they disappeared and it hit me that winter is not going anywhere anytime soon. Last time I checked in was a week ago with a major storm looming down on us despite that that day it was nearly 60 degrees outside. There were several memes on facebook that were darned funny but my favorite was this forecast for Minnesota: “Expecting 1-79 inches of snow within the next thirty days… maybe… probably.” After all the hoopla I think we all kind of expected to get 1-2 inches and maybe a little wind. Well, it turned out that the weatherman was correct this time and boy did we get hit by a winter storm. The wind gusts out of the north were up to fifty miles per hour and, officially, in my yard, we got around 16 inches of snow in less then 24 hours. It was impressive! Read the rest of the post »

Major blizzard warning and basement updates

First snow storm of the year, major winter blizzard in northern Minnesota, feeding the squirrels corn and basement updates
Nov 18 2016 -

Well, it happened, we have a blizzard on the way 🙁 As I’m typing this (the day before this post will go live) it is 62 degrees with all blue skies and sunshine sunshine sunshine. It is hard to believe that we have a blizzard coming! We’ve been hit by warnings and updates for days now, everybody is just freaking out about it. For the record: no one is surprised, we have not at all forgotten that we do, in fact, live in northern Minnesota. However, it has been almost eight months since we had snow on the ground and this really is shaping up to be one ugly storm. Right now we’re looking at it raining Thursday night turning to sleet turning to what may be 6-15 inches of snow with winds up to fifty miles per hour all day Friday :-O So, yes, that means its gonna get nice and slick with every road totally covered in ice and then snow on top of that to make for just awesome driving conditions. I’ve already planned on parking my car in the garage Thursday night and having my mom get me to go to work that day, she drives a pretty little Rav4 that has a much better chance of driving through eight inches of snow then my car does. Yes, we are all still planning on being open and getting to work on time 🙂 Read the rest of the post »

70 degrees in November and basement updates!

November in northern Minnesota and two sinks installed in the basement
Nov 11 2016 -

We’re having weather temperatures here in November the likes of which have rarely been seen. This is northern Minnesota, any calendar you buy for this state I guarantee the picture for the month of November has snow on the ground. This last weekend it hit 70 degrees! Weirdly it has made Joe and I both antsy, bored and almost crabby. What is it we actually want to be doing? No idea. But I think its the weather messing with our heads. Is it spring? Should I be planting seeds? I certainly need to be doing something if its spring! I have to admit that this just isn’t normal no matter how much I love it, I worked myself into a total stupor on Saturday and could barely walk by the time supper came around and yet I still felt bored and antsy like I couldn’t sit!
Read the rest of the post »

Basement renovation updates: The sub pump works!

Basement renovation updates: The sub pump works!
Oct 28 2016 -

The basement is really starting to move along guys, hard work does eventually pay off! Last I updated about it Joe was getting the bathroom floor fixed for me so I could FINALLY move the tub/shower back into its right place! So, two years ago, when I was building all of the walls down here I started with the main kitchen/bathroom wall and realized I couldn’t build it until I got the tub/shower in there first! If I built that wall, that thing was NEVER going to be going into the bathroom through the door. So, two years ago, I slid it in there in the only spot it could sit: directly in front of the bathroom door because the rest of the bathroom floor was all open for the plumbing: hence Joe patching it. So, all this time, over two years, that part of the basement has been almost inaccessible to us, we’ve been getting to it by walking through the wall in the back of the closet, then through our “utility room” and then we could get to the bathroom. It was a real pain in the butt. Read the rest of the post »

A date to the pumpkin patch and basement updates!

Don't let anyone ever tell you that you're too old to go the pumpkin patch, on the hay ride or through the corn maze. Fall in Minnesota.
Oct 14 2016 -

Well there is absolutely no denying it anymore: Fall is here. Fall is SO very here and leaving as quickly as it came. We are now living with consistent frost advisories and two days of what we have to admit was literal snow falling from the sky. If I had known fall was only going to last two weeks I would have taken more pictures! But, like normal in northern Minnesota, our weather is fickle and promising highs in the 60s in just a couple of days. When they did a poll of Minnesotans on when we would be ok with it snowing most folks said mid December and I am right there with them! We don’t always get much of a fall and that seems like always such a shame when winter up here lasts so long. Read the rest of the post »

Barn wood in the basement and I took a bit of a tumble…

Basement progress with barn wood and pallet wood up on the wall and I took a tumble, adding insult to injury.
Sep 30 2016 -

Our last weekend started off so much fun with an end of the year golf tournament, I had no idea it would go WAY down hill from there. First I caught a major head cold and then I took a tumble off of our deck 🙁 But, I’m getting ahead of myself, Joe was able to come home early from his job out of town so he headed right off hunting at the end of last week. My man is a bow hunter and he filled both of his tags with a couple of gorgeous deer for us. I know a lot of people think hunting is a bad thing but we use all that we can of the animals and provide them with the kindest death possible. Joe and I are conservationists, we feed deer all year around, helping them through the winter and doing all we can for them. By hunting every year Joe and I have not ever had to buy beef and thus: I’ve never had to support the commercial beef industry, I hope someday I can say that about all of the meat that we consume. With those two deer we packed away nearly 100 pounds of meat in our freezer and I am SO grateful. Eventually we hope to get ducks and chickens too: my goal is to never ever have to buy meat in the store. So proud and grateful of my man. Read the rest of the post »

My basement workshop: I officially have a plan!

Sep 23 2016 -

It finally happened guys! I broke out of my basement funk! What was my basement funk you might ask? Well, despite all of my trying, I was still pouting on the inside about this basement not becoming what I had first planned for it to become. This kind of thing happens all the time (I’m aware of that) I am also fully aware that this basement becoming my workshop is far more awesome then this basement becoming a rental apartment. This is actually one of the coolest things that has ever happened to me! But I was still pouting… in fact, this pout lasted a good six months. I just couldn’t help it. We spent SO much time, effort and money to make this a legal basement suite and then boom… not gonna happen. It just sucks. I hate undoing anything. I hate waste. The thought of it all just made me want to throw up! So, I pouted (on the inside) and basically ignored the basement. I was literally waiting myself out because no matter what I said or did to myself, there was absolutely no forcing this girl to be happy with this situation regardless of how many pep talks I gave her. (Yup, referring to myself in the third person AND talking to myself.) Read the rest of the post »

First frost in northern Minnesota

The first frost up here in northern minnesota and my learning to see what its like to live alone for a little while.
Sep 16 2016 -

It sure seems cruelly early for this but we just had a frost advisory two nights ago :/ I am happy to report though that we’re back to 60s and 70s now but it’s not without the tinge in the air, that north wind just biding its time… One year mom and I golfed after thanksgiving… I fear that this year will probably not see us doing that! When I was a kid we generally wore snow suits over our Halloween costumes and it was not at all strange to have a snow storm pretty much any time in October. However, things have been different the last decade and I just hope we get another month and a half (at least!!!) of bare ground and not freezing yet. We shall see. I hit our garden hard and harvested all of our herbs now it looks like a deer got in there. All that’s left are the bell peppers and too much lettuce. Next week I’ll post about both our failures in our garden as well as what I plan on doing next year. I was alone the night the temperature dropped and at around midnight I grabbed my camera and headed outside – the resulting photos are what you’ll see here today 🙂 Read the rest of the post »

Our 1st year anniversary for both the blog and us!

A fall (full) weekend in northern Minnesota at Grandma's House DIY!
Sep 09 2016 -

Looking back I wrote and posted our first blog post here on August 19 of last year, so we just passed our blog’s very 1st anniversary! We also just passed our 100th blog post on August 18th – amazing that that landed within 1 day of our blog’s 1st post! And, just two days ago Joe and I celebrated our 1st year wedding anniversary! Lots of firsts around here lately 🙂 Joe and I also started dating in September and we also got engaged in September so I guess its only natural that all of our firsts will be close to it. Joe’s been bringing our anniversary up over the past month, “What do you want? What can we do? Anything you want, what do you want?!” I kept thinking of those buzzards in the Jungle Book sounding like The Beatles, “What do you wanna do?” “I dunno, what do you wanna do?” And I just kept coming up with a big blank. We’ve been working really hard lately (so I’m pooped) and we had just gone camping so I didn’t really want to go anywhere. I’m also worried about our finances right now because Joe just started working for himself so I didn’t want to spend a bunch of money. I also felt guilty because I still feel like I should be like a “normal” girl and request a sexy dinner out and jewelry… but I just wasn’t feeling it. Read the rest of the post »

A little R&R – taking a camping break from the every day grind

Camping and fishing, renting a boat, in late August in northern Minnesota lake country
Aug 25 2016 -

I was starved from the ability and chance to camp for years as the person I was with at the time had no interest in “roughing it” whatsoever. (It is funny looking back at how many compromises a person makes to keep a relationship going until they aren’t doing a single thing they want to do at all.) When I left and came home for good I made a few promises to myself. One of them was that I would go camping as much as I wanted to! I had very little money at the time but I started saving and planning. All those years ago I grabbed a couple of big Rubbermaid totes (with good clip-on lids) bought myself a fabulous tent, a cast iron pan, a camping coffee pot, a bunch of fire tools, a hatchet, a decent cooler and a full size air mattress. (note: all of those links are affiliate links and they are the EXACT products I purchased and am still using camping so in other words: I totally endorse all of them! Sadly, the tent is no longer being sold…) It was the first time in many years that I didn’t have to ask for permission and didn’t have to share or compromise. Instead, it was my money: my gift to myself. It was so totally awesome and I’ll never forget packing up my car for the first time to go: honestly, up until that point it was truly one of the happiest days of my life! I almost sang FREEDOM the whole way to the camp ground! Knowing that, I guess now you understand why I love camping so much! 🙂 Read the rest of the post »

For the love of August

August in northern Minnesota, the last breath of hot weather before we head to fall, is my favorite month
Aug 11 2016 -

August brought work and joy for us this year. I am pleased to report that with some experimentation I managed to get my dad’s house’s sheet rock (ceilings and walls, 1,000 square feet) taped and mudded with only two coats and no sanding. How did I do this? After a solid first coat/taping I skim coated the second coat using lots of mud evenly over every wall and ceiling. I just finished painting half the house and stood back to admire my work – not bad at all. It certainly is not perfect but dad wanted me to get it done as quickly as I could (and so did I) you can’t see a single tape line and I sanded absolutely nothing, I wish I had had the courage to try this in our home when I taped and mudded the sheet rock there but, you live and you learn, as always. Now on to painting and I damned near enjoyed myself (I’ve always liked to paint) I did two coats on half the house already and will be finishing the rest of the house this afternoon. All in: around 40 hours from start to finish with bare sheet rock walls and I never want to do it again lol. I’ll be so glad to never pick up another sheet rock knife! I forgot though just how messy painting ceilings are :/ Oh well, paint washes off 😉 And I needed a new profile pic for Grandma’s House anyway! (Wow you can even tell in that pic my eyes are two different colors lol) Read the rest of the post »

Walter: Hand feeding a snapping turtle

Northern Minnesota fishing, northern pike, bass, feeding a snapping turtle by hand
Jul 28 2016 -

Scroll down for the video of Joe hand feeding Walter the snapping turtle! When you live this far north in the land of 10,000 lakes there are two absolute certainties in your life: #1 you actually know that, in fact, Minnesota really has over 11,000 lakes and #2 You’re going to be spending a lot of your time on or near said lakes. I’m sure there are people in this world who might not enjoy spending time in the summer on a lake but I have no idea how that is even possible. Being on (or in) a lake is simply part of my DNA. When I was kid my mom would strap a life jacket on me and just let me swim and I was literally happy for hours. Back then we lived on a lake and I still miss it though I don’t usually realize it until we go to spend time on one and then I am left absolutely speechless by just how much I love it. Honestly, on a summer night in Minnesota there is just no place else to be. Heaven. Read the rest of the post »

Midsummer in northern Minnesota

Midsummer in northern Minnesota, trying to fit in as much work and fun into every last solitary second, trying not to miss anything while still spending time together.
Jul 14 2016 -

I can’t believe we’ve come to midsummer already! Within 50 miles of where Joe and I live there is an event/fair/festival going on every single weekend since June came around (and several before that and during the week too!) and it will be this way until the end of August. Minnesotans take summer very seriously! They do all that they possibly can to fit in as much outdoor activities as possible in the summer. There are, of course, events that Joe and I avoid like the plague simply because we are locals and just know that getting there and dealing with the crowd and the tourists just won’t be worth it for us. The truth is as well that no matter how many festivals and fairs Joe and I get to almost nothing beats just the two of us sitting around our bonfire in our backyard. Still though, that knowledge does not change the inexplicable suddenness of HURRY WE CAN’T WASTE A SINGLE SECOND!!!! And that’s just how it is when you live in a harsh climate. Locals are just like that dog in Dr Doolittle in the spring time waiting, waiting, waiting, throw the ball, throw the ball, throw the ball! Come on summer would you get here already!? And then BOOM summer is here and we are sprinting from dawn until dusk wondering what the hell it was we were so excited and anxious about because oh-my-gosh how we run ourselves ragged. Read the rest of the post »

June in Minnesota and a harbor cruise in Duluth

When it comes to Minnesota June might arguably be the best month to live here, we enjoyed it as best we could by taking a harbor cruise in Duluth for some much needed R&R.
Jun 30 2016 -

When it comes to Minnesota June might arguably be the best month to live here, it always goes WAY too fast and I looked up this morning and thought, “Oh my gosh it’s already over!” We’ve had some pretty long, hot and very dry summers over the past couple of decades but never until we saw June come and go first. June is abundant here and oh SO green and glorious. It was hot this year but June still gave us enough rain that the most we had to complain about was that it was hard to keep up with the lawn! One night the fog draped over the field across from our house in such a way that I just had to go grab my camera. Read the rest of the post »

Finding time with each other

Finding time for each other every other weekend minnesota cherry, apple, iris, peony and honey suckles
Jun 16 2016 -

I don’t like the term “busy” it implies things like “busy body” or someone who keeps themselves “busy doing nothing” because they simply can’t sit still. Though Joe and I certainly have a little bit of “simply can’t sit still” in us, neither of us are good at being busy just for the sake of being busy. Instead I’m more inclined to say that our “days are full” and though this is usually a very good thing that satisfies us both sometimes it can be hard on us as a couple. When we have nothing left to give each other at the end of the day except a silent presence on the other side of the couch for an hour before bed then perhaps our days have become a bit too “full” and it’s time to start making time with each other. Read the rest of the post »

We started cleaning out the barn!

Cleaning out a 100 year old barn in northern Minnesota and going fishing after working way too much on an entire holiday weekend.
Jun 02 2016 -

This last Memorial day weekend started innocently enough with no idea I would be cleaning out the barn. I had two things I knew I would get done (come hell or high water) and one thing I really wanted to get done but couldn’t do alone. First two projects I finished by Saturday night were my cute wicker chairs that my aunt gave me that you guys saw in my last post and fixing one of my Grandparents’ old benches (I’ll show you guys that little project next week) the third thing I was dependent on my husband to help me do. On our property we have three sheds, one we’ve always called “The Machine Shed” because it used to be where my grandpa kept his tractors etc. The Machine Shed is made of steel so its in good shape and has become our “Wood Shed” as we heat our house with wood. The second of the three sheds we’ve always called “The Well House” and it is probably the “newest” of the sheds and does, in fact, house a pipe that comes out of the floor from an old sand-point well. (Someday we will see if it still has water in it.) The Well House needs a new roof eventually but has a good door on it, a great concrete floor/foundation and is in pretty good shape overall so I told my husband that he could have it to do whatever he wanted to do with it so I’m now dubbing it, Joe’s “Man Shack”. Read the rest of the post »

The horror of our basement – it’s time to get dirty!

The sad, tear-filled, horror story of our basement, how we wasted so much time and money for nothing and now have a new renovation plan for a workshop.
May 18 2016 -

There is still a long list of “to-dos” around the house – hangovers from the renovation that I’ve been procrastinating on doing. Here’s a secret: I actually don’t really enjoy renovation. Its a lot of work! It is dirty, frustrating, seeming endless work! So, once we moved in, I stalled. Ok, I didn’t just stall, I literally QUIT WORKING ON IT. There are some very good reasons for this (and not just because I’m lazy) the main reason is that it is totally thankless work that most people won’t even notice and not really anything that I would even bother posting on the blog but it still will take a large chunk of my time and energy. Read the rest of the post »

My Grandma’s Tulip

Minnesota perennial spring in a bounty of red and yellow tulips, walleye fishing and wild turkey hunting. Eternally thankful for what this land offers us.
May 17 2016 -

Many of you have read about how much I love my grandma’s peonies (and how relieved I was that they survived their SECOND transplanting in just a couple of years) but she also planted multiple other perennials about the grounds that I need to mention because they all survived and came up this spring! (Am I the only one that holds my breath to see if any of the perennials are gonna make it?!) Her tulips came up this spring and one of them bloomed just gorgeously! Cue way too many pictures of our one solitary tulip: Read the rest of the post »

Summer has finally arrived in northern Minnesota!

Summer in Minnesota has finally arrived with tulips, honey suckles, peonies and rhubard
May 06 2016 -

Well, finally, after several false starts I think summer is going to stick around for good this time (crosses fingers) we’ll just have to see, it is northern Minnesota after all! It’s wonderful to feel some heat and get some sun though, it has been a very dreary last few weeks. Joe and I have major plans for our yard, we have a whole L-shaped garden that wraps around our house to fill with black dirt and get to planting. It is our first attempt at gardening here at the old place and I’ve learned from other gardens I’ve had in the past that it is best to start small 😉 We’ll have some tomatoes, lettuce, cucumbers and an array of perennial herbs (I am so excited at the prospect of not having to buy most of our herbs!) We also have plans for our fire pit and other yard work that we’ve been chomping at the bit to get to. Read the rest of the post »

I was just nominated for the Liebster Award!

I was just nominated for the Liebster Award, check out my list of nominees and their fabulous blogs. Thank you so much for a blog award!!
Apr 19 2016 -

Oh my gosh you guys I was just nominated for a blog award called the Liebster Award! I totally accept!! Thank you SO SO SO much Grow Taste Create for this opportunity and nomination! (Pssst: Go check out her beautiful blog!)

Read the rest of the post »

What a Minnesota Spring looks like (hint: white stuff everywhere)

Spring snow storms at Easter in northern Minnesota and coping with the loss of our Mastiff dog Diesel
Apr 14 2016 -

So I had been planning this blog post about Easter during a typical Minnesota spring and everything that was going on with us when Diesel passed away . . . So, we’re going to rewind just a tad and talk about our Easter weekend. I’m always stoked to get to go spend holidays with my big family. There’s eleven of us cousins with lots and lots of babies not to mention my great aunts and uncles all of whom I never get to see enough! So, Easter, Christmas and Thanksgiving are permanently reserved. Heading back to my aunt and uncle’s house for me feels a lot like going home, going back to my child hood. The very view of the lake makes me feel like I’m ten years old again (in a good way and minus the glass of wine in my hand.) Isn’t it gorgeous down by the water even with it still mostly frozen? Easter was a chilly but beautiful day! Read the rest of the post »

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