Monday, October 14, 2013

The 80.

Back in the day, my grandparents purchased 80 acres of land in Hubbard County.  Kudos to them.  A mostly wooded patch located in northern Minnesota, it has been traditionally used over the years as hunting grounds.  I haven't been there in a number of years but decided to make the trip over the weekend.

After a drive through a rainstorm, a call to my grandpa, and some snapshots of racoons in apple trees, Chris and I made it.  We found my dad sitting on the porch.  It's strange to see a place you haven't seen in quite a while.  Some things are recognizable in a comforting way, while other things surprise you with their transformation. 

Although I don't hunt in the typical manner of the visitors to this spot, I did hunt quite a bit!  I have always thought mushrooms were interesting and after taking a class in college entitled All About Mushrooms, I was hooked.  With the weather as odd as it was I wasn't sure what we would encounter.

First there was the Honey Mushroom, Armillariella mellea.  A spore print relieved it to have white spores and we had our positive identification.  It was everywhere!  Too bad it would be a gamble to eat as it sometimes causes stomach upset.  After a discussion of how far away the nearest hospital was, we decided not to risk it.

Next was Wood Ear, Auricularia auricula-judae.  Although listed as edible, I wasn't interested.  Perhaps it looked too much like an ear.

As it had just rained, we found a number of Russula pushing their way through the soil.  A few hours later we noted some of them had been eaten by various wood creatures.  Russula brevipe was described by David Arora of All the Rain Promises and More as "edible but insipid".  I decided to forgo this snack.

We wondered about Red Tree Brain Fungus, Peniophora rufa,

and found/molested various Puff Balls, Lycoperdon whatevers.

The colors were lovely.  The birch and poplar trees were golden.

We even encountered some matching Witches' Butter, Tremella mesenterica.  It was squishy. 

No one was home inside this nest.  What bird makes a nest at eye level with mud walls?  I have no idea who lived here originally.

We both admired and avoided the Scarlet Waxy Cap, Hygrocybe punicea, as it is sometimes listed as poisonous. 

The Coral Fungus, Clavarioid something wasn't very abundant, but present. 

And then we saw it.  The mushroom to be had.  The mushroom of our dreams!  The Lobster mushroom, Hypomyces lactifuorum.

This mushroom is interesting in that it is a parasite.  It feeds on a couple different types of mushrooms.  Sounds delicious, no?

Well, it was.  Chris and I harvested a few of them and cooked them in butter and olive oil with a tiny bit of salt and pepper.  My dad was certain he would be driving us to the hospital. Just a few crackers or bread is all you need.  These were scrumptious!

The next day we went for a stroll again.  We enjoyed the views,

 took a portrait to commemorate our hunt,

and gathered a few more lobsters to bring home.

All and all it was a very fun trip, but when we started to feel the woods watching us it was time to head home.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013


I got to thinking, I have never made an apple pie on my own.  I have had lovely experiences making pies with my mom and grandma, but it was time to give it a go.  The first order of business was to visit the apple guy at the farmers market.

 This farmers market, being located at the mill city ruins, is heavy in pie culture.  I did my best to absorb some.

The apple vendor had plenty of varieties, but my heart was set on the University of Minnesota's new variety Zestar.  It is an early season variety with great crunch.  It is definitely sweeter than the heirloom variety, Wealthy.  Despite various warnings of mixing apple varieties in pies (oh the horror!), I decided mine would have both.

After a visit with my mom for additional pie advice and a copy of my Grams proven pie crust recipe, I was on my own. 

I think I did pretty well!  I had to patch a few tears in the crust and nearly smoked us out of the house, but the pie was worth it.  Flaky crust with semi tart apples laced in cinnamon nutmeg and sugar.  Nothing wrong with that.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013


Yesterday we pulled 600 pounds of corn out of the field.  No small feat considering there were just a few of us.  Because Kristina is studying bugs, there are no pesticides or herbicides applied to this particular field.

We were able to make a donation to Second Harvest Heartland.  It felt nice to be able to take a little time out of my day to help out.

Besides, who doesn't like sweet corn?

Monday, September 9, 2013

Paul and Tori.

It was a lovely weekend.  My brother and his girlfriend Cassie were in town for my step-brother Paul's wedding.  First we stopped at my mom's place.  She drove us around the lake and successfully landed the pontoon!

Then we headed further north for the wedding.  I caught up with grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins.  Tori's family were kind enough to have the event at their home.  It was as beautiful as their vows.

Of course after the ceremony and dinner the party started!  I had a fantastic time dancing under the tent.

Congratulations to Paul and Tori.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013


Sneak preview!  
I have a few items scheduled to show up in my etsy shop later this week.  
This season I took my time picking out extra cozy yarns that hold up to wear
 and were a pleasure to knit. Thanks to Mariah for modeling.

Alpaca Shawl

Wool/Mohair Legwarmers

Monday, August 26, 2013


Over the weekend Chris and I decided to check out the Mill City Farmers Market.  It was lovely. 

We immediately headed for the donuts from Solomon's Bakery.  

We grabbed coffee and iced tea to wake up and enjoy the view.

The raspberry was delicious.  
I'm not sure about the lemon.  It was snarfed down before I got a chance to try! 

Chris and I wandered around sampling.  
We came home with tiny tomatoes, a giant cucumber, pizza dough and tea.  
There was plenty to see and do.  
One of the items that caught my attention was the extreme weaving going on.


Monday, March 4, 2013

Pales and Charcoal.

It's time for some new knits.  NotoriousKnits items for April are likely to be pale colors paired with charcoal.  There is something about spring in Minnesota that I love.  It is kind of a tease.  It can be pretty grungy with all the snow, road salt, and dirt, but at least there will be a few spring blooms.

Of course, there are still a few days where you need a little something warm to cover up.  I've been working on pale and charcoal shawls.  Happy knitting.