Mar 212014

Spring has a whole new meaning in the Northwoods.

I’ve ranted numerous times about how this particular month can have mood swings that range from sunshiny days in the 60s to don’t-pack-away-the-long-underwear-yet-because-you’ll-probably-still-need-it frigid temperatures.  As per the usual we’re seeing the spikes and dips on the thermometer that brings roof melting and 8 inches of snow.  Sometimes in the same day.

March never seems to disappoint.


But because of these temperature fluctuations we have to be on our toes, because March beckons Sugarbush in our neck of the woods.  And this year Rick wanted to go full commando on the Maple trees.

For 3 hours last weekend we went around the property and tapped 40 trees.  This is the most we have ever done, and if the weather cooperates (HA!) then we will be very busy making maple syrup once the trees start giving out their nummy sap.

We actually had company this year, courtesy of grandaughter Kayla.  A month or so ago, she asked me if I would like to participate in a project her class was doing called Flat Stanley.

Reader’s Digest version:  Flat Stanley is some dude that while sleeping one night had his bulletin board fall off the wall and flatten him.  Nobody could figure out how to fix this malady, so now he learns about the world and different cultures by being stuffed in an envelope and visiting different people to learn about where they live.

I’m always game to help the munchkins out, so I agreed and Flat Stanley showed up in the mail a couple weeks ago.  Only, for some reason it wasn’t a Stanley, more of a Stella or Sarah because mine was wearing a dress.  Either the Stanley who had visited the previous participants didn’t quite make it back in good shape or he was a cross dresser.  Not being one to judge, I just went with the flow.

Before tapping the trees, we took “Stanley” on a tour of the rez and into Hayward to get pictures of “him” in front of areas of interest.  I can’t even imagine how many odd looks we got from people wondering what we were doing taking pictures of a colored piece of paper.

Ahhhhh, the many things you do for your grandchildren.


Seeings how Flat Stanley was supposed to learn about our community and the activities therein, it seemed only appropriate to involve him/her with the start of Sugarbush.

Since all good things must come to an end, Stanley is once again en route via First Class Postage to Kayla’s 1st Grade class in Arkansaw, WI,  with a written (and pictorial) account of his/her adventures up North.


And I can thankfully say that no harm came to our visitor.  Even Thor was on his best behavior.

 Comments Off on Tappin’
Mar 112014

Do you know what this is?


This, my friends, is what happiness looks like in the Northwoods right now.

The glorious vision of sunshine and temperatures above freezing are slowly melting the snow and chasing away the arctic chill that has plagued us since the beginning of November.

The path that you see in the picture is one of two that run through our property that we will use to get to the Maple trees for Sugarbush.  Although Rick is itching to start tapping trees, I’m asking him to hold out another week because I’ve got a sneaking suspicion that we’ll still have a few more days of freezing temps before the sap starts running.

Plus I still have to buy us some mud boots, because once that snow really gets to melting, those paths will be a couple inches deep in mud and water, which from past experience is a mess that I want to avoid this year.

 Comments Off on What Happiness Looks Like
Mar 052014

As most of you know, Rick had his PET scan in February and we received the VERY good news that all of their poisons did what they were supposed to do and he is cancer free.

But they don’t like to use the term “cancer free” so they say he’s in remission.

I don’t care how you put it, I was doing virtual cartwheels when we got the good word!

The next milestone came this past Monday when he had his PEG Tube and stomach port removed.  As with any unknown procedure he was scared to death and wanted to turn around as soon as we reached the clinic parking lot, but it turned out to be less terrible than he thought and he should be completely healed from those holes in his body within a week.

With that last bit done and over with, we can put the last 8 months behind us and move forward in life.

Speaking of moving forward, according to the calendar on the wall, Spring is supposed to be heading our way in a couple weeks.  Being the skeptic that I am, and considering the Winter that we have had to endure, I’ll believe it when I see it.


But before Spring’s official arrival, we have to have some longer days of daylight, which means turning all the clocks ahead in the house this weekend.

I don’t know why we have to go through this crap twice a year, but if it’s going to add a little more sunshine to my day I’ll do it.  I’ll do it but I won’t be happy about it.  I’ll be happy when all this frickin snow is gone.

 Comments Off on Moving Forward
Feb 222014

Well it seems that Old Man Winter threw us another curve ball the other day.

We were fortunate to enjoy a couple days of “average” temperatures in the 30’s and it turned the ornery, zombie humanoids in the area into happy-go-lucky people that couldn’t wait to get outside and soak up the warm weather.

This all came to a crashing halt on Thursday when we got pummeled with a foot of snow and blustery winds.  Plus side to that amount of snow during the week is that we had a snow day at work, but as we all know there is a balance to life, which meant digging out of all that heavy white stuff.

If you want to take a gander at what the homestead looked like in the aftermath, Rick put on his film maker cap and made a little video.  You can watch it here.

I haven’t made it around the property yet to see what the damage is, but what I can see from the deck we have quite a few branches that fell which will be good for starting up the fire when Sugarbush comes around.

As for Thor, he doesn’t give two flips whether it snowed our not.


He can sleep through any type of weather.

 Comments Off on More of the White Stuff
Feb 122014

I originally wrote this post way back in June of last year before life decided to take a tailspin and I completely forgot about it until tonight, when I decided to make it.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!


A while back I posted about a recipe that I thought was the one I was looking for but actually wasn’t but that was OK because it turned out pretty good and passed the “Rick will eat this” test.

But then I stumbled upon the recipe that I was really looking for and decided that I had to make it to relive that childhood memory of my Mom’s cooking and savor in the wonderful flavors from way-back-when.

Because nothing in life is better than that.

Except maybe chocolate.

And “New Baby Smell”.

Pizza Hot Dish


  • 1 lb hamburger
  • Onions to taste
  • Green Pepper (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp garlic salt
  • 1/2 tsp onion salt
  • 2 cans tomato soup
  • 6 oz egg noodles (cooked)
  • 1 can mushrooms
  • 1/4 lb (4 oz) cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

Brown meat, onions and green pepper.  Add spices and tomato soup, and simmer for 15 minutes.

Grease 9 x 12 pan and place noodles on bottom.


Pour sauce over noodles, cheddar cheese next, and mushrooms on top.  Sprinkle with Parmesan.


Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes (covered) and 10 minutes (uncovered).

* Mom’s note:  You can use Pizza Sauce instead of soup.  Use any kind of cheese you have.


Oh so easy and oh so delicious.  And yes, it tasted exactly as I remember!

It also made the “Rick will eat this” list, which didn’t really surprise me.

After all, where do you think I learned to cook from?


 Comments Off on The Real Pizza Hot Dish