Posts Tagged 'spring'

it’s that time of year

spring is in the air, getting the itch to go sailing…

boat

HT: @jfedor

a spring clean for the may queen

I took this last week off from work (our boys were also on spring break) – but mine wasn’t really a vacation – I spent the week cutting down trees, brush, and clearing various other things at our property.

to back up a little bit… last year we found a nice piece of land nearby where we currently live, and eventually were able to purchase it (long story).  we had been looking for 3 to 5 acres… but stumbled on this piece which is almost 20 acres!  the downside… it’s a mess of a forest, and smack in the middle of it is a burnt down house.

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talk about curb appeal.

well, immediately after closing, we hired a demo contractor to remove all of the existing structure, and to clear the brush back along the ~800 ft long driveway.  but since then, we hadn’t been able to do much with the land.

so for several weekends this February and March, I would take my wife and boys out to the land, and we chopped down some dead trees, and cleared some of the brush by hand… but it was slow, back-breaking work.  we had piles and piles of cut up firewood.

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but several hours of work would barely make a dent in the brush, though.

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and also left us with giant piles of brush to deal with.

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so this past week was a full-time dedicated week of work to get as much done as I could.  Sunday night, I trailered down my dad’s 25-hp John Deere tractor (complete with a bucket on the front end and a back blade at the 3-point hitch, and I also bought a york/landscape rake for the 3-pt hitch).

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I had a truck full of tools to go with it: chainsaw, axe, various lopping shears, shovels, chains to pull logs and brush out, etc.

I spent Monday using the tractor to haul out some of the bigger chopped down trees and logs.  on Tuesday, my dad and 2 of my brothers-in-law joined me for the day.  I rented a big chipper to shred the piles of brush and tree limbs into mulch – that thing was amazing!  2 of us would take turns feeding the brush from the piles into that, and it just shredded right through everything.  my dad spent most of the day using his tractor to clear more brush, and drag it down to a burn pile.  we were able to burn a ton of the brush as well – it worked really well for some of the nasty piles of tangled brush left behind by the demo contractor last summer.  Wednesday through Friday it was just me, although several contractors met with me during the day to discuss our plans to upgrade the driveway a little bit as well as build a barn.  while I wasn’t busy with that, I used the tractor to haul the mulch piles back into the back woods, where there are several walking trails already made.

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I also used the york rake to clean up more of the brush scattered in the areas where we had cleared, and kept burning more brush as I collected it.  on Saturday, my wife and boys came down and helped a bit more cleaning up more brush.  I ran into a little bit of tractor trouble that afternoon, but was able to sort of fix it enough to get it back on the trailer and hauled back home to my dad’s house.

Sunday afternoon, I capped off the week by planting something new: some transplants from my dad & mom’s garden – black raspberry bushes and some asparagus.

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all told, it was a great week of work – thanks to my dad for his help (and the use of his tractor), and my 2 brothers-in-law as well for their manual labor, and I think the property is slowly coming along.  you can start to see the potential.  and the change from what it was before:

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to what it looks like now:

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I’m super excited to see how things change when spring turns everything green.

first day of spring

technically, today is the 1st day of spring.  but at least in Michigan, it certainly doesn’t feel like it!  a little while back we had a day or two or three of temperatures creeping up into the 50′s and 60′s, but ever since we’ve been back in a cold snap, with constant freezing temperatures, and random bits of snow falling as well.

but it should warm up soon, and sailing won’t be too far behind.

(full disclosure – this video for the song is pretty weird… but I kind of like the song, and it IS the first day of spring).

My friend…
Don’t just sit there and ruminate…
With your navel to contemplate…
It’s a beautiful day outside…
Time’s passing you by…
Come on out…
Don’t just sit there catatonic…
I’m feeling supersonic…
A warm wind is sweeping by…
The sun’s full in the sky…
And there’s no way of knowing,
No way to know,
Know how long it’ll last,
No way of knowing,
No way to know,
Know how long it’ll last…

happy groundhog day

the groundhog has spoken – this year it will be an early spring.

don’t drive angry.

grilling salmon

this spring has been by far one of the wettest in my recent memory – with what seems like some rain almost every day.  today was no exception, as I heard on the radio while slugging through the rush-hour traffic down puddle-covered roads:

…we are getting more rain today than is typical for a month…

this previous weekend was an exception, though, as all 3 days were quite nice – Saturday and Sunday were both bright and sunny, with temperatures in the mid to low 80′s.  at times, it even felt quite a bit muggy.

Saturday was filled with the usual back and forth trips for soccer games, and Sunday after church was the flag football games – my 2 older boys are each playing both sports right now, so that is keeping us busy with games on weekends and practices on weeknights.  Noah was pretty excited after his flag football game – he scored a touchdown on a 25-yard run!

in honor of the warm weather, I grilled out both Saturday night (hamburgers – specifically, mushroom swiss burgers – and they were awesome).  Sunday, though, I grilled what has become a quick family favorite: salmon.  this time while at the market, I also picked up a small lake trout filet to grill as well (salmon filet – 2 pieces, and the smaller lake trout filet on the right).

my grill has been rapidly falling apart on me, but I do my best with what’s left of it to grill dinner up right.  for the salmon, I like to start them skin side down on aluminum foil, with a slight bit of olive oil (although it never really keeps the skin from sticking!).  after a few minutes, I brush them with a lemon-butter herb sauce.

for the lemon-butter herb sauce, I melt a hunk of butter in a saucepan, adding fresh ground sea salt and black pepper, with garlic (or garlic powder), basil and dill (fresh if available).  the amount of each herb/spice is just whatever looks right – in my case, usually a lot of dill.  after the butter has melted fully and the seasonings have been added, I will squeeze in a little bit of fresh lemon juice.

I know it might be unconventional with a filet to flip them, but when they are almost done, I will flip the filet to give it a light grill marking (at the same time, I actually end up de-skinning the filet, as the skin sticks to the aluminum foil).  I leave the aluminum foil with the skin stuck to it in the grill, and put it over the center burner – it ends up giving the salmon a bit of a smoky flavor.  I brush on the remainder of the lemon-herb butter sauce, and then do a quickly flip each filet back over to the other side for a just a little bit and they are done.

I paired the grilled salmon and lake trout with some fresh asparagus, steamed.  I usually like to eat the salmon on or with a salad – a big bunch of baby spinach leaves, with whatever is available in the fridge – this time tomatoes, cucumbers, and some dried cherries.  maybe a slight sprinkle of cheese and salad dressing tops it off.

a perfect meal to end a great weekend.

and then the rain came back every day this week.

1st day(s) of spring

we had a day or two a while back that warmed up a little bit, and the snow crocuses started peeking up in our front yard… but they have been mostly closed up and in hiding since as the temperatures rapidly dropped back down to frigid levels.  today was a bright sunny day, but temperatures were still barely above freezing.  the flowers opened up a bit to soak up the sun, though, and I snapped a few shots while my wife and I were playing outside with our 3 boys.

I heard this song on the radio while driving in my car this morning, and it stuck in my head.  after consulting The Google, turns out the song title is, appropriately enough: First Day of Spring, by a now broken up band called Gandharvas (the official video for the song is pretty weird – this is just the song itself, no video other than the image).

My friend…
Don’t just sit there and ruminate…
With your navel to comtemplate…
It’s a beautiful day outside…
Time’s passing you by…
Come on out…
Don’t just sit there catatonic…
I’m feeling supersonic…
A warm wind is sweeping by…
The sun’s full in the sky…
And there’s no way of knowing,
No way to know,
Know how long it’ll last,
No way of knowing,
No way to know,
Know how long it’ll last…


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