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Friday, May 18, 2012

Goin' With The Flow

It's been quite a while since my last post, but lots has been happening at Cascade Bluff. I have some catching up to do with photos and updates, so here goes. 

This year's early spring thaw led to some pretty spectacular waterfalls. These first few are the falls of Cascade River that are about 1.5 miles above our property. They run through a section that is shared by all the property owners in our "association". Though you can't see them in these photos ('cause I can't get a shot without standing in the middle of the stream) they are a double falls, in total about 15 feet or so high. This was the rush of water in late March of 2012...




We visited Grand Portage State Park in late March, too. Within a short walk of the visitors' center is High Falls -- and were they ever a-pumpin'! 


For those of you who complain that I never post pix of us (or of me, more precisely), here we go... proof that we were there! 


So of course, with an early thaw, a gardener's thoughts turn to... vegetables. But even an early spring can be dicey at latitude 47 degrees, so I talked Val into making us a cold frame this year. For those of you not "in the know" gardening-wise, a cold frame is a box with a glass or at least clear top that sits in your garden and allows sunlight in but keeps frost out, like a mini-greenhouse. We schlepped to our favorite local hardware store and bought some corrugated plastic panels....

 ...Val got planning and measuring and started combing through our continuously shrinking pile of scrap lumber left over from the construction project (s)...
 ...and a half a day later, voila! A cold frame, made from plywood, some wood siding, some 1 by 4 lumber, a lot of screws and ingenuity...
 The scraggly girl wearing tye-dye is me, proudly showing off the cold frame in place in our raised bed. Even we weren't dumb enough to plant anything in it in March, however...



The home lumberjane's work is never done... We can see that our current wood piles are dwindling, and we need to set some by for winter 2013... Yes, you read that right... We chose about 7 or 8 feeble looking birch trees and got to work... Val wearing the appropriate protective gear... Me filming the event for the 6 o'clock news...

Some of these trees are not all that handy to get to with a vehicle, so it was nice to have a sled to drag them out of the woods...
 ...and there will be lots more of this coming...
 Just wait til you see how much we've got done when the next posting comes out! You'll be amazed... well, I was amazed, anyway...


What the heck is going on here, you might well ask? This, friends, is a northern gardening experiment. Being determined to have some actual flowers that are hardy for this climate, and hoping to choke away some of the nasty burrs and spiny junk that sprouted out of the disturbed construction earth, I tried this little experiment this year. Each plastic jug is a small green house (starting to get the theme?) for a kind of wildflower perennial that will grow well up here, but that isn't easy to get going directly from seed. These guys like to be "overwintered" before the seeds will sprout reliably. So you have your choice, to sow this year, hope the birds don't eat everything, and hope for plants next year, or try this....

 Here are my little greenhouses sitting outside in the cold and snow, "overwintering" for a month or so as a short-cut... at least that's the theory...
 These little baggies are my attempt to sprout some mountain ash seedlings from seeds we gathered last fall... again, a nice theory...
 Close up of greenhouse style #2...
 Some gloomy late winter weather... but alas, it wasn't enough. 
 This year, the spring was so fast and so warm, that my little greenhouses turned into fungus factories... no cute little wildflower plants! Aw, darn, and we spent so much on all those plastic jugs and plastic salad boxes!! 
 Well never say that we are at a loss in making work for ourselves... Heaven forbid that we would ever just sit in the cabin and read or something... 
There is more scrap lumber to change into something useful, so....
 Val designed me a gardening bench! 
 Not bad at all for a cardiologist...
 Here is the bench in place, awaiting some pots and stuff...

Finally, this spring we were determined not to be overwhelmed again by the Invasion of The Cluster Flies! We asked around among friends and found these two heroes! Meet Bill and Katie Dalin. They are the owners of a local company called North Shore Superior Pest Control, and they are fantastic!  One treatment with something made of chrysanthemum powder, of all the cool things, and the cluster fly population dropped to nearly zero. Yay!! 


But even heroes can't keep the mud off their vehicle when they visit our place in the woods! 

Next posting coming soon -- lots of new things to show off and promises to keep! 

2 comments:

  1. Sorry your experiment with the plants didn't work this year. Weird weather trumps the best of plans. You both look happy and rested. Look forward to seeing you sometime soon. Rox

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    1. Yeah, freakish weather! Turned out okay in the end since I am not sure where we want to plant those flowers after all. Trying to figure out where to draw the boundary at "controlling" the north woods. Hope we see you up here soon, Rox!

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