Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Would You Like Some Cheese with that whine?

This past week I got an email from a friend of mine in Wisconsin. He is farming for market and grow produce for his family's eating and works very hard at the land just like we do. He was just getting a few things off his chest - like how hard farming is. (This is the first year he has had to do the farm work by himself, in the past he's had help). I read his email and thought how much it sounded like us - it's true, farming is hard work but that's what winter is for recuperation.

When it comes to whining - or wining as it may be - we had a GREAT wine class this week at the farm. Greg Kemple and his family from Maple River Winery came to help us out. They brought 9 of their great wines for folks to sample as well as some other tasty North Dakota products such as four kinds of cheese (Tomato Basil, Horseradish, Garlic, and Brie), chokecherry honey, chokecherry fudge, Luna Salsa, and other great stuff. We had made some herb appetizers - actually Boy made them - and between the food, the wine, the great weather - it was a perfect night - a wonderful time was had by all. We had a big class of about 30 people but no one went away hungry. Greg was great at answering questions and the Maple River Wines proved why they are award winners. If you get the chance, check out their wines on their web site:, in your local liquor store, or at their store in Casselton ND. Thanks Greg and family for an absolutely perfect night - nothing to wine about there!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Geocaching success!

This week we finally got our geocache all set up and posted. For those of you who do not know about geocaching, it's like a scavenger hunt using a GPS unit instead of a treasure map. There are hundreds of people around the county getting into this new sport. I was surprised when I went onto the ND Tourism web site to update our information to find that even they had added geocaching to their list of possible activities for North Dakota.

Once posted to the geocaching web site ( I began to receive weekly updates about other geocache's hidden in North Dakota. It was amazing to me the large gatherings, events, meetings, and the number of possible cache's to find in the state.

Geocaching goes something like this: if you have a GPS unit, you log onto the web site. Building an account is free and you don't need an account to look for coordinates in an area to find. Search for the area/region where you are traveling, where you live, or where you would like to search for your new 'treasure'. The web site will give you the first coordinates of the cache and even a map to help get you started.

There are several kinds of cache's. Some are just a simple set of coordinates, some give you a coordinate to find and there you will find the clues or coordinates to another location. This is called a multi-cache. The gardendwellers FARM cache is a multi-cache with 4 locations to find before looking for the real treasure.

The treasure at the end of your trail will be a waterproof box of some kind which you will have to look for - thus the treasure hunt aspect. In the box will be a log book. As a finder, you are expected to sign the log book and leave a note. There will also be instructions in the box. Some boxes contain trinkets. If you choose to take a trinket from the treasure, you are expected to leave one as well. These trinkets can be small toys, key chains, pins, whatever small treasure a person has. Our box, like some others, contains a camera and the instructions to take a photo of yourself having fun in the garden, then leave the camera for the next geocacher to also take their photo.

This is a fun, inexpensive (although the cost of gas is high right now) family or individual activity. No purchases are ever necessary and no fees are ever charged to go geocaching - you just have to find the treasure.

Once you've found a cache, you are invited to post your find on the web site - let everyone know how many cache's you've found, how fun it was, and what a great activity it can be. I encourage everyone to at least check out the web site for more information. You never know, you're next vacation may include a treasure hunt!

Happy searching!


PS - the first to find our cache (gneis) were from Grand Forks ND. They snuck in and out without us even seeing them and did it within 24 hours of us hiding the treasure! I knew they had found it as I received an email from the geocaching web site that informed there was an electronic log posted to our entry. What a great surprise! Way to go gneis!

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

North Dakota's weather gets a lot of bad press, but in all reality our weather is the best in the Midwest. Currently we are experiencing 70 to 80 degree days with 50-ish nights. we've had some timely rains, just enough to keep the dust down and make things grow. The above photo shows the beautiful rainbow (a double actually) that graced us after the last rain.

The winds have been excellent for flying my kite and the evenings have been great for campfires and relaxing. Our weather is also great because you can see it! Other states and other places have trees, high-rises, structures, things to get in the way of seeing your weather. It's great to watch the clouds roll in, the lightning flash across the sky, the rain roll over the prairies, and yes of course the rainbows. In the winter we enjoy northern lights and all year long the night skies are filled with star and often meteors and falling stars.

Ultimately, our weather is really a balance, and that's what life is all about, balance. You have to learn to lean into the wind so you can enjoy sitting back to watch the stars. Take time this summer to truly enjoy our North Dakota weather.
Fair winds
gardendwellers FARM