deer camp 2019: inaugural year at the homestead

Deer camp had been a tradition in my husband’s family for generations. Each fall on the first week of deer season, the family gathers up north to enjoy time together, great food, relaxation, and hopefully a deer or several.

This year was a very important one for my husband and I; one of the driving forces of our cabin build this year and the vast progress we’ve made was being ready to host our loved ones for this year’s camp.

Key items were of course the wood stove (and humidifying teapot!)…

Finished floors and stairs…

Cozy furniture in the great room (with a black lab who you can’t really see because he kinda matches the chair)…

A finished kitchen (looking nice and messy after a huge Swedish pancake breakfast!)…

As well as a finished loft with futon and spare bedroom.

With hard work every weekend since this spring, we met our goals and the family snuggled in for the weekend!

With our wonderful family, beautiful cabin, gorgeous homestead, TONS of amazing food, and lots of laughs (and naps!) we can 100% consider this a successful inaugural deer camp for the homestead.

Looking forward to many more!

For more family and fun, make sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel and follow us on Instagram @the.mn.homestead. Links below!

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it’s becoming real

After many (MANY) months of building our cabin, we are the point where we can start decorating! Every utilitarian part of the cabin is finished, except for the bathroom, which we’ll tackle in the spring when we install our new septic. That means that we’re finally at the point we can make it feel truly like a cabin!

First things first – getting rid of the smell of polyurethane from finishing our hardwood floors. I’ve been using a humidifying teapot on the wood stove with pine needles, cinnamon, and vanilla in it to get that cozy smell. The wood stove aroma adds a lot to that snuggle feel too.

Next step was to finally get some decor on the walls. We started with the 6×6 elk hubby shot about 10 years ago. It’s the perfect attribute for the kitchen portion of our great room.

As you know if you’ve been following us for a while, we’re big Boundary Waters fans, so the cabin wouldn’t be complete without a tribute. This is what we see when we leave our bedroom each day.

I’m sure we’ll have plenty more BWCA representation over time, but this is a good start!

My husband also has a few hoarder tendencies – they manifest in axes, cast iron, and cross cut saws. Balancing the elk antlers in kitchen/ great room on the other side of the wood stove are two 1800s saws. Don’t worry, it’s just the tip of the iceberg. There are many more waiting to find a home in our cabin.

And it’s not only crosscut saws – the first piece of decor in the guest bedroom is an old bow saw – welcome to our cabin, get nice and cozy! Don’t worry about the big saw on the wall.

Also referenced above is my husband’s obsession with cast iron. We have only a tiny bit on display, but I LOVE how these look above our 1950s oven! I’m totally in love.

We haven’t gotten started with our Gransfors and Hults Bruks axes yet but we have awesome ideas for those.

We still have lots to do, but it feels so good to be moving out of the construction phase and into feeling like home.

To see all the neat things we do with our cabin and our other homesteading adventures, make sure to follow this blog and our Instagram @the.mn.homestead and also subscribe to our YouTube channel! Links are below.

https://linktr.ee/the.mn.homestead

chocolate raspberry jam (seedless)

I admit it: I’m a chocoholic. I can’t help myself. It doesn’t matter when or where, I need chocolate. That includes breakfast, and my AM toast. I start most days with wild bumbleberry or wild raspberry, but there are times when my chocolate sweet tooth can’t be overpowered. Those times, I reach for my chocolate raspberry. It absolutely hits the spot – delicious raspberry jam with a slight overlay of dark chocolate. Mmmmm mmmmm good! It’s also stellar on ice cream!

Enjoy making this goodness yourself! Your house will smell amazing.

Preparing ingredients

– Using Squeezo, use smallest screen to juice raspberries berries and remove seeds to make 4.5 cups of wild raspberry juice/pulp

– Measure out 6 Tbsp pectin (I use Ball Real Fruit Classic Pectin)

– Measure out 5 cups sugar

– Measure out .5 cup dark chocolate cocoa powder

– Mix sugar and cocoa

– If desired, to reduce boil over, set aside .5 tsp butter (optional)

Canning prep

– Prep hot water bath

– Sterilize jars

– Heat lids in hot water for sterilization and flexibility

– Lay out utensils (jar lifter, magnet to remove lids from hot water, funnel, etc.)

Cooking instructions

Heat juice over high heat, bringing to a rolling boil

– While heating, slowly stir in pectin

– While heating but after pectin, stir in butter if using

– Once at rolling boil, add entire measure of sugar and cocoa, and stir to dissolve

– Return to rolling boil and boil hard for 1 minute

– Remove from heat

– Skim foam if needed

Canning process

– Place funnel on top of a sterilized jar

– Ladle jam into jar, leaving 1/4 inch headspace

– Wipe any jam from the top of the jar

– Using magnet, remove lid from hot water and place on jar

– Screw band onto jar until finger tight (do not over tighten)

– Place jars in waterbath for 10 minutes at a high boil (adjust for altitude if needed); ensure jars stay completely upright

– Remove jars from waterbath, keeping completely upright

– Place jars on counter or other surface untouched for at least 24 hours to ensure a seal and that jelly begins to set up properly

– Jars should seal within about half an hour but may take up to 24 hours; press top of lid after 24 hours and if it pops back up, the jar didn’t seal and should be placed in the fridge to be eaten soon

– If jam has properly set after 24 hours, carefully move jam to storage area; if still not set, wait up to a week for full set, them move to storage; if jam doesn’t set, eat over ice cream as a topping!

– Eat, share, and enjoy!

I hope you love my bumbleberry recipe; keep an eye on our blog to find more recipes; I’ll be posting one a week for a few weeks.

Don’t forget to check our all our adventures and homesteading fun by subscribing to our YouTube channel, following us on Instagram, and checking out all we have to offer (links below)!

https://linktr.ee/the.mn.homestead

bumbleberry jam recipe (seedless)

Wild raspberry jam is my favorite! Wait, I just had my morning toast with my wild blackberry – that is definitely my favorite! Oh! I just had some blueberry with my pancakes, that’s definitely it!

Hmmmm… with so many delicious jams to be had, how do you choose just one???

The answer, my friends, is that you don’t! Instead, you take your favorite 3 or 4 berries and make them into one splendid bumbleberry jam!

I’m very partial to wild berries; I enjoy the extra depth they provide but also love the hard work I put into harvesting them – tramping through the woods, seeking little patches, gathering the tiny berries that show much less result from a day’s picking but make me very happy!

My favorite wild berries are blackberries and raspberries. Though I don’t love blueberries on their own, they add a great tartness to my jam, so I typically use this trusted triumvirate for my bumbleberry. Thusly, the recipe below calls for those three but feel free to mix it up by adding some strawberries, increasing one of the berries while deceasing another proportionally, etc.! This recipe will make about 10 half pint (8 oz) jars.

Preparing ingredients

– Using berry press, juice wild blueberries to extract 1 cup juice, removing skins

– Using Squeezo, use smallest screen to juice berries and remove seeds to make 2.5 cups of wild blackberry juice/pulp, and 2.5 cups of wild raspberry juice/pulp

*total of 6 cups juice/pulp*

– Measure out 8 Tbsp pectin (I use Ball Real Fruit Classic Pectin)

– Measure out 6 2/3 cups sugar

– If desired, to reduce boil over, set aside .5 tsp butter (optional)

Canning prep

– Prep hot water bath

– Sterilize jars

– Heat lids in hot water for sterilization and flexibility

– Lay out utensils (jar lifter, magnet to remove lids from hot water, funnel, etc.)

Cooking instructions

Heat juice over high heat, bringing to a rolling boil

– While heating, slowly stir in pectin

– While heating but after pectin, stir in butter if using

– Once at rolling boil, add entire measure of sugar and stir to dissolve

– Return to rolling boil and boil hard for 1 minute

– Remove from heat

– Skim foam if needed

Canning process

– Place funnel on top of a sterilized jar

– Ladle jam into jar, leaving 1/4 inch headspace

– Wipe any jam from the top of the jar

– Using magnet, remove lid from hot water and place on jar

– Screw band onto jar until finger tight (do not over tighten)

– Place jars in waterbath for 10 minutes at a high boil (adjust for altitude if needed); ensure jars stay completely upright

– Remove jars from waterbath, keeping completely upright

– Place jars on counter or other surface untouched for at least 24 hours to ensure a seal and that jelly begins to set up properly

– Jars should seal within about half an hour but may take up to 24 hours; press top of lid after 24 hours and if it pops back up, the jar didn’t seal and should be placed in the fridge to be eaten soon

– If jam has properly set after 24 hours, carefully move jam to storage area; if still not set, wait up to a week for full set, them move to storage; if jam doesn’t set, eat over ice cream as a topping!

– Eat, share, and enjoy!

I hope you love my bumbleberry recipe; keep an eye on our blog to find more recipes; I’ll be posting one a week for a few weeks.

Don’t forget to check our all our adventures and homesteading fun by subscribing to our YouTube channel, following us on Instagram, and checking out all we have to offer (links below)!

https://linktr.ee/the.mn.homestead

canning time is finally here!

I am so happy to be getting into my canning groove! It appears that Minnesota is going to skip right from summer to winter, so what better time to be in the kitchen over a hot stove?

If you’re following us on YouTube (link below!) you’ll know that I started canning last week, and now I’m rearranging my schedule to get some more time in! With how long it takes to prep, can, and clean up, it’s not something I can do after work; we also spend our weekends at our homestead working, so no time there.

After some finagling, I’ve managed to find three slots of time to make these magical treats, and they’ve resulted in five jars of wild blackberry jelly (more to come!), 10 jars of wild raspberry jam, and 10 jars of apple sauce.

My wild berry jams have been classic recipes thus far – berries, pectin, and sugar. Pure bliss. My next batches will be twists – chocolate raspberry, vanilla blackberry, and bumbleberry (i usually go for the big four – raspberry, strawberry, blueberry, and blackberry).

I’m eager to continue my canning season. I’ll post recipes over the next few weeks for you to try at home! Do you have favorite recipes? Please share them in the comments.

L-R: wild blackberry vanilla, wild raspberry, wild blackberry – chocolate wild raspberry on the stove as I write this!

And don’t forget to keep up with all the tastiness and adventures by subscribing to our YouTube channel (link below) and following us on Instagram @the.mn.homestead.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCB3wWjfjOOzZVXC6YKUVwGA

happy birthday to me – we have electricity!

For my 33rd birthday, my husband gave me electricity in the cabin! Ok, it wasn’t a birthday present, we just happened to have some “down time” from installing our hardwood floors so he decided to make the final few tweaks to get it up and running.

Hubby and I don’t buy gifts for each other – birthdays, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, etc. Its just not our thing. If there’s something we want, we spoil ourselves with it whenever it seems right. But because I’ve been so eager for our electricity, I definitely feel like this was his gift to me.

I was spending my day out chaga hunting and checking out all the wild mushrooms fall brings and didn’t realize he was actually wrapping the electricity up. When I came back in, I was beyond excited to watch him flip all the switches and see the lights come on!

I can’t believe I managed to land this amazing man but I’m sure glad I did! A great 33rd birthday, and happy every day to me being married to this amazing man.

Follow along with all our happy moments and homesteading adventures by subscribing to our YouTube channel (link below) and following us on Instagram @the.mn.homestead.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCB3wWjfjOOzZVXC6YKUVwGA