Stellar blueberry muffins

These muffins are so full of flavor! I have 2.5 secrets that make them so yummy you’ll be making some every week!

Tip 1: crush some of the blueberries before mixing into the batter – you’ll have the wonderful blueberry flavor throughout even if you don’t get a berry in your bite!

Tip 1.5: warm the blueberries before mashing. You’ll get more juice out and they’ll be easier to mash!

Tip 2: Swedish Pearl Sugar! Tip your muffins with it before popping them in the oven. They add a delightful flavor and slight crunch. Yum!

Ingredients:

½ cup softened butter
1 ¼ cups sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups flour
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ cup milk
2 cups blueberries
3 teaspoons sugar
½ cup Swedish pearl sugar

Directions:

1 Preheat oven to 375° and line muffin tin with cupcake liners

2 Cream butter and 1¼ cups sugar until light

3 Add eggs one at a time; beat well after each

4 Add vanilla

5 Sift flour, baking powder, and salt together

6 Alternate adding milk and flour mixture

7 Crush ½ cup blueberries and mix into batter; fold remaining berries in

8 Fill muffin tins with batter and top with Swedish pearl sugar

9 Bake at 375° for 30 minutes or more

Enjoy!!

Check out our YouTube channel in the link below to follow along as I bake them!

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

hosting at the homestead

This past weekend was a favorite at the homestead! We were lucky enough to host some good friends and two of their little ones – aged 2 years and 6 months.

We finally had some “warm” weather (low 30s) so we could take the girls out for some adventuring.

We handled the snowshoeing and the girls relaxed in the sled

For Christmas, my MIL bought us a snowman kit, so that was a priority in our agenda.

He was a little wonky, but we loved him anyway!

After our outdoors activities, our friend had THE BEST IDEA OF ALL TIME – s’mores in the wood stove!!! It is seriously genius.

Picture this (since I didn’t get a picture):

– Warm wood stove, door open

– Marshmallow on a stick, turning golden brown over the coals

– Graham cracker and chocolate sitting on top of the stove, getting slightly melted and creamy

Is your mouth watering too? I’m pretty sure I ate at least 7.

I always love the homestead and sharing it with others just makes it even more wonderful. That includes you, dear readers! Thank you for spending time with us each week! Don’t forget to check out all our other adventures by following the link below.

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

bees on the brain

🐝🐝🐝🐝🐝🐝🐝🐝🐝🐝🐝🐝🐝🐝

Welcome to my brain this week! As Spring approaches (I promise, it will come!) I find myself in full-on bee mode.

My most recent YouTube video is about propolis and its importance to a hive (Link to the full video at bottom) and my last post was about prepping for our newest arrivals. And guess what? I still can’t stop thinking about them!

I’m particularly looking forward to a new variety/race of honeybees this year (new to us). Thus far in our beekeeping adventures, we’ve had Carniolan bees. This spring, we’re starting Saskatraz.

Me installing a Carniolan Queen in a new package two springs ago

Saskatraz is a relatively new bee variety, bred in Saskatchewan Canada for preferred genetic traits such as hygienic tendencies, excellent honey production, resistance to mites, and a good winter survival likelihood. There are lots of articles on the web that will give you tons of detail on how these were bred along with further info, so I won’t dive in here. Instead, I’ll give you more context on why these appealed to us.

#1: overwintering

Northern MN is a hard place to keep bees! With temperatures getting to -30 f or lower and windchills of -60 f the last two winters with almost-record snowfalls, our ladies have it rough.

We do all we can to help them out (wrapping them, putting on a big candy board, setting up a wind break) but there’s only so much one can do. This winter hardiness was easily our number one reason for selecting this variety.

Our Carniolan hive a few weeks ago

#2: hygiene/disease resistance

We’ve been lucky enough to not have any major sicknesses in our hives, but we know this is a major concern. As mites and other bad guys become stronger and more resistant to treatments, it’s important to do all we can to naturally keep them healthy, so this benefit fits the bill for sure.

#3: honey production

This was the least of our desires when we looked at bee varieties this year. I will be SO pumped if we get honey this year (we’ve only gotten a tiny bit over the last two summers), but for us, the enjoyment is in watching the ecosystem, seeing how the hive works, and knowing that we’re having a positive impact.

All-in-all, I’m looking forward to our Saskatraz bees this year! I’ll be posting lots of videos throughout our adventures, so make sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel.

Catch you next time!

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

prepping for bees in 2020

As I did last winter, I’m eagerly and nervously keeping an eye on our hive as the winter goes on.

This year’s hive after our first big snowstorm

We were lucky last year; our first year hive made it through the bitterly cold and very snowy winter unscathed! I was so proud of our little ladies. They were weak going into winter but somehow they pulled through!

As you know, we then had trouble over the summer as the colony became queenless. Though we got a new one and the hive was stronger going into winter this year, I haven’t been able to get the same kind of pulse in them as I did last year.

As the colony was weak last fall, we only had two deep boxes on. This meant that the bees had a smaller space in which to cluster, so I could actually press my ear against the hole in the top box and hear them buzzing.

This year, with the larger population, we have three boxes. I can’t hear them buzzing this year. I’m telling myself it’s because they have more room and are likely clustered down in the second (or perhaps even first) box, but I’m scared!

Checking on the ladies late last spring

Regardless of what happens to the ladies this year, we’re going to keep going! I just got off the phone with our local bee supplier and ordered two three-pound packages of Saskatraz bees. This is a newer variety that has been bred in Canada to be disease- and mite-resistant, to over-winter well, and be good honey producers. In mid-April this year, we’ll be installing them in two new hives alongside our Carniolans (provided they make it through the winter).

I’m looking forward to spending some time at our local stores in the coming months, picking up more supplies and prepping for our latest hives.

I’ll post more another time about why we chose Saskatraz as well as why we’re getting two more hives rather than just one.

One of my favorite pictures from a hive inspection last year

Wish us luck as we go into 2020, and stay tuned for updates!

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

goodbye 2019

Is it already that time? Time to say goodbye to another year and hello to the next? As always, I feel like we’re back in January and there’s no way another trip around the sun has been completed, but here we are, readying ourselves for a new decade!

2019 has been an amazing year for us on the homestead.

We built a cabin!

We successfully installed a new queen in our queenless hive and were able to harvest a small amount of honey.

I did some hardcore foraging, canning almost 150 jars of jam and we started selling on Etsy.

We loved life and each other, celebrating our 6th wedding anniversary.

And I loved filming all our excitement for our YouTube channel and posting about it here.

I hope you’ll keep up with our blog, videos, Instagram and more in 2020. We have TONS of fun planned and I’m eager to share our adventures, challenges, and happiness with you.

Happy new year!

Miranda and Jeff ❤️

Check out all the good! https://linktr.ee/the.mn.homestead

wood stove snuggle struggle

You’ve had a long week at work. Lounging on the couch, cup of coffee or cocoa in hand, soaking in the warmth of the wood stove… bliss. Could Saturday morning be better than this? Could anything be more enjoyable than relaxing the rest of the day in front of the stove, perhaps snacking on a Christmas cookie and having a nap? Sounds unlikely.

You’ve had a long week at work, cooped up in the office, breathing in the stagnant air. Snowshoeing through the woods, fresh crisp air in your lungs, the sounds of nature in your ears… bliss. Could Saturday morning be better than this? Could anything be more enjoyable than basking in the wonder of the great outdoors, slowing down the pace of the world and being at one with the earth? Sounds unlikely.

This is my weekly wood stove snuggle struggle. I get up to the coals of the stove, put a fresh log on, and get a cup of coffee. The fire roars, I sink into the couch, and the idea of venturing outdoors just isn’t that appealing. But I know that if I lounge inside all day, I’ll be missing out. I know for a fact that once I get my snowsuit on and push myself out the door, I’ll be filled with joy. But the couch is joyful too!

Have you ever encountered this struggle? Do you find a way to get yourself outside or do you spend the day in front of the stove? Let me know in the comments!

Don’t forget to keep up with all our cabin and outdoor adventures by following us on Instagram @the.mn.homestead and watching our videos on our YouTube channel! Also make sure to treat yourself by perusing our Etsy store for the perfect gift to yourself.

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

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!

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