Sunday, December 19, 2010

We Are Getting Warmer!!!

Just a few quick updates before I scoot out the door...
The   wood cookstove is  now in the warming  hut as supplemental heat, we will do the trial run this morning but since it is the same stove that I used to actually cook on in my farm house kitchen I have total faith that it will  be just great. 
The ski trails and sledding hill are groomed! We are starting with just a little less than 4 miles of trails and we will add a bit more every week as  the weather allows.
Remember, we supply  the atmosphere  but everyone needs to bring their own equipment. We dont rent iceskates or skis or snow shoes, (maybe someday).
Dont forget suntan lotion for your face and sunglasses!!!!! It is  a bright and beautiful day!!!!!
Time to play!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Winter Time Updates!

It's been WAYYYYYYY too  long since  my last post, so much for the fantasy that winter brings extra time for playing "catch up" on the farm.HAH!
We are scurrying along readying the "Grotto" for winter fun. We've been able to get the temperature inside the Grotto ( warming shelter) up to 28F when the outside temp was at -10F, and this we did  by capturing the heat from the Pizza oven and sealing up the tarps better. Our goal for this week is to add a 1930s wood cookstove to the middle of the "Grotto",  adding not only additional  heat but also a place to dry mittens and heat up cider and cocoa yummmmmmmmmm! Once we add the cook stove I have total faith that we will be able to bring the temps up into the 60 degree (or something near)range...perhaps ;-)
We also have a friend that has promised to come out this week to groom cross country ski trails for this weekend....I am keeping my fingers  crossed!  Since the weather has been cold to the bone, the sledding hill has not seen too much activity, but I bet this weekend that will change, we are supposed to warm up to 15F for Sunday and that is the PERFECT temp for sledding activity. We will have a bonfire going at the base of the sled hill for toasting marshmallows and warming up.
Dont forget to check out our Pizza By The Pond on Facebook for photos of the farm and of the social activity!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Planning For Winter Fun and Pizza Altars?

I can not believe that it has been almost a month since I last "blogged"! Breathlessly I have been running about in order  to get the farm ready for winter, along with shifting the schedule for  "Pizza By the Pond" from Thursday nights to Sunday afternoons from 1-8pm.  to reflect the change in waning daylight hours.  The really tough part of all of the change is that there are only two Sundays in November that we will be open since Wisconsin Gun Deer season  is in direct conflict with a crowd of pizza enthusiasts chomping down on great eats in the middle of a wildlife short, dead customers just dont make  good conversationalists!

So we chose to close for the last two Sundays in November  and re-open the first Sunday in December when we will find out if our new funky warming hut is up to par. I am posting a few photos of this "unique" shelter on "Pizza By the Pond's" Facebook page. The "plan" is that the pizza oven will supply the heat to the shrouded grotto, but I am more than willing to concede to a back up heater if needed. As I reviewed the photos that I took yesterday, I discovered that I  must be channeling some sort of  strangely  flowing undercurrent of Catholicism that is doing it's best  to resurface through the pizza oven... I swear it resembles more of a pizza "altar" than  an oven. Kind of spooky.

We have 200 acres here at LoveTree  that we will be adding to our "menu" for our customers; any pizza customer will  also be welcome to cross country ski, ice skate, sled, or snow shoe. The warming  hut will be a great place to refresh and refuel before continuing  an afternoon of winter time fun activities and also as  a place to simply  kick back and unwind  while devouring great pizza.

The "ambiance" is decidely  unique, it seems that pizza gourmands that enjoy eating great pizza in the middle of a wild life refuge are also some of the most interesting and enjoyable characters that I have ever met. I am extremely pleased to  call these folks friends, and honored that they frequent our little pizzeria in the northwoods of Wisconsin.    Dave and I have been a bit perturbed as to how we are going to set about  grooming  the x country trails for skate skiers and classic skiers, so we asked for input from our customers. What could be a better way to design the trails than to have the folks that will be using them tell us what they want and need? Yes, I thought so too. One of our customers may even help us build a groomer, although it sure would be fantastic if I could just  hire someone to do the grooming for us, at least for this year anyhow.

I am  tired just thinking about the work that needs to be completed in the next month, but I have to admit that I am also excited about all of the new changes taking place, it's as if God himself is breathing new life into the farm.........hmmm.

Friday, October 15, 2010

It's In The Air!

We can all feel the energy, it surges through everything in it's path, most of all...the birds. Their restlesness is evident in the migratory flocks making their  final practice runs before departing south. The sandhill cranes swoop low and deliberate, necks extended  as they circle the neighboring corn field looking for food to stockpile their energy reserves; as the geese circle in loose knit formations, training in this years goslings to the south bound flight patterns
 It is also evident in this season's bewildered fawns who erratically and clumsily maneuver the trails and roads like impaired drunken drivers seemingly lost without the guidance of their mom, having been abandoned in favor of the company of a hormonally charged rutting buck.
 I too can  feel it , I find that my step has quickened with an anxious purpose....just gotta squeeze every last moment of warmth out of this season that I can! I dont dread winter, but I do fear not being ready for it. Perhaps what I fear the most is to be sitting idly inside on a very cold winter day wistfully regretting not fully absorbing all of the fleeting, but wondrous, moments of the "fall".

Tuesday, September 28, 2010 a watercolor in the rain."

Scarlet, gold, green, just some of the shimmering colors that are brushing over  LoveTree Farm this week.
Hopefully the clouds will swiftly continue  along their path, and make  room for  the sun to shine through.

Last Thursday's drencher left us wet and soggy, but that  did not deter  loyal "Pizza By the Pond" fans who took refuge under our funky tent. One group slogged their way down the driveway carrying a  cake, determined to give  their friend a unique and memorable  birthday party, I do believe that they succeeded!
The rain never truly pummeled us here like it did further south, we had more  of a drizzle throughout the day with brief moments of  short downpours. It was a bit spooky with the temperature of the rain seemingly  warmer than the air, almost tropical. Global warming? Nahhhh.......................

As the sun retired for the evening, a soft misty sea of  amber, crimson blush, and brilliant wet green grass framed "The Pond"...."Mother Nature"  inspired by Monet?

This coming Thursday is forecast to be dry, time to get out and play!
So little time to enjoy the fleeting colors of fall in these north woods, make it worth your while!

Just a reminder that "Pizza by the Pond" will be open on Thursdays from 4:30-8:00pm through the end of October, and then in November we will switch to Sunday afternoons from 1:00-8:00pm.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Crisp air, good company, and does size REALLY matter?

 The crisp chill in the air   is nudging us into long sleeves and hooded sweatshirts, but that isnt slowing us down on the farm!  The cooler air makes for a more enjoyable  early evening hike and greatly helps   in keeping  the bugs at bay, so much easier to enjoy the change of colors  that will soon surround us. 
Last week while picking apples at the "pick your own self serve orchard "  just down the road, the bugs  drove me nuts, I have total empathy for the poor deer that  charge out into a field shaking their head in  fits as they attempt to rid themselves of the relentless skeeters and gnats. Now just one week later I  easily pick apples without so much as having to swat a fly away and no bug repellent required! We now have a delightful apple desert pizza, bug free!
This is indeed the magical time of year that most northern Wisconsinites revel in, it is what makes our winter bearable, and a hot humid summer tolerable.
Last night was a testimony to the locals' love of autumn as  "Pizza By The Pond" was surprisingly well attended considering the unusually cool weather for
the week. Heavy,  gray, and overcast skies threatened us right up until 5:00 pm when the sun finally decided  that it was indeed time for a party and ushered out any remaining gloomy clouds.
Car loads of folks started to arrive spot on at  opening and continued at a  casual but steady pace throughout the evening, so many  local "pizzavores" out for a good time!

  A cross country ski club  from North Branch, Mn  ventured across the river to explore the pizza selection and enjoy the surrounds. They LOVED the idea of the upcoming  winter pizza party on Sunday afternoons (beginning in November)...we are definitely going to redefine winter fun!

  Every week we tweak the pizza dough just a little bit more and this week I think that we finally found pizza dough nirvana! It's been good in the past, but now it is achieving GREAT!  Lightly crisped  yet still chewy and a bit more "poof" on the outside crust.   I was  in the middle of explaining to a customer about the origin of the  organic flour from North Dakota when the "big brown truck" arrived at the top of the drive to the grotto.  I had forgotten  that  I had closed the other driveway  entrance, but it obviously did not deter  our determined UPS driver, he  re-routed  that old truck down into the grotto to deliver  the organic flour, thrilled to have volunteers help him unload the heavy 50 lb sacks.   Unfortunately he couldn't stay for pizza, perhaps next time.

We also added  a campfire to chase the chill from the late diners, everyone loved it so much that we decided  to start next week's "party" with a  bit  bigger bonfire near the overlook. ...take that as a cue to include marshmallows in  your picnic  basket!

Of course as usual Pauline, our "Hostess Extraordinaire" was in prime form last night.
One diner mentioned that Pauline should be on stage, perhaps join St Croix's Festival Theatre...I said,
"The world  IS her stage "!
Andy's girlfriend Kaity and her family came for supper, and after being entertained by Pauline's antics they decided that  they are going to start a "Pauline Fan Club" on
"Face book '. I hope they do, we would LOVE it! It is time Pauline has her due!:-)

  Oh, one more thing, we actually had a "penis "contest last night...yes, I
really typed that!   Three little children, two boys  and a girl (all under the age of six years) were playing by "The Pond"  when one little fellow  made the mistake of
calling the other "penis breath" (according to his mom, he had just watched the movie E.T.)
One antic led to another and soon their squeals of laughter caught our attention...we looked down the hill to see three little kids  each holding onto a stick at groin level having a contest as to who had the biggest "penis" !
The little girl won!!!
Only on a farm does that seem normal.

Life at LoveTree rambles on....

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

It's a Party at "Pizza By The Pond!!!"

What a  wild ride this summer has been!!!
It's no secret that "The Economy" has been a challenging hurdle for many folks and the stress has truly taken it's toll on many families.  With this in mind we created "Pizza By The Pond " to be a retreat of relaxation, recreation and most importantly, a destination where  families and friends can enjoy a sense of community and great food.. "Pizza by The Pond !!! is  held weekly on Thursday nights (4:30 -8:30 pm) when we fire up "The Beast" and cook up some of the best pizza this side of Italy!!! (more info at
Even though I am extremely pleased with the positive response  to  our pizzas,(

 I am even more thrilled with the unique crowd that has been attracted to our Thurday night gatherings, it is truly amazing who will show up at your door when on a  "quest " for great pizza!

We supply the pizza and the unique atmosphere ( our wildlife refuge and farm) and since the pizza is currently  being offered only on Thursday nights adding to  the fact that a customer needs to supply his/her own comfort features (beverage,picnic  blanket, table, chair etc) the end result is   a convivial atmosphere of modern day foodie voyageurs! Everyone is free to ramble through the refuge or visit the  farm and it's assorted animals, play a game of horse shoes or ladderball, or just sit quietly and reflect on the changes of the season.

We are having a great time meeting with this awesome crowd and plan on continuing the "Pizza by the Pond"  party on Thursday nights through to the end of October when we will then switch (starting November 7th) to Sunday afternoons (1:00pm - 8:00pm) with hopes of taking this "party" through the winter  when "Pizza By The Pond"  will also include  cross country ski ing, sledding, ice skating and snow sho ing.
So keep  tuned in to watch our evolution, better yet, please  be part of it!!!