Thursday, December 25, 2014

Kids' Crafts

This one entertained the thirty-somethings on Christmas Eve.

An IKEA kit for the house, 
and royal icing made from scratch, 
plus a raid on the pantry that produced the candies, sprinkles,
and pretzel squares.

All ready for the rest of the arriving family this morning.

We were impressed!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Mission accomplished

The annual wreath 
constructed by my dad 
from greens gathered from the yard 
by my mom and me, 
hung on the chimney with care.

Aren't they cute?

Aren't I lucky?

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Adding élan

My mom and I decided one of the gardens needed 
something extra.

For a new garden, it's doing pretty well with mostly transplants 
from family members' gardens:
Shasta daisies, 
another daisy that flowers early and then self seeds like crazy, 
purple loosestrife, 
tradescantia, wood aster, chives,
garlic chives, 
which also self seed like crazy,
 blue columbine and a number of different  hostas.

And a couple of purchased plants: 
a Knock Out Rose that sometimes gets eaten by the deer 
(but so far so good this year) 
and some heuchera that don't have much to show
in the way of flowers.

We were in town this morning, going to the library's book sale, 
and saw a great display of Russian sage in the library's garden.

I told my mom - that would be a great addition to our garden, 
and the deer don't like it.

Late this afternoon we went to the local nursery 
to buy a Russian sage. 
As we got out of the car, 
we passed a woman pulling a wagon full of plants. 
One of the plants stopped us in our tracks: 
a yellow coneflower.

So guess what we came home with.

Makes a nice pairing, don't you think?

We also bought a daylily called Cosmopolitan.  
There were several with blooms, 
but the pot that had the most plant in it 
(which we figured we could divide into 3 when transplanting)
had no blooms, so I don't have a flower to show you.

But here's the description:
miniature, rosy-red round blooms, 
excellent bud count, 
very floriferous,
a bit of fragrance and reblooming.

Very floriferous!
Doesn't that make your heart sing?

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Closing days

 It's almost time to go back to reality - 
vacation is nearly over.
Not that this isn't reality, too.

Just a more beautiful, relaxed form of it.

Oscar and I sat on the pier
watching a small plane soar overhead...

And swallows darting and swooping
over the water.

The occasional speedboat would set Oscar barking.
(He barks at noisy machines.)

I missed taking a picture of him:
at the edge of the pier, legs braced,
barking until the speedboat faded from view.

I decided I'd get a picture of the next encounter.

But when the next boat went by, there was no barking.

Camera ready, I looked around.
Oscar, where are you?

He'd had enough of the pier.
He's afraid of stairs, so could only go so far
and was waiting patiently for me to carry him up to shore.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Flora. Fauna.

We planted milkweed in our native garden in Wisconsin,
not because we love the plant particularly,
but to provide habitat for Monarch butterflies.

The first year of the garden, we observed Monarch caterpillars
feasting on the leaves of the plant early in the summer,
leaving  just stalks behind.

Several years went by without a repeat performance.
But the plants survived, so that was good.

This afternoon my mom paused in her garden work
to call over to where I was weeding:
"A Monarch!"

I came over to look  
and debated whether I should run inside for my camera.

She (he?) was all by herself.
Lighting on one bloom, 
then flying away to another part of the garden 
before coming back to another bloom.

While waiting for her to come back, 
I took pictures of a bumble bee

and a golden dragonfly (a color I haven't seen before).

Twenty pictures later, 
she opened her wings just long enough for me to catch her 
before she was off again.

Thursday, July 31, 2014


This was the week of our annual family vacation
at my parents' cottage in Wisconsin.

Not everyone could make it,
but we feel especially blessed this year
to have two new family members
who were able to join us.

One is not pictured: our sweet foster-to-adopt baby
who joined the family in early January.
He is so entertaining at 8 months old
that his uncle observed, "He's like a campfire,"
when he noted all the family members 
sitting in a circle around TJ, 
oo-ing and ah-ing over his antics
as he played on a blanket on the floor.

He was already in bed for the night when we took the picture,
but since he is a foster child, 
his picture is not allowed to be shown on social media.
(We took another family picture the next night 
before he went to bed,
but I can't show you that one.)

The newest member is TJ's 3 week old little sister, 
born to TJ's foster-to-adopt parents
on the 4th of July.
Fireworks went on all over 
just hours after her birth.
The flowers pictured above right are from my garden
(former garden, that is - the sale was closed today!)
and were arranged for Norah -
the bee balm (Monarda) blooms remind me of fireworks.

It's been a wonderful week.


Friday, July 25, 2014

Change is in the air

Lots of changes at the moment:
I quit my part time job at the for-profit firm last month 
after several months of realizing it was not a good fit for me,
and now I feel like there is a big weight off my shoulders.

At the non-profit where I work part time, 
we've welcomed a new executive director
and said farewell to our interim: 
we loved our interim, but she was just that - 
came the rescue until the permanent replacement arrived,
and she was fabulous.
It's a new dynamic now, and still a very good one, 
and our interim made it an easy transition for the staff.

This will soon be my former home.
Yesterday the movers came and took away the furniture,
and tonight, after days of help
from family and friends to wrap and pack boxes,
I finished cleaning the empty house,
locked the door for the last time,
and said a prayer of thanksgiving
for the home this house was to me for more than 27 years.

Now on to the next chapter...

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Birthday Boy

Oscar's birthday is today.


We adopted him 5 years ago, 
when he was a shy and chubby 5-year-old
with a very short haircut.

He wouldn't leave Gerrit's side that first day.

Later he got bolder and would hang out with me, too.

Now that he lives with my parents, he follows them around.

Until I show up.

(Hmmm.  Note to self: Must. Get. Selfie.)

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Calendar says...

The calendar says

"Spring."  But outside...

Wednesday, February 5, 2014


False indigo

Nearly two hours of shoveling this afternoon, 
which included lots of pauses to rest.

Wood aster and sedum

Just as I finished, the sun appeared low in the western sky.

Siberian iris and Japanese windflower

With my breath back, and my back beginning to relax, 
I looked around and thought: 
I'm overdue for some picture taking.


Northern Sea Oats

Solomon's Seal

 More driveway

  Wind sculpture

Thank God for a clear sky!

My constant companions:
snow boots and snow shovel

It may be February, but it looks like Christmas.