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June. Already?

There’s something about the nicest months of the year – time speeds up and weeks feel more like days. It’s a hilarious juxtaposition from my childhood when it felt like Summer lasted for pretty much half of the year. If only.

How was your Memorial Day? We did the usual fun and games starting with the parade Monday morning with my family and following it up with an early cook-out. Bratwurst, an assortment of deli salads, homemade guacamole, and fruit.

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There’s something wonderful about eating summery foods in the summertime. You could eat this same plate in January and it just wouldn’t be as good.

The day before all the festivities I had been sitting at the gas station waiting for Ben when I noticed this weird flaky stuff coming into the car. A few minutes later I smelled smoke and by the time Ben returned to the car we could see a large bloom of smoke coming down one of the main roads. Off to investigate.

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Turns out it was an apartment building that caught on fire. We arrived and there were a bunch of fire trucks but no one was doing anything, which I thought was odd. It was a good 15 minutes before they started spraying the water. You could see the smoke coming out through the entire length of the complex’s roof line.

The water coming out of the house really ripped apart the roof. It made the roof look like it was made of cardboard or some other flimsy material because of how easily it blew off.

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After a while some of the firefighters went inside to check things out. They returned with one of the tenants’ cats.

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I have a really hard time with house fires. I remember watching one as a kid and it made a lasting impact. People probably thought I lived here because I was crying and everyone else just looked mildly interested.

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I hope all the spectators have renter’s insurance!!

That’s as much as I could watch. It started feeling weird gawking at someone else’s misfortune. If it were me, I wouldn’t want all the people setting up their tripods and video recorders to capture it all for Facebook or whatever. We left.

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The news said they were still investigating the cause but that everyone had been out at the time it started and they rescued 4 animals. No injuries, thankfully.

Even though I’m not posting as much (and I need to work on that), life is pretty much the same as any other year. We’re working on transporting rabbits off our property (caught 3 but I spied another one last night, so time to re-bait the traps!!!).

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I’ve been out walking more and taking pictures of flowers I like. I lost a few of my new shrubs over the Winter and that was frustrating because of the lost time/money. So now I need to start again.

I definitely want some daffodils like these, but I think the bulbs need to be planted in the Fall… so I’ll have to hold out a bit.

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I also like these irises. They have smaller leaves that aren’t as thick and I think they look really pretty.

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I probably need to head to a nursery and have them help me. Ideally I’d like to pick things that flower at different times so I have something pretty to look at from early Spring to mid/late Fall.

My front yard garden bed is prepped and waiting! The little columbine I planted last year survived along with some flowers from my flower pot that re-seeded themselves.

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But, I REALLY need lily of the valley. I’m just not sure where to plant it where it would get ample shade and how I’d prevent the bunnies from snacking on it all day…

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One of me favorite smells!!

Well yesterday was pretty much perfect – the temp was in the mid 70s with a light breeze and low humidity. Sigh. Let’s repeat that for another 3 months, ok? Today it might hit 80 but I’m hoping the humidity is still low. Maybe I can get some more yardwork done. I’ve weeded my vegetable garden THREE times and can’t seem to get it to a spot where I can start planting, so I’m a bit behind there. Maybe I can get one of the beds done today so it can take advantage of the rain that’s supposed to come all weekend? We’ll see.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

Moseying Through The Flowers

It’s my favorite time of year. Flower time! When we were in Door County last weekend we got to see some of the early blooms and it REALLY is making me itch to get some shrubs removed and some prettier things put in their place.

I talked all about how fun the B&B was, but when we arrived in Door County we were hungry and in need of a delicious steak. We found a cute place called Alexander’s and walked in right when they opened. Good thing too because when we left the parking lot was completely full (always a good sign of the food, don’t you think?).

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If, Ok when we go back, I want to sit in this little alcove area. It was just a tiny room with windows all around so you could look out. I always like to sit by a window but I found myself glancing over to that little room more and more and wishing we were there. Next time!009

We started our meal with delicious salads: a nice assortment of greens, freshly grated carrots, and a garlic balsamic vinaigrette. I still don’t know why salads prepared by other people always taste better than anything I make at home.

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And then… my delicious tenderloin. It was buttery, uber tender, perfectly cooked and chock-full of flavor. It was served alongside potatoes au gratin and sliced peppers and beans. Hmm Mmm I could eat this meal every day and never get tired of it. It was that good.

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After our tasty meal we decided to go for a walk along the main road in Ephraim to collect some extra steps. It was freezing but we managed a 3 mile saunter with a short wind break in one of the nearby trail roads.

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It was quiet and just beautiful. If we hadn’t been so cold we would have kept on going down the trail. It was amazing. The sky was getting dark quickly though so it was good we went back when we did.

About a half mile from our car we walked past one of the frozen ice cream shops. My teeth were chattering and we could really see some darkness brewing overhead. That meant no ice cream for Ali and a faster pace for the rest of the walk.

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Turns out we only got a few sprinkles overnight. The real story was the day after. Now, this happened only a week ago which is even more crazy when you consider that yesterday was 80 and today was 83. Wisconsin weather for ya.

But anyway, Ben and I decided to drive all the way up to the tip of the peninsula. As we began the drive, it began to rain. And then snow. Yes. Snow. I know.

We got out at Gill’s Rock for a picture by the water and neither of us have our eyes open plus my hair is doing some 45 degree wind gusting… Ben snapped the picture as quickly as he could and we ran back into the car and cranked up the heat. Yikes.

It rained… then snowed… then rained some more… then cleared for a bit… repeat.

During one of the clear spells we passed this adorable park. I made Ben slow down because I fell in love with their daffodils.

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I need these in my yard. Stat. I did a little research and now have a pack of bulbs arriving in the Fall. Yay!!! Can’t wait. I’m a sucker for the creamy yellow color.

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One other cool find came as we were winding through some of the back roads in the more rural areas of the peninsula. I remember as a girl taking a walk through one of the state parks and pointing out the gorgeous blanket of 3-petaled white flowers. Mom told me they were trillium and were an endangered flower. I don’t know if it still is endangered but the trip and memory are still there. They were everywhere and so beautiful!

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We stopped at a few shops on our way back home and found a wood-fire pizza place overlooking the water. I love the water glasses! You can see where Ephraim is and Gill’s Rock and then the drive back to Sturgeon Bay which tends to be our lunch time stopping city whenever we’re going to Door County just because it’s a nice distance from Green Bay and tends to be a little less congested than some of the other small cities further north.

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Delicious thin-crust pizza. And the first time EVER we ordered a size small. We’re trying to be a bit more mindful of eating and knew we didn’t really need anything more than this. Actually, it was the perfect size and we weren’t stuffed like we normally are after a dinner out.

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The crab apple trees in my yard are looking incredible. I can smell then from my desk upstairs. It’s so wonderful I can’t even put it into words. There’s something amazing about this time of year. I love the fragrant air. I love the long days. The temps aren’t crazy hot and you have the excitement of the months ahead. Yay!!

Hello Spring. So glad you are here.

Blooms in the Garden

One of the things that makes me the most happy about Summer is the abundance of bright, beautiful flowers. Our walk-way leading up to our front door has some interesting landscaping. When we purchased the house 2 years ago, everything seemed to be in good shape but now I’m seeing huge sections of shrubs that have died off and an abundance of growth and weeds. Plenty of work to be done!

But what’s so wonderful right now is being able to open the front door and walk out to an array of pink blossoms. The air smells fresh and my tiny pink tea roses are thriving once more.

017We have only one flower bed on the property and it’s so cramped with flowers that I’ve been doubting everything even pops up. We’ve been here 3 Springs and only this year did I see the start of a daffodil and crocus! I’m more then daunted to be digging up a bunch of bulbs but I’m not sure what else to do at this point.

But here’s the really fun thing. Each Spring the rabbits maul my lilies. Our first Spring I didn’t see ANY lilies bloom in the front bed and last year I saw just two:

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(Last year’s bed had minimal lilies, two large clumps of purple flowers, and two very large bleeding hearts)

Things have changed…

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The purple flowers are almost non-existent and instead I have a bumper crop of beautiful lilies! (and weeds too)

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They’ve become my new obsession. I love how they start out with super vibrant pink tips which then fade as the flower begins to die. They are blooming on a sharp angle because the massive bleeding hearts are taking up so much room. They need to be moved elsewhere.

Lori, please come and fix my landscaping for me. 🙂

My pink rose bushes are doing really well too. We’ve been working a bit on pruning them each spring and they bloom for weeks!

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However, some things just didn’t do well. Remember my super fragrant yellow rose?

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He’s looking like this:

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Sigh.. he’s dead. There’s mountains of ant hills all around the plant and I wonder if that had anything to do with it? I don’t know but I’m pretty sad. I also have two mangy-looking rose bushes in the back of the house that are looking scraggly and probably need to be pulled as well.

Last year was the first and only year I had this beautiful bundle of lilies in the backyard…

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This year they were devoured by the rabbits. Again. I had three blooms total. Oh well.

I’m still trying to find a decent landscaping company to come and remove some of the old shrubs. My hope is once that’s done I’ll be in better shape to thin out the bed and give my flowers a bit more room to grow. So many projects. So little time. 🙂

The First Blooms

Here we are, garden pictures at long last!

This is the first year where I have not clipped garlic steaks to my flowers, or sprinkled blood meal, or sprayed nasty-smelling urine mist all over my flowers… and so far, they’ve remained un-chewed. There are definitely two rabbits prancing around the yard but so far (knock on wood) they stay away from my flowers!!

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These rabbits aren’t interested in the usual carrots or leaf lettuce so I think we are going to try apples next and see how that goes. Where there are two rabbits, there are 20. Need to help curb that now!

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Meanwhile I’m SO enjoying my blossoming buds without them smelling like pee or looking like they are covered in red sawdust. Simple pleasures. 😉

IMG_0798 IMG_0794 IMG_0792 IMG_0787Want to hear something fun? Here’s a flower that just started to bloom and it’s NEVER bloomed the past two years I’ve been in the house!

IMG_0790Yay daffodil!!! I didn’t think rabbits chewed those but actually, the soil is so tough and the flower bed is just jam-packed that I wonder if some flowers don’t bloom because of that. Heck, my two bleeding hearts are taking over everything (even some tulips!!!)

IMG_0788 IMG_0789 IMG_0796I had a tiny purple flower (another surprise/new blossom) but it died within the day so I didn’t get a picture. I see all kinds of stuff popping up and I’m wondering why I’ve never seen some of these blooms before. It’s really bizarre!

We’re still toying with the idea of removing shrubs and extending that flower bed. I’d love to give the flowers more space and also to be able to see them from the road without the large shrubs blocking them from view.

On the home front – Ben’s getting an MRI tomorrow. He’s been battling back pain for the past couple months and stopped going to the gym to see if that would help (It didn’t). He’s been doing chiropractic 2x/week which temporarily helps but lately I’ve been tying his shoes in the morning because it hurts him too much to bend over. Poor guy. We’re hoping we can find the problem and then find a good way of addressing it. Back pain is the worst.

The buds on the crabapple trees are starting to open up. This might be my favorite week of the year. The air is already fragrant and I just can’t get enough!!! Now we just need a couple days of warmer weather and sunshine for me to sit out and enjoy it!!!

Have a great Tuesday! Take time to stop and smell the tulips. 😉

What’s Blooming

Hurray! I’ve been looking forward to doing a post like this for a long, long time. Now that I officially have blooming flowers, I can! We have some fun tulip action going on.

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I’ll admit the red tulips are my favorite.

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I also have bleeding heart. It’s interesting too because of all the varieties I have seen, I’ve never seen white ones.

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There still are some empty spots in the front of the bed, I have a hankering for some peach colored tulips… will have to start browsing through catalogs and see what looks good.

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The unidentified plant below is looking more and more familiar as time goes by. I know I’ve seen those leaves before!

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Each morning I inspect for more signs of rabbit damage. I’m delighted that they’ve left my flowers alone after the initial carnage

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I walked into the kitchen last night and there was a rabbit sitting on my porch staring at me. I dashed outside in my pajamas and chased him out of the yard. Grr 🙂

On Mother’s Day we picked up some flower bouquets and stopped over to wish each of our mothers a wonderful day. I really loved the colors in these bouquets. Love the peachy/orange/yellow/white combos!

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Seriously, I want to grow those peach roses in my yard. I wonder if they have a hearty long-stemmed WI variety anywhere? 🙂

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The weather wasn’t great the entire weekend – mostly rainy, windy, and cold. I bundled up and headed out to walk a few times only to have to turn around a few minutes later. Numb and runny nose mid-May? Not as great as it could be. We even had frost this morning!

Even though it was cold and windy last night, we were able to fire up the grill for some burgers. Funny how we haven’t had these in ages. I’m noticing we don’t eat red meat nearly as much as we used to. Ben is the burger master and flavors his beef up with some organic Worcestershire sauce and some steak grill seasonings.

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Meat makes Ben happy 🙂

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We served our juicy and flavorful burgers with some wheat sandwich thins alongside some broccoli and potatoes. Loving the summer food!

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This coming week the weather looks really good. I’m looking forward to some walks and bike rides. I’m taking a week of vacation next week and right now they’re saying rain every single day. Nooo!

Ole! 100 Miles

The best thing about a Tuesday is that it’s not Monday anymore right?? Well, that’s what I think anyway. I was up trying to watch the gymnastics last night but by the time they finished the women’s uneven bars and moved back to track and field, it was already past my bedtime. The coverage has been a little sad in my opinion. On the flip side though, I am enjoying the events that go by super fast but let you see different athletes and sports – like the triple jump and the pole vault. The triple jump looks scary!

I’m also still enjoying my porch flowers. In fact, one of the things I love most is all the color variety of the purples: light, medium, and dark.

Not sure what it is but flowers make me so happy!

I have two pots filled with the purple petunias and both are getting a little unruly, so I chopped one of them way back so it can start to grow again. Meanwhile the other plant still has all the blooms. That way I won’t have flowers gone from both plants.

Ben was craving Mexican last night so we packed up and headed across town to Fajita Republic for some good eats.

I had a coupon for a free margarita and went with the standard blended strawberry with sugar. Ben got one of their fancy signature flavors – the Patron margarita on the rocks with salt. (salt??)

I tried a chimichanga. I’m sure I must have had one at some time but I could never remember trying one so decided to go for it – and customized it chock full of rice and black beans.

Ben ordered a burrito the size of his head – half red sauce and half queso. I’m not sure the picture does it justice to just how MASSIVE this burrito was!

So big that all the extras were delivered on a second plate!

Work just started a company wide challenge to log 100 miles on a pedometer during the month of August. The challenge started yesterday and runs through the 2nd of September. Instead of having to track your stride and convert to miles, they are only tracking steps and each participant is given a chart that translates that to miles. I signed up – why not? – and have one day done. I figured I need to hit a touch over 7000 steps a day to finish at 100 miles.

I’ll have to figure out how that’s going to affect my biking – maybe bike on the weekends?

I took off walking last night hoping to get back before the gymnastics started (no worries there!) and just went at a nice, easy pace. No headphones or GPS beeping away at me to pick up the pace and it was a nice walk.

I have my gym bag in the car and am set to head back to the gym tonight. Have a great day!

How on earth do they do it?

It’s raining again. Cats, Dogs, and little children. It’s wonderful. 🙂

Truth be told, this was probably the most ideal way to follow up the last storm. After so many weeks of hot, dry weather, the first rains helped soften the ground and I think this storm should do wonders for helping grass and hopefully crops to bounce back a bit.

I drove over to Walmart for a quick errand and spied the hanging flower baskets outside Culvers. I was not at all interested in the flavor of the day (am I coming down with something?) but was just FIXATED on the flower baskets.

Well… look at them

This one too:

Yes, I probably look like a creeper taking pictures of flower baskets outside Culvers. But seriously, with this kind of heat, how do they stay so gorgeous??? My flower basket is looking more like a pile of brown weeds with some brownish/purplish flowers sticking out every once in a while. And I keep mine out of the beastly sun during the crazy hot days.

I *almost* went inside to find out who was responsible, but it was around dinner time and I’m not that brave.

But seriously….

Geez

Meanwhile, over at Casa d’ Ali, I can’t even get my peppers to grow bigger than my thumb

I am a hanging basket failure. Even more so for not taking a picture of my basket for comparison.

BUT!

I do know more than the professionals they hire at work to mulch around the trees.

What. The. Heck?

Hard to totally tell from the picture but that’s at least 6″ of mulch piled on top of the tree. A word of wisdom for all of you with similar mulch fixations: roots need oxygen. If you bury the roots under layers and layers of mulch, the roots will try and surface to find air and mulch isn’t as sturdy or nutrient-dense the way soil is. Often the roots will wrap around the trunk of the tree trying to pop up and then a large storm with tons of wind will knock your gorgeous tree right over. We’ve all seen it happen, maybe some of you just didn’t know a likely cause.

Proper mulching should be light and only an inch or so deep. Also think about where those roots go when you lay down huge bricks around the tree. I’m just saying.

OK, that’s my green tip of the day for you. Now I’m off to wade my way into work and not get too wet!