3-fer Thursdays

Garden Whimsy . . . Fall Edition

I like to do a little decorating out in the garden for fall.  Not much.  Nothing elaborate.  Mostly just . . . 

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1 - Changing out my containers, adding some mums, and throwing in a few pumpkins.  (With trusty old "Skelly-man" for seasonal interest.)

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2 -- Having fun with pumpkins.  I especially like using the pumpkins with unusual shapes and colors.  (That's a real pumpkin on the bottom, topped with a pottery decoration that just happened to fit on top.)

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3 - And bringing out the old, familiar favorites.  (Skelly-man, above, and this pumpkin face have been part of my fall garden d├ęcor for 15 years now.)

It's fun to bring a little whimsy to the garden in the fall!

How about you?  Do you decorate outside for fall?

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To see more Three on Thursday posts, be sure to pop in over at Carole's today!

 


Mushrooms Everywhere

It has been really rainy this summer up north -- and especially in the last month or so.  The lake level is higher now that it was earlier this summer (which never happens).  The mosquitoes are out of control.  And there are mushrooms growing everywhere in the woods.

Here are three mushrooms that I found particularly impressive this week . . . 

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I love the colors and shapes and textures of the mushrooms.  (The mosquitoes?  Not so much.)

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Be sure to pop over to Carole's today . . . for more Three on Thursday fun.

 


My Very Hungry Caterpillar

For many years now, I've had a thriving butterfly garden.  (See my post from earlier this summer about my garden and how easy it is to plant and certify your own Monarch Waystation.)  And over those years, I've seen many a Monarch butterfly, flitting among the blooms.  But I had never actually seen the Monarchs laying eggs on my milkweed plants.*  And I had never seen a Monarch caterpillar.* Until this summer!  

* (I'm sure they've been there, doing just those things.  But I had never been there to see it.)

In July, I happened to be out in the garden and noticed a Monarch laying eggs.  I was thrilled!  (I posted this video on Instagram.)

And early last week, I found a very hungry Monarch caterpillar.

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He's gone now . . . off becoming a butterfly!  I look everyday to try and find the chrysalis, but so far?  No luck.  If I do find it, though, it will be the true triumverate of butterfly gardening:  eggs, caterpillar, chrysalis.  (I'd be over the moon. . .

To celebrate my caterpillar, I thought I'd share three quick facts about Monarchs with you today:

  1. Monarchs can produce four generations during one summer. The first three generations will have life spans from 2 - 6 weeks and will continue moving north. During this time they will mate and have the next generation that will continue the northward migration. The fourth generation is different and can live up to nine months. These are the butterflies that will migrate south for winter.  (My caterpillar falls into this fourth generation.)
  2. In their larval stage, Monarch caterpillars feed almost exclusively on milkweed, and as adults, get their nutrients from the nectar of flowers. The monarch will always return to areas rich in milkweed to lay their eggs upon the plant. The milkweed they feed on as a caterpillar is actually a poisonous toxin and is stored in their bodies. This is what makes the monarch butterfly taste so terrible to predators.
  3. During their migration, Monarch butterflies can travel between 50 - 100 miles a day.  It can take up to two months to complete their journey to winter habitats.

Beautiful, fascinating creatures!  I'm so happy to share my garden space with them.

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Be sure to visit Carole today -- to find more Three on Thursday posts.


The Cat's Away. . .

I dropped Tom off at the airport yesterday.  It's just me and the dogs for a few days!

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You know what they say?  While the cat's away, the mouse will play!

Not that I change my routine all that much when Tom is away.  (We really don't get in each other's way.)  But there are some noteable differences when I'm at home for a few days on my own.

  1. I let the dogs sleep with me on the bed.  (No room when Tom's home.)
  2. I spread projects all over the kitchen island and leave them there.  (As my kids would be quick to tell you, this is taboo in our house!)
  3. I don't cook.  (I have a batch of leftover carbonara that I will eat for every meal until it runs out.  Then?  Take-out sushi!)

How about you?  Do your routines change when you're at home on your own?

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Head over to Carole's today to read other Three on Thursday posts.

 


Garden Delights

My garden is full of things that make me happy . . . flowers, foliage, birds, pollinators.  (You know the drill.)  But there are also little hidden "garden delights" that bring a smile.

Like . . . my little stone turtle peeking out from his home in this succulent bowl.

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Or . . . . this little yellow house with the stone chimney, standing sentry at my patio doors.

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And . . . this little kitty, hidden in my herb garden.

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Gardens delight . . . in so many ways!

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Head over to Carole's to read more Three on Thursday posts today.

 

 


Outside Inside

During the gardening season, I love to bring what's blooming outside . . . inside.  You can usually see what's blooming in my garden -- right there on the kitchen counter near the sink.  Or on the dining room table.  Or even in my bathroom.  

Today, we've got . . . 

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Heliopsis

Ornamental onion.

Purple coneflower.

Flowers are magical . . . outside and in!

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Be sure to head to Carole's today to read more Three on Thursday posts.


Shine Like the Sun

"I am Summer, come to lure you away from your computer... come dance on my fresh grass, dig your toes into my beaches."      ~Oriana Green

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It is the summer solstice . . . the longest day of the year.  Celebrate the sun today.

  1. Get outside and bask in the light.  Take a walk.  Maybe plant something.
  2. Reflect on the year at its mid-point.  Where have you been?  Where do you want to go?
  3. Look for the good in your life, and give thanks.  Shine like the sun.

Happy summer solstice!

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Be sure to visit Carole and check out other Three on Thursday posts today.


Dog Days

In a couple of hours, we'll be packing up and heading home.  I'm beginning to switch gears . . . starting to think about what's waiting for me at home instead of what I'm going to read down on the dock this afternoon.  Bittersweet, but I'll be back in a couple of weeks.

The dogs make the transition between "home" and "lake" without much trouble.  Jenny can always sense that we're "on the move" and she gets a little clingy when we're packing.  JoJo is clueless about all that, but she still has trouble in the car and needs to take carsick meds.  They much prefer being "settled" in one location or the other, but they pretty much roll with it all.

Here are three things they love to do up north that they are not able to do back home:

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1 -- Fish

Jenny loves to watch the fish -- either in the water on her own or when she goes fishing with Tom on the lake.  She pays close attention to the water at all times, and is very aware of the sound fish make as they rise in the water.  When she fishes with Tom, she can tell if he's caught one by watching his line.  She is intrigued with all things fish-related.

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2 - Swim

JoJo much prefers swimming to fishing.  (In fact, I don't think she's ever noticed that there ARE fish in the lake.)  Jenny used to swim a lot more, but she is getting old now and tires quickly.  JoJo, on the other hand, swims like a little motorboat and loves to retrieve whatever we throw for her in the water.

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3 -- Boat

Both dogs LOVE to ride in the pontoon.  They love sniffing the air and feeling the lake breeze as we cruise around the lake.  They get very excited when they see loons on the water or turtles sunning themselves on docks -- and they especially like to greet other lake-dogs that they may see on land or in other boats (singing the song of their people, y'know . . . as dogs do).

We all have a great time up north. . . dog and human alike.

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Be sure to hop over to Carole's today to read other Three on Thursday posts.  And be sure to wish her and Dale a very happy anniversary while you're there!

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Also -- thanks for all your good wishes on the Ravelry thing.  Let me tell you  . . . that was a big surprise!  

 


A Dose of Reality

I share my anticipation and excitement at returning to our cottage "up north" for the summer season with you each year.  And I show you photos of our little lake . . . and cozy bonfires . . . and happy dogs swimming.   And it all looks wonderful.  
Relaxing.  
Idyllic.  
Peaceful.

And it is all of that.

But there is . . . an underbelly, too.  Y'know?  The parts I don't share.  (Because it's not all fun and games up here.)  (At least, not all the time.)

Here's a dose of Up North Reality for you, Three-on-Thursday syle:

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1 -- It's a house.  A second house.  That we own.  And must maintain.  So while we may be dealing with . . . say, a broken air conditioner at House #1, we are also dealing with things . . . say, a roof that needs replacing (or severe woodpecker damage to the cedar siding) at House #2.  

In other words, we don't get a vacation from home maintenance just because we go "up north" for the season.  In fact, it doubles.

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2 -- It feels like going on vacation.  But we are not on vacation.  Because there are chores to do and toilets to scrub and dinners to plan and laundry to do and wood to chop.  Just like when we are at home.  Because we are at home.  Just a bit further north.  (Although Tom would be quick to point out that he doesn't do much "lumberjacking" at home.)  

In other words, there is no maid service. 

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3 -- Although we've built a pretty solid "inventory" of necessities at our cottage (dishes, glassware, cookware, cleaning supplies, tools, etc.), there are always things we need to drag between houses (reading material, computers, stitching projects, etc.).  It really can't be any other way -  because there are things we're currently working on or dealing with that are time-sensitive that we need to cart back and forth.  Which does make it feel kind of like packing-for-a-vacation each time we travel up.

In other words, it's really a drag when you pull out your latest Alabama Chanin project to stitch -- but realize you forgot to bring your needles.  (Gah!)

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So, yeah.  It's pretty great up here -- and I love it!  I am grateful for this space.  I am so very fortunate to be able to get away and come "up north" whenever I want to.  (I'm lucky.  Oh so lucky.  And I know this.)  I appreciate my time up here.

But I don't want you to think that I just hang out on the dock all day, watching the eagles and the loons and the cranes while I sip wine and read books.  

I mean . . . I DO that.  But between those idyllic, peaceful, down-times you'll find me scrubbing last year's spider webs and wood-detritus from my window sills, changing the bedding, facing down last night's dirty dishes, and lamenting the fact that I could be stitching (but forgot my needles).

Like most things in life, the good far outweighs the bad.  But sometimes . . . reality bites.

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Be sure to hop over to Carole's today, for more Three on Thursday posts.