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July 2015

Bloomin' Friday

Plenty (and I mean plenty) of rain, cool days, and my time up north have turned my gardens . . . WILD!


This year, right now, everything in my garden is lush and overgrown!  (Including the weeds.)

My butterfly garden (above, and in the next few photos) is full of Michigan native plants and grasses that are drought tolerant.  Usually, by now, I have to do some extra watering to keep everything happy.  This year?  Not so much!  I haven't had to drag a hose around the yard yet.  


My bee houses (I have two this year; one in front, one in back) are beginning to get some egg-laying action, and I'm seeing Monarchs and Swallowtails, Red Admirals and Fritillary butterflies every day.


 My astilbes have been brilliant this year!  (They LOVE water.)


And my little herb garden is thriving.  (My tomatoes, though?  Oh, man.  Too much water and not enough sun has put them so far behind "normal" that I don't think I'll have tomatoes at all this year.)


My backyard is bursting -- with blooms . . . and weeds . . . and poison ivy.  (Oh.  And mosquitos.  They are brutal this year.)  I kind of like the WILD look in the garden, so I'm really happy with the way things are evolving this year.  (Although this photo clearly tells me that it's past time to cut back that ladies mantle . . .)


The hops are still trying to take over the world . . . but this week, I discovered there is a cardinal nest tucked up under the hops in the top of the arbor!  (I decided to investigate when I noticed that there is nearly always a cardinal - sometimes male, sometimes female - sitting either on top of the arbor or on one of the dead branches just above it.  Close watching revealed their "hopping in spot."  Their nest is very hidden in there.)


I'm enjoying my garden this year.  The mosquitos have discouraged me from time to time, and there have been some days when it's just too rainy to do any chores.  But for the most part, it's been a satisfying season.


Happy Friday! Enjoy your weekend!

The Way It's Supposed to Be

Big things happening!

Somewhere . . . out there along I-80 today . . . these two are heading to Denver.

To live.

As in . . . moving away.


They're really excited about it.

And, well, I am, too.  

Because this is what parenting is all about . . .

Letting go.

Sending off.

Watching them launch. . .

into their own lives.


We're going to miss having Brian live (fairly) nearby.


But we're so excited he's heading off . . . into a new life all his own!


Best of luck to you, Budd-0!

Stitching the Afternoon Away

When we were up north last week, I brought along a lot of books, my knitting, and my Alabama Chanin t-shirt.

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Mid-week, the weather took a rather nasty turn with thunderstorms and a severe temperature plunge.  Once the rain stopped, I bundled up in my hooded sweatshirt and a blanket and spent the afternoon out on our deck . . . stitching.

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I had completed all the appliqué and cutting (this is reverse negative appliqué, in case you're interested in Alabama Chanin technique) on the front of the shirt before heading up,

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 so all I needed to do was stitch the entire t-shirt together.

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My new Wonder Clips really are a wonder!  They work like a charm -- so much better than pins on stretchy jersey fabric.

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By the end of the afternoon . . . my t-shirt was whole!

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And ready to wear!

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I'm completely addicted.  (And . . . the sun came out again just as I finished up!  Bonus!)

"Let Your Taste Decide"


When we were up north last week, we drove into town a couple of times for various errands (and to use the library's wifi).  Whenever we're in town, we stop at Jones Homemade Ice Cream for a treat.  They have great ice cream -- and long lines of happy ice cream patrons!


This week, Carole asks us about our favorite ice cream flavors.  Mine?

  1. Sea Salt Caramel
  2. Sea Salt Caramel with chocolate "bits" or "swirls"
  3. Mackinac Island Fudge (This is probably a regional flavor.) (Too bad for you.)
  4. Peppermint (Not mint chocolate chip; just peppermint.) (Which is hard to find.)
  5. Black Cherry
  6. Peach
  7. Black Raspberry
  8. Amaretto Cherry Fudge (Our local ice cream place has this flavor sometimes.)  (Mmmm.)
  9. Blue Moon (A Midwest tradition.)  (I hardly ever order it now, as a grown-up, because of the blue lips/blue tongue effect.)  (My kids ALWAYS got Blue Moon.  Or it's ready companion, Superman.)
  10. Almost any flavor of Jeni's Ice Cream.  (We can buy it locally.)

How about YOU?  What's your favorite ice cream?  (Or, as the Jones sign says . . . how do you "let YOUR taste decide?")


Join the fun!  Sign up to recieve Ten on Tuesday prompts here - or read other lists here

Refreshed . . . and Ready to Roll Again

We're back from a lovely week at the cottage.  


It's always so nice to just get away for awhile.  To not have to worry about schedules and to-do lists and having to be somewhere.

Just to kick back. . .


Relax around the campfire . . . 


Soak up a little sun . . . 


And then cuddle up with dogs and a book when the temperature plunges!  (Because July is no guarantee for summer weather.  Unfortunately.)


We had plenty of time for our annual Scrabble-Extravaganza (Tom's stunning Scrabble-BINGO with a 7-letter bonus of 50 points left me no chance of catching up in that game!!!)


The dogs did lots of swimming . . . 


and some fishing!  (Jenny LOVES fishing.  L.O.V.E.S.)


 We even made a quick trip to the Lake Michigan shore.


 It was a great week away.  I'm feeling refreshed . . . and ready to roll again!  (Although coming back from vacation is never easy, is it?)

Doing What It's Meant To Do

Today I am busy rushing around, getting things organized and ready to head up north for an extended visit.  No real time to put together a blog post, but I do want to share this . . . 


This is a fritillary butterfly visiting my newly-blooming butterfly weed.  (I love it when my butterfly garden actually attracts butterflies -- just like it's meant to!)

(And now.  I'm off in a swirl of activity. . . )