Sometimes Mondays
No Time for Unraveling

Keeping Track

As I have mentioned in the past, I am a record-keeper.  I have been journaling since I received my very first diary (one of those little lock-and-key numbers) for my 10th birthday.

Up north, here at our cottage, I've been keeping journals to record our up-north-adventures since we first built the place -- back in 1998!


These journals are a treasure-trove of information now, and we find ourselves dipping in every once in a while -- especially if we want to find the exterior dimensions of the cottage . . . or to remember what year we added the shed . . . or bought the pontoon boat . . .  or to look up who it was that we hired to take down a dead tree near the house.

It's also fun to look back and read the details of what the kids did as they grew up at the cottage (because Erin had just finished 2nd grade and Brian was still in preschool our first summer up here) and how things evolved over the summers.  My journals keep track of wildlife sightings, special guests, fishing trends, and life changes.

Although I still keep an up-north journal, I don't update the details of each of our trips up like I once did.  Things up here have settled into a . . . sameness . . . now -- and it would get a bit too repetitive if I wrote about each visit in detail like I used to.  I imagine, though, that I'll always maintain a cottage-journal in some form or another.

As I was looking back at my old journals this week, I found another kind of journal tucked in with the rest . . .


Back in June of 2000 (I know because I looked it up in my cottage journal!), Erin and I used to take walks in the woods surrounding our cottage to find wildflowers.  I was only beginning my gardening adventures back then, and didn't know much about wildflowers.  We would go out in search of whatever was blooming, collect a few specimens, and then look them up in our trusty wildflower guides.  (The internet wasn't A Thing yet, so we relied totally on our guides.)


As we got more interested in wildflowers, we started drying and pressing our best specimen plants to create a "journal" of our wildflowers.


It was quite a project.  We completed the journal over the course of that up-north-season; filling the entire book with flowers and leaves and even a few pressed berries.  Erin even used it for a school nature project somewhere along the way.

I haven't looked at it in years, but it was fun to stumble across the journal and . . . remember.  I'm actually surprised at how complete it is; and how well it's held up over time.  The colors, though?  Totally faded.  

I still take walks and look at the wildflowers whenever I'm up north.  Sadly, there aren't as many.  Our lake association has taken to mowing the roadsides these days.  I'm not exactly sure why, but I imagine it appeals to the same folks up here who plant grass and try to create lawns (in the woods) (I know).  I don't pick any of the wildflowers any more -- mostly because I want them all to seed the roadsides.

But also because these days, I can "collect" them this way:


(From top to bottom:  Queen Anne's Lace, Bull Thistle, St. John's Wort, Moth Mullein, Ironweed, Common Evening Primrose)

Collecting and documenting is certainly much easier these days, thanks to smartphones and the internet.  It's fun to look back over your memories -- no matter how they're recorded!




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This is wonderful in so many ways! That you've kept cottage journals for so many years, that you and Erin collected and identified wildflowers, and that you are still collecting and sharing them with us. I didn't know that St. John's Wort was so pretty, and Moth Mullein is so much daintier than the Common Mullein we've got around here.


Your wildflower journal is a wonderful treasure! When I was going through my mother's things, I found a notebook of pressed wildflowers that she had made for a school project. Her uncle was a botany professor at U Penn and I like to think he helped her with it!


If there *are* any you can pick, you should make her a bouquet of them for her rehearsal dinner. :-)


I enjoyed this post SO much! What a great thing you have done, documenting all of your time Up North. Did we make the journal in June 2016?


Wow! This is really awesome (and educational!!) Kym! Although, I wish every day that we had no Bull Thistle here...

However, I love your record keeping and your wildflower gathering!


I love all of this! And that my favorite thistle is represented! XO


Your wildflower journal is a beautiful idea of creation with Erin. You must have had some fun days of adventure when on the quest to find the various plants and identify them. What a wonderful activity to pursue with Erin's young mind and curiosity. I only collected wildflowers in my memory before phone cameras.

Cheryl S.

Your journals are wonderful, especially the wildflower one. What lovely memories they have.


Thanks for sharing your journal finds! Several years ago I, found some flowers my mother pressed before she died...that is a special find of mine.
As I walk through the neighborhoods I'm learning so ,ugh about seasons/flowers . Yes, the iPhone and Internet do help us record/save our memories but I also think the real thing + old-fashioned books add something quite special - perhaps it's the tactile experience.
I enjoyed sharing your memories.


This post is just wonderful! Love your journals and the wildflower book is a treasure. Periodically I find pressed leaves or flowers in cookbooks that my Mom used. Some of my treasures are identification books that were my grandparents.


Wisconsin highway departments do not necessarily feel compulsive about mowing the roadsides. I first observed this back in the late 1970s when we would drive from Mpls to Oshkosh for the EAA convention. They are mowed a bit more now (boo, hiss!) but I still see wildflowers in the roadsides: bird's-foot trefoil (everywhere!), ox-eye daisies, monarda, black-eyed Susans, woodland sunflowers, Culver's root, Joe-Pye weed, ironweed, blue vervain, chicory, yarrow (of course), Queen Anne's lace, rabbit's-foot clover, not to mention big and little bluestem grasses. I used to stop and collect specimens* like you, to bring home and identify. The boys would get so annoyed with me as they waited impatiently in the car.

* Not the purple fringed orchid. I could tell that one was rare. But the next year one of the people who lives on our road decided he needed to mow the 2-foot strip where it grew next to the road. Jerk.)

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