3-fer Thursdays

Fall Gardening

It's really easy to love a garden in the spring and summer - when everything is bursting with bloom.  Most folks don't find fall gardens quite so charming, though.  

But I do!  I love my garden all the time . . . and maybe especially in the fall.

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Sure.  

Everything is way past its prime in my fall garden.  Most die-hard gardeners I know rush to cut back dying perennials in the fall, ready to be done with garden-tending for another season.  And . . . well . . . I am, too.  But also . . . not.

Fall in my garden is really a wonderful time, and I relish these days in my garden.

Why?  (Besides knowing I need to get my fill of it before snow keeps me out of it?)  Well . . . let me count the ways:

1 - I love the muted colors and crispy textures of my fall garden.

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In fact, I find some of my favorite color combinations in my fall garden -- and in fall landscapes, generally.  I often go on to use these fall garden color inspirations when it comes to choosing colors for a knitting project . . . or putting together pieces in my closet to wear.

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2 - Late season seedheads are so interesting!

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The blooms are long gone, sure.  But I love seeing the puffs and tufts of the seed heads in the fall.  Besides . . . I get even more blooms later (albeit maybe not where I want them) when the seeds scatter in my garden beds.  But I've discovered that "volunteer plants" often bring an unplanned unity to my garden.  Plus . . . free plants!  (And I can always pull them if I'm not happy about where they land.)

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3 - The pressure is off!

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No time to weed?  Lose track of your deadheading?  Well . . . in the fall, no one cares.  No one expects your garden to look good in the fall.  Shoot -- it's just a delight to still find something blooming.  And finches love the seedheads.  And there's always springtime for cleaning up!  Besides . . . if you leave some stuff out there in the garden, it becomes "winter interest" and will light up the garden when it catches the snow as it falls.

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I really do love a garden in fall.  How about you???

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

 


C'mon Along

. . . as I drive around this morning!

First stop -- the gym.  It's an early morning workout with my trainer.

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Next stop -- the library.  Three books are on hold for me!

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And finally . . . the KIA.  My drawing class is about to begin.

1C0D293D-8B64-4E1C-877E-015C1CF763F5Where have you been today?

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Hop on over to Carole's for more Three on Thursday posts.


Hello, October!

October is here . . . and I have a new monthly bucket list.

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Oh, sure . . . you might notice that some of the things on my October list are leftovers from previous monthly bucket lists (looking at you "clean fridge"), but mostly my list is full of new things I want to do this month.

Three items that might need a bit more explanation:

Sew four pairs of leggings.  (What?????)  Last fall, I made a pair of leggings (Pants No. 2 from Sonya Phillips), and I love them.  I wore them all the time last winter, and decided I wanted more.  So I bought fabric for four more pairs . . . and then never made them.  Now that cooler weather is coming, I've decided to have myself a Leggings Marathon!  I'm going to cut out and sew all four pairs "factory style" for maximum efficiency.  

Finish my 3/4-finished Alabama Chanin tunic.  Last year, I sewed nearly all of an Alabama Chanin wrap dress in the tunic length (and with long sleeves).  I got so very close to the finish line . . . and just stopped.  (I think I realized that I had forgotten to cut out the neck binding and was too lazy to do it.  Or something equally lame.)  It's time to finish!  All I have left are the ties, the facing, and the neck binding (which I cut out last weekend, so no excuses).

Solstice party timeline.  Yeah.  I know the party isn't until December.  But we've been having this party long enough now . . . that I know the sooner I get the timeline and master to-do lists ready, the easier the whole thing comes together.  And in December, it's all about ease and advance planning, y'know?

How about YOU?  What's on your "bucket list" for October?

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


Zinnia Magic 1-2-3

One of my favorite flowers in my fall garden is the hard-working zinnia.  It's just lovely . . . and magical at every stage of bloom. 

First, as a bud . . . 

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Then, as it opens . . . 

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And, finally, in full bloom. . .

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Flowers are magical, aren't they?

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

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And don't forget to check out my stash giveaway for the this month!  The deadline for comments is next Tuesday, October 1 at 5:00 pm Eastern.


Way More Than Three on a Thursday

Well, folks.  It's that time of year. . . We're getting near the end of gardening season, and my garden is looking Very Tired.  Here's a view of a portion of my back border, as seen from my patio door:

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I see a whole lotta brown out there in the foliage.  Some plants are dying back and preparing for the winter.  Other plants are screaming out for some pruning and cutting back.  It's time for me to assess and make plans for next year, plant some bulbs (but not until it gets closer to a freeze), and button it all up for winter.

But not quite yet!

Because some of my very favorite plants are (finally) making their blooming appearance in my garden -- and the bees and butterflies are going mad with joy.

I had planned to share my three favorite fall flowering plants in the garden, but I just couldn't limit it to three.  So today for Three on Thursday, you get Five on Thursday!

Hit it . . . 

Goldenrod

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Sweet autumn clematis

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Toad lily

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So many kinds of sedum

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Beauty berry

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There are so many wonderful things blooming in my garden right now!  (And I didn't even include the hydrangeas.)  (Maybe next week?)  I love having flowers in bloom from the start of the growing season . . . right through to the bitter end!

What's your favorite fall bloom?

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Be sure to check out all the other Three on Thursday posts over at Carole's today.  (And while you're there, be sure to tell Carole CONGRATULATIONS!)


Three . . . New T-shirts

I love a good t-shirt, and I picked up a few great ones this summer.

How about . . . I show you THREE?

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First up, my shirt from Greenbush Brewing in Sawyer, Michigan.  (Their very cool logo is in what would be Lake Michigan, pointing to their location on the map).  This shirt shows all 83 Michigan counties in a great graphic format.  (Kalamazoo County is in the 2nd row from the bottom, third county from the left.)  (Our cabin is in Lake County -- 6th row from the bottom, second county from the left.)

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Next -- a new workout shirt.  Telling it like it is!

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And, finally, my wish for all of you!

What's YOUR favorite t-shirt say?

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Be sure to check out other Three on Thursday posts today over at Carole's!


Bridget Started It!

Last week, Bridget did a Three on Thursday post with an interesting twist:  She listed three things that she hates does not like . . . but that everyone else DOES like.

It got me thinking.
And it got Tom thinking along with me.

Today, I'm sharing the results with Not-One-But-THREE lists of things we don't like . . . but that everyone else seems to like.

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(But first . . . this photo.  It's actually a photo of something I DO like -- rusty metal things -- that most people probably never notice.)  (This particular rusty metal thing is on the lighthouse pier in Ludington, Michigan.)

Anyway.  On with our lists . . . 

Three Things I Don't Like that Everyone Else Seems To Like:

  1. Popcorn (I don't even like the smell, but it's mostly the kernels getting stuck in my teeth.)  (And the flavor.)
  2. Daylilies (Yep.  The only flower I don't really care for.)
  3. Breaking Bad (That show makes my skin crawl.)

Three Things That Tom Doesn't Like that Everyone Else Seems To Like:

  1. Popcorn (He REALLY hates the smell, and especially if it's slightly burned.)
  2. It's a Wonderful Life (He has actually been made to feel like a pariah for this one on more than one occasion.)
  3. College football.  (Never a fan; doesn't care.)

And here's my bonus list -- Three Things Related to Knitting That I Don't Like that Most Knitters Seem To Like:

  1. Yarns that pool.  (They give me an eye twitch.)
  2. The whole "fade" thing.  (Unless it's done really, really well.)  
  3. Wearing hand knit socks with shoes.  (I know.  This one will probably get me thrown out of Knitlandia.  But while I am charmed by hand knit socks and wear them around the house, they are just too thick for me to wear inside shoes.*)  

How about you?  What do you dislike . . . that most people seem to like?

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* Please keep in mind that I hate wearing shoes, generally.  And especially with socks. 


38 Years Later

A week ago today, Tom and I celebrated our 38th anniversary with a quick trip to Chicago (yeah . . . we saw Hamilton again . . . ) and then had a bit of a "pub crawl" the next day on our way home.  (I say "a bit" because we only stopped at 2 places - Three Floyds in Munster, IN and Greenbush in Sawyer, MI . . . and one of us was the designated driver.)  (That was me.)

Anyway.  We had a great time.

Yesterday I pulled out my trusty salad bowl to use once again, and it got me thinking about our wedding -- because my salad bowl was a wedding gift.  I was thinking about how often I use this particular bowl, and what a perfect gift it was.  

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Tom's childhood neighbors, Mr. and Mrs. Ratliff, gave us the bowl.  It wasn't intended to be a salad bowl, actually -- just a lovely wooden bowl for display.  But over the years, it's become my go-to bowl for pretty much any salad I throw together.  I use it all the time, as you may be able to tell by the worn edges around the rim.  (That wear-and-tear has made the bowl all the more beautiful, actually.  I'm happy it's not one of those "pretty things" I just packed away and never used.) It is a much loved item in my kitchen, and I actually think about it being a wedding gift every time I use it.  

There are a few other wedding gifts that we still have and use regularly.  A lot of things were much appreciated back in 1981, but they simply did not hold up or stand the test of time over the long haul.  Since it's a Thursday, I thought it might be fun to share 3 more wedding gifts we're still using . . . 38 years later.  

Here they are:  Three Wedding Gifts with Staying Power.

1 - The glass-and-chrome "relish tray"

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As a 22-year-old, I remember unwrapping this gift and just thinking . . . what the heck will we ever do with THIS????  It is super shiny and totally not my style (then or now).  And yet . . . this particular relish tray has made an appearance at every single party or get-together we have hosted since 1981!  Ugly?  Yes!  But oh so useful!  The elevated chrome "tray" rotates.  The little glass "dishes" lift out separately for easy filling and even easier washing.  The middle "dish" is perfect for holding dips or hummus or what-have-yous, and the outside "dishes" are great for veggies or fruits or cheeses or crackers.  I mean . . . this bright and shiny hideosity turned out to be a PERFECT party serving piece and I will be forever grateful to my mom's former co-worker Mr. Dolence for this gift.  (I think of him and chuckle whenever I pull this tray out for a party.  I'm sure he wouldn't remember me or this relish tray even if tortured.)

2 - The Pyrex mixing bowl set

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If you were lucky enough to receive a Pyrex mixing bowl set for your wedding, you quickly realized . . . you were pretty much set for life when it came to mixing bowls.  Four sizes.  Super versatile.  An ultimate git-r-dun kind of kitchen tool.  Until I got my KitchenAid Stand Mixer about 10 years ago, every single batch of cookies, every cake, every meatloaf I ever made . . . was mixed in that big bowl there.  (Thanks Jeri Cay Boulden, Tri-Delt sister!  I'll bet you had no idea you'd live on in my memory forever because of these bowls.)  The smallest sized bowl - sadly - cracked only last year.  I miss it still.

3 - The remaining 2 items from the 6-piece kitchen utility set (with special veggie motif handles)

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Yep.  The potato masher and a very sad (but much used) strainer are all that remain of this set -- which at one time included a little hanging rack (also with veggie motif) and matching spatula, ladle, fork, and mixing spoon.  I don't actually remember when the other utility tools met their ends (except for the spatula) (the plastic handle made contact with a hot burner) (it wasn't pretty), but these guys still have a place in my utility drawer --even making it through multiple Kon-Marie's of my kitchen.  I don't actually recall who gave us this particular gift, but I'm betting they'd be surprised that it's lasted this long.  (By the way, that veggie motif?  Sticker!)

38 years later.  
Still going strong!

There are a few other long-lasting wedding gifts around -- a few random steak knives, a sterling silver tray, the "happy mushroom" motif potholders (I'd share a photo, but they're in the cabin kitchen up north), a wedding clock that doesn't work any more (but is still quite pretty), a coffee table book about Idaho (there was a connection), and a Corning Ware cutting board (we remember the giver with much fondness).

How about you?  Do you have any gifts - wedding or otherwise - that have really stood the test of time?

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Last reminder -- please let me know by today at 5pm Eastern time if you're interested in this month's stash giveaway.

 


Three More Of Our Adventures in Alaska

We had so many great adventures in Alaska!  
Here are three more . . . 

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1 - We went kayaking!

Ketchikan was our first Alaskan port, and after spending the morning exploring Ketchikan (and eating the first of many fish-and-chips-for-lunch meals) (because fish-and-chips in Alaska is amazing), Tom and I spent the afternoon on a guided kayaking expedition around the Tatoosh Islands (just north of Ketchikan).

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The setting was absolutely lovely.  I wish I could share more photos of this most beautiful place and our adventure with you, but . . . I was busy paddling.

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Although the water looks pretty calm, it was . . . the sea.  There were waves (which did freak me out a bit) (because although I do a lot of kayaking on our lake, there are never any waves).  And it was a windy day.  So every now and then, we would come around an island and . . . whoa!  Waves!  But for the most part, it was pretty easy paddling.  We saw deer and lots of eagles on our paddle -- including one that landed on a tree very close to us.  

It was exhilarating to be out in the kayaks.  I'm so glad we spent our afternoon on the water.

2 - We saw bears!

Although we kept our eyes open for bear sightings throughout our trip, while we were in Sitka we visited Fortress of the Bear, a sanctuary for orphaned bears in Alaska.  And there?  We saw bears!

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This is just an awesome bear sanctuary.  Very well done and well maintained -- run by animal behaviorists who are passionate about their work.  It is just a beautiful spot for these bears - who would otherwise have been euthanized.

We watched 3 black bears . . . 

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(I know . . . there are only 2 in my photo.  But there were 3.)

And several groups of brown bears.

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It was such a treat to see the bears doing their regular bear activities:  foraging for food, climbing trees, frolicking, swimming.  We really enjoyed our time at this beautiful sanctuary.  (We never did see any bears in the wild during our trip.)

3 - We took a walk through the rainforest!

Before our trip, I didn't fully realize that we'd be in a rainforest the whole time.  I thought about mountains and glaciers and water . . . but I just didn't get the rainforest part.  In fact, for our entire trip, we were in the Tongass National Forest - part of the Pacific temperate rainforest ecoregion.

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The contrast between the forest and the water and the mountains is just stunning.  And I especially loved all the foliage and trees.

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I wish my computer had a scratch-and-sniff feature for you.  Since it doesn't, you'll just have to imagine the fresh, earthy smell of the forest for yourself.

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Alaska is just an amazing place -- and I'm so glad we went on this most excellent adventure!

 

 


It's a Bonus Day

When you visit the jury duty reporting website and find this message . . . 

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it means Bonus Day!

I woke up this morning filled with gratitude.  I have a day in front of me that has been blocked out in my calendar for 6 weeks.  And now that day is . . .
Open.  
Free.  
Completely MINE.

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So.

What am I going to do with this wide-open, fresh-and-clear day?

  1. I'm heading to the gym for an early class that I thought I'd have to miss.
  2. I'm running a couple of errands.  (Hello new print cartridges!)
  3. I'm catching up on a big chunk of paperwork for a volunteer commitment.

And I'll probably putter around in the garden, too.  
Because where else would I want to be on a Bonus Day!

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What are YOU doing today?