Seasonal

Such a Treat

The weather this fall has been just incredible!

Oh, we've had some chilly days and some rain, but - for the most part - we've had warm-ish temperatures and a good share of sunshine.

Here it is, the last week in October, and I still have some of my containter plants outside!

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I still enjoy sitting in my garden swing every day, and we're still having drinks-on-the-patio as often as we can manage it.

Shoot -- I'm still wearing my flip flops!

What a wonderful fall!  Such a treat. . . 


Still On the Patio

As the temperatures drop, I have been wanting one of those groovy-looking patio heaters.  You know the ones?  Tall.  Sleek.  Attractive.

Because . . . I want to stay out on the patio, enjoying drinks and snacks and looking at the garden . . . in my flip flops . . . for as long as possible.

So I sent Tom to Lowes.

And he came back with a perfectly serviceable, function-over-form propane tank-top heater.

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Not even a little bit attractive.

But you know what?  It WORKS.

As the sun went down and the temperature dipped into the low 50s, Tom and I enjoyed our drinks and snacks and conversation on the patio.  Without coats.  Without blankets.  

Comfortable.

Toasty.

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Thanks, Mr. Heater!


It's the Berries . . .

My garden is winding down for the season.  The leaves are turning color, and the flowers are on their last gasp. 

Now is the time for berries to shine!

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This absolutely lovely plant is the beautyberry -- and the berries?  That's their actual, un-retouched color!  I cut the plant to the ground in the spring, and the foliage is all rather nondescript during the summer, but - oh, my! - does it ever SHINE in the fall!  One of my favorites.  (The squirrels and birds are big fans as well.)

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These are the fruit/berries of my Washington Hawthorn tree.  They are lovely berries -- and such a treat for neighborhood squirrels and - one of my favorite birds - the cedar waxwing.  I didn't plant the Hawthorn; it was here when we purchased our house -- and I have a rather love/hate relationship with the tree.  I love the berries in fall.  But.  The tree has HUGE thorns (thus, the name), and early on, while doing some pruning, I impaled my thumb joint with one of the thorns.  (I nearly had to have surgery to correct the damage.  Thankfully, it healed without.)  I have since made my peace with the tree, and enjoy the berries (and accompanying wildlife) every fall.

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A couple of years ago, I "rescued" this porcelain vine from a clearance table at Lowes.  I had no idea the berries were so beautiful!  This $1.00 plant gives me so much joy every fall -- the colors are glorious.  (And the birds love it, too!)

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These are not berries . . . even though they kind of look like them.  These are seeds emerging from their seedpod on my star magnolia.  They're so exotic-looking -- and were such a surprise the first time I found them. 

The garden brings joy in every season.  In the fall?  It's the berries!

 

 

 


No Regrets

When I woke up yesterday, I sat down and planned my day -- and wrote a to-do list for myself that was long and industrious.

Then . . . I took the dogs out for a walk (item #3) and discovered what a beautiful day it was out there.

I had a change of heart.  (Or I guess you might call it a change of priorities.)

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I decided to bag the list entirely . . . and putter around in the garden instead!

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I got started on my fall chores . . . weeding and cutting back and and making notes for next year.  I enjoyed working with the chickadees swarming around my newly-filled feeder and the bees just buzzing away in the fall blooms.

It was just what I needed.  (It's always just what I needed, actually.)

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My lists can wait.  

Beautiful fall days in the garden, though?  They need to be savored!


Look Back and Think Ahead

This week for Ten on Tuesday - on the last official Tuesday of summer - Carole has us looking back at the five best things about our summer and ahead at five things we're looking forward to about fall.

Okay.  So it hasn't been the best of summers here in my world.  But . . . nestled among the angst and the sadness, there were some pretty brilliant moments.

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1 -- Carole and Dale came to visit Tom and I here in Michigan.

2 -- I went on a fabulous trip to Scotland and Ireland with my sister.  (Watch this space later this week, when my travel blogs begin again.  I still have much to share about our trip.)

3 -- Erin visited for what was supposed to be a week, but turned into nearly two.  (And at a very critical time.  She was an angel.)

4 -- Tom and I visited Brian and Lauren in Boulder.  (Thanks, Di.)

5 -- I was able to spend a lot of time with my mom, in what turned out to be the last months of her life.

 

As for fall?  I'm looking forward to the change of seasons this year.  Here's what I'm looking forward to:

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6 -- Spending a bit of time up north.  (I missed pretty much the whole summer at our cottage on the lake, but I can still spend a few wonderful fall weekends up there.)

7 -- Fall gardening.  Transplanting and cleaning up; maybe even preparing a new border for next spring. I think I might even buy some more bulbs.  (The question . . . Will I actually plant them???)

8 -- Planning my mom's memorial service and family Thanksgiving extravaganza.  (We're rolling it all into one big week.)

9 -- Convincing Tom to buy a bike.  (But don't hold your breath.)

10 -- Settling.  (I'm not sure exactly what this means . . . but I feel a powerful need to do it!)

 

How about YOU?  What was your best summer moment . . . and what are you looking forward to this fall?

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Join the fun!  See what everyone else has to say here.

 

 


Keep it Cool

I don't know about where you live, but where I live . . . it's been hot, Hot, HOT!  Steamy hot.  

This week, Carole asks us . . . How to keep cool in the summer's heat?

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  1. Get in the water -- the beach, a lake, or a pool
  2. Find a shady spot when you're outside
  3. Drink plenty of water
  4. (Or a cold beer)
  5. (Or a crisp glass of chardonnay)
  6. Turn on the air conditioning - and use the fans
  7. Wear loose, light clothing
  8. Stop cooking -- and eat cold foods instead
  9. (Like ice cream!)
  10. (Or Creamsicles!)

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How about YOU?  How do you keep cool during the summer's heat?

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My Summer Bucket List

Summer . . . 

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My goals this summer are really pretty simple.  I want to . . .

  1. Spend as much time as I can outside, soaking up the sun and enjoying the hot, summer air.  (It's what gets me through the winter.)
  2. Mix things up a bit in my garden beds.  Nothing drastic -- just moving a few things around and into better "spots."  (It happens.  Things grow differently - or bigger - than you first imagine.  And then you have to do a little housekeeping.)
  3. Plant a tree. (Or two).
  4. Visit faraway places.  (Kind of a no-brainer at this point, since I leave for Scotland and Ireland in a couple of weeks.)
  5. Enjoy some of my favorite places closer to home.  (Can you say Lake Michigan beaches?)
  6. Unplug from the Internet now and again.  (I give up.  I'm retreating back into my cave.)
  7. Sit outdoors and try more plein air watercolor painting.  (My latest art class - now complete - involved 4 weeks of painting plein air.  Intriguing.  But I need a lot more practice!)
  8. Bike the Kal-Haven Trail.  (Possible plans for this Friday.  Let's hope the weather cooperates.)
  9. Try a paddle board on our lake up north.  (I'm looking for an on-sale, low-end paddle board.  Because that's all I'd need.)
  10. Sit on the patio - or up at the lake - and watch the fireflies.  (My all-time favorite summer wonder.)

How about YOU?  What's on your summer bucket list?

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What a Difference 6 Days Makes!

Last weekend?

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Snow.

Freezing.

Ice.

Tom running in 20ºF.

Discouraged.

Somewhat desperate for spring.

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This weekend?

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Sunshine.

Blue skies.

Perfect weather.

Getting a little sunburned.

Thrilled.

So grateful for such a quick turnaround!

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Spring.  So bad when it's bad.  But so good when it's good!