Saturday, July 6, 2013

Adventures in Gardening - Part 2

Yes, it's been a while.  I've been spending some time in my garden and have pictures to prove it.

Still enjoying the birds.  We get a visit from many cardinals, twice a day.

And there's always the bathing antics.  What's not to love watching them?

Quite drenched, and looking at me wondering what I'm pointing at him!

Beside our attempt to attract more birds this year, I also wanted to create a haven for butterflies.  For years,  it seems that I don't see many a lot of butterflies around.  When I was young, we saw monarch butterflies all over the place.  Not so much anymore.  So I've been adding more perennials that are butterfly friendly.  And it seems like it may be a success.  I've seen more this year.  In fact, my garden runs the length of my back yard and then wraps around in the back to almost the width of the yard.  And yesterday, I sat and watched a butterfly flit through the garden, taking in the sights.  About an hour later, back again, with a friend.  And every half hour after that.  I'm thinking I'm moving in the right direction in putting the right plants in.

I didn't go to any fireworks displays this year.  Actually, I rarely do.  I love the displays but would like them better without the BOOM!! (I also realized that staying home didn't save me from that.  The neighbors had plenty of BOOM!)  But I got my own little show from my garden.  Don't these look like fireworks?

July 5th

July 6th
What a difference a day makes!
Veggies are doing pretty good.  So far, my only concern is with the peppers.  I would think they'd be bigger by now.  But I'm patient.  Everything else is doing well, and most of what I have is organic and/or heirloom seeds.  That makes me happy!!  Didn't get a shot of the 5 gallon bucket with carrots, but they are also doing well.

Green Peppers

Broccoli - gotta figure out what is feasting on the leaves!



Sunflowers - Just cuz I like them!

Spaghetti Squash

Zucchini Squash
(I see a little yellow flower there!!)

After the birds dug up most of the zucchini seeds, I had to start some new ones.
We'll see how that goes.

We were blessed late in June with some crazy rains.  Temps were lower than normal, which might account for the lack of growth with the peppers.  Overall, I think the garden's doing well!!  And it's just so dang pretty to sit and enjoy!

Soon, we will have some concrete work done.  If it turns out to be exciting, I'll post pics!!

Enjoy the rest of your Fourth weekend.  

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Garden Visitors

One of my garden goals this year was to encourage a greater variety of visitors to stop by.  The winged kind, that is.  I started early this year, putting out food that would entice them to stop by, once the word was out what they could dine on!  And I've not been disappointed.  Of course we've had robins and sparrows, :

the cardinal

and the starling, 
(Can that look be any more menacing??)

But new this year are the rose-breasted grosbeak,  
Isn't he beautiful?
the goldfinch,

And the downy woodpecker. 

I attribute the arrival of the newcomers to the suet and the premium sunflower seed we offer them. We've also purchased a bird book to help us identify which species are there.  For the longest time, I thought these little redheads were house finches, but it turns out some of them are purple finches (it's the shape of the tail). I've also realized that some that I labeled as sparrows (females) were actually pine siskin.  
"Hey guys, move over...make room for me!!"

And there's always the joy of watching them enjoy the birdbath. I'd love to get more pics of the water being tossed around. I've got all summer to capture that.

I hope you enjoyed this latest edition of "Adventures in Gardening."  

Monday, May 27, 2013

Memorial Day 2013

Hey, You...Yeah...The one over there who served to protect our American freedom.

The one who realized that this country is the greatest and that what we have is worth protecting.  The one who, when I see you walking through the airport probably on your way home from a tour of duty, makes me want to run up and give you a hug.  Yeah, you're the one.  I just wanted to say...

And I appreciate what you've done!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Adventures in Gardening

Since I've been so very absent to posting in the last couple of months, I'm going to try again.  We are stepping into garden season, my most favorite time to take pictures.  And I really do want to blog more, because that helps me to keep creative juices flowing!  So why not combine the two?!?!!  I'm hoping to regularly post the adventures I'm having in my garden this year.

One of the things I'm focusing on this year is growing organic.  As I mentioned previously, I've done a lot of reading lately about the chemicals that are in the foods we eat and even the seeds we plant.  So this year, I purchased organic or heirloom seeds.  Starting from scratch where I can.  I've already planted broccoli, lettuce, sunflowers, carrots, radishes and basil.  This three day weekend, I'll plant more.
Carrots - Growing in a 5 gallon bucket


Sunflowers - with egg shells around it to deter slugs

I've asked my PG to build me some raised beds.  They are beautiful!

I'm using my own compost in each of the beds.  And making more in these:

Today, there is a March Against Monsanto happening around the world.  I know to many, this is an uninteresting subject.  Most people want to get on with their own lives and don't have time to take on the big stuff!  To me, this is the big stuff.  One thing that stuck with me when reading about genetically modified organisms (GMO's) is that the seeds that Monsanto sells to farmers are seeds that have their own pesticide/herbicide engineered into the seed.  Imagine what you are eating if the seed had that in it?  And they've managed to convince our lawmakers to create laws that prohibit farmers from saving seeds.  And they've engineered soybeans to be resistant to Round-up.  So a soybean isn't really a soybean as nature intended.

Yes, I could be joining the march today, in Chicago.  But here's my thought on it...I'm going to start in my own backyard, with my own family.  I'm going to talk about it within my circle of friends (and blog buddies). I know it's a weighty issue, and I'm not looking for any huge discussion.  Just asking you to think about it.  Because, if you're my friend, I'd love for you to be around for a very long time. And one way to do that is to eat without the chemicals.

Another way is to really take a look at what you are buying.  There's a huge movement right now that is asking for companies to label which products contain GMO's.  Lots of push back from most corporations.  One who's stepping up to the plate is Chipotle.  On their website, they have a page that shows which menu items are likely to have GMO's.  Pretty responsible, I'd say.  Wouldn't you like to see more?  Do you wonder why you don't??

And before I forget, there's always the flowers.  Well, not so much yet.  But my blog buddy, Ms. A over at Sarcastic Granny has inspired me to work on going thru a photography book to learn more about my camera.  (Check out some of her photography!  STUNNING). And I'm hoping there are enough flowers and pretty things in my garden be worthy of taking pictures.

Okay, so that's Part I of Adventures in Gardening.  Stay well, all...and eat healthy!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Celebrating Mother Earth

Courtesy of
Think about what this means.  Holding the earth in your hands. Sort of like you hold a child's face in your hands.  Lovingly.  Tenderly.  

I've been doing some reading about the foods we eat.  The chemicals that are in our food.  The pesticides and herbicides that are not only used as our food grows, but that are engineered to be within the seeds.  Imagine that.  A seed that has the ability to kill off something before it even attacks the plant.  

Doesn't that make you wonder what you really are ingesting?  

Nine months ago, I had this vision of the new look to my garden.  It would have plenty of perennials.  It would be magical.  It would transport me as I walked thru it.  But the more I read, the more I realized I wanted to have more say in what I eat.  So now, the plan is to expand my garden to grow more vegetables.  I picked up seeds that don't have pesticides engineered into them.  Heirloom seeds.  Organic seeds.  Raising the plants in raised beds.  

I would love to see our village start a community garden.  I have the perfect place in mind.  I think it's time I started being a little more vocal about things like this in our community.  

My grandkids will be on this earth for a good many more decades.  I want to do my small part to make this earth a safer place for them to live.  

Courtesy of the Northbrook Tower 4/16/13

 Thanks for stopping in.  Eat healthy!!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Post-Easter Catch Up

I have a friend who recently moved to Evanston (IL) and lives about 3 blocks from Lake Michigan.  We've had a few conversations about the beauty of the sunrises she gets to enjoy as she leaves for work.  So very early on Easter morning, I took a ride to her place so that we could photograph the sunrise.  Most of you already know I have this thing about sunrises.

Unfortunately, there were clouds on the horizon so we didn't get to witness the sun popping out of the water.  But fortunately (and unexpectedly), we had an opportunity to capture a different view.  A congregation had gathered for an Easter sunrise service.  They even brought three crosses to symbolize the three crosses at Calvary.  It was beautiful to witness.  Talk about God's glory!!  And as we stood back and watched, one couple arrived late.  Thus, the name given to the picture.  

"The Stragglers"
Easter Sunrise Service 3/31/13
Evanston, IL

Here's your bit of trivia for week.  It came up over the weekend, in a room full of Catholics.  We had to get the answer from the internet, because no one was certain.  The question came up as to why Easter is not on a set date.  It moves around each year, sometimes early, sometimes late.  Y'know why??  It has to do with the spring equinox.  Easter falls on the first Sunday after the full moon following the spring equinox.

Little Miss had her birthday party this weekend.  Daddy put together a game based on one of her favorite characters, Dora the Explorer.  This kid has expressions that just go on and on!!  (I swear she knows that this makes us all laugh!!) -- Thanks for the pics, Aunt Colleen!
Courtesy of Colleen Buti Awbrey
Courtesy of Colleen Buti Awbrey

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Happy Birthday, Ava Clare!

Three years ago, I watched the movie "Up" with my grandson as we waited for his little sister to arrive.  A cute little animated love story!  And an adventure story!

I got the call early in the morning.  My daughter said that there was no hurry, but that I should start getting ready to come over.  By the time I got there, she was ready to leave for the hospital.  My grandson was not all that happy that she and daddy were leaving, since there seemed to be quite a bit of activity in the house that morning.   But once Mom & Dad were in the car, and I suggested going downstairs to watch the movie, he started a little march with the words, "Hey Ho, Let's Go!!"  (Not sure where that came from, but this Gram laughed her ass off!!!)

It wasn't long after the movie was over that we received a call asking us to come and meet the little sister.  Didn't even know her name until I was introduced to her at the hospital!

And today, we celebrate her turning 3!!  And we celebrate what a sweet little girl she is!

Happy Birthday, Ava Clare!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Happy Birthday, Dad!

How I miss you!!  So many times I look at my kids and wish they had gotten to know you!!  

Today is my Dad's birthday.  Today, he would be 99 years old. So today, I rerun one of my favorite posts.

Today, I'm celebrating. I'm celebrating my outlook on life. I'm celebrating friendships. I'm celebrating laughter. I'm celebrating family. Today, I'm celebrating my Dad's birthday. He would have been 96 99 today. And although he passed away in 1975, I do celebrate his birthday every year. Because I strongly believe my love of life, my love of family, my friendships and how dear they are to me, have all been influenced by my Dad. The way he lived his life serves as a beacon to guide me in the way I live mine. So today, I celebrate...

I celebrate Dad's love of family.

He worked as a shipping supervisor for a pharmaceutical company. You can imagine the pay wasn't that great. But he managed to proudly support his family of 7 kids with that job. No handouts from the government. He was the sole breadwinner for many years. As I've been digging thru old documents and pictures, I see how he managed it. I find budget envelopes. I find bank books with weekly deposits. Simply amazing to me!!!
I celebrate his love of country.
Dad proudly served in the Navy during World War II. Even though he was married with a child on the way, he did what every proud American did back then. He joined to protect our nation and our rights.

I celebrate his love of life.

See that twinkle in his eye? I was lucky enough to experience that most mornings after I graduated high school. Dad and I were early risers. So many mornings, we sat at the kitchen table chatting over our first cup of the day. And I would love to look into his eyes as he talked. They would twinkle, the same way you would think of a leprechaun's twinkle. It actually set the tone for the day. And I honestly can't think of a time it wasn't like that. He just loved life.

I celebrate his love of laughter,

whether it was he who laughed, or he who made others laugh.

When we were lucky enough to have Dad join us for dinner (usually it was only Sundays and holidays), he would always come up with at least one very corny joke. Of course, I usually laughed my butt off, because I saw the sillier side of Dad. And, again, watching his face I could tell the punchline was going to be a silly one. So I was ready for it. And I think I enjoyed it all the more because of it. He just loved to make people laugh. I have no idea what he was trying to say in this picture, but I can tell you it was in the early to mid 40s and clearly he's clowning about being a sheik or something. But I have no doubt he entertained those he was with.

I celebrate an all around good guy.

When my Dad worked for Montgomery Wards as a Santa one year, all I could think about was how perfect he was for the job. After all, we know Santa has a twinkle in his eye, right? He really enjoyed this gig. Once again, he just really enjoyed life.

So that gives you a little glimpse of my Dad, who would have been 96 99 today.

One final note: When my Dad passed away, his wake was not a somber event. I looked around the room at the funeral home and listened to the chatter. It actually had a party atmosphere to it. And I remember thinking, This is exactly how Dad would have wanted it. Celebrating his life, not mourning his death. The procession of cars from the church to the cemetery was at least 2 miles long. It really spoke to just how many lives this wonderful man had an effect on. And I was lucky enough to call him Dad. 

Happy Birthday, Dad!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Hello Again!!

You know when you just don't feel just right, due to a cold?  You just aren't hittin' on all cylinders? That's me lately.  Not that it's any excuse to not post on my blog, but it's all I got!!!

Last weekend, I ran to Menards to stock up on birdseed/bird products.  I'm figuring if I feed them well now, they will continue to show up in the spring and summer.  Didn't take long before my beloved cardinals found the sunflower seeds and stale cornbread.  The males are the brightest red I've ever seen.  They visit in the morning and at dusk.  I love cardinals!!

I made some pretzel bread this morning.  This is my absolute favorite with my chicken noodle soup.

As requested, LT!!!

I'm hooked up with Instagram now.  My dear friend, Leanne, over at From Chaos Comes Happiness, posted about doing a memory album with her Instagram pictures.  I was absolutely sold on getting it on my Android.  When I'm with the grandkids, I don't want to have my camera get in the way of the fun we are having.  So now, I can just pull out my phone and take a picture of the event.  Yeah, I'm still new at it, but I'll get there.  My only issue is I don't know how to get them from Instagram to my blogger.  So, those cute pics of my grandkids will have to wait.

Never fear, I'll find know I'm a sucker for posting those pics!

The Academy Awards are on now, but they just aren't keeping me all that I'm heading to bed.  I'll check in the morning on the winners.

Oh, and I went to a purse party today.  One where you pick the fabric and purse style.  Once that comes in, I'll post a picture of that, too!