Monthly Archives: July 2013

My Garden Missed Me

While I was off being footloose and fancy free on my mini vacation, my garden was back here missing me.  I heard it breathe a huge sigh of relief when I came home and went out to check on it.  Oh, wait… that was me.  😉

I missed my garden while I was away.  Putzing around, tending to it, admiring its daily progress, and spending time out there reflecting on the various life lessons it teaches me ~ about growth, strength, resilience, and beauty (just to name a few).  I had some of that on my trip too, being out in nature always speaks to my soul, but sometimes it’s in the simpler, everyday things that I hear those lessons the clearest.  Or maybe I’m just being overly dramatic about my garden.  😀

Anyway there’s lots going on out there!  I’ve had a wonderful harvest of green beans, and they’re still coming!  I must take another look at the seed packet for these because I definitely have a different variety than I had last year, and I want to make sure I get this same kind again.

I’ve also been enjoying a great harvest of zucchini.  There is so much happening on this one plant, it’s crazy!

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I love it, so fun!  We had chilly autumn-like weather over the weekend and I baked up my first loaves of zucchini bread.  I flubbed it up and their bottoms stuck to the pans, but it still tasted delicious.  Before I went on vacation, I played mad scientist in the kitchen and experimented making new concoctions using zucchini, and I’m happy to report that I came up with a very yummy oven fried zucchini recipe!  One can never have too many zucchini recipes when the season comes around.  😀

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The cucumbers are coming right along as well…

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I’ve lost a few to the squirrels, but there appear to be plenty of them developing on the vine to be able afford to share a little.

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Remember the baby squirrels I had living in my tree this past spring?  (if not, see “Amidst My Branches”)  Well, I’m pretty sure they’re the culprits.  And, they appear to be quite tame.  One of them came right up to me on the patio yesterday morning, I thought it was going to climb right up into my lap!  And another (or maybe the same one) poked around on the ground and then climbed around in the lilac bush right next to me while I was at my potting bench, not one bit nervous of me being so close by.  They must recognize me from my window when I gawked at them and photographed them.  😉  Anyway, they’re not being too much of a nuisance at this point, hope it stays that way.  They sure are cute little things!  ♥

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I’m starting to see the first hints of red on the tomatoes…

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Yes I know, technically it’s orange, but orange is the first hint of red.  😉

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Not seeing any yellow yet on my bell pepper though…

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But it’s still a bit too early for that.  I’m not getting very many blooms that are developing into fruit on this plant and I’m not sure why.  It started out with tons, but they all shriveled up and fell off in the early stages.  I may have to read up on what the deal is with that.  In the meantime, I’m just happy to have this one growing nicely.  🙂

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And I’m also happy I’ve got more jalapenos developing…

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I had someone steal the last ones that came ready, and it wasn’t a squirrel.  But I’m not going to go into that story, I’m just gonna be glad that more are growing out there.

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Things are blooming out there too.  The Hosta are looking lovely…

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as are the Phlox…

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and the Bee Balm…

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My sis bought me this plant last year and I’m so pleased it’s growing well.   Even if it’s slightly weird looking, it smells so wonderful and has such vibrant color!

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There were a few garden casualties sustained while I was gone.  My cheerful little strawberry pot got completely obliterated in the heat wave we had.  My dear mom did all she could to try and keep it going, but it just couldn’t be helped.  I trimmed back all its foliage and am excited to see some new little growth sprouting out of it.  Also, one of the pots of petunias I had on the patio bit the dust.  I trimmed that back as well, but I’m not sure it’s gonna make it, I’ll have to wait and see if it perks back up.

Otherwise all is alive and well in my tiny garden, and for that I am truly grateful.  Time to head out there right now with my coffee for my morning “lesson.”  It’s a beautiful morning here, hope the weather is nice wherever you are too!  😀

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~Gardening is my therapy~

Adventures From My Mini Vacation

Gosh it was great to get away for a little while, it’s seemed like forever since I’ve had any sort of vacation, so I was well overdue for one, and I had such a wonderful time with my sis and my daughter on our little mini vacation.

I’ve spent the past few days decompressing a bit and catching up on things since returning home, and after having had a chance to look through all the snapshots taken by the 3 of us during our trip, I thought I’d share a few.  Okay, well, maybe there will be more than just a few.  😉

We took off for parts unknown without much of a plan other than knowing that we wanted to be near water.  All 3 of us have been longing for the Pacific Northwest in the most terrible way, but taking a trip out there just isn’t possible at the moment.  So with Minnesota being the “Land of 10,000 Lakes” we chose the biggest body of water and headed straight toward it ~ Lake Superior!  It’s sort of like a mini ocean.  In fact, I believe it’s considered the largest freshwater lake by surface area in the world.  And it’s glorious, I’m so thankful to live only a few hours away!

I’ve been up along the North Shore of Lake Superior billions of times over the years, it’s one of my favorite places to go in Minnesota, but this time I was feeling like doing something new and thought we should check out Lake Superior’s south shore to see what adventures could be had.  So off we went with no real plan or any idea of where we’d end up.  My inner organized planner was a bit panicked at the thought of not having any hotel reservations anywhere and just flying by the seat of my pants, but sometimes it’s good to step out of your comfort zone and let life just unfold as it wills…

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My mom snapped this of the 3 of us in the car as we were leaving…

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Even though I fear for my life every time my sis gets behind the wheel (I’m kidding… sort of ;)), I was very grateful to her for doing all the driving so I could just take in all the sights.  But I was the navigator so I had my face in a map or looking at the GPS some of the time.  And despite what she may say, I’m a great navigator.  We only took a few wrong turns along the way.  😀

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We also snapped a picture of my Mom as we were leaving…

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She may be smiling and waving, but she was also crying.  😦  Sad to see us go, but also happy for us to be going on an adventure at the same time.  My mom stayed home to hold down the fort, watching over the pets and watering my garden for me.  Thanks so much Momma!  ♥

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The first thing I did when we got on the road was cover up the digital clock on the dashboard in the car so that our trip wouldn’t be ruled by whatever time it was.  I had read in my devotions that morning how time can become a sort of tyrant that controls us, so I thought I’d just nip that in the bud right at the start.  I had a pink sticky-note handy so I tore off a piece and I used it to shut that tyrant right up.  😉

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Except… as we went along, we realized that we weren’t that free spirited after all and ended up taking it off so we could see what time it was.  But we left it posted there just above the clock as a reminder to try not to be too swayed by what time it was when deciding what to do during our trip.

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After a brief stop at my sis’ cabin so she could water her garden, we made our way north to Duluth where we would take in our first sights of Lake Superior before heading east to travel along it’s southern shore.  We were really surprised to find it was extremely hot there, even near the water.  Never in all the times that I’ve been up there can I ever remember a time that is has been so hot.  I believe the temp was 93 that day, and I think the average high is like 77, so it was quite unusual.  We didn’t stay there and frolic by the water or spend as much time there as we thought we would, we just stopped for ice cream made our way out of town.

Our next stop was Amnicon Falls…

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The sound of the falls and the scent of pine was so refreshing and such a wonderful delight to my senses.  ♥

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It was lovely from a distance, but we were all wanting a more up close experience, so when we found a little trail that wasn’t too steep, we went down to dip our feet into the iron colored water.  It was wonderful!

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My sis got a bit more of an up close experience than she had bargained for when she found a wood tick on her leg the next morning.  We’re pretty sure this is where she got it as this was the only wooded area where she got out and explored.  Ew wood ticks are so disgusting!  Glad it wasn’t me, I would have completely freaked!

I suppose perhaps it could have hitched a ride on either my daughter or I here…

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This was on one of those “wrong turns” I mentioned earlier.  After we left Amnicon Falls I got a little confused as to the exact way back to the road that ran along Lake Superior and we ended up on a road where we came across this old abandoned house.  We both wanted to get a closer look so we asked my sis to pull over so we could check it out.

As we were making our way back to the car, we saw a man pull over and get out of his car and walk over toward my sis.  We got a bit nervous as to what his intentions might be, but apparently when he saw us pulled over there looking at the house he thought that we might be relatives of his, as this was the house his mother had grown up in.  The thing about road trips is that there always seem to these old abandoned houses scattered along the way, and you wonder about the history of them.  I do, anyway.  He told us that his mother had grown up in this house along with 11 siblings in the early 1900’s.  It was such a cool coincidence because we were only stopped there for about 5 minutes and this man himself wasn’t even from around the area and just happened to be passing by at the same time as we were.

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Another cool thing that happened during our “wrong turn” was that we saw some baby coyotes on the side of the road.  Of course by the time we had passed by them and turned the car around to go back and try to get another look they were running away.

My daughter snapped this before the last one had disappeared out of sight…

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Being a huge canine lover, she was floating on cloud nine from seeing these coyote pups.  They really were adorable!  And even though this photo isn’t anything to speak of, it does provide a nice little remembrance of a very cool encounter that happened along our travels.

Sometimes taking a wrong turn can bring you unexpected joys…

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Evening was approaching as we reached the lovely town of Bayfield Wisconsin, so we decided to look for a place to sleep for the night.  Being a bit of a tourist area with The Apostle Islands National Lakeshore also situated right there, we were a bit concerned about finding a place to stay, and the first place we inquired at was booked for the evening.  The next place we stopped was at the Bay Front Inn and they were also booked, but luckily for us they had just received a cancellation.  And they offered us the room at a considerably discounted price!  What a wonderful surprise and it was a gorgeous, spacious room!

With a huge deck and a wonderful view…

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We stayed two nights, and I snapped this next shot from our room’s deck on our second evening as dusk was settling in.  It was absolutely beautiful!  Hi moon!  ♥

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On our first day in Bayfield we took a 3-hour boat cruise to tour The Apostle Islands.  My favorite part of the tour was the sea caves on Devil’s Island, they were amazing!  The color of the water, and the color of the rock formations was stunning!

I wish I could have captured a decent shot of them, but unfortunately, I didn’t have a very good vantage point on the boat for photographing them and the lighting was bad too, so these pictures are not even remotely close to a true representation of how remarkably beautiful it really was.  You’ll just have to take my word for it.  😉

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It was so wonderful to be out on the water, and when there wasn’t anything of particular interest going on during the tour I went out and wandered around on the boat a bit.  I ended up talking to an elderly gentleman who had recently lost his wife, he was a friendly fellow, but clearly sad.  He talked about his wife, what a great cook she was, and how they had been married for 65 years.  I never caught his name, but I remember him saying his wife’s name was Dee.  Bless his heart.  Chatting with him made me miss my pops.

Also while wandering around, my daughter and I went out to the rear of the boat and I snapped this picture of her looking out at our wake.

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Later that day we took the ferry over to Madeline Island.  We had heard it was sort of a big deal, but when we got there, we couldn’t figure out for the life of us what all the hype was about.  We made the best of it though.

We had a cute, friendly dog being playful under our feet on the 20 minute ferry ride over…

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I actually enjoyed that very much, got my dog fix in.  😉  I loved her different colored eyes, so unique!

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And we made friends with another dog while on the island, she was a precious little thing named Mabel.  She reminded me of my dog Junior who I had a long time ago.  I couldn’t get a decent photo of her, she was constantly moving about, but I took this of her paw prints that she left on the beach…

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We had a nice time there just dipping our feet in the water and listening to the waves lap against the shore…

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That evening we had dinner at a great little pizza and pasta place, Ethel’s at 250.  It was busy and the place was so small that it was an hour wait to be seated, but the people were friendly and the food was yummy.  I loved this sign they had hanging over the door, what a great reminder…

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Before turning in for the night, we went down to the Desert Dock for ice cream.  It was a little sidewalk type of ice cream place that was directly below the deck of our room.  It was going to be my sis’ treat, but when she tried to hand the guy the money he wouldn’t take it and said it was on him.  What a wonderful surprise!  It was funny too because I was playing around with him and giving him a hard time about not having my favorite flavor (mint chocolate chip) and he said “don’t hate me” and wanted me to try another flavor.  But it had peanut butter in it and I thought that was weird for ice cream, so I just got chocolate.  Anyway, he was fun.  I told him I didn’t hate him anymore because he gave us free ice cream.  😀

The next morning we checked out and packed up the car, but we stayed in the area and went to a few of the shops and art galleries in town.  My favorite place was a beautiful art gallery called Stone’s Throw where they featured all types of various art from local artists in the area.

My sis snapped this picture of my daughter and I standing out in front of it.  Even the outside of this gallery was lovely…

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After leaving Bayfield we wanted to stay along the coast of Lake Superior, but when looking at the map we discovered that there were no roads that continued along the coast, so we wouldn’t be able to do that.  Plan B, we decided to take one of the main roads across and then cut back up to Lake Superior again in Marquette Michigan.

This was the most unexciting (boring) part of our journey and we were forced to find other ways to entertain ourselves while on the road.  Upon entering a town called Covington which seemed to only contain a gigantic white church, we made up a story about the town being the center of a religious cult.  The story got more and more inventive as we went along and started noticing some of the names of the streets (like Section 16 Road and Cemetery Road), and rivers (like Parent River) that ran through it.  Not to mention that the town didn’t show on any of our maps.  There were also old abandoned train box cars with grass growing on top of them that went along the entire stretch of road before and after the town.  At the end we saw a sign for King Lake and decided that the town was something from out of a Stephen King novel.  Oh how the imagination can run wild on the road ey?  It was lovely countryside along there though.  Of course… that’s where all the creepy cult stories take place.  😉

Somewhere along the leg of that journey we stopped at Wolf Mountain, which ended up not really being a mountain at all.  My daughter has a thing for wolves and so when we saw a sign for Wolf Mountain we had to check it out.

It ended up being a beautiful little detour.  My daughter snapped this at the “top” of Wolf Mountain…

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It was lovely there, but we weren’t able to get out and explore because there were swarms of blood sucking flies surrounding our car…

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After battling killer flies and a harrowing escape from an imaginary religious cult, we finally made it to Marquette in one piece.  😉  It was a great little town and we found a nice hotel to stay at.

The next morning we headed down to the lake and found a perfect spot to just sit and enjoy being by the water.  It was an absolutely gorgeous day!

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Well, my sis and I sat, my daughter “played”

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Technically I played too ~ I played my new little Piano Board…

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I picked up this little gem of an instrument at Eckels, one of the art galleries in Bayfield, and it makes the loveliest sound ~ like wind chimes.  ♥

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There was some sort of event/festival going on at the other end of town, so we basically had this whole portion of the beach to ourselves ~ except for the visit of an occasional seagull…

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Once we left Marquette that meant we would be saying goodbye to Lake Superior because it was time to start heading back south for our return trip.  I was really wishing we had more time, I wanted so much to go to all the way to Sault Ste. Marie.

We did continue along the coast a bit further to Munising, and on the way we found the most beautiful scenic roadside area…

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It was this spot along Lake Superior made me feel the most like I was at the ocean.  It was chilly and windy and the waves were crashing onto to the shore.  It was breathtaking, I loved it.  ♥

I wish we could have stayed there longer, but it was onto adventures in haunted hotels for us…

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Yes… haunted.

On the last night of our trip we had no idea where we were going to end up.  We had headed south from Munising and thought about staying in Green Bay, but I really didn’t want to stay in a city type of atmosphere, and I still wanted to see Lake Michigan, so we pressed on and went a bit further east until we reached the coast of Lake Michigan and ended up in a little town called Kewaunee.

It was well into the early evening as we pulled into town to find that there were all of two places to stay in Kewaunee, and one of them was reported to be haunted.  Well there was no way in heaven or hell that my sis would spend the night in a haunted hotel so we chose the other.  And it was icky.  😦  It may not have been “haunted” but it was oppressive and kinda creepy just the same, and it was a bit of a disappointment to end our trip staying in such a place.  But as per usual, we tried to make the best of it.  And one fun memory I will take with me from there is when my daughter and I had a silly (sleep deprived?) giggling fit together at 3 a.m. when both of us were awoken in the middle of the night by my sis’ snoring.  I was laughing so hard that I needed my inhaler, and when I went to get it out of my bag and walked back to the bed shaking it up, my sis waved at me in her sleep.  She said later that she was awake, and thought I was waving at her, but she was still snoring, it was hilarious!

We didn’t spend the night at the haunted hotel, but we still went over there that evening and ate at their tavern.  My daughter was absolutely beside herself with excitement at the possibility of being in someplace that was reportedly haunted, so we went there to inquire about it all and ended up staying for dinner.  The people there were so wonderful and the atmosphere and decor of the hotel was gorgeous.  It may have been haunted, but it had a better vibe than the place we were staying at.  I still wouldn’t have wanted to spend the night there though.  😉

But I do want to share what happened to me while we were there having dinner.  Think what you will about it.  The entire time at the table there was a strange sense of static electricity on my shins.  When I mentioned it to my sis and my daughter, my sis said that she was feeling it a little bit too.  My daughter was disappointed that she wasn’t.  Then all of the sudden I felt a tapping on my left thigh.  It was playful like fingertips tapping out a melody.  It was obvious and not my imagination.  It didn’t scare me, but it startled me quite a bit.  I wasn’t expecting anything like that, and it was shocking.  I consider myself to be sensitive to spiritual things and I get vibes about certain things sometimes, and I felt no sense of malice from whatever it was that touched my leg, but it did freak me out a little.  Still does when I think about it.

The story goes that one of the spirits said to inhabit this hotel is a young boy who was the grandson of the original owner and died of meningitis at the age of 5.  My daughter says I’ve always been a kid magnet, so it was probably him who touched me.  I don’t know what to think.  I do love and adore children, but I don’t know how I feel about the thought of a ghost one touching me…

Here is a photo my daughter snapped of the place from the car.

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And here’s a link to their website’s about page The Kewaunee Inn

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After our ghost adventures we went out to be by the water before going back to our hotel.  There was a beautiful, nearly full moon shining over Lake Michigan that night, but between the 3 of us we all failed to get a decent photo.  This was the best I could do…

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Hi again moon!  ♥

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In the morning instead of heading straight home, we took a quick drive up the peninsula to Door County.  It’s supposed to be a pretty big deal, but we were flying blind and didn’t really know what to look for, so we didn’t get a whole lot out of it.  Plus we were short on time and were starting to switch out of vacation mode by then too.

It was a pretty drive though and I saw a sign with my name on it along the side of the road, so that was fun.  😀

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I also saw a cool rustic gate at one of the places where we stopped to use the bathroom, but I didn’t go and see where it led to…

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On the previous day on our way to Kewaunee, I had seen a sign for a vineyard called Parallel 44 and thought what an interesting name.  It sounded sort of sci-fi to me and the inner nerd in me wanted to know the story behind it.  We stopped there for a wine tasting on our way out of town and I left there a bit tipsy, along with 2 bottles of red and a bottle of white.  😉

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The story behind their name…  not so much sci-fi, but still very cool.

I’ll just copy and paste what it says on their website about how they got their name…

Our geographical location was the inspiration for the name of our winery – Parallel 44. We are situated on 44° North Latitude – which circles the globe, and is renown as the world’s finest grape growing and wine making region.  This latitude includes the great wine regions of Bordeaux, France and Tuscany, Italy. Unlike our European counterparts we endure winters of subzero temperatures, inspiring the name of our Frozen Tundra wine. We do, however, share many similarities with these regions such as seasonal growing climate, annual rainfall, and length of daylight. It is our inspiration to share this latitude with our counterparts, while celebrating our own unique tradition of growing grapes on the “Frozen Tundra” of Wisconsin.

It was their “Frozen Tundra” wines that I bought.  It’s quite tasty!  😀

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All during our drive we admired the many varieties of wildflowers growing along the roadsides, and on the way home my sis thought we should pick some.  These were real pretty, but I wasn’t willing to go and pick them because they were a bit too far into the ditch and I was afraid of the bugs, so my sis went in and picked them.

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No wonder she gets wood ticks.  😉

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In all it was a really great trip and I’m so thankful for everything.  I am glad to be home though, I missed my bed, and my garden, and my cat.  ♥

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Feeling a Bit Like Alexander

It started last night, I went to bed with a troubled heart and upsetting thoughts rolling around in my head.  I tossed and turned all night and woke up feeling horrible.  Physically and mentally.

But in always trying to do my best each day to find joy in the simple things, to be grateful, and to keep a positive outlook on things, before I got out of bed I tried to shift my way of thinking to notice and appreciate the beautiful sunlight flickering in through my windows.  Then, hearing me stirring, my cat came to greet me, I let my fingers sink into her soft fur, and thought about what a little delightful and comforting blessing she is to me.

But as soon as my feet touched the floor and pain shot through me, a cascade of negative thoughts poured in, and all that had been troubling me the night before came flooding back into my mind.  As I went about my morning routine, I tried to get a grip on the direction of my thoughts, determined to make it a good day.  But then I stepped in cat poop.  Or vomit, it was hard to tell.  (I’m sure it was one of the other cats’ dirty deed, and not my sweet blessing Baby that had come in to greet me just moments earlier).  I cleaned it up and went to pour myself a cup of coffee, only to discover I was out of coffee cream.  So disappointing.   Nothing can ruin my morning more than not being able to enjoy my coffee.  😦

It was basically all downhill from there.

I’ll spare you from reading about all the petty, annoying little things that continued on from there.  But it was funny because gradually verses from the children’s book “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day” began running through my mind.  I worked in a school library for 11 years and had listened to that story being read to the children many, many times over the years.  I could possibly even recite it myself verbatim.  Almost.

It’s a cute story, and can be used as a good spring board for discussions with children about when things just aren’t going right, and how important having a good attitude is.  For us adults as well.  😉

I found it on YouTube and thought I’d share…

“Some days are just like that.  Even in Australia.”

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It’s still early here, so I’m not giving up on trying to make the best of it today.  I have a million and one things to do as I’m leaving for a mini vacation tomorrow, but I made an appointment to have my hair done ~ getting pampered is always therapeutic.  And I think I’ll stop at Caribou on the way and treat myself to a cup of my favorite coffee drink to make up for the coffee I missed out on this morning.  😀

I hope your day is filled with good things…

What’s Going On in the Garden

I can’t seem to keep up with photographing and sharing about everything that is going on in my tiny garden lately because it changes daily, but I’m enjoying every minute of it and feeling so thankful that’s it’s all doing so well!

Since it’s raining this morning I thought I’d try and write an update.

I’ll share about the blooming things first…

It took a little longer than I expected for the buds to open, but my trumpet vine is blooming now and it’s so pretty!

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And those “spindly” looking Stella de Oro lilies from the flower bed that I divided up and thought wouldn’t amount to much… well, they’re not so spindly after all, they’re lovely!  So bright and cheerful!

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Another bright and cheerful bloomer is this yellow daisy.  At least I think it’s a variety of daisy, I planted it so long ago that neither my mom nor I can remember exactly what it is.  Either way, it’s a pretty yellow flower.  😀

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Speaking of yellow flowers… my cucumbers are flowering.

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And wrapping their tendrils around the trellis…

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Since these photos were taken, I’ve noticed dozens of tiny little cukes forming on them now too!

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My one zucchini plant has tons of yellow/orange flowers on it too, and is spreading out its giant “solar panels.”

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There’s a lot going on underneath those giant leaves, and an abundance of fruits are developing.  I just picked this one the other day…

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I’ve also been picking tons of green beans!  Oh, I’m so very pleased with my beans this year!

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We steamed some and had them with dinner the other night, they were delicious!

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We’ve also been eating up the peas.  There hasn’t been very many though so I’m a bit disappointed.  But we had such a weird spring weather-wise and then it got too warm too soon for them, so it’s not their fault.  😉  I’m entertaining the idea of doing a fall planting to see if I can get more, but I’ve never done that before so I don’t know how it would work out.  I took this photo one morning while they were still small when the sun was hitting them just right to see the little peas developing inside.  Cute, yummy little things!  ♥

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Looking at them made me ponder about the things developing inside of us and how you catch glimpses of them when the Light reflects through us.  Me and constant metaphors hah!

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Another thing we’re going to be eating soon are jalapenos.  These two are just about ready to pick…

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The bell peppers are coming right along too, although it’ll be quite a while before they turn yellow…

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My one little row of carrots is doing well and their greens are filling out more every day, but there sure aren’t very many of them.

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  Oh well no matter, I’ll just appreciate and enjoy them all the more being that there are so few of them.  😉

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Speaking of only a few ~ I’ve only got five tomatoes growing on my two plants.  Those few are growing very nicely though!

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I’ve only gotten a few strawberries too.  I’ve been getting lots of blossoms, but the berries have all ended up being very wimpy.  I think the pot is maybe too small.

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But that red pot certainly is bright and pretty with those dainty little white flowers!  😀

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I guess that’s about it for now on what’s going on in the garden.  The rain has stopped so I’m going to head out there and check on everything after the thunderstorm we had earlier.  Hopefully it’s alright.

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I’ll leave you with this…  The hosta are beginning to bloom and I snapped this the other day when I noticed their buds glistening with the last droplets of the morning dew as the sun was coming up…

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Have a beautiful, blessed day!

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~Gardening is my therapy~

A Rare Visitor

When I woke up this morning and opened my shades, this is what I saw outside my bedroom window…

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An albino squirrel!!!

I wasn’t quite awake yet and it was such a surprise to see it there, that I wasn’t sure it was real at first.   If you’ve been reading my posts for any length of time you know that I already frequently find squirrels amidst my branches, but never an albino one!  I’m so glad I had my camera sitting right there so I could snap a couple photos of it.

I guess it found my tree a nice place to stop for a quick grooming…

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And for staying low and being on the lookout…

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I wish I could’ve got a better shot of its face (and pink eyes), but it was a fidgety little thing and wasn’t facing my direction most of the time.  I’m lucky to have gotten this somewhat blurry shot as it paused for only a second, and still being half asleep this was the best I could do…

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 I’ve only seen an albino squirrel one other time in my life that I can remember, and I felt so privileged to have this rare little creature visit my tree.  ♥

I may go and read up a bit on them, as I think they’re quite uncommon.  Have you ever seen one?

Fruit Pizza

I don’t post many recipes here, but this one is definitely worth sharing…

We had a BBQ yesterday for the 4th of July, and while talking to my sis about the dessert menu, she came up with the idea of making my fruit pizza.  It’s been quite a few years since I’ve made one, so when she mentioned it I thought “Oooh yeah, that sounds reeeally good!”

And good it was!  If you’ve never had fruit pizza before you’re seriously missing out on something yummy.  I’ve seen many variations out there for it, and I’m sure they’re all quite delicious, but this is a very old recipe that I got from a friend of mine a long time ago (before the internet came along filled with a plethora information on everything and anything), so I’m sure it’s better than all the rest.  😉

Here’s a photo of the one I made yesterday…

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Yeah, I know… the crust edges are smashed in a couple places (oops!) and that the design isn’t very imaginative, but it was still really tasty!

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Here’s the recipe:

1 roll (16.5 oz) refrigerated sugar cookie dough

1 package (8 oz) soft-style cream cheese

1/3 cup sugar

1/2 tsp. vanilla

For the fruit you can use whatever happens to tickle your fancy, but for this one I used:

1 cup fresh strawberries, sliced (it’s strawberry season here right now and I’m in heaven!)

1 kiwifruit, peeled, halved, and sliced

1/2 cup fresh blueberries

1 cup fresh pineapple, sliced

The original recipe calls for 1 banana peeled and sliced, instead of the pineapple, but I was in the mood for pineapple so I substituted.  If you wish to add bananas, be sure to toss the banana slices in lemon juice to prevent browning. 

Directions:

1.  Press cookie dough evenly onto a lightly greased 12 inch pizza pan.  Prick with fork.  Bake at 375 for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.  Cool completely.

2.  Combine cream cheese, sugar and vanilla until smooth.  Spread mixture evenly over cooled crust.  Arrange fruit as desired over cream cheese.  Refrigerate at least one hour.  To serve, cut into wedges or squares.

The original recipe also calls for a 1/2 cup orange marmalade or peach preserves combined with 2 Tbsp of water to be drizzled or spooned over the top, but I forgot to get some at the store so ours was naked.  😀   It was still yummy, but topping it with the orange marmalade really adds to the flavor and gives it a delicious added touch.

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Sure, it’s overly sweet and packed with sugar, but it really is a light and refreshing dessert for the summer time.  Besides, I used organic fruit so that makes it healthier, right?!

😉