Misc. Monday


Wooooo dog, this post has it all. It’s been months since I’ve done a general, non-postcard update. So here it is, the fruits of the summer.


Our veggie garden did great this year. I made two batches of salsa verde (tomatillos, onion, garlic, jalapeno).


In addition to tomatoes for eating, I made a batch of sauce and cooked down two batches of tomato paste (boil and peel tomatoes, puree, cook down, put in pan in 350 degree oven and bake until paste).


And I made a batch of sauerkraut. We got a fair amount of radishes. Three heads of cabbage. Lots of tomatoes. A few carrots. Good lettuce and arugula. Next year we’re planting more green beans and more peppers. This year we also got a compost barrel (and inside bucket) and we’re composting our kitchen waste. Right now I also have a batch of hard cider cooking. It’s exciting!


I’ve been crocheting up a storm. I made a mint lap blanket for a friend. Then I made this lap blanket with a ruffled edge. LOVE the ruffled edge. The yarn is Simply Soft Paints Yarn in Rose Garden.


I loved the yarn so much (and overbought), so I made a scarf and sent it to a friend who needed a scarf. Now I’m working on another scarf for another friend.

I’ve been reading, too. Just finished Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri (very good) and Me Before You by Jojo Moyes (excellent). Here’s how I turned out with the Summer Reads 2015:


What Comes Next and How to Like It: A Memoir by Abigail Thomas

The Bone Clocks: A Novel by David Mitchell

American Ghost: A Family’s Haunted Past in the Desert Southwest by Hannah Nordhaus

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

All the Light We Cannot See: A Novel by Anthony Doerr

Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline

The Wishing Thread: A Novel by Lisa Van Allen

The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters

Beach Town by Mary Kay Andrews

All but two done, but I made up with two others. Not bad.

I’m getting ready to start sewing again. I have to make my Halloween costume for Howl-O-Ween at the shelter. And I have a new pattern to make a dress. Just need to pick up the fabric and I’m ready to go.

How about you? Can you believe summer is over and we’re well into autumn already?

Summer Reads 2015

Book One: What Comes Next and How to Like It

What Comes Next and How to Like It

I started out the Summer Reads 2015 with Abigail Thomas’ What Comes Next and How to Like It. A true memoir, the writing style captivated me from the very beginning. I’m wanting to try one of Thomas’ writing assignments: “Take any ten years of your life, reduce them to two pages, and every sentence has to be three words long.” Perfect, no? Let me know if you try it for yourself. Thomas has some great words of wisdom along the way; some strike me now, and some I think will make more sense as I age. I especially like “Part of what I’ve learned is that if it isn’t life and death, it isn’t life and death. I have learned that every moment is precious.” As I was reading this book, I immediately thought it would be one that my Grandma Russell would have enjoyed. I passed it on to my friend Lois, who is also enjoying it very much.

Book Two: All the Light We Cannot See

All the Light We Cannot See

Anthony Doerr’s All the Light We Cannot See is quite a book. It goes back and forth between years, following two characters during WWII. It’s heavy stuff, both from the number of pages and the content. But it is wonderfully written and absolutely got in my head to the point where I’m thinking about it in my spare moments now that it’s over. I’m not quite ready to start a new book, as I still want to bask in this one for awhile longer. Highly recommend if you can devote the time and energy; it’s not light reading for sure.

Next book up is Hannah Nordhaus’ American Ghost. And so it is, the second week on my summer reads out of 15 weeks and I’m already on book three of my list of eight. I may have to come up with some additional pieces if I keep going.

Garden Update

We’ve been working in the gardens! In addition to the flower gardens, Bob is putting in a vegetable garden in the front yard. I did get all the veggies planted (tomatillos, tomatoes, brussels sprouts, cabbage, lettuce, radishes, cucumbers and strawberries), but still need to get some photos. Last night dropped to 45 and tonight is supposed to drop to 40. This past weekend was flat cold and rainy. We had a fire last night, and I spent all of yesterday in the house with the curtains drawn. I don’t remember it being this cold in June before.


Anyhow, the annuals are all in and five bags worth of mulch is down. This year I re-edged the front garden along the driveway so it’s nice and straight, and put in a few more perennials, plus moved some that needed more space. Looking at my photos from previous years, you might not be able to tell it’s straight once it all grows in, but it does look nice and orderly now.

I will get some more photos this week if the weather cooperates.

Summer Reads 2015

These are the titles I’m planing on reading this summer:

What Comes Next and How to Like It: A Memoir by Abigail Thomas

The Bone Clocks: A Novel by David Mitchell

American Ghost: A Family’s Haunted Past in the Desert Southwest by Hannah Nordhaus

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

All the Light We Cannot See: A Novel by Anthony Doerr

Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline

The Wishing Thread: A Novel by Lisa Van Allen

The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters

Springtime in Michigan

Friday, May 8, 2015 0 No tags Permalink


Spring is in Michigan in full force. It’s warm and lovely! Everything is in bloom and we have full leaves on the trees.


I arrived early at work this morning only to find that I had locked my keys inside the building and I had to wait for someone else to arrive and open up. It was a beautiful morning though.


The crabapple trees are amazing this year.


The rain/storms held off for the Youth Day of Caring thankfully. Supposed to rain over the weekend and the temperatures will be dropping next week (Tuesday high of 59 and low of 39).

We had our first hummingbird visit on May 4…the same day as our first oriole visit! The hummingbirds are going nuts on the feeder and they are pretty bold. The orioles are so skittish.

Spring Update

Monday, April 27, 2015 0 No tags Permalink


Spring is slowly making its way to Battle Creek. Today is the last day with the high predicted in the 50s. Might even be in the 70s by the weekend.


One of the brunnera is in bloom. The forsythia is too, but it’s not much of a dramatic display this year.


One of my bleeding hearts was eaten, but this one is making progress.


The single-cup daffodils are in bloom, and the grape hyacinths are coming up too.


I had the oriole feeder up last week, but made nectar and put the hummingbird feeder up this weekend. It’s still a little early for them, I think. We have big garden plans this year!

Garden Pics

Monday, August 18, 2014 0 No tags Permalink

Here’s two garden pics to celebrate Monday. It’s absolutely feeling more autumn-like.


Since we’re mid-way through August, I guess that’s the way it should be. The summer sure has gone quickly.


Mom’s Garden Update

Friday, July 25, 2014 0 No tags Permalink

Stopped over at Mom’s for lunch Thursday and got some pictures of her garden.




The double tiger lilies came from Hudda’s house.



Mom’s next door neighbors have adopted this guy:


Frederik Meijer Gardens

Monday, July 21, 2014 0 No tags Permalink

Today I went with a friend to visit Frederik Meijer Gardens in Grand Rapids. Both of us are gardeners and neither of us had been there before. We got there at 9:00am and started in the conservatory buildings.

The Holton Arid Garden:




Meerkats! There are sculptures and artwork throughout the conservatory.


Followed by the Jarecki Seasonal Display Greenhouse and the Holton Victorian Garden Parlor.



Then into the Lena Meijer Tropical Conservatory.


We saw a Bishop’s Weaver…

And a Common Canary.



After the conservatory, we stepped out to the Tassel English Perennial and Bulb Garden. It smelled like lavender. I wish my whole life was scented in such a lovely manner!



Next we made our way to the Nina Akamu Leonardo da Vinci’s horse.


There’s Lois, so you can get an idea of how big it really is.


We continued on through the Gwen Frostic Woodland Shade Garden (here is the kettle pond)


And stopped at the Michigan Farm Garden.


After all that walking, we made our way back to the main building, where we had lunch in the Taste of the Gardens Cafe. Awesome meal. The Cafe has food grown on the property, as well as the glass ceiling sculpture by artist Dale Chihuly. If it looks familiar, the artist has work at the Bellagio in Las Vegas.


It was a lovely day, and another bite of summer grabbed fresh.

Memorial Weekend

Can’t believe we’re already on the other side of Memorial Weekend. We were busy, but we got a lot done including cleaning up the tree in the backyard and hauling a truckload of wood chips from that tree to the shelter trail. We also did the cemeteries with Bob and Iris. The weather was lovely!


The garden is already looking pretty good. This year I put herbs in pots including three kinds of mint (for tea!), lemon balm, chives, curry and parsley.


Everything is looking good so far. It is so nice that the weather is back to normal for this time of year. All the trees have full leaves.


Even the side garden looks pretty good this year.


We treated ourselves to Mr. Don’s for dinner Monday night. Hands down the best french fries in Battle Creek.


I have not finished my latest crochet project, and I’m not allowing myself to start  my summer reading until it’s done. I was hoping to deliver it tonight. I expect I have one more week to go on it if I hustle.

Greenhouses and Cemeteries

Thursday, May 22, 2014 0 No tags Permalink

Monday Mom and I went to the greenhouses and cemeteries for our annual trip.


We started at River Street Flowerland in Kalamazoo. It’s one of my favorite places in the whole world. This year, they had re-done the back area where all the trees and shrubs are. It is now a zen paradise. It’s what I’d like my garden to look like.


This year they had a few new varieties of catmint (nepeta). I have three plants of the walker’s low already, and added two more.

Next, we stopped by K Drive Greenhouse to pick up the hanging basket and flats of bedding plants. I also got a ‘Coconut Surprise’ Scent First Dianthus and a new color of yarrow.

After the greenhouses, we stopped in at Station 66 for lunch. Love Station 66. Love.

Wednesday we went up to Lansing to get the cemeteries ready for Memorial Day. We started by driving past Great Lakes (landscape sadly lacking), Long Blvd (which looked amazing) and 435 Regent Street:

435 Regent Street

After our driving tour, we started at Mt. Hope with the Thorne/Cleary plot:


They hadn’t been by to cut and trim yet, so we hand-trimmed all the stones, and planted two brunnera and some marigolds.

Next, we headed over to the Beaubiens and put in a couple of marigolds:


After that, we drove to Evergreen. Again, the grass hadn’t been cut. We cleared and planted zinnias and marigolds on Grandma and Grandpa’s:


And then did some clearing and planted a little on Aunt Betty and Uncle Nick’s. The day was warm (80 degrees) and humid. We worked up a good appetite and headed back to Diamondale  to the Village Ice Cream & Cafe for lunch before heading back home.


We spent all day talking about family, both those who are with us and those who have passed. We laughed and shared good memories. It was a very satisfactory day!