Monday, June 29, 2015

Surprises, At Home and In the Garden

 The garden could not be more lush with all the rain we've had.  I had to take this aerial pic to get in the whole hydrangea.
Things are looking good. All the transplanted Annabelle's are blooming.  Not all the Endless Summer have buds.  Must be the cold and frosts we had after the plants first started growing in the spring..
Didn't bother these lovelies at all.   A bushel of hydrangeas,
 Dozens of day lilies...
...and the milkweed is in bloom! I didn't think I'd have milkweed this year because the plants last year never
had seed pods.  I have more milkweed this year than ever!  Nature is amazing.

Look at this beauty feeding on the milkweed.  He stayed and played with Penny and I for a while.  This butterfly delighted our girl.  First Penny watched from the safety of the screen door.  Then she came out and the butterfly circled us and came very close to us. Penny named him Jerry. After our last encounter with butterflies that didn't go so well, I was so happy Penny wasn't afraid this time.
We had to do a little shopping before we brought our girl back home. We found the elusive Hello Kitty Mermaid on a Surfboard.  Penny said, " Mom is going to be so jealous." What three year old talks like that? We got to spend a fun evening with the cousins and a sleep over with Grandpa and Grandma.  I can't tell you how much we enjoy Penny's visits.  The week is long until we can see her again.  We are so spoiled having her close by, how in the world did we manage when she was so far away?
The biggest surprise of the week,(maybe the year) was finding my two sons in our bedroom at midnight on Thursday!  I thought I was dreaming!  I expected Jon and Charlotte, so I wasn't alarmed when I heard a commotion downstairs, waking me up from a sound sleep.  Jon walked in and tells me he picked up someone on the road.  In walks Mikey!  It was such a wonderful surprise.  I was like that kid after the dentist...Is this real?  Mike's been working two jobs without a day off for weeks.He worked in the morning and then drove the 6 hours to surprise me.  I have been so so lonely for him, I told him I would come to his job just to watch him work.  My sneaky sons arranged for this surprise visit so Mike could  join us at a tasting for the big wedding in 2016.

This wedding is going to be Legendary! What a happy pairing, Charlotte and Jon are so wonderful together!
We had a great but short visit.  A wonderful dinner with Charlotte's parents and my boys.  Mike even went to visit his sister in the city and spent some time with Penny.  We got to spent time with our baby grand...
Life is good and our blessings are many.

Thanks for stopping by and enjoy this beautiful day.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

A Sunny Patch of Lavender

On the south side of my home is a sunny patch.  Not much wants to grow there.  The lawn is sparse, the weeds creep round.  It's home to my Lavender and it just loves that sunny patch.
For years I grew lavender, only to replace the plants each year.  Then I tried planting them on the most infertile ground, the driest and sunniest spot.  Here it thrives.
This is all from one plant.  The other plant was disturbed by some work done close by last year, but it is coming back.

 Now what to do?
 First I picked out all the vines and grass,

spread it on the table... It smells so good... In the past I've made wands, sachets and bouquets to share.
I will let you know what I come up with.  Until then, the rest of the garden calls.

Thanks for stopping by. Enjoy this beautiful day.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Father's Day Weekend Update

We always start the summer with a trip to Ravinia.  I recently found this old graphic on line.(I've already used it in a craft project.)  Ravinia is the oldest outdoor music venue in the U.S.  Located on the North Shore, we've been attending since our honeymoon in 1976.(Barry Manilow!)  I attended with friends earlier in the seventies to see John Denver. Swoon...  We have the preparations for a concert at Ravinia down to a science.  All we have a problem with, is the weather!
We pack everything but the kitchen sink.  We have a special table and I spend much time and effort on making our experience a pleasurable one. We are not fancy smancy, potato chips, sandwiches and a pasta salad were on the menu.  Watermelon and cookies for dessert. Since we don't drink, we went wild and had flavored water!
We try to attend a couple of concerts, and choose for the artists, sometimes for the cost.  This year we were going back to hear a live broadcast of NPR's Prairie Home Companion with Garrison Keillor. Last year we were rained out, I mean stormed out.  Sheets of rain, thunder and lighting.
The first flowers from my garden, climbing roses, hydrangea and lavender with hosta leaves.
 Surely we wouldn't be so unfortunate as to be rained on two years in a row...

 Things started out great.
I think he was trying to say, "Don't take my picture with my mouth full..."

 When my darling daughter saw this photo she said "Peace Mom!"  She didn't like my peasant top, I guess.

We need a selfie stick.  Can you buy them by the yard?  Well, as you can see we were having a great time. My dearest was reading to me... from the Linux Cumulus (computer) magazine he was reading.  I pretended it was romantic.  The show was great.  One of the guests was violinist Rachel Barton.  Local girls will recognize her name.  I use her name as a cautionary phrase whenever the kids traveled by train.  She is a very talented musician and we enjoyed the show very much.  Then...

The rain came.  It was late in the show, but when it started to drizzle we put away our table and packed up everything except our chairs and the umbrella we sat under.  As we watched the radar on our phones and saw the green turning to yellow and red we figured the party, so to speak was over.  Again we listened to the end of the show in the car on the way home.  Still, a great time, a romantic evening, and the perfect place to celebrate the first day of Summer.

Thanks for stopping by and enjoy this beautiful day.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

At the Gardens

We are so fortunate to have the Chicago Botanic Gardens right down the road from us.  I have to admit, we pass the gardens more than we visit.  The Lake, just a few more minutes down the road, and free, calls to me. These gardens and all their splendor is worth the hefty parking fee.  This trip was a reminder of the treasure we have so close to home.
 The promenade looks like something out of a French painting.
 Gorgeous fountains.
  This is my all time favorite, The English Walled Garden.
 Like a scene from a romantic movie, this arbor...
 Amazing flower combinations.
 Pink roses on an arbor makes me weak in the knees.
 There's my Prince with the little princess.  They were looking for a shady spot.
 How about under the wisteria,
 or this shady cove?
Everything was lush and blooming after all the rain we've been having. There are acres and acres of gardens that we didn't see that I have visited before, and new spaces that I want to explore.

I have decided to return to the gardens, just me and my camera.  Hubby is a reluctant walker. (you know he will take me anywhere, but he is happy to observe) Once in the groove I can walk and walk.  Our babygrand wants to run...and there are bridges and pools and ponds and other dangers. In all the years of visiting with a friend or family, I've never gone alone.  I have a date with me, sometime soon to wander the gardens, take photos and just be...

Oh and to revisit the butterflies! ;-)

Thank you for visiting.  Enjoy this beautiful day.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Weekend Update with Sweet p.

We had a long awaited summer weekend with our grand daughter.  We had her from Thursday morning and tried to fill our days with fun.  Since the last five days have had rain, heat and humidity, most of our fun was indoors.  On Saturday we planned to go to Rockford for the Main Street Market, but the weather looked bad with 80% chance of storms.  With a stroller and three year old we decided to stay close to home.

We ended up going to the Chicago Botanic Garden to see their butterfly exhibit  We were all so very excited to go, the skies were clear so we headed down the road.  We have been going to the gardens for around thirty years, especially when we lived in the city and a large expanse of green called to us urban dwellers.

Penny was so excited to go into the butterfly enclosure.  The first butterfly she saw, well, she was thrilled. These magical large blue butterflies floated through the air and then landed on people...That was the first problem. The second problem was the butterfly above.  It looked like it had a big eye on it.  Totally freaked our girl out.  First she was in my arms, then in Grandpa's.  Finally they had to leave, she buried her head in Grandpa's chest and wouldn't even look at the butterflies!  
This raggedy guy needed a rest.  They warn you to watch where you step as butterflies like to rest on the gravel.
 Never having experienced butterflies of so many varieties and so close up was amazing.
 As grandpa and babygrand hung out outside the enclosure, Grandma went snap happy.
 Everywhere I looked another beautiful butterfly.
 They were varieties from all over the world.
 There were little feeding stations here and there.  Chances for closeups.
 They just love to pose!
 A perfect disguise.

Such a beautiful adventure, though you never know how children will react to a new experience.  Don't worry, the little one said she had a great time and the butterflies were "magical".

More soon on our visit to the gardens.  Local girls, the exhibit is open until September.  I am going back for sure.

Thanks for stopping by.  Enjoy this beautiful day.