On the road

Road trip! I’m taking my mom to visit her sister in Omaha. I gassed up (the car–stop it!), got the car washed, programmed the GPS, bought snacks and bottled water, made sure I had all my medications, ;) and we took off.

My trusty steed, all polished and vacuumed up, with my corny little mascot in the back window. :)

I have wonderful news, as well–I got a job! After what I truly feel is one of the most stunning summers in history (truly a gift from God), I’m starting back at my beloved Concordia in August. I got a job in the campus pastors’ office–a position I have coveted in all the time (12 years) I’ve been working there.

I hardly think it could have worked out better–makes me truly believe that it wasn’t just coincidence.  I lost my job just at the beginning of the gardening season, spent a truly amazing couple of months drinking in the best weather I can remember, spending lots of time not only working in the gardens but also sitting on deck appreciating the view. . . just to be able to be employed again come the fall.

Life is good. :)

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Heating up

Yesterday was a scorcher here in Moorhead–I’m not sure what the high was, but when I checked around 5 p.m. it said 94 on our yard thermometer.  Today’s supposed to be even hotter.

I’m not complaining. :) (Yet.) Since it’s the last half of July and this is the first really hot weather we’ve had, I really can’t complain.  I think it’s been a beautiful summer.

The grass is starting to brown up a bit–it would be great to get a little bit of rain at this point, as it’s been a few weeks now since we’ve had any to speak of.  But still, I really can’t complain. ;)

I’m off to Nebraska again tomorrow with my mom, so I won’t be posting until I get back next week.

Enjoy this gorgeous time of the year–it will be gone all too soon! :)

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All tidied up

As I mentioned on Monday, we did a lot of pruning this past weekend. We had extensive rabbit damage on our cotoneasters, so we’ve been systematically pruning them down to about 2 feet tall–however, I didn’t want to do them all at once, because I felt the yard would pretty bare if they were all cut down short.

In our front garden, I also had to hack away a ton of bittersweet–I do love it, but holy cow is it aggressive.  It just comes up everywhere.  If you’re not careful, it will choke out your other plants before you know you have a problem.  So I try to be vigilant with it, and spend an hour or two at least every few weeks just pulling and cutting shoots.  We had a huge pile of brush by the driveway for the city to mulch.

But boy does that front garden look all neat and tidy now. :)

It feels so good to finish up chores like that, where you can really tell you’ve accomplished something. I haven’t checked to see what the weather will be like this weekend–we are not going to the lake because we’ve got a wedding here in town on Saturday evening.  But here’s hoping for more great gardening weather.

Happy Friday!

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Background music

I’ve been able to spend a lot of time in my yard this summer.  The weather has been just beautiful–I could not have asked for a more beautiful summer to have lost my job. :)

I’ve had extra time to work in the gardens, but honestly, it’s the relaxing on the deck or the patio that I’ve really been able to make time for this summer.  And that’s an important thing.  We find, all too often, that we’re so busy working in the yard that we rarely take the time to just enjoy the yard.  And, after all, that’s why we do it, right?

Geneva and I gave Trevor these chimes for his birthday one year–neither one of us is fond of little tiny chimes, but these make a beautiful, deep sound.  They are tuned to the pentatonic scale, so no matter what configuration they’re chiming in, it’s very pleasant.

So this is the background music for all the time we spend in the yard, and it’s wonderful. Occasionally, if it’s really windy, Trevor will take them down and just lay them on the ground until the wind abates a bit.  But mostly we just enjoy the beautiful music. :)

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An amazing weekend

What an incredible weekend!  The weather was just stunning–sunny, not too windy (a little “breezy,” is what they call it around here, but not bad, comparatively), around 80 degrees but really low humidity, which is unusual here in July.

And, holy cow, did we get a lot done!

We’ve had shrubs that have been almost completely wrecked by rabbit damage–there is a little bit of greenery on the bits up to about a foot high, and then it’s bare stems (which have the bark completely nibbled off, more often than not) and then a little bit of greenery at the tips.  Not attractive, when the hedge is about 9 feet tall.

So, we spent a good portion of the weekend pruning. I also tackled the out-of-control bittersweet in the front garden and whacked it pretty much into submission (for now). I just love the way the beds look when they’re all neat and trimmed and mostly weed-free!

The yard, in general, is just beautiful right now.  I’m having a garden tour on July 30, and I sort of wish they were coming now instead–the lilies are in full force, as is the perennial geranium, the ladies mantle, and the coral bells.  I’m hoping that the tall orange tiger lilies will be in bloom when they come, because I’ve got a lot of those.  In general, once I hit the end of July, I don’t have a ton of stuff that’s still in bloom.

But at this point, I’m really happy with the way things look, and with the absolutely amazing weather we’ve been having.  No complaints here! :)

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Coffee on the patio

Decided to have my coffee out on the patio this morning–I don’t know why I don’t do that more often.  I think because, frequently, it’s fairly damp in the morning out there from the dew.  Although our patio chairs are mesh so they dry off fairly quickly.

It is a gorgeous morning! About 73 at 8:00, just a light breeze, lots of sunshine.  It’s going to be a hot one today, I think, so I’m going out right now to do a little weeding and trimming, if the mosquitos don’t eat me alive.

I was out and took a few photos with my good camera yesterday–now I just have to figure out how to actually get them onto my computer (new technology is always a challenge for me). I’m hoping Trevor can show me how this weekend and then next week I can post them.

I’m also taking my niece’s senior pictures, and we took some yesterday in our yard–was that ever fun!  It would be so cool to have some of my flowers in one of her senior shots. :)

Well, happy Friday, and happy gardening! :)

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CSA bounty

It’s a great time of the season for our CSA (Community Supported Agriculture, for those who may be unfamiliar with the term–we belong to Bluebird Gardens).

Greens, greens, greens!  We also got cucumber this week, little onions, and pea shoots and blossoms (I just love our CSA–so many interesting things!).  I always wash up the produce and then make a huge salad that we eat all week long.

The weather has been so amazing, too–not too hot, but lots of sunshine and enough rain to keep the plants happy.

I need to get my good camera out today or tomorrow and take some decent photographs–I’m so used to just snapping with my phone, but they really aren’t quite the same. :)

I will share some photos later this week.  Happy hump day!

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And the summer flies by. . .

I can’t believe how fast this summer is going.  Even though I’m currently not working it’s just amazing how the days fill and the time flies.

We were at a handbell festival in Lacrosse, Wisconsin, for a week or so, and I feel like I’ve sort of been scrambling ever since we got back.  We’ve had two garden parties and another weekend at the lake, and the time just goes.

It’s been wonderful, though–I’m absolutely loving not working at the moment. :)

This is a wonderful time for the gardens, too, because they don’t need much: a little weeding and deadheading here and there, and they just do their thing and look beautiful.

We’ve had enough rain that we have hardly had to water our pots, but not enough rain to be a problem (for us, anyway). So the plants are really happy.

Soon I’ll have to spend a bit more time in the gardens keeping everything contained–by the end of July everything sort of tends to being overgrown and a little wild-looking. But at this point, I’m happy to just soak it in and let it do its thing. :)

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First garden party

We had our first garden party of the season last week! My mom and dad’s regular Tuesday night dinner crew came over (after their dinner out) for dessert and wine and a little garden tour.

The weather was just absolutely perfect–we couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful evening!

It was great to have people over again–and I’ve got another party, a bit bigger, planned for tomorrow night. That’s a potluck with my (former) work people–obviously, I haven’t seen any of them since I lost my job a month or so ago, so I’m really looking forward to catching up.

We’ve had a fair amount of rain, and everything is looking wonderful and lush. But I do need to spend some time today and tomorrow weeding and trimming and deadheading, just to clean things up a bit.

Then, early Wednesday morning, Trevor and I are leaving for a handbell festival in Lacrosse, Wisconsin–I’m looking forward to spending some time together, since he’s been so busy with work (and with preparing for this festival–he’s the registrar) lately.

I’m not sure if I will have a computer with me or not at this point, so I may or may not be able to post.

But, if nothing else, maybe I can at least post a couple of pictures of all those handbell enthusiasts (it’s amazing how many there are).

Happy Monday!

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Black petunias

I always try to avoid garden fads.  You know the ones I mean–new releases of funky flowers that, for whatever reason, are all the rage this year. Mostly I just feel slightly offended by the garden industry as a whole, that thinks we’re so fickle and will buy anything they throw at us. But also partly because I tend to go back to the same, tried-and-true varieties every year, knowing exactly how they will grow and react.

But black petunias.  Oh my gosh.  I resisted them for one season, and then I just had to jump in.  I know they’re weird, they’re trendy, and they’ll probably be gone from the market in another year or two, but they are just so amazing.

They really, truly, look (and feel) like velvet. (You can hardly see them against the dirt in the pot, but they’re there on the lower left.)  I love pairing them with the whitish petunias that have the dark burgundy-black center and then with some kind of dark foliage.  I think they’re really cool looking. :)

So, for now anyway, I’m in with this fad. ;)

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