Wednesday, June 21, 2017

the first day of summer, self-care, and a vintage plant stand

 We couldn't have asked for a more beautiful day for the first day of summer. Temps were in the 70's F with low humidity. I was carless today - Tim had to borrow my car to go to work, as his car was in the shop. Normally I hate being without a car as there's rarely a day I'm not running out somewhere, whether it be errands or physical therapy. I also don't like the feeling of being without a car at my disposal - just in case of an emergency or I have a hankering to go somewhere. However, today being carless turned out to be a blessing in disguise. I got so much done both inside the house and out in the yard.

I did some light housework and laundry, then spent two hours outside thoroughly cleaning the patio, repotting some plants, spray painting a few decor items, and cleaning out a small area in the garage.

But, best of all, I took the time for some self-care. I did my PT exercises and light yoga and then I actually got on my bike for the first time since my knee surgery. I could've rode sooner - it wasn't a physical thing - but I've either been off and running somewhere, or the weather was too hot. Unfortunately, I think there's something wrong with the gears on the bike, so I'm going to have Brian take a look at it. If he can't figure it out, it's going into the bike shop. I want to make bike riding a regular thing since it's good for my knee.

After all that sweaty work, I took a bath, shaved my legs, and painted my toenails. Then
I had my late morning smoothie on the front porch while reading Denise Levertov poetry. Now that was relaxing. I need to take the time to do things like that more often. I'm a very high-energy person and always doing something. That's a good thing in its own way - I mean, I'm glad I have a lot of energy most days - but as someone who also has high anxiety, I have to remember that it's also good to take a little time to relax and do something calming.

In other news, this past weekend I stopped by a favorite antique shop to see what kind of outdoor goodies they had. 

For a little shop, I sure wasn't disappointed. I was looking around, liking what I saw but nothing really striking me as "have to have for my yard".


All of a sudden, I saw this plant stand. I knew it would be perfect for my patio. I had been looking for a metal plant stand all season, but with no luck. For several years, I was using a wicker shelving unit that I got a long time ago at a thrift store. From being exposed to the elements all those years, it was peeling and worn, with the bottom shelf falling apart. 

Here's the plant stand in its new home - on my patio. 
I think it's just perfect. :-)

Happy Summer!

Saturday, June 17, 2017

slice of life mid-june

Most every morning, especially when the weather is hot, my breakfast is a nutritious, filling and delicious smoothie. I simply throw these ingredients into the blender in this order: enough Silk Unsweetened Almond-Coconut milk just to cover the blades, about a cup of organic frozen mixed fruit, a banana, a dollop of unsweetened plain Greek yogurt, a tablespoon of hemp hearts, a sprinkling of turmeric, and a handful of organic baby spinach. Takes only a few minutes to make and you could even pour this into a portable drink container to take in your car if you're going to work or an appointment, etc. in the morning. You can easily mix this up with different fruits, kale instead of spinach, add some flaxseed meal instead of hemp hearts (or, use both), or even put in a little unsweetened organic coconut for a tropical taste.

A little something new...a vintage find from last week ~
the yellow sifter in the middle of the china cabinet.

We attended the wedding of my friend's daughter last weekend. They made their own table decorations, which I thought were really pretty.

The wedding and reception was held at a nearby venue right on this gorgeous lake. One thing I love about the area I live is the many lakes.

This ginger kitty had been hanging around our house the past few weeks, driving my cats nuts when they saw him through the windows. I think he belongs to someone on the street in back of us, because he'd always run through the arborvitaes in the back yard to get to the houses behind us. With the weather being in the 90's this past week, I haven't seen him, so I hope that means the owners are keeping him inside. Which they should be doing all the time, anyway. 

All my plants are really taking off...
I can't believe how huge this red-veined sorrel got since last year. It was just a tiny plant when I bought it. It's also flowering now, which is kind of pretty. I'm not sure whether to leave it like this, or if I should cut this growth off. If it means those little buds are going to fall off and self-seed, then I suppose I should cut them. 

My Kentucky Pole Bean plant is growing about an inch every day now! I'm sure it won't be long before the pods start forming on the vines. You might recall from a previous post, that this "trellis" is actually my boy's crib springs. :-)

The cherry tomato plants are growing like crazy now, too.

And, the hostas! We have them all around our house, but this one astounds me every year with how huge it is. We've even divided it several times already.

Purple Salvia at its peak...

The tiger lilies in our front ditch have just started to bloom. They're such a pretty filler for an unsightly area, but once the blooms fade, the plant itself isn't far behind and then they look scrappy. That's the downfall to tiger lilies, but oh well. We enjoy them while they last.

Guess what else is in bloom now? Mulberries! Our mean next door neighbor has two huge mulberry trees on her property, one of which hangs directly over the south side of our house. That's where we have a lot of nice perennials, potted plants, and the patio. We just had her trees trimmed last month (and that was an ugly, horrendous story in itself) but still, these disgusting mulberries drop all over our patio. And the patio furniture. And all over the perennial beds. And into plant pots. They stink and attract flies. So, every day I'm out there sweeping up these mushy berries. I also had to move the two rocking chairs up against the house to protect them from the mulberries. I'd also love to get an outdoor rug for the patio, but it would get ruined.

Happy weekend ~ and happy almost-summer!

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

a beautiful start to june

Happy June! We are having the most glorious weather here in northern Illinois. After a very rainy May, we've had nothing but sunshine and pleasant temps (OK, except for 90 degrees this past weekend) for well over a week. And this week looks to be the same up until the weekend, when again, temps are expected to be in the low 90's. Too soon for that kind of heat. Anyway, I've been spending a lot of time outdoors: Planting more flowers, weeding, trimming bushes, and finally enjoying the patio.

I'm sure most of you are familiar with Susan Branch - artist and author in the field of Home Arts. I have her small calendar hanging on my bulletin board and love turning the page to a new month just to see the pretty artwork.


Columbine thrives in the low humidity and gentle warmth. It's the first thing to bloom in my butterfly garden. Once the heat kicks up, this beautiful plant fades away.

We have a surprise amongst the lilies in the front ditch: Daisy Fleabane. I didn't know what it was until I happened to see it on Claudia's blog. It's a wildflower - most likely seeded by birds. Isn't it pretty?

A few weeks ago when we planted this poppy plant (front), we forgot to take into consideration that the Joe Pye Weed (foreground) grows like crazy and spreads. This is just the start to its growth - it gets over three feet tall. I'm going to have to dig some of this up and replant it elsewhere before it overtakes the poppy plant!

A recent visit to one of my favorite garden centers...

I came home with a candy corn vine and more flowers for one last large planter. I was really excited about the candy corn vine, as I was looking for a vine that would grow in partial sun for a trellis we have in front of the house. Plus, you can bring it indoors and over-winter it. I planted it in a pot in front of the trellis, so I can do just that once the cold weather arrives again.

I cleaned off the patio yesterday, washed the table and got it set up with the seating. It'll be so nice to have meals al fresco once again.


My sister gave me a huge jade plant. I looked all over for a large indoor plant pot that didn't weigh a ton and was halfway attractive. I finally found this pot at Walmart. It's resin, so lightweight. I have the plant in front of a south-facing window in the spare bedroom, so I hope it does well.

Lastly, I thought I'd share a couple of pictures of my fur babies. Monkey (top) and Clementine look so peaceful sleeping in their cat tree, don't they? Monkey is such a big kitty (not fat - just tall and long) that he barely fits in his bed. He always has a leg or two hanging out. Clementine - my sweet little girl - is Monkey's mama. :-)

And speaking of sleeping kitties, where did I find Zippo the other night? Sleeping on the kitchen counter! He's never done that before, so I don't know why he chose that spot, all of a sudden. Oh well, at his age - 18 - I suppose it's easy to fall asleep just about anywhere.

Hope you have a beautiful week, filled with sunshine, flowers and just possibly, a cat nap or two.