Summer fun🏖️ and a garden update🪴

Early spring I sat down and wrote out everything I’d like to accomplish this summer as far as summer fun. Add to that I had a couple of personal goals that I hoped to finish up and our summer was off to a busy start. My first personal goal was to lose 10# by the Fourth of July! Which I was able to do and this made me so happy. I don’t have to tell any of you how hard it is to lose any weight after 55. I’m pretty sure most of you have heard just how hard it is. Whether it is a metabolism thing or something physical hinders your ability to do the right exercises or just plain hereditary–it’s hard.

My second personal goal was to finish learning how to speak French. Now, this goal not so practical as no one around me speaks French. I started out wanting to learn to speak a new language several years back. My husband speaks Dutch and so for obvious reasons I started there. However, the truth is unless you have someone to speak that language with every day–what’s the point? It’s hard to learn it and retain it if you aren’t using it every day. So, I can understand a lot of things spoken in Dutch, but I am unable to roll my r’s as much as is needed/which frustrates me so we don’t speak it. So back to French lessons it was because whether I was ever going to have someone to talk to in French or not, I wanted to learn a second language. I watch an incredible amount of Foreign/Int’l film, with many of the films from France, and learning French has helped me so much that I no longer need to use the subtitles. I also find myself saying back the word/phrases with the actor, in a sense learning it from hearing it. I use the program- Duolingo and have found it to be the best for me. I have purchased two of the other language programs and not had any success. We have traveled to France and we will be traveling there again this fall so my learning it–if only for travel seems like a good thing to do.

Lastly on the personal goal front, I wanted to run/walk for a cause this spring/summer and I finally did. I did a 10K walk, first time, in 100 minutes. That day there were many walkers that finished after me, some way after (120 minutes +). A seasoned runner told me 100 minutes was pretty good for a beginner and to aim for 90 minutes (fast walking) my next 10K. So, I was pretty proud of myself!

Garden update–I’ve lost a lot of plants in my garden to the heat. My first lavender plant died, my second is doing great. One of my two oregano plants died and my second is flowering. I started with 6 tomato plants and I’m down to 3 and it doesn’t look like they’re going to flower anytime soon. Both my rose bushes died, I cut them back, and they are regrowing exponentially! One rosemary was harvested and the other is doing great. All but one of my geraniums died, my petunia plant died, my thyme plant died, and finally after several harvests my peppermint plant died. So–at least 1/2 my garden is gone, but what is left looks good. Though after all the time, money, and care, I’d sure like a tomato or two…

Our summer agenda–we visited two of the three lavender farms in Wisconsin.

Rowley Creek Lavender Farm

We have been to three different farmer’s markets multiple times already–Cameron Street in La Crosse WI, Baraboo Market, and the Dane County Farmer’s market plus almost a dozen roadside stands. I’ve put up green beans, some early tomatoes, strawberries, and made jam. Soon it is sweet corn time!

Tomatoes from Deep Rooted

We are going to tour Taliesin in Spring Green WI again in August. We were there and to the House on the Rock several years back but hubby’s back was out at the time.

At the end of July we’re going tubing down the Wisconsin River–first time, plus a two night “glamping” at the same time, of course the usual fishing here and there, hiking and biking, and summer parades and picnics too. We spend a lot of time outdoors, at the lake– both on and off the water.

Come Fall, I have some really fun things geared around pumpkins and haunted houses–we can’t wait.

What I’m reading:

My diet is almost 100% plant-based at this time. In 2020 I took MasterClass cooking classes by Gordon Ramsay, Alice Waters, Massimo Bottura, and Thomas Keller. I loved taking these cooking classes. They were my first online. I have taken three classes at a local kitchen to learn how to make French pastry and bread. I was a baker for a year in a grocery store and though I enjoyed it, I wasn’t that good. I’m a much better cook than baker so I generally gravitate toward classes geared around food.

What I’m watching? We just finished Lupin on Netflix and have moved on to Season 17 of Grey’s Anatomy.

Thank you so much to everyone that is following along. I looked at my stats recently–something I rarely do, and have seen that a total of 184 follow me through Reader and another 687 follow me through email. Favorite posts are always the holiday posts and my gardening posts! I’ve been blogging here since May 2008 and have written most times two posts a week/sometimes three/other times just one with a total of 1597 posts written (w/620 private posts). I don’t think I ever took a week off–whether moving, sick, in hospital, swamped with work, even heartbreak over loss, writing is what sustains me. I am and always will be grateful that writing is really good for me. My blog and all of you are so very important to me. I want you to know you’re important (so I show up),I appreciate the likes, and all the feedback. Thank you, Thank you. All of you❤︎

Until next time 🐝well and 🐝kind

Summer Fun 2021

When my husband and I aren’t working or in the house cooking, baking, or sleeping approximately 50% of our time is spent outdoors in nature year round. I am never happier than when I am walking in a state park or refuge among the trees and nature. Since 2004, when I became the “cruise director” in our marriage, I’ve been coming up with ways my husband and I can enjoy time outside/things to do in Wisconsin. We hike, we bike, go out in nature and take a lot of nature photographs, I draw in nature, we sit and relax in it, we have picnics, barbeque’s, and throw the occasional frisbee.

Last summer, because most of what we do (see above) is outside, we were not limited in our entertainment because the state park we visit was open as well as the refuge we walk in. The biggest thing we missed, as far as fun goes, was going to the movie theater a couple of times a month.

So, what’s on our agenda this year as most things in our area have opened up:

  • Regular weekend walks at state parks
  • Picnic at Taliesin ( the estate of Frank Lloyd Wright)
  • Walk at a Lavender Farm
  • Tour Al Ringling’s mansion
  • Afternoon’s in a local bookstore (old-fashioned kind)
  • Bike rides
  • BBQ’s
  • & more!

This spring has been a busy one with planting two gardens, working a lot of overtime, writing, spring cleaning, getting back out and doing all the things we couldn’t do in 2020, getting caught up on reading (anyone else buy lots of books in 2020?), and getting meal plans together to make healthier, easier (quicker) meals from now until fall. I have also been working on and putting together my Simple Living and Organized Guide which should be ready this month.

Any minute it’s going to be Summer–do you have any special plans this summer?

Until next time stay safe and be well!🐝

The Little Things in Life

I wrote a blog post awhile back about mundane days, which in a way, is as unappreciated as the little things in life.

What are the little things in life? Your life?

I hear it all the time “maybe now we can get back to the way things were” or “back to some normalcy.” I can sort of understand someone making a comment like “back to normalcy etc.” I do understand they are just “sayings” although, seriously, there are people that believe everything is going to return back to how things were in 2019 before Covid. Like, just like that, “we’re all back to normal.” The hard truth is we, none of us, are ever going to be able to go back to before Covid-19. There are nearly 3.5 million people worldwide (and their family/friends) whose life won’t return to normal because they died from Covid-19 during a pandemic that turned all of our worlds upside down in the last 15 months or so..

Personally, what I found to be most difficult during this whole last year was thinking all the time about how people all over the world were dying alone. Whether they were dying of Covid or dying of cancer–they were dying alone because of the CDC’s protocols. I thought about people who had limited time and 2020 may have been their last year on earth. Or people that had saved for their whole lives to travel somewhere in 2020 and were not able to. And maybe just maybe didn’t make it through 2020 to be able to reschedule. I thought of a lot of different scenarios of people all over the world and prayed all the time for everyone. Many people’s lives are forever changed from everything we all experienced in the year 2020.

2020 affected all of us–every last one of us. Even the ones for whom 2020 was no more than an inconvenience.

So, what are the little things in life. Life’s little blessings? Where are they as we all get ready to get back out into the world and quite possibly forget the little blessings that helped us keep it together in 2020?

For me it was the quiet. More quiet every day and nature rebounding joyfully. Less trodden paths, more birdsong, flowers left for their beauty, less air pollution, and oh yes–less people to irritate and frustrate me.

I learned how to single handedly keep our larder stocked and neither hubby nor I ran out of TP, or our favorite goodies, or things to do to keep our minds off of the crazy world we live in.

I enjoyed seeing new birds in our neighborhood, neighbors sitting outside taking in fresh air, people helping other people despite.. and getting used to checking ourselves out at every store we visited.

I was overjoyed at times that the mail continued to be delivered, delivery people made it to our door on time, telemarketers and their schemes quit ringing our phones, and restaurants seemed to, for a time, almost perfect their standard fare.

Life’s little things much more appreciated when the focus comes off of the big things in life–which aren’t actually big to me (social, vacation, spa/beauty salons, contractor work, etc).

Last year’s pause of our day-day life brings to this year new knowledge–

  • Our garden is going to be smaller– more gardener focused (therapeutic) vs. production, production, production.
  • Meals are going to be light, healthy, and packed with local veggies vs. labor intensive meals.
  • I survived being a remote worker and will continue to work remotely.
  • We survived just fine without travel and will sock that money away for moving into our new home someday.
  • There are a lot of things we did without food, drink, convenience that we will continue not to purchase because in the end–no big deal. Many items stopped being made or the flavor we liked or the prices went up so–bye!
  • We eat a lot less meat$ and that’s a good thing. We also use a lot less TP (I know TMI lol).

My container garden this year is being dedicated to all of the people throughout the world who lost their lives in 2020. Whether virus or accident or suicide or natural causes or other illness 2020 was a awful, lonely, and much more than ever sad time to die.

The little things I hope to celebrate in my patio garden this year are first blooms, fireflies, sweat bees, Mr. Bumble Bee (he visits my porch every year) being there when he finds the bee balm, the smell of my first peony, the heat of my first cluster of cherry tomatoes, the rain droplets on each green leaf, the end of day feeling of the beauty the sun, moon, rain, bees, God, and I created out of a few dollars and half a dozen seed packets, and lots of watering and pruning!

Happy Spring everybody–get out there when and if you can and create some beautiful memories.