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Holiday Frame Craft - Good Progress

The woodland frame elves have been hard at work. The staining was completed a few days ago. Here are the stained versions:


They turned out quite well! A $2.74 frame now looks at least $6.83.

Then we began cutting the crabapple twigs to fit the frames, and hot-glued them along with acorns and pinecones to the frames. In a few cases I've added a touch of glitter to some of the elements. Here are a few completed ones:




We're going to make a pretty placeholder image for the center of the frames when we ship them. First set will be shipped tomorrow. After we got our feet wet, I began adding oak leaves. I'll post photos of those in the next post.

Holiday Crafts and other Business

I realized I haven't posted in a month! It's been a challenge to post to a garden blog in these cold dark days. I am missing my flowers. During the last month I've...
- gotten bifocals. It happened almost immediately after I turned 44 in September - extreme tromboning, and couldn't read coupon expiration dates. I got the prescription and took it to the new Walmart - they replaced the lenses in my current frames with the no-line bifocals. They take a bit of getting used to but they work well. Now I can read without having to take off my glasses. I also tried out a sample of the contact lens bifocal and it works well. I'll get those next year when my current supply runs out.
- joined the church choir.I've always been a musician. I mostly sing and write songs with my guitar in songwriting classes and open mikes. I figured since I'm not working I should volunteer for the choir. I had to audition and was accepted - soprano. I loved the first practice - some inte…

The Hope of Spring

Growing up I loved the 4 or 5 Hyacinths that grew under my parents bedroom each Spring. Their beauty so unexpected, and the scent, heavenly. As an adult I've always stopped to smell them whenever I see them each Spring, whether in someone else's garden, or at the grocery store. One Spring I was particularly sad. I bought a Hyacinth and placed it next to my bed, so I could smell it as I fell asleep and first thing when I woke up. A wonderful way to heal. Now that I have my own garden, I can plant my own Hyacinths. I had what I didn't know were overly-ambitious plans for both Tulips and Hyacinths - Tulips lining most of the front beds and Hyacinths lining the back patio. Once I calculated the cost of all, I realized I need to do this slowly, a bit each year. Of course the Hyacinths must be first. I am so excited about the colors I chose - slightly non-traditional. I ordered four colors from John Scheepers. They are:

Hyacinthus orientalis L'Innocence (white)
Hyacinthus ori…

Milkweed

I took these snapshots of milkweed on one of these last warm days of autumn. I've always been fascinated by it. Pods of pregnant promise. They are fresh and full all summer, then give birth to hundreds of flying faeries in the fall. Falling, flying, floating, seeding new promises in an endless cycle. Anyone else care to wax poetic about them?





Autumn Rain

Autumn rain makes the colors so bright and beautiful. The falling, bright colored leaves seem like a celebration. The Hickories are turning bright gold:


 The Burning Bush on the west side of the house is slowly being painted scarlet:

 The shrub roses adorn themselves with raindrop pearls:

The Hostas drink all the water they can by gathering with their big jungle leaves and storing it deep into their root systems:

The Hydrangeas' fall colors shimmer in the rain. Muted pink, purple, and green pastels blend into each other, looking like organza dresses at an old-fashioned ice cream social:



 The crabapples look good enough to eat. But we know better.


 The Hickories and Oaks live in harmony, celebrating Autumn together.

Mary's Toad Lilies

All summer the rock garden was full of Lily stalks that didn't bloom. I knew they were some kind of Lily due to the leaf structure. There must be 30-40 stalks. I've looked at them carefully numerous times, and last time I examined them I thought maybe Cala lilies, that would bloom later in the summer. Didn't happen. I saw some budding on them a few weeks ago, and then forgot about them being so busy the last few weeks. It's been raining all day here, and I saw that the bird feeder we had wedged between some of the rocks in the rock garden fell. It's not a permanent solution, and it fell once before. We're going to have cement it or use a base pole to secure it for Spring. I went out to pick it up, and was greeted by lots and lots of blooming Toad Lilies! What a surprise. These inherited gardens keep constantly surprising me. I've been through a full year's cycle now, and thought I'd seen everything. I don't remember these last year at this time.…

Autumn Wine

Having inherited several Sedum plants, I watched them with mild interest all summer. I was pleasantly surprised by the gorgeous display they have blessed us with this fall. They are autumn wine flowers. In August they were a light Chablis color, and then they deepened into a Rose, then a Merlot, and now turning a deep Burgundy. I've marveled at the variety of bees and butterflies that take great interest in them daily. It's like they are an oasis, or Port, where there are no boundaries between species - bumble bee is there drinking along with the honeybee, and all kinds of butterflies landing. I suppose everyone appreciates great wine. I know I have appreciated these Sedum. I do not know if they are "Autumn Joy", "Autumn Fire" or some other variety. Anyone know the best way to tell? They are on relatively short stalks.



Here they are part of the front bed tapestry - Moondance Rose, Russian Sage, Butterfly Bush, and the Sedum.

Butterfly Bush

To continue the butterfly theme, the Butterfly Bush has about 10 fronds now. Here's a closeup of one (with Sedum in background):

A Butterfly Birthday

To celebrate my birthday yesterday we went to Milwaukee and visited the butterfly museum, among other places. How enchanting to sit in a large room and have large unusual butterflies flying all around you, even landing on you! A video:
Some butterfly photos:




In addition to yesterday's trip, we spent Monday and Tuesday doing nature-related things for my birthday. On Tuesday we went biking through a state park. So relaxing to be able to bike on the paths, not worry about cars, and take in all the breathtaking scenery.  It was abundant with birds, butterflies, and frogs. My favorite part was a section I called the "sea of gold":


Monday we went apple picking (some pictures of the apples and what they're made into coming later), and then hiking/picnic in a portion of land owned by the nature conservancy. It was full of migrating Monarchs, feeding on the abundant milkweed:


 Anyone know what caused this? It is bark, not any kind of nest.
 A pretty thistle:
 and a hint of Autumn:

I…