"I have always been delighted at the prospect of a new day, a fresh try, one more start, with perhaps a bit of magic waiting somewhere beyond the morning." - J.B. Priestly

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Holiday Bloomer

I tried planting mini-amaryllis bulbs last year.  Don't know if they were too old or I didn't plant them right or something, but they sprouted nicely but never bloomed.  A couple of weeks ago (November 10), I was at Menard's and they had boxed amaryllis with the bucket and soil for under $5.00 so I decided to try again.  I took it home and planted it that day, watered it regularly and put it in my front window so it would get plenty of sun.  Now, only two weeks later, this is my result and I'm pretty happy.

Another week or so and it should be a big beautiful red and white flower (a bit before Christmas but still within the Holiday period).  This time, I'll take care of it properly and store the bulbs like I'm supposed to and I'm hoping to get another beautiful bloom every year.

[Note the lovely English Ivy cascading next to it.  That's one of my real triumphs from the outdoor garden this year.  Since bringing it in, it has grown even more!


And another wonderful holiday with family -- something for which I'm eternally grateful.  I know there are families that drift apart and even those that just don't like to be together.  With that in mind, I'm continually grateful that my family (immediate and extended) live reasonably close together and enjoy being together.  I was blessed with two wonderful daughters-in-law that invite us to be part of their events and 'doings' so we get to spend a lot of time with our grown boys and with our grandchildren.  Really couldn't be better!

This Thanksgiving, we were invited to come down to Milwaukee to spend the day with Steve's family.  Scott's family was off to the Caribbean on a cruise ship and, unlike other years, Steve and Stacy had not gone to Oklahoma for Thanksgiving week.  It was such a great day.  Steve's dad and sister Julia were there, along with a couple of Stacy's friends:  Ken Keffer and Heather (a friend from Stacy's office).  Football was on TV (of course) and the kids played video games while the dinner was being prepared.  Then we had an awesome feast of turkey, stuffing, two kinds of potatoes, fresh rolls, cranberry sauce, salads, and pies.  Heather brought fresh-baked cookies for the kids to decorate after dinner and we played some board games.  Ken broke out his guitar and played music -- while the football continued to play on TV.

A few weeks ago, Steve bought the stuff to brew his own beer and had started the process.  After cleaning up the kitchen, he brought out a big jug of the brew and we got an assembly line going to bottle it up.  Smelled pretty good.  Now we have a few weeks to wait while it finishes doing whatever it needs to do once it's bottled.  Only one broken bottle mishap but no one was hurt.

The team consisted of Steve (sanitizing the bottles), me (doing bottle transfer), Stacy (taking the bottles from me, filling them, and giving them back), and Ken (taking the filled bottles and capping them).  We decided it might become a new family tradition. 

Thanksgiving was really early this year so Anna's birthday ended up being the day before Thanksgiving.  She had had a complete room makeover just a few weeks before so Grandpa and Grandma got her some sheets and a jewelry box and a nice owl nightlight to go with her new room.  Also included was a big owl picture to hang on the wall.  We didn't hang it up right away because it needed to be opened and centered on the wall.  However, Anna got a little tired of waiting for someone to come help her hang up her picture so she decided to take matters into her own hands!  Good thing she had her trusty steed to help her.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Warm Weather

It's truly unbelievable how warm the weather still is.  Yes, we've had a few cold days so far, but the last couple of weeks have been averaging 40s and 50s in the daytime with barely freezing temps at night.  As a result, the soil is not frozen (not even slightly) and I was able to plant more daffodil bulbs today.  Those that I planted a month ago may be casualties as a couple of them actually started to grow in the warm soil -- especially after we got a lot of rain.  I hope they all survive.

Given this warm weather (highs in the 50s all of this next week until Friday), I think I'll go get more bulbs and continue to put them in the ground.  I also have a big whiskey barrel planter in the back that could be planted with hyacinth and tulips (or something similar) -- up a bit to keep them away from the rabbits.

I have quite a lot of large containers that I'm overwintering in the garage, and I sure hope this warmer weather doesn't cause a problem there.  I'll need to make sure they stay watered until they can freeze solid.

I've been getting catalogs over the past couple of weeks and I think I'm going to buy a grow light for this next Spring.  I'm not going to start anywhere near as many from seed as I did last year so the light will make healthier seedlings (that I'll be able to start a bit later and, then, transfer to my greenhouses), and I can maybe continue to start seedlings throughout the growing season.  I've never done that before.  Generally, I do my seeds in the Spring, get the plants into the ground and don't start other plants.  However, I'm thinking that I might do a little more layering of my seed-starting next year.  Just some thoughts.  Can't believe I'm already well into planning for next year when it's only November!

Friday, November 2, 2012


Had a pretty good Halloween this week -- but a bit different.

Jeff is in South Dakota on a hunting trip so he missed out.  Stacy and the kids had gone to Oklahoma over the weekend and, because of the way Halloween fell this year, it wasn't possible for all of the kids to get together for Halloween this year.  That might be a first, actually.  I didn't even get to see Jack and Anna in costumes this year.  But, they had their own Halloween fun on the airplane when the flight steward made crowns for them out of peanut packets.

 Ian and Alex (with Mom and Dad) came over, though.  Ian was an Army Ranger (suitably attired in camo) and Alex was Hawkeye (from The Avengers).  After doing some trick-or-treating of their own, they came back to get warm and have some pizza.  Then, they helped me distribute treats to all of the kids that came to the door.  There was a couple of baseball competitions on the Wii before they headed home with their candy.

We ended up having between 80 and 90 kids, which is pretty average I think.  Went through quite a lot of candy (Alex was giving it out by the handful), but there is still more left than I'd like.  Guess I'll be eating Halloween candy this week!