Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas!  It was a brown Christmas here in Illinois, as in much of the country, but merry nonetheless.  We are still waiting for our first measureable snowfall here.  The latest first measureable snowfall as noted for our area on the NOAA website was on January 4, 1913.  I am starting to think that this may be a record setting season.  Even though it was a snowless Christmas this year, I have this picture from last Christmas Eve to reflect on. 
I hope that you all had a wonderful Christmas filled with blessings!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Where's the snow?

I keep reading about the overall lack of snowfall so far this season in tweets and on facebook.  We had just a dusting of snow here on the 5th, but it was gone as soon as the sun came out that next day.
Being a bit of a self proclaimed weather nerd, I started wondering about our area's averages.  NOAA is great resource for all things regarding weather related history.
In the Peoria, IL area, here are some of our averages:
  • 1st snow - November 4
  • 1st measureable snow - November 21
  • 1st inch of snow - December 9
  • Monthy average for November - 1.1 inches
  • Monthy average for December - 7.1 inches
  • Most snowfall in November - 6.8 inches in 1975
  • Most snowfall in December - 8.0 inches in 1893 and again in 2000
Being a snow lover, I am hoping for some snow soon.  I always say that if it is going to be cold, there might as well be some snow on the ground.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

Pinterest has become a site that I have really enjoyed.  I am good at pinning ideas but not necessarily following through on any of the ideas right now.....someday, I think...  I decided to try out a couple of the ideas for Thanksgiving this year.
This one in particular seemed applicable to my gardening blog.  After all they ARE vegetables.  :)
I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving full of blessings!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Garden plans for spring 2012

I am contemplating downsizing our garden next year.  I never thought that I would say it.  I have always liked having a fairly large garden...large to some, not so much in comparison to others.  It has just gotten to be too much, and I am not able to do it justice by harvesting at the right times, patrolling for bugs, and weeding...oh, the weeding!  I think gardening was easier when my kids were smaller.  I have one daughter that would prefer torture than to play in the dirt and one that enjoys being in the garden with us, but not the work that it requires. 
This has left me wondering that if I scale back, perhaps I can regain control and pride in my garden again.  I start in the spring with such huge dreams.  After a long winter, the look of a freshly planted garden is inspiring.  Enter Illinois' humid summers and the novelty soon wears off.  This summer I spent more time away from home and on the road that the garden couldn't have gotten a fair shake had I tried.  My work schedule has changed which affords me more time at home, so perhaps I will have more time before work and during lunch. Should I give it one more year?  I don't know. 
Home gardening has so many benefits:
  • The relaxation of being in the garden is a biggie. 
  • I love the peace and quiet, nature's sounds, and playing in the dirt. 
  • The food is fresh and pesticide free....another huge plus in my book.  Saving money by growing your own food.
  • Our garden provides shelter for critters.  Rabbit nests, snakes, birds, spiders, etc
I put myself on a waiting list for a local CSA just in case I go through with this.  I am one of those people that sees something I like and thinks, "Oh, I could make that." but do I?  Generally not.  It is my cheapskate brain's way of saying don't buy.  Will I be happy purchasing food that I could be growing myself?  I would likely receive vegetables that I don't grow in my own garden which would be interesting and fun.  Hmmm...
To top it all off, I received my first seed catalog of the year already.  Do I dare to dream?  Stay tuned...

Surprise carrots

We had a bit of a surprise in the garden this past weekend.  Lauren had helped me pick carrots this summer, and had trouble getting "a couple" of them out of the ground because the tops were breaking off.  I didn't think much of a "couple" carrots being left.  We had picked quite a few. 
Fast forward to this past weeknend.  Lauren asked her Dad if she could pick the carrots that she had left in the ground.  Sure...why not?  My goodness!  This was more than a "couple" carrots!  I was shocked.
This is what they pulled.  They are some of the strangest looking carrots.  I am not sure what would have caused them to grow such bulbous ends.
Lauren with her baby carrots.

A couple of examples of some of the more odd shapes we found that day.
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Sunday, November 6, 2011

Weekend out and about

Mackinaw River.  I drive over this bridge every day that I go to town.  I enjoy the change of the seasons that I see here.  An angry, raging, muddy river in spring, a lush green landscape that calls me to my kayak in the summer, the colors of autumn and a lazy river in fall, a frozen, snow covered trees and ground with an ice covered river in winter.
The above two shots were taken not long after sunrise.
Autumn leaves in a watery grave...still showing their beautiful colors.

My youngest daughter, Lauren, walking the river.  She is drawn to the water just like her Momma.

Looking for shells.  She said that she doesn't like the river as much when the creatures of the water aren't there.  She is always asking questions that I have no answers for.  Today, "Where do the clams go in winter, Mom?" and "What happens to the frogs in winter?"  I need in my head.
Two of my favorite people.  My youngest and my husband.  My oldest felt that hanging out with friends was more fun.  Teenagers...  :)
A different area of the same river.  On the way home for the day.
Yet another stop over the river.  It is a very winding river with many bridge crossings.
Where do you go?  Where do you end up?
Great colors at a roadside ditch.
My father-in-law being a good sport while we were stopping today.
More autumn color on a gray day.
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Saturday, November 5, 2011


 Grain elevator silhouetted by the predawn.

 Playing a bit with the sunset setting on my camera.  Really brings out the reds and oranges.
 Grain elevator again in close up with sunset setting on camera.

 The sun is just starting to peek out...

Good morning!
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Saturday, October 29, 2011

Fall leaves

I find autumn to be one of the most beautiful times of the year.  The colors, the temperatures, the promise of an upcoming winter....  Gotcha didn't I?  :)  Unfortunately, we don't have a lot of trees with great fall color, but I did get a couple shots.  I keep telling myself that I am going to go out and hunt some great trees for photos, but just haven't gotten there, so I improvised in my own yard. 

Eastern Redbud

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Friday, October 28, 2011

Freeze warning

Central Illinois has it's first freeze warning of the year tonight.  Not the Major League baseball kind, either.  :)  According to the National Weather Service, the first freeze for our area generally occurs on October 17th, so we are slightly behind average.  All of my tender plants came into the potting shed with the first frost warning, so I am safe that way.  I am ready to not have to mow grass anymore, for weeds to finally die, and yes, for snow to start flying.  I have to say that this has been one of the most beautiful and temperate autumns that I can remember.  Sometimes I wonder if that has to do with me getting older and more appreciative of nature.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Assorted flora and fauna - Yellowstone 2011

 I saw a lot of this fungi type growth.  Unlike anything that I see here at home.

Multi colors of fungi
More amazement at the things that can grow in the adverse conditions of the geyser basins of Yellowstone.

This moss like material was actually dry.  I would have thought it would be moist like most mosses.  It would fall off and you would find clumps of it lying on the ground.

Definitely some funky fungi...

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