Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Now These are Cool

Dashed over to the grocery on Sunday to pick up ingredients for the next two new recipes I'm making. One, involving hamburger, I'm having second thoughts on, but I must persevere. The other is cookies so those I'm not worried about.

As I was leaving, my eye caught these lilies by the exit.

They were called "Love in Bloom". I like the dramatic deep burgundy contrasted with the white. My favorite lilies are "Stargazers", which are very similar to these.

They aren't as deep burgundy and have more "freckles". It would be outstanding to have a bed of lilies with all white in the center and then these two around the outside. Not on the list of garden things this year.

Happy Valentine's Day.

Beverage:  Water


Monday, February 13, 2017


In case you missed it, there was a grand celestial event this past Friday night. First of all, there was a luminous full moon. Then, there was a lunar eclipse. Finally, a comet, which looked green, was to pass through the night sky. I've mentioned how my dad was enamored with the night sky. He bought a telescope when we were kids and we looked at the moon, a lot, particularly in the summer. That was mainly because we complained about the cold, even though winter skies are clearer than summer skies.

Because of his interest, evening skies and celestial events are still a great draw for me. This August, part of Illinois will get to experience a total solar eclipse. I thought about trying to drive south, but everyone and their brother will be down there. I'll be happy for the 90% we'll get up here. It makes very interesting shadows. The last time we experienced this, Carole was in 5th grade and her school had an eclipse party. We made pin hole cameras for all the classrooms. I do remember street lights coming on where the street was shady.

The computer sits facing the east so I get a good view of the moon as it rises. On Friday, I thought the eclipse was to 'start' at 6:48 pm my time. The night was clear, which was, itself, wonderful because we'd had 3 weeks of near constant clouds. The moon rose and, well, nothing. In all the time I watched, I never saw any indication of a lunar eclipse. I was busy so I couldn't check astronomy web sites. The umbra color of the moon during an eclipse is always fascinating. I never saw anything green in the night sky either. Just the red and white lights of incoming aircraft headed to O'Hare airport. It was something of a let down.

But, I was able to take photos, back in November of the Super Hunter's Moon. This is from November 12th.

The actual Hunter's Moon was the 14th, but it was big and white on the 13th. Here it is, rising in the east.

It usually takes a bit of time to go from a light yellow to full white, but the November moon seemed to start out white and just get brighter as the evening wore on. I remember it was nice out, so standing on the front steps trying to get decent photos of it wasn't an exercise in frozen fingers.

You can see in the above photo that it's not quite 100%. Compare the above photo with one taken on the 14th at, roughly, the same time.

It's always an adventure to take moon photos when the moon clears the tree line. I often have to walk down the steps and get the moon in branches before backing up so there is only the white orb left. And, at times like this, I wish I had better equipment than a pocket digital camera or my phone, which is years old.

We've had a lot of celestial "It won't happen again in your lifetime" events in the last 20 years. This is another one. It's exciting.

Beverage:  Raspberry seltzer


Patt Saves the Day

I'm pretty sure I never blogged about this. I had every intention of doing so, but things got hectic and the photo was misplaced.

My friend, Patt, gave me this when I went to visit her over Memorial Day 2015. I had no idea something like this existed. She had retired from her administrative position and was cleaning out cupboards. "Maybe you could use this?" she asked. I'm ashamed to admit I didn't know what it was until she explained it.

It has saved my pocketbook and my work time. I found another one on a clearance shelf at Target. You see I have chicken noodle soup in this. But once I discovered Chef Boy-ar-dee still made Spaghetti O's, I started taking a can's worth in this one. So the one I got at Target is used for soup. You know, try as you might, tomato stains don't always come out of Tupperware after it's been microwaved.

This has made lunches so much better. I dump a can of soup or Sketti O's into the container and take it to work. Add a bowl of Jell-O or sliced fruit or vegetables and I have a full meal. I don't absent-mindedly hop in the car and head to Wendy's or Subway; the two closest restaurants; for lunch. It saves me money and I can work through lunch. There are days when you just need to get out because you need the break, but my finances are much better for not going out a lot.

I have the best friends.

Beverage:  Cranberry Tea


Sunday, February 12, 2017

What Is This?

I had to do some home inspections at the end of summer last year. These were large homes with a lot of different landscaping. I find myself mentally filing away things that work and things that don't.

One of the homeowners had this plant in pots by the garage.

It was tall, even taking into consideration it was in a pot. I would say it was probably 6 feet tall. The homeowner had put impatiens around the bottom and this was shooting up from the center.

I have no idea what this is. The husband just shrugged and said, "I dunno. My wife finds this stuff." It's so distinctive. Is it invasive? Is it self-seeding? Is it like a dahlia where I have to dig up the tubers to overwinter in my climate? I have not been able to find this in my seed and plant catalogues. I'm going to be redoing a few of my planting beds this year so I'm on the lookout for distinctive plants. The prairie plant bed is getting enlarged. I don't think this is a native prairie plant, but I could be wrong. Any reader have an idea?

Beverage:  Cranberry Tea