Wednesday, August 15, 2007

"The Tropical, Prehistoric Look...."

Rob, our next door neighbor, has been looking for plants that have a prehistoric, tropical look to plant in his yard. His Castor beans fit the bill this year. Some of the leaves are a big as small umbrellas with the plants reaching to almost the roof line.

He has planted the Castor bean plants out in front of his house and also along the side between our houses.

On his deck in back, he has brought out his potted house plants. They continue to get larger and larger as well. :)

The leaves of this one are huge as well.

Perhaps we'll soon be eating some fresh, homegrown bananas? In the cooler weather, all of his plants (minus the Castor beans) are in his front room. It truly is a tropical paradise. He'll have a humidifier running so the air is warm with moisture. Who needs to go to Olbrich Gardens when we can just walk next door? :)

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

"Lush Growth...."

The heat this summer, along with daily watering, have helped our plants to grow profusely. "Most" of our potted plants as well as those planted directly in the ground have done extremely well (with the exception of 1 of my tomatoes which began wilting and is now thoroughly dead). Our neighbor, Rob, planted Castor Beans and Sunflowers along the side of his house. As you can see, they have stretched out in height as well as width! I wonder if we will be able to walk between the houses by the end of September?! My pole beans, which I started late due to being in Michigan through most of June, have grown quickly, and hopefully, I will be able to harvest some before frost. I am disappointed in my dahlias this year. I planted them early in the greenhouse and they flowered early this year, but have produced mainly leaves, not flowers. I don't think I will keep these over the winter this year. Anyone is welcome to the tubers if you are so inclined. :)

On the right is my other tomato plant that is producing very well. I have yet to pick any green peppers from the pot on the right, but will shortly. The coleus, in the pot with the peppers, were thrown in with the small pepper plants when I accidentally broke some pieces off when moving them. Since the potted plants have gotten daily watering, the coleus "starts" took off like crazy and have become HUGE!! The empty "shepherds hook" behind the pepper/coleus pot used to hold the hanging pot of impatiens in the photo below this one.

The pot of impatiens got so heavy from all of the growth, it started to lean towards the deck and would have soon have touched it, so I decided to just take it off and have it become a permanent plant on the deck bench, adding color to that area. :)

The "Parent" coleus plants........which have taken on the shape/size of bushes. :)

I had to move the pot of white impatiens off of the steps and down into the bed next to them. They had become so large, they were starting to limit access to the deck. The impatiens on the deck rail are immense! We get compliments on them all of the time. :)

Monday, August 13, 2007

"The Ride to Columbus..."

It was a beautiful day yesterday. There was a nice breeze and it didn't get too hot until later in the day. My 2nd stop along the way had to be next to a cornfield with no shade (due to the mileage and no shade to be found), but as you can see, it worked out very well, because I had finally remembered to put the large beach umbrella in the car, for just such an occasion. :)

The route through Columbus didn't have a park in which to stop for our picnic lunch. In fact, part of the route was under construction, and although it was possible, but not easy, to drive/ride through, and I suggested an alternate route. We took that but again, no parks along it for stopping to eat. Luckily, Don has his GPS on his recumbent and was able to find a park not far from our route. (things like that are labeled on the screen) :)

The park where we picnicked was named "Fireman's City Park". It is a large and quite old park, adjacent to the high school, or at least I think it is the high school since we saw the "Columbus Cardinals" on the football scoreboard. There is a community pool, a playground, and the picnicking area where we ate. The large pavilion, seen in the background, definitely has been there many, many years, but seemed in great shape. It looks to be an old dance pavilion of days past, but still in use today.

Don, in the upper photo, in front of the picnic pavilion, and in the lower photo, with the "Dance Pavilion" in the background.

This was my next to last "refreshment" stop. :), it was closed so we didn't stop in for a "cold one". :) This establishment, "Patches" (food and spirits), is located way out in the country with nothing else much around it. It was my only choice for a shady spot. When I let Copper out of the car, what does she do, but go immediately up on their steps and lie down in the sun!!! It is a good thing that they were closed, eh? :) Who knows, perhaps they would have asked her to join them inside if they had been open. :)

Sunday, August 12, 2007

"A Bowl for Jill...."

This is a felted bowl that I knitted and felted for my cousin Jill, who lives in Grand Rapids, MI. She'd sent me a photo of the fabrics in her room and I chose yarn colors from that.......hopefully, she thinks they match, too :) I used Cascade 220 yarns.

I experimented with her bowl. I had never done the checkerboard effect before, but since one of her fabrics was a checkerboard pattern, I thought I would try it. It did pull in a little more around that area, but with twisting and stretching, I was able to get the shape I wanted. If it hadn't been for her fabric, I probably would never have thought to try it. :)

Saturday, August 11, 2007

"Spectacular Views...."

I think I mentioned in an earlier blog entry that Don has been working 4- 9 1/2 hour days a week in order to take an afternoon off from work to go on a training ride. Yesterday's ride was to Mount Horeb, WI. The hills were steep (and many), but Don had the fun of practically "flying" downhill after a steep climb up.
These are a few photos of the spectacular views.......(click on them to enlarge) :)

Today's ride is to Columbus, WI. Susan's Fiber Shop is over there......I may have to take a detour and make a stop to look around. :) Change of plans....a big storm is almost upon Madison, so tomorrow will be the ride to Columbus.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

"Process to Complete...."

Another few "victims" trying on the felted cowboy hat (although, the process of turning it into a cowboy hat has yet to be completed). Here is Rob, being a good sport and giving the hat his own style.........

Poor took MUCH more persuading to get him to put it on. He tried a lot of excuses but finally was a good sport, too. :) He is such a shy boy at times.....

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

"A Goodbye Dinner....."

Our friends, Jim and George, are moving from Madison to Sumner, Iowa this coming weekend. Sheila and Penny had us all over for a "Goodbye Dinner" last Friday night. We all, of course, had a wonderful time and the food was delicious! :)

The move will be "full circle" for Jim, who lived outside of Sumner as a child. He still has family in the area, and is one of the reasons they are moving to Sumner.

George and Don. George will be volunteering at Sumner's library. They don't know how lucky they are yet to be gaining his knowledge of the literary world.

Here I am .....for some reason looking kinda "snooty".......someone should have slapped me...or maybe NOT taken this photo! :)

Our hostesses, Penny and Sheila. Their house has a wonderful screened in back porch. We were able to eat and also sit out there comfortably all evening.

Monday, August 6, 2007

"At Patrick's Request......"

I have been busy knitting baby things for the past few weeks in order to have them done in time to ship to Patrick (before we leave on our bike trip) for a friend of his and Julies. Nicky, if I have it correct, was both Patrick and Julies roommate in college, but at different times. Patrick and Julie had met each other up at Lake Superior State in Sault Ste. Marie, MI, through Nicky, but didn't know each other well. After graduating, they met again at another friends wedding and began "seeing" each other after that. The rest is history....(and future, we hope) :) But I Patrick's request, I knitted a "Ear Flap" stocking cap for the new baby.....a girl, but he wanted it in camouflage colors because he and Nicky's husband are both hunters. I said fine, I could do that because the pattern I use for the hat uses 2 strands of yarn. I used Lamb's Pride worsted yarn (a mixture of wool and mohair), Old Sage and Sable. I also have a pattern for mittens that uses worsted yarn, so knitted a matching pair using the Old Sage.

I decided that perhaps Nicky might want something a bit more feminine, since her baby was a girl (outdoor pursuits can come later), so I went ahead and knitted another outfit for her, too. I used the "Royal Baby Set" pattern from Blue Sky Alpacas for the sleeveless wrap and hat, although the booties were from another source. The yarn is from Blue Sky Alpacas, too.....their sport weight in Peach.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

"Pierceville, Stoughton, and Newville...."

Wednesday's training ride took us past the Pierceville Cemetery, where I took this photo at one of our stops. It was very hot that day and Don sent me home after this. :) He said he had about 20 miles to get home and thought I should go home from there, which I did. I didn't take Copper that day because of the heat. Luckily, I had been able to find shady spots for my stopping/waiting areas for Don. :)

These next 2 photos are from yesterday's training ride. Don's route to Newville, WI, took us through Stoughton, WI, where we happened to run into the ACT V riders. It was their lunch stopping point. We stopped to ask if Michelle and Libby had come in yet from the ride for lunch, but were told they were bringing up the rear, being the "caboose". The job of the caboose person(s), it to make sure that all of the riders get into the stopping points and no one is left behind......sounds like an educational program, doesn't it? :) So we were not able to see Michelle and Libby, but left word for them that we had stopped. Don has also been sending emails daily to the ACT V website for them. Emails are posted on a board each night at the final stop for the day, where riders are able to read them.

Riders coming in............

This lovely area was our lunch spot yesterday. It was at a bend in the road so that Don could spot me easily. :) It was sprinkling a little so I opened up the back hatchback of the car, set the chairs underneath it as much as possible, and we had a nice little picnic spot, even if it was slightly damp. :) Yesterday was not a good day for me with following the route. I had gotten lost or I should say "confused" about some of the route. I never did see Newville because of one of my "Oops" periods. I had planned on finding a park with a pavilion to set up lunch was not to be. :(

Saturday, August 4, 2007

More Work Done at Vince's...."

The cement has "cured" and the construction crew was able to come back and fill around the walls of Vince's garage, although, I'm not sure what's going to happen with the large crater along the side closest to his house.

The yard is nicely leveled. He now may have the least amount of slope in all the neighborhood backyards. :) Remember, we all back up to the bike path and it is the highest point of our area, with all yards sloping down from it, towards Lake Wingra.

Earlier, Vince said that something was going to be done about the asphalt that was destroyed on Briar Hill, but we haven't seen him to find out what news there is of that.

Friday, August 3, 2007

"ACT V......."

Don and I got up earlier than our "normal" 5AM yesterday.....4:30 AM, because we wanted to go to the opening ceremonies of the ACT V ride (6:15-7:00AM). This is the annual fund raiser for Aids research. We have 2 friends riding again this year, Michelle (actually Don's "boss") and her partner Libby, who has just recently taken a job in New Hampshire, and flew back to Madison to participate in the ride. If I am not mistaken, it was on this very ride (3 years ago?) that Michelle and Libby met. This year the ride is 4 days long, with yesterday's ride 70 something miles, and today's around 100 (from what we heard on the news last night). It is by no means and easy ride and people train for it all year long. It is a very well organized ride and there are many, many volunteers who "crew" and make sure everything runs like clockwork, taking good care of the participants. With the heat yesterday and predicting more of the same for the next few days, one of the main concerns for the riders will be to stay hydrated.

Michelle, Don, and Libby. As you can see by their bike shirts, this isn't their first ride. :)

Michelle beginning the ride........Don didn't realize that the same banner was being used for the riders "Welcome Home" ceremony. :) He felt he should have taken photos from the other side. :)

The symbolic "riderless" bike for victims of aids who are not with us any longer.......
The flower shrouded basket is from the doves which were set free to symbolize their returning home.....

A few of the bikes prior to leaving. Many more were added after this was taken as people arrived and unloaded for the 4 day ride.

The gathering of riders, crew, and well wishers for the opening ceremony.........

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

"Happy Hot and Humid August...."

I do not have any photos for today's blog entry, so it will be mercifully short. :)

Don is taking another training ride today, this time to Marshall, WI. I have not ever been there, so it will be new territory for me. He has been working an extra hour, 4 days a week, in order to take the 1 afternoon off so that he can train. I think that I might leave Copper home today when I leave to be the "sag wagon" because it is predicted to be so hot today..... low 90's, with high humidity. As much as she enjoys the "outings", I think it best that she not be in a hot car, sitting alongside the road somewhere. I have been lucky about finding places with shade, but still feel it may be too warm for her to go.