Archive for the ‘Gardening’ Category


Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens

April 5, 2017

We’ve been through some rough stuff recently, so the girls and I decided a little day trip was called for. We headed out Buffalo way and went to the botanical garden. I went a little nuts with the camera…roughly 200 pictures worth of nuts. As I began wading through and editing them, I decided this adventure should be multiple posts. I’ll let the pictures talk.

I’ll post more pictures tomorrow! The orchid room will be next.



August 11, 2010

I have never really made time to garden, but this year we have 3 permanent garden areas, and 2 raised beds that we put in for a cut flower garden and a veggie garden. Today I decided to photograph the garden areas. I went out around  12:30 and took 50 some pictures, only to find that the colors were horrid. It was so hot and humid that there was a ridiculous amount of moisture showing up in the pictures so all of the colors were waaaaay off! Oh yeah, and they were hazy looking. I decided to scrap that batch and instead went back out around 7:00 PM and got MUCH better pictures.

In the front garden, I used to have roses, but the kids helped me to pull them out early last week, so I replaced them. I opted to anchor it with a perennial, but fill it in with annuals, so I could change them around from year to year. Jeff was fed up with being attacked by the roses, so he is thrilled with the new plantings.

Next to the driveway in the back yard, we have a primarily perennial garden, but there is not a lot of color in it. I really like the variety of color in the foliage, but I think we’ll put in a few bulbs this fall to add a little spring color.  I seriously cut my forsythia bushes back when they were done flowering and am now trying to train them to grow up more than out, but fill in where they had gotten lean in the middle.

Pardon the weeds growing in the driveway. The driveway really needs to be pulled out and redone, but that’s major, so it’ll have to wait a while longer.

This is Kyle’s turtle statue under the forsythia.

When we first bought the house, the area behind the garage had a ton of potential, but it was a dump, literally. The kids and I cleared out brush, weeds, car parts, garbage cans, cinder blocks, and tons of other junk over the years. Once we had all the trash out, we pulled all the weeds and dug up a few small trees, and we had a beautifully cleared area. Erin really wanted her own garden, so I decided that she could have the area as her own. My mother-in-law took Erin shopping and she picked out a handful of plants to put in. It’s a tough area due to a large maple tree shading the whole area. We put down landscape fabric and covered it with several bags of mulch, then she put in the plantings and some stepping stones that we gathered from my parents woods. Now she has a fabulous little garden to relax in.

Here’s the gnome that watches over everything while trying to hide in the sliver mound.


Her impatiens have flowered all summer long.

This belongs to  my neighbors trumpet vine. It’s gorgeous, but super invasive.

In addition to all of our garden areas, I have a lilac bush I planted a couple years ago. It was stunted for a while after getting broken by the kids and a soccer ball. I finally cut off the broken part and the rest of it went nuts! It only had one flower this year, but it grew about 1.5 feet. Hopefully next year it will flower a lot more.

Here is a closer look at the buddies under the lilac bush.

Erin planted a bunch of seeds in her raised bed, but only the radishes seem to be actually growing. I didn’t know radishes had flowers…

…and I definitely didn’t know that they had seed pods!

This little beauty is in Sarah’s cut flower garden.

I can’t believe how wonderful our gardens look this year!


Easter Sunday Morning

April 4, 2010

We didn’t do a whole lot today, but I took a lot of pictures, so I figured I should break up the day into two posts. So here is the morning, next will be the afternoon. But first, I must tell you about last night…

Yesterday was so crazy that Jeff and I both fell into bed fairly early. Our bedroom is in the attic, so it reaches insane temperatures on hot, sunny days. Yesterday the area saw record high temps, near 90 degrees F. Unheard of this time of year here! When we got home from the rink, our bedroom had to be near 90. I took a brief nap, then decided that the air conditioner might be a good idea. Last year, it started making an awful noise, but the repair guy couldn’t find a problem. I thought perhaps it didn’t like sitting on carpet (it’s portable), so Kyle found a board in the basement to set it on. I orchestrated, while Jeff and Kyle installed the blasted thing.  It worked fine, until I plugged in the vent hose, then awful noises were heard. I put a piece of paper near the port, wondering if it was the hose connection or something else, only to have the plastic fan blades  begin breaking and come flying out of the exhaust port! YIKES!!!! We gave up, opened the skylight all the way, took down the shade, and installed a fan (set to exhaust) on the opposite side of the room. Thankfully, the then 62 degree F temps outside, blasted into our room and quickly cooled it off. Then, we fell into bed from sheer exhuastion (around 11…rather early for us)!

I digress…the early bedtime meant rising rather early. We were both hungry, so we went out and grabbed some quick food, then came home quickly. I had plans for the kids! My mother-in-law bought Erin some raised beds to plant veggies and flowers in, but the place we wanted them to go in the yard is quite uneven. I asked Kyle if he would be willing to remove the grass and a little dirt to try to level it out. He enlisted Sarah’s help and soon the 5 of us were outside. Oh the five included Joe, not Jeff. Jeff goes outdoors in the spring as little as humanly possible due to horrible springtime allergies!

Our lawn has many random areas where chunks of concrete are buried a few inches below the grass. We dug several chunks up, near the garage, last spring thinking they may have made up a sidewalk…not the case. I had the kids leave the chunks in place, so nobody would stumble into the ditch and get hurt.

As the kids dug near the house, I had them move the sod chunks to replace the concrete near the garage.

Looks much better and it’s much safer now!

Sarah was jumping on the transplanted sod to make sure it was where it should be and packed in well… You MUST enlarge this picture to get the full effect. Look at her feet in relation to the ground. Can you tell she’s a dancer? Straight up, legs straight, body straight, tons of air! I laughed pretty hard when I uploaded this picture.

Kyle dug up and moved the majority of what needed to be removed. He quickly decided this was the preferred method of moving the grass…

…rather than this.

Sarah did her fair share…

…of standing around contemplating …

…and working, until…

…she stole my lawn chair!

Meanwhile, Erin got creative…

…until she skinned her knuckle.

I know you can’t see the skinned knuckle in the above photo, but I thought it was a cute picture anyway. She went inside to wash and put a band-aid on it, but Jeff was in the shower so she couldn’t run water (old pipes, badly controlled water flow). She came back out with a clean tissue wrapped around it, like this…

It’s her flower finger! Kyle, not paying close attention to the whole exchange, asked her if she had skinned two fingers, since she was holding two fingers up. She rolled her eyes, looked at him, and explained that she had skinned the first knuckle on her middle finger, and it would be rude to just hold that one up for the camera! I just about fell out of my chair laughing. She is right…it would have been very rude, and I NEVER would have taken the picture! Smart kid!

Joe thoroughly enjoyed his time outdoors with us! He sniffed around and even rolled in a worm he found (YUCK)!

Then he posed showing me his good side…

…then his better side!

He even convinced Sarah to stop working and scratch his belly. Tummy rubs are one of his favorite things. He’s not spoiled or anything!

His final pose looked so snobbish, that I thought I’d try to make it look more dignified than snobby by desaturating it. I guess it makes a nice portrait.

While the kids were working, a couple of critters caused interruptions in their work. ALL work ceased when this guy showed up on the scene.

Kyle has been stung multiple times by bees, and is therefore, very wary of them. Sarah has never been stung, which is a bit firghtening, considering her many allergies. She is therefore, also very wary of them. I just like to photograph them and really have no fear of them at all. I’ve been stung a few times, but I survived without incident (other than much crying when I was little and got stung)!

This silly bird halted the kids’ progress as well. It was apparently cleaning dead grass out of the gutters and dropping it to the ground, from right over the kids’ heads! Then it would cock it’s head and watch. If I didn’t know better, I’d say it knew what it was doing.

All three kids really did get a lot accomplished towards leveling the area for the raised beds. We only had about an hour and a half to spend at it, but they managed to almost completely clear one of the two areas that needed clearing! Erin was cracking me up. She was going to use the edger to split a piece of sod when I decided to take her picture. She thought it would be funny to hide behind the edger…now she is skinny, but not THAT skinny, lol!!!

Here she is checking out the Easter Lily that her grandma got her.

This is the area they got leveled. They need to go back a little more toward the house, then it should be good enough.

Now that this post is ridiculously long, I will leave you with one more picture. I found these in the middle of my yard and thought they were pretty…


Around the House

March 31, 2010

Yesterday I wandered through the house and took a few pictures of the girls rooms and Erin’s “garden.”

Sarah didn’t want to be photographed.

Erin, however, really didn’t mind.

Sarah is a collector of many things.

The horses on top of her bookcase are horses that I collected when I was quite young. I gave them to the kids when they were fairly small and I am amazed that they are still around. A couple of them are probably close to 30 years old!

Sarah has quite the collection of musical things as well. The box to the right of her keyboard is a guitar, while the box underneath contains a ukulele.

As I was taking pictures, Joe was whining at the bottom of the stairs. As I moved from Sarah’s room to Erin’s room, I peeked down the stairs and found Joe on the lower landing. He isn’t allowed upstairs, but sometimes he tries…

Erin loves her new room even though it is quite small.

Erin is quite creative. She made a whole bunch of these angels…


 …and made this very cool picture with pastels.


This picture was on a shelf on the bottom of her easel when we moved her into her room. I thought it should be framed, so I found a framed picture that was in the house when we bought it. I had stashed the framed picture thinking it was an okay picture, but not really my style. Erin’s picture was the same size, so I put her picture in the frame instead. She was absolutely thrilled!

Although Sarah’s creativity usually comes out more in the form of music, she does occassionally draw and create on paper. These are on her door.

Finally, I went downstairs and photographed Erin’s garden that seems to keep expanding through my dining room. She is studying botany this year and has decided that she really likes it, so she has been planting seeds from all sorts of foods. She even planted seeds from the wild bird seed we bought to feed the birds at the park.


Finished Garden

September 5, 2009

The kids finished their garden and here is the result:



New Garden

September 2, 2009

We had this dead space behind our garage. When we bought the house, the space was basically a junk heap. There was a lot of wood, dead branches, rocks, garbage cans, and just junk there. The sapce is in the back corner of the lawn, with a very large oak tree shading most of the area. There is chain link fence on two sides and the garage on the third side. For years the kids have talked about doing something to make it their space, but things always seem to come up in the summer and nothing is ever accomplished with it.

Earlier this year my mother-in-law took Erin and Sarah shopping on several occassions and they purchased plants to put behind the garage. Each time they would bring home something new, Erin would go plant it. I knew she was planting stuff, but had no idea what or how much, until she begged me to look at it one day. I was rather impressed with her gardening skills, but the spring had been so wet that the back area had gotten flooded. The back part of the yard is somewhat depressed compared to the surrounding areas, so water seems to pool there for days after really heavy rains. I suggested a water loving bush or something, so we set out and found one right before I got sick. So this poor tree had been sitting in a pot in the back for over a month. It is looking very, very sad, but Kyle and the girls planted it yesterday, then Erin cut it way back. I really hope it comes back okay! When we bought the tree, we also got several bags of mulch.

I have been banished from work for 10 days, so I have lots of time, and nothing (that I am allowed) to do. I took a lawn chair out yesterday and sat at the edge of the kids new garden and directed. I can do that without physical exertion! Here are the pictures I took (mostly) from my lawn chair.


This is the area closest to the garage, before the mulching.


The first row of landscape fabric, and two bags of mulch…


Cousin It decided to drop by for a while…


Kyle’s hands turned really red…


Cousin It left and Sarah decided to join us, but then got on the phone and began playing with a hatchet… If talking on the phone is that bad, just hang up…don’t destroy the phone, lol!


Our neighbor, behind us, has a beautiful trumpet vine. I couldn’t resist a photo of the wonderful flowers.


Here is the garden, half finished. We got the nice flat stones from the woods where my parents live. Erin decided where to put them and I think she did a phenomenal job on the whole garden!


This is the same area that is in the first picture. Looks better, don’t ya think!?!

We went to the Garden Factory, earlier today, and got a couple more plants and more mulch to finish the garden. I, again, sat in my lawn chair and directed while the kids finished it up. It looks amazing! It is like a little pearl tucked away in the corner of an otherwise mudane yard. I will post pictures of the rest of the garden tomorrow. After I find the energy to take the pictures…

Oh, I forgot to mention that my Uncle Randy made the wiener dog for us. He used this great plastic-like paint on it, so it will hold up nicely in the weather. Thanks Randy!


Very Busy Weekend!

May 11, 2009

This Mother’s Day weekend was insanely busy. On Thursday evening, I enjoyed dinner with a few friends from a store where I used to work, along with one from where I currently work. We had a great time and laughed ourselves silly! Friday was busy with a doctor’s appointment in the morning (my finger is mostly better, although still nail less) followed by the fabulous Luau-themed party at Starbucks. As a result of my need to attend all of the fun while working in between, I was awake for more than 24 hours! Saturday morning was the annual Dachshund Parade. This is an event I looked forward to each year. Last year I had to miss it due to it being on the same day as Sarah’s dance recital. This year I was very excited because I could go and not have to worry about hurrying home to sleep since I have Saturday nights off… After losing an entire day’s sleep, I couldn’t have dragged myself to the parade this year. Unfortunately, the Lilac parade was at the same time, so I missed that as well! I was pretty bummed, but I REALLY needed the sleep.

I awakened with a start Saturday afternoon knowing that Sarah had a 2:40 eye exam and I had not set my alarm…dangerous when one has fallen asleep after losing an entire day of sleep. Fortunately it was only 1:00, so I had time to wake up, shower, and get her there. Little did I know we would be there for almost 5 1/2 hours! The doctor decided to dilate her pupils, which only worked in one eye the first try. Eventually, he got both to dilate. This brought us to an hour. Jeff, Kyle, and Erin had gone out on the mall in search of something to eat so Sarah and I found them and ate while the folks at Lenscrafters made her new lenses. In an effort to save some money, we opted to have new lenses put in her old frames which were still in nice shape. We went back around 5 to pick them up, only to have the frames snap while the lady was trying to adjust them. This was frustrating because she left to go into the back and only told us they had broken when she came back out. I hate to be mistrusting, but it seemed fishy to me. We were informed that we could choose a different frame at a 50% discount. I also found this frustrating since WE didn’t break the frames, they did. Since they had already cut the lenses for the original frames, and the new choice was a completely different frame, new lenses had to be cut. This would take another 1 1/2 hours! We ran home, let Joe out and relaxed for 30 seconds, then went back and got the glasses. Good thing they look really good on her…


While we were eating in the food court, we kept hearing birds. Two of them landed nearby and I took my camera out to photograph them, but they flew away. I waited awhile, hoping at least one would come back, then finally gave up and put the camera away again. About a minute later, one landed under the table behind me. Suddenly Erin became animated, but quiet…unusual for her… I got the hint, grabbed the camera from my bag as quickly as possible, and got this…


Not the greatest shot, but with only a moment to spare before it was off again, not too bad.

After the glasses fiasco, we had to stop at Wegmans on the way home to pick up something for dinner. When we finally got home, everyone was tired. We had made plans to have an early dinner with Jeff’s parents for Mother’s Day, but I intended to sleep in LATE Sunday morning.

I think I finally got up around 1 on Mother’s Day. It was wonderful to sleep in! Jeff took me to Starbucks for a chai, then we had dinner with his parents. I had really wanted to go to the Lilac Festival for Mother’s Day, so we went around 6 and looked at all the pretty flowers. It was cool and there were not mobs of people, so it was very enjoyable.



Both of the trees above were very beautiful and large as you can tell from Erin standing in front of one with four arms?

The sky was somewhat overcast but it was right before dusk so the colors were awesome.


This guy was giving carriage rides up and down Highland Ave.


Colgate Divinity School is across the street from the park. It is an old building with some great architecture.


Erin doing her Vanna White impersonation…I think Erin is much cuter!



Please correct me if I am wrong, I don’t know flowers well, but I think these are magnolias. Between the two trees there were tons of blossoms!


The pansy bed took quite a beating in the wind and rain late last week. They were looking a little sad, but I found a few pretty specimens.




Even the birds seem to enjoy the lilacs…


Sarah, looking very serious while discovering that her new glasses are the same color as one variety of lilacs.


This is a water feature in front of the cooperative extension building. I am a sucker for running water.


Just as we were getting ready to leave, Jeff pointed out these beautiful blossoms.


It was very chilly, but we really enjoyed the flowers without the crowds! This concludes my Mothers Day adventures. We went home and I chilled until passing out around 1 AM from exhaustion.


Yummy Goodness

May 3, 2009

A couple nights ago Jeff got the idea that marinating bite-size chicken pieces in coconut milk, then grilling them as kabobs with onion, pineapple, and mushrooms would be really tasty. We picked up all the ingredients and Sarah cut up the chicken to marinate overnight in the coconut milk. This afternoon, Sarah and Erin skewered the goodies while Kyle and I fired up the grill.


Last summer we bought this small grill so the kids could learn how to grill. The intention this afternoon, was to have Sarah do the grilling while Jeff instructed and supervised. Kyle and I started the grill because Jeff was busy with an online gaming tournament. He was going to take over as soon as he was done. By the time Jeff came out, the charcoal was ready for cooking. Sarah had started some rice in the house to go with dinner, so she wasn’t going to be grilling…

Kyle and Erin decided to play dodge ball, then catch with tennis balls while the grill was heating up.  When Jeff came out he decided to join the fun, so guess who wound up grilling? Yup, yours truly! I do not grill well…most of the time. This time however, everything turned out perfectly. As the kabobs were grilling, I basted them in more coconut milk. I am not a big fan of coconut, but this stuff was wonderful!


Once they were all cooked, we put the pieces over rice and was it ever tasty!


Here are a few random shots from around the yard that I took as I was waiting for the grill to be ready.

Kyle is quite fond of turtles and gnomes. From time to time a new turtle statue will turn up in my garden.



This gnome watches over (or under) my lilac bush. He is unfortunately, not a very good watchmen. If you look over his right shoulder, you can see where a branch was violently removed from the bush. My mother-in-law bought me the bush for a present. Kyle got over zealous with the soccer ball one day and broke one of the branches, at the time amounting to almost half the bush. We called Doc Lilac and he said to tie a ribbon around the branch to hold it on and it may heal, but would likely fall off the next year. We did as he said and not only did it stay, it began to heal. That was two years ago. Earlier this spring, I removed the ribbon because the branch was sufficiently healed to hold itself up. That same afternoon, Sarah kicked the soccer ball into it, knocking the branch clean off. Needless to say, I was horrified. I don’t exactly remember what I said to her, but it was NOT nice!


Now for the lilac bush that Kyle’s trusty gnome watches over.


Although several blossoms are nearly bursting open, this is the only one that was actually open on the whole bush. This particular lilac is a sensation.

Don’t forget to tip toe through the tulips…



…or stop and smell them…


Erin always takes the time to stop and smell the flowers.

Above the tuplips, my forsythia bush is in it’s full splendor, which is not all that slpendid this year. I think I cut it back too far, too late last year.


My lawn is in desperate need of mowing, but between Jeff’s allergies and my crushed finger tip, it just hasn’t gotten done. Kyle said he would mow it tomorrow. Yeah!!! It needs it…


Dandelion soup, anyone?

This area behind the garage drives me nuts. I put down landscape fabric and a thick layer of mulch between the far side of the garage and the fence, so the kids have a “secret” entrance to the back area. The kids have drawn up landscape plans for this area, and they tell me that this is the summer when we need to “make it happen.” Hmm, we’ll see…


I took many, many, too many pictures of the kids, which I am in the process of editing, so I will put those in a separate post tomorrow. I am exhausted and it is late, so I am turning in for the night!


Snow Flower?

November 20, 2008

Is that the opposite of sunflower? I thought it odd when my mom posted a picture of a rose that had flowered on November 2nd. Odd, that is, until I went out side earlier this week and noticed that my rose bush was sporting a pretty red rose in the middle of November. I kept meaning to take a picture of it, but it seemed it was always dark or we were in a hurry. So this morning I purposed to take a photo of my Snow Flower…


I love the way you can see the shapes of some of the snowflakes. I am rather pleased that I didn’t take the picture before the snow fell, otherwise I would not have been inclined to notice the pretty snowflakes.



June 15, 2008

Check out the pretty flowers…