About The River

Friday, May 18, 2018

Atticus is 16 .. Honk Honk !!

 Happy Birthday Atticus
He is ready to take his driving test on Monday. 
Honk! Honk!
He is the class clown. Always ready to make you smile or laugh.
He cares and takes time to notice the simple things in life.

He is excited for his brother to join the Wisconsin National Guard at the same time he too is dealing with the change that we all are. We took time to look at photo albums and reminisced  yesterday. It made me smile hearing the boys share what fun times they had during some of our adventures we looked backed at.

Happy Birthday 

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Anniversary of the Barron County May 16th Tornado

 Click above to read more about the 2017 Barron County Tornado.

May 16th 2017 will be one we will remember. As an F3 tornado ripped along about 2 miles from our home. Our area was hit with hail. We had hail damage to our roof and gutters. I am happy to report that today, exactly one year ago all of the repairs to our home and insurance claims have been taken care off.

Our area showed care and support for all who lost everything. We have new neighbors who lost everything. They lived in the trailer park that was severely damaged by the tornado. They now live in a lovely home across the street. At first they rented, now they have it has their home.

Of all the stories from May 16th, 2017. The one that I am in awe of is from my  sweet 93 year old that I deliver Meals on Wheels. The path of the tornado was right along my Meals on Wheels route.

I shared her story last summer, I would like to share it again, as we all face challenges each and every day. Her positive attitude makes me smile.

I was back to work the week after the touch down. As I made my deliveries I was in shock. As I drove to my sweet 92 year old, I could not believe it!  A huge pine tree fell on her house and the entire area around her was gone, ripped up, her deck was gone, trees, flowers, garden and even the shoreline down to the lake. 
I gave her a hug! I asked her "you are 92 years old, have you ever been in a tornado?"
"No, I have not! This is my first one."
Her son lives across the street from her, she told me he came over and said "Mom, a tornado is on the way. We need to get you down in the basement." She told him, " I am not going in the basement she said, I am going to the bathroom, I will never make it back up from the basement." 
She was out of power for four days. She told me, "I stayed right here! I was not about to leave my home."  The interesting thing was that after the tornado, our weather was cold and rainy for the rest of the week. With a tarp on the roof and half the house and no power, it got chilly. She said, "Oh I was fine, I went to bed early and got cozy under the blankets."
My sweet 92 year old, has just lost half of her home, all of her trees and her shoreline. She takes me to the window that over looks the lake. The tornado also touched down across the lake, and took all the trees and tore up the earth. As she looked across the lake, she looked at me and said "Carla, I never knew all those homes where across the lake, it is so pretty at night to see the lights twinkle." 
Another positive thinker in the tornado.
The area the tornado hit was full of trees, the homes were built among towering pines. What is so strange is the tornado took the pine trees, garages, out buildings but left many of the homes. I noticed today when I delivered, one of the homes that survived, they planted a vegetable garden. Something they could not do before because of all the shade. 
I hope they have a great first vegetable garden season.
This evening there will be an Anniversary of the 2017 Tornado at the Park. Each survivor will receive a cherry tree to plant. My 93 year old plans to share her story and cheer as her neighbors and community worked together as they cleaned up the damage the tornado caused.
She also told me she is excited to plant that cherry tree.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Annual Spring Plant Sale

 This past November I was asked by my Master Gardner friends if I would like to help plan the Annual Plant Sale. They were looking for new ideas for the 2018 sale. 
I was excited to help and joined the committee.

My friend Sheila and I discussed creating a Pollinator Six Pack .. we took our idea to the Plant Sale Committee and they were all on board.

It was a new adventure. We had to research starting some of the plants. Milkweed seed needed to go in the freezer. New England Aster seed needed to spend time in the refrigerator.


 With the help of our Master Gardner friend Sue, we created a brochure to be included with each six pack. We reached out to our North Country Master Gardner group for photos of the plants we are featuring. It was great how so many in our group shared photos.

We will have information on the importance of  saving our pollinators. I found it fun that our Wisconsin Governor announced this week ..
Gov. Scott Walker signed a declaration celebrating Pollinator Week June 18-24, 2018.

 It was important to me to include a time line. May times we think our garden is going to be full of blooms that first year. We have to be patient and that patience will be rewarding to us.

A peek at our pollinators in my friend Cindy's greenhouse. I will be doing a post sharing Cindy's greenhouse soon. It is a little getaway on its own. 

If you live near by, please come out to the sale on Saturday!

Monday, May 14, 2018


Hello Friends!
I am back! I will have lots to share with you in up coming posts.

If you are a regular reader here at The River, you know my month of May is a busy one.
Prep work for a graduation party, Mother's Day celebrating, a May birthday, end of the school year and the garden season all in the month of May!
And Jeremy and I will celebrate our 21st Anniversary, May 31st. We have decided to celebrate in June.  ~wink~

 Me and my boy!
Sam will graduate May 31st, 2018 from High School.

 The perfect stamps for Graduation Announcements.

~ News Flash ~
Sam had been accepted to attend Chippewa Valley Technical College in August of 2018, he is planning to go into Computer Programming.
At the end of March, Sam came to me asking to talk. He had been thinking and praying about something regarding his future.
He decided to join the Wisconsin National Guard. It came as a bit of a surprise to us, at the same time it did not. Our son is very patriotic and has a serving heart. Things switched gears real fast. The Monday after Easter we met with Sam's  recruiter, from that point Sam did his MEPS and his deployment dates were shared.

We are blessed that we will have the summer to spend with Sam. He will deploy for his Basic training early September. He will be heading to Fort Jackson, South Carolina. After he graduates from Basic he will head to Fort Gordon, Georgia for is AIT, he is going into surveillance, communications and computer programming. He will be back home late April 2019!! He will be able to come home for Christmas. 
We spoke with Chippewa Valley Technical College, they understood and were very supportive about Sam's decision. He his enrolled for August 2019.

Yes, this mom's heartstrings have been playing all kinds of tunes. I am proud, I am anxious, I am excited, I am in awe of my boy. My boy, in all honesty the time went so fast. I have had a few days of melancholy, "hey, we did not get to do all we wanted to do" he can not grow up this fast!

Our graduation party is June 3rd. Everything is in order ..
Announcements mailed  √
Menu √
Decorations √
Cake √ my mom is making Sam's cake 
Friends helping make the day special √


We are very proud of his decision. 


Wednesday, May 2, 2018

May and December my two busy months of the year! And it is the Hodgepodge!

Hello Friends!
Happy May!
My title says it all about the month of May!
May has always been a busy month for our family. School is coming to an end. And this year it is really coming to an end for one of my fellas! We are busy planning a graduation. The garden season is upon us, yard clean up and planning for the farm market.

 Spring has Sprung!
Joyce asks the questions.
We answer the questions.

 1. April showers bring May flowers or so the saying goes. Is there a flower you associate with a particular memory? Explain.
Daffodils! My grandpa loved daffodils and he planted his entire hillside in daffodils. It was the most beautiful sight in the spring. He also liked peony. He had many peony and the scent of peony take me to memories of mowing lawn with him.

2. Last time you helped someone? Tell us how.
I helped my son Sam with his bank account. I like to go over things with him every few months. Checking to see that he is on top of balancing and bank statements.

3. It's National Salsa Month (the food, not the dance) so tell us, do you like salsa? Hot, medium, or mild? Homemade, store bought, or from your favorite restaurant only?
Mr.C from Cranberry Morning makes the best homemade salsa I have ever had. Yes, I love salsa and can do some major damage to a bowl of salsa and chips.

 4. When I was twelve years old...
My best friend was a girl named Dana. We had so much fun together. She moved a few years later. It is always hard when a best buddy moves away.

5. It's the first of May so let's run with it-first things first, don't know the first thing about it, first dibs on something, first impression, first rate, first cousin, first string, first come first served, at first light-which phrase can best be applied to something in your life currently or even recently?
 At first light. After a long winter it is so wonderful to hear birds signing at first light. The robins are the first to come back North to Wisconsin. I love hearing their song at first light. Spring has Sprung!

6. Insert your own random thought here. 
I will be "out of the office" often this month. We have several fun events on the calendar and prep work for some of those events.

Enjoy May my friends!
Talk to you soon.

Friday, April 27, 2018

On the Road Friday ~ UW Arboretum

 It is On the Road Friday, today we will take a trip to the UW Arboretum located near Madison, Wisconsin.
If you are planning garden tours this summer, be sure to add the UW Arboretum to your list.

We visited in October of 2017 and I am looking forward to visiting again this summer.

The 1,200-acre Arboretum is located on the near-west side of Madison, bordering the southern shore of Lake Wingra.

The following is from the UW Arboretum website.  The website is fantastic, answering questions, providing maps and sharing tips.

Ways to enjoy the Arboretum

Hike and observe nature: Bird watch, soak in changing seasons through blooming wildflowers and fall colors, tune in to the subtleties of winter ecology. There is always something to discover at the Arboretum. Use the trail map to locate particular ecological communities and gardens.
Free guided walks are a great introduction to the Arboretum, plant and animal identification, and ecological concepts. Tour guides post regular field observations in the Naturalists’ Notes. You can also schedule a private group tour.
Exercise: Runners and cyclists can use 4 miles of paved road through woodlands, wetlands, and prairie. Walkers and runners on paved roads should travel single file, facing traffic, on the road edge. Running is also permitted on the unpaved fire lanes and footpaths within the Arboretum. Biking on unpaved areas is prohibited.

 Evidence that you are not alone while out for your stroll in the garden.

 Gobble, Gobble, turkeys.

And more turkeys.

Look who we saw watching us.

 The setting is so relaxing and peaceful.
The trees are huge and you feel like you are in your own special land. It is hard to believe the city of Madison is next door.

 The trunk of this tree caught our eye. 
There was beauty and something unique around every corner.

Have a great weekend and thank you for coming along with me to the UW Arboretum.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Tips for Keeping Lilac Bouquets

Spring has sprung in some parts of the U.S.A.
With that I am going to share a post I did last spring. 
Lilac bouquets are a favorite of mine, but they do not last very long.
Last spring I did a little experimenting, I found a few techniques to help prolong the life of the bouquet. 

Tips for Lilac Bouquets 
Do you love the smell of lilacs? You want that wonderful romantic smell next to  you on your nightstand. You go out and pick your bouquet of lilacs and soon after they are droopy and the flowers wilt. I will share with you a few tips to keep lilac bouquets.

Lilacs need hydration. When you go outside to pick your lilac, take a bucket of cold water with you. As you pick your lilac, put the flower heads into the cold water. I know it may seem strange at first, but go ahead and dunk those lilac.

 When you get inside, again, put your lilac in a sink of cold water.

 Next up, is step two, stems.
Boil some water and fill a mug with boiling water.
Dunk the woody stem into the water.
Then take a hammer and pound the stem.

What you are doing is helping the woody stem be able to drink the water in the vase.

 Here you can see the woody stem opened to drink water while in the vase.

Your lilacs are now ready for you to create your bouquet.
Lilacs can be put into a vase with other flowers and greens.
Watch you water level in your vase. Lilacs can drink up quickly and you will need to add fresh water with in the day.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Think Spring! Think Spring! Think Spring! And it is the Hodgepodge!

Think Spring!
I can not wait to go out with the canoe.
 But first this all needs to melt.
Yes, even me, the snow lover is starting to get major SPRING fever!

Time to hop on into the Hodgepodge.
Joyce asks the questions.
We answer the questions.

1. Three things on your spring bucket list? If you don't have an actual list that's fine, pretend you do.
  1. We have a hike we want to do in Bayfield County. It is best to do in the Spring because it is to an abandoned mining camp. You can see the outline of the old buildings before the grass grows.
2. Get out in the canoe. I enjoy Spring canoe trips because you can see many nesting birds.

3. Yard Clean Up!!

2. Where do you find rest? What restores your soul? When was the last time you did whatever it was you answered here?
 Spending time outdoors, taking a walk, gardening or just sitting watching the sun restores me.
I do one of the following everyday. 

 3. April is National Celery Month. Who knew? Do you like celery? What's your favorite dish made with celery? On a veggie and dip platter which would you reach for first-carrot sticks, celery sticks, cucumbers or cherry tomatoes? 
Yes, I like celery. I enjoy Chicken Salad with celery. I will reach for the cucumbers.

 4. I read here eight things to do before 8 am to make your day less hectic-Start one load of laundry, drink water, empty the dishwasher, read your Bible, know what you're having for dinner, get dressed, brain dump (two lists-one what you're thankful for and one what's weighing on your mind), and after the brain dump make your to-list for the day

How many of these are you currently doing? Which one do you think would help the most if you added it to your early morning routine?

I drink a glass of water. I am dressed. I know what I am having for dinner. We plan our menu on Sunday's for the week. It is very helpful when wanting to keep a healthy diet with a busy family. Make my list for the day or review the list from yesterday.
The brain dump might help .. or not listening to the morning news. 

 5. Describe the view from your window.
After the last snowfall, April 13-15 .. 18 inches .. I fed the very hungry birds. The goldfinches have turned their beautiful yellow for summer. I have a dozen goldfinches eating at the feeder with a backdrop of all white around them.

 6. Insert your own random thought here.
I forgot to share my Easter cake with you last week. Here is 2018's Easter cake.
Each Easter I come up with a fun cake to create for my boys.
They were pleased with this one. One of my fellas LOVES eating Peeps.


Monday, April 16, 2018

Blizzard Birthday Bash ~ Joy List Monday

April 14 ~ 15 2018

Weekend plans changed quickly as another April snowstorm hit our area.
Our boys planned a weekend birthday outing. 
Friday was the day for our friends to arrive. The forecast had the possibility of freezing rain, snow and more snow. Thankfully Friday's storm held off until the late hours of the night. Saturday we had plans for an outdoor adventure. The snow started to fall and we knew best not to risk heading out in this. Plan B was made and the boys enjoyed spending some time outside in the snow with their buddies, playing board games and watching movies. 
  The best part of it .. because of the blizzard they are able to spend an extra night! The disappointment in the change of plans for Saturday became a blessing after all.

Joy List Monday
a weekly ritual
a reminder to stop and pay attention to the little beauties and graces
 that make life magical and to set aside time for gratitude each day
 Blizzard .. well, at first this was not such a joy .. but the more I think about it ..
my boys are growing up, these special times with best friends and with our families mean so much to me. The blizzard did change our plans, it also gave us an extra day with friends.

Brownies .. a sweet dessert for our extra dinner with our guests.

Blankets .. cuddling with my husband watching a movie while the blizzard blew.

Hot Chocolate .. to warm our tummy after shoveling snow.

Games .. I enjoy playing games with family and friends.


Wednesday, April 11, 2018

It is an all Jazz Hodgepodge

NO, we do not have any lilacs in bloom or any other flower.
Still dreaming of Spring .. yep, that is right, it is April 11 and Spring has not made it to Northwest Wisconsin. Snow on the ground and more in the forecast.

It is Wednesday, that means it is time for the Hodgepodge.
Joyce asks the questions, we answer the questions.


 1. April is National Jazz Appreciation Month. Are you a fan? If so what's a favorite you'd recommend to someone new to jazz listening?
Yes, I do enjoy Jazz. Norah Jones is my favorite.

 2. Mandolin, ukulele, harp, accordion or banjo...which would you be most interested in learning to play? Or do you already play one of the instruments listed?

Banjo! I would love to be able to play the banjo.
Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors are a favorite of mine. They play all of the above.

 3. Do you judge a book by it's cover? Elaborate. You may answer in either/both the literal or figurative sense of the word.

I do not for both. 
Regarding books, I do like a hard cover book with a ribbon for a book mark. I also am happy to read a well used soft cover. It is the meat of the story, that is what counts for me.
That is the same with people. I deliver Meals on Wheels. If I were to judge many of my people by their cover, I would miss out on so much. I have learned that about many things in life, do not judge a book by it's cover.

4. According to a recent study the ten most nutritious foods are-almonds, cherimoya (supposed to taste like a cross between a pineapple/banana), ocean perch, flatfish (such as flounder and halibut), chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, swiss chard, pork fat (shocking! but I don't think they mean bacon), beet greens, and red snapper. Are any of these foods a regular part of your diet? Any you've never ever tasted? Which would you be most inclined to add to your diet?

Almonds are a regular part of my diet. Swiss chard during our garden season.  Chia seeds and pumpkin seeds are in spurts.
As far as those that I have never tasted, cherimoya, beet greens and red snapper.
I would be happy to add more ocean perch.

 5. Besides a major holiday what is the most recent thing you've celebrated with your people? Tell us how.
My dad celebrated his one year anniversary after his heart attack. He is doing well both physically and mentally, as he adjusts to life after a heart attack. 

 6. Insert your own random thought here.
High Fives to my Dad!!

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