About The River

Friday, June 30, 2017

The Little Garden That Could

 Within a tiny acorn, a mighty oak is waiting!
Great things always start small, so embrace beginnings and take joy in the journey.
~ Pearl Sanborn

The Little Garden That Could
It all started three years ago. I decided to sell my fresh cut flower arrangements in front of our house. A self serve flower stand May ~ September. 
I love growing, designing with and sharing flowers.  
Last summer I decided to take The Little Garden That Could on the road. I set up each and every Friday at the Bruce Farmer's Market. I enjoyed my days at the market. I also learned a few lessons. Starting with lesson number one, the weather has a mind of its own. The second market  day of the year we had set up for about an hour and the sheriff's deputy came to tell us to start taking down our stands and quick, a tornado warning was issued for the county. 
Lesson number two, you never know how many bouquets to bring with you on a Friday. I would sell out or have too many and flowers would go to waste.

As the winter months came, I started to look into other ways to share my love of flowers with people. I learned about Slow Flowers, I shared about Slow Flowers  here. 

As I read about other Flower Farmer / Florist, I also learned about the idea of a flower subscription. With that The Little Garden That Could Flower Subscription business was born.
This gives me more control of my flowers and most important, I can get to know my customers.

 Click on the above link and check out my website.
Please share your thoughts with me.
My youngest son did the art for my business card.
 I am excited to spread some flowers and smiles.

A flower cannot blossom without sunshine, and man cannot live without love.
~ Max Muller  

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

American Flowers Week

American Flowers Week
June 28 - July 4, 2017


Happy American Flowers Week
a project of  Slow Flowers

 This site is the creation of Debra Prinzing, a writer, speaker, outdoor living expert and advocate for American flower farming.

Debra explains her motivation for starting the SLOW FLOWERS directory:

Over the past several years, while doing media interviews and speaking to audiences about American-grown flowers, I continually heard the questions: 'Where can I find American flowers?" and "How can I find a florist who I trust will sell me locally-grown flowers?"
It became apparent to me that people want locally-grown, domestic flowers. But it isn't easy to find American-grown flowers in the sea of unlabeled imported ones. It's also hard to discover those very special, dedicated designers committed to using flowers from their local farmers or event flowers grown in nearby states, such as during the off season.
I was inspired to launch the SLOW FLOWERS online directory as a one-stop resource for consumers in search of florists who guarantee the origin of the flowers they use.
It's simple. When you contact a florist, flower shop or designer on SLOW FLOWERS, they commit to you, the consumer, that their flowers are truly homegrown.
You should be able to know the origins of the flowers you order to send to a loved one. You should be assured that the bouquet you carry down the aisle was grown by an American flower farmer. You should know that jobs are being created and nurtured in your community.
It's all about making a conscious choice.

I will be sharing some exciting news regarding slow flowers on Friday, June 30th.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Joy List Monday

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
♥ my life as a mom to boys
mischief that teen boys like to do to their mom ... any guesses from the photo above

♥ fresh fruit

 ♥ summer

♥ birds taking a bath in the bird bath

♥ summer bon fires

 ♥ hanging out laundry

 ♥ kind strangers


Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Time to Hit the Beach Hodgepodge

It is Wednesday and it is time for the Hodgepodge.
Join in on the fun! Joyce asks the questions, we answer the questions.

1. The first day of summer rolls in later this week. What are ten things you'd put on your list of  quintessential summer activities? Will you try to manage all ten this summer?

1. Time at the beach!  
Yep, we have a camp trip planned on the Southern Shores of Lake Superior in July.
2. Enjoying a bon fire.
Have done that and will have a few more.
3. Eating S'Mores while enjoying the bon fire.
Yep, did and will do again. 
4. Canoeing!
We have plans to enjoy a day paddling a new lake.
5. Catching Fireflies!
I use to do this every summer with my sister and cousin. I ask the boys to help me catch them now. It always ends in laughter and mosquito bites. The fireflies are out at the same time the mosquito are out.
6. Picnics
We already had a few of these and have some more on the calendar.
7. BLT's
This will happen in August for me, a fresh BLT with lettuce and tomato from our garden.
8. Berry picking.
Each summer I take the boys strawberry picking. That time is coming up.
9. Moon Walks.
Our family was treated to a special night with Judy and Mr. C of  Cranberry Morning.
We played croquet, enjoyed a lovely meal sitting on the porch and ended the evening taking a moon walk during the full Strawberry Moon.
10. Family Time!!
YES, I will be sure to get some of that in too!

  2. Do you collect seashells when you're at the beach? What do you do with them once you get them home? What's your favorite place to comb for seashells? How many of these 'best beaches for hunting seashells' have you visited? Which one would you most like to visit?

Calvert Cliffs State Park (Maryland), Jeffrey's Bay (South Africa), Sanibel Island (Florida), Shipwreck Beach (Lanai Hawaii), Ocracoke Island (North Carolina), Galveston Island (Texas) and The Bahamas

I do collect sea shells. I put my small shells in a jar. I have a few large shells that I have with my summer decor. When we enjoy the beaches of Lake Superior, we usually look for agates, sea glass and unique drift wood.
I have not visited any of the beaches on the list. 
My friend Marv loves the beaches of Texas. I have family that live in Texas. I will pick Galveston Island as the first to visit.

 3. At a snail's pace, shell out money, come out of your shell, go back into your shell, drop a bombshell, happy as a clam, clam up...which 'shell' phrase could most recently be applied to some event or circumstance in your life? Explain.

Happy as a Clam
School is out! 
Our claim for the damage done to our home during the May 16th storm is all settled. 
My boys are enjoying the days of summer and working part time.
My dad continues to heal after his April 11th heart attack.

4. What summer activity do you dislike? Why?

  I can not think of an activity. Instead, STORMS continue to pop into my mind. Summer brings heat and humidity to Wisconsin. We can have awful storms. 
I dislike when the storm siren is blaring and the sky is angry.

 5. What's something you see as quickly becoming obsolete? Does that bother you?

It means “to distinguish, to separate out by diligent search, to examine."
Yes, it bothers me.  

6. Insert your own random thought here. 

Pacific Ocean
Torrey Pines State Park

I vote for this to be a must see!
Our family loved Torrey Pines.

Friday, June 16, 2017

On Your Mark, Get Set, Go into the New Year

On Your Mark, Get Set, Go into the New Year

What I have accomplished earlier this year and blogged about ...

New Challenges ~ Downsizing closets ... cleaned two closets and said good bye to some of the boys things from when they were wee ones.
Love -n- Sharing Summit ~ saying I would help put on a children's program and was put in charge.

New Experiences ~ Active Shooter Class

New Hope
Congratulations Mom .... I now am a Master Gardener.

New Hope ~ to complete the Wisconsin Master Gardener class.
I did it! I will be honest, heading back to school was not easy. I had to re-read a few chapters and watch a few on line courses over to retain the information. 
I enjoyed my classmates. The night of the F3 tornado, I missed class. My classmates e mailed me asking if I was alright and if my neighborhood needed help.
Our instructors were great. They never made me feel dumb for not knowing something that seemed so obvious to them. They were very patient in helping all of us.

My boys made me the sign above and is still hanging in our dinning room. I just love how they drew flowers and the graduate in the center.

I will be sharing my New Project with you next week.

How about you?
New Projects?
New Experiences?
New Challenges?
New Dreams?
New Hopes?

Enjoy the Weekend!



Thursday, June 15, 2017

A story from the 92 year old lady ....

This past September I applied for a Meals on Wheels position with our local Office on Aging. I work part time. The position is two weeks on, two weeks off. During my weeks on, I work a total of 20 hours a week, 4 hours a day.
I have a rural route. I deliver to 10 different homes and take bulk food to the Chetek Senior Center. 

May 16th, our county was hit by a F3 tornado. It made the National news, 25 injured and one person died. This tornado was only two miles from our home. 
This tornado touched down right in the area I deliver meals.

I was not on the route the week of the tornado. Doug my co worker called to share with me that everyone was well, but oh my, a mess.

Now for my story, from my sweet 92 year old.
I was back to work the week after the touch down. As I made me 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."

So why did I share the quote above?

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.
 "We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses." - Abraham Lincoln

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Proper Pruning for Woody Ornamentals .... Lilacs

Proper Pruning for Lilacs

During my Master Garden Class I learned the proper technique to prune lilacs. I had no idea that the largest stem or large branch of the lilac really should be cut out. I was thinking you would want the old branch.  Pruning helps open the plant up and encourages the new shoots to grow and have new lilac blooms.
And another thing I learned, spring blooming woody ornamentals produce next years flower buds shortly after they bloom. If you want the maximum number of flowers, prune in the growing season shortly after blooming ends.

Below I have included the UW Extension Master Gardener tips to pruning  woody ornamentals. 
Old fashioned, or common purple lilacs are one of my favorite plants. But they can get large (and ugly) if left unpruned for a number of years. The good news is you can easily restore them with proper pruning. Multistemmed spring and early summer blooming shrubs such as lilac, forsythia, bridalwreath sprirea, dogwood, and mockorange should be pruned by cutting off the largest stems at the ground line. I like to prune all of these in the spring before they leaf out so I can get in there and see the stem and branching structure and I don’t have to see around all the leaves. But, spring bloomers, do produce their flowers buds for the next year shortly after they bloom. If you’re going to prune spring bloomers in the late dormant season remember you will remove some flower buds, reducing the number of flower buds in the spring. If you want the maximum number of flowers, prune in the growing season shortly after blooming ends.
Regardless of when you prune, follow the guideline of removing 1/3 of the largest stems at the ground level. Pruning opens the plant up reducing insect and disease problems and encourages new shoots to grow from the root system.   Continue to remove ¼ to 1/3 of the biggest stems each year and in 3 to 4 years you’ll have a brand new lilac with much better shape and size.
There’s another option for old multistemmed lilacs and spring blooming shrubs. The plants can be cut down to the ground before they begin to leaf out in the spring. They definitely won’t bloom that year but will send up many new stems. In a year or two they will grow back into a shrub that will add, not detract, from your landscape.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Joy List Monday

Tracks on the Beach

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

♥ peonies ... oh how I love the smell of peonies
♥ fresh baked peanut butter cookies
 ♥ orioles feeding at the oranges we have setting out
 ♥ the feel of beach sand on my feet
♥ the taste of 7 Up on a 90 degree day

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Tips for Keeping Lilac Bouquets

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.


"It is the season now to go about the country high and low, among the lilacs hand in hand and two by two in fairyland."
Robert Louis Stevenson

Thursday, June 1, 2017


bloom (v.) 
to grow or flourish with youth and vigor.
to shine or glow.

be back soon 
planting season is here