About The River

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!!

Friday, April 6, 2018

April 7th

April 7, 2000
Jeremy and I were blessed with our first born.
Samuel Charles 

He loved semi trucks and dinosaurs.
When his little brother was born in May, 2002, he did not like him. He punched him in the stomach.

 It did not take him long to like his brother! They have become the best of buddies and are asked many times if they are twins.
 He grew and grew.

 April 7th he will be 18!

He likes Jeep and anything tech.
He enjoys running, shooting sports, air-soft and skiing.
He is a loyal friend. Will help others in need. Loves his cat Max. 
I could go on and on, but what I want to say is ..

Happy Birthday Sam!!
Wishing you a great birthday and year as you start your own journey towards your dreams.


Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Five Minuets and the African Violet

If you have been reading The River for awhile, you know I deliver Meals on Wheels. My schedule is I deliver meals two weeks on and two weeks off. I share my route with another driver, his name is Doug. I have been delivering for one year and seven months.

 I deliver to 14 lovely people. Each has a different situation.
Some are sad.
Some are heartwarming.
Some are inspiring.

I am at each house about five minuets. Maybe a bit more if I have the time to visit a little more before heading to my next stop.
That five minuets means so much. Not just to my 14 people that I deliver to, but to me too.

I deliver to a father.  His children take turns caring for him. Each family member stays a day and night with him. They care for his needs with the help from home health care and other.
He gets a nutritious meal each day delivered by Meals on Wheels. 

My visits are a highlight for me, because I not only enjoy seeing him, I enjoy visiting with his daughter. We have found we have much in common. We visit about gardening, cooking, family and the weather. 
She was busy transplanting African Violets the other day. She asked if I would like two. I did.

Meals on Wheels is a service to many. 
Meals on Wheels is MUCH more to many as well. It is a relationship, it is spreading LOVE with a smile, time and listening ear.


Monday, April 2, 2018

Play Ball

Baseball season has started! I love baseball.
I enjoy listening to the game on the radio.
 Bob Uecker is one of the reasons I enjoy listening.
Bob is 84 years old and still is calling Milwaukee Brewer games.

He did have a scare this past Autumn. After the season he was at his home in Arizona. He was replacing a burned out light bulb in an outdoor fixture, when he was bite by a recluse spider.

Thankfully he healed from the bite and is back to calling games for us in the 2018 season.

Speaking about baseball, that brings me to baseball movies.

My boys waiting to get a ball signed.
Do you have a favorite baseball movie?

I started to think about my favorite baseball movies, wow, my list started to grow.

Here are a few of mine ..

The Natural
Field of Dreams

Take me out to the ball game,
Take me out with the crowd;
Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jack,
I don't care if I never get back.
Let me root, root, root for the home team,
If they don't win, it's a shame.
For it's one, two, three strikes, you're out,
At the old ball game.