About The River

Wednesday, December 27, 2023

Christmas Poinsettia


Merry Christmas from my garden to your garden. ♥

Hello Friends,

Today I am sharing the December article I wrote for our village newspaper, Cameron Chronicle, The Little Paper with Personality.



Christmas Poinsettia

By Carla TePaske of Cameron WI ~ The Little Garden That Could

Merry Christmas from The Little Garden That Could.

How many of you get excited when you see that lovely red and green plant at the supermarket? Oh, I just must have a poinsettia. We bring it home all lovely, only to struggle to keep it alive. Here are a few tips.

Don’t leave your plant in the car. Bring it home wrapped up cozy in paper or a plastic bag.

Poinsettia like a bright spot, but not direct sunlight.

Used to drought, poinsettia hate being over-watered so don’t leave them sitting in water, but instead let the soil dry out a little before watering again (usually every 3-4 days).

A few more jobs for the month of December.

Organize your seed bin. Sort out any leftover or half empty seed packets. Make an inventory of the seeds you will need to purchase.

Check summer flowering bulbs and tubers that are being stored over winter. If any show signs of mold or rot, remove the affected one or separate to prevent it spreading.

Check stored squash, pumpkins, and apples. If any signs of mold or rot, remove to prevent it from spreading.

Merry Christmas

"My idea of Christmas, whether old-fashioned or modern, is very simple: loving others. Come to think of it, why do we have to wait for Christmas to do that?" – Bob Hope

Wednesday, December 20, 2023

Merry Christmas to You! And it is the Hodgepodge!!


An early Christmas gift. ♥

Happy Christmas Friends

This is the last Hodgepodge of the year. 

Joyce asks the questions.

We answer the questions.

Here we go!

Click here to join the fun! 

 1. Did you do more talking or more listening yesterday? Was it by choice or by necessity? 

I did more listening. My husband had a fun party at work during the lunch hour. He shared all about it during our ride into town to do some errands.

 2. Are you a tea drinker? Yes!! Hot, cold, or both? Both!! Flavored? Black, herbal and I have just gotten into drinking green tea. What do you like in your tea? I will take a little honey. Do you make Christmas tea this time of year? I do not.  What time of day do you like to sip your tea? After lunch and after dinner.

 3. What's an activity you won't try, an event you won't attend, or an athletic challenge you won't take part in not even for 'all the tea in China'

I do not plan to participate in a Polar Plunge. I cannot even think of what it feels like to have your bare feet on ice.

Yes... people do this sort of stuff in my state of Wisconsin. The lakes are frozen and they have to cut a hole in it for people to jump in and swim!!!

 4. What's something most people seem to love but is not 'your cup of tea'? 

Several friends watch the T.V. series Yellowstone. I only watched a little of it, and realized it was not my 'cup of tea.'

 5. How does your family celebrate New Year's Eve? 

The past few have just been us, my husband and me. We will ring in the New Year when we are ready for bed. Ha!

For the past several years we celebrate the New Year with a New Years hike, ski or snowshoe.

 6. Insert your own random thought here. 


 Merry Christmas!!!



Thursday, December 7, 2023

12 Photos of This and That


Hello Friends,

A little of this and that today featuring 12 photos. Did you know 12 is my favorite number? You might wonder why? Well, I have a 12/12 birthday, that makes my favorite number 12!

So here we go.. 12 photos of this and that.. the one above is of a house I traveled by and had to turn around to take a photo of the giant nutcrackers.

I love nutcrackers. In the below photos you will see my 'Boys in the Band' nutcrackers.



 The above nutcrackers are stamped on the bottom 'Made in Germany'.



 Our greenhouse decked out for Christmas. I have fleece in the greenhouse this year covering carrots. I am experimenting with extending our growing season. It does look like snow. You will also see the moon in this photo.



Our Christmas Cactus bloom is just about ready to pop open.



I am wintering over our Fuchsia and it also has blooms ready to pop open.



A fresh batch of Chex Mix... one of our favorite holiday treats.



Chicken Noodle Soup simmering on the stove top.


Homemade Sourdough Focaccia... it takes two days... but so worth it.



I created a simple evergreen swag.


And our little pop of winter cheer as you come to our door.



Friday, December 1, 2023

Welcome to the Farm


Welcome Lucy and Ethel to our little farm at The Little Garden That Could.

Lucy and Ethel are Muscovy Ducks. I began to research adding ducks to our little garden during the winter months. I read how several gardeners added ducks to the garden because they eat pests. Muscovy are a fantastic breed for pest control.

Lucy and Ethel will also provide us with eggs. They will start to lay in February.

My husband built a larger run so we could add the ducks to our little farm.


Lucy and Ethel and the Olly girls... Lolly, Polly, Dolly and Holly.


 Wanting eggs during the winter months, and with our hens taking a seasonal break, my dad gifted me two young hens that just started to lay eggs.


The white hen is Wilma.

The brown hen Betty.


New friends on the farm.




Love from your Crazy Chicken Lady with two ducks. 


Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Knock Knock Says December and it is the Hodgepodge!


It is beginning to look like winter... and it is time for the Hodgepodge.

Joyce asks the questions.

We answer the questions.

Click here to join the fun! 

 1. Does anybody really know what day it is? Last week we skipped the Hodgepodge and I just assumed this week would find us in December, but nope. Still November. Do you wear a watch? Use a paper calendar or strictly electronic? What's your favorite hour of the day? Why?

 The autumn season blew by us. And here we are getting ready for Christmas, winter and dare I say 2024! 

I do not wear a watch. I use a paper calendar. 

7 AM is my favorite hour of the day. I am usually heading out to feed and care for our chickens. Morning is a beautiful time for me.

 2. Tell us something about how you celebrated the Thanksgiving holiday. 

We enjoyed time with family. We traveled to my parents farm. Our boys met us at the farm, along with my sister and her husband. We played a few wild games of UNO. Our family loves to play games. 

 3. What's a sound you hate to hear? 

Sirens... I just hate hearing them. After two police officers were murdered here in our village in April.. and the sirens went on for hours and hours during this awful day. I just hate hearing sirens now. My mind says... what now!!  Then I pray, Dear God, and pray a prayer for safety for those keeping watch.

4. Where do you not mind waiting?   

Where do you not mind waiting... well that depends on if I am waiting with some of my favorite people. Recently my son had a doctor's appointment, we waited together and that was extra time I had to visit with him. 

5. I really wish____________________________________.  

My favorite items would not be discontinued. I have a pair of shoes I love, sadly they have discontinued making them. 

 6. Insert your own random thought here. 

Pumpkin Seed Cinnamon Brittle

We made pumpkin seed brittle giving a twist to the usual peanut brittle. 

Do you make homemade brittle? 


Monday, November 27, 2023

Forcing Amaryllis


Hello Friends, today I am sharing the article I wrote for the November issue of  our village newspaper, Cameron Chronicle.. the little paper with personality.


Forcing Amaryllis

By Carla TePaske of Cameron, WI ~ The Little Garden That Could

We soon will see amaryllis at the shops. Amaryllis have become favorites to force to bring some splash of color during our winter months. I will share a few tips when it comes to forcing amaryllis.

When it comes to strong and healthy plants, often the bigger the bulb, the better the plant becomes. Use free draining potting soil to pot up. The bulb should be poking out the top of the potting soil (a third or so showing). This will prevent the bulbs from rotting, which they are often prone to do in waterlogged soil. It is also a good idea to place a stake or twigs for support. These look excellent staked with birch branches in a pot or as a table centerpiece with fairy lights, dried leaves, and moss at the base.

Be careful not to over-water the bulbs, keeping this step to a minimum until leaves appear.

If you’re cutting amaryllis to use in arrangements, insert a thin bamboo cane or stick from the garden to ensure the stems stay upright. Simply place the stick up the hollow stem and secure with an elastic band at the end of the stem to stop it splitting and curling up like the tail of a pig.

Don’t toss the bulb after the season. When you’re sure that no more spikes will surface, you can begin deadheading the amaryllis. When the stems go yellow, you can then cut them down. During the remainder of the year, treat your amaryllis like any other house plant. In late August, early September your amaryllis will need a dormant season. Place in the dark until ready to kick-start the process again.

Until next time, happy gardening!

Tuesday, November 21, 2023

Can We Be Friends


Can we be friends?

Happy Thanksgiving Friends,

Ernie is on week 5 of living with us. Our cat Penelope is handling her new four legged friend well. If he gets to be too much, she lets him know. 

Ernie is doing well with settling in and training. Next week Monday he will visit the Veterinary for his neuter. We continue to work on sit, stay and come. He is doing really well walking with the leash. 

Enjoy your weekend my friends.




Wednesday, November 15, 2023

Happy Thanksgiving Hodgepodge


Happy Thanksgiving Hodgepodge Friends

It is Wednesday and that means it is time for the Hodgepodge.

Joyce asks the questions.

We answer the questions.

Here we go!

Oh and click here to join the fun!

 1. This week's Hodgepodge lands on National Clean Out Your Refrigerator Day. Is yours in need of a cleaning? Nope, already done. Will you get that done today? How often do you tackle this particular chore?  We usually clean out our fridge every other day or so. 

 2. November 15th is also National Philanthropy Day...tell us about a charity (local or otherwise) you like to support when you're able.  

We have a few different charities we like to support. For this weeks hodgepodge I will mention the USO. The USO has always been there to help our military son when in need. Missed flights due to hurricanes.. the USO was at the ready to help out. Delayed flights due to hurricanes.. the USO was at the ready to help out. It is great to know that yes the USO is helping our military when family cannot. 

 3.What in nature inspires you and why? 

 I love everything about nature. The sky, clouds, wind, trees, plants, animals, birds... it all inspires me. During the summer months I am outside most of the days. If I am not in my garden, I will be kayaking, walking or simply soaking in the sun.

 4. What's something you own that makes you feel cozy? 

My flannel PJ's.  

 5. Who did you thank today? Who thanked you? 

I thanked my husband. 

My son's girlfriend Catie thanked me. 

 6. Insert your own random thought here. 

There's A Great Big Turkey Out On Grandma's Farm

To the tune of Polly Wally Doodle 

There's a great big turkey out on Grandma's farm,  And he thinks he's very gay.

He spreads his tail into a great big fan and struts around all day. You can hear him gobble at the girls and boys, For he thinks he's singing when he makes that noise... But he'll sing a different song a different way Upon Thanksgiving Day!

Friday, November 10, 2023



"An animal's eyes have the power to speak a great language."

Martin Buber

We causally were looking for a dog. Our Boston Terrier, Molly passed away on Labor Day 2018, the day before our son Sam left for Basic Training.

This summer I felt the pull to adopt a rescue dog.  My friend Russ adopted a rescue named Bell, the bond and relationship they had amazed me.

Our friend Rob adopted a dog from Little Red Barn Dog Rescue three years ago and had a good experience with them. We decided to keep an eye on Little Red Barn Dog Rescue.

Click here to learn more about Little Red Barn Dog Rescue 

 Ernie was posted. My husband took one look at Ernie and said, "let us try to adopt Ernie." I filled out the online adoption application and hit send.

We were accepted. 

Ernie is 8 months old. He is a dachshund/terrier mix. He was found roaming the streets of El Paso, Texas. Little Red Barn works with Texas shelters to try to find homes for Texas dogs here in Wisconsin.

Ernie has bonded well with us and our cat Penelope. He is a happy go lucky fella. He loves to cuddle and have belly rubs. Most of all, his big brown eyes will make all your troubles go away when he looks at you. 



Monday, November 6, 2023

Pumpkin Carving Party 2023



Pumpkin Party 2023

My parents, both our boys and sweet little Ernie all attended the pumpkin party. 



My parents grew all the pumpkins. We had big ones, little ones and warty ones.


We had a lovely day outside to carve our pumpkins. Let the creativity and shenanigans begin.

This is me... and I had a great idea for this pumpkin. 


I purchased a small pipe at an Estate Sale, I thought it would make a fun addition to my  Jack o Lantern.


 All aglow on a warm October's night.

A few days after our Pumpkin Party we had two days of stormy weather. After the storm our deck was a carpet of Autumn color.

And now we are into November..

November brings good skating weather, Thanksgiving gathers us together.

Tasha Tudor


Wednesday, November 1, 2023

Hello November and it is the Hodgepodge


Hello November!!

Hello Friends, it is Wednesday and that means it is time for the Hodgepodge! 

Joyce asks the questions.

We answer the questions.

Click here to join the fun! 

1. Besides Thanksgiving (in the USA) what's one thing you're looking forward to in November? 

We will be getting a new gas range. For the past 26 years we have had an electric range, my husband has always wanted a gas range. This month we are getting one. We cannot wait!!

2. Do you like candles? Your favorite scent? How often do you burn a candle in your home? 

Yes, I enjoy candles. My favorite scent is cinnamon. We burn a candle in our home every evening.

 3. What gadgets did you use today? 

phone. hairdryer. flat iron. vacuum cleaner. laptop. the list goes on. 

4. This question is a repeat from one asked in November of 2014, but I liked it so it's coming round again. Many of you weren't here in 2014. Okay, you can have fifty pounds of something (anything but money)...what will you choose? Also, since I mentioned it...what were you up to in November of 2014? 

Mix Nuts ... I love mixed nuts, without peanuts. 

November of 2014, I was busy with our two boys. Sam would have been 14 and Atticus would have been 12. 

5. 'Tis the season...what's something you're feeling especially grateful for today?  

My dad and mom. I recently had a very bad day! My mom called me early in the morning the next day to cheer me on. My dad talked to me too. The day did get better after talking to them. And by the afternoon I was feeling much better. I have been blessed with very optimistic parents. When the going gets tough the tough get going. They have always been great to give encouragement and help to both my sister and me to press on.

  6. Insert your own random thought here. 

Meet Ernie... a rescue who is currently melting our hearts. To be continued...



Wednesday, October 25, 2023

Happy Halloween Hodgepodge


Hello Friends, it is Wednesday and that means it is time for the Hodgepodge. 

Joyce asks the questions.

We answer the questions.

 Click here to join the fun!

 1. October 25th is International Artists Day...do you have a favorite artist? If so tell us who and why.

C. M. Russell 

I think he had amazing talent sharing the great American West in his works. He truly captures the history and for me when looking at his works, I can feel the West.

We visited C.M. Russell Museum in Great Falls, Montana. If you travel to Great Falls, Montana, the museum will not disappoint. 

 2. Would you describe yourself as artistic? Elaborate. 

Yes. Many people have commented that the bouquets I create are a work of art. I enjoy designing seasonal flower bouquets and I do think they are a work of art.

 3. What's a skill, task, hobby, or job you've done so often you now have it 'down to a fine art'? 

I think I have designing bouquets 'down to a fine art'. I know what flowers will last in a bouquet for long vase life. I use seed heads, herbs and even vegetables to create fun bouquets.

 4. How often do you dine out? Fast food, fine dining, or somewhere in between? Tell us about a less than stellar restaurant experience you've had recently (or not so recently if that's easier).  

We do not dine out very often.

Usually somewhere in between.

This past July we ate breakfast at one of our old time favorite cafes after we went strawberry picking. Sadly the service was poor and the breakfast was not up to the usual standards.   

 5. Do you celebrate Halloween? To what extent? Are there trick or treaters where you live? 

Yes, we celebrate Halloween. We have our light on for Trick or Treaters on Halloween night. We enjoy seeing what the favorite costumes are for the season. The last Trick or Treat for our boys they dressed up as Star Wars characters. 

We also host an annual Pumpkin Carving Party. We enjoyed our day with family this past Sunday. I will do a post soon showing off all our pumpkins.

6. Insert your own random thought here.   

A few of our past pumpkin creations.


Monday, October 23, 2023

157th Returns to Wisconsin


Hello Friends, today I am sharing the article I wrote for the October issue of our village newspaper, Cameron Chronicle, the little paper with personality.

Last year I was asked to write about the deployment and I was more than thrilled to write about the 157th's return to Wisconsin soil. 


157th Returns to Wisconsin

By Carla TePaske

A large gathering of family and friends welcomed home the 157th after a nine month deployment to Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti, Africa.

During the 157th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade’s deployment, they supported the Horn of Africa in a variety of crisis response exercises, and played an integral part in the evacuation of American personnel from the U.S. Embassy in Khartoum, Sudan.

Col. Eric Leckel, 157th commander, praised the returning Soldiers. “Our team spent countless hours ensuring multiple high-level events were actioned flawlessly, which allowed the AFRICOM leaders to execute key leader engagements to perfection.”

I am extremely proud of our Soldiers and their actions in Africa,” Leckel continued. “Day after day, I witnessed our troops work with partner organizations to ensure that our time in Africa was a success. Their selfless acts and exceptional service helped shape destinies, promote peace and create a better future for all.”

Thank you for the support. We cannot serve our state and country without your support.