Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Dying Perennials Have Value

I am deriving much pleasure from the dying perennial gardens this year.
I usually have most of it cut down by now, but this year I have done very little clean up.

I think my procrastination paid off! I enjoy taking a peek every time I walk by my bedroom window (it's the only place inside the house where I can see these gardens).

I had quite a few neighbors ask me what the flowers were in this new  roadside garden this year.
Most of my neighbors were not familiar with growing dahlias.  They all wanted them until I mentioned that they had to be dug out of the ground every fall. Suddenly they were all happy just to admire mine as they took their nightly walks down the road.  It is  a pain to do, so I was thrilled to pull into the garage after work and see 4 boxes like this:
Yes, my sweet husband dug them all out today and set them in the garage. Tomorrow he will hose off all the soil and let them dry out a bit before storing them for the winter.

Hope you are all enjoying the month of October in your part of the world.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Freezing my Herbs

On Sunday I picked a few herbs from the pot on my deck.
They are still beautiful, but I know it's just a matter of a few days, maybe a week or two,  and they will be blackened by frost.  So I decided to freeze some for later this winter.

I put a good tablespoon of diced herbs in each ice cube tray; then I added some olive oil.
I covered the tray with a piece of wax paper and stuck it in the freezer overnight.  The next morning I popped them out...
So beautiful! I just love looking at them. :)

 I wrapped them in waxed paper and put them inside a tin and stuck them back in the freezer. I can't wait to use them in some delectable dish. When the temperature is below zero with howling winds and snow drifts, I will be able to enjoy the fresh taste of summer by popping one or two of these into my soup, roast or other entrée.

Life is good...I am feeling prepared for the long winter ahead.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

West Side of Upper Michigan Color

Yesterday we took a drive to the west side of upper lower Michigan in search of more gorgeous autumn color.  I have read about the "tunnel of trees" highway (M-119, designated a Scenic Heritage Highway), for years and decided it was time to discover it for myself.  This narrow highway follows the shore of Lake Michigan, winding through a forest full of natural beauty between Harbor Springs and Cross Village.  It is about a 2.5 hr. drive from where we live. 

About 30 miles from our destination (over 2 hrs of driving), it started to rain...cloudy, cold, miserable rain.  I am sure the rain contributed to my lack of enthusiasm for this "scenic" highway.  Still I took a blurry picture or two through the car window to share with you.

This highway is so narrow it has no centerline.

Which means you have to go way over into the gravel when another vehicle passes from the opposite direction.   Yes, this is us heading toward the trees so as not to hit the other car....

This is the tiny town of Good Hart, which has become semi-famous because of the tunnel of trees highway.

Had it been a lovely autumn day full of gorgeous color, I probably would have described this as "charming".  As it was I could not wait to get to the end of this "scenic" drive.

This restaurant is Leg's Inn, quite famous due to its location at the end of  the tunnel of trees.  It has quirky décor inside with a lovely area outside where you can enjoy  a delicious meal of Polish cuisine.

My intention was to have lunch here. Unfortunately it did not open for another 35  minutes.  About 20 people were standing outside under umbrellas waiting for it to open.  We were so "unthrilled" with our drive through the tree tunnel that there was no way we were going to stand in the rain to eat lunch.

Perhaps we will go back some other time.

The whole day was not a total flop.  On the way to the tunnel of trees we did see some beautiful autumn color.  This is Stutsman Road. 
Gorgeous!  Luckily we took a wrong road and discovered this! That is Lake Michigan at the end of the road. I was way more impressed with this road than the tunnel of trees!

Along the tunnel of trees highway, I did enjoy this rural setting:

There is something about bales of hay lying in the field that I like. It would have been even better if there had been some fall color.

So has anyone been through the tunnel of trees and had a better experience?  Something that would make me want to make that 5-hr round trip again?  If so, I would love to hear about it!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Weekend Trip toTahquamenon Falls in Paradise, MI

We had the pleasure of viewing this gorgeous autumn color last weekend:

It was a perfect 75 degree fall day in Paradise, Michigan (really...that's the town's name).  I am hoping this Saturday is nice, so we can explore another town.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

What a Gorgeous Fall Day

We had temps in the mid-70's today, so we took a walk on one of our local trails to see if there was any autumn leaf color. 

 We saw very little color, but the September scenery was gorgeous!

This path is just a short distance from one of the main roads in our town.  The bridge in the distance is the road. You would never know that this beauty existed just a few feet away as you traveled through our town.
 Did you see the reflection of the trees & the clouds in the water?

A lone swan...

More swans.......
swans through the pine tree...

 Tree about to fall into the river...
Our town has miles of  walking/bike trails.  We walked only about a half mile into this trail.  I plan to go again in a week or two when the fall color explodes....I  doubt it can be any more lovely than it was today.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

We Had FROST Last Night!

September 13 and FROST!  Unbelievable, even for northern lower Michigan.

I stayed inside all day.  I spent about 4 hours making chicken pot pies for the freezer.  Here they are before I topped them with homemade pie crust...this cold weather seems to have given me some energy for cooking. :)
These three individual serving pies just went in the oven for tonight's dinner (J thinks one is not enough, so I put two in the oven for him)

I also worked on changing my dining room for autumn. I finished sewing six witch dining room chair backs that I pieced last year.  I went down to the basement and I found some wonderful items that I purchased after Halloween last year.  Love that spider web table runner ... I don't even remember buying it!
I will finish the rest of the table later in the week.  What I used to do in half day, now takes me a full week! :)  I am planning to have a dinner party or two this year in early October.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Cattails in the Coleus

I had planned to do a lot of fall decorating inside this past weekend.  As it turned out, the weather was great for working in the garden, so I did just a small bit of outside fall decorating.

A couple of weeks ago, we stopped by the side of the road and J cut down some cattails for me so I could use them for autumn decorating.

Sunday I stuck a few of them in this coleus planter on the side of the garage. I also added a small scarecrow.

Then I plunked a pumpkin in this old floor lamp container on the deck. I added three more cattails:
That's a far I got on the autumn deck décor.  It was such a beautiful weekend, that I spent all my time moving plants and cutting down those that were finished for the year.

I just watched our local weather forecast for the next few days..........OMG.....down in the 30's for night time lows!  I am so glad I enjoyed my weekend outside in the last few days of summer rather than doing autumn décor inside!
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