Thursday, July 12, 2007

Summer Monsoons

It has been said that if you don't like the weather in Wisconsin, stick around and it will change.

That is exactly what has been going on here in Kenosha county. One day you have the heat on, the next, the a/c.

We have had several big storms in this part of the state. This one came up rather abruptly in early evening after a very hot and humid day.

It had been fairly still but suddenly the winds started to howl, the sky went very dark with a green hue and torrential rains fell. Thoughts of tornados and hail were very much on our mind at this point. It did get rather scary. Time to round up the candles and flashlights.

We were lucky. Our patio furniture and a couple of large plants were scattered but overall damage was minimal. Many parts of this town did not fare as well with downed trees and power outages. We have to do some pruning for the plants that did sustain some damage. That will be the weekend project. Nature starts what we have to finish.

If you look closely on the right side of the picture, you will see our 10 year old spike plant with nearly horizontal fronds. Yes, those are those little $1.29 accent spikes that we have nurtured over the years and are now small palm trees. Yes it can be done. We have one that is a good five feet tall.

I took this photo from our opened patio door. The spots are raindrops on the lens. Other than bump up the contrast and brighten the shadows a bit, this picture is as it was taken by my little Canon A530. That is a rather low tech camera but it works well.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Welcome and Congrats!

Best Sisters!

It is wonderful to be blessed with family and friends who are supportive of our endeavors.

Our sister Angel was there every inch of the way. She manned the refreshment stands along the way. She also was on the phone to us to let us know where Brigid was on this extraordinary marathon.

Who could possibly ask for more. Oh, and she snuck in a little of the old Irish refreshment to make the painful body parts all feel just a bit better. You have to love a woman like that!

That is a V for Victory I'm told. Silly rabbit!

May you all stay strong and healthy.

Finish Line!

It took Brig and her friends 11 hours to complete the first 26 miles. One of her fellow walkers had very sore feet and had to stop frequently for some TLC. No one was about to be left behind in that heat so the group stuck together. These are some amazing women!

Denver Marathon June 23, 2007

My sister Brigid recently celebrated her 48th birthday in a most unusual way. She finished a two-day walking marathon and a half to raise funds for breast cancer. For those of you who are unfamiliar with marathons, that equals 26 miles the first day and 13 the second day.

She trained diligently for this event The weather in Denver was not terribly kind to these athletes of all ages. It was a record high in the 90's on that June 23. It was even hotter the second day.

This is day one of the marathon after approximately 8 miles. Here you see my sister Brig (on the far right). Janet (far left), age 56, from California, lost a sister 5 years ago. Rachel's (middle, age 21) whose mother was misdiagnose a year ago and the cancer has spread to her lymph system.

Brig's dear friend Gael died this past winter. A dear friend Bonnie came, from the east coast to commemorate Gael and to cheer Brigid on. The three met while on a trip to Ireland some years ago.

So what's that picture on the right you might ask? Toe savers. This was a cure for very sore and blistered feet Brig found out. Pretty darn cute aren't they?

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Sweet Summer

This is what we have been waiting for. Winter grew very long and with eager anticipation spring began to unfurl the lovely perennials to give us hope once again.

Our backyard is our refuge after long days in the day job. Weather in Wisconsin can be quite tumultuous with tempting days of warmth, followed by the need to turn the furnace on once again. Will summer ever arrive is the question we ask ourselves continually.

June can be a real stinker but it is finally here. The days are long and we can enjoy evening golf if we so desire. Weekends are full with the Harbor Marketplace where I am a regular vendor with my soaps and potions.

I spend many hours getting ready for my market. This year we started Memorial Day weekend and the weather was perfect until about 1 pm when the monsoons hit and we had to break down early. Sales were fantastic as customers flocked once again to the enjoy not only the market to restock their soap supplies, but also to enjoy our gorgeous Lake Michigan lakefront.

When all is said and done, it is a joy to come home, settle the accounts and crack open a frosty beer and just enjoy the fruit of our labors in what is becoming our lush backyard.

It is fully summer. The birds reward us with their songs, the honey bees gather the nectar from our carefully planted flowers with hopes of pollination for our small vegetable garden. Everything is growing in abundance and many of the plants are having their glorious show.

My mother used to work at a small flower center in Waterford and was able to bring us some plants that were in need of a good home. With some tender care we have been rewarded with these fabulous blooms of clematis that linger for weeks. The roses are happy and the spikes are once again happy to be outdoors.

Yes, we have saved the spikes for from the small accent plants to grow them into trees, giving our northern climate a hit of the tropics.

Happy and safe July 4th to one and all.