Sunday, March 25, 2012

Spring encounters

More images from my parents' yard.

This daffodil is one of my favorites. My mom planted a variety pack of bulbs last year, so some of these are surprises for them too.

Sunny little face

These photos from Thursday afternoon, March 22, while the earlier blooms are from Monday morning, March 19. Amazing what a few days of heat and a rainy day will do this time of year. I think the difference is most marked in the service berries and rhubarb.

Service berries, forsythia and (maybe) redbud

Service berry blossoms

Service berry blossoms
the small blue flowers in the groundcover)
Rhubarb hill

More daffodils, and some tulips.
Dainty white daffodils,
with pink tulips about to open behind them

Double daffodil

Springtime friends: tulips and daffodils

Not sure why I'm obsessed with the liverwort. ("Or some kind of wort," my mother said.") I love the spotted leaves and the pretty little blossoms that look pinkish-purple and then blue. I feel like I'm in the springtime woods, finding them in a shady glen. And that something so pretty and delicate has such a gross, funny name helps my affection.





Another pretty little plant with delicate blue blooms

And now... for the slugs...

I love my parents for inspiring in me a love of and fascination with the natural world and her creatures. And I appreciate my mom for not being a squeamish girly girl when it comes to bugs and slithery critters.

So, walking home from the train Friday night, I noticed slugs on the sidewalk. They had slid their way out of the rain-wet grass and were having a walk-about. Well, slide-about.

Fascinating to see slug slime paths like contrails from an airplane

Slug 1...

...and Slug 2...

...slide toward a
date with destiny...


...and slither on.

Hey, don't blame me, I'm just reporting the encounter. If it had been my story, it would have ended in the snail version of champagne and witty conversation.

My unearthly pink finger for scale with slug

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Vacation, Days 5 and 6

Rhubarb hills transplanted from
grandma's garden in the '60s
Day 5

Yes, yes. I'm behind in posting. Been busy having fun. Gimme a break. First day back to work today, and vacation glow lingers. Ahhhh.

Highlights: Last root canal appointment, breakfast with my parents (zucchini bread french toast). Neither of these photographed well.

But the spring discoveries in my parents' yard -- that's another story. Flowers were dressed like spring, themselves.

Raised beds -- daffodils and heliotrope

Notice the little purple wild violets along the edge of the top bed



Fancy daffodils


Mom sizes up the garden

Grecian windflower

Dad fixing edging

Great-grandpa's oak -- started as an acorn from his timber,
in a little pot on his nursing home windowsill.

Little buds

Checking out herbs that wintered over

Crocus about to bloom

Hen and chicks



Forsythia and redbud

Volunteer marigolds


Pretty, green, budding

Grecian windflower that escaped the bed
-- its pale purple didn't photograph



Pretty little wild violets

Sweet little plant


Trillium, again -- love those greens

Day 6

Quilt store shopping and cut-cut-cutting out fabrics for a quilt for my mom.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Vacation, Days 2-4

Day 2

We started with a lobster roll from Burhop's in Hinsdale,
picnicking at Graue Mill.

Last bite of the lobster roll

Special orders don't upset us.

Daffodils in a sunny spot beneath a big old tree.

Shiny happy faces

Violas, a childhood favorite. They grew under the maple in our side yard and we'd collect them and display them in Dixie cups on the kitchen windowsill.

Graue Mill with picnicker.

Hand-made, folding wooden kayak.
We watched a man bring two kayak paddles up to his car, and then watched him carry wheels back to the creek. He and his kayaking buddy came back up pulling a folded kayak apiece. Beautiful.

Lots of good people watching. It was a beautiful spring day so people seemed in good spirits.
Tree-climbing kid...or panther waiting to pounce?

I spent the afternoon and evening working on a sewing project (more on that later) for my Day 3 (monthly) quilt class at

For Day 2 dinner, the exotic realm of Sweden (by way of IKEA Christmas food gifts and my husband's kitchen work) brought us meatballs.

Mixed veg and meatballs
(The Husband: Are you REALLY posting a picture of frozen meatballs?!)

Day 3

Morning quilting class, then home. Spent some time in the kitchen making "funeral potatoes" and a spincach-and-bacon variation to take to my sister's St. Patrick's Day party. My niece was sick, so good friends held the party at their house instead...around the corner from us.

Below are the two versions of the potatoes I made yesterday. Same directions for both.

My Funeral Potatoes 

32 oz. bag chopped frozen hash brown cubes
1 can cream of chicken soup
2 c. sour cream
3 heads of garlic, finely chopped
7 oz. shredded smoked gouda
1/8 - 1/4 c. chives, chopped
1 to 2 leeks, finely chopped
1/4 sweet onion, finely chopped
1/4 white onion, finely chopped
1 stick butter, melted

lots of French's fried onions
chopped chives
1 to 2 oz. shredded cheddar or gouda

Spinach and Bacon Potatoes
32 oz. bag chopped frozen hash brown cubes
1 can cream of chicken soup
2 c. sour cream with 1 pkg McCormick's spinach dip (with dehydrated spinach) mixed in
3 heads of garlic, finely chopped
4 oz. shredded cheddar
1/2 to 1 lb. bacon, fried, cooled and chopped
1/4 sweet onion, finely chopped
1/4 white onion, finely chopped
1 stick butter, melted

lots of French's fried onions
1 to 2 oz. shredded cheddar

Mix together everything but the butter  in a very large bowl, adding the butter last and stirring quickly so it doesn't clump on the bottom of the bowl. Spoon into 9x13 pan or casserole and bake for 1 hour at 350 degrees F. Pull from oven and sprinkle with fried onions. Return to oven for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with cheese and chives/bacon to decorate.

Really nice time at the party. Wish I'd have thought to take pictures. (Best. Blog. Ever.)

Day 4

Lounged around being a bum. Sue me. We went out to eat at Meatheads in Willowbrook and the Country Cup in Countryside.

And I napped. Because that is what vacation is for!