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Thursday, August 5, 2010

Update on Mom-In-Law and also a bit around the house

Steve's mom is doing a little bit better, bit by bit.  We drove down there on Monday and visited her.  She is  in isolation and they are being very careful about germs in her weakened state.   We had to be fully gowned and masked, and could not touch her or hug her.  But she wanted to see us.  So we stood far away near the door for a visit.  She needed a few things so we ran errands for her and came back again, giving her time to rest in between.  She is on morphine, and I know what a fog that can be, coming in and out and then wondering if that was real or imagined?   We didn't stay long, but it was worth the 220 mile round trip to get to see her for even a few minutes.

Will get another update later today on her condition and if she is gaining more white blood cells and losing the fever.  Hope so.  This chemo has really drained her and she is battling her cancer courageously.

Not sure if we are going camping this weekend, or if we will just drive in the rig down to their house in Waupaca and help out around the house and yard for them.  Steve's dad said all is under control, but I am thinking his mom is worried that he isn't doing the vacuuming right, or the dishes right, or the laundry right etc. LOL   Always worried about how clean her house is, bless her heart, even in this condition!

We have been cooped up inside with the AC going ... as it's been hot and humid here in Wisconsin.  Have to get the watering and lawn stuff done early in the morning or late evening after it cools off.  Little Chelsea was "helping" me water all the flowers on the deck.   Here is my inviting gazebo out on the back deck, it covers about 1/3 of the deck area that faces the south. Nice place to sit and sip some lemonade or read a book, or cuddle a grandkid.

We take the nylon cover off of it when not in use, so it doesn't get damaged by rain, wind or the sun-damaging rays on the fabric over the season.  We have had it now for four years, and it sure is nice to sit under.  This part of the deck faces south, so it can get rather warm out there.

I thought I would snap pics of these innovative green hanging sacks for flowers that I have on the four corners of the gazebo on my deck.   They hold the moisture in better than hanging pots, and look good from all angles.

These are the Impatiens 

And these are the Begonias

I like these so much that I will probably never use hanging potted flowers again on there.  I have about a dozen more of these bags for planting the next few years before we sell the house.

Hummingbirds fly in and out over our heads as we sit in the adirondack chairs right below the flowers.  I have a few birdfeeders out there, and even  the finches and chickadees are used to us and come to feed when we are out there.

Below this deck is also a poured cement patio, with more doors facing out south.  That is where my studio is with my looms and spinning wheel stuff.  It's such a lovely scene to look out over the river and the woods while I work (or sometimes day dream)

Oh, back up to the deck now.   My tomatoes used to grow so nice alongside the back of the garage, for over 10 years I have been planting them in the same spot.  But then in fall of 2008 we removed all the heavy varnish and stain from the house and garage by grinding it off into a fine powder.  The powder was laying thick in piles around the buildings and we never thought twice about it.  I noticed all my plants around the edges of the house suffered after that.  I am thinking it is because all the chemicals from the finish are in the dirt and hampering the growth of the plants underneath.  Even with adding some new dirt to the row of the tomatoes last year, they didn't grow worth diddly squat!   So this spring I added more dirt, manure, and Miracle Grow slow release granules.   Nope, the tomatoes didn't grow much at all, since planting them in the first week of June!    I had a full row of Black Eyed Susans that grew along the west side of the garage, and none of them came back this year either.

So I dug the tomatoes all up, and replanted them in large pots with fresh new potting soil.  The roots on most of them were still in the small square from when I took them out of the beddeing packs in June.  This is now August and the roots didn't even spread!  They were almost the same size as when I planted them 2 months before!!!

Now I have them lined up on the deck now and they are flourshing!   (I don't care for the look of all those pots cluttering up my deck, but if I salvage some tomatoes, it will be worth it for a month or so more.)

In the spring, we will have to dig up all the dirt in the tomato patch and replace it with some new fresh stuff.

Back to the deck:   Steve's mom had given me this adorable doggie planter a few years ago for Xmas.  I just love him and put outdoor plants in him for the summer, and then replant him with indoor plants for the winter.  His head and tail are on springs, so little grandson Jameson will tap him and make his head wobble!  LOL

Now, around the side to the east side of the house, there is more decking that leads to our chimney and up to the front steps.  Along here I had planted some Snow on the Mountain when we first moved here.  NOTHING kills that off, even the grinding dust from the house finish.  It is flourishing.  Steve mows it back with the lawnmower to keep it "pruned"    It's a nice ground cover and grows back underneath the deck where grass would never grow anyhow.

Off this side of the yard to the east, we can see Steveio's grape arbor.  It's growing like gangbusters in this heavy humid weather, and will soon be ready for harvesting once we get a frost.  He can drive underneath with the rider mower, and the grapes hang down inside for picking.  He was going to add the extra supports to make it taller this year as the vines grew more, perhaps next year he will.  It also makes a fun hideout for grandkids!

Over on the west side of the house is another deck, between our garage and the house.  It's our main entrance on that side.  I have a nice planting of more impatiens there to greet us as we go in and out.

Below this side deck, I have a group of Hydrangeas (my most FAVORITE flower)  My neighbor gave me some small sticks that were offshoots from her plants 2 years ago.  Already they are HUGE here and keep growing so nicely.  I think next year I might take some of the new growth and move some to another spot in the yard.  I pluck some blooms off each fall after they dry out and keep them in a vase in the house as a dried flower arrangement in my kitchen window over the sink.  I smile inside any time I see hydrangeas.  

Along this side deck, I have some shade loving plants.  My coleus I keep going every year, by carrying in 3 or 4 pots and wintering it over in the house.  I have keep the same plants/strain going since 1989 or so from my friend Connie from her yard.  I give pots of it to my friends each spring from the new rootings I grow from the plants.  Once we go full-time in the RV, I will pass on this task to Erin and Mark, to keep some going each year.   

I plant the coleus in rows between my hostas too along the garage.  They do better facing east or in the shade. The colors are deep fuschia and rich green.  If facing south or west they get too much sun and are faded pink and pale.   

Now.. the last part of our yard, actually 2/3 of our land, is woods. That is our Natural Garden.   Facing to the south of our house, you see our woods and our river.  We have about 120 feet of frontage. It's calm and peaceful and green and rich.  The only thing we do is mow down the stinging nettles (itchweed).  The leaves on the trees block off a lot of the view of the river, we see it better in fall after the leaves are down, or in the spring before they bud out.  Of course, in the middle of winter, it's frozen over and covered under a couple feet of snow!  Our river is shallow and slowmoving, with a sandy bottom.  The deepest part is maybe up to your waist.  Makes a good spot for dogs to splash in and out with frizbees, or kids to dip in  and cool off in the hot August summer heat.

When I look at our woods, I hum the John Denver song:  "Cool and Green and Shady"

So, any time you wanna come on over, sit on my deck, and look at my woods, ...   I will hand you a glass of lemonade, perhaps plop a grandchild on your lap, and spend a lazy afternoon among the flowers.



  1. Glad Steve's Mom is even a tiny bit better. Progress can be slow with the elderly.

    Your home and garden are a little bit of paradise. What a great life there in Wisconsin you have.

  2. Glad to hear Steve's Mom is doing better, we will continue to pray for her. Your flowers, plants and yard are beautiful. You can tell you give it a lot of TLC.

  3. We too are glad to hear of Steveio's Mom improving, the tour of your grounds was great, The only thing is how short the summers are and how long the winters get to be. of course this year we had a long cold winter and now an oven of a summer. Be safe out there. Sam & Donna.

  4. Your place is beautiful. Thanks for the nice tour. I love your gazebo with the beautiful flowers. Wish I could come up and have some lemonade (and grand kids) with you!

    I hope Steve's mom improves. Maybe it would help her to have a woman's touch on the house.

    I love Hydrangeas too, but you should see mine. The heat has made them ugly. They are not in the sun, but just the heat of the day gets them. They are only pretty in the spring until it gets hot.

  5. What a beautiful place. When we moved from Wisconsin to Texas we left the winter snows and summer humidity. When we moved to California we ended up in a more city environment for a few years, but bought a house in the mountains as soon as the kids were both in college. (Didn't want them driving curvy dangerous roads.

    Our home in the mountains is surrounded by forest, but no heavy snow, or mosquitoes.

    I'm not much of a gardener, although there are some who have beautiful gardens here.

    Too much work for me!

  6. Karen..I am so glad that Steve's mom is feeling a little better..baby steps!!!

    I love your porch sitting area. Where did you get those hanging bags for flowers?The flowers are just gorgeous.

    There was a really neat plant growing thing on GMA this morning..you might want to check into it.

    Hugs..Cindy and Walker

  7. Thanks for the invite to your gorgeous home. :) What a place to do your spinning and weaving!

  8. I am so glad to hear Steve's mom is doing a little better. We will continue to keep her in our thoughts and prayers.

    Your home and grounds are just beautiful. You have a truly peaceful setting. I would love to come and sit and have a glass of lemonade. Hopefully one day we will be able to do that:-)
    Thanks for the tour!!

    Mike & Gerri (happytrails)

  9. Glad to hear Steve's Mom is doing a little better. What beautiful flowers and grounds--love it!! We tried very hard to find a Safari motorhome but no luck, the one we did find was beautiful on the inside but just way too old.


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