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Saturday, October 18, 2014

Winter's A Comin'

Each day it is getting darker earlier... and each morning we are waking up now in darkness.  To top it off, it's been rain, rain, rain all week too.  Even this morning, on a Saturday, when we want to maybe do a few things in the yard....  rain!

Speaking of yard, I did manage to snap a few pics of my coleus before the frost and freezing temps kills them off for the winter.  I just love the color of these plants in the fall.   I like coleus because it's instant color in the flower beds when you plant them, not just green. The leaves make up the bright fuchsia and pink colors, which is nice that you don't have to wait for blooms to be the colorful part of the plant.

I have kept this same coleus plant strain going since the mid-90's when my friend Connie gave them to me.... and every year I put them out carefully in the spring to make sure they don't get killed off.  I share some of them with friends... and two special friends shared the same plants back with me after we sold our house in Oconto.  When we bought the house in Chilton, it was the end of December, and I didn't have any coleus to winter over!  But these two friends kept their plants going for me, and I was able to replenish my stock..... awwwww

I have 6 pots growing in the basement under the grow lights to save for next year, and I might start up a few more pots today because I picked up more potting soil.  If you snip off the plants about 8 inches long, and stick them in water, they grow new roots within a week!

Here is the area on the side of the porch that we cleared out the winter-damaged shrubs.  This exposed more of the pretty cut-out fret work on the base around the front porch. I added an extra trellis to this side and planted another clematis vine and some hydrangea plants donated by my old neighbor up in Oconto.  I have always loved hydrangea and wanted a big clump on the corner of any house that I owned.  Now this will take off and grow into beautiful plants next year (I hope)

My other clematis plant on the south side of the porch was well established by the previous owners of our house. It comes back thicker and fuller each year. It has bright gorgeous deep purplish blooms and surprisingly there is still ONE bloom hanging on yet this fall! 

My weeping cherry tree is doing well in the front yard. During the extremely frigid winter, the bark split on the trunk!  In the beginning of the year I was getting a bit worried about it not making it, but it finally took ahold and grasped onto life with gusto! 

Getting ready this week to load up the motorhome... next weekend is the big Halloween celebration at High Cliff State Park!  We rented a double family site to share with our kids and grandtots!!!   Our son Dan is bringing their new travel trailer so we will have enough sleeping room for everyone.  We are looking forward to spending time with them all.  I am going to pre-cook up some pots of chili, calico beans, a big bowl of tuna noodle salad, bake some treats, and of course have a variety of hot dogs, brats and burgers on hand too.  We will be camping in non-electric sites, so have to think of foods that we can keep warm in pans over the grill or campfire.  Will have lots of hot cocoa and minimarshmallows for the kiddos too if it's cold.

Everyone decorates up their campsites and the kiddos do trickortreating from site to site.  Here is a blog post from last year's event: Halloween at High Cliff 2013  It's a special time for me because Halloween is also my birthday! It's a great way to celebrate it with all our kids and grandtots.

Got a few things done around Our Old House this past week.  The faucet has not yet arrived for the swapover between the upstairs tub and little corner sink in the half bath.  The website said it will ship on the 20th.  So that project is on hold for now.

My lower element went out on the oven in our kitchen stove. Heavens to Betsy, that means no baking!   I called around to a few places and finally found one that said they had the right replacement.  By myself, I pulled out the stove from the alcove, unplugged it, and proceeded to tear it apart.  A cover plate was removed for the bottom element with some screws and I unhooked the wires --- making notes of which color when on which connections.  I took the whole unit into the local appliance shop to match it up.  Uh Oh, nope it didn't match up with theirs after all.  Now I had to call around again, and found a place in Fond du Lac that had one.  So off I trekked 25 miles to that town and sure nuff, it matched!

Ahhhh my oven was operational again.  When I told Steve I had it all done, the only reply was "good"   HUMPH!  How many other women would do that? But at least it was working!

I cooked up a big pot roast and mixed up a couple of pumpkin pies!  I had a funny memory when I ran my big old mixmaster.  The mixer has an odd "electric motor" smell to it, you know, like some appliances and sewing machines, etc. I suppose anything that uses brushes inside an electric motor has that smell. It smelled just like the old mixmaster that my mom had when I was growing up. It reminded me of something.....

Long ago, in the mid 1970's my neighbor Cella was making frosting.  She had too much liquid and needed more powdered sugar. It was quite runny.  I think it was blue or green frosting, I forget what color.

Our tiny town in the UP of Michigan had only one groccery store, and it was closed for the evening. Sooo she was asking all of the neighbors for some more powdered sugar to firm up her frosting.  She borrowed some from us and a few others.  But soon her bowl was overflowing, and it still needed more powdered sugar.   She brought over her bowl to our house and we dumped half of the runny frosting into my mom's bowl, and we added even more powdered sugar!  I remember two other neighbors coming with their powdered sugar.  My mom's old mixer (like this one) worked and worked to make that frosting thicken up!----  Soon we had enough frosting to share with the whole neighborhood!

Funny how a certain smell can spark something so far back in your memory....

Oh, here are my pies.....

It's Saturday morning now, and we have a few things on our list of projects.  We were going to head up to our oldest daughter's house to help her with a few things. She had a change of plans. Instead we will go the last weekend of the month and help out then.  She is re-doing her kitchen and we said we would help out, along with our youngest daughter. It will probably be more than one day of work. We will bring up the motorhome and park by her house so the dogs can come along.  Should be a fun weekend!


  1. Steve was so good as a bear, you should ask him if he would be willing to go to the Halloween fest as a pumpkin!

  2. I have seen so many beautiful coleus at the botanical gardens we have visited this year. I always think of you and am tempted to take a pinched stem or two and send them to you. Of course I don't, but I think of you.

    My mom always save a stem or two in fall, but they always died out before Spring.

    This is from Merikay

  3. Redoing a kitchen is your idea of a fun weekend?

    I guess I should have expected that from a lady who does her own stove repairs! :cD

  4. The coleus has always been one of my favorites, for all the reasons you mention.

    I love the powdered sugar story and can just see the neighborhood in high gear to help out.

  5. OK, girlie, you are my official lady hero --- fixin' your own stove and all!!!! Have fun camping with the kidtots and grandtots.

  6. I'm not surprised one bit at you fixing your own oven. Pies look great and I remember my mother's mixer just like that.

  7. I had actually forgot about Coleus over the years. I used to have a lot of Coleus plants when I had a house back in the late 70'. Always liked their deep rich colors.


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