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What’s Blooming!

Not a ton blooming now, but that is what happens with a new garden bed.  I have been buying a lot of small plants.  It’s hard having the patience to wait for the small perennials to get big, but I would rather buy 10 small plants for $30 than 1 big plant for $30.  It just takes time and patience.

We were at the old house mowing the other day and I ‘acquired’ more plants.  There are blooms over there.




And the Amethyst in Snow Centaurea:



I took some rootlings of that one. I love it so much and if these don’t take, I will certainly be purchasing more – but crossing fingers for free :D

On to Radiance Manor:

We do have a rhododendron in front.  Or rather I think there are 2 or 3. They are wild and half dead, but it looks like a few bases in there:




I would like to keep these if I can. I have never had a rhody before, so I don’t know much about them. I was reading that for shrubs in this state, you are to do what is called a rejuvenation pruning, which is cutting it waaaay down and hope it comes back. Eeek!  So, if I lose the plants, no biggie, and if it works – great!

The slate that we got the other day will be used likely for a path from the driveway to the front walk – right along here:


We aren’t even worried about the lawn yet. It’s in terrible shape, but at least the weeds are green.

When we were digging out the bed here and in the back, we uncovered more slate tiles.  How convenient!  I laid some of them down in the big bed for a walking path:


Now I need to bury them a bit. I need to place other pieces here and there so I can walk into the garden bed without compressing the soil much.

I also got a butterfly bush.  Doesn’t look like much here:


This is going to be the jewel, though.  It’s the big boy – Black Knight.  This will get 6 to 8 feet tall. I have the room in this garden for it.  These grow pretty fast and this should be a nice size this year and produce flowers.

I also found a place for my broken pot.  A snow and ice slide this winter busted the bottom off this, but it still will stand on a flat surface, so I just plunked it on a rock in the bed with a sweet potato vine in it.



I am trying a new plant this year.  Lupines.  I have always wanted to give them a shot.


Lupines can be really finicky, but the nursery had these on sale for 5 plants for $10.  How could I resist? These are in a partial sun spot, so fingers crossed.

I also have one of my favorite flower combos started.  Globe thistle together with coneflowers:


A mixed of ‘acquired’ and purchased.  Also, note I chopped some iris rhizomes from the old house as well.  You can also see one of the stumps in the background there. We dug up 3 from this garden bed and there are 2 left, but they are not in an area imminent for planting, so I am leaving them for now. The walking path actually will go there.

Nothing like a bare baby garden bed.



It will be fun taking a picture in a few months and seeing how much these grow.


Cycling and slate

Halfway through the week!  Our temps have gone back to more seasonal, although even a little cooler than that.  We biked to breakfast today and it was 50 degrees!  Brrrr.

Doing pretty good on my goal of 2000 miles for the season. I am at 430 odd miles so far. Not bad considering the late start to the season.  I ride pretty much every day. Some days 8-10 miles for a lighter day, 15 for a ‘maintenance’ ride and 30+ on the weekends.  It sure feels good to get out on the bike.  Even though it is getting me absolutely zilch as far as weight loss goes. Guess I just ride for this:


Yes, indeed. On an interesting note – it seems that more and more people are wearing helmets when riding – which makes me happy.  I noticed it especially on Sunday. It seemed just about every biker had a helmet on.

We still keep meeting neighbors.  One of them stopped over and said she noticed how much work we were doing on the outside of the house. They had just ripped up their slate patio and wondered if we wanted the slate.  Heck yeah!  So, we loaded up the Saturn and practically bottomed out coming across the street with it :D  I knew there was a reason we still kept that car.


There is more to the right out of the picture, too.  Dang – let me tell you this was heavy work! Loading and unloading. These stones are heavy.  Functional fitness at its best.

This will save us a mint. We had designs to make a walkway around the garden beds in front to go out to the back (through Lily of the Valley town). We were pricing pavers and slate and then the neighbors offered us this. How nice.  Everyone just seems to be really glad that the house is owned and being taken care of.  Of course, it does make us feel like we are being watched a little, though.  Often times when we are out working on the front – walkers will stop and tell us how it is looking great and they love the house.  It does stick out a little because it is an unusual looking house in the neighborhood, but that is one of the reasons we love it.

As far as the old house goes, we might be making progress on closing. Pretty much by this Friday we will know if the deal is done or dead.  Hoping for the former, prepping for the latter.

Birdies in the yard

One thing I love about our new house is the back yard. We didn’t have one at our old house, so this is a real treat.



 (Making good progress on taming the wild jungle, too.)  The nice thing is that it brings all kinds of birds.  You all know I love nature. I actually feel privileged when wildlife comes to my yard and feel safe enough to hang out there.  Here are some of the birds that have visited. All photos are courtesy of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

This one came early in the spring and we kept hearing the call over and over again and didn’t know what it was. My sister is a birder extraordinaire and she helped us identify. Then we haven’t heard it anymore, which makes sense because it is a migratory bird and now is gone from the area.  It is a white-throated sparrow:



Lots of cardinals – one of my favorite birds!


I think there might be 2 pairs of cardinals that come by.  Hopefully we will see some babies!

The cute little chickadee:


Pixie always seems especially interested in the chickadees, for whatever reason.

The Pileated Woodpecker.  I was walking into the back yard the other day and John called my name to have me stop. I looked up at the tree I was standing near and there he was!


These guys are really big birds, too. Woody Woodpecker is modeled after them.

Speaking of woodpeckers, the little downy ones have also stopped by – and pecked on the house. They won’t be getting food out of bricks :D


The nuthatch.  These birds are the cutest to watch because they walk up and down the sides of trees and walk upside down.


The peck at wood like a woodpecker does, but it is much slower and more like tap, tap, tap than the hammering of a woodpecker.

I have a couple seed feeders out, but the squirrels seem to get more than the birds :D

We have also seen a couple hummingbirds and I have feeders out. So hopefully I can cross something off my bucket list, which is to have hummers in my yard.

I hope at some point to get a real DSLR camera so I can get some of my own shots of them in the yard.

Heritage trail

It was an outdoor weekend for us!  Good weather and lots of projects accomplished.

Saturday looked iffy for riding as far as rain goes, so we decided to keep it close to home.  We ended up splitting up for the first part of the ride because I wanted to check out some garage sales :D

It looks so green around here now.  I love the older tree-lined streets.



I headed out to the heritage path we don’t go on much. I forgot how nice this is.




This goes by one of the logging companies still in operation:



This is close to the one of the little parks with a beach in the area:






It ends in a nice little picnic area overlooking the dam. We need to pack a lunch or dinner and bike out here sometime just for a nice little meal.





I rested a few an then texted John and we each headed out to meet points west from here.



The honeysuckle is now blooming:



This is really a nice trail. It’s just not very long.



It was a shorter ride Saturday and it turns out the weather didn’t turn bad at all. Go figure :D  We ended up doing our 35 miler on Sunday, which was good because it left room for a pizza and cake party to celebrate my dad’s birthday!



I need another day for the weekend. It just went too fast.

What’s Blooming!

Spring is fully here now. We did have frost warnings the last couple nights, though. Temps got in the 30s, but it didn’t seem to affect anything.  There are some late tulips in town. Saw these on a walk this week:






This week brought actual planting going on in the garden beds. We were at the old house and I dug up a few plants and saw this:


I definitely want to get some of these at some point for the new gardens.  

I got a bunch of annuals for the front bed since I honestly wasn’t expecting to make this much progress with it and didn’t have much planned yet.  The annuals will give some life to the bed while I start adding the baby perennials.


I grabbed some irises from the old house, coneflowers, liatris and some centaurea.  Not sure if they will survive the transplant or not, but no harm, no foul if they don’t.   For annuals, I got some cosmos:



They will get about 2 feet tall.  I also got some cleome for height, which will look like this (hopefully)



And some tall snapdragons.

My lily of the valleys are in full bloom.




I am over run with them!


This is what happens when you don’t keep control over a spreading plant.


There is a mix of LOTV and daylilies all down the side here. Some of that is on the neighbor’s property as well.

I was so happy to see this in the back yard:



My razzmatazz coneflower that I brought with me from IL about 10 years ago and moved last fall to this house. My old friend. So happy to see it survived the winter.  It’s funny – this plant has been the same size for 10 years. It is sterile, so it doesn’t make seedlings and it doesn’t get big enough to divide. It is a very strange plant.

Pixie was watching me from the dining room window:



My hostas popped up in the last week from nubs to this:



I was going to dig these up and put astilbes in their place, but then decided to leave them this year since I am lacking in plants right now. I am not the biggest fan of hostas, but they are green and growing. Not to mention this bed is full of those white rocks and it will take a long time to get the bed clear of those.

I got more plants today, too!



All of those plants I purchased over the winter at sale prices. The wait is worth it, though!  These are from Bluestone Perennials, which is my favorite online company.  Their service is very good and I especially like the ecofriendly coco pots the plants are packed in:



These pots go right in the ground so there are no little plastic pots to recycle. Less waste.  

So guess what the agenda is for Friday night? Planting!!  I know how to partay.

What I ate Wednesday

We finally broke that heat yesterday. There was a copious amount of rain, which we sorely needed, and that ushered in a cold front.  It was in the 50s and breezy for our ride to breakfast this morning!

I was pretty hangry for this bagel!


That’s a 20 oz coffee, too.  :D

Then it was another ride before having to get to work.


Nice! For those keeping track, I am at about mile 335 out of a goal of 2000 for the season. Bit of a slow start, but not bad.

We got back and Pixie was being her lazy self while we were gone.



I just woke her up here. She loves our new couch, too.

Lunch today was one of the ruts I am in. Cereal topped with plain Fage, strawberries and about a teaspoon of honey.


I had been having iced lattes for the last few days because of the heat, but with cooler temps today, it was time for the hot one!


Plus a few cashews:


It was nice to take a break. Work was just so busy today. It’s nice to have work, but we are teetering on the edge of the screaming that periodically comes around – and May is usually one of those times. It puts a lot of pressure and stress on those of us already doing a lot of work –  and there is a limit to how much you can do in a day when others aren’t pulling their weight. Of course, this all comes down to company management, and I will just leave it at that.

Quick dinner after a tiring work day. I had cooked up chicken breasts yesterday to eat this week.  I pulled an oldie out! Baked potato with BBQ chicken on it :D


I used to eat this all the time and I don’t know why I stopped. It’s tasty.  Actually, now that I think about it, it was because I tend to eat less starchy things in the winter time. Now that I am biking and outdoors more, I am eating more carbs.

We are off to dig up some plants at the old place (still no news yet) and then one last thing – some Sweet Frog Froyo.  No picture, but I think you all know what that looks like :D


Riding in … July?

Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms (of 2 and 4-legged children :D  )

It feels like we skipped right over spring and went to mid July! It has been hot in the 80s here this weekend. From winter to July. Goodness. I have begun planting the garden bed. I got it all cleaned and raked.


Then we picked up a few more plants. There are 4 garden centers (not including the big box) within a mile and a half radius of our house. We biked to one and got some annuals for the front bed. John’s trailer is handy for that – and it keeps me from buying too much :D



After doing that work, it was time to ride!  We decided to ride to the lake and take the paths since it was hot and sunny out. Not used to the heat yet – like I ever really get that used to it…  


All this heat and sun and green is popping out all over!

This is the start of a climb up that is probably the toughest part of the ride to the lake. It goes up for a long time and then kicks up steep at the end.



Of course, I dropped a chain today.  Annoying. It doesn’t happen often, but I think I need to adjust my gears.  

Since we were getting ice cream on a hot day, we front loaded the ride with hills so we wouldn’t be doing them after eating :D


There were a fair number of people at the lake today. Starting to get close to tourist season. Hot and hazy. If it wasn’t for the budding trees, you would really think it was July.



You are here.



We didn’t stay long as we had ice cream on our minds!  Back to Martha’s again.  I can’t wait for the first cupcake ride, but that will have to be at least a 40 mile ride to get to somewhere that has them :D

Around mile 15 and we reached Martha’s. Do you like their tip jars?



My sundae with salted caramel ice cream and apple pie topping:



Back on the mostly shady paths and then along the canal:



We stopped for more rest and to cool down.



This holds 21 ounces and I drank 2.5 of these on this ride. We were able to fill up at Martha’s.  I had a couple glasss of water before we left the house as well. I definitely could have used an extra bottle on this ride.

Finally home:


Ride stats:

Total miles: 31

Average speed:  11.9 mph

Top speed:  31 mph (wheee!!!)

After we got back, I hyrdated with this:



I made sure to drink a lot of fluids for the rest of the day as well. This week temps go back down to a more normal range, thank goodness!

What’s Blooming!

I finally have blooms for What’s Blooming, how about that?  This year’s posts are going to be sparse on blooms as I am building a new garden bed. Maybe I should change the title of this post for the future. :D

We stopped by the old house and I took some pictures of what is blooming there.  That garden bed had a lot of winter damage. Looks like 2 of the 3 rose bushes there are gone.  I will pull them up in a couple weeks -just to make sure they are dead- if we haven’t sold the house yet. I need to also grab some irises (irides??) since we aren’t closing until who knows when.  Anyhoo – some flowers:

Beautiful hyacinth!



These are the Apricot Dreams tulips that are so old. Tulips usually aren’t super long-lived as the original clumps, but these are going on 5 years, I think?

This is the Monte Carlos tulip that doesn’t even look like a tulip :)


Now back to Radiance Manor and the work that is being done.  We finally got the left half of the front bed de-bushed.



Digging out stumps is major work. It looks like a blast zone:


Check out this mammoth stump!


It is really too heavy to just pick up, so it got dragged over to the side. It needs to dry up and then we will cut it up. The city takes brush and stuff up to 4 inches in diameter, so this obviously can’t be put at the curb. :D We dug up 4 stumps with more to go out back.

It was looking so bare that I just stuck some tippy pots in the ground.


Not their permanent place, but good for now.  I put in some dahlias and yanked some vinca ground cover out of the the bed on the other side for trailing.  Not sure what that metal thing is to the right. Some sort of utlity item – maybe water?


I think it looks like a little mushroom and I just might paint it red with white spots for fun.

My few tulips out back are blooming and look nice.




On lonely little daffodil bloom:


Guess who is going to be planting platoons of bulbs this fall?  Think it will be me??

The magnolia tree also has bloomed and is lovely!


I was pretty excited because I got plants in the mail this week.  Debby sent me some babies from her garden and I have them potted up to try to recover from a cross country journey:


Hopefully some of them will make it.

I also got my Zephrine climbers today.


I tried a new company for these roses, called Great Garden Plants. They sent me a free plant with the order, too.  A sunsparkler sedum.  Free gifts are always nice.  They also included a gift for Pixie in the form of rubberbands. She goes crazy over rubberbands – although I try to keep them away from her because she eats them.

I was thinking I got bareroot roses, but I guess I ordered the potted ones. I already received my other bareroot rose from Jackson and Perkins and *they* sent me a free rose bush as well!  Maybe everyone knows I need plants. Here is hoping they do well and I will update – obviously :D. 

Eating Exercise Calories

So, before I got sidelined with my opinion on real estate, I was getting ready to talk about exercise calories and eating them. In particular, how I treat them and eat them. 

I see many people posting calorie burns for exercise – or points – or however you count them. Sometimes, to me, these seem really high. Sometimes these people are also stalled in their weight loss.  Not always, but you know those times when you look at ins and outs on paper and you should be losing X per week, but it doesn’t happen that way?

Here are some interesting numbers.  Lets say you exercise for an hour and your computer/device spits out 500 calories burned for that hour. (This is just a number I pulled out of the air for math purposes).  Did you really burn 500? Maybe not.  That is your calorie burn for that hour, but not the net burn.  If you happened to be sitting on the couch for that hour instead, you would have burned about 70 calories just existing. So, that burn really is down to 430 calories.  So if you ate back all your exercise calories, you would actually  be taking in more than you should be.  

And in the unfairness part of life – if you have lost a significant amount of weight, your metabolism is already slowed down by 10-15%. So, lop another 50 calories off of that and it’s 380 calories. See where the trouble can come in? Also when you exercise a lot, you can tend to let extra calories slide in because of the ‘deserve it’ factor as well.  In the end, this can lead to plateauing. 

I figure I burn about 30-35 calories per mile on the bike. This has come from riding over the years and what I take in versus goes out calorie wise and how that affects my weight.  So, an average amount is about 400 calories per hour of riding.  So a ride like on Sunday of 2.5 hours is around 1000 calories. I have had people tell me in the past that I should be burning a lot more calories than this for  our long rides, but I know me.  n=1 tells *me* what *I* burn. Not what you or somebody else will burn doing the same thing.  I track my food in My Fitness Pal and that tells me I burn a lot more calories, but I have found if I eat those calories, I gain. Simple as that, which tells me that I don’t burn what I am ‘supposed’ to be burning.  Age, weight loss, height and all that and I burn less. Stinks, but that is what is true for me. 

No house closing for now.

I was all set to talk about exercise calories and all that jazz today and then things got all muddled up.

You know, things just are never easy, are they?  We were remarking at how smoothly this house closing has been going and as of last week, everything was on track to close by this Friday.  We were getting pretty excited about this whole process being finally over after so long and were planning where to go out to dinner to celebrate.

Then we get word today that the buyer’s financing fell through. Today. With the closing this Friday.  Why this took so long for that to happen is just a mystery. If the financing wasn’t going to go through, it should have been weeks ago that it was going to happen.  

Apparently some issue came up with the buyer’s ex-husband and something he did that got attached to her credit. Now her mortgage broker says that he has another lender that is willing to work with her, but who knows if that will be the case. We have to make a plan B to possibly have the house back on the market again. We are going to give them 10 days to give us concrete proof that they can get the deal done or we are going to have to open up the listing again and accept other offers. We just can’t wait around for this.  

I swear, this past year and a half has just been a bit of a nightmare as far as real estate goes. Anyway, we are pretty frustrated about the whole thing, but what are you going to do?  I hate those situations where I have absolutely no control over the outcome.

Just gotta take it one day at a time…and breathe.

I am crossing my fingers that this buyer gets the money and we can close sooner rather than waiting for another offer to come in.