Wednesday, May 27, 2009
This weeks corner view is :: cityscapes. The challenge was to go to the highest place in your town and take a picture.
While my city is pretty small (200,000), it is very spread out. The downtown is on a very narrow isthmus flanked by student rental housing on one end, and the university campus on the other. The Capitol building is right in the center of that, and all buildings downtown must be shorter than the Capitol, so that it is always prominent. That makes for a pretty small downtown skyline! My husband and I moved here from urban Chicago and I have lived in a few big cities, so this downtown doesn't really seem urban to us. My neighborhood actually does have one of the highest points in my city, I believe, and so the view above is from our hill.
I thought about going downtown to get a photo from a high point there, but we like going downtown about as much as we like cleaning the garage, so my photos are from afar! The bottom image is the city skyline from a small boat launch/fishing spot just across the lake. Ahhhh.
To visit cityscapes around the world be sure to visit everyone participating in Corner View::
jane, ladybug-zen, ian, bonnie,esti, sophie, cele, modsquad, caitlin, joyce, ani, kim, a day that is dessert, natsumi, epe, kaylovesvintage, trinsch,c.t.,jeannette, outi, schanett, ritva, dongdong, francesca, state of bliss, jennifer, dana, denise,cabrizette, bohemia girl, dianna, isabelle, amber, a girl in the yellow shoes, mister e, janis, kari,jgy, jenna, skymring, elizabeth, audrey, allison, lise, cate, mon, victoria, crescent moon, erin,otli, ida, caroline, lisa, dorte, kimmie, la lune dans le ciel, nicola, malo, vanessa, britta, virgina,april, rebecca, b, sunnymama, kyndale, samantha, karen, kristina, angelina, dorit, goldensunfamily, sophie, janet, nicki, ruth, mcgillicutty,
desiree, di, travelingmama, aimee
Monday, May 25, 2009
I can't believe it is Monday evening all ready! I love the extra time we get together as a family when my husband has these 3-day weekends, but they sure fly by.
We have had a full weekend, and I have much to share in the upcoming week...new projects, creative outings, gardening milestones and new ideas. But for now, just a few photos of the day.
Hope you all had a nice weekend!
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
The corner view this week is coffee. I love coffee - I could sniff beans all day long. That said, about two months ago I 'gave up' coffee. I was a few pots of espresso a day person, who was still exhausted and easily irritated. Ahem.
My acupuncturist along with a bazillion other people recommended that I stop the coffee to see if it would help with a few things. So I did. And it did. And I've spent the past two months drinking green tea. Now, I'm not a cookie monster kind of coffee drinker...you know what I mean, if you even so much as MENTION coffee I go berzerk and rush down the road ripping cardboard cups out of peoples hands shrieking must consume coffee NOW. Not that bad. So yes, I have had a coffee here and there since I 'quit'.
I must out myself now, then. My husband and I are not really average coffee drinkers here in the US. First, we prefer to buy fair trade coffee (better for people). Shade grown is good (preserves habitat). Organic is nice (better for everything). Local roaster is wonderful (good for community). For me, the darker the roast the better. We drink it with either fresh milk we pick up weekly from a local farm, or, as a special treat, hemp milk. I do love the blackest espresso without anything in it but a bit of cane sugar. Mmmmm. My husband even has what I call his 'whizzy whizzer' (oh, but he refers to it as a MILK FROTHER...uh, whatever Mr. Whizzy Whizzer! ;)) Coffee is definitely something to be savored and enjoyed in this house, no matter what you use to make it.
Most people around Madison are perfectly happy with whatever comes in a cardboard or styrofoam cup at a fast food drive through, or that they brew at home using one pot insta-bags of coffee that comes in a can. To each their own! Of course we do have lots of chain coffee joints, local chains, and many wonderful local cafe's serving coffee from local roasters, and there are indeed many people in my city who wouldn't miss their morning cup at that local cafe for the world...and I love hanging out at a cafe with my family, puttering a morning away.
Jane at Spain Daily had a great idea to answer some questions this time around too, so we can find out more about all of these diverse cultures around the world.
How do you say, "two coffees with milk" in your corner? Hey, it´s up there with "please," "thank you," and "toilet?" (Or in your dream vacation spot.)
Um. Two coffees with milk.
What are the most popular ways to drink coffee?I think most people around here like coffee with cream and sugar. Frou frou is the double shot iced skim no whip with energy mocha. raw sugar, please.
How do you take your coffee?
French press, percolator, espresso, or other?
I have a french press. I have an espresso maker.
What was the funniest topic of conversation over a recent cup of coffee?
Looong story (involving the whizzy whizzer, of course).
(Dunker = to dip (bread or other food) into a drink before eating it.)Visit the Corner View around the world::
jane, ladybug-zen, ian, bonnie, esti, sophie, cele, modsquad, caitlin, joyce, ani, kim, a day that is dessert, natsumi, epe, kaylovesvintage, trinsch, c.t.,jeannette, outi, schanett, ritva, dongdong, francesca, state of bliss, jennifer, dana, denise, cabrizette, bohemia girl, dianna, isabelle, amber, a girl in the yellow shoes, mister e, janis, kari, jgy, jenna, skymring, elizabeth, audrey, allison, lise, cate, mon, victoria, crescent moon, erin, otli, ida, caroline, lisa, dorte, kimmie, la lune dans le ciel, nicola, malo, vanessa, britta, virgina, april, rebecca, b, sunnymama, kyndale, samantha, karen, kristina, angelina, dorit, goldensunfamily, sophie, janet, nicki, ruth, mcgillicutty
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
It happened. Today was that day that marks the beginning of the next season in our minds. Today went above 80 degrees. Today we went to a local botanical garden and everything was SO MUCH.
We visit the gardens often, but today was amazing with so much in bloom, brightly colored, and almost fluorescent in its freshness. Intense colors, fragrance, textures, movement, life. Turtles, birds, ducklings, crabapple petals fluttering onto our heads, and flowering something every step of the way.
The colors, after a long winter and drab early spring, were so intense it was almost too much! A total assault of the senses.
We made it to this hot pink poofball flower and we all actually laughed out loud together at how monstrously amazing it was that a flower could be SO bright and fluffy and humongous. It was almost ridiculous! It was almost as big as G's head!
As we wandered through a flowering wonderland A said, "Everything looks like sorbet, even the trees!"
And G, right behind him shrieked "NO, GELATO!". :)
A wondrous day.
Monday, May 18, 2009
In between long hours of planting in our gardens, we took a break over the weekend to visit a special event at an area living museum. The event was 'Rituals of Spring'. All of the farms and village buildings were bustling with activities that people in rural Wisconsin in the 19th and early 20th century would have been doing to prepare for the season.
The boys loved seeing all of the animals - friendly sheep dogs herding sheep, oxen pulling carts, and horses taking reenactors from farm to farm for visits and plowing fields.
There were several farms that participated in the shearing and preparation of wool to fibers. We watched cleaning, carding, and spinning of wool - with several hands on activities for the kids We watched yarn being dyed over a fire, and learned about all of the local plants that were used to make all of the colors!
It was a beautiful day to walk - chilly and breezy, but comfortable in the sun. We took the tram to the distant farms (the museum is 600 acres!), and walked a lot in between. It was perfect for me - my back has been bad again, and the long steady walking helped (my new back brace helps too! yay!).
We visited a farm where we learned about flax. The boys were able to whack (and whack and whack) the flax to remove the outer hull of the stem, and run it through a rippler (nails on a board to 'comb' the flax). We then went inside and watched how they made thread from the flax, and then wove the linen!
There were many other fun activities throughout their 65 buildings - rhubarb pie in a summer kitchen, sheep shearing, rope making, soap making, gardening, hand powered laundry, schoolyard games and more!
When we waited for the tram at certain spots the boys tracked our location in relation to the car with the GPS. Lots of fun. We brought home some cotton roving and a drop spindle, wooden yo-yo's and some heirloom herbs. Nice day!
Friday, May 15, 2009
The boys have really been into Crash! Bang! Splat! lately - a kids science show that we often Tivo. They love all of the kid performed experiments, and we do a bunch of them each week (perfect for rainy days). We are always on the look out for books, magazines, or websites that have new experiments to try as well. This week, G found one to make fog!
black paper & tape
quart or 1/2 gallon canning jar (or other clear glass container)
big bag of ice
1. Tape the black paper on the outside back of the jar, so that there is a dark background to help contrast the fog...G insisted that we wrap the paper ALL THE WAY around the jar, which was perfectly fine too!
2. Fill the jar with hot tap water - let sit 60 seconds.
3. Pour out all but an inch or so of the water.
3. Light the match (grown up!) and hold it over the jar opening.
4. After a few seconds, drop the match into the jar and cover the top of the jar immediately with the bag of ice.
G liked how long the fog lasted with this experiment!
The warm water heats the air in the jar - some of the water evaporates too, creating water vapor. The hot air with water vapor rises, and cools off as it comes into contact with the air cooled by the ice. When the water molecules cool down, they slow down and stick together. The smoke from the match just helps bunch the water molecules together more easily...making...fog!
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
The corner view for this week is The Great Outdoors. We have long cold winters here in Madison, WI, so spring is a very welcome time, and most people love to get OUT.
For us, we prefer being outside as much as we can, and while we do live in the city of Madison and are close to a vibrant urban area, we prefer being in the woods, near the water, or on a farm.
Madison is on an isthmus - a very narrow one - flanked by two large lakes. We have many lakes and rivers throughout our area as well. Our city has many parks, with prairie, wetlands, and forest. A lot of the more rural area is agriculture, but lovely parks are tucked in all over.
Being on the edge of the city, we are close to interesting neighborhoods and of course the lakes. But we are also just minutes away from farmland and narrow rural roads. It is nice to have easy access to both.
We love to take nature walks often, work in our garden (s), visit farms, ride our bikes, play outside, go to the beach, and find new places to explore. This summer we plan to go camping and have a few rural trips planned.
Visit Jane at Spain Daily to view her corner of the world...and then visit what the Great Outdoors looks like all around the globe:
jane, ladybug-zen, ian, bonnie, esti, sophie, cele, modsquad,caitlin, joyce, ani, couturecoucou, kim, a day that is dessert, natsumi, epe, kaylovesvintage, trinsch, c.t.,jeannette, outi, schanett, ritva, dongdong, francesca, state of bliss, jennifer, dana, denise, cabrizette, bohemia girl, ruth, dianna, isabelle, amber, a girl in the yellow shoes, mister e, janis, kari, jgy, jenna, skymring, elizabeth, audrey, allison, lise, cate, mon, victoria, crescent moon, erin, otli, amy, ida, caroline, lisa, dorte, kimmie, la lune dans le ciel, nicola, malo, vanessa, britta, virgina, april, rebecca, b, sunnymama, kyndale, samantha, karen, kristina, angelina
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
This little guy waited one whole year. Last year he was 3, and a bit small to go on the Flying Fox. Next year, he said. So this year we just had to make the trip - couldn't miss it!
After waiting in a long line it was finally his turn to go. He ran off in his clunky rain boots, pulling the rope to the platform. He climbed the ladder and was picked up to hold on to the ring. One, two, three! He flew.
He said he was brave. I'd have to agree!
Of course this one likes to fly too...
Sunday, May 10, 2009
Get lumber, wood screws, power stapler, weed barrier, milk paint...check.
Build one in front.
Paint it to match the house trim. Twice.
Fill it with a LOT of soil and compost. Rake rake rake. Plant it with strawberries and flowers...leave room in the middle for bush beans, herbs, and beautiful bush pepper plants.
Then repeat the process...build another one in back. Add gifted raspberry canes, strawberries, marigolds and leave room for some herbs and purple tomatillo.
Insert pretty labels next to each plant for those walking their dogs past the house...answer many questions from the neighbors (yes, we are growing fruit and vegetables in there! ;)).
By adding two raised beds we have increased our planting area, and worked in some full sun areas! yay!
Wednesday, May 06, 2009
Living in Wisconsin, we of course have strip malls, shopping malls, mega stores, super stores, and chain stores. We have wonderful neighborhood shops, crafty stores and boutiques, and small family owned businesses. We have farmer's markets and urban farm stands. Wherever you drive in the country you can also usually find bait, pottery, eggs, produce, farm animals, hay, and more.
This week the corner view is shopping. I am not much of a shopper. I loathe lines, fluorescent lighting, loud annoying music, and not finding what I need. I prefer to shop small and local for things I must buy, or shop online. We are also big fans of our local co-op - where we give our member number as we check out, and let them know if we want to "CHIP".
But for me, my favorite way to shop for many things is one on one. I love buying directly from farmers and producers...apples, wheat, cider, vegetables, meat, dairy, honey, soap, beeswax...you name it. We are lucky to live in a place where you can get SO much so close to home.
In the summer months we visit local farm stands. We also have a weekly CSA. CSA means "Community Supported Agriculture". So what we do is purchase a 'share' for our farm of choice, and get a box of seasonal produce each week during the growing season. We love to pick up at the farm, see what is in our box each week, and chat with the farmer or other families picking up at the same time!
Visit Jane at Spain Daily for her view - and don't forget to check out everyone from around the world who is participating!
jane, ladybug-zen, ian, bonnie,esti, sophie, cele, modsquad,caitlin, joyce, ani, couturecoucou, kim, a day that is dessert, natsumi, epe, kaylovesvintage, trinsch, c.t.,jeannette, outi, schanett, ritva, dongdong, francesca, state of bliss, jennifer, dana, denise, cabrizette, bohemia girl, ruth, dianna, isabelle, amber, a girl in the yellow shoes, mister e, janis, kari, jgy, jenna, skymring, elizabeth, audrey, allison, lise, cate, mon, victoria, crescent moon, erin, otli, amy, ida, caroline, lisa, dorte, kimmie, la lune dans le ciel, nicola, malo, vanessa, britta, virgina, april, sunnymama, samantha, karen, kristina, angelina, kyndale
Tuesday, May 05, 2009
I love walking through the garden in May. There is always so much unfinished business...beds to plant, transplants to harden off, compost to mix, weeding to be done, mulch to be laid, bean twine to be staked - but every single day brings something new. With my back I cannot really do any of the big stuff except for the weekends when my husband can do the lifting. But I can weed and plan and water and watch...and dream!
red currant bush
The boys are just happy that it is sunny and warm, and love racing and running and playing in the new raised bed which is yet to be planted in. The discovery of insects, and the sounds of the birds as they visit our yard for the birdseed and birdbath...well, they become friends, and we can recognize many of the individual birds who visit us several times a day! The boys also love the bumblebees who are buzzing loudly around, chipper the chipmunk who is back after a long winter, the rabbits who eat the newly blooming dandelions (but always seem to leave my greens alone!), and the brazen vole who darts out from the back bushes and across the alley whenever little boys get too loud.
I find it amazing how much life is in our teeny yard in the middle of a full neighborhood. I know it is because we have so much more to offer than a flat expanse of plain grass. We have trees, bushes, veggies, fruit, no chemicals and rich earth.
We have planted a few rounds of the spring veggies - carrots, peas, bunching onions, radishes, cabbage, kohlrabi, beets and more. We also have dozens of new raspberry shoots coming in, and a new row of gifted rhubarb from a friend. The lilacs are so close to blooming, and our mock orange is showing buds. The red currants are showing perfect tiny clusters of what will become tart red berries in a few months.
We have a box of gifted raspberry canes to plant and flats of beautiful wonderberries (garden huckleberry), peppers, and tomatoes hardening off to be planted in a few days. The herbs and squash have another week or so before they will be ready to go into the garden. The beans are started and will be planted in the next week.
pepper transplants hardening off
So much to do, but so much to be thankful for and so much to look forward to. I can't wait to share more pix of our new beds and seedlings! Oh, and my garden challenge for the next year...coming soon! What is happening in your garden?