My Other More Exciting Self

Farm Raised, Shoe Enthusiast, Turkey Talker, Wine Lover, Mom

“The glory of gardening: hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature. To nurture a garden is to feed not just on the body, but the soul.”

– Alfred Austin

The Glory of Gardening | via MyOtherMoreExcitingSelf.wordpress.com #gardening #gardenchat

What is it about the garden that just calms me? I didn’t do much tonight except some stray weeding but even that is a stress reliever of sorts.

Life has been busy, as you well know if you read my blog regularly. Last week, I was gone for several days, working at the summer conference of my organization (Minnesota Turkey Growers Association), and even with that big event in the books, life doesn’t slow down. I’ve got publications to finish, websites to update, a Washington DC trip for work in the planning stages, and several other projects in various stages of un-doneness.

No complaints, mind you – I enjoy my job for the most part. But I’m not going to lie. I can’t wait to take a few days off in August. It is summer, after all – and here in Minnesota, it’s a very short-lived season.

For now, I get a little mini-vacay, I suppose, by escaping to my gardens any time I want. Nothing wrong with that.

The Glory of Gardening | via MyOtherMoreExcitingSelf.wordpress.com #gardening #gardenchat

The Lady’s Mantle is in full glory right now on the north side of my house.

The Glory of Gardening | via MyOtherMoreExcitingSelf.wordpress.com #gardening #gardenchat

These peach colored asiatic lilies make a pretty statement. And yes, I’m still protecting my dahlias from Bunnydom.

The Glory of Gardening | via MyOtherMoreExcitingSelf.wordpress.com #gardening #gardenchat

Raspberry colored mums.

The Glory of Gardening | via MyOtherMoreExcitingSelf.wordpress.com #gardening #gardenchat

I’m so glad my rose bush is making a comeback. It appeared that some aphids and worm-like bugs did a number to the leaves before I finally got some insecticide spray. So far so good, though, as I see several blooms and the leaves are also making a comeback.

The Glory of Gardening | via MyOtherMoreExcitingSelf.wordpress.com #gardening #gardenchat

Speaking of bunnydom (or maybe deer?), my celery was chomped a couple of times but these baskets seem to be doing their job – at least for now.

The Glory of Gardening | via MyOtherMoreExcitingSelf.wordpress.com #gardening #gardenchat

(Ignore the weeds.) Joe wanted me to plant a row of mammoth sunflowers in the yellow bean garden bed and the plants are really doing well so far. (This particular garden bed is at the very end of our property line.) Fingers crossed that the deer won’t find these, which has been known to happen. I did spray some “Liquid Fence” deer repellent product on them before I left town last week – as a bit of insurance.

The Glory of Gardening | via MyOtherMoreExcitingSelf.wordpress.com #gardening #gardenchat

My favorite container right now. I could literally sit and stare at it all evening. (I know, #GardenNerd.) If you look closely, you’ll spot Earl the pug assuming his usual position by the front window.

The Glory of Gardening | via MyOtherMoreExcitingSelf.wordpress.com #gardening #gardenchat

See what I mean? This container is almost iridescent!

The Glory of Gardening | via MyOtherMoreExcitingSelf.wordpress.com #gardening #gardenchat

Our catalpa tree is blooming and I’m just blown away by how interesting this bloom is! I really knew nothing about these trees until a friend of ours gave us a few seedlings to plant. Isn’t it just so very cool looking?

The Glory of Gardening | via MyOtherMoreExcitingSelf.wordpress.com #gardening #gardenchat

This is my favorite spot to sit, sip some wine (or a sidecar), and stop time for a little while. Well, as long as the mammoth Minnesota mosquitoes don’t come and carry me away.

I’ll be back again soon with some turkey recipes up my sleeve to share with you!

– Lara –

I haven’t posted since June 9. Yikes – I hate that!

It couldn’t be helped, really. Last week, I was immersed in the summer conference of the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association and even prior to that, work was pretty much the priority. I wish I could say that’s going to change and I’ll have more time to blog now, but I’ll just have to see how it goes over the next couple of weeks. I have the post-conference wrap-up “stuff” to squeeze in, along with my usual workload and a work trip to Washington DC in less than a month. And did I mention avian influenza? While, thankfully, cases of the virus have slowed dramatically here in Minnesota (and elsewhere too), there is still much to be done to be ready for a possible re-introduction of the bird flu with the fall migratory season.

But enough about work. It’s still the weekend – albeit Sunday evening – so I’m going to share a few photos from our Father’s Day weekend.

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We got home Friday afternoon from my work conference, and after three naps (two in the car + one at home), I went to bed early and proceeded to sleep for 11+ hours. Apparently I was tired.

That left me well-rested on Saturday, when we took Joe to the annual Buffalo Days parade. We made a pit stop prior to the parade at Hayes Public House, this really cool Irish brewpub. The adults in the group enjoyed a beer and an apple ale – both brewed onsite – and all three of us quizzed each other with the Trivial Pursuit game available.  Oddly, three of our questions were about the Canary Islands, but at least we feel more knowledgeable about random geographical facts now.

Father's Day Weekend | via MyOtherMoreExcitingSelf.wordpress.com

I give you Joe’s favorite float in the parade … and if you know Joe at all, then you understand it’s because it contains a giant-sized box of Cheerios and Doritos, his two favorite foods in the whole world.

Father's Day Weekend | via MyOtherMoreExcitingSelf.wordpress.com

It was truly a beautiful evening for a parade.

Father's Day Weekend | via MyOtherMoreExcitingSelf.wordpress.com

My boys of summer. We took Teacher Man to a Minnesota Twins game today, which was fun despite the eventual loss to the Chicago Cubs. (Nothing like a grand slam in the 8th inning to really put a damper on the hopes of a comeback.) It’s a gorgeous stadium, though, that overlooks the downtown Minneapolis skyline, and with the abundant sunshine and 85 degree weather, what’s to complain about, really?

Father's Day Weekend | via MyOtherMoreExcitingSelf.wordpress.com

See what I mean?

Father's Day Weekend | via MyOtherMoreExcitingSelf.wordpress.com

I will not apologize for another selfie. ;)

Father's Day Weekend | via MyOtherMoreExcitingSelf.wordpress.com

And I would be remiss without sharing this little gem of my Dad and me walking down the aisle nearly 16 years ago. I have learned many pearls of wisdom from this man:

  • You can never plant too many trees.
  • A house isn’t a home until you have a rain gauge somewhere on the property.
  • Usually nothing worthwhile happens after the hours of midnight.
  • If a one-movie afternoon is good, a double feature is even better.
  • It is always worth venturing out in -30 degree weather to see a University of Minnesota basketball game at The Barn – aka Williams Arena.
  • Read, read, and read more.
  • Fast food drive-through menus and families of five don’t mix if you’re the driver, so it’s best to just order five cheeseburgers, five fries, and five Cokes – no matter what anybody else wants.
  • You can’t go wrong with a classic Sidecar cocktail.

I could go on, but I’ll leave it at that for now. After all, I’ve got the rest of the 2015 U.S. Open to watch tonight. :)

Happy Father’s Day to my Dad, Teacher Man, and also my father-in-law, Norman. I’m so glad Joe has these amazing men to look up to and learn from as he navigates through life.

And now we move on to what Teacher Man is referring to as the start of his “Birthday Week” which culminates in birthday #45 next Saturday. Joe was teasing him that he didn’t get a birthday week back in January – until I reminded him he had more of a birthday month, with celebrations on three straight weekends. “Oh yeah, I forgot,” he said with a grin. This, my friends, is my #boymom life.

Have a great start to the week!

– Lara –

 

Here’s the deal:

I don’t have a recipe to share tonight because:

1) It was 90 degrees out (which if you know me, then you know I think this was awesome!) and Joe and I decided to pick up some Dairy Queen after work and have a picnic on our deck. (Teacher Man was golfing so it was a Mama-and-Joe dinner date night.)

2) After watering some of the flowers that were clearly not accustomed to 90-degree heat yet, Joe and I did some Father’s Day shopping online (Golf Galaxy! Shhh!).

3) Once the threat of a passing thunderstorm moved through, we went for a bike ride on this gorgeous night.

4) I’ve got a hankering to make this blueberry crisp recipe. Yes, at 9:00 p.m. What’s wrong with that?

That, in a nutshell, is why I didn’t get to a recipe post tonight.

I don’t want to leave you completely in the lurch, however, so I’m going to share this link to the most awesomely easy tips for better turkey burgers from Jennie-O Turkey. These people are the experts, after all; they should know. And they are spot on with these – especially the whole “don’t overmix” advice. My parents swear by this, by the way – in fact, they just divide a tray pack of ground turkey into four equal parts and plop them on the grill without any mixing at all and rave about their juicy burgers every time.

With that, I’ll leave you with a couple of photos of Joe and I enjoying  a very summery evening – finally! in Minnesota.

Mom and Joe Date Night| via MyOtherMoreExcitingSelf.wordpress.com

Mom and Joe Date Night| via MyOtherMoreExcitingSelf.wordpress.comGuess who got a new putter tonight?

Peony | via MyOtherMoreExcitingSelf.wordpress.com

Bonus – check out this stunning peony in my garden. I forgot how gorgeous this variety is … pinks, yellows and white.

– Lara –

P.S. I am a blogger in the Jennie-O Turkey Blogger Circle but I don’t get compensated for my posts (aside from some occasional complimentary products to try) and the opinions expressed above are 100% my own.

I love this time of year in my gardens. It takes a while for plants to really hit their stride in Minnesota, but by early June, I see a lot of green and blooms are starting to make their appearances as well.

Garden Walk-About in June | via MyOtherMoreExcitingSelf.wordpress.com

My trusty garden gnome watches over the gardens. Behind him is a container I made out of an old metal pot – I just drilled some drainage holes in the bottom and it was good to go.

Garden Walk-About in June | via MyOtherMoreExcitingSelf.wordpress.com

I think I must be obsessed with purple this year – most of my containers have some purple in them.

Garden Walk-About in June | via MyOtherMoreExcitingSelf.wordpress.com

This is the north side of our house – all green, for now. The Annabelle hydrangea along the wall, though, will bloom big snowball sized-blooms of white, which will turn to an antique-ish green as we head toward fall and will fill the area with color. I love Annabelle hydrangeas. I know there are many other, newer varieties of hydrangeas (and many of which I have in other areas of my landscape), but Annabelles will always be one of my all-time favorites.

Garden Walk-About in June | via MyOtherMoreExcitingSelf.wordpress.com

Our rooster – fitting for a gal who works in the poultry industry, yes? – was a wedding gift nearly 16 years ago.

Garden Walk-About in June | via MyOtherMoreExcitingSelf.wordpress.com

This is why we bought our house – the wrap-around front porch, where I had visions immediately of rocking chairs and a porch swing. We can pretend the house was in a great location, near the high school and on a cul-de-sac offering a nice amount of privacy, but it was really the porch that sold me on it – from the very first time we saw it.

Garden Walk-About in June | via MyOtherMoreExcitingSelf.wordpress.com

I love this canvas print of an old outbuilding on my brother-in-law’s farm near Lanesboro, Minnesota. I took the photo at our nephew’s graduation a couple of years ago and was immediately mesmerized by the stunning blue sky again the white backdrop of the old farm building. I knew I had to find the perfect place for this photo – and our front porch just seemed to be that place.

Garden Walk-About in June | via MyOtherMoreExcitingSelf.wordpress.com

Purples, pinks, and yellows in cobalt blue containers – I am just loving all these colors.

Garden Walk-About in June | via MyOtherMoreExcitingSelf.wordpress.com

This lavender (with some hints of yellow) Osteospermum has quickly become my favorite container flower this spring.

Garden Walk-About in June | via MyOtherMoreExcitingSelf.wordpress.com

World’s ugliest stepping stone? Perhaps. But for Joe, a frog-obssessed 11-year-old, this was exactly what my garden needed, apparently. He found it in – of all places – our local supermarket, Cub Foods, and decided we had to buy it. Every time I walk by it, I have to smile.

Garden Walk-About in June | via MyOtherMoreExcitingSelf.wordpress.com

Aaah, peonies. I think I lived in England in a previous life because I love, love, love all these cottage garden favorites, like peonies and hydrangeas. This is the first of my three varieties to bloom this year. This plant came from a cutting on my family’s farm. My great-grandpa Dave first planted them decades ago (well before I was even born), and now I have my own plant to enjoy every summer.

Garden Walk-About in June | via MyOtherMoreExcitingSelf.wordpress.com

New this year, I added a Scabiosa – yes, more purple – to the garden on the south side of the house.

Garden Walk-About in June | via MyOtherMoreExcitingSelf.wordpress.com

Two of my raised beds, which include carrots, chives, red onions, walla walla onions, a cherry tomato plant, a “Red Robin” tomato plant, two different pepper varieties, winter squash, and a new “Spacesaver” cucumber I’m trying this year.

Garden Walk-About in June | via MyOtherMoreExcitingSelf.wordpress.com

My newest frog – a Mother’s Day gift from Joe – has a good seat on the bench to view the peony blooms.

Garden Walk-About in June | via MyOtherMoreExcitingSelf.wordpress.com

The second of my peonies – the variety name completely escapes me, so let’s just admire the pale, pale pink blooms!

Garden Walk-About in June | via MyOtherMoreExcitingSelf.wordpress.com

A walk-about my garden is made even better with a little company from 14-year-old Earl the pug. He doesn’t need much exercise anymore, but he loves a slow, meandering walk around the house these days – as long as it isn’t too hot outside. :)

How are your gardens looking?

– Lara –

So I guess we have ourselves a sixth grader now.

Whaaaaat?

When I think of sixth grade, here are a few random memories from back in the day:

  • My teacher was Mr. Carlisle. He also happened to be my fifth grade teacher, as well. He was a good teacher, but after he decided to make the switch to sixth grade, I didn’t think this was fair at the time.
  • My parents took my brother and I out of school for a 3-week driving trip to the southwest part of the U.S. When we returned, I gave a report to my class about all the historical places we visited. Bonus – despite missing 3 weeks of school, I still received the academic award for my class that year. (Should I admit this? ;) I still believe traveling is an amazing learning experience for kids – and adults – alike and I’m so glad my parents took us on trips like these.)
  • Despite the fact that later in life, my mother claimed yellow “just isn’t a flattering color on me,” in my school picture I’m wearing a matching yellow oxford shirt and sweater. These items also went really well with my big glasses and permed hair.
  • I began regular visits to the orthodontist, which led to retainers, braces, and yes, even a headgear. But I’m a better woman because of this, trust me.
  • On the last day of school, we played the Alabama Oak Ridge Boys song, “Elvira,” over and over and over again. I’m pretty sure Mr. Carlisle was glad to get us out of his classroom for good at that point.

And now Joe will be headed to middle school in the fall, which means he will graduate from high school in seven years. (Class of 2022!)

But before I freak out, get ahead of myself, and start planning his graduation party, I thought I’d share a few photo highlights from Joe’s last week in elementary school.

My sixth grader | MyOtherMoreExcitingSelf.wordpress.com

All the fifth graders participated in a special “graduation ceremony” at his elementary school, complete with diplomas, student readings, and special music. Oh, and ice cream sundaes for families after the ceremony was complete!

My sixth grader | MyOtherMoreExcitingSelf.wordpress.com

Grandma and Grandpa (and Joe’s cousin, Miss A.) came for the ceremony – and they knew just what graduation card to buy for a frog- loving obsessed dude!

My sixth grader | MyOtherMoreExcitingSelf.wordpress.com

This selfie, taken on the last day of school, perfectly encapsulates a boy and his crazy fun friends ready to usher in summer vacation. It was “Wacky Day” at school so the kids came in costume. Joe turned his Batman mask into part of a new superhero he created – “Bathman”. And as any good superhero knows, it’s important to have a sidekick, in this case “The Plumber”, complete with a plunger!

My sixth grader | MyOtherMoreExcitingSelf.wordpress.com

A closer look at Bathman and The Plumber. (Joe will miss his trusty sidekick, who is a couple of years younger than he is.)

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Joe was lucky enough to have Mrs. B. as his teacher for the past two years. (He’s in a school that groups kids in multiple grades together with the same teacher. In other words, 3rd, 4th and 5th graders share a classroom and a teacher.) We loved Mrs. B. – she helped nuture Joe’s love for art, writing, and comedy, while also encouraging his 5th grade leadership skills. We will miss her – and all the amazing teachers at Joe’s school who helped shape him into the young man he is becoming.

My sixth grader | MyOtherMoreExcitingSelf.wordpress.com

Mrs. B. gave each 5th grader this “word cloud” about them. (I have no idea if it’s called a word cloud for real; that’s the best way to describe it, I think.) Joe is definitely all of these – and I love how she incorporated his favorite word, “epik” (purposely spelled wrong, per Joe’s instructions.)

My sixth grader | MyOtherMoreExcitingSelf.wordpress.com

Joe’s school is very thoughtful in many ways, especially as they usher their 5th graders into middle school. Each year, a photo is taken and saved of the students, and on the last day of school, Joe brought home an envelope with the photos from his 3rd, 4th and 5th grade years. (Can you tell his goofball sense of humor really started to shine this year?)

My sixth grader | MyOtherMoreExcitingSelf.wordpress.com

And here’s one last look at the classroom he has been a part of for the past three years. Bittersweet but also exciting. (Sniff.)

My Sixth Grader | via MyOtherMoreExcitingSelf.wordpress.com

Bring on summer vacation!

– Lara –

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