autumn colors 2020

We had a bit of an adventure a few weeks ago when we decided to take a quick drive to the Missisisippi River Roads in search of autumn beauty. We intended to go down the Minneapolis side then up the St. Paul side then head home. We drove through the University of Minnesota’s east bank campus and intended to take the turn off the Washington Avenue bridge that takes you to the west bank campus but we both missed the offramp. I guess one positive of that mistake is now we know there aren’t terribly good options if you miss that offramp.  You either have to get on a freeway which we didn’t want to do, or you end up in downtown Minneapolis. All of a sudden we were driving past U.S. Bank Stadium where the Vikings normally play. Another positive: I had not seen it up close and personal so I can check that off the list. Ha!

We finally managed to make our way to the River Road near the 35W bridge collapse memorial and happily, finally headed south…..only to discover the road was closed at 2nd Street! Darn phone map didn’t show me that or I never would have headed that way. We made our way over 35W and travelled through the west bank campus and guessed at where the road blockage stopped. Finally, we made it to the East River Road! 

We stopped along the way so that I could capture the beautiful colors. In the galleries below are a mixture of photos I’ve taken throughout our brief but beautiful autumn. I hope you will enjoy.

First up, some close up photos. Starting with various colors of oak leaves, then several of maple leaves and a couple other close-ups:

And other autumn colors:

I’ve been putting this post together over the last couple of weeks and in that time we’ve had our first snowfall (on 10/20/20) so I thought it only fitting to include a snow-themed autumn scene at the end. I do love the colors in this photo but we didn’t really get a full autumn as you can see. But at publication most of the snow has melted, alas, more is on the way? I’ve lived here 28 years and we’ve never had snow in October. We missed the Halloween blizzard that happened the year before we moved here. Very unusual weather we’re having!

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upgrading a kitchen et al

I know this isn’t a very exciting topic but it’s all I got right now until it’s time to display autumn colors. And in my continuing series of avoiding the awful news of the world, I bring you the story of my kitchen upgrade.

About a week after we moved into this house the paint on the kitchen ceiling began to peel.  Okay, maybe it was two years after we moved here. Regardless, it was ugly for way too long and I couldn’t wait to have the room repainted.  We hired the guy that did our emergency bathroom remodel several years ago. We hired him last year, I think it was April?

Then I was recovering from injured shoulders last fall so we put it off until this year. We were all ready to start the week after lockdown began for the pandemic. And hubby said “what if the restaurants close?” which would be a huge issue after your stove is disconnected. The very next day Minnesota restaurants were closed so our remodel was put off again until places started offering curbside pick-up and delivery. We finally got started at the beginning of June.  And it was all completed about a month later.

Since we had to get a new refrigerator we got that accomplished last fall. Here are the “before” photos where you see the new fridge in the old kitchen and the other side of the kitchen with the stove. These are the photos I used to choose our new floor. I was able to import the photos to see how various floors would look in our kitchen. Very handy tool!

We decided to keep the cabinets since they’re still in good shape. But we had them painted, bought new handles and hinges too, then got a new counter and floor and the walls and ceiling painted as well. We’re pretty happy with it!

Following are before and after photos that I hope you will enjoy. Also included in the gallery are photos of one creative supper that we made with our Coleman stove on the back step for veggies and fried potatoes and the grill for the steak that we had that night. We also had our tiny bathroom upstairs redone and we used the same flooring.

And now for the portion of the post that isn’t kitchen/bathroom related. One day I decided to walk a little further on my walking break from work and made it all the way to the eastern part of Central Park here in Roseville where the Muriel Sahlin Arboretum thrives. Here are some photos from that little jaunt:

I will close with some photos of blooms et al, stuff I take photos of on my walks. And a video of a great blue heron in flight. I was finally able to capture this majestic bird!! Check out the egret towards the end as he lands.

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Mid summer gardening

Time for the next installment of what’s happening in the garden. Many of these photos are from neighborhood gardens that I pass on my walks as well as from the park.

But let’s start with a gallery of my zinnia and morning glory garden which is located on the north side of our house. When I purchased potted plants this spring there was a State Fair zinnia 6 pack and I couldn’t resist.  Since we’re not having our fair this year, I thought some State Fair zinnias were just the ticket in honor of the great Minnesota get-together. The morning glories reseed themselves and I guide and arrange them onto our fence.

Next, let’s check in with my vegetable garden. As you can see, it’s quite healthy and it’s producing many tomatoes and cucumbers.  And I just plucked our first green pepper the other day.  It’s the one in this gallery. We can’t eat everything fast enough. I think I’m going to find a food shelf and see if they’ll take some of our produce. We’ve done that in the past.

This last gallery contains all the fun flowers I come across on my walks through the park and in my neighborhood.

One last photo: uh oh, first sign of autumn! (photo taken 8/3/20)

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Roseville in Bloom

I saw the first rose on one of my walks through Central Park on a break from work and wondered why it was there, this bright and colorful enormous rose presenting itself to the world. There was a marker that said “Roseville in Bloom” so I googled that and found this website. There are 20 of them around my town of Roseville, Minnesota. It started in July and runs through October 2020. There is a write-up about each rose and their artist at the link as well as a time lapse video of all the roses being painted. Fun to watch!

I made it my mission to find and photograph all of them and I’d love to share those with you. It was a small adventure trying to take photos of the roses. One was on the patio of Bent Brewstillery and we weren’t sure we were in the right place as it was at the far end of the back of a row of buildings. But we followed the google and finally saw it. Whew! To get a photo of the one entitled Color and Culture, I had to walk out to it as the rose was in the middle of the lawn of that park. Some had more detail than the others, especially the Value of Education and Flower Power. The one at the ice rink felt very personal as we spent many, many hours in that building as Miss M was a figure skater there for many years.  And some we had to wait in line to take photos. At the first one of these the couple thanked me for waiting until they were done. And then they asked me where more of them were and I directed them to the google because that’s how I discovered them. The passing of knowledge, it’s a great thing.

Here’s the one in Central Park entitled Discover. On the left side the artist drew the rocket ship just like the slide that Miss M went down numerous times in Central Park during her childhood:

Here’s a gallery of the rest of them with the exception of one. It’s in an industrial area right on the edge of Roseville and Minneapolis but we weren’t sure if we could take the private road to see it. We may try again and if we do, I’ll add that photo later.

I wonder if the website will still be active when the exhibit is gone.  In case the link gets deactivated, I am copying the words on the site here for future reference:

20 roses. 20 creators. 20 stories. See the work of Minnesota’s best artists on 6-foot flowers in the Twin Cities’ newest public art event, Roseville in Bloom. Each painted flower is sponsored by an area business and tells a story unique to the artist. Print the map, see more attractions, and put Roseville in Bloom at the top of your summer can’t-miss list. Stay tuned for rose-related events and social media contests happening throughout the summer

I am not sure what inspired this art project but it’s a bright spot in these otherwise not so great times. I am trying to focus my posts on positive things and share photos of things I come across in my travels.  I hope you enjoy the photos as much as I enjoyed looking for the roses.

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early summer blooms in the upper midwest

While fall and spring are my favorite seasons, in that order, I do love summer for all the gorgeous flowers everywhere! And naturally I’ve taken some photos of them. Plus I have photos of the garden as it was the first few days of July. So without further ado, please enjoy early summer blooms and plants.

First, let’s check in with the vegetable garden. All the plants are happy and growing.

Next is a collection of photos from my favorite walking path near my house. So many interesting plants!

To close, some photos from my own garden.

I have so many photos of bee balm that I thought they deserved their own gallery.

Do you have a favorite summer flower? There are so many, it’s hard to choose but I do love the bee balm.  And here I’ve displayed three different colors.  I’ll be back soon with more photos of summer flowers. Do come back and take a look!

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A morning at Itasca State Park

I always try to plan a trip to the cabin while Minnesota’s state flower, the showy lady’s slipper, is blooming in northern Minnesota. I believe they’re in bloom for about two weeks around the end of June and beginning of July(more information about our state flower and a little more information ). Itasca State Park is 40 miles from the family cabin and we went there the last weekend in June seeking the lovely orchid during our three day stay at the cabin. We hoped our timing worked and it did! The blooms seemed very much at peak. Score!!

There’s a spot near Douglas Lodge within the park where there are many lady’s slippers so we always walk down the many steps then back up again just to see their loveliness. But they also grow throughout the park and we drove around the entire park searching for them. Here’s a link to the map for perspective. We did find one small group of lady’s slippers, drove right past them and then I exclaimed “there’s some!!” so we backed up and I got out to photograph them. They really blend in with the scenery so are kind of hard to spot in a moving car but I did find one patch!

No trip to Itasca is complete without visiting the headwaters of the Mississippi. Yep, the mighty Mississippi River starts in Itasca which is a huge tourist draw. My first gallery contains general park photos as well as the headwaters.

In this next gallery are the photos I took of the group of lady’s slippers that we found on the Wilderness Drive. To me, it looks like this group is further along than the blooms near Douglas Lodge.

And here are the photos from the large group of lady’s slippers down the hill from Douglas Lodge. The colors on these flowers are more vibrant than the previous gallery, wouldn’t you agree? Very curious. Maybe it has something to do with sunlight or lack thereof.

I’ll close with some sunset photos from the cabin which is the most relaxing place on earth. If you’re planning a trip to Minnesota, or if you live here, do plan a visit to this fabulous state park. There is something for everyone there.

I like that there’s still enough sun to form shadows in this one:

I think this is my favorite of the ones I took between three different nights(sans shadows):

And this is 15 minutes later than the previous photo. Look how much the colors changed in just 15 minutes:

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Mid to late spring in the twin cities

Ready for another photo tour of what’s been blooming the past couple of weeks? Note: I started this about three weeks before I published it and now it’s summer! Better late than never though eh?

While working from home (due to the pandemic) and ever since the weather got warm, I started a new walking routine. I try to do either two walks or a walk and a bike ride each week day.  I have a few routes that I take from my house.  My favorite is the walk to Willow Pond. If I walk on the Willow Pond path all the way to the brown house  with the interesting garden, that’s 7-8 minutes, so round trip it’s nearly a mile. It’s a fairly quiet path in my neighborhood with occasionally one to three other walkers.  I enjoy photographing the flowers as well as the reflections in the pond when it’s calm. I included one other photo with reflections from our local park in this gallery.

I took a lot of photos of lilacs this year! I never tire of them.

And iris too.

When we walk to the park we either walk there and back, circling around the amphitheatre, or we go all the way around the lake.  The latter takes about 40 minutes and it’s a good hike. And if you’re lucky, you’ll see some wild life. The other day I saw an egret as I rode my bike around the lake.

Several of my neighbors have rain gardens and they’re between our house and the park, I’ve taken photos of these too.  I thought my neighbor said that the city helped them with theirs. So I was curious and found information about their purpose and benefits as well as the Ramsey-Washington County Metro Watershed District. I’m thinking my neighbors may have benefited from the Stewardship Grants program.  The gardens in my neighborhood are all a bit different and it’s fun to see their progress throughout the season. My neighbors to the south have the largest on the block and it’s full of flowers! Here are some rain gardens on the way to and from the park.

We also have a vegetable/fruit garden. During the winter we had some wood delivered which was stored in this garden space. We haven’t had a garden in that spot for a couple of years so the first project was moving the wood.  In the next gallery are photos of this garden when it was first planted and then a little later and it’s easy to see the difference. We planted basil, green pepper, cucumber, cherry tomatoes and another, regular size tomato but I forget which variety.

And of course there’s the monster rhubarb plant. It’s since been pruned.

time to harvest! this was before the wood was moved.

This year I also took photos of the cottonwood trees and their blossoms. I was on a walk by myself and yep, it’s that time of year where you keep your mouth shut so as not to collect cottonwood blossoms in your mouth. Yuck. But I realized that I didn’t know what a cottonwood tree looked like.  So I followed where the blossoms were coming from and finally I know what a cottonwood tree looks like.

To close here’s a gallery of a few more things in my garden. I have columbine that grows in the cracks of the patio. I now have three of them! Other photos are of lamium which is a nice ground cover and it pretty much blooms the entire season. But beware, it will take over if you let it!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this tour of spring in the twin cities. I’ll be back soon with summer blooms!

 

 

 

 

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