PICTURE POST: SEASONS OF BEAUTY PART II

RED VERBENA

SUPERBELLS LEMON SLICE (CALIBRACHOA)

ASTRA PINK OSTEOPERMUM

ORANGE A-PEEL (BLACK EYED SUSAN VINE): Did you know the center is fake? One of my co-workers encouraged me to poke a pen through the middle, and I exclaimed, “I don’t want to ruin the pretty flower!” But lo and behold, the black center is hollow!

CANDY STRIPE CREEPING PHLOX

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DAHLIA: I think because I lost my corresponding notes that went with the flower pictures. Some sort of pretty striped dahlia, if there is such a thing.

UNIDENTIFIED FLOWER: I compared my photo to the interweb pictures of poppies (nope), impatiens (no), pansies (definite no), and petunias (maybe), and I couldn’t find a definite match.

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PICTURE POST: SEASONS OF BEAUTY

SUNROSA SOFT PINK ROSE BUSH: Although 2017 is almost half over, I think this picture is one of my favorites. How beautiful is this picture? Pink is normally not one of my favorite colors, but this flower pot caught my eye at work. Since late March I have been working part time at a local floral nursery, and despite being on my feet all day and dealing with some immature co-workers, I like the job.

LITTLE LUCKY RED LANTANA: Gerber daisies have always been my favorite flowers but I have since discovered two more flowers I love: lantana and dahlia. Because I really have no knowledge of flowers, I work as a cashier, but I have been able to identify some other flowers other than daisies and roses. The tag on the flower pots help greatly whenever I see a pretty flower, but I have fallen in love with the lantanas.

YELLOW RIEGER BEGONIA: How gorgeous are these yellow begonias? So beautiful! Sometimes I wish I had a green thumb and a little bit of patience to deal with flowers because I would definitely plant some begonias. The new seasonal job has kept me busy and out of trouble (I think) for the past few months. Did I mention I started writing a completely new book in late February? I feel I’m halfway through it now.

RED RIEGER BEGONIAS: The book, called “The Beautiful Brannick Boys,” is about four sisters being raised by their dad after their mom skips town to “find herself.” The idea and the characters had been bouncing around my mind for a few years, but one day, I sat down at my computer and just started typing. Next thing I know, I have a few chapters completed, started an outline, and find myself at the halfway point.

LUCKY YELLOW LANTANA: I’m not sure if the flowers in the middle will bloom white or yellow. The buds look white, but it will probably bloom yellow. Either way, the lantanas look beautiful! Anyway, the job has sucked up most of my time, but I try to write on my days off or whenever I’m hit with a little bit of inspiration. More time will find me when the seasonal job ends, but for now, the extra cash is nice.

DALINA MIDI MARIANA (RED DAHLIA): Red and orange are hard colors to capture just perfectly, which sucks because I love the color red. More specifically, I love red dahlias, but really any color of dahlias are pretty. Back to my story, the extra money will come in handy when Charlie and I finally buy a house! We are in the very beginning stages of house hunting, and I look forward to the day when we finally become homeowners.

DALINA MIDI MARIANA (YELLOW DAHLIA): I think this snapshot perfectly captures the beauty of a dahlia. So pretty and perfect. If I can find a pretty flower that needs watering once a month or less then maybe I’ll plant something — maybe being the operative word. I also apologize in advance for more picture posts featuring flowers because I see so many pretty flowers at checkout.

BRAVO WHITE PETUNIA: I could spend a good hour walking around the greenhouse and snapping pictures of beautiful flowers. Thank you so much for all the love and support when my mom passed away. I am slowly, but surely, returning to my blog and other projects when I have the time and energy. Running around a nursery all day exhausts me, but at least, it keeps me out of trouble.

PICTURE POST: AROUND THE APPLE ORCHARD

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How handsome is Olaf, one of the new goats at the apple orchard? He’s so outgoing and friendly, and I love petting him. The moment I take a few steps away Olaf starts bleeting and I have to resist the urge to turn around and love him more.

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Seamus had a hard day running around the orchard and greeting customers in the shop. I love this friendly pup. My day immediately brightens whenever I see him, and I get excited when he actually saunters my way after I call his name.

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I feel like I should apologize for all the apple-related posts, but I really love working at the apple orchard even if the job is seasonal. Bo, the cat, is another reason why I love my seasonal job. He’s so friendly and adorable.

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For some reason, I knew the tan-colored goat was named Olaf but my sister didn’t know the name of the second goat. So, I just told kids the black goat was named Kristoff, keeping with the “Frozen” theme. I later found out his real name is Cletus.

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My favorite part of my job: hanging out with Olaf and Cletus. How cute and adorable are they? During my tours with kids, I have them say, “Hi, Olaf! Hi, Cletus!” before the kids gawk at them and resist the urge to stick their fingers through the fence.

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Kids usually scream in delight whenever Socks (or Boots) decides to grace the shop with his awesome presence. I love that he wanders around the orchard but will saunter in the shop when I’m working in it. I love this cat.

SPOTLIGHT: UNOFFICIAL GARDEN TOUR AT EPIC

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During a recent trip to visit friends in Madison, one of our friends took us on an unofficial garden tour at a ginormous business called Epic.

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The company created a massive and gorgeous garden — complete with a babbling brook! — for its employees (one of our friends work there).

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Unfortunately, our tour was cut short due to a horde of blood-hungry mosquitoes, and I stupidly forgot to bring bug spray.

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Despite the short garden tour, I really fell in love with the landscaping. So incredibly gorgeous and serene.

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We walked around the garden over the weekend with a handful of other people, but I wonder what the campus would look like during the week.

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At first I thought this was a cherry bush (is there such a thing as a cherry bush?), but our friend believed it was a crab apple bush.

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I wonder how many landscapers or gardeners are on staff to take care of the surroundings. Would the job be awesome or frustrating?

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If you know me by now, you know I don’t have a green thumb at all. I have a habit of accidentally killing plants. But I take amazing pictures.

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As I take a second look at this picture, the rocks in the water form a heart. Am I the only one who sees that?

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Again, because I don’t have a green thumb, I know the green stemmy things aren’t weeds, but I don’t name technical term.

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Maybe because I don’t have a green thumb that’s why I love looking at flowers. Well, I’ll leave with a few more pictures and quotes about flowers.

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“A flower does not think of competing with the flower next to it. It just blooms.” — Author unknown

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“If I had a flower every time I thought of you, I would walk in my garden forever … ” — Author unknown

PICTURE POST: AN APPLE A DAY …

Cricut is Easy as 123

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Ugh! Who knew lifting crates of apples, rolling them onto a conveyor belt, and sorting through them was such a physical task? I am so out of shape. Once the apples are picked and placed in crates, anyone who has time should run the apples through the washer.

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I took three crates of apples and rolled them onto the conveyor belt. I snapped this picture between emptying the second crate and picking up the third one. Quick tip: crates full of apples are heavy and make my puny little arms sore.

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Before rolling through the water sprayers, the apples take a short ride on the grate roller thingy (no idea what the technical term is). Apples too small to sell in the shop and stores will fall through the gaps and roll into a crate.

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After spending a few seconds in the shower, the apples roll onto the polishing roller thingys (again, do not know the technical term). When I have a chance I’ll quickly survey the rolling apples and pick out the good ones.

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After a short ride on the polishing rollers, the apples take one more ride on normal rollers and gently fall onto a rotating table. Apples that are bruised and have minor cuts are considered “seconds,” which are great for cooking and baking.

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The good apples I pick out at the rotating table are sold at the orchard’s shop and various stores in the surrounding area. For some reason, washing apples is my favorite part of the job. Maybe I love the process, but I think I could wash apples all day long.

PICTURE POST: THREE DOGS THREE DAYS

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THREE-DOG DETECTIVE AGENCY: Kenai, Sophie, and Junie are sniffing out the Case of What is Under the Back Deck? Top two suspects are a carrot-loving rabbit hopping away from its dark past and a wise-cracking vole that knows it’s cute and tiny. A spokesperson for the agency says a furry suspect will be apprehended soon.

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With my sister and her family and my dad off camping for the weekend, I had the honor of dog-sitting the Three Stooges. After I blocked the side area with a step ladder, the dogs sniffed out the scent through the deck boards. All the dogs ran around the deck, following some scent and completely ignoring me.

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Kenai: “I think I can lick my way through the boards. I’m pretty sure I can.” This dog is so weird sometimes, but I love him so much. He may be gigantic, but he’s so friendly and fun. I light up every time I see him.

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Finally! Junie and Kenai play tug of war with a rope toy. Despite Kenai being quite bigger, Junie is definitely not intimidated by him. When Sophie’s not around, I believe Junie is the alpha and doesn’t take any crap from Kenai.

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See the second gross rope toy in the left side of the picture? When Kenai is not playing tug of war with it, he likes to chew it to pieces. Unfortunately, the stinker pulled it into the house, which I didn’t notice right away. Stinker.

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I love Sophie so much, but she can never have too much attention. Unfortunately, when she wants attention or affection, she licks people. Blah. But look at her beautiful sad eyes and face! I can never stay mad at her for very long.

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As much as I love the three dogs — Kenai, Junie, and Sophie — I love my two cats more. I love spending time with the three big puppies, but it’s also a reminder why I kind of prefer cats. Our washing machine is entertaining my big Riley cat. What a cutie.

PICTURE POST: COLONIES IN BLOOM

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A few weekends ago, Charlie and I and his parents walked around the Amana Colonies’ event Colonies in Bloom. Unfortunately, the event wasn’t very well organized because we weren’t sure which gardens were part of the garden tour and which were normal every day gardens. According to a very nice but chatty lady at the visitor’s center who provided us with a map of the garden tour, some of the businesses didn’t post flags indicating they were part of the tour.

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I snapped some pictures of pretty flowers anyway as we walked around the area and ducked in and out of the stores. Without the distinct markers, we gave up on the garden tour about 30 minutes into the visit and simply shopped (or sampled a ton of sweet fruit wines). I bought a refrigerator magnet that made me laugh out loud: THIS WINE MAKES ME AWESOME. True statement.  🙂

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One of my favorite quotes: Where flowers bloom, so does hope — Lady Bird Johnson. I love looking at flowers, but I don’t want the responsibility of maintaining them. My dad is always planting something in his yard, and I love looking at sorts of flowers that pop up in front of his house or near the mailbox. Hmmmmmm. I should probably snap some pictures of the pretty flowers at his place.

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I absolutely love this patriotic fabric flower! If Charlie wasn’t in such a hurry to get out of the humid weather and shining sun, I would’ve inspected the fabric flower a little closer and figured out how the flowers were made. In retrospect, I probably should have bought one of the flowers to support the Amana Colonies.

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My second favorite fabric flower is probably the rainbow-inspired flower (lower left), but then again, I really like the red flower with the yellow center. *sigh* Now, I’m kind of kicking myself for not splurging and just buying one. The more I look at the pictures the more I’m kicking myself. Argh!

PICTURE POST: RUN NOW WHINE LATER

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Have I ever mentioned that my dad is pretty awesome? My dad is seriously awesome and amazing. About a week ago, he completed his first-ever marathon at the Med City Marathon in Rochester, Minn. My sisters and I (who all ran cross country in high school) and the grandchildren were on hand to cheer and run with him. PICTURED HERE: Dad approaches the first exchange zone (where team relays switch out members) around the 6-mile marker.

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PICTURED HERE: The grandkids happily run with him toward the second exchange around the 13-mile marker. With a little more notice this year, my sisters and I designed a T-shirt showing support. RUN NOW KEN WHINE LATER. Clever, huh? However, I favored the first design draft — RUN NOW WINE LATER — and created two T-shirts for me and Charlie (who also preferred the first draft).

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PICTURED HERE: Dad’s support crew surrounds him at the second exchange zone, making sure he’s feeling OK and offering cups of Gatorade and water. The red T-shirts definitely came in handy whenever the support crew separated and needed to find each other. The kids were great and became super excited whenever they saw Dad running and joined him for a block or two.

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PICTURED HERE: Dad still has a smile at the third exchange zone (near the 20-mile marker)! The night before the big race, Krissy and Becky studied the course information and marked the exchange zones and other areas to support him. Thanks to the miracle of technology, my sisters and I — and a few other people — kept track of Dad and everyone else with a ton of text messages and occasional phone calls.

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PICTURED HERE: Tate and Cole cheer on Papa during the home stretch! I could not be more proud of my Dad for running in and completing his first ever marathon! I actually admire all the runners and had no problem cheering on complete strangers during wait times. Surprisingly, the majority of runners smiled and said “thanks.” And a ton of people complimented me on my rogue shirt: RUN NOW WINE LATER.

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PICTURED HERE: Members of the RUN NOW KEN WHINE LATER (and two members of the RUN NOW WINE LATER) support crew at the finish line. Dad needed about a week to fully recover from the marathon, with the first couple of days probably being the hardest for him. As for another marathon, he says no — one marathon is enough.

SPOTLIGHT: PINE NEEDLES QUILT AND SEW

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I love when quilt shops organize fabric bolts by color. So pretty. I cannot explain why I could just stand here and gaze at all the lovely colors. Yes, I know I’m weird. About a month ago, my sisters and I took a trip to Minnesota, and of course, we needed to shop. As Krissy and Becky headed to one store in a strip mall, I noticed a cute little quilt shop nearby and immediately decided to check it out.

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Pine Needles Quilt and Sew may be a small store but it is full of amazing items. The different machines — quilting, sewing, embroidery — look incredibly intimidating to me, and I am in awe of the beautiful work that can be produced. So many ideas and so little space and time.

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See! Just when I thought I had TOO much fabric stored in various places in my house, this adorable sign says I don’t have enough. Hmmmmm. If I don’t have enough fabric, then I need to buy more, right? I noticed numerous cute little sayings all over the store, but I think this one is my favorite.

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Hey, the small strip of multi-colored dotted fabric on this tote looks familiar! I picked up the fun colorful fabric as a table runner at a local consignment store. Some of the fabric has been used in a few refashions, but I still have a good amount left — somewhere. I wonder if I have enough left to make a cute spring-summer skirt …

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OK, how adorable are these bundle packs? So adorable and cute. First, I love the small size of the squares and pinking sheared edges. Two, I love the complementing fabric in the bundle. Three, I would LOVE to make a little blanket with the tiny squares but I know I don’t have the patience to deal with tiny little squares.

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Um, how gorgeous is this little clutch? Simply beautiful. Whoever designed and made it did a fabulous job, and I’m pretty envious of the talent and patience involved. A huge thank you to the staff at Pine Needles Quilt and Sew for allowing me to take photos and answering all of my questions. I had a wonderful time exploring the store.

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HAPPY NATIONAL SIBLINGS DAY!

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THE FAKE FAMILY AWKWARD PHOTO: Becky pretends to pout about being left out a cute photo with Tova. Funny enough, Becky had a difficult time looking upset because she cracked up every time Jason snapped a shot.

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TO BECKY: I am eternally grateful my sister understands that I probably won’t buy anything from her online clothing boutique because she knows I can sew them instead.  🙂

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My sisters know me so well. How cute is this vintage Holly Hobbie game that I didn’t know existed? Becky spotted the game at a consignment store and thought I would love it (which I do).

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TO KRISSY: My sister who is never too old to have fun at a children’s playground and can induce hearty belly laughs during game nights. Two words: dove and igloo.

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Krissy gave me the perfect thank you gift for watching her beautiful and happy dogs — Scrabble magnets! She knows all about my love for the game.  🙂