Doggy Dilemmas – LIVER!

It’s only the best for my boys! One of their fav treats is LIVER! We like to buy Stewart’s brand Beef Liver. The boys know the difference between a plain ‘ol treat and a LIVER! These are freeze dried LIVERS! (Yes, my dogs won’t let me just write ‘liver.’ It must be ‘LIVER!’) LIVER! is the only ingredient, and they are made in the great state of Ohio. I had been buying them at Pets-mart, however noticed Amazon had them also… for half the price and free shipping. Brick and mortar looses again.

I did read many of the newer reviews that stated the recent batches were either dust (all the pieces crushed) or the tub was rancid. I’ll be sure to examine my first delivery of them. I’ve been buying these for years with no issues whatsoever. I’m glad for the warning, however I’m still gonna buy them. We do normally have a bit of dust in the bottom, I get it. They are freeze dried. We actually started buying the chicken LIVERS! first. Now those were all dust and the largest pieces were the size of the small piece in my hand in the pix. We much prefer the beef ones, they are larger and less dust. When the tub gets down to dust, we just mix it into their dinners. No waste.

I discovered in the most recent tub that we had received a coupon to mail in for free chicken breast treats. I’m a sucker for anything free, so I brought it inside to fill out and get into the afternoon mail. Something distracted me, as something always does, and I walked away from the coffee table. As a human with limited smelling capacity, I had not noticed how fragrant the coupon was from sitting in the tub of LIVERS! I returned to notice Oreo taking a bite out of the coupon. NOOOO! If you want more, you must not eat this one, silly boy!!!

    

Previous Dilemma’s in a Dog’s Life 1 2345 67.

© Ilex – Midwestern Plant Girl

Spring Blooming Flowers 5-25-2017

Happy Thursday!

I’ve Already written this post a few days ago and have scheduled it for today. Because I’m on VACATION! At the moment, I’m probably sleeping. Woo such a party animal 😉

Click to see previous years blooms 201620152014 2013

Hydrangea macrophylla ‘PIIHM-I  ~ ‘ Twist and Shout’ Hydrangea

    

Chionanthus virginicus~ Fringe Tree

Azalea ‘Karen’

Itea virginica ‘Henry’s Garnet’ ~ sweetspite, Virginia sweetspire.

Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Endless Summer’

     

Cotinus Coggygria   ||   Cornus florida var. rubra

Paeonia suffruticosa~ Peony tree

Acer pseudoplatanus ‘Eskimo Sunset’ ~ Variegated Sycamore Maple

© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

New Doggy Bling

Last week, we ordered new collars for the boys. They were from Four Black Paws. These are beautifully, hand-made and well constructed. We got cute hearts for Oreo and a grayscale pattern for Breck. Oreo needs a thicker collar at 1″ wide, whereas Breck doesn’t need a thick collar, and we got him the 3/4 inch size. Both were size large.

The super cool part about these collars, is that their names and contact phone numbers are etched onto the clasp. No more jingle, jingle.

     

So cute!!

© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

Spring Blooming Flowers 5-23-2017

Happy Tuesday!

Only two more days of this shyt…..

Click to see previous years blooms 20162015 20142013

     

Veronica ‘Purpleicious’ ~ Speedwell   ||   Rhus aromatica ‘Gro-Low’ ~ Gro-Low sumac

Viburnum plicatum tomentosum ‘Mariesii’

Weedy grass or an ornamental… you choose.

     

Athyrium niponicum ‘Pictum’ ~ Japanese pained fern  ||   Look at this little trooper, growing through the pavers.

Podophyllum peltatum ~ May Apple

     

Geranium sanguineum ~ bloody cranesbill or bloodred geranium   ||   Cornus kousa ~ Flowering dogwood

Matricaria discoidea ~ pineappleweed

© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

Spring Blooming Flowers 5-22-2017

Happy Moanday!

It doesn’t feel like a Moanday. It feels like a Tuesday. I don’t think I’ve ever put more hours into a week before (59) or worked on a Saturday in 7 years. It was cold and rainy to ice the cake. Ugh. My poor husband is so busy that we can’t leave early for the holiday weekend, sad face. My co-workers, who are a tad overworked themselves, keep telling me, “Think about the numbers on your check…”. Is it worth it?

Click to see previous years blooms 201620152014 2013

     

Cornus sericea ~ Red twig dogwood   ||  Euonymus alatus ~ Burning bush

     

Syringa meyeri ‘Palibin’ ~ Dwarf Korean lilac   ||   Rhamnus cathartica ~ Buckthorn

     

Arisaema triphyllum – Jack-in-the-pulpit, bog onion, brown dragon, Indian turnip  ||  Trillium sessile ~ Toadshade or Sessile-flowered wake-robin

     

Rosa multiflora ~ Wild rose  ||  Aquilegia canadensis ~ Canadian or Canada columbine This little trooper was growing in the middle of our shade house.

Waldsteinia ternata ~ Barren strawberry

© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

Illinois State Beach Park ~ What a View!!

Last weekend we went to Adeline Jay Geo-Karis Illinois State Beach Park to camp. We got right in since many folks weren’t thinking about swimming in May… at least not here. Lake Michigan doesn’t get warm enough for swimming until early July. We did walk by the beach and I could walk with my toes in the water, for a short time. No more of me was going in! Brrr.

This is a IDNR (Illinois Deptment of Natural Resources) park, one of the most protected areas in Illinois. I love coming here, as there is such a diversity of plants, animals, birds and insects. We also had a great view of the dormant Zion nuclear plant. Awesome…?

General Information and History

This area is 4,160 acres and has a recorded 650 plus different plant species. Long recognized for its unique geological features, native flora and unmatched beauty, the Lake Michigan dunes area originally was, in the 1700s, part of the “Three Fires” of the Algonquin Nation: the Potawatomi, Chippewa and Ottawa.

This area was slated to be a preserve as early as 1888, when Robert Douglas, a Waukegan nurseryman, and Jens Jensen, a famous landscape architect (If you live/visit Chicago, you’ve seen a lot of his work), worked together to make the area a regional park. With the threat of industry progressing from the south and sand mining ravaging nearby dunes, legislative efforts to save the area finally began in the 1920s.

In 1948, the state obtained the first parcels of what is now known as Illinois Beach State Park. The Illinois Dunes Preservation Society was established in 1950 to protect the area. Through its efforts and the determinations of the Department of Conservation, in 1964 the area south of Beach Road was dedicated as the first Illinois Nature Preserve.

This area is unique, as it is a sand dune area and the rest of Illinois is nothing like it. I was on the hunt for Opuntia – Prickly pear & Juniperus horizontalis – Trailing juniper, both of these are native to this area. In 1804, explorers Lewis and Clark noted that trailing juniper “would make a handsome edging to the borders of a garden”.

Our bedroom is in the back of the camper and furnished with a large window to gaze out of. You can barely see it to the right of the photo, however there is a small window right where my head is. I can’t tell you how nice it is to have a window less than 3″ inches from your face. The fresh, night air is wonderful to sleep by.

The real view, not through the window. Lake Michigan.

     

We were back to balancing rocks. Here’s a simple one that took a bit of patience.  ||  I don’t think anyone was home.

This is the coolest thing. It’s an ice fishing house, that’s also a travel trailer! It’s on hydraulics and lowers to the ground / ice for fishing. So neat.

As far back as 1982, the federal government began collecting a nuclear-waste fee, paid by electricity users through fees tacked on to their bills and earmarked to pay for disposal of the radioactive spent fuel rods. Starting in 1998, the U.S. Department of Energy was supposed to start picking up spent fuel rods and taking them for storage, according to Everett Redmond, senior director of fuel cycle and technology policy for the Nuclear Energy Institute, a power industry trade group. But there was no ready storage option to hold them. So power companies were forced to store more and more of them at their own facilities and eventually successfully sued to recover costs for this storage.  Chicago Sun-Times 2017

Someone likes to dig.

     

We keep trying to outdo each other on the rock stacking. Well played husband, well played.

© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

Eastern Comma ~ Polygonia comma

Eastern Comma ~ Polygonia comma on Pachysandra terminalis ‘Green Carpet’

Butterflies in the genus Polygonia are collectively referred to as anglewings. The eastern comma (Polygonia comma), is also known as the comma angelwing and the hop merchant.

In earlier years, farmers growing hops are said to have used the brilliant metallic markings on the Eastern Comma‘s chrysalis (which they found in numbers on their crop) to forecast the season‘s prices: if the markings were golden, the Hop prices would be high; if they were silver, the prices would be lower. Hence, the species‘ other common name, hop merchant.

When they aren’t feeding on rotting fruit, tree sap, salts and minerals from puddling and dung, males perch on leaves or tree trunks to watch for females. Females lay eggs in rows on host plants; all members of the elm and nettle families including American elm (Ulmus americana), hops (Humulus), nettle (Urtica), false nettle (Boehmeria cylindrica), and wood nettle (Laportea canadensis). Caterpillars are usually solitary and feed on leaves at night. Older caterpillars make daytime shelters by pulling leaf edges together with silk. Winter-form adults hibernate, some first migrating to the south.

A Papago Butterfly Legend

One day the Creator was resting, sitting, watching some children at play in a village. The children laughed and sang, yet as he watched them, the Creator’s heart was sad. He was thinking: “These children will grow old. Their skin will become wrinkled. Their hair will turn gray. Their teeth will fall out. The young hunter’s arm will fail. These lovely young girls will grow ugly and fat. The playful puppies will become blind, mangy dogs. And those wonderful flowers – yellow and blue, red and purple – will fade. The leaves from the trees will fall and dry up. Already they are turning yellow.” Thus the Creator grew sadder and sadder. It was in the fall, and the thought of the coming winter, with its cold and lack of game and green things, made his heart heavy.

Yet it was still warm, and the sun was shining. The Creator watched the play of sunlight and shadow on the ground, the yellow leaves being carried here and there by the wind. He saw the blueness of the sky, the whiteness of some cornmeal ground by the women. Suddenly he smiled. “All those colors, they ought to be preserved. I’ll make something to gladden my heart, something for these children to look at and enjoy.”

The Creator took out his bag and started gathering things: a spot of sunlight, a handful of blue from the sky, the whiteness of the cornmeal, the shadow of playing children, the blackness of a beautiful girl’s hair, the yellow of the falling leaves, the green of the pine needles, the red, purple, and orange of the flowers around him. All these he put into his bag. As an afterthought, he put the songs of the birds in, too.

Then he walked over to the grassy spot where the children were playing. “Children, little children, this is for you,” and he gave them his bag. “Open it; there’s something nice inside,” he told them. The children opened the bag, and at once hundreds and hundreds of colored butterflies flew out, dancing around the children’s heads, settling on their hair, fluttering up again to sip from this or that flower. And the children, enchanted, said that they had never seen anything so beautiful.

The butterflies began to sing, and the children listened smiling. But then a songbird came flying, settling on the Creator’s shoulder, scolding him, saying: “It’s not right to give our songs to these new, pretty things. You told us when you made us that every bird would have his own song. And now you’ve passed them all around. Isn’t it enough that you gave your new playthings the colors of the rainbow?” “You’re right,” said the Creator. “I made one song for each bird, and I shouldn’t have taken what belongs to you.”

So the Creator took the songs away from the butterflies, and that’s why they are silent. “They’re beautiful even so!” he said.

© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

Build a Pondless Fountain, On the Cheap

We had to rebuild our pond when the original 5 gallon bucket we used proved not to hold enough water for us to leave for a weekend before it splashed out. Many times the Robins would sit on the fountain and during their bathing would flap a good portion of water out of the system. We decided a larger basin was needed. However, many of the basins that are specifically made for pondless fountains are very expensive. What is expensive? Anywhere between $400. and $700. dollars. I feel that cost places these fountains out of many folks price-points. I’d rather use that money towards the ‘art’ part. The part everyone sees… The fountain!

We dug-up everything that was buried and set it out for re-installation. We decided we were going to try a plastic storage container and see how well the $20. dollar bin would hold up. We dug the hole about 4″ inches larger than the bin and back-filled that area with pea gravel. We hoped it would allow the bin to freeze (expand) and thaw without cracking. So far, this fountain has been through one winter with no issue.

    

So the lid wouldn’t cave in, we set the central weight of the fountain on top of a 6″ piece of PVC pipe. The pump (with its filter) sat just outside the PVC pipe. We placed holes in the lid to drain the water back into the basin, however not enough to compromise its integrity.

After everything was installed in the basin, but before the fountain was assembled above, we checked if the pump was working correctly. Better to check now than to stack the fountain and realize there’s an issue. DoH!!

    

Everything was running well, so we continued to finish the installation by adding the grate, the pond membrane and returning the stone to the area. We then carefully stacked the fountain on the copper pipe. We plugged it in and stepped back to admire our work.

If you want to see other pondless fountain ideas, click here!

© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

Spring Blooming Flowers 5-16-2017 Illinois Beach Park

This day’s Blooming Flowers all occurred at Illinois State Beach Park. This place has such an awesome biodiversity. I love coming here and seeing all the birds and plants. I’ve never been here this early in the year before and got to see some new plants, along with some oldie but goodies.

Click to see previous years blooms 2016201520142013

Alliaria petiolata ~ Garlic Mustard

Alliaria petiolata ~ Garlic Mustard

    

Draba nemorosa ~ Yellow Whitlow-grass   ||   Baby Oak leaves ~ Quercus

Arabidopsis lyrata ~ Lyre-leaved Rock Cress

Got me!

Lake Michigan – The view from our back window

Fragaria vesca ~ Woodland Strawberry

    

I’ve still not figured this one out…   ||   I suck at grasses, at least the non-ornamental ones.

Opuntia cymochila ~ Prickly Pear

Lithospermum incisum ~ Narrow-leaf Puccoon

© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl