Tag Archive | entertainment

Relaaaaax

via Daily Prompt: Relax

I don’t celebrate Christmas, however I love, love Christmas lights! This regular sized bulb was located in the normal bulb shelves, not by the decorations*, and for only $5. Score! I do tend to zone out looking at it. Relaaaax 😎

*So that means I can keep it lit all year?!?

© Ilex – Midwestern Plant Girl

Over The Vines – Season Over Party

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We’re out camping in Milton, Wisconsin and enjoying this awesome day Mother Nature dealt up for us! We were out looking for wineries, as usual, and happened upon ‘Over the Vines‘, which turns out is really not a tasting winery, but an event location for weddings and corporate parties.
As we looked at our phones, wondering if we should be here or not, we heard, “Hey, are you here to party?!?” We said, “Sure!”
They were having their ‘Drink it or it Gets Dumped’ last party of the year.
We just happened to come at the right time. They invited us in like family!
We loved this place. The owners told us how they made their wine and how their biz came to be. We had such a great time having fun with all the other guests!
We would certainly consider this place a great place to plan an event.


© Ilex – Midwestern Plant Girl

Plant Kaleidoscope ~ Take III

This is our third trip to the Nicholas Conservancy & Gardens, where we always seek out the plant kaleidoscope! See past visits here and here =-)

I’m so making one of these!! With all the craziness that’s going on in my brain including menopause, mental illness, needing to change careers… I can’t forget about my hubby’s needs also. He has been without a studio to do his artwork in for years. He tends to do large sculpture projects and needs space. We have the room, just need to remove all the crap from the room. Once that is done this winter, I hope to be able to use it to build one of these for my yard. Mine will be ‘junk art’ and will utilize things I can find at the junkyard/antique shops. I sometimes don’t understand how something so simple can give me such entertainment!!

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© Ilex – Midwestern Plant Girl

Coloring for your Stressed Brain

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The practice of coloring generates wellness, quietness and also stimulates brain areas related to motor skills, the senses and creativity. 

My favorite days at work are when I need to color plans for the plant install crews to follow. The landscape architect my boss hired under contract, is great at some things (seeing grade, focal points and balance), however he has a bit of trouble with using the same symbol for different plants and lack of labels. As I’ve scoured over the plan during the estimating process, I know the plan very well and can easily color code it for others.

Coloring is not a passive act, coloring involves logic to make creative decisions about which colors to use and focus on not going over the lines. During this process, other parts of your mind are freed up that allow you to become more creative.  This incorporates the areas of the cerebral cortex involved in vision and fine motor skills. The relaxation that it provides lowers the activity of the amygdala, a basic part of our brain involved in controlling emotion that is affected by stress.

I’ve seen a plethra of adult coloring books hit the market in the past few years. My hubby even got one from his Mom last Christmas. They are not what you think of when you think of the coloring books you used as a child. These adult books use intriquit designs and adult themes to keep us older folks interested. See below.

owl coloring page

Coloring isn’t just for relaxation either. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, “Art projects can create a sense of accomplishment and purpose. They can provide the person with dementia — as well as caregivers — an opportunity for self-expression.”

Although, when considering coloring as an activity for your elderly loved one or someone suffering with Alzheimer’s or other dementias, it’s important to present the activity correctly.

  • Colored pencils are a better choice over crayons or markers.  Crayons may be perceived as childish or insulting, and colored markers can be messy or bleed through the pages.
  • Selecting a proper coloring book is important, as a coloring book for children could belittle a senior.
  • The theme of the coloring book should be thoughtfully considered.  Since adult coloring books have become increasingly popular, there are many with very busy, abstract or surreal images (like above) that may be unsettling to an already confused mind.

Now go out there and color!!!

© Ilex – Midwestern Plant Girl

Kayaking Green Bay in Lake Michigan

We had a wonderful time in Door County, Wisconsin. We were able to explore Lake Michigan via our kayaks in the tranquil Green Bay. We disembarked from Gills Rock and paddled south.

To quote myself, from my Door County post:

“The geology of this area is pretty unique. In a seriously, small nutshell: About 425 million years ago, there was a shallow sea in the Lake Michigan area. After the sea dried up and deposited all the Limestone, it was covered in a glacier. All the pressure & chemical reactions turned it in to dolomite. Many years of erosion made all the beautiful bluffs we see here today.”

Goodness! I just summed-up 425 million years in 5 sentences =-O I don’t believe I shared the utter beauty of the place with you. Here’s just a bit more info on the area.

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The circular area in red is called the Niagara Escarpment, and stands taller than the surrounding areas. Green Bay and neighboring Door County run along the escarpment which extends in a wide arc from eastern Wisconsin through Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, Ontario, Canada, and through the Niagara Falls. I’ve not been to Niagara Falls, however now I know what to look forward to when I do visit.

While hiking, you get to enjoy the height of the cliffs looking out over the lake. However, while kayaking, you get to enjoy the cliffs looking up FROM the lake!

The trees have obviously been hanging onto the cliffs for years. It was so cool to look up into a tree’s roots.

The area was originally full of alder (Alnus), willow (Salix) and cedar (Juniperus) which has given way to forests dominated by spruce (Picea) and, then later, pine (Pinus). Mixed forests of eastern hemlock (Tsuga) and hardwoods such as beech (Fagus) and elm (Ulmus) became standard by about 7,500 years ago and have persisted. I saw many birch (Betula) and Eastern red cedar (Juniperus), like the ones in this photo.

There are many animals that rely on the cliffs for shelter and food. The gulls in the photos below soared just above the water looking for fish.

Although we did not see any, there are many bats that are indigenous to the area; little brown myotis, the northern myotis, the big brown bat, and the tri-colored bat. All four of these species are currently listed in Wisconsin as threatened. In addition, the forests above the escarpment provide summer homes for the migrating bat species, including the silver-haired, eastern red, and hoary.

    


Clean rocks among the dirty. It was only about 4′ (1.5M) deep here.

We were told by a bartender that there were Native American paintings on the cliffs near Gill’s Rock. We paddled south for about a mile, all the while staring at the walls. Finally! I don’t know what they used to paint the walls, however I’m really shocked me that it was still able to be seen. Doubly shocked that no one has desecrated it =-)

I did try to do some research into what tribe may have painted it, to no avail. The Potawatomi Indians are still around, however there were many other tribes in the area. I wasn’t even able to find these same paintings posted on-line. That’s strange. I can’t imagine I’m the first one to post these things. Either way, it was really cool to have seen them and experience them in a kayak, looking quite like them.

Just sit right back and you’ll hear a tale,
A tale of a fateful trip
That started from this tropic port
Aboard this tiny ship.* HeeHee!!

Washington Island

Rock slides are common.

There’s not really a beach where we were paddling. So much of the limestone has eroded and fallen into the lake. Although the lake works its magic quickly, the rocks were smooth and not too rough on the tootsi’s.


It is 25′ (8M) deep here. Scuba divers like to view the shipwrecks in this area. The small passage between the islands and Lake Michigan is called ‘Death’s Door’. Ironically, not because of all the shipwrecks (and there are many), but because of ancient Potawatomi legend. To learn more, click here!

Vessel Name: Fleetwing (1867)
National Register: Listed
Registry #:9883
Casualty: 10/26/1888, stranded
Vessel Type: Schooner
Built: 1867, Henry B. Burger, Manitowoc, WI
Owners: Andrew McGraw John Spry
Home Port: Chicago, IL
Cargo: Lumber (that is what you’re seeing in the above pix)

   

The photo of the tree was taken by me looking straight up the cliff.

I felt the water was a bit too chilly to swim in, although many folks were enjoying it.

The water was absolutely beautiful and clear.

I would highly recommend coming here for a paddle.

© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

*Gilligan’s Island