Tag Archive | friend

Squirrel McDonald’s 

It’s another dreary day here in the Midwest. The clear, bright, new windows we had installed don’t make it look any more friendly outside. It’s February… In Illinois… what do I expect?

Although the day is dreary, I do enjoy watching the gray squirrels taking care of business in the front yard. There are many spruce and large trees in my area, which allows for a large population of these furry, funny entertainers.

February is an exciting time in a gray squirrel’s life… It’s MATING SEASON! Woo hoo! Time to frolic, play, tease, fight, love, share, chase, eat and all other forms of craziness!! You can easily identify the sexes without seeing their undercarriages during this time. The female is in the lead, with a dominate male directly behind here, if there are any other following in line, they are young, subordinate males… waiting for their chance.

Males will fight for dominance when there are no females around to chase. You’ll hear the “Chu-chu-chu” noise or see the squirrel stomping its feet and swishing its tail as a form of war dance! To adorable.

**Click here to learn how smart squirrels are**

If you’ve been following me for awhile, you know I have many bird feeders and perch areas to feed the wildlife at work. At my home, not so much. I do have a suet holder and otherwise, I only toss ‘left overs’ out to the wildlife I share my space with. Left overs can vary from bread to nuts to fruit to seeds, nothing I think is dangerous to the wildlife, nor anything I want out there that attracts unwanted wildlife, like skunks or ‘possoms. All approved items get thrown on the front lawn at dawn. The front lawn is devoid of crazy Border Collies and if thrown out at dawn, all trace of food will be gone by mid-day, thus won’t be attracting any nightlife creatures of the stinky variety.

As I know I might catch some flack from feeding the wildlife anything but proper foods… I did consult the ALL KNOWING INTERNET to back or deflate my decision to give my furries bread. Seems there are as many pro’s as con’s out there for feeding any type of wildlife (ducks, birds, squirrels…) bread. In my opinion, and how I try to live my life (mostly)… It’s all about moderation. Going to McDonald’s twice a year isn’t going to kill you, in the same as giving wildlife bread will kill them. I don’t share it that often and they seem to enjoy their Squirrel McDonald’s!

© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

 

12/12/2016 ~ 1,000 Posts For Ilex!

twodogsGood day Friends of Midwestern Plants!!

On March 10th, 2013, I started Midwestern Plants with my first post. The only ‘LIKE’ on it (to this day) is from my hubby 😉

I started this blog to build a portfolio of work to break into freelance writing, along with a photo library of Midwestern plants. I didn’t really think of making any money from the blog or even building a following, let alone find some really cool friends here!!

I shopped free blog sites and settled on WordPress. It was easy to figure out and they even had a nice app to use (I’m an app-fanatic!!)  This was to be my first use of a ‘social media’ type site. Suffice to say, I’m not a fan of Facebook or other social media, due to many reasons that I won’t go into now.  I think FB can be a rude, unsupportive place for a writer.

Although, I was worried that WP could turn into FB, I was pleasantly surprised that after 4 years of blogging, I’ve only had maybe 1 or 2 ‘troll’ comments. And on the other hand, I have made so many friends here!!! Not only have I met friends, I’ve gotten so much encouragement, support, camaraderie, ideas, praise, laughs… I can’t imagine my life without all of you! =-D

On January 12th 2015, I wrote my 500th post. Seems like I’m on par for about 250 posts per year. It was January, so I had just gotten my report from WP with my ‘crunchy numbers’ (WP term). I don’t look at these kind of stats on a regular basis, however I do like to read this year end report. My ‘Top 5’ of read posts hasn’t changed much since then, however the folks that are following and commenting has changed a lot. Out of the 14 folks I mentioned in my 500th post (2 years ago), only 6 are still actively blogging. Some of the folks I follow posted that they were taking a break for whatever reason, however others have just disappeared. I always wonder what has happened to stop someone who’s posted daily for years to just disappear. Did they get a full time writing job? (YES!!!) Taken by aliens? Joined a cult?  Lost in a forest? Got caught with kiddie porn? Die? Ironically, the kiddie porn one kinda happened! A blogger I followed had an outstanding warrant for touching kiddies and was extradited back to his home country. =-( And he seemed so NORMAL to me =-O Another woman told me that she had contracted a stalker and had to quit posting, so this person wouldn’t learn more about her.

The internet can be a scary and peaceful place at the same time. Although I don’t post photos of myself and am somewhat anonymous, I have physically met a few fellow bloggers. We had followed each other for a while, so I was not nervous to meet them. I would also love to meet others in the future. Many bloggers in my circle are local, however some are from islands very far away. Maybe one day I will do some puddle jumping 😉

I want to pay tribute to some awesome fellow bloggers that sure make blogging worth it for me. Although I can’t thank everyone I follow personally, I do want to say, THANK YOU all for the comments, the laughs, the support, the tears, the wisdom and the friendship I get from all of you! ❤ ❤ ❤

Travels with Choppy: I just can’t get enough of Choppy’s outfits and celebrations of holidays we all should learn (Letter Writing Day! Who knew?!?) Even tho he’s a cat, Schooner is pretty funny also. And now that #@}0*%ing ELF?! I never know what else I’ll be laughing at next being subscribed to her blog!!

Thanks Sarah, for making me have to change my pants after I’ve pissed them from laughing… One of these days, the fur kids have to meet… Schooner? Probably not 😉

Mad Cap Dog: Scifihammy has me in stitches, whether it be from her Sunday musings or the antics of her Little Monkey! She also keeps me sane with the beautiful, warm, colorful landscapes of Cape Town, while all I see is white 😛 She chills out to my snow posts, so it’s a win/win!

Scifi, I love ya! I’m so glad someone gets my Star Trek references… otherwise I’d be hearing crickets. Thanks for always letting me know you’ll be out for a bit. I would seriously miss ya, if you just dropped off. Dropped off writing, I meant 😉

Easy Weimaraner: I’m beside myself as I write this. Two weeks ago, Easy left us for the Rainbow Bridge. There will never be another Easy. He was hilarious, from his classroom teachings to his indoor snow creations. His staff are equally funny, as Dad can’t stop injuring himself and Mom can’t stop shopping.

Kathy & Mark, I can’t say enough how missed Easy will be, butt time will heal the wounds.

Mongolope: Mongo is a Labrador Retriever that lives with his family in Seattle, Washington. Mongo usually gets in a lot of trouble due to his appetite. He is very smart, however very food driven also. My favorite thing Mongo does is fetch the paper, how cool is that? Be sure to read about Mongo’s first Halloween… You’ll be in stitches!!

Mongo’s Dad, Love the stories you tell about your buddy, Mongo! He is so much fun to read about and sure has some, um, interesting habits 😉

Eddie Two Hawks: Eddie posts wonderful photos of plants from a tropical, Florida location, along with beautiful pieces of wisdom. The photos excite my eyes and the quotes make me think.

Eddie, Thank you for all the wisdom you have brought to my life. I always feel warm and fuzzy after reading your posts. Your photos bring back memories of all the tropical plants I had in my yard while living down there.

THANK YOU!!

I’m not sure what directions all of us are going, however I am so glad to have met you all and share what time we have on this big, blue marble. Lastly, I share with you a favorite tidbit about friendship:

Friends are in your life for a Reason, a Season or a Lifetime:

When someone is in your life for a reason, it is usually to meet a need you have expressed outwardly or inwardly. S/he has come to assist you through a difficulty, to provide you with guidance and support, to aid you physically, emotionally, or spiritually.

S/he is there to meet a need. Then without any wrongdoing on your part or at an inconvenient time, s/he will say or do something to bring the relationship to an end. Sometimes s/he dies. Sometimes s/he walks away. Sometimes s/he acts up or out and forces you to take a stand. What we must realize is that the need has been met.

When a person comes into your life for a season, it is because your turn has come to share, grow, or learn. S/he may bring you an experience of peace or make you laugh. S/he may teach you something you have never done. S/he usually gives you an unbelievable amount of joy.

Lifetime relationships teach you lifetime lessons. Those things you must build upon in order to have a solid emotional foundation. You must accept the lesson, love the person/people anyway, and put what you have learned to use in all other relationships and areas of your life.

© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

Art Shows & Meeting Fellow Bloggers

I recently went to an art show that was taking place near my home. Not only do I love art shows, a fellow blogger was going to be there showing off her goods!  ;-O Hey now! You know… her artwork! Karen of Karen’s Nature Art. I’ve been following Karen for a while now. She knows her botany and Midwestern nature very well. She’s blog is as interesting as her art!

From her website:

Artwork inspired by nature in a variety of media…including acrylic, watercolor, and pastel.  10% of the proceeds are donated to the nonprofit organization, Hesed House.

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Karen brought beautiful jewelry, drawings, calendars and other fine reproductions of observations she’s made in nature. The porcelain vine berries look true to life on one of her necklaces. This one below caught my eye. I’m a sucker for anything orange or red. Karen told me she was inspired by the honeysuckle bloom when she made this. I love it! It goes with many of my outfits and of course, my ginger locks 🙂

imageWe walked around the show and this wineglass jumped out to me. Since ‘unplugging’ from T.V., we’ve been watching artists create their wares. One art that fascinates my husband an I is wood turning. We watch bowls and many other fascinating pieces of art being made.  This beautiful wineglass was made by Tree Nut Studio. The two wooden rings are moveable. They are fun to play with like a cigarette substitute 😉 We like it so much, we are going to commission him to make a cutting board / cover for our camper’s stove. I can’t wait to see it done. I’m sure Ill post about it 😉

 

 


© 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

The Prince Who Watches Over My Mint

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Every year I grow mint for my Mojitos. I tend to just put it in a pot so it doesn’t go crazy and take over everything in my yard. The past few times I came out to water, this little Prince has been snuggled up under the rim. He must really like it up here as the first time I saw him, I thought he was stuck and moved him just outside the pot. He can clearly jump pretty high to get up here and since he fought so hard to get back up here, here I will leave him.

Isn’t he adorable?

American Toad – Anaxyrus americanus


© Ilex – Midwestern Plant Girl

Cuddly Dog

imageOreo is my closest friend. Not closest because we’ve known each other for years and know each others most intimate thoughts. Closest because he is quite literally on me most of the time! I struggle to type because his nose must be under my hand as I type. If I move out of the norm of typing, he thinks it means I’m ready to pet him and he nudges me with his nose. Sometimes, he puts his paws in my hands. I’ve never met a dog that likes his paws held before. Of course, this doesn’t follow through on mani/peddi days when the clippers come out. Nope.

Oreo must sleep with us also. He is the horizontal line of the ‘H’, as he likes to stretch and push on us with this four paws. I’ve gotten good at spinning his 40# around parallel to us like the Roman numeral III when the humans are gripping onto the bed edges.

Breck is the complete opposite. He doesn’t mind a good neck scratch, face rub or frog-dog, but after 60 seconds, he’s had enough of me and saunters off to do ‘Breck business’, unless I’m headed to the pantry (Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard). He’s borderline cat-like.

I have read that dogs don’t think of hugs as affectionate, but as a dominance thing. I don’t hug Breck much because he doesn’t like it and I don’t want to freak him out. I know he still loves me!

On the other hand, Oreo wants to give me his own style of affection. He enjoys sniffing eyes. Yes, sniffing eyes. He sticks his nose right next to your eyeball and just hovers there. I have no idea what he’s doing, but he doesn’t try to lick or poke my eye out, just sniffs. I like to ‘butterfly kiss’ him with my eyelashes. He will usually just lightly snort and continue to sniff. That’s when usually the other human (that’s not getting their eye sniffed) tells Oreo to kiss the eyesniffee… Then it’s all over… Slobbery licky kisses!!

I had to laugh after being persuaded to do an internet search on the topic of ‘eye-sniffing’… Turns out many wise folks on the internet think I must have cancer or some other debilitating eye disease!  Don’t get me wrong. I truly believe dogs and other animals are capable of many feats of nature we humans are too bull-headed to see. However, in the case of Oreo, I think he just enjoys being close to us.


© Ilex – Midwestern Plant Girl