Tag Archive | happy

Spring Blooming Flowers 5-10-2016

Happy Monday!

I hoped everyone had a wonderful Mother’s day.

Take two steps forward and one step back to see what I found blooming in 201320142015.

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Uvularia grandiflora – large-flowered bellwort or merrybells  |  Polemonium caeruleum – Jacob’s Ladder

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Fothergilla gardenii  |  Mertensia virginica – Virginia bluebells

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Geum coccineum ‘Cooky’ ~ Avens  |  Centaurea montana ~ Mountain bluet


Chaenomeles japonica ‘Texas Scarlet’ – Quince


Chaenomeles japonica ‘Orange Delight’ – Quince

© Ilex – Midwestern Plant Girl

Borg Ship Dog Toy

We were near a Pet Smart and Old Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard was bare. We always peruse the store for bargins. The boys really like large balls like volley and soccer size balls, but they pop them quite quickly. The fun isn’t completely over, as the ‘ball bowl’ is now just easier to grab onto. However, no more kicking, rolling or chasing. I checked into the cost for a durable dog product of that size.. Ouch $45. My boys can get through things both cheap and well-made. That is 5 cheap volley balls. I then spied a large square ‘ball’ – It’s a Chuckit Kick Cube. Hmmm. $12.50 clearance. How bad can this be? They could easily bite the edges instead of having to bite a round surface.  There is a rubber part in the square’s centers that make kicking it a breeze, however it’s very unpredictable.

As a Star Trek fan, I immediately dubbed it the Dorg Ship (Borg).


Oreo figured out how to pick it up first. Breck learned how to head-butt it out of Oreo’s mouth first!


© Ilex – Midwestern Plant Girl

Summer Blooming Flowers 8-19-2015

Here are some beautiful blooms to enjoy on your wonderful Wednesday!

Would you like to see what was blooming in 2014 or blooming in 2013? Click respectively.


Kalimeris incisa ‘Blue Star’ ~ Japanese aster


Hmmm, didn’t get a close enough to figure it out… Drat.


Allium cernuum ~ nodding onion or lady’s leek

Helianthus hirsutus ~ Hairy Sunflower


Hibiscus moscheutos ‘Lord Baltimore’ ~ Rose Mallow

This is 8 inches wide! And I’m lucky enough to have it in my front yard.


Impatiens capensis ~ the orange jewelweed, common jewelweed, spotted jewelweed, spotted touch-me-not, or orange balsam

This is a cure for poison ivy. If you happen to have stumbled into some ivy… back away and looks for this plant. It usually likes to be near stream beds. Break the stems apart and rub on the exposed parts of your skin.

Erigeron strigosus ~ Daisy Fleabane


Gaura lndheimeri ‘Siskiyou Pink’ ~ Wand Flower


Hydrangea paniculata ~ Tardiva on left and Limelight on right.


Silphium perfoliatum ~ cup plant or cup-plant


Crazy sky!!


Thunbergia alata ~ Black eyed Susan vine

© Ilex – Midwestern Plant Girl

Why My Dogs Can’t Come to the Playdate…

Um, which is which?

They are a match and sound the same! Milo “My-My” to his closest friends, is a neighbor. He has a bit of a breathing condition that causes him to sound just like the toy’s grunting. Milo doesn’t really like other dogs, but loves scratches from long nails. I’m not sure what my boys would think, considering this guy is a dead-ringer for a favorite toy of theirs. I’m sure the would just shake their doggy heads!

© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

Chocolate Pork

imageMy husband came up with this concoction after we had bought a large amount of pork shoulder. It’s based on a Mexican pork recipe. I like it over rice with cheddar cheese and sour cream. I call it ‘Chocolate Pork’ only because he asked me if I could tell what the secret ingredient was. I couldn’t spot the chocolate and the name stuck.

  • 3 lbs. of pork shoulder – cut into 2 inch chunks
  • 2 tbsn. oil
  • 2 large onions
  • 4 garlic cloves – chopped
  • 2 tbsn. chili powder
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. organo
  • 2 tbsn. bakers chocolate powder


Mix up all of the dry ingredients and use as a rub on all of the pork chunks. This can now marinate for as long as you’d like. We feel the spices still get into the mix, even without marinating.

Heat up the pressure cooker.

Dice the onions and caramelize them in the pan. Add the garlic and brown a bit. Remove from the pan. Brown the pork chunks. Put everything back in and cook for 15 minutes per pound. Cool in pot for 15 minutes.

I really must like this wine, (I’m having it again!) Schlink Haus Reisling and Spätlese, both are sweet wines from Germany. They are quite reasonable at $10 per bottle.

© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

Border Collie Sundial


10:00 AM

Breck loves the sun. I mean really loves the sun!! In the winter, my southern window projects a good 8 feet of sunlight on the living room floor. I get very little in the summer. Last Saturday, when I could actually witness the sun pouring in, I watched Breck move as the sun traveled across the floor.

I think we all should enjoy the sun a bit more. Life is so overwhelming at times and it really shouldn’t be. I often wonder what it would like to be a wild animal. There’s only four things that need to be done. Eat, Drink, Sleep and Sex. I think I left the best for last!

Who thought that having material things were a good thing? Now it is to the point where things like a cell phone, computer and cable T.V. are considered things you can’t live without and are even supplied to people on public aid. I tried to give my working projection T.V. away and charities do not want it as it is old technology!

So, here’s to taking some time to relax and lay in the sun. Go be a dog!


12:00 PM


2:00 PM


©  Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

Brown Creeper – Certhia americana

I’ve said this before, I’m no photographer. This tree is only about 10 feet from me, however this is way too far away for my camerone* to focus on such a little guy. I’m no photo editor either. I do have a button I can press that attempts to fix all the ills of my photo however, you can’t spin hay into gold…

Why do I sill post these bad photos? Because I can? 😉 I do feel they still give a bit of perspective to the reader. Now enjoy!


The Brown Creeper builds a hammock type nest that anchors to a loosened flap of bark on a dead or dying tree. It wasn’t until 1879 that naturalists discovered this unique nesting strategy.

The Brown Creeper spends most of its time circling up tree trunks in search of insects. It holds its short legs on either side of its body, with the long, curved claws hooking into the bark and braces itself with its long, rigid tail. Both feet jump at the same time which makes the bird’s head dip after each hop. Because of this specialized anatomy, the Brown Creeper rarely climbs downward.


These guys are pretty quick and blend in well with the tree bark.
*Camera phone

©  Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

Pot Roast and Rosy Fruit Wine

Pot roast is a winter comfort food of mine. I’ve grown-up making it this way.

This wine has a nice, light fruit flavor, like adult Kool-ade. I’m not sure where I picked this wine up, it’s not local and I generally don’t go to liqueur stores. I like going to the winery and tasting the wine. I’ve picked-up way too many cooking wines, i.e. wines that I can’t drink, however are fine for cooking.

  • 1 – 3 pound Chuck Roast
  • Flour or potato starch for searing / thickening the gravy.
  • 2-3 tbsn. of Soy Sauce
  • 1 cup of beef broth
  • 1 medium sweet onion
  • Potatoes, carrots or any other stew type veggie you have around.

In either a large pot or a pressure cooker (my preferred method) saute the onion, then remove. Flour the meat and brown the sides. I sprinkle a bit of soy sauce on now, return the onions, cup of beef broth, add veggies then enough water to cover. Cook until tender. Add soy sauce to taste & thicken gravy to your liking. 15 minutes per pound in a pressure cooker, nice. They’re not just for bombs anymore. Too soon?

© – Ilex Farrell