Archive for July, 2013

Prairie Home Summer

The last two summers have been full of weddings and travel — California, Georgia, Texas, even Hawaii. All the trips made for some great vacations and reunions with friends.

But this, this is the summer of staying close to home. No far-off weddings, no big fancy vacations. Just a lot of camping, gardening and exploring the awesomeness that is summer in Minnesota. So I’ve declared it to be the Prairie Home Summer. Hey Garrison Keillor, if you’re reading this … thanks. I like your show a lot.

To start it off, we had an epic five-year reunion with my college graduating class at St. Olaf. The two-day extravaganza included karaoke at Froggy’s, just like the old days, as well as dinner in the Caf, a reunion with my fellow a cappella group founders from Agnes, a brilliant lecture from a beloved prof, and a slideshow of embarrassing photos that someone pulled from Facebook (a reminder of exactly what we haven’t taken down since we posted them 8 or 9 years ago…)

June looked like a road trip to Rice Lake, Wisconsin for a colleague’s wedding, with a fun cheese shop stop on the way back …

… another road trip to the same part of Wisconsin for a cabin weekend on Spooner Lake with college buddies …

… and a four-day camping and canoeing expedition in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCA), one of the most remote and beautiful wilderness parks left in the country.

No biggie. Just one of the most beautiful and peaceful places in the entire world.

Up next!

1. The obvious … as many farmers market trips and lake walks as possible.
2. At least one pizza farm visit (Stockholm or Northfield … choices this year, yo!)
3. Canning, jamming and pie-ing from the garden.
4. A visit to the Laura Ingalls Wilder museum in Walnut Grove, MN, where you can see the place where they made their sod house on the banks of Plum Creek (ever since I read about it a few weeks ago, I’ve been certifiably obsessed).
5. Significant landscaping and garden improvements (underway).
6. Reading in the hammock and the rocking chair, and not just a few times. A lot.
7. My first trip to the Black Hills of South Dakota, for a friend’s wedding.
8. Mini-golf at the Walker Sculpture Garden.
9. At least two golf outings and two waterskiing days.
10. Biking around the Chain of Lakes — Harriet, Calhoun and Isles (I’ve only biked two at a time, not all three at once).
11. Check out a few more local Mpls breweries and new restaurants.
12. Lots and lots of DQ Blizzards (have I mentioned there’s a DQ three blocks from my house?)
13. The Minnesota State Fair! There are 46 new foods this year … yes, really.
14. Camping in Detroit Lakes, MN (for a friend’s wedding … yes, really.)
15. My first trip to the Wisconsin Dells (for another friend’s birthday).
16. A family reunion out at Lake Minnetonka, including waterskiing, speedboating, dock-sitting, fishing and a dinner cruise from Al & Alma’s.
17. My first-ever concert at the famed First Avenue concert club in Mpls.

My parents are coming for a nice long visit this month, so they’ll be helping me check a few items off this list 🙂 And I’m taking about half of July off from work, which will be love-ly.

What’s on your summer to-do list? And who’s coming to MN to help me with mine?

patio 2.0

It took a full weekend of sweaty work, but the patio has gone from this…

to this:

And soon, the grill will go too (it broke last summer).


Otherwise in the garden…

The tomatoes are doing great this year — much better than last year, by a mile. Other things are coming along a little slower, like the basil and lemon cucumbers. I think they’ll catch up now that it’s averaging 80 or 90 degrees every day.

I picked up some new flowers at the farmers market this weekend — marigolds for the side yard tomatoes, and some blue astria (“balloon flower,” a perennial). The begonias are flowering like crazy and the nasturtiums I planted from seed are growing up strong … soon to join my lunchtime salads.

furniture update: the yellow room

I know it’s been a while since I’ve shown you room updates — in the summer, most of my attention goes to the garden. But I have some projects in process, and one of them recently reached a milestone.

After three years of no bedside stands, then cool but not-quite-right bedside stands, in the yellow room … we have a winner!

I found these beauties at Cost Plus World Market, which recently re-opened a store in the Twin Cities. (Conveniently, one freeway exit from my office. My wallet has not been pleased. You’ll see more CPWM soon.)

The space between the bed and the wall is about 12″ at the pillow level, but only about 10″ down at the floor level due to the baseboard and the bed frame. So that narrowed down the choices considerably.

The black legs are perfect for this room, which is a mix of woods and black accents (rug, wall artwork, candleholders, curtain rods).

To finish off the room, I’m still looking for the perfect headboard and nightstand lamps (either tabletop or wall-mount). But, making progress!

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