Monday, December 8, 2014

Winter Color

Although it's been up to the 50's the past few days, winter is here and there isn't as much color as I'd like. Since I didn't feel well today, I decided to set myself up with a few hot mugs of coffee and some photos I took earlier at Edwards Greenhouse. The variety of poinsettia flowers they carry is very extensive. I figured I'd share some with you.

 This last one was my favorite of all, but I couldn't find one in a more affordable small pot. I brought home one the the creamy white ones called "Polar Bear".

Friday, November 14, 2014

Winter is Here

 I can't believe we just put in a new garden and planted 100 bulbs Tuesday. It started snowing last night and we got about 10 inches in less than 24 hours. The stock tank and fish are winterized, and our decoy owl and hawk are now wearing funny hats.
 View of the bit of foothills we have, this was taken in the dark.
I also did my third round of shoveling and Kyle did another last night as well. The snow is piling up. The dogs are having fun romping in the knee deep (for them) snow.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

The Day After

We had perfect Halloween weather last night. Cool, but not cold, the fog hung low all night. I've been pretty worn out today, so much energy goes into our little yard haunt. I was a little better prepared and set up bit by bit during the week. Yesterday, I put out all the little finishing touches such as new ivy on the tombstones, the little LED candles sprinkled everywhere, some skulls, and four cow skulls our neighbor gave me last minute that I put on top of the new cemetery columns.

The night before the light show had a problem and one of my skeleton ghost's set of eyes was misfiring, so I also completely redid the electronic project box with fresh parts. The amount of anxiety I have each year as to whether the light show will work or not almost makes me want to ditch the project and run the old fashioned par 38 spotlights. When I was done I started a diagnostic on the lights which requires turning on one channel of lights, running outside to see if it works (all the while the dogs were freaking out and getting under and over-foot). I spent the last two days running in and out checking lights, getting frustrated, and powering on. In the long run, it paid off. The light show was up and running perfectly by dusk.

Ah, dusk. It is my prime time to try to capture video, with full darkness, the picture is too grainy, so that is the small window I have to try to get some decent footage for once. This is also the time when random family and friends start to arrive to see the show. After countless hours of fine tuning and frustration I usually am not feeling very social at that point. I know I'm a bad person, but I want to yell, "Leave me alone! Wait for dark, then I'll be happy to mingle". I got our new song, the title theme from Beetlejuice, and another of "Thriller", my favorite sequence. Mind you, I spent countless hours listening to the songs over and over at a slowed playback to hit each beat and vocal nuance on the mark.

Why do I do this to myself? The end result is something made of magic. It is utterly satisfying. The reactions of the people coming by floors and delights me. Every time a car drops a few kids to come get their candy, the inevitably turn the car off and get out, slack-jawed and in amazement of what they've found. I love the kids reactions, I live for the parents who are floored and giggle with delight when they process that the pumpkins and skeletons are singing to them. Me second favorite part of the night is walking through my very own cemetery, fog swirling around my feet, with my camera. The cool thing about the light show is that you can take the same shot from the same angle and get different results every time.

 I spent some time in the afternoon to take some daylight photos.
 The witches were out on the corner to draw people in to the front yard.
 The sentinels were in the back of the graveyard keeping things spooky.
 We did a wall of corn stalks for the first time this year, They worked well with the lighting at night.
 We used the old spotlights I made a few years ago this time, the the LED light strips were too harsh. I wish I could have gotten video better at night, the color looks super garish in the photos, to see it in person is something completely different. I loved the smiles I saw on peoples faces.
 Our 6 foot plus statures reveal how small the props are. When I view them from the sidewalk, they look completely life-sized. Work has been especially stressful this fall, I was wondering if I had it in me to do the haunt. We really got into it though and even dressed up. Kyle went on a last minute hunt for a hockey mask and the kids loved his standing still, then moving towards them. 
 This one was his idea, I love the result.
 We had 54 trick or treaters this year! More than double last year. There were so many parents and adults on their own that came by. It was the perfect flow of visitors. I had time to spend talking with everybody. I was so proud to learn that kids were demanding to drive by the house each day this week to see what new things were put up.
 Our new additions for this year were the Jones, Meyers, and Vernon grave markers. All characters from favorite scary movies of mine. We also added 6 columns for the cemetery fence. 

It was a perfect night. I hope everyone had a happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Quick Video Check

We are almost fully set up. Some more additions, light show, and fog to come...

Monday, October 27, 2014

Haunt 2014 phase 2 of???

My dearest husband thought it was a shame to not have lights out on the graveyard in the irterem before I have the light show set up. He was very helpful and also thought we needed an extra red floodlight in the background before I threw in the towel and went to bed. I have so many more plans for this year. We'll see what I get done.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Haunt 2014, Set Up Has Begun

The cemetery just got set up. The characters go in tomorrow and the lights go up this week.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

This Endless Summer, Oh My the Heat! Garden Update.

The incessant heat is driving me bonkers. I am looking toward fall, just one evening when I need to wear a hoodie seems a dream, never possible. I have begun to toil and shovel up the tons of gravel lining every edge of the lawn wheelbarrow full by wheelbarrow full at bit each day. We went to the botanical garden yesterday to see what is working at the end of summer in the intense heat. We finally have proudly become household members for the first time as well. The Bot. garden here is small, but neatly planned and I hope to see it grow. This time of year I miss the Chicago Botanical Gardens- oh what an Eden. 
 The back yard is still completely in experimental phase that I am certain will continue as long as we do. My proud Costco purchase was our second "bone daddy" featured on the rickety bench. I have half a heart to leave him out there and let the deadly morning glories overcome him. I'm sure I'll hate myself when I have to cut him out this fall, but I love the idea of a skeleton getting overgrown like it would in nature. We've got more bling and whirligigs around this garden to keep our fish in the stock tanks from being gourmet bird food.
 The lilac hedge lantern garden with head planter. For some reason I love the head planter.
The bicycle planter is in full swing. I think it is more vegetation than steel and rubber now. 
The mulching project is still moving on and we finally got the second tomato pergola set up. 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Mystery Tomato

I got these seeds from Baker Creek Rare Seeds, but no longer see this variety on the website. My seed packets are long packed away for next winter. From what I remember it is a German wandering tomato. It is multi-lobed like a bunch of fused cherry tomatoes. This one seems a little small, but is much firmer than the first one I picked. I'm waiting for Kyle to get home to try it.
 stem end, strange, but not crazy
blossom end, crazy