Archive for March, 2013

March 20, 2013

16 Things to Do Now to Make it Feel Like Spring

It’s here!  It’s here!  Spring is here!

Yes, I know, you wouldn’t know it if you were to walk out your front door in Minnesota today.  In fact, you might think it were the middle of January.  I awoke this morning to the weather update of wah-wah, wah-wah, wah, wah with an -18 degree windchill.  Yikes!

If you look at Facebook at all today you’ll see a lot of whining, particularly here in Minnesota.  Unfortunately all of the meteorologists have been touting the weather we had this week last year at 70 and 80 degrees above zero making all of the complaining even worse.  The problem is, last year was NOT THE NORM.  The norm this time of the year in Minnesota is 35 to 40 degrees, which while a high of 18 today isn’t exactly tropical, if you compare it to being 20 degrees off the norm instead of 60 degrees off a record, it’s a little easier to chew.

Weather aside, or maybe because of the weather, I thought it was about time we all got excited for spring so I came up with a few things you can do to get by until the weather catches up with our eagerness.  Some of these things are specific to the Twin Cities area, but similar events are happening across the country.

  1. Force branches. Cut branches off of spring blooming trees and shrubs that need pruning, bring them in and put them in water.  In a few days you’ll have spring inside regardless of the weather outside. Learn more about which kinds of trees and shrubs and how-to here.
  2. Plant an indoor bulb garden.  Many nurseries and garden centers are now carrying bulb gardens that you can watch grow, or better yet, buy bulbs and make your own.
  3. Plan your garden.  Grab plans, pictures and notes from your garden journal and plot out your plan for this season.
  4. Build a plant stand with grow lights and start seeds indoors.
  5. Plant edible spring planters.
  6. Buy yourself some cut flowers.  It doesn’t have to be expensive, even $5 can bring a nice burst of color and a smile to your face.
  7. Go to a flower show.  Macy’s Flower Show is traveling the country.  Check here to see when they’ll be in a city near you.
  8. Make a fairy garden. Need inspiration?  The MN Landscape Arboretum is hosting Tiny Treasures: Fairies and Gnomes through March 31st.
  9. Visit a Farmer’s Market!  This Saturday, March 23, 2013, the Bachman’s on Lyndale will be hosting Fresh From the Freeze the Kingfield and Fulton Farmers Markets in the Greenhouse from 9am – 2pm.  There will be music, entertainment, beer, wine and hard cider too.  A vendor list is posted on their site.
  10. Looking to add some spring to your home?  Check out the Bachman’s Spring Ideas House 2013 from April 4th – April 28th.
  11. Visit the Como Park Conservatory. Can’t get there?  Check out the 360 degree view of The Sunken Gardens and The Palm Dome.
  12. Get baby chicks! Our chickens have brought so much sunshine and joy to some of the coldest days.  Egg|Plant Urban Farm Supply has chicks arriving on a weekly basis.  Order yours now. (I also know of a possible source if you’re local, contact me and I’ll connect you.) You can build your coop while they grow!  Not ready for your own?  Stop by and visit them.
  13. Start a windowsill garden.
  14. Plant grass in egg shells or a basket.  You’ll be ready for Easter.
  15. Take a trip down South.  No, actually I don’t mean on a plane or in a car.  Grab your jacket, don your hat, slip on those boots and head to the South side of your house, apartment building, what have you.  The South side of buildings gets the best sun and typically retains heat making that area a little micro-climate where the ground thaws early and plants emerge first.  A friend told me just yesterday that her tulips are “up” (poking through the ground) on the South side of her house.  Take a trip and report back on what you find!
  16. Feed the birds!  According to the birds spring is definitely here.  Don’t believe me?  Shut everything off, radio, TV, your kids 😉 and listen.  The birds a singing their sweet little heads off.  Want to hear them more clearly?  Hang a feeder in your yard (or fill-up that empty one), they’ll be singing songs of glory for you!

If all else fails, call me!  I’d be happy to chat about and help you plan your yard and garden for the upcoming season!

Happy Spring everyone!

Kate

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March 9, 2013

My Evening Walk to Austria

It was routine. Time to put the chickens to bed and let the dogs out one last time for the day, but when I reached the bottom of the stairs I stepped right into another time and another part of the world. Suddenly, I was in Graz, Austria twenty years ago.

Wearing just a sweatshirt I anticipated getting chilled. Instead the air was damp, but not cold, in fact it was warm for a winter evening. Fog hung low in the air, gently hugging my arms as it tried to touch the ground. The snow beneath my feet wasn’t squeaky or crunchy as it has been the rest of the winter, instead it provided a silent, gentle cushion as I walked. The scent of a neighboring wood fire kissed my nose.

By the time I reached the coop I had relived memories I didn’t know still existed. I’d waited for the train in Jakominiplatz, I’d walked my daily route from the bus to my host family’s house looking up to the foothills of the Alps. I’d spent evenings hanging out with friends in some of my favorite pubs and took relaxing walks home. My heart filled with fondness and a sense of peacefulness washed over me. Paralyzed, I stood and smiled.

They say once you leave, you can never truly go home, but the weather tonight triggered memories of my home away from home. A place in time and in my heart that will never change. To go back today would be different. I wouldn’t be twenty one, in college on a new adventure. I would already know what great friends my travel companions would become. My host family would still welcome me, but things have changed there too. My host sisters are all grown up with lives of their own. And while the city of Graz is several hundreds of years old, I’m sure it is different today than it was twenty years ago.

So tonight, when I walked back to Austria, I was happy. Happy to see great friends to share laughter and tears and sleeping cars with as we traveled. I was happy to have my nine and twelve year old host sisters try to teach me to ski while I failed miserably. I was happy to drink coffee with my host father and learn about Austrian politics. I was happy to laugh hysterically with my host mother as she clarified my misunderstandings as she taught me the Styrian dialect over her homemade apple strudel.

And as I looked off at the silhouette of the trees in the distance, the light struggling to make its way through the fog, everything was just as I’d remembered it.

Then I turned, whispered “good night” to the girls as I closed the coop door and made my way back to the house. I paused one last moment to say goodbye and then headed back inside to 2013.

Kate

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March 8, 2013

Thinking Paleo?

You’ve heard me talk about Clean Eating on this blog, but if you’re looking for a different angle on healthy eating check out my friend Hilary’s new blog The Healthy Flamingo.  She offers an honest, fresh and fun angle on her journey with the Paleo Diet (including recipes).  Not sure what Paleo is? Don’t worry, she’ll fill in the gaps.
Stop by, say “Hi!” and enjoy!
Kate

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