Sunday Sights

Blooming sights, all transplanted from my previous home:



Several other clematis did not make it at their new sites. I cut way back on garden beds (really, I did!!) and there are not as many good spots. I tried growing a couple clematis to climb up trees. Didn't work for me. It was worth trying, better than leaving them to get plowed under. I moved a tiny struggling one to see if I can get it to grow and vine down the rock retaining wall.

japanese painted fern (naturalized) 

wider view of where I put 5 ferns last year (enchanted forest)

Japanese painted ferns are my fav fern. I transplanted others in my garden beds, as well as a couple natural areas. I am happy to say they have all survived to date!

naturalized white bleeding heart

a hidden garden area with various 
naturalized transplants

silly struggling helleborus, trying to bloom

I am considering moving my two helleborus into the barn garden bed. I thought they would naturalize. At least the smaller "blooming" one needs a new home. 


a healthier helleborus, no blooms again this year

my mom's perennial geranium blooms are beautiful

She originally planted it at our home, when I was a young teenager.


Native sights:

cactus buds are forming

pink honeysuckle are almost done blooming

ditto with the white/yellow honeysuckle

Honeysuckles are considered invasive here. I find them spreading everywhere. I do like the scent and so do winged wonders. Some will stay, others will need to go.

black cherry tree

The above tree sure is annoying. Scrappy tree branches droop down blocking trails. Blossoms are pretty, but very messy. I am sure black cherry trees serve a purpose for wildlife, but the less desirable smaller tilted ones will need to go. Just like the honeysuckle.

sooo many wild strawberries

cute dwarf dandelion (?)

false solomons seal (not a fan of either)

no clue

I find trying to ID wildflowers frustrating. There are SO many ever changing varieties. What I see often doesn't match the ref websites.


Non-plant related ranch sights:

Brad cowboy cooked breakfast

fly mask season

(Cierra, Harmony and Koda) 


Sunday Sights


Flutterby Dreams

We planted my butterfly plants yesterday! Despite predicted night time low temps. There were SO very many plants. It was a bit overwhelming. All good once I got my hands in the dirt. I had the garden planned on paper. Brad was laughing at me as I tossed (literally) plants here and there, making adjustments on the fly.

I purchased a 16 plant pack during an early bird sale from an Prairie Plant vendor in January. They are an excellent resource and share a plethora of information about native WI plants. Almost everything is sold out by May. There were limitations on what could be chosen for the special purchase price. This is what I selected, with a few plants in addition to the pack: Western Sunflower, Hoary Vervain, Lupine, Smooth Aster, Royal Catchfly, Hairy Penstemon, Beardtongue, Rough Blazing Star and Sweet Joe Pye Weed.

We included the plants I had started: Hello Yellow Milkweed, Orange Butterflyweed, Echinacea, Black eyed Susans, Lupines, Asters and Zinnias. Today I will plant remaining/collected seeds.

The garden will be hand watered for a while, and then it's up to Mother Nature. 

archive photo

Brad marked off a walking path in the middle of the garden. Wavy, of course! A tree stump remains. It apparently wants to be garden art or a home for toads/garden fairies. Eventually there will be butterfly mud puddling & possibly art. Depends on if the garden takes.

This is my second Butterfly Garden. I led my younger daughters Girl Scout Troop and we planted one in the village park. That was a long time ago. It is grass now. 

It has been decades since I laid out a garden from scratch, especially such a gigantic one. My largest garden scheme to date, and probably my last. I had decided to do minimal gardening after our move here. My plan was no garden beds to not keep up with. Clearly, that plan didn't stick.

This butterfly garden will be different. It can be mowed/burned annually. That is my hope. If the garden fails, it won't hurt my feelings to plant it with grass. It may very well get plowed under, but you don't know unless you try.

" There is freedom waiting for you,

On the breezes of the sky,

And you ask What if I fall?

Oh but my darling, What if you fly? "

~ author unknown ~


flowers are springin' up

My earlier irises are in full bloom, just in time to keep the Spring show going. The daffodils, tulips and crocus are done. All my iris are transplants from my previous home.

the mystery iris

I am happy to report one of two (new last year) different Lavender plants made it through the Winter!! 

I thought they were both dead and bought one new Lavender variety to try. Oopsie doodle.

my allium bulbs are also in bloom & look better this year

(Leo photobomb)

The butterfly garden plants I ordered during an early bird sale in January arrived yesterday!

Guess what we will be doing this weekend? 

I started two seed trays indoors earlier this year. Wave Petunia seeds for my hanging baskets & pots. I've been growing the original Wave from seed since they first came out. I also planted more of last years purchased seeds: Asters, Lupine, Echinacea, Orange Butterfly Weed, Hello Yellow Milkweed and Black Eyed Susans. The test butterfly weed I started last year, came back this year :)) 

I also have milkweed seeds for the new butterfly garden, collected from our property. A ton of collected Zinnia seeds and Four O'clocks seeds Val collected, for me to try for the first time.

The tall Purple Salvia and Pink Salvia I tried starting from collected seeds didn't do well. Only one Purple Salvia seed sprouted. Hardly a success. It will go in the new garden.

mid-April seeds sprouting

My mom gave me this incredible seed stand as a present, many moons ago. She knew what made me happy. I got my green thumb from her.

four trays & adjustable height lights

Our veggie garden is already planted! Two weeks earlier than last year. Last season I grew a new (purchased) pepper and fell in love with them: "Escamillo" yellow sweet peppers. They were fantastic!! Similar to my favorite red "Carmen" sweet peppers that I have grown for many years. I gave up trying to grow orange peppers from seed or plant. They never produce for me. I am not fond of green peppers anymore, so red (and hopefully yellow) it is. Thank goodness I have a few yellow pepper seeds. Can't find the plants this year. I started four plants from collected seed :)) Will be very interested to see if they produce.

Gardening and experimenting go hand-in-hand. 

Sandy loam is very hard to grow, most anything. I am up for the challenge and a firm believer of my long time gardening mantra:

"grow what grows for you"



Exciting news, Cierra is bred!! For real.

Nothing short of a miracle.

With the exception of one recent above average temperature week, we have had a very cool Spring. Mares in this general area are not cycling. Many breeding attempts have and continue failing. Our vet said it is very humbling. He has been doing everything medically that he can.

No one completely controls Mother Nature.

Cierra wasn't cycling on her own either. She was given a series of shots to help. They checked and rechecked Cierra, to ensure ovulation timing. Once again, we were told the timing was ideal. Semen was ordered.

On May 5th Cierra was bred for the first time this year.

2022 stud card

The collection we received was the best one we were sent. Our vet checked the motility when he returned to the clinic, after breeding Cierra. It was still at 70%. Pretty good considering semen loses potency with time and exposure. Our chances were higher than in the past. 

We didn't get our hopes up. Last year her first breeding was April 8, then bred again on April 29. She was bred a third time on May 18. Her fourth and last failed breeding was June 5.

Today (fourteen day wait) we got good news. Thankfully, her fifth (on the fifth) overall breeding took.

round circle = good news

We learned the bred follicle (the circle above) floats around unattached until about 17-18 days. It continues forming attached to the uterine wall. They suggest rechecking the embryo 28-40 days and can hear a heartbeat around 28 days. We asked when they look for twins. The vet said they would have been able to see them already.

Cierra has one very early stage foal, beginning to develop.

WOW...it looks like Brad might get to live his dream after all. We are fully aware there are a jillion things that could change or go wrong. There is a very very long time to wait. 320-362 days, depending on the resource. If everything goes well. Gestational calculators put Cierra foaling in early April (10th or 8th). She is a maiden mare, so who knows.

We are already further ahead than we were last year. One baby step at a time. I am SO happy for Brad (and Cierra)!!


Timing is everything.

If it is meant to happen it will.

At the right time.

For the right reasons.

 ~ author unknown 


two things for sure

We made it through an unseasonably hot week of record high temps (and some highest lows) set every day. Nothing compared to what some are dealing with in their respective worlds.

Our Spring to-do list is ridiculous.

It was hard to get much done last week. This upcoming week is catch up time. I am beginning to think the work will ever end. We are back to just talking about riding, biking, hiking and working on our property. Sighhh.

One thing for sure, we will never be bored. Maybe two things for sure. Our animals are spoiled.

I went outside last night right before the weather breaking thunderstorm hit, hoping to find Leo.

He usually comes in when the horses do, but not last night. Leo can't let himself inside the barn. Our cat door doesn't work for him because he is chipped too far back. I called & he came screaming and running towards me. The rain started to pelt us. I let him in the barn and "ran" back to the house, while quarter sized hail formed and covered the ground. 

We don't have to ask twice for the horses to come inside. Our barn stays cool.

The dogs still get their daily wooded walks, come heat or high water. Leo hasn't been tagging along lately. It is too hot for him.

Granddog Remi requires shorter walks, earlier and with longer breaks

What Leo thinks of hot weather


twenty two

I went to Kickapoo Valley Reserve for a Spring hike and met gal pal Blogger Val (say that 22 times really fast!) before the record setting heat wave. Guess what?? I was 22 minutes EARLY and didn't get detoured or lost. Like I did last year. I also wasn't struggling with such a heavy heart.

What a difference being on time makes!

Val planned a wonderful hike for us. With all the right stuff. Rolling hills, unexpected discoveries and wildflowers. There was instant

Flowers were just emerging. They were so delicate, yet commanding attention with their stunning shades of color and tenacity. 

Ferns were just emerging

We immersed ourselves in nature and caught up with each others lives.

Val's dog Charlie provided cuteness and was a good patient trail boss. Tank stayed home. I wanted to relax and as awesome as he is, Tank has endless energy on the trail. I knew I made the right decision when I found out dogs should be leashed on KVR trails in Spring. Tank is rarely leashed. My arm would have been at least a few inches longer.

Part of Vals master hiking plan was for us to hike a path near an old stone foundation. You might not know this about me, but I LOVE rocks!!! Big ones, little ones, old ones, new ones, you name it. I have always loved looking for rocks! They fascinate me. I still tumble rocks, have them everywhere in my gardens and place them along our house ledges. 

the stone foundation looked so far away

We walked up and around the trail a short distance, and much to my surprise there it was. SO cool!! We both lost track of time exploring all it's wonder. Like two kids in a playhouse.

looking down, into the old structure


Anyone know what the metal thingee across the entrance is???

close-up of the end of the metal bar

There were cool things inside the stone foundation. Some of them growing, others were glowing.

a colorful cove
(lookee at the shades in the rock!) 

There were many funny memorable moments throughout the hike that made us laugh out loud.

Laughter is good for the soul.

Perhaps the funniest moment happened at the stone foundation.

I was so excited to explore the stone structure. Without giving it a thought, I scrambled down to get a closer look inside. Ducking under a very low down tree, while carrying my heavy long lens/camera. My big travel camera backpack got stuck and I had to 
get on my knees to crawl through. I said a few choice words. I did not notice how Val got down to the stone foundation entrance.

You think I would have chosen a different way back up to the trail.

Nope. It was a repeat scene in reverse. Once again I ducked under the tree branch, and had to crawl on my knees. I stood and looked up to my left. There was Val. Standing above me, up on a dirt bank. Grinning from ear to ear "you know you could have just taken this way" LOL!! 

Guess you had to be there. Apparently I have to do everything the difficult way. 

(by Val) of me getting off the ground

Throughout our hike, Val took mini Lego/Squatch photos at key locations. I am always amazed at how fast that woman moves!! Blink and you'll miss your opportunity to get a shot of her setting up her masterful mini scenes. I managed a couple shots of her in action. You can view them on her blog (link above).

low growing colorful fungi

(Val instantly knew the name, me ummmm...)

so pretty!

You didn't think our walk in the woods would be without finding faces, did you?

Val was looking for a tree she saw on a prior hike, that reminded her of me. Here it is: 

squooshy face

I wasn't sure if I saw the face on the tree at first. I don't usually look for them. If only I had a photo of Val making a squooshy face. Confirming what I saw.

There were a couple down trees off the trail that caught my eye. I couldn't get a good vantage point of the first one, but this tree bump made me smile:

See the parrot face?

After our hikes, I always wonder why I did not take more photos ~ and then I remember. I was too busy enjoying myself. Soaking up nature in realtime. Not through a lens.

We both had a really good time!!

My favorite photo of the day. A big smile, that you don't have to see. During another funny moment at the stone foundation. It says it all...



from april to august

I try not to let weather rule my world. When we go from a cold April, to record setting hot humid sticky yucky buggy windy sweltering unbearable heat overnight ~ it does.

This icky weather resembles our August weather.

We WI folk are hardy and very used to weather swings. It is part of what makes 
living here so interesting. We get to experience a little bit of most everything, many times in the same day. This weather swing came on fast. It is extreme, extended and our bodies are simply not acclimated to it. Yet.

I am trying to catch up with Mother Nature. I was waiting for it to warm up 
to garden...now everyone is scrambling. Farmers included.

What's a cold weather girl suppose to do?

Turn on the air. Get outside earlier. Stay hydrated. Garden in the shade, if possible ~ and ~ think snow.