Happy Place: Iris Farm

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One of our favorite spring traditions is a visit to the Black Iris Farm just west of Traverse City. It is one of my happy places. It’s so relaxing and inspiring out there amidst the colors and the smells. The breeze was blowing and the lombardy poplar trees were dancing. It was magical!

I realized as I was looking at pictures from three years ago that Phoebe wore the same little green jacket that Wren wore while running through the iris rows. Time! Easy there.

I’ve never seen the iris farm quite as vibrant and fragrant as last night. We cut some flowers to take home, had a picnic, got dusty and explored. Took a few pictures too…

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See you next year, beautiful iris farm! We love you.

 

 

Return to Triple Falls

Earlier this spring we took a road trip to North Carolina. We made sure to bring Chris to Triple Falls since he didn’t come with us last time. It was one of our favorite things from our trip two years ago when I took the girls down by myself. Not much had changed at the falls…, but the pictures show how much the birdies have grown. Here are some great pics that my Dad took when we visited this year. Enjoy!

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It was a gorgeous day. I had forgotten how great 68 and sunny feels after our epic winter! No jacket! No hat! No mittens! Aaahh. I could actually get used to this kind of weather. Here in northern Michigan, we’re still betting on when the last snow pile in our yard will disappear. I’m betting May 1. There’s still ice on the lakes up here, people! Wow.

Happy weekend!

What’s a cup of coffee worth to you?

It’s official! I’m in training for something very meaningful and difficult!

I’m training to run (walk, stumble) the 40 mile Solstice Run organized by On The Ground to raise awareness and funds for women’s empowerment programs in the DR Congo. The run will begin at sunset on Friday, June 20th in Leelanau County. It will continue south 40 miles through the night, ending at sunrise in Traverse City. At which point I will drink a beer and collapse on the shoreline.

The funds raised will be used to launch OTG’s next project area in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where OTG will focus on women’s empowerment programs. Together with our supporters and partners we’re working to bring peace and transformation for women’s lives in the eastern DRC region where hundreds of women, mostly widows, feel the brunt of difficulties in the conflict stricken area.

On The Ground recently returned from recent visits to the Lake Kivu region of the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo where program work is being developed with coffee cooperatives, communities and partnering NGO’s to empower women coffee farmers.

Project Congo initiatives will promote peace and women’s equality while highlighting the inspirational people and stories. The work aims to break the chains of poverty and conflict through the funding and support of women empowerment groups in the coffee cooperative system.

Learn more by visiting www.onthegroundglobal.org

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On a personal note, as a regular and avid coffee drinker, I’m especially drawn to the mission of this particular program. I can’t drink coffee anymore without thinking about the coffee growers around the world. Will you consider donating a few bucks toward the effort?

Perhaps look at it this way:

Donation of $2 – one cup of fair trade coffee

Donation of $10 – bag of fair trade coffee

Every dollar counts. I appreciate your support!

Click here to donate whatever you can to my goal of $1000 through Razoo.

 

Here’s a little photo from today’s training run at 5 a.m. It was 20 degrees with some new snow on April 15… Run on!

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I plan on posting more information about my training, motivation, the DRC and what keeps me going. Any questions? Thanks for your support!

Do hard things.

 

the day we stopped composting

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Another casualty of the Polar Vortex? Our compost bin. It’s frozen and can’t easily be reached since we’ve received over 150″ of snow this winter. Actually in all fairness to winter, we received a helluva lot of snow before winter even began (just over a month ago!). So the sad time has come to stop composting until the next thaw, err, July. Sigh.

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See you in the spring, swings and slide.

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It might be about time to refill the feeders for our feathered friends…

Punzel’s – strange and wonderful.

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Punzel’s Scandinavian: Magical, delightful, enchanting, strange. Wren and I had a date on a misty early August afternoon to Punzel’s and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it since. It’s gotten in my (wannabe Scandinavian) blood… with its nordic elves, trolls and fairies.

It beckons us to come back. To wander the gardens, to do a tour, to eat edible flowers, to buy more lovely nordic fairy tales or maybe just to escape somewhere that’s close, but feels far away. Odd and whimsical = perfect!

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This little nordic fairy land is one part overgrown magical forest with trolls and legendary creatures, one part Scandinavian handicraft lover’s dream (I love you IKEA, but Punzel’s is the real deal) and one part THE very best selection of kids books around. The only problem is that some of the kids book prices are actually marked UP from the printed price, which as you know is even higher than the online price… but I digress.

Because, um, the pink, hand-carved and hand-painted horse got our attention! This turned into Wren’s little pocket treasure…

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There are a lot of things at Punzel’s I just can’t explain. But through the eyes of an imaginative four year old, it’s just heavenly. Every time you turn around there’s another path to skip down, little carved creatures to see and giant toadstools to sit in. I mean, really, where does someone even find a huge fabricated toadstool like this?

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But wait, there’s a bit more. There are heart-shaped ponds, waterfalls and rivers.

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Funky sculptures hidden in the grasses.

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And mossy swings to enjoy.

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We’ll be back for their Fika, an edible flower luncheon in the “cave.” And probably to do some Christmas shopping for some special gifts for some little birdies I know… Thanks again, Punzel’s! Thanks for keeping it strange in the greater Buckley area.

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