End of season clearance

>> 9.29.2008

After searching long and hard, I found a good thing about fall. Trust me, letting the furnace make its season debut tonight isn't it.

It's cheap plants! I decided that for 75-percent off on select bushes, I could afford to remove the diseased rose bush now living in filtered sunlight (trees grow... who knew?) and replace it with a hardier model in a new location.

Add to the cart two small, flowering bushes -- which promise to stay small and claim to enjoy filtered sunlight -- and some inexpensive perennials begging for a home, and you get three hours of gardening on a sunny, Sunday afternoon in fall.

Just a bit of advice: if you ever want to use your hamstrings again after such a gardening session, resist the urge to tackle the hill-training treadmill at the Y the next day. Bad move.


Falling into winter

>> 9.22.2008

Welcome to fall and the dreaded autumnal equinox. At least when we hit the winter solstice, the days start getting longer. We have reached the point in the year when, well, allow me to illustrate:

Very soon summery scenes like this:

Will start to look more like this:

After that, it is only a matter of time before those of us silly enough to live in snow-land end up doing this:

Which usually drives me to escape here, at least for a short break:

The end.


Brief respite

>> 9.20.2008

Summer is reappearing for a bit, giving a co-worker a gorgeous wedding day today.

Here's a peek at two of Wisconsin's fine state parks, which I visited during another beautiful week, this one during vacation last month.

Big Bay State Park on Madeline Island has a clean, sandy beach, plus a fun hiking trail where you can climb onto the rocks and enjoy Lake Superior, unobstructed.

er Falls State Park has rivers, rocks, and falls. The nice down-and-up hiking trail and scenic views, plus neat CCC log buildings, make this hike acceptable, even without a beach.


Baseball history

>> 9.15.2008

Last night I witnessed my third memorable moment in baseball history: a no-hitter. It made an odd night get even stranger, since the Cubs and Astros were playing in "neutral" territory.

What were my two other memorable games? I saw Nolan Ryan get his 300th victory, and I was present for the infamous All-Star Game that ended in a tie.

I'm still waiting to see a triple play. But given that two of my three "events" had odd circumstances, I'm not holding my breath. Something else more bizarre will creep up on me no doubt.


I want summer back

>> 9.03.2008

Or at least give me a more gradual transition to fall.

You can imagine that someone who blogs about beaches and warm weather can't be too happy come Labor Day in Wisconsin. The national holiday did fall on my birthday this year, so I had a special day off to reflect on our beautiful summer (the mosquitoes only lasted a few weeks) and enjoy the blooming hostas, which serve as my personal marker for "winter is coming."

I was hoping for a slower move through the closet: shorts to capris to pants, sleeveless to short sleeved to three-quarter sleeved. No such luck. Tuesday's high in the 90s, Wednesday's low in the 50s. Mean and cruel. First day of school for the child: shorts and sleeveless. Day two: jacket and pants.

At least we'll get some much-needed "steady and drenching" rain to accompany our strong northeast (non-summer) winds tomorrow: the remnants of Hurricane Gustav.

There, I got my annual "why is summer ending already" whine off my chest.

I'm better now.

At least until it snows.


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