Monday, August 21, 2017

Eclipse Underfoot


We sat on the porch under the big overhanging roof so we wouldn't be tempted to stare at the sun.


We could still see the partial eclipse.


And then many mini eclipses. 
 

And some teeny tiny eclipses.  
 

And even more on the sidewalk under our big shade trees on Columbia Street. 


In the end we think we had more fun seeing hundreds of eclipses than if we had seen only one  


big, full, real one. 


And our retinas are completely unscathed. 
 

Seedy Art


Got a tip on artful seed packets full of lovely heirloom seed varieties from 

How could we not order and share some?



Brilliant red, butterfly attracting, blooms for gifting? Grumpy, but fragrant gnomes? Gleaming edible flowers and foliage?

All right in our wheelhouse.


The true gift was that of a young gardener in the family starting some of them for us while we were gallivanting around Europe right during prime seed sprouting season.



She did a great job!

We have nasturtium, zinnia, 


and a bumper crop of lovely, lemon cucumbers.


So gifted!


Now to think of something clever to do with the beautiful artist-designed packets. 

Anyone? Anyone?




Monday, July 17, 2017

Portable Poutine


Poutine potato chips. No knife, fork, or napkin required, and perhaps minus a few hundred calories and the ensuing stomach ache one might receive from eating real poutine


 Hope the relatives leave room in their luggage for a bag or two of these when they come to WI this week for Christmas in July.


Warning: Santa has been sited in a red, Princecraft fishing boat powered by a 50 horsepower outboard motor named Rudolph. Last chance to make sure your name is on the "Nice" list.



Tuesday, July 4, 2017

One Fina Day


For a a garden club field trip. And we really did go to a field this time.


Fina Gardens, right in our own backyard in Hillsdale, WI, sells cut peonies to the floral industry during bloom season and rootstock by mail to any old body in the fall.


Some of these are headed for Hawaii where they will bloom beautifully for some bride who wants bouquet blooms just like in her granny's garden back in the Midwest. The ants have to stay behind.


This is Bartzella, an intersectional peony, and friendly model Earl's beard.


The garden club ladies had sooooo many questions.


NDL mostly looked and oohed and aahed and wished she had a big old yard with full sun.




Partial photo credit: M. Blue, garden club guest (and her amazing iPhone 7)


Saturday, June 24, 2017

Look Who's Talking


NDL was asked to do a gardening Q & A for Volume One Magazine.

It turned out quite nicely. You can read it here if you wish.


Thank you to the kind neighbor lady who recommended NDL for the article and to our young neighbor lady-in-training for making NDL look good in print.

It was a pleasure and a privilege and fun to do.


Sunday, June 18, 2017

To Dream the Possible Dream

  
Little girls can grow up to work for NASA. They cannot grow up to be mermaids.


C'mon Target! Get with it!

We copied another civilly disobedient shopper and moved a few NASA logo-ed items from the boys to the girls clothing section in hopes of being not provocative, but just a bit thought provoking. They are surely already put back where they came from and will not cause a stir, but one woman's similar action certainly did.

Perhaps Target and other retailers will now be getting a clue.

Go girls! 

And while we are at it, how about some changes in the boys section too? 



Thursday, June 1, 2017

Sheeple Baaaand Together for Good


Our new, favorite UK sheep, Herdwick of the Lake District
are known for their smiling faces.


These lucky sheep even have their own sheep shop called Herdy.

You can read the Herdy story here.

It's possible we came home with a little bit of Herdy. Just a tiny purchase of something flat, unbreakable, transportable, and very cute.


And look where part of the proceeds go:


Did you see the part about the knitted bench where experienced knitters can sit to teach novice knitters?

This is one situation where following the herd is a good thing.



Saturday, May 27, 2017

Nonna Was Here


Spotted in Tivoli, Italy.


Guerrilla grannies at work?


We would love to have seen them surrounding the tree on ladders of various heights, 
with crochet hooks flying. Probably under cover of night.


The nonno soundly snoozing in a completely upright position on the park bench below did not move a muscle as we carefully maneuvered around the tree to edit him out of these shots.

He must have been exhausted just thinking about how hard someone worked to create this lovely bit of street art.



Thursday, May 4, 2017

Spring Beauty


Oh My!



Gorgeous!

Thank you soooo much to the mystery May Day gift giver. 

Did you know May Day is one of NDL's very favorite days of the year?

We started the day with snow in Cable, WI and came home to this beautiful burst of spring.

And that is why it is a wonderfully, whimsical (we are at the whim of Mother Nature) day to celebrate spring in Wisconsin.



Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Smokey Sez


Remember. Only you can prevent wildfires.


He's got a hip new look and a cool website. Smokeybear.com

Yesterday fire danger was "very high" today it is raining and snowing up North.  
Tomorrow? Who knows? Keep an eye on DNR signs for moment to moment status.

Camping and campfire season is almost here. Let's be careful out there.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Little Anne


Coming soon to West Columbia Street. 


Little Anne magnolia.


Buds are bulging. Keep your eyes open (while keeping them mostly on the road) for the flower show.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Space Invaders


We are so sorry to have to break this to you all, but there is a new creepy, crawly, wriggling, thrashing invasive species that you should know about.










It is an unpleasant message to share, but we just don't want anyone freaking out if they happen to encounter these crazy worms in the garden unexpectedly. Be careful so you don't inadvertently introduce jumping worms to your garden from purchased or shared plants and be especially watchful for hidden hitchhikers if you are tempted to take plants up north to the cabin.

Yuck!


Wednesday, March 8, 2017

St. Croix Crossing


Last summer the garden club went on an aquatic adventure. A three hour tour, if you will. And we even got lunch! No coconut was on the menu. 


We boarded a paddleboat on the St. Croix River for an educational cruise around and under the construction of the to-be-completed in 2017 St. Croix Crossing that will replace the Stillwater Lift Bridge.


Speakers from the DOT and DNR were on board to narrate what we were seeing. 

For starters we learned that the bridge is an extradosed design which is a hybrid design of a box girder and a stay cable bridge (just as we suspected, but it was good to have that confirmed).


This is not usually the kind of thing NDL gets excited about, but this is a truly amazing project with some very impressive stats and a cool end product. And it was a good excuse to be on a boat on the river on a beautiful day.


The biggest red crane you see here (which certainly has some kind of official name that we don't know) is one of only three this big in the U.S. and it is on loan (I suspect there is a little rental fee) for this project.


Each of these bridge sections that the crane is lifting in this photo weighs 180 tons and there are 988 of them. Total concrete in the bridge will be 563.8 million pounds.


For bit of perspective see the concrete mixer on the barge. The lineup of Porta-Johns up on the bridge deck was impressively large, but tiny compared to the bridge too.


The length of the visible stay cables totals 5.2 miles (about 400 miles of cable strand). 
Within the bridge is 1,969 miles of cable strands.


The length of the bridge is nearly one mile. The width about 100 feet.

Segments between piers is 600 feet. That is the length of two football fields.


Part of the St. Croix Crossing plan that was of interest to the garden club and other outdoor and nature enthusiasts is the planned 4.7 mile Loop Trail.


The trail will connect to existing trails in MN and WI and uses both the new St. Croix Crossing and the existing Stillwater Lift Bridge, which will be converted to a bicycle/pedestrian bridge in 2018-19.


The new bridge will have a designated bicycle/pedestrian lane.


Of particular interest to the Garden Club cruisers were the well thought out plans for sustainable plantings in the many, some very large, areas around the long lead up to the bridge on either side of the river. These spaces include paths, parking lots, roundabouts, restrooms, informational kiosks, and viewing areas. It seems the crossing will be both a bridge to a destination and a destination itself.

If you want to know more check out the MN DOT website for Loop Trail and Design and Construction details



Tuesday, February 28, 2017

NDL on a Mission



We got to go here. Motawi Tileworks factory and outlet store in Ann Arbor, Michigan.


Motawi makes beautiful tile and has rights to make the wonderful images of Charley Harper into ceramic art pieces. His work is perfect for reproduction in the lovely colors and finishes of kiln-fired glazes.

When I look at a wildlife or nature subject, I don’t see the feathers in the wings, I just count the wings. I see exciting shapes, color combinations, patterns, textures, fascinating behavior and endless possibilities for making interesting pictures. I regard the picture as an ecosystem in which all the elements are interrelated, interdependent, perfectly balanced, without trimming or unutilized parts; and herein lies the lure of painting; in a world of chaos, the picture is one small rectangle in which the artist can create an ordered universe. - Charley Harper


It is possible one or two made it back to Wisconsin.


Another Motawi tile theme is arts and crafts/mission-style designs. You can see a few here and many more at their website. 

Speaking of Mission....

Here at NDL we are going to adapt and adopt the Motawi company Values and Mission Statement. 

Bout time we had some direction around here!

Values and Mission Statement

What do we do?
We make distinctive stuff and do things in a (relatively) healthy way. We share our story. 
And we have fun.

Why?
We believe we can make the world a better place by making beautiful (or at least cute) things for everyday places and model healthy(ish) neighborhood and family practices.

How do we do this?
We make things that are valued for their design and quality (or their quirkiness, or because they amuse us, or because they help us reduce, reuse, or recycle stuff).
We cultivate an intentional (home) workplace culture that fosters (almost) constant improvement, positivity (mostly through the wit and wisdom of Mary Englebreit and Calvin and Hobbes, greeting card slogans, or signs we see on our travels) and consistently high (as possible) performance all while drinking lots of coffee.

Wish us luck at our next performance review!