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Showing posts from June, 2013

Dahlias Already Popping Up

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It was just two weeks ago that I planted the Dahlia Tubers in one of our planters and when I peeked at them yesterday morning, I saw that some of them are already popping up.  They're hanging on one of the low sections of our fence and are getting a ton of sun.  With all the rains that have come down lately, they've been getting well feed too, it seems.

We gave a set of Dahlia tubers to my mother-in-law about the same time so I'm hoping that her's are popping up as quickly as ours have.

Pear Tree Leaped This Year - 2013

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Back in June of 2010, our little pear tree snapped in half during a big storm.  Here's the sad photo of it being cracked off at about 4 feet tall.  I didn't have much hope for it to survive, but we left it in the ground.

By September of 2010, the tree showed some life and started to have shoots coming off the cracked trunk.  Photos of that growth here.

This year?  Well...it hasn't stopped and now is in the running for the tallest tree in our backyard.  Here is how it looked this morning.


And the pears?  They're starting to come in.


Come September, I'm thinking we'll have some fruit to pick.

So Long, Qdoba on St. Charles

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Sad news is being reported by multiple outlets:  The Qdoba Burrito joint on St. Charles near 83 is set to close as part of a restructuring.  And it is happening fast.  As in TODAY.

All total, they're closing 67 stores.  17 of which are in our area.

I have to be perfectly honest.  It always felt like a knock-off of Chipotle.  I have no idea which one came first, but in my mind it was the Burger King to the Chipotle McDonald's.  And...while I ate it a few times, I didn't love it.  I think that was largely because in my head a "quick serve burrito" was supposed to taste like Chipotle.

Too bad for Elmhurst.  Too bad for the folks who worked there, too!

Mariano's Elmhurst: Opening Night

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On Monday night, Nat and I attended the Opening Night Celebration at Mariano's in Elmhurst.  (Disclosure:  Mariano's is an Edelman client.  I work at Edelman these days.  Got it?)

If my experience was like any one elses, they made quite the impression on the community.

The team that Mariano's assembled went all out.  They had the front half of the store decked out in a pretty incredible display of color and style.  From the faux-Chihuly pieces hanging from the ceilings, a DJ and dancers and tons of food and drinks.

The current Mayor Steve Morley was in attendance as were the past two Mayors along with a bunch of elected officials (City Council and School Board).

The store itself, while we didn't get a total look at the place, is HUGE.

We had a great time and can't wait to get back to do some shopping at the store.  While I certainly am hoping that Mariano's will succeed, I am very wary that our Jewel, which is in the City Centre will suffer as a result.  That…

Pinky Winky Hydrangea Tree Blooming - 2013 (and Not So Pink?!?)

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Looks like our Hydrangea tree that we planted in very late May is happy with where we put it.  It was billed as a "Pinky Winky" tree with the label, but the buds sure don't look pink to me!  Guessing this was mis-marked at some point?  The blooms are linear-shaped, so it isn't something that we have around here currently - which is nice.

Deja Vu Salon: Coming Soon in Elmhurst

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We lost Glam! Nails and More and we ge Deja Vu Hair & Nail "Lounge" right across from City Hall on York Street.  I guess it is too much to hope for something else here based on the location and the set-up of the space, right?  I wish them a lot of luck and hope they do well here in Elmhurst!

Watching the Bulbs Pop Out

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I had my time-lapse camera focused on a set of bulbs here in one of our beds and I'm hoping the focus/capture area are set properly to see these little bits of green pop out of the ground and grow upward.  It is currently taking a photo every hour and these are - in theory - fast moving bulbs, so we should have a nice little video in 10 days or so.

Radish Seedlings - 2013

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I think we're going to have a LOT of radishes.  Time to thin these guys out.

Field Trip App from Google + Cronut Craze

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Sometimes, just sometimes, technology is amazing.  Well...I guess A LOT of the time, technology is amazing, but on rare occasions, I find myself blown away by the computing power that we carry with us everyday.

This story is a case in point.  I carry an Android device in my pocket and I have Google's FieldTrip App on it.  It works on both Android and iPhone, so if you don't have it on your phone, you should go grab it now.  I'll wait.  Seriously...Go here and click the link for your app store.

Field Trip is this neat little pocket assistant that alerts you to interesting things in the world around you.  You can set your preferences (I lean heavily on movie scenes - like alerting me when I'm near a location that was used in a movie, architecture, history, and food.) and the app will buzz in your pocket to give you a little bit of knowledge that is contextually/geo-aware of your location.  It is pretty neat.

If you walk through the Loop everyday, the notifications can …

"Lain Low" instead of "Laid Low"

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Huh.  Guess I've been using it improperly my ENTIRE life?

Dahlias in Planter Box

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Over the weekend, I found a screaming deal on these Dahlia tubers at Mendards.  There are three Manhattan Island Dahlia tubers and 3 Kiev Dahlia tubers.  Knowing my experience with these big Dahlias, I know that I have to put them in a container and make sure we bring that container inside for the winter - long before the frost comes - if I want it to survive until next year.

I'm getting these in the planter box pretty late, but I've finally gotten around to setting up the three spare planter box frames that Nat picked up last summer.  I've attached them to the south fence line in the backyard.  They'll get a ton of sun and as long as I remember to water them regularly, they should be quite happy there up in the air.

I'll try to grab a photo of the boxes hung on the fence, so I can track their progress.

Good Riddance: Cash for Gold Elmhurst City Centre

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Not all store closings in our downtown are created equal.  While I'm bummed about Jamba Juice, I actually couldn't be more pleased to see the Cash For Gold location at 122 N. York fold up shop.  Or...at least I *think* they've fold up shop.

They emptied out the store.  You can't really tell from that photo above, but there is no furniture in the store any more.

What can we get in here?  As you know, the places/types of businesses on my list include:

Kitchen/cooking stuff store (think independent Williams Sonoma)Manly Craft store/hardware store minus the nuts/bolts) (think Kaufman Merchantile) What else?  We don't need more yogurt shops or salons.  But...I'm a free-market-guy, so I guess until I'm ready to put my money where my mouth is, we'll just have to sit back and see. 

So Long, Elmhurst Jamba Juice

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That's a sad sign up in the front window of our Jamba Juice in the Elmhurst City Centre.  Seems like the tweens who constantly hang out inside there couldn't quite keep the place open.  Or, the fact that three yogurt places have opened within a few hundred yards of this place?

Losing an independent business in our downtown is bad, but losing a national chain?  Even worse.  

What are we doing to turn things around in the City Centre?  Besides put in yogurt places?

Radish Seedlings - 2013

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Time to thin out the seedlings!  Thanks to the seed tape, the job shouldn't be that tough.

Good Guy Elmhurst City Hall: Sandbagging Station

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Yesterday we had "The Storm that Wasn't" in Elmhurst.  Seems like every time the Chicago area gets warned about a major storm, we in Elmhurst always feels the impact.  Except, it seems, yesterday.

The City went beyond the normal measures it seems as I came across this pile of sand and box of sandbags in the parking lot at City Hall this am.  From the looks of the pile, it appears that some residents *actually* used this stuff.  Based on what we experienced at our house, they didn't need it.

But, kudos to the City for going this extra mile for residents.  Now...if they could only solve the real problem that is causing flooding/basement backups, etc?  Yeah...that'd be great.

Bruce Rauner - Gubernatorial Candidate - At Elmhurst College

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I found this document posted up on the side window of the now empty Plass Appliances in downtown Elmhurst this morning.  It is advertising a talk that Bruce Rauner - a Republican who is running for Governor of Illinois - is giving at Elmhurst College on Monday, June 17th.

Here's the listing on the site.
Beginning this month, Elmhurst College will launch a new lecture series called Fixing Illinois: A Great State’s Problems and Promise. The goal of the series is to start an ongoing discussion about the challenges that Illinois faces, and to empower citizens to help address those challenges and move the state forward. The first speaker in the series is Bruce Rauner, a wealthy businessman and gubernatorial candidate. Rauner’s talk is titled, Making Illinois Work Again. In the past, Elmhurst College has had folks like Speaker Madigan come talk and hosted SOS Jesse White and Senator Mark Kirk, so the school is no slouch when it comes to Illinois political speakers.  
How do they get thes…

Water Wiggler: For our Birdbath

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Last year, I received a four-season birdbath that has a cord that plugs into the wall to keep the water from freezing.  It also happens to have a railing clamp - which allowed me to put it right on our back deck outside our back doors.  I've been dutifully re-filling the bowl when it dries out (the recent rains have really helped!), but I don't think I've ever witnessed one single bird come over and take a drink.

But, over the weekend, I found this Water Wiggler still in the box.  I was given it by my mother-in-law a few years back and never installed it.  I put it together, slapped in a couple of D Cell batteries and plopped it into the bowl.  It creates this neat ripple effect on the water which moves the water out in concentric circles.

That has the benefit of helping eliminate a potential mosquito breeding ground (moving water is bad for mosquito babies!) and according to the box, birds are attracted to moving water.

Guess what?  Not 4 hours after putting in the wig…

Blueberry Bush Planted: 2013

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Putting this hear so I remember *exactly* when this thing went in the ground.  I picked this bush/shrub up on a whim at Home Depot.  It was $4.99 so I'm not expecting much.   Have you ever grown blueberries?  I have heard two things, but don't know if they're true:

1.  You need two plants to fruit.
2.  You need sandy soil.

Confirmation from anyone?

Carrot Seed Tape Planted: 2013

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Over the weekend, I planted the rest of the seeds in our garden including these Nantes Half Long Carrots.  I've been deliberately trying to rotate the crops each season so these carrots are running where I had peppers last year.  In other cases, I've put something totally new where I've had things like tomatoes before.

70 days from now, this patch (below) should be full of lacy greens with some 'tasty' carrots underneath.


Yukon Gold Seed Potatoes Planted

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This morning, I put in the Yukon Gold Seed potatoes in the ground (those are the ones on the left).  I had five pounds of them and the bag says that we could end up with a yield of up to 50 pounds.

Based on my past experience, we won't get up to 50 pounds, but we *will* get some potatoes.  From the looks of things on the web, this variety is pretty versatile.  You can steam/fry/grill/roast them.  Heck, Mrs. Martha even makes fries out of them.

90 days from now (Sept 1st) or there about, we'll be able to harvest them.