My Wilt-Pruf Over-Winter Rhododendron Experiment

In the photo above you can see both of our Rhododendrons that flank the stoop out the back door of our family.  In April of last year, I showed the landscape plan that specified these two plants to be placed in the beds on either side of the rear stoop and then in June, I got around to actually planting them.  And they bloomed beautifully this Summer.  They're a really interesting plant/shrub because they have an almost tropical appearance but also are winter hardy here in Zone 5B.  They keep their leaves on all winter, but that doesn't mean they can't use a little bit of help in fighting off the harsh cold and ice.

And that's where something called Wilt-Pruf comes in.  Wilt-Pruf is an Anti-transpirant.  That means it helps protect plants from drying out.  We bought the concentrate version and mixed up a batch to put on some of our plants/trees.  I sprayed our Weeping Cedar in the back.  And the little boxwoods that I added near the foundation behind our kitchen.  And…

Marx Tin Plate Pre-War Caution High Speed Trains Sign

One of my Christmas traditions is going to the annual Dupage County Train Show with my Dad, my nephew and my kids.  I've posted about it the past few years and have done a little show-and-tell in posts of the items that we've added to the Mantleburg line.  Last year, I posted photos of the Plasticville Drug Store, a Schlitz Beer Lionel Billboard, an American Flyer Lackawanna Bridge, and a 70's or 80's era Lionel Flag Pole.  In 2016, we added an operating car or two

This year, I ended up buying just one thing:  this Marx Tin Plate Pre-War trackside sign.  It was just $2 and I liked the looks of it, so I made the deal. 

It doesn't operate or animate and it isn't exactly in line with the kids Mantleburg line (with our FasTrack and all), but that's just fine. 

I've added it to our Christmas Train layout and I think it adds a nice, vintage touch.

One of the things at the show that I was talking to my Dad and Nephew about was the fact that I'm pretty s…

Tin Merry Christmas Vintage Banner

Back in September, Nat and I celebrated our 10th Wedding Anniversary.  10 years.  Holy cow.  I find it so hard to believe how lucky I've been.  Although I failed at *some* of years in terms of delivering to her the 'traditional' anniversary gifts, I've tried to stick to the plan. 

For instance...nine years is pottery.  So, I got her both a flower pot and a glazed tile. 

Ten years?  The traditional anniversary gift is tin or aluminum

That one had me scratching my head.  I try to buy something vintage for these gifts and all my searches turned up housewares (platters or toasters or serving utensils) and I knew those wouldn't work. 

But then I found this Merry Christmas banner.  It is tin.  Or maybe aluminum.  Not sure.  But it *is* metal and super thin and foldable/bendable/creaseable.  It was broken at the time - cut into four segments.  But the price was right - $5 - and I figured I could use some brads and a hole puncher to reassemble it back together. 

Sure eno…

2018 Amaryllis Update - A Bit Behind Last Year

Back in November, I posted photos of the Amaryllis bulb I planted (Double Flowering Nymph) and about a week in, I shared what was then the first sign of life emerging from the bulb.  Last year, I posted a photo of our bulbs on December 16th and remarked how I was hoping it would emerge in time for Christmas.  Turns out, it was *right.on.time*.  This year?  Different story. 

The photo up top shows how one of the stems has begun to emerge, but it is just that:  barely emerging from the bulb.  The other one - a little bit further ahead is all bud and no stem. 

Compare them to December 16th last year.  Maybe eight inches of height difference. 

With nine days left before Christmas, I'm thinking this is more New Year's Amaryllis vs. Christmas flower.  That's the bad.  The good? It appears that we're going to get two stems with big buds on them as the second one continues to catch up with the first one.  You can see a better look at both of them in the photo below.

View From My Office: Winter Sunrise

Most mornings I get into the office a little before seven am.  And when I walk over to the coffee machine, I'm drawn to the East side of our building to take this in:  the Winter sunset.  There aren't too many more mornings left in this working year, so it feels appropriate to stop and pause and reflect on the year at Edelman.  Our business is not run on the calendar year, so it isn't the annual finish line, but January feels like a good time to renew our collective efforts.  And December feels like a good time to look back and be grateful for what we've built. 

I work on a great team full of smart, strong, talented professionals.  I'm grateful each time I see this sunrise that they're walking with me into battle each day.

Union Station's $22M Skylight

I go through Union Station everyday that I'm downtown for work, but I very rarely go through the Great Hall.  Most of Union Station is gross, but it is slowly improving - starting with the unveiling of the renovation to the Great Hall.  I took this photo last week showing off the new (costly!) skylight and you can see a little bit of scaffolding in the upper reaches of the Hall. 

From the Tribune:
Union Station’s Great Hall, a stopping point for millions of travelers since 1925, is a lot brighter this holiday season, thanks to a $22 million renovation of its skylight and decorative walls and ceiling.  The centerpiece of the Great Hall is the 219-foot-long skylight rising 115 feet above the floor.  For almost a year, the skylight has been obscured by a suspended working deck as Berglund Construction and architect Goettsch Partners repaired it and added another modern, protective skylight 5 feet above the original. Natural light in the Great Hall has now increased by 50 to 60 percen…

Celebration Series Lionel Santa Fe Operating Horse Car and Corral 6-19895

Just yesterday, I posted about with the kid's Christmas Train (the Mantleburg Line) set up in the basement, we're using more of our cars that we've picked up in the past few years while the trains were in storage.  The operating barrel car that I shared yesterday was, as I noted, in a weird color gold and brown box from Lionel

In that post, I showed the components of the operating car - including the barrels, the car and just the simple tray to 'collect' the barrels once they're pushed out of the car.  We run FasTrack from Lionel, so *that* setup is easy to use. don't need to modify any of the track/trackside in any way.   The little tray just sits next to a segment of operating FasTrack and the car simply "works".  Nice and easy - especially for us with the kids at the controls. 

Today's post is about a different operating car:  The 3356 Santa Fe Operating Horse Car and Corral.  Lionel part 6-19895.  The car is listed as bei…