Fall Check-in On Our Dawn Redwood - 2018

Back on Earth Day 2017, we planted a small Dawn Redwood tree in our backyard.  This was in the middle of construction of our house and we weren't even living there.  I figured, we'd get the tree in and give it a little bit of a head start.  The only problem...since I didn't tend to it for the first few months, it didn't do well.

By October of last year, I was questioning if the tree was going to make it.  Take a look at the photo here to see how bare it was by mid-October.

And ultimately died.   So, we replaced it this year.  Same spot, but more care in terms of water.

And by October of *this* year, the tree wasn't bare.  But instead was sprouting some new growth.

And now?  See the photo at the top of this post?  The entire tree has turned a bronze color and appears poised to drop all of it's needles very soon.  Which, based on what I've seen on other deciduous conifers is appropriate behavior.

The tree also appears to have set some buds for the Spring, so…

Tree Dreaming: Columnar Norway Spruce

With Halloween in our rearview mirror and Christmas season in full swing, my time in the yard has mostly become leaf collection, branch pickup and walnut removal.  There's no planting going on right now, but that isn't keeping me from dreaming about next Spring and what we could add to Hornbeam Hill.  I've been painfully aware that I'm behind on planting conifers and have only planted three small ones.  The Fraser Fir was planted and lost this Summer.  Same with a small Canadian Hemlock.  Planted and lost this Summer.

But I also posted in late Summer of 2017 about a 'dream' tree.  It was a Weeping Cedar.  I came across it and fell in love.  After finding a small one at Home Depot, I splurged and bought it.  Brought it home and planted it in the backyard

This post is about another 'dream tree'.  I've dreamed/thought about a bunch of trees that I'd like to add over the previous year or so to our backyard.  I posted about a Dappled Willow that w…

Frans Fontaine Hornbeams - First Fall 2018

Back in May of this year, we planted a hedge of seven Frans Fontaine European Hornbeam trees along the fenceline on the northside of our property right outside of our screened porch.  These are trees that I had researched and dreamed about since we moved in.  Prior to their installation, I documented what the 'view' was like of the space where they were going in April (when there was still a little bit of snow on the ground) and then again in late May, right before they were planted.

I tried to baby them all Summer and with the help of a couple of soaker hoses, I tried to keep them happy and hydrated.

I most recently visited these trees in late August when I posted this photo of the 'late Summer' view of the hedge.  I've noticed that all seven of the trees have handled their transplant differently.  Some of them have done just fine.  A few have even shot up leaders at the top.  One of them seems to be growing wider at the top than others, which is interesting.  An…

Canyon Trail Cemetery - Halloween House in Carol Stream

Despite it being November and Halloween is squarely in our rearview mirror, I still wanted to post about one of our Halloween traditions:  a visit to Canyon Trail Cemetery in Carol Stream to see all the haunts and ghosts and witches and scares.

We've visited the Canyon Trail Cemetery for the past five years - counting this year.

This post covers our visit in 2018.
Our visit in 2017.
Our visit in 2016.
Our visit in 2015.
Our visit in 2014.

This year, it was a little too scary for the KotBT.  He didn't like some of the things that leap out and what have you.  So we did a quick tour, then headed back to the van.  Nat and the girls spent more time looking at everything.  We did notice a few new things - or at least they were new to us.  In particular...I've never noticed the Haunted Mansion sounds/speech from Madame Leota and her levitating head scene from the ride.  You know the part, right?  Here:

It's too late for you to visit this year, but make time for it next year.  An…

Wireless Charging Via The Google Pixel Stand

This arrived in the mail to help me turn my phone into a little stand-up display and push me into the future with wireless charging.  But the biggest issue I've come across with being a *real* wireless charging user?  Driving.  Yeah.  Driving.

That's because we have those little car dashboard vent magnetic mounts that require you to slide a little metal plate under your case.  Then you just kind of 'pop' your phone on the mount and it keeps it out our your hands and allows you to use turn-by-turn directions without fumbling around with your phone.

The issue?  If I put the metal plate in the middle of the back of the phone, the wireless charging via the Google Pixel Stand here doesn't work.  If I take the plate out, then I don't get to pop my phone on the dash while we drive.  A few weeks in, it seems that I'm choosing the convenience of the magnetic plate over the wireless charging on the stand.

Anybody solve this dilemma?

Lemax Round Up Animated Carnival Ride Christmas Village

Another day, another Lemax Christmas Village building. This one is from the Carnival Village and is called The Round Up.  It is pretty neat.  Lemax lists it as being released in 2012 on their site, but this is the first time I've seen it at Menards. 

Quick refresher for this year's Menards Christmas Village buildings:
1.  Draft Brothers Craft Brewing Supplies Store from the Harvest Crossing Collection
2.  The Elf Workshop from Santa's Wonderland Village.
3.  Nora's Christmas Boutique from the Caddington Village Collection. 

Now comes the first carnival-focused, animated, musical structure here on the blog.  This isn't the first one we've bought or come across, but the first one on the blog.  And it is pretty neat.

Called The Round Up Village Carnival Ride - priced at $89.99 -  it is described by Menards thusly:
The Round Up is an absolute blast! This spinning carnival ride puts gravity to the test as a southern-sounding cowboy announcer tells riders to saddle…

Nora's Christmas Boutique - Lemax Christmas Village 2018

Day Three of the Menards Lemax Christmas Village reveal.  First was the Draft Bros Home Brewing Supplies store. Then yesterday was the Elf Workshop.  Today comes Nora's Christmas Boutique.  Nora's is part of Caddington Village which is a Victorian Era town.    If you search [Caddington] here on the blog, you'll see a series of structures that I've featured over the years.  It seems that Menards sells a lot of the Caddington Village line every year. 

Above you'll see the building in the Menards Village setting.  Below is the box - with the price of $39.99.  (11% back, of course!)

As you guys know, Mantleburg isn't adding anything to the town, but the Economic Development Commissioner can't help but listening to the presentations from the merchants who are looking to move into town.

In terms of villages, you can get lost over on the /villages page at Lemax's site.  Sure, I've flirted with Vail Village or Spookytown or even the Carnival buildings wit…