Showing posts from 2018

Walt Disney: I believe in being an innovator.

Yesterday, I posted a photo of a Walt Disney quote from a construction sign.  Today is another.  This one rings true, doesn't it?  Or maybe is just a massive an understatement from Walt himself.   This is from the same wall that the "everybody needs deadlines" quote sign that adorned the Disney Skyliner Station construction site outside the backdoor of Epcot at the International Gateway.  You can peek at this post and see that the signs are the same theme.
"I believe in being an innovator." -Walt Disney
Full archive of the Walt Disney World construction signs (cleverly sponsored by Stanley Black and Decker) featuring quotes from Walt Disney can be found here.  This is the seventh in the collection.

One other thing that they've added to the construction wall since we were last there is this Disney Skyliner sign that shows some of the art on the gondolas and the map of the Skyliner.

Nat and I were talking and she pointed out something:  we're going to be…

Walt Disney: "I've wanted to do things..."

I've posted a bunch of Walt Disney quotes that have appeared on Disney World construction signs (sponsored by Stanley!) over the past year or so.  This one is another one that we spotted on the walk from the Boardwalk to Disney's Hollywood Studios - right outside the Disney Skyway station construction zone.
"I've wanted to do things; I wanted to build things, to get something going." -Walt Disney

Galaxy's Edge: Can't Wait

We stopped by the entrance to Star Wars Galaxy's Edge on a recent trip and the Babe was - understandably - excited about the new land.  Can't wait until 2019 when we'll have to make a trip back to take it all in as a family.

Bressingham Blue Hostas - 2018

I picked up this bag of 10 hosta bulbs at Costco recently and while I'm eager to get them in the ground, they have a specific purpose in our landscape plan:  placed at the base of the new European Hornbeams that are going in along our north fence line.  If you look at the landscape plan image in this post, you can see a series of plants at the base of the trees in the green area.  Those are Hostas.  15 of them or so. 

But, if you've read any of my gardening posts here on the blog, you know that I love hostas.  They're my favorite plant.  Along with ferns.  Actually...any kind of shade gardening.  I've planted plenty ofhostas over the years.  I mean...we even fostered our giant Hosta over at Nat's Mom's house in Naperville the past few years.  I also dug out - what I *think* were a few hostas out of our neighbor's yard before they tore down the house.  I'm hopeful that those will emerge this Spring. 

Back to these Bressingham Blues.  They're a lar…

DC Visit for Cherry Blossoms

I'm one lucky guy.  At least when it comes to timing trips with the show that Cherry Blossom trees put on.  Last year, I was in Tokyo during the Cherry Blossom season and documented it here on the blog.

And earlier this month, I found myself in our nation's capital when their own Cherry Blossom trees were on full display.   Double bucket list visits, right?

I also brushed up on the reason for why the Cherry Blossom trees are even there.
Each year, the National Cherry Blossom Festival commemorates the 1912 gift of 3,000 cherry trees from Mayor Yukio Ozaki of Tokyo to the city of Washington, DC. The gift and annual celebration honor the lasting friendship between the United States and Japan and the continued close relationship between the two countries. My trip to Washington D.C. was brief, but I was able to take in the trees from a few different vantage points.  (I've posted about another trip to DC all the way back in 2012 when I took this photo of the Washington Monument

Pooh Bear Disney Pin - Acquired in 2018

On a recent trip to the Vacation Kingdom, the Bird traded for this pretty great Pooh Bear pin.  It is a good-sized circle with just the silhouette of Pooh on it.  I've posted this other 'safety-pin' Winnie the Pooh pin before on the blog.  The Bird has quite a good Pooh Bear collection on her board that this one will go. 

Surprise (Volunteer) Daffodils - 2018

I went out to the yard to check in on the allium and tulip bulbs that I planted last fall and came across this nice little surprise:  a series of rows of daffodil clumps that had popped up in the yard behind one of our big Oak trees.  You can see the doubled-up Automower wire in the ground and the plastic mesh that the landscapers put down last Summer.  That means that this area was seeded, and as you can tell, it didn't take that strongly.  They'll give us a nice pop of color soon and then recede back into the ground.  I believe that this area is called out as a landscape bed eventually, so I'm not sure that we'll re-seed it this Spring, but probably just let it go as it is.  Since the Automower is wired to run in this area, it will keep the growth short and ready to be swapped out at a later date.  That plastic mesh, though.  I'm thinking that's a project to take on this Spring.  A lot of cutting and some ripping to remove it, where it hasn't been encaps…

View from my Office - April 2018 (snow?!)

Well, look what we have here:  a dusting of snow covering Chicago's lakefront when I arrived at the Aon Center this morning.  This is the view - looking south - from the 64th floor.  I have been planning on planting perennials and digging beds in the backyard.  But instead, we have snow and ice.  Add this to the pile of weather complaints that everyone seems to have these days.

Poznan, Poland Virgin Mary Painting @ St. Mary of Gostyn Catholic Church in Downers Grove

If you ever find yourself at St. Mary of Gostyn Catholic Church in Downers Grove, make sure you take a moment to look at the painting of the Virgin Mary hanging in the vestibule right outside the church that is hanging just to the right of the main doors.  That's it above. St. Mary's is the oldest Catholic church in Downers.  From the SMG site: St. Mary of Gostyn Parish, the oldest Catholic church in Downers Grove, was founded by poor immigrants who came from Gostyn, Poland, shortly after the American Civil War. By the 1880’s, Polish-speaking priests from Chicago were regularly serving this rural settlement. Masses were said in homes or tents because there was no church. Founded by Polish immigrants.  Cool, right?  But also cool because my Mom is Polish.  So that means, I'm Polish.  And so are my kids.  
Right below the painting is this plaque that reads "The picture of the Virgin Mary and child dates from 1540."  
Yeah...1540?!?!  If you click the photo and zoo…

The Horseshoe - From The Air

File this under:  I went to X and only got this crummy photograph of my visit.  Here's Denver recently.  And Denver a few years back.  And Denver once again.  All in the same series. 

This time, it was Columbus Ohio and Ohio Stadium from the window seat in my American Airlines flight on a recent weekday.  During my time on the Fighting Illini (backup punter!), I didn't get to travel to Ohio Stadium, so I've never been inside the place.  But, it looks pretty rad from the air, so I imagine it was pretty awesome back in 2007 when the Illini upset then #1 OSU.

The good news is that I'm going to be back in Columbus every once in a while, so there's hope that I'll get in there after all.

Update: Dahlias and Elephant Ear (But Maybe Just Dahlias)

Just a little over a week ago, I posted the first peek of little sprouts of Dahlias and Elephant Ears poking through the soil in a pot that I started in our dining room.  Welp, fast forward a week and we suddenly have a lot of growth from three shoots.  But, I'm pretty sure that I planted four bulbs/tubers.  Three Firebird semi-cactus Dahlias and one Elephant Ear Black Magic.   The three plants that have grown all look alike, so I'm presuming that these are the Dahlias.  But, the Elephant Ear is missing.  Perhaps a little bit of excavation is called for to figure out if the Elephant Ear is, indeed, down there (or if I forgot to plant it!) and/or if something is wrong.  Maybe I planted it too deep?

My hunch is that the bulb is still simply dormant - and that's not an uncommon problem based on a quick tour around the Web - and that with time, it will come up.

Enzo's Hideaway Coaster from Disney Springs

Here comes #27 in the [coaster collection] here on the blog.  This one is from a place called Enzo's Hideaway and Tunnel Bar - which happens to be down in Disney Springs.  And being as such, this one marks the 10th coaster that came from a Disney property as part of the collection.   The most recent Disney-related one was from the Abracadabar.  The other Disney ones are varied and include this one from the Boathouse, the Flying Fish restaurant, the Skipper Canteen, Raglan Road restaurant in Disney Springs, the Disneyland Hotel and Walt Disney World resort hotels as well as the *new* Walt Disney World resort hotel version.

We had dinner down at Enzo's Hideaway recently and I'll give it a mixed review.  Cool place.  But, slow service and just ordinary food.  Cool coaster, though.

Rear Stoop Planting: Rhododendrons in Landscape Plan

This is the fifth chapter is a series of our landscape plan posts that show off various portions of our #newoldbackyard in the planning stages.  The other four are here:
1.  Part of the southern fence line that includes some hydrangeas, hostas, ferns, allium and Canadian Hemlocks.   2.  Part of our rear foundation planting areas, right outside our breakfast nook/kitchen windows. Grasses, boxwoods and even a peek at one of the rhododendrons that *this* post is all about.  3.  The hornbeam/privacy hedge on the north fenceline near our screened porch.   4.  Far southwest corner by the trampoline that includes some Canadian Hemlocks.
This fifth chapter covers just two plants that you can see in the sketch above.  They are both PJM Rhododendrons that occupy some foundation beds on either side of our rear stoop heading to our back patio.  
Here's a look at those beds that I took this past weekend:

You can see the two beds are good-sized and fall on their side of the concrete stoop.  Th…

Purple Sensation Allium Emerging For First Spring

Last October, I picked up 10 Purple Sensation Allium bulbs and planted them around a big oak tree in our backyard.  That initial planting post is here.  Over the weekend (before the snow came in on Monday morning), I spent some time out puttering around the yard and discovered that - just like the tulip bulbs that I planted at the same time - that some of these allium have emerged.  This one in the photo above, is right at the base of that mighty oak and I'm hoping will continue to grow and give us a little 'show' with the purple orb.  Along with hostas and ferns, I have a soft spot in my gardening heart from allium.  As I wrote last fall:
I first wrote about Allium bulbs all the way back in 2011, when the first set of shoots broke through the mulch that Spring.  I planted those in 'secret' as a little surprise for Natalie.I then chronicled their appearance in 20122014 and 2015. At the beginning of April, I mentioned here on the blog that we are looking at a tree…

New Project: Hollywood Juniper Topiaries

I came across these Hollywood Junipers on Fast Growing Trees (that's their product listing above) and then wandered down a Juniper-related wormhole into the world of topiary arts.  And, I ended up landing at this Monrovia page about their Hollywood Junipers that features a secondary photo that looks like this:

And I've now suddenly decided to take on a new gardening project that involves me blindly ordering trees online (!?) and figuring out how to either build or buy some big enough pots to keep a couple of these on our patio. 

Having just visited the Flower and Garden Festival and seeing their topiaries of different styles/sizes, I've kinda fallen hard for them and think they'll both add a little interest and provide some activity for me and the kids to putter around the yard this season. 

The Fast-Growing-Trees site sells 3'-4' trees, so they're not very big, but if the site's name is any indication, they'll add some inches this se…

Drywall and Door Hung in Basement Workshop

Just a few days ago, I posted about the progress being made in the construction of my #newoldworkshop down in the basement.  I shared a photo of the wall being framed in here.  Today, you can see the door installed and the sheetrock attached to the outside of the framing.  If you look closely, you'll also see the dust vent up near the top of the framing. 

The door on the right is the door to our "Christmas Closet" and was already built by our builder's team.  As I mentioned in the post outlining all the 'to do's' for my shop, I used an exterior door with weather seal to keep the dust contained.  I'm also planning on painting the walls in the shop to brighten up the space and lay down some of that epoxy garage floor coating to spif the place up.  And, I've been reading up on dust collection systems including this one from GeekBeat.  I like his ducting/routing/termination system.  But, I'm thinking of going a different route in terms of collect…

American Goldfinch - Added To MY Backyard Bird Feeder Visitor Log

We have had a few new visitors to our feeders recently and they're all colored gold.  Or yellow.  They're American Goldfinches and you can see one of them in the photo above.  We have both - what I think are - males and females.  Males with a much more striking gold and the females with their winter plumage.  I snapped the photo above out of kitchen windows one morning recently.  And we knew what it was immediately.  But we went to the Field Guide anyway.  Here's the listing for the American Goldfinch below:

The one you see above is at our squirrel-proof feeder that I've filled with thistle seed. 

Let's call this one the fifth species that we've documented as part of our [backyard bird visitor's log] here on the blog. The other four from this Winter/Spring:

Red-bellied woodpeckerHouse SparrowMale and Female CardinalsWhite-breasted Nuthatch

On 40 Trips Around the Sun and Blogging All About It...

Today marks the beginning of my 40th trip around the Sun and as such, it seems like an appropriate time to ponder the state of the blog.  Yeah...I'm a blogger.  And have been so for more than 14 years.  I have the archives to prove it!  I started with the JoinCross Blog and then RhodesSchool and have been settled in here at "Why I oughta" on my personal domain for more than a decade.  And now with more than 3,000 individual posts, I've left behind quite a bit of digital and personal brick-a-brack over the years - especially with a handful of recent one-post-per-day-every-day years.  I'm on track to keep up the one-post-per-day for 2018, too.
Like a lot of you guys, I've read a bunch of the 'is blogging dead' pieces like this one, but a few have stuck out and I feel are worth sharing to talk about the place of a personal blog in the face of publishing platforms like Facebook and Twitter and Instagram what-have-you.  Now...I'm on Facebook and Twitt…

Workshop Wall Going In (Basement)

After months of planning and thinking and posting about my eventual workshop, we finally have progress:  the wall that divides the rest of our basement with my shop is getting installed.  In the photo above, you can see the wall being framed and the steel door - an exterior door - installed.  On the right side of the photo - through the framing - you can see the existing stairs and banister coming down from the first floor.  In the middle of the room, you can see an existing door/wall that built out by our builder to contain the mechanical room.  They used a steel, exterior door on the mechanical room, so we replicated that with the door for my shop.  They're going to be so close, so it was important for them to match.

Right after the wall framing is done, drywall is going on the outside, but I'm going to leave the inside unfinished.  I'm still planning on cutting in a spot for a vent (see here for inspiration) and stuffing the joist cavities with insulation so we can kee…

Update: Dahlia and Elephant Ear Bulbs Planted and Sprouted

Back in Mid-March, I posted about some dahlia tubers and Elephant Ear bulbs that I picked up at Menards.  Along with the kids, I ended up planting some of them in this big terracotta pot and got it started early in our dining room (which gets the most southern exposure).  In the photo above, you can see the early shoots emerging from the soil.  This is two Firebird semi-cactus dahlias and one Elephant ear bulb that make up the three plants you see. 

As I've said before here on the blog, I've had very little luck with dahlias, so these are hopeful signs for this gardener.  Once we get past the freeze/frost date this Spring, I'll move this pot outside to the back patio so it can get full sunlight.  I'll also add some 'spill' to the pot once the garden centers start to have their annuals to fill out the pot.

WWF LJN Brutus "The Barber" Beefcake - MOC

That title is full of a bunch of jargon - when it comes to collecting action figures.  The "MOC" means "Mint on Card" and that's the way I'd describe this WWF Wrestling Superstar Brutus "The Barber" Beefcake.  But, why am I posting this?  Welp, it is because that Brutus, along with a more than dozen of his brethren are down in my basement.  All in boxes and still mint in their packaging/on their cards - unlike the set of wrestlers that I played with like this Nikoli Volkoff that I posted a few years back.

There are stories about kids in the early 80's going hog wild on their Star Wars figures from Kenner.  I mean...there's even that documentary series on Netflix all about the toys.  But, I was born in 1978, so I was too young for the early Star Wars stuff.  But, I wasn't too young for the 80's-version of GI Joes.  And I loved them.  But, they aren't my 'toy touchstone' when it comes to my youth.  Nope.  It was these gu…

Last Look @ Sideyard Pre-Hornbeam Hedge Installation

I've posted a few times about our plan to add some European Hornbeams to the side yard alongside of our screened porch to provide some privacy from our neighbor's house.  In the photo above, you see the run of fence that will soon be lined with some 2.5" caliper trees.  You can go back to this post to see the drawing of where they are located, but they're going to cling to the fenceline and, I hope, peek over the top of the fence. 

In the photo above, you can also see the grade difference with the porch on the left being a good four or five feet above where the bottom of the fence is located.  Once these trees mature a bit, they'll end up growing into a hedge of sorts (like this) and we'll be able to enjoy the screened porch without looking at our neighbors smoking cigarettes on their back stoop.  With April here, I'm just waiting word from the landscaper as to when these trees can be dug up and planted in our yard. 

I took this photo a few weeks ago afte…

Treehouse Playhouse Tree Candidate?

Thinking this mighty Oak Tree is the most-likely candidate for a treehouse/playhouse that will mostly be built on legs in our #newoldbackyard.  Oh, and a zipline, too. 

Nat has found some inspiration photos and I've been trying to plan the design, but there are a bunch of variables that I'm trying to figure out like how high the platform needs to be - both for the zipline and ability to utilize the space underneath the it, but also for the stability of the structure

More on this project - like the others - as I find time to get after it.

Newcastle Coaster Added to Collection

Here's #26 in the [Coaster Collection].  It is a Newcastle Brown Ale coaster that I picked up almost twenty years ago.  Yeah.  Seriously.  It was in a pile of stuff that I just went through that was from my post-graduation Europe trip.  For some reason, I brought this coaster home.  I'm using it on my desk at home right now, but as with most of these disposable coasters, they don't last long.   Hence, the chronicling of them here on the blog.

Revisiting The New, Ideal Raised Bed Design

Back last summer, I posted this photo of a set of raised beds that I thought were particularly well designed.  Since then, I've been thinking about what it would take to pull them off and I recently came across this image - which based on the watermark is from the Family Handyman, but I found on some weird, scraped site.  I went and found the original article - which you can read here.  There's a self-watering component at play here that utilizes a perforated drain pipe and a pond liner that I'm not sure is something that I want to get into/deal with.  But, rest of the design seems to indicate the direction that the construction can take.  There are a few changes that I'm going to make - starting with using 2x4's for the 'legs' as well as the cross members.  Right now, I'm thinking that notching the legs to accept the cross member is the right approach. 

I also want to make these much taller than they're showing, but with a similar 'false floor&…

I am a city child - Eloise at The Plaza

On a recent trip to NYC, I ended up spending some time in Midtown.  And found myself close to The Plaza Hotel.  I, of course, couldn't help myself and went to find the Eloise painting that is adjacent to the Palm Court.  You can see that above.  I didn't stop for tea in the Palm Court, but did wander down to the lower level and perused the Eloise store - the sign you can see below.

I'm more of an Eloise guy versus a Home Alone 2 guy when it comes to the Plaza.  But, the folks running the hotel sure give Home Alone 2 a little bit of billing, but not nearly as much as the Eloise story.  Who knows...maybe one day, we'll be like Charlie Sheen.  But without the trashing of the room.  And the tiger blood.  And the whole #winning thing?  So, maybe nothing like Charlie Sheen.  Rather...(or Rawther as Eloise would say) more like just a guy who stays at the Plaza in the Eloise suite.  Bucket list stuff, right?

Think this might be my fourth 'historic hotel' that I've…

Door Acquired for Basement Workshop Project

Some good news here in terms of the basement shop project.  Thanks to the fine folks at Oakley Home Builders,  I've acquired the door.   The hang up for the entire project was the door and the thing about the door was that I really wanted it to match the existing storage room door that was already in place in the basement.  The storage room door is right at the base of the stairs and my shop is going to be just to the left of it.  The doors to the two rooms are going to be just a few feet apart (but set at 90 degrees), so it seemed important to have the doors match. 

I posted back at the end of February about the shop being 'pressurized' and trying to figure out a venting work-around.  And this door is the primary reason.  It is an exterior door that is sealed all the way around.  I wanted to use a sealed door for dust control, but am fearful that if we built the shop too 'tight', it would act like a balloon and make it hard to close the door/blow out part of the …

Outdoor Electric Patio Heater. Yea or Nay?

I was perusing the outdoor furniture section of Menards over the weekend and sandwiched in between a pair of these weird Lazy Boy-style chairs (cammo one?  Seriously?) was this electric patio heater from Optimus.  It stands up on pole, has a football-sized heating element and a pretty heavy/sturdy base to (hopefully) avoid tip-overs.   Down near the base of the heater was this product/price detail:

And here's the online product listing.  Description reads:
Imagine being in your garage, in your four season porch or on your patio and enjoying warmth as the weather turns cold. This Indoor-Outdoor Standing Infrared Patio Heater with Remote Control will do the trick. It is made primarily from steel and functionally rainproof. It’s dominant color is black and the quartz heating elements provide infrared sun-like warmth which does not get blown away by wind, it heats you, not the air. It does not generate UV rays and operates silently. It employs a pull cord manual power switch or an in…

Sky Pencil Holly - Zone 5B Hardy?

I came across these Sky Pencil Holly at (that's where the photo above is from) and I found myself going down a Sky-Pencil-Holly-rabbit-hole to figure out if we could grow these in the Chicago Suburbs (Zone 5B).  The folks at Fast Growing Trees list them to be hardy down to zone 5B.  But the team at the Missouri Botanic Garden list them down to Zone 6

These things are super narrow and grow perfectly upright, so they have a lot of appeal to me.  But, I'm afraid that multiple sources (besides the folks who are selling them!) are concurring about Zone 6 hardiness.   Check out the video here:

In particular, I was thinking about them alongside the north property line, in front of the fence where our (eventual) walkway would direct people back.  Check out this area I've circled in red on our landscape plan.  It is a tight area that would call for something very slender, yet would provide a sense of 'entrance. 

These Sky Pencil Holly would be perfect,…

Elephant Ear Bulb For 2018 Patio Garden: Planted in Pot

Here's the last in a series (for now) of posts showing of some of the tubers/bulbs that I picked up on a trip to Menards.  First there was the "Night Queen" mini Dahlias.  Then I posted about the semi-cactus Firebird large Dahlias.  Today, I'm posting a photo of another perennial bulb that's an Elephant Ear.  "Black Magic" variety.  Colocasia Esculenta to be specific.  I stuck this one bulb in the large pot along with one of the Dahlias and based on the description, this one will grow quite tall - with leaves that are 7-9".  As you can see at the top of the photo, it references a 36" plant height, so that's what I'm aiming for this season.   And what drew me to it was the whole "Black Magic" purple thing going on.  I've historically grown purple sweet potato vines as the 'spill' in our pots and I like the color they add in a sea of green.

You can find out much more about this particular plant over on the Missouri…

Vuurvogel Firebird Semi-Cactus Dahlia Tubers - 2018

Yesterday, I posted a photo of some "Night Queen" Dahlias that I picked up and planted indoors recently.  Today, I'm sharing a photo of another set of 3 Dahlia tubers that came home with us, too.  This one is called "Vuurvogel" or Firebird Semi-cactus Dahlia. And while the "Night Queen" flowers are small (< 4"), these are much larger (~11") and have petals that are shaped quite differently.  Hence the whole "semi-cactus" thing.

What's a semi-cactus dahlia?  Glad you asked.  I asked the same question myself.  And found this answer from Gardeners World:
Some of the most spectacular dahlias are cactus and semi-cactus types. With their spiky blooms, they can trace their lineage back to a single surviving plant grown from a crate of tubers imported into the Netherlands in 1872.

Cactus and semi-cactus dahlias are some of the most eye-catching dahlias you can grow. Their star-like form means they stand up well to inclement weather…

Night Queen Dahlia Tubers - 2018

'Tis the season for Spring bulbs/tubers to go in the ground and as I've done in so many year's past, I'm giving it a go with Dahlias this Spring.  Starting all the way back in 2010, I've shared my adventures with Dahlia tubers.  I've planted them in pots/planters for our own yard and as gifts.  We've even bought and planted Dahlias of various types directly in the ground out front of our old house. 

And we've had limited luck with all of them.  But, still, we persist.  Why?  Because behind Peonies and maybe Allium, Dahlias are right there at the top of Nat's favorite flower list.   These "Night Queen" Dahlia are the small version (not 'Dinner plate') and they're going to get an early start in a big pot inside the house.  I also bought a few other things that I'll stick in the pot together and once it warms up, I'll move the pot outside.  With our patio done and plenty of work to be done on the yard, I'm thinking th…

Spring Break 2001 Disney World Pin

Here's another Disney pin that the kids traded for recently on a trip down to WDW.  Part of a recent series including this Pumba one and this Stitch one among others.  This one, acquired in the past six months is - as you can see - from 2001.  Now, what would possess someone to buy this pin back in 2001, hold on to it for 16+ years only to bring it back down to WDW and trade it away for, likely, some scrapper? 

Just like this one from Disneyland that marks the opening of Toy Story Midway Mania back in 2008, someone decided to part with their prized pin many years after the fact.  I kinda get the idea of bring back pins to trade, especially if you don't come very often.  As a kid, your tastes change year over year or what-have-you, so if you have a lanyard of pins that you don't care about, I can understand wanting to bring them back to swap them out.  But 15+ years?  Wouldn't you just want to keep this one as a part of history?  17 years mean that at the youngest, thi…

Fence Gate Upgrade: Pull Installed

I posted a series of posts last Summer about our new fence that was put in our #newoldbackyard here, here and here.  As part of the fence, we installed four gates.  One all the way in the back to access the ComEd easement that is behind our lot - and potentially to get to the neighbor's yards behind us ( date, we've never done!), one on the side closest to our neighbor's playhouse/double trampolines (they have kids the same age as ours, so our thought there was to allow access to the trampoline, playhouse and what-have-you), and two gates on either side of our house where the fence meets the rear/side of our house.  The two gates in back are just four footers and are easy to open/close by kids.  But, the two on the sides of the house are six feet tall and made of the board-on-batten-style that the fence (at that part) is made.  That means, the gates are solid and tall.  With really nothing to grab to pull close.  They both open inwards to our yard and have handl…

Firesticks Cactus - Spring 2018

Over the weekend, I did something that I don't normally do:  I went to the Home Depot.  As you guys know...I'm a Menards guy.  But, with Spring right around the corner, I wanted to see what the Home Depot was up to.  In particular, the store on Butterfield in Downers Grove has a really good garden center and both the plant quality and the care given to them far surpasses the stuff and care at Menards. 

The garden center was just getting booted up.  They had some trees (I'll post about one of them soon), but most of the perennials and annuals were still not in stock.  Too cold. 

After poking around, we wandered into the indoor greenhouse section and found some of their succulents - and one jumped out at me.  It is this Pencil Cactus, which happens to be a "Firesticks" variety.  That means, the new growth/tips are orange/red.  Look at this example to see what I'm talking about in terms of color.  Natalie was in Arizona earlier this year and she shared a photo …

Disney Magic Music Days Pin - Walt Disney World

Yesterday, I posted two Disney pins (Pumba and Stitch) that we had acquired some time in the past 12 months and today is another pin from that same time frame.  I believe this one was traded by The Babe off of a cast member's lanyard, but I'm not certain of the exact vintage.  Looking around on the Dis Boards, it appears that there's some speculation that these "Magic Music Days" pins from Walt Disney World carry *some* value - to some folks, at least

For us, I'll lump this one in with the Disney College Program pins that we traded for last Spring as pins that were given out to participants of an activity to only end up being traded for by my kids.   

It is natural to wonder if these all (the Magic Music Days pin above and the College Program pins linked above) are scrappers, right?  I mean...why would anyone dump those pins for something that you can find on a cast member's lanyard?  But, I know from scrappers.  Or at least, I think I have a pretty go…