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Showing posts from August, 2018

Cast Iron Milk Delivery Toy - Estate Sale Find

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After having posted a bunch of items that I passed on (or 'got away') at a recent Estate Sale, I figured I'd post some of the items that we *actually* bought - starting with this cast iron toy.  The King of the Ball Tossers tagged along with me to the sale and he asked if he could have a little bit of 'pocket money'.  Sure, I said.  He naturally gravitated towards the toys and found this vintage cast iron horse and buggy "fresh milk" delivery wagon.  It is three-piece with the horse/harness, the delivery wagon and the driver being independent pieces that each latch to each other. 

We picked it up and they were asking three dollars.  I coached The KotBT to go up to the Estate Sale host and say:  "What's the best you can do on this toy?"  Of course, the guys were warm-hearted and smiled when he opened the negotiations.  He quickly waved his one dollar bill and the guy said:  'for you....I'll take it'. 

And that's how we went ho…

Hydrangea and Weeping Cedar Update - August 2018

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On the left, you can see the tiny Everlasting Revolution Hydrangea plant that I put in last fall.  I showed an early Summer view of this thing when it was barely poking out of the mulch.  This one has always been smaller and a bit behind the other one.

That one on the right is the Tuff Stuff Red Hydrangea that went in on the same day.  I posted an early June photo of this one, too here on the blog

You can see the difference in these two, but also, if you look back at those posts I linked above, you can get a sense for how these have grown over the past two months. 

Also, in the middle of this photo is my Weeping Cedar.  I planted this tree in May and it seems to have established itself a bit and hasn't experienced any needle drop like, ahem, other trees.  I cut off the top of the tree in this photo, but you can get a sense for the limbs that it has added and how it appears to have bulked up a bit. 

Back to the hydrangeas, though.  You'll note that NEITHER of them have flowe…

Vintage Christmas Glass Ornaments - More that Got Away

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Continuing the series of items that 'got away' from a recent Estate Sale up in Wisconsin.  First there was the telephone chair.  Then Da original Mare primary poster.  Then the Snoopy bank from my childhood.  Today, it is this set of beautiful Christmas ornaments. 

I've bought plenty of vintage glass Christmas ornaments from Estate Sales and Garage Sales over the years.  But they were almost always a deal.  Like $1 a piece.  As you can see in the photo above, this sale had a heckuva collection.  Some really nice ornaments.  But they were asking $5 a piece for each of them.  Too rich for me.  I took this photo on Friday and knowing that they cut the prices on Saturday, I went back.  And all of these were gone.  At 50% off, they're closer to being the right price for me.  But alas, they weren't meant to be. 

Seems that how I value these is off from the market?  Good data point for when I come across more ornaments in the future.  Seems that $2.50 is the point at whi…

Pumpkin Patch Update - Tiny Pumpkins Emerging

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Back in June, I planted two kinds of pumpkin seeds in the far reaches of our backyard from the packages you see above:  Big Moon and First Prize Hybrid.  I seem to have failed to post about the seeds or seedlings to date in the [garden dairy].  But, today, that changes.  
For the past week or two, I've noticed A LOT of flowers and quite a bit of bee activity.  Like they were drunk on pollen after hanging out in the various yellow flowers that these vines have put out.  Turns out...they were busy bees.  (get it?!?)
It seems that our pumpkin vines have started to fruit.  Here's a look at the tiniest of pumpkins that you've ever seen:

I don't know which of the two varieties this one is.  But, the more pressing matter is the race against the clock.  We have just a month and a half until this thing needs to be on our front porch.  Will it get there in time?  I have these pumpkin pedestals on hand that I hope to put into place as this (and others) grow in the coming weeks.

Bird's Nest - Found in the Yard

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One evening recently when I came home, the kids excitedly came up to me and couldn't contain their excitement about finding something in the backyard.  It was this bird's nest.  They found it in the middle of the grass, so it seems like it fell out of a tree.  There weren't any signs of this being inhabited - no shells or parts of shells - so I'm not sure if it is from this season or just a remnant of another season that was used by a bird family.  I scooped it up with a shovel and put it on this little side table.  The Bird - our middle child - was the most interested in it and we talked about building a nesting box/platform out of wood that we can hang in the yard.  Maybe we can place this on there and see if someone would use it?  Or maybe just encourage another family to inhabit it next season? 

Based on a quick Google search, we're assuming that this is a Robin's nest.  And this page makes it seem like 're-use' of a nest happens, so if we put this…

Snoopy Glass Coin Bank - One That Got Away Estate Sale Find

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Another day, another post of an Estate Sale item that got away.  This one, too, is from the Twin Lakes Estate Sale that I visited a few weeks ago.  First, I shared the photo of a telephone desk.  Then the Mayor Daley (first one) Primary campaign poster.

Today, is this glass Snoopy bank.  It has a slot at the top for coins.  You can see in the background that this guy was a Peanuts collector.  He had a bunch of Peanuts stuff, but none of it was of interest to me except for this bank.  I have posted another Snoopy item that I picked up at a Goodwill - a Snoopy political glass.

Why this bank?  Because we had one of these in my house when I was a kid.  I remember it well and remember that it didn't have a hole on the bottom to let any of they money out.  The only way to get dough out of this thing was to smash it.  One of my sisters used this and she stuck dollar bills in it, which gummed up everything even worse.  With the slot and *just* coins in there, you could kind of tilt and t…

Mayor Richard J. Daley Daley - Good for Chicago 1975 Poster - OTGA

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Yesterday, I posted a photo of the telephone desk that "got away" from an Estate Sale in Twin Lakes, Wisconsin and mentioned that there were a few other items that I came across that I had to resist a pretty strong urge to buy.  The first one of these items that got away (hence the OTGA mention in the post title) is this "Good for Chicago" re-elect Mayor Richard J. Daley primary poster.

Based on this story, this appears to be from Da Mare's 1975 primary where he trounced a 34-year-old Alderman named William Singer, a prosecutor named Edward Hanrahan and a black State Senator named Richard newhouse. 

There was a smattering of political memorabilia at the Estate Sale with most of it being from Chicago politics, so I'm assuming that the family moved from Chicago at some point to the lake house in Twin Lakes. 

Remember:  It is enough to enjoy the existence of things without possessing all of them.

Telephone Desk - One that Got Away

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For the past few years, I've been on the hunt for a telephone desk.  For those of you who aren't familiar with these telephone desks, you can see an example of one above.  Telephone desks come in various shapes and sizes, but the basics are a bench or chair with a small desk attached to them.  The most popular ones today seem to be mid-century modern ones with peg legs and sleek (at least more sleek than this example above) lines. 

I came across this one at an Estate Sale up in Twin Lakes Wisconsin but as you can see from the title of this post, this one is marked as 'one that got away'.  They were asking $25, but I took this photo on Saturday, so it was 50% off.  $12.50 for a telephone desk is a fine deal, but since this isn't exactly what I've been looking for, I remembered my collecting mantra, breathed deeply and said to myself: It is enough to enjoy the existence of things without possessing all of them.

I'd say that this is the third or fourth teleph…

Teardown Hydrangea - August 2018

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Last October, I posted a photo of a trug of perennials that I dug out of a lot down the block ahead of their teardown and new build.  In that post, I mentioned that I *thought* that I had grabbed a hydrangea, but it was looking pretty dried out and rough.  And wasn't sure it was going to come back. 

In that same batch, I grabbed some hostas and ferns.  Here's a post that I shared of the ferns that came back.  And here's the hostas

Now, I have the final piece of the good-news puzzle:  what you see above is a healthy, flowering hydrangea that is emerging for it's first season in our yard. 

I'm posting this here so I can reference it in the [garden diary] in the future. 

This particular hydrangea has chartreuse-colored blooms and while short in stature is doing quite well without a lot of attention being paid to it during the hot Summer.  As it continues to put down it's roots this season, I'm expecting to have it get larger next season and fill out this sp…

Trippy Elephant Ear Leaves - Summer 2018

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I've posted a few times about the green-leafed Elephant Ear bulbs that I planted in a few pots on our patio this Summer.  In May, I posted a few photos of the bulbs that we picked up to try.

Then, in July, I posted a progress photo that showed how the ones in one of our wine barrels had grown pretty significantly and were happy. 

Today, in mid-August you can take in these leaves that are quite striking.  This is a #nofilter photo, so I didn't tweak or play around with the colors or saturation.  This is what you see with your eye, too. 

Up until this point, I was pretty confident that I'd do Elephant Ear bulbs again next Spring in my containers, but seeing them change and have the two-toned green/yellow leaves begin to show up solidifies the decision:  I really like these and will do them again.  I think I'll rethink the containers and placement and likely put them in the middle or "back" of some larger containers to use their scale in a more effective manner…

Lizzie - Her 3rd Cone

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Poor little Lizzie.  She's not even three years old.  But she's on her third Elizabethan Collar.  Or Cone of Shame as we call it in our house.  She spent some time coop'd up in her crate as she recovered, but that didn't stop her from giving me *these* eyes just begging to let her out.

The good news is that she is well on her way to being her old self and the convalescence worked just fine.

The last time I posted about her was all the way back in the Fall of 2017, so despite this being not the best situation, she deserved a mention here on the blog.

Mid-Summer Frans Fontaine Hornbeam Update - Season 1

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Back in May, we planted seven Frans Fontaine European Hornbeam 2.5" caliper trees along the north fenceline of our property in an area that is right outside of our screened porch.  We selected these trees due to their narrow habit and how they will (eventually) grow into a screen in a narrow area. 

Due to the investment in these trees, I've been pretty careful to baby them with water and to try to make sure they establish themselves this season.  Having been planted in May, we have the full Summer to have them put down roots to ensure they come back next Spring.  I've been using a soaker hose and watering them about once or twice per week at about an hour per watering on a low setting.  These were planted down in a low spot, so they're also the benefactor of whatever natural water that occurs on the property as it flows downhill.  On the flipside, they're sitting right on top of a drainage pipe and there's a grate right in the middle of these things that is m…

Our Small Fraser Fir: Lost

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It is not all gardening wins for me this Summer.  Sometimes the losses are just as important.

I celebrated the planting of this small Fraser Fir in our backyard just 10 weeks ago at the beginning of June.  It was in a good spot in the yard that had plenty of water and it was taking off.  There was a run of new, soft growth that came on the tree in July, then all of a sudden, it started to go brown.  From the top down.  Now, two weeks after I noticed the first bit of brown, the whole thing is gone.  Sad stuff.

Not sure if it was water.  Or location.  Or something else like a disease.  It went really fast.  And the shot of new growth followed directly by the brown-out makes me wonder if it was disease-related?

This was the 22nd tree that we had planted in our backyard as part of the reforestation process and the second evergreen.  We've added a Hemlock since, though.  I bought this one at Home Depot who has a 1 year warranty, so I'll have to dig this thing up and bring it back …

Flower and Garden WDW Passholder Magnet

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We picked up this Flower and Garden-specific Passholder car magnet from Epcot on a trip down there earlier this year.  Pretty cute Mickey with a butterfly on his nose, right? 

We've put these Passholder magnets on our car in the past, but they always get ripped off by people.  I'm going to put this on my car this week and we'll see how long it lasts.  Any guesses?  I'll set the over/under at 14.5 days.

Alter Brewing Company: Added to Coaster Collection

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Here comes #29 to the [Coaster Collection] here on the blog - and this one is local.  Alter Brewing Company is located in Downers Grove.  And, when we were there...the place was bananas!  We went on a recent Friday night for a party in their upstairs party room1 and the entire taproom was packed.  I had a few beers, but most of what they had in the party room were super-high alcohol beers. 

This is the first local, Downers Grove coaster added to the collection here, but not the first from a local craft brewery.  Back in January of 2017, I posted these photos of a coaster from Solemn Oath Brewery in Naperville


1 This time, we were in the upstairs party room, but we've also been to a party in the rear, larger room.  I really liked the upstairs room, but it was H-O-T!

New Backyard Addition: Squirrel Bungee Feeder

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I recently added this Songbird Essentials Bungee Cord Squirrel Feeder to our backyard at Hornbeam Hill.  Those of you who have been reading for a while know that we have a set of bird feeders that we've set up close to our kitchen windows including a fly-thru feeder that continues to get raided by various critters.  Also, last year, I put out a Christmas-themed seed bell to only have it absconded with by someone within a few days.

As part of the program to become a "Certified Wildlife Habitat", we have to continue to provide food via feeders, so this also continues to check that box for us.

I put this bungee cord feeder on a shepherd's hook attached to the top of our fence so the corn cob is dangling about three and a half feet from the ground (too high to reach from the ground) and about 15 inches from the fence (almost too far to reach from the fence).    I'm hoping that by putting a squirrel-specific feeder over on this side of the yard, they'll leave my …

Cheese Box Club Cheese - A New Entrant

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I've written numerous posts about club cheese.  It (Club Cheese) is my preferred version of cheese.  Better than cubed or sliced.  My personal favorite is the King of Clubs from Mars Cheese Castle, but I also really like the Bucky Badger Club Cheese - which is far easier to buy. 

I've posted about Glas Club Cheese that we bought at the Woodstock Farmer's Market and Brewster House Club Cheese that I didn't love

On a recent trip up to Wisconsin, Nat wandered into a place called The Cheese Box.  She said it reminded her of Bobby Nelson's, but much closer to home.  On their homepage, they show the inside of the shop and their counter.  Looks like a place I'd love, right?

She came home with a few club cheeses including this Mild Cheddar - which was awesome.  This is private labeled for The Cheese Box, but they're not making it, I don't think.  They do, however, make their own curds and Nat scored a container of those (that didn't last very long). 

Thi…

Driveway Grasses - August 2018 Garden Diary Entry

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This gardening season, I planted a number of Karl Foerster Reed Fountain grasses in our backyard along the rear foundation outside both the kitchen and the screened porch.  The weren't the first set of these fountain grasses that we had planted, though.  As part of our 'move-in' landscaping that our builder and landscape team completed before we moved in was the installation of three Karl Foerster Reed Grasses in a small bed that sits between our front walk/stoop and driveway.  The bed is about ten or twelve feet long by about three feet wide. 

You can see all three of them in the photo above with their feather reeds showing off for the world to see.  They really look great and seem to be healthy in this spot. 

I first posted about these grasses a little bit over two months ago - June of this year - when I posted this photo of the grasses just getting started for the season.  Go check out this post to see how much smaller they were (and so green!).  I called them 'fro…

Backyard Garden Walking Path - Inspiration Online (and in our Neighborhood)

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A few weeks back, we were at one of our neighbor's house for a get-together and we spent the entire afternoon out in their backyard where they have quite a large perennial garden.  I wanted to get a little closer look, so I wandered out there and discovered not only a native-looking perennial garden, but also a series of walking paths *in* the garden.  The image above is NOT their garden, but rather just some example image that I found online (source here).

The garden I was walking in (with the paths) was in full sun, so it was quite different than the one you see above, but I picked that image because it is a shade garden and more of what we have to deal with on Hornbeam Hill.  Hostas and ferns and hostas and ferns.

The path idea really struck me and made me think about our own landscape plan.  I've showed a bunch of cuts/selects of our landscape plan here on the blog, but none of them had a 'walking path'.  It wasn't even contemplated by our landscaper.  Mostly …

New Project: Holiday Weekend Wedding

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If you haven't been able to pick this up by now, I'm not one to hold back my opinion on some things.  Nat insists that I think that the entire world should think just the way I think on some things.  And, I guess that's true.  I do, often, wish that the world thought the way I did on a bunch of topics. 

But, I'm not sitting by and leaving it up to luck that people will come around on some topics.  
If you've followed along at all over the years, you know I have an opinion on when it is acceptable to listen to Christmas music.  And I tried to do something about skunks in Elmhurst.  
Today, I'm excited to release my latest web project. 

The wedding industry is chock'd full of advice sites.  How-to guides.  Tip sheets.  Consultants.  In fact, my wife Natalie was an award-winning member of the industry for a bit. 

My project is aimed at the wedding industry.

It is an advice website called "Holiday Weekend Wedding". 
The goal of the project is to answe…

For that's the way I remember her best

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If you're travelin' in the north country fair
Where the winds hit heavy on the borderline
Remember me to one who lives there
She once was a true love of mine
If you go when the snowflakes storm
When the rivers freeze and summer ends
Please see if she's wearing a coat so warm
To keep her from the howlin' winds
Please see for me if her hair hangs long
If it rolls and flows all down her breast
Please see for me if her hair hangs long
For that's the way I remember her best
I'm a-wonderin' if she remembers me at all
Many times I've often prayed
In the darkness of my night
In the brightness of my day
So, if you're travelin' in the north country fair
Where the winds hit heavy on the borderline
Remember me to one who lives there
She once was a true love of mine

Hang Up on the Wall-Hung Workbench - Notched Cuts Template

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Back at the end of July, I posted a photo of the wall-hung workbench that I had selected to build first in the garage (garden bench) and then down in my shop (once I got the hang of it!).  I pulled down some plans from WoodSmith Plans and got started ripping down the lumber to make all the pieces.  But there was a part that I got hung up on - these angled brackets with notched cuts at the bottom that I've circled above. 

The plan calls for these supports to be notched and attached to a ledger board (that gets attached to the wall).  But, my little, amateur woodworking brain couldn't quite figure out how to make those cuts.  I took a sacrificial board and drew all over it to get the angles right.  I even took it over to Nat's Dad's house and had him mark it up so I could figure out the best way to make the cuts.  He showed me how to use my table saw to get most of the wood out, then a saber saw to make the final cuts. 

But then I got home and had to actually do it.  An…

Raised Bed Garden Enclosure - Backyard Project Inspiration

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It has been a couple of years since we had a garden.  Sure, we've tried to grow tomatoes and basil in containers (with mixed results), but ever since we moved out of our house in Elmhurst, we have been garden-free.  Nat has mentioned that she misses it.  She misses the veggies.  But also how our kids were involved and helped both plant and harvest.  Not to mention the understand you get about health and nature and the environment when you grow your own food.

Why do I bring this up?  Because a week or so ago, Nat texted me the photo that you see above of this raised ben enclosure that she came across.  This one is being sold from Wayfair, but there are a few different varieties of these things sold from various places online.  They start at about $1K and go up to $3K.  Which...if you ask me is nuts.

If you've been following along on the blog here, you may remember that I've been dreaming about a raised bed project for more than a year.  Right before we moved into our new p…

August Update on Annabelle Hydrangeas - 2018

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Two months ago, I posted a photo of some of our front hydrangeas and they were looking pretty small.  Today?  The Annabelle's are big and blooming.  Those two that you see above are Annabelle's and they're on the south side of our porch.  These continue to outpace in both size and blooms the Vanilla Strawberry variety that we have in front of the porch that face due East.

In looking at some of our neighbors, our hydrangeas are behind where some others are at currently in terms of blooms.  Might be because ours aren't as mature as the ones next door or maybe they're some other variety. 

I didn't cut these all the way back to the ground, but according to this product listing on White Flower Farm, that's what many people choose to do:
Because she flowers heavily on the current season’s growth (“new wood”), most gardeners cut the stems to the ground in late winter. New shoots emerge from the base and bloom the same summer. I know that's what the listing sa…

Edelman's B2B Marketing Blog And Eating Our Own Dog Food

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As recently as July of this year, I posted about some #client work for the Mitsubishi Regional Jet my team has been doing at Edelman in our B2B Marketing practice.  Back in February, I shared some other client work here on the blog.  Those two examples give you a sense for the types of things we're doing at Edelman, but one thing that always struck me was:  we weren't eating our own dog food.

I mean...we build really great communications marketing campaigns for our clients, but we don't market our own practice in any way.  So, with the combined effort of a bunch of folks at Edelman, we decided to change that by launching our own content hub.

It is *just* getting started, but that's the key part:  starting.  There is so much inertia against moving on something like this that it has taken the better part of six months to get to this point.  We're using a marketing automation tool that we often-times use for our client projects.

Our team is growing and we're bein…

Somerset Grape Update: Japanese Beetles Attack!

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Yesterday, I posted a photo of the variety of grapevine that I planted in our container this Summer (Somerset) and mentioned that I did that just because I wanted to post a follow-up.  Today, is that follow-up.  You can see that we have been attacked by some Japanese Beetles.  They've basically skeleton-ized some of the larger leaves. 

Unfortunately, they arrived when I was out of town for the better part of a week, so they got a head start.  Since then, I've tried to monitor the plants and remove the beetles everyday by hand.  I tried drowning them in soapy water with mixed results. 

Turns out, the Japanese Beetle is a known grapevine.  This piece from My Grape Vine says:
The Japanese beetle (Popillia japonica, also known as the jitterbug) is one of the most visible and most destructive feeders of grape vine foliage out there.

The Japanese beetle attacks most green parts of the grape vine, but mostly feeds on young leaves in the upper part of the canopy. If you look closely a…

Somerset Grapes in Wine Barrel Planter - Patio Gardening 2018

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Back in July, I posted a photo of our mid-Summer containers on our back patio and mentioned that I somehow failed to mention/post the details of the grapes that we planted in one of our wine barrel planters.  Above, you can see the variety:  Somerset grapes. 

They're self-pollinating and so far, I don't have any fruit coming in this first season. I'm hoping that they'll overwinter in the barrel and come back next Spring. 

I'm posting this mostly because I want to write something here on the blog that I'll post tomorrow showing the current state of this vine. 

Lionel TTUX Chicago & Northwestern Flat Car with Trailers - O Gauge

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I picked up this pair of flat cars with Chicago and Northwestern trailers a while back at the train show, but it has not made it out of the box yet.  I'm a sucker for Chicago and Northwestern (or North Western) train cars.  My oldest sister worked at the C&NW before it was gobbled up by the Union Pacific.  If you look closely around town, you'll still see signs for this line on bridges, buildings, stations and what-have-you.

Maybe this is the year we get the full Mantleburg line out and running on a table?

Troll Hunt at Morton Arboretum - Summer 2018

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The kids *took me* to the Troll Hunt at the Morton Arboretum recently.  And it was awesome.  Like, really fun and interesting.   That's the two little ones hanging out with one of these Trolls.  this one was laying down, holding a rope that is attached to end of a 'trap'.  
I say that the kids took me because they have been there to see the Trolls before and this was my first visit.  
On this visit, we did the northern loop of the Arboretum and came across three or four trolls  Most of them (if you wanted to), you could mostly make out from your car.  But with a short, enjoyable hike, you could get up close to these giants and the payoff was worth it.  
I was so impressed with the show and can't help but wonder how long the Trolls will stick around.  I'm hoping that they'll remain for quite some time, but the Arboretum site only discloses this: The trolls will reside on the Arboretum's grounds as long as possible, with the expectation that they will be ava…

New Shop Tool: The Grr-Ripper from Microjig

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I'm always very hesitant to use my table saw in my shop.  If there's another tool that will get the job done, I usually chose it.  But, there are plenty of instances that call for a table saw.  To stack the odds in my favor, I usually am very deliberate with the saw and use a push stick and keep my hands away from anything moving during the cut and way long after the blade stops.

But, I've started to use this thing:  The Grr-Ripper to 'bulletproof' my hands.  You use this thing to guide the piece through the cutting zone.  See below for the channel that the blade runs through.


I won't use the saw without this thing now.  I'm not even doing it justice, so if you have interest, check out this video below that explains everything about it as they call it a "must-have for any table saw."

Honey Bear Farm - Powers Lake Wisconsin - And Chicago Alderman Ed Burke

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Last Summer, I was up at the Lake Geneva Walmart buying our fishing license when I noticed a guy who looked familiar in a trench coat inspecting a kayak along with a youngish other man.  I looked them over and couldn't right away figure out who it was.  Then it clicked.  It was Chicago Alderman Ed Burked and his (infamous) security detail.  Of course, that got me wondering what the Alderman was doing up there and a few searches on Google lead me to this story about how he came to acquire a place called Honey Bear Farm.  
On a recent run, Natalie came across this sign you see above:  Honey Bear Bay.  Kinda neat.  We had talked about my run-in with the Alderman and the name of the farm must have stuck because when she came back from the run, she showed me this photo.
As for the story, it is just *too* Chicago politics to believe.   From the Chicago Tribune: A subsidiary of Carson Pirie Scott & Co. sold an interest in prime Wisconsin real estate to two of the most powerful membe…