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Showing posts from August, 2019

Tree Heights Inventory - Summer 2019

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Last June of 2018, I posted photos and details that documented the heights of the existing trees in our inventory around the yard.  In September, I posted two more tree heights to the inventory.  This is the annual check-in with those same trees.

As a reminder, here's the heights that I documented in Summer 2018:
2018 Tree Heights Saucer Magnolia:  81"North Flowering Pear: 112"Frans Fontaine Hornbeam:  113"Red Maple Sun Valley:  96"Crimson King Maple:  112"South Flowering Pear:  80"Flowering Cherry:  112"Dawn Redwood:  63"Bald Cypress:  51"   2019 Tree Heights Saucer Magnolia:  104".  (+23").  22% growthNorth Flowering Pear: 182" (+70").  39% growth.Frans Fontaine Hornbeam:  162" (+49")Red Maple Sun Valley:  108"  (+12")Crimson King Maple:  112" (+0").  0% growth.South Flowering Pear:  115" (+35").  31% growth.Flowering Cherry:  129" (+17").  15% growth.Dawn Redwood:  …

Storm Damage - Twin Lakes, Wisconsin (Microburst)

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This mighty Oak tree came down in what is being billed as a "Microburst" storm up in Twin Lakes, Wisconsin last month.  We arrived the day *after* the storm.  Or...I suppose, the day *of* the storm since it hit at like 12:30 am.  The folks at the Kenosha News covered the aftermath and concurred with a meteorologist who billed the event a microburst.

From their piece:
A small area of Twin Lakes was hit by high winds that took down trees and left many residents without power early Thursday.  ...Aidan Kuroski, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Sullivan, said that a “microburst” storm with straight line winds estimated at 70 to 80 mph hit the area at about 12:30 a.m.

“It was a very concentrated area,” Kuroski said. “Basically from Elkhorn and Walworth County down to Twin Lakes.”  Kuroski said the storm developed so quickly the National Weather Service did not have time to issue a storm warning. The storm produced some damage around the neighborhood, but none …

Stay Back From The Sunset Cliffs - San Diego

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My personality is such that I wasn't able to fully enjoy the Sunset Cliffs as much as other people when we were *close* to the Cliffs.  From a hundred yards back?  I was totally fine, didn't have to grab ahold of which kid(s) were close to me for fear that they'd run and leap over the edges.  And, I enjoyed them.  Saw a few sunsets from the front deck there, too.  It is no Hotel Del Coronado, but...as LD would say:


Walt Disney World Opens - Life Magazine October 1971

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We picked up this copy of Life Magazine that features the opening day of Walt Disney World in Florida on the cover.  Being Disney people and vintage/Antique Mall people, this seemed like a good fit for us.  There's a lot of little things to note on the cover including the front row of characters (See Pooh Bear's costume?)

The inside headline is all about the east coast move:  "Disney Moves East" with Mickey the Mouse leading the marching band down MainStreet USA.



The biggest spread of photos is below and is from this pretty unique angle starting with the Rivers of America and Frontierland in the foreground and you can see the Seven Seas Lagoon in the background.  A few things to note - Frontierland really just had a cul-de-sac and didn't go over to where Splash Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain are today.  And the show buildings where Peter Pan and Philharmagic are located ARE HUGE.  Likely due to the perspective, but still.



Filing this under both [Vintage Disne…

Our Flowering Tobacco 'Jasmine' (Nicotiana alata) - 2019

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For Mother's Day this year, Nat's Mom gave her a small Flowering Tobacco Jasmine plant that came in a little plastic capsule.  There was very little instructions with it other than that it was potentially poisonous (see ASPCA page on it being poisonous to dogs here!).  Nat's Mom has given us a few Disneyland Roses (first one in 2017 and two more in 2018) and a couple of hydrangeas, but this is the first annual that she's gifted us.

I wasn't sure where to put it, so I ended up sticking it on the side of our house on the southside - near where I put the 2018 Disneyland roses and was planning to do a Belgian Fence.  I didn't pay it much attention and didn't even water it consciously.  And look at it above:  beautifully tall and graceful. 

But, this isn't just a looker.  Nope.  It does a couple of things that are interesting.  First...it transforms from day to evening.  The listing on Select Seeds calls it a "night bloomer".  Then it has a distin…

Ghostbuster Mobile Custom Rig Spotted In The Wild

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There we were, minding our own business, walking back to our car after a movie at one of the local movie theaters when one of our kids shouts out that they see the Ghostbusters car.  Sure enough, some creative soul has outfitted their four door sedan with a roof rack that holds a custom-built Ghostbuster rig with lights and canisters and pipes and other what-have-yous. 

The decal on the door seals the deal. 

"Take my picture" was the request. 

Request approved.

Red Grange Bobblehead - Chicago Bears 100 Year Anniversary

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Thanks to our good friends who have Chicago Bears season tickets, I'm now the proud owner of this Red Grange - the Galloping Ghost - Bobblehead courtesy of United Airlines.  This is the first in what the Bears are billing as a season-long program of bobbleheads that will be released at every one of their 10 home games.

The full list of this year's Bobbleheads:

Red GrangeBill GeorgeCoach Ditka (with his sunglasses)Bronco Nagurski (with a sweet uniform)Sweetness - Walter PaytonBrian UrlacherSid LuckmanGayle Sayers AND Dick Butkus (they put both on one statue???)Mike SingletaryDevin Hester
Some of them are way more attractive (to me) than others.  Of course, the top on the list - Red Grange - is the one that I'm most interested in (not just saying that because that's the one I am in possession of right now!).  But, Da Coach Ditka one is awesome, too.  Those would rank highest.  The dual Gayle Sayers/Dick Butkus one is weird to me.  I mean...why not put Urlacher and Hester…

Welcome To Acorn Season - Our Backyard 2019

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We have two very large Oak Trees in our backyard.  One of them has been documented here on the blog last Summer - and has our tree swing hanging from it.  The other is on the southside of our property and is almost as massive as the first.  I posted a photo of it's trunk when I was talking about a potential tree house here.  We also have a few medium-sized and a few MASSIVE Black Walnut trees in our yard.  Having these trees around means that come mid-to-late August, our yard starts to transform into a nut wonderland.  Above you see three of the green acorns that I picked up.  They were among HUNDREDS of their brethren.  Some in good shape. Others that have been already worked over by various critters including the Acorn Weevil

These things aren't falling of their own accord.  Or at least...most of them aren't.  They are being released by squirrels.  It is kind of fun to watch these guys climb up into the extremities of these trees, hang on for dear life and gnaw away at…

Crystal Lake Brewing Beach Blond Golden Lager

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Had this Beach Blonde Golden Lager from the folks at Crystal Lake Brewing when we stopped into the Brat Haus in Richmond on a recent visit to Twin Lakes.  Like a lot of places these days, they have a pretty extensive beer menu with a mix of national and local choices and - much to my dismay - a heavy (as it seems always these days) focus on hoppy-IPAs.  This lager was a natural choice for me - something local, light and crisp. 

Beer Advocate gives it a 81 which puts it below the normal range of the beers that Dr. Jeff has us try during his beer education sessions.  Speaking of which...we should do one of those again now that school is getting back in season and we'll be in more on the weekends as the weather cools down.  Ah...Fall is coming!

Closer Look at Tokyo Street Trees - Popular

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I've posted about the street trees of Tokyo a few times here on the blog.  In those posts, I've talked about the hard pruning that they do to *some* of the trees, how others have a more columnar nature to them and what species they might be (a lot of Ginkos!).  On my most recent trip, I walked down a fancy street in Ginza and saw some trees in full foliage.  And these trees aren't Ginkos. 

Here's a close up of the leaves of the same tree you see above:


Looking through the list of popular trees on The Street Trees of Tokyo site, I made it all the way down to below the top 30 to find what I think these trees are:

Pretty sure it is a Popular.   And...the Lombardy Popular is columnar variety.

Fountain and Pond Inspiration at Morton Arboretum

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I've posted a bunch of times about fountains and ponds here on the blog including a look at some designs that I'm documenting to save as inspiration for something that *could* eventually find the way into our backyard.  In April, I showed this park pond in Woodridge.  And last year, I posted about these bowl-like fountains that I found at Wannemakers

Today, I'm sharing this image that I took at the Fragrance Garden in the Morton Arboretum.  It is a kind of hybrid between some of the pond ideas that I've been filing away AND the bowl/fountains that I've posted about, too.  This one has a nice round elevated bowl that is perfectly level and lets the water roll off into a concrete bowl that has flagstone ringing it.  This is a kind of interesting approach, but I wonder if having something like this that has A LOT of turbulence in it (water fall) limits the fish you can keep in this?  Maybe they're smart enough to head to the calm waters?  But, I also like the e…

Cube Shaped and Pruned Box-like Shrubs and Trees at Disneyland

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Look at those cube trees.  These are in Disneyland's Fantasyland right on the same path to the It's a Small World ride that the Belgian Fence espalier setup (on the little riser/stage) and the Mary Blair-inspired garbage cans.   These cube trees are right across the main path.

Based on this post from Plants of Disneyland, I think these might be Fern Pine or Podocarpus gracilior and add quite a bit of visual interest to the background of this spot - and, of course, provide plenty of screening for people watching the parade.

I've documented a few different plants/trees/flowers from Disneyland and Walt Disney World over the years here on the blog and summed it all up in this post.   With the recent posts in the past week or two, I guess I need to update that post - or write another now.
Full list of posts (at that time) about Disneyland horticulture.  Here's a look at some of the Disneyland Roses in their native environmentA Belgian Fence at Disneyland.A nice Live Oak i…

Small World Garbage Cans - Disneyland

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These garbage cans are just beautiful, right?  There's all sorts of Mary Blair kinda-stuff going on with them as they are lined up along the route to the ride.

I took this photo on the way to It's A Small World After All in Disneyland and you can see the little 'stage' that I mentioned in the post with the Disneyland espalier photo I shared recently.   The visual design on the cans is striking, of course.  But the whole idea of the garbage cans at Disney Parks are a concept with a huge amount of attention on them as a topic.  First...there's the notion that Walt Disney and Imagineering (or WED as it was likely at the time??), invented this 'style' of garbage cans.

From Theme Park Tourist:
As he planned Disneyland, Uncle Walt examined the trash cans of the era. They were mesh cans that had a couple of major design flaws. The first was that a can with holes in it allowed goop to seep out. Yes, gross. The second is arguably worse. A can with holes in it doesn…

On Finding A Four-Leaf Clover

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One of the kids is playing soccer this Fall and the practices have started.  So, I have plenty of time to hang out in the clover and look for one of these lucky guys.  The kids were unimpressed when I brought it home to show off.

We Went To The Black Spire Outpost At Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge

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Back in April of 2018, I posted this photo of one of our kids celebrating the upcoming Star Wars land at Hollywood Studios.  Go check it out here.  That land is currently open to cast members and will be opened to the public before the end of the month.  But, being "Disney People" (with air quotes), we couldn't wait for that and had to squeeze in a visit to the California version of Galaxy's Edge/Black Spire Outpost/Batuu/Star Wars Land1 during our recent trip to the park.   
And we really liked it.  There's only one ride open (The Falcon) and yes...everything is expensive.

But, the imagineers really did an amazing job on the land.  It certainly feels *immersive* and that seems to be all the rage these days.  Now, we haven't been to Universal Studios to see any of the Harry Potter land(s), but what I've read about it, that word (immersive) comes up over and over.  And, between Pandora in Animal Kingdom and now SWGE, I think that Disney - and imagineering…

Disney Parks Ephemera: Disneyland Map Black Spire Outpost Opening

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Documenting this here on the blog as part of my Disney Parks ephemera collection.  This is the Disneyland Park Map from July 2019 when they opened Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge and features a couple of people piloting the Millenium Falcon. 

A little bit over a month ago, I posted the map for Disneyland Park and Disney Studios at Disneyland Paris. This Spring, I posted a photo the map and guide celebrating the 35th anniversary of Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea.At the beginning of 2019, I posted the Holiday park map for Disney's California Adventure.And one with snowflakes from Disneyland in Anaheim. In 2017, I posted the special Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party guide and map from the Magic Kingdom. The first Disney Parks maps that I shared were back in the Spring of 2017 with both guides/maps from Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea.

August Is Mirai Sweet Corn Season

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During the Summer months of July and August, you can go to any Jewel or Mariano's or what-have-you and you'll come across sweet corn in a big bin.  On sale, you can sometimes get it for a dime per ear.  And, occasionally, you'll get some really great corn.  But, if you get to one of the handful of Farmer's Markets where they sell Mirai Sweet Corn, you'll be ruined for any of that grocery store stuff.  Mirai Corn is sold by an outfit called Twin Gardens Farm and they sell it in half-dozen bags that you see above.

From Twin Garden's site:
Mirai, pronounced ME-rye, was developed in Harvard, Illinois in the early 1990s. Mirai is a hybrid that combines the three main sweet corn genotypes, SE (sugar enhanced), SU(sugary), and SH2(shrunken). Mirai is not genetically modified and was bred naturally by cross pollinating the different sweet corn genes....The seed was first introduced to Japan because they have small farms where much of the work is still done by hand. The…

Backyard Pizza Oven Inspiration - 2019

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Over the years, I've posted about my pizza oven dreams.  Backyard pizza oven dreams.  All the way back in 2010, I posted this photo of what I THEN called my "Dream Pizza Oven".  And in 2011, I posted another photo that showed off a little 'roof' out front of an oven that I collected as inspiration.  That's close to ten years ago, so this *dream* has been going on for a while - as far back as our original house in Elmhurst.  But, when we moved, the backyard pizza oven dream didn't die and I even posted about the various locations that I could put it here on the blog.  And that brings me to today and *this* oven that you see above.

I came across it online last week and have revisited the photo a few times now.  To be totally clear, that is NOT my photo above.  You can find the original here

But, let's look at a few things that jump out to me in terms of pizza oven inspiration.  First, the wood storage box.  One of the things that I really like about t…

More Belgian Fence Espaliers At Disneyland

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Back in January, I posted a photo showing off a Belgian Fence espalier that I fell in love with during a visit to Disneyland in Anaheim.  During a recent trip to Southern California, we ended up going back to the park and I found that same espalier.  I wanted to see if it had changed at all during the six months since we had seen each other last.   That's it in the photo above during the end of July.  And while there's some thickening-up of the branches, it is mostly the same as we last saw it.  Due to their climate, one would think that there isn't much seasonal differences, right?  They certainly get some growth in Spring and Summer, but Winter dormancy in Los Angeles isn't quite like what it is here in Zone 5B.

Seeing this again, only enhanced - in my own mind - my desire to bring a Belgian Fence to our property.  It is #2 on my 2019 To-do List, but here we are in (almost) mid-August and I haven't even acquired the trees.  That isn't to say that I haven'…

Using Ironite To Green-Up Without Growth (Late Summer)

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A week ago, I posted some photos of my yard as a way of documenting where I was in the lawn care Summer process and talked about how it was a mixed bag:  the turf appears green to the eye, but when you look closer, it appears that there's some 'melting out' or leaf spot or something else happening below the surface.  Before I post about what I ended up using to try to cure (and, potentially....prevent) that, I wanted to get in the [garden diary] a post about Ironite. 

I've now put down two treatments of Ironite this season with splitting a bag on the front yard with the first 1/3rd of the backyard.  I put the first one down around Memorial Day and just put the second one down in early August. 

What is Ironite?  Well....it is 1-0-1 lawn fertilizer.  But, I think of it more of as a color-agent.  From the Pennington site comes this description:
Nothing greens like IroniteTurns yellow to greenProvides quick greeningWon’t burnFor all soil typesNPK 1-0-1 The basic premise is…

Late Summer Pelletized Lime Treatment Added To Lawn (Treating Wild Onions)

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If you've been reading along on the blog this gardening season, you might remember that I chronicled how I was attacking the scourge of wild onions that were taking over my backyard.  Once I figured out what they were, I went about trying to remove them by digging them out.  I also mentioned in that post that some folks were recommending to add lime to make the environment a little bit less hospitable to the onions by increasing the pH of the soil. 

As part of my late-Summer turf work, I decided to apply another four bags of Pelletized Lawn Lime to the back 2/3rds of the yard.  How I arrived at an August application was looking at the soil tests that I did earlier this Summer.  This section of yard has a pH in the ideal range, but I think I want it a bit more alkaline range - perhaps even higher than the ideal range - to help ward off the onion blossoms that will be trying to make a home next Spring. 

That's 160 lbs in August on top of the 160 lbs that I put down early this S…

That's Not Chicken!

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On a walk to the train station for my return trip to NRT aboard the Narita Express (a close cousin to the "Tragic Express" - the return trip of the Magic Express from your Disney resort hotel to MCO), I came across this McDonald's advertisement showing off three sandwiches.  The bottom one has a face-like quality with the bacon 'tongue' sticking out and kind of smiling along the curvature of the burger.  But, the middle one.  See that cutaway in the middle.  That's not chicken.

World's First Electrically-Lighted Outdoor Christmas Tree - Hotel Del Coronado

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Yesterday, I posted a long post that covered the incredible Dragon Tree, the Marilyn Monroe movie 'Some Like It Hot' and the upcoming renovations at the Hotel Del Coronado.  Go read that post.  Great.  Now you're back?  Today, I'm posting about another tree at The Del - this tall tree you see above.  It is a really large Norfolk Island Pine tree.  And it sits to the right (as you face the front door of The Del) along a sidewalk that takes you out to Orange Avenue.

As you walk by the tree, you'll notice this marker below:


It reads:
Hotel Del Coronado Christmas Tree
Here stands the world's first electrically-lighted outdoor Christmas tree, unveiled at Hotel del Coronado December 24, 1904. I stopped and read the marker and was all like:


I don't know why, but this feels like a *wow* moment to me.  The idea of people taking the time to hang lights on trees outdoors for Christmas is so accepted today that it is crazy to consider that there is a moment and place …