Bouquets to go

What a busy month it has been! * Planting seeds (yes — sowing through June), digging up new beds for many cuttings/divides from friends and families, including perennial Forget-Me-Nots, Irises, anemones, Feverfew, peonies, mystery flowers (hmmm?), phlox and more. * Launching a new business with deliveries for grad parties and weekly to Agricole Farm Stop on Tuesdays. * Organizing my work station for creating bouquets and settling into a routine for weeding, planning and marketing. This week, I’ll finally design and order business cards, so I can start handing them out when people ask for them. Simple, yet essential!

There is so much joy in the act of digging in the dirt, sowing seeds and watching the efforts bloom. I have a vision for more raised beds and a beautiful hillside garden for more flowers in 2020. Meanwhile, I am savoring harvests to create wild beauty bouquets with my garden flowers and flora foraged from my meadow.

Off on a wild bouquet ride!

Cheerful Nature Bouquets debuted at the Sjogren/Gofton grad parties on June 8 and 9. Mom turned 84 on June 8, so a special weekend all around! Bouquets centered the white-clothed tables surrounded by photographs of the graduates. The parties were held at the Chelsea Depot, a perfect launch pad for my bouquets! Since then, deliveries have been made to friends and a second grad party. Another grad party this week wraps up a fun first round of bouquet harvesting and creating.

This week, Cheerful Nature Bouquets also debuts at Agricole Farm Stop, a new grocery store venture in downtown Chelsea. Agricole will be the source for locally grown food, flowers and other artisan products with 75 percent of sales going back to the producers. Amazing! Agricole models itself after longtime Ann Arbor favorite, Argus Farm Stop.

Agricole — right on Main Street in a renovated historic livery — is hosting an Open House on June 20 from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. during Chelsea’s Sounds & Sights on Thursday nights. My bouquets will make their debut during the Open House. I’m in good company with other artisan flower growers who will be selling market bouquets at Agricole as well. Join us for noshing and celebrating!

When Agricole officially opens this month, Cheerful Nature Bouquets will be delivered fresh on Tuesdays in recycled jars, ideal for spreading weekly cheer to friends, teachers, bosses, coworkers, parents and more.

Garden bouquets for sale

Busy, busy! Springtime is filled with labor-intensive days prepping garden beds for annuals, new perennials and veggies — and launching my new seasonal flower bouquet business, Cheerful Nature Bouquets.

I am thrilled with the prospect of a flourishing late summer-fall garden of zinnias, cosmos, calendulas, amaranth, tomatoes, cucumbers, beets, basil and carrots. Meanwhile, the early risers of chamomile, alliums, peonies, salvia, poppies, irises, lily of the valley and more brighten up the vibrant greenscape. (Thank you, rain!) Garlic, thyme, chives, sage and lavender are also thriving this May.

I have dreamt of a flower stand for a long time while growing flowers for more than 15 years on my little piece of land in Chelsea, Michigan. With very little traffic on my road, this vision has evolved into Cheerful Nature Bouquets. I am offering in-season bouquets of garden flowers and meadow flora in recycled jars. My 4.75 acres are lush with interesting native plants and trees with branches and berries to supplement my garden-grown flowers. In a snap shot, Cheerful Nature Bouquets offers:

  • Ready-to-go bouquets in recycled jars for sale for birthdays, to cheer up a friend, for grad parties, baby showers and other small-scale special events
  • Free bouquets for any Chelsea School District student to cheer up a friend, late May through October
  • Order a bouquet today at (734) 546-2588.

Layers keep this girl trekking in a cold spring

Just two weekends ago, I was in a blizzard and ice storm, driving south from Charlevoix to Chelsea. While visiting mom, I trekked through lakeshore snow and admired the snow boulders in Lake Michigan. In the North Point Nature Preserve, I mushed through slush and mud and jumped over puddles. Today will reach a high of 70 — whoo-hoo!

When winter lingers, it can be tough to get outdoors. Putting on the layers. Again. And again. And again. I truly believe, though, that if you have the right layers, you can enjoy nature in any weather.

A few key all-season wearables:

  • A light-weight Merino wool buff. This keeps my neck warm in the winter and protects it from pests in the summer. I also use it for an ear warmer sometimes.
  • A wick-away first layer. In the chilliest days of winter, I wear my Merino 250 wool, a mid-weight Smartwool long-sleeve next to my skin. Other times, I’ll wear it as my second layer over another wick-away shirt, which I can remove if I get too warm. Honestly, this is me to a T. I wear these shirts year-round. I also like the light 150 layer, though my favorite is the 250 weight.
  • Wool socks. Keep your feet dry through the seasons. Wet feet and sweaty feet can make for a miserable hike.
  • Waterproof hiking shoes. You never know when you’re going to run into muck in the woods or at parks. My favorites are Oboz and Merrill. Hubby loves his Keens. REI is my resource for boots and socks.
  • Sunglasses. Protect your eyes! Even the haze can affect your eyesight. I now have bigger frames since my eyes are more sensitive. Plus, they really help keep the bugs away as I trek on warmer days. I prefer Smith brand, though I currently have Malibu Jims. Costly, but I need the heavy duty eyewear and protection.

I’ll keep adding to my list of suggested wearables. My goal is to keep my blog posts somewhat brief. 🙂 A comfy body makes for a happy adventurer.

Sayonara!

Yesterday, we said goodbye to our third exchange student. Nana was visiting us from Shimizu, Japan, over our spring break, along with two other students and a chaperone. Her visit was in conjunction with a program in our community called the Chelsea-Shimizu Sister Cities exchange program. Last June, my daughter traveled to Shimizu and visited Hiroshima and Sapporo to experience world history, and Japanese culture and community.



Our week was filled with local adventure, including the tradition of painting our town rock, disc golf at Hudson Mills metro park in Dexter and touring the Big House at the University of Michigan. Hosting an exchange student for a week was easy-breezy and so much fun! We hosted a student from the Netherlands for a full school year and a student from Peru for five months.

What I’ve learned from these cultural connections is how brave the teenagers are to travel to a foreign country and immerse in a culture that is completely unknown to them. Nana was eager to try everything — food and experiences. Though we had very little knowledge of her language and she had only slightly more of our language, we communicated. Google Translate was our friend this week, no doubt. Even so, being open, flexible and, most importantly, joyful during the week sharing experiences resulted in a lifetime connection.

Reflecting on our other experiences, I am grateful our family is still connected to our Dutch “daughter.” We are not connected to our Peruvian student, which I regret. I think of her and hope she is living a full, happy life. Each experience was truly unique. I am grateful to the students for being so brave and giving my family the opportunity to grow and learn from them.

Mutual rescue, mutual unconditional love

This sweet doggy is 10 today. Moose came into our lives after our previous rescue dog, Libby, passed away from old age. Never in doubt that we would rescue another dog, we kept our eyes out for adoption day opportunities. We found Moose at an adoption Moosie - 10 years oldevent in downtown Pinckney. She was the only rust haired puppy in a litter of mutts, most of which resembled German Shepherds. (We learned mamma was likely a party girl with two suitors.) Her given name of Ginger was apropos, of course. There was something about her sweet eyes and shaky little body that drew us in. She was petrified. We decided to give her a big name of Moose, named for the tiny village amid the Grand Tetons in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, a favorite family destination. Truthfully, we call her Moosie 99% of the time.

Ten years later, and she still has some anxiety around people coming into our home, though she is deeply loyal, loving, vocal, and protective. She loves kids and popcorn. She has no fear of hiking in below freezing temperatures, but has a hard time walking in the heat. Tug of war is her game of choice.

A morning hike after breakfast and a birthday treat from The Brown Basset Baker started her day. Another treat later today, some tug of war, of course, and an off leash run around the yard will wrap up her birthday fun.

Ice is not nice, but nature’s setting prevails

I left my hiking boots in Holland (MI) this weekend, so I had to resort to an old pair that took a beating during my plantar fasciitis days. A bit discouraged, I almost skipped my planned hike. Fortunately, I was determined to walk Moose this morning. The sun was vibrantly beckoning, the morning wIcy trailas a toasty 23 degrees requiring less layers and the doggy and I needed exercise after an indulgent weekend. (Who can resist homemade bread???) We went to our easy access trail system at the Discovery Center and found ourselves the only adventurers this morning. Quickly heading to the Lowland trail, I stopped in my tracks when I saw the trail of ice. Not discouraged, I headed to another trail entry… and another. Unfortunately, the ice was prevalent. Determined to never have another injury in my life, I realized today was not going to be a trail day after all. The lower lip started to fatten and a frown started settling in, but damn that sun was bright and the air’s purity quickly flipped that hint of a frown.

I’ve learned a trick over the years: when I feel discouraged or sad for whatever reason, I quickly say, “I am grateful.” I am grateful to be alive. I am grateful I can walk. I am grateful for nature that surrounds me. I am grateful. Moose and I walked the ice-free drive through the park and basked in the sun’s glow as it shimmered through the trees. I am grateful.