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.

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.

Growing a cutting garden

Flowers bloom from late April through mid-October at my house on about an 1/8th of a collective area. This sounds teeny, yet, it’s a fun smattering of color in various gardens on my 4.75 acres. The first to flower are the Grape Hyacinths and soon to follow are the Alliums, Bleeding Hearts and Irises – rich, burgundy flowering transplants from my mom. The tulips sometimes make it. The bunnies with the edible win again this spring.

My homegrown flowers make me happy — in the garden, at home in eclectic vases and in recycled jars for friends and family. This joy inspired me to launch Cheerful Nature Bouquets — officially today! — and a new hillside cutting garden is underway.

A soil test has been ordered. A Sunday afternoon trek to a favorite grower, Hilltop Greenhouse and Farms, resulted in a carload of perennials and annuals. Another favorite, Salvia, was picked up and more Starlight Coreopsis and a fun new-to-me flower set has been ordered online. Planning is underway with the aid of a borrowed book from my lovely neighbor, Michele: Floret Farm’s Cut Flower Garden. (After much note taking, I had to order the book for my own library.)

Cheerful Nature Bouquets is launched!

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.

Deep breaths

There’s something about hiking in the woods on a just-below freezing fall morning. TLight through the fall treeshe wool layers go on and the cozy hat and mittens are a must, but after a few brisk moves, the chill is utterly refreshing and the bod is toasty. Moose and I were in need of a good hour hike and Mill Lake always delivers. Sun beams sprinkled the trail today with dancing light bursting through the trees dressed in late season foliage. The breathtaking beauty required a few moments of gratitude and deep breaths of fresh air at one of my favorite stops along the lake loop on the Oak Woods trail.

The Mill Lake loop is a favorite four-season hike just minutes from downtown Chelsea. I highly recommend it after you explore the Discovery Center trails and feel confident in your whereabouts. I like to park off Mclure to hop on the trail. Let intuition guide you; just keep following the trail closest to the lake. (If you start walking away from the lake… alert, alert!) To make the loop, hike on the Lakeview trail, portions of the Waterloo-Pinckney trail system, Oak Woods trail and through Mill Lake campground. Once out of the campground, walk a brief moment on Mclure to complete the loop back to the boat launch lot. The instinctive loop is counterclockwise, though the reverse is a fun outing as well. Just stick to the trails closest to the lake. Get outside and take a hike!

Hello, 50

Ten years ago, I trained for the Iceman, a 28-mile mountain bike race in November in Traverse City, Michigan. My bestie, Todd, and bro-in-law, Michael, and I were set to meet up with our families in northern Michigan to celebrate my big 4-0 by conquering this rough-and-tumble ride renowned for some oft-times wicked weather.

Mountain biking was pure joy for me. Not the speediest or the most technical, I simply found joy in the maneuvering of rocky, rugged trails through forested nature preserves and mountainous canyons. Over years of riding, I earned several nicknames thanks to Todd, whose daughter with lovely Alisa now calls me Auntie PigPen. This affectionate name was well-earned as I was often the last in a pack of friends riding in the mountains of California back in the late 1990s. (Picture a swirling kick-back of trail dirt.)

Training for the Iceman in my home state of Michigan, I spent hours on the trails in Pinckney State Park with many trips through Hell. (Yup, there’s a Hell, Michigan.) As the big day neared, I felt mentally and physically ready — well, for at least a portion of the 28-mile ride. Race day arrived, and my joints and I decided that my body was not ready for that massive feat after all, so instead I entered the 8-mile Slush Cup. While that sounds super wimpy compared to the Iceman, I felt spectacular in that race. The highlight was coming around the final corner and seeing my family crazily cheering me on and *quite distinctly* hearing my eldest daughter shout, “Go, Mommy, Go.” I felt like a champion. I loved that day. Shout-out to Todd and Michael who completed the Iceman, the later of whom has accomplished it many times and is tackling it again this year.

The Slush Cup was my last time on the trails on my bike — until this year. I had stopped riding because of chronic pain (as a result of cumulative injuries). Yet, recalling the pure joy of trail riding, when a friend suggested we try to “get back on the saddle,” I ventured out this year to nearby DTE Trail in Chelsea. Taking my time, I rediscovered how much I love riding while immersed in nature. As I turn 50 this month, I plan to keep finding happiness on my two wheels in the woods.