Friday, March 28, 2014


                                                                       Day Trip

After so many days of winter, it looks like today we are getting a break. The sun is shining and it is warm, compared to most days. It has a hint of Spring. My number one daughter calls me to see about a road trip. Just say travel , and my comfy shoes come out and I am ready to go. I arrive at her house at 8:30. We are going to the Toledo Museum of Art. She has an assignment. there.

Toledo Museum of Art
 On the way, we will be passing Waterville, a quaint little town outside of Toledo. It is the studio of George Carruth, known as "Garden Smiles. "  He uses the clay from the area to produce so many cute accents for home and garden. This time he has encompassed more artisans creations. He has a wonderful selection of very fine works of art. After selecting a Carruth piece, my attention went to the hand crafted jewelry. I purchased  a necklace and matching earrings. Did I say that I am a buyer, not a shopper? From there we visited a quaint antique shop and a cute flower shop. There I purchased a picture,  just for the frame. It was a good buy and I plan to re-purpose it with the help of my in house carpenter, and honey doer.

Carruth Studio

Now it was destination time, The Toledo Museum of Art. The exhibit was The Gardens of Tuileries. It was a wonderful display of the gardens and the different mediums of art. The history amazes me how long these gardens have been in existence . These gardens date from 1564 . It gives me the reality how infantile our country is.

There was a room with two tables filled with just stuff. There were little shelves and vignette's  on the walls, that you could use your own creativity to bring out the artist in you . These were our attempts. Do you think we are the next Varujan Boghosian ? What do you think?

Table of Stuff



After experiencing this magnificent exhibit, we made out way around the other exhibits in the museum. The Toledo Museum is a first class museum. It has the works of Van Gogh. Monet, Remembrant and the likes of many famous artists from around the world. It is so close. We often don't take advantage of what is at our back door.

Claude Monet

At the front of the museum is a wonderful Alexander Caulder piece. His work can be identified by its beautiful red color. This one is " Stegasarus ".


All museums have wonderful gift shops. They had two . They had a lovely place for lunch , The Museum CafĂ© .  So when you go, you can spend the entire day, and that is easy to do.

Across the street there is a glass studio and  there were several Chihuly pieces from his early years and ones that are very identifiably his style . There were two blowers blowing this day The museum and glass studio closed at four so it was time to start home .

We made stops at Costco, and stopped in Defiance to check on my grand daughter  and husband , who are to have their first baby in about two weeks. We all are so excited . I arrived home a little after ten. It was a good day. Life is good. I think my feet hurt.


Thursday, March 27, 2014

Awake From A Deep Sleep...

According to the calendar the first day of spring was March 20th. Ohio weather must have forgot to check its' calendar because it sure doesn't feel like spring. We have had below 30 degrees temperatures as well as snow. It doesn't feel like spring, since the weather has been down right miserable.

You wonder if this cold weather will ever end. Well, yesterday was a beautiful sunshiny day even though the air had a chill to it. Thank goodness to Mr. Sunshine for at least giving us the day.

When I stopped at the Municipal building, on one of my routine visits, I noticed these beauties. There's still hope spring WILL arrive, I guess it's just not when all of us want it to.  These tulips have awaken from their deep slumber and were peaking out from their brown blanket.

Wondering what else has emerged from their deep sleep, I checked a few parks to see what I could find, unfortunately there wasn't a whole lot of evidence...just yet that is! I did find some day lilies trying to come alive.

Our forecast for the next couple days is to reach the 50's. Rains is to accompany these warm temps but that may just be enough to wake up the gardens and their residents. All of them will soon be awaking for us to enjoy!

Monday, March 24, 2014

A Park Director

Many times I have been asked, "So, what do you do in the winter?" Apparently people must imagine what I do in the spring and summer. The parks are always buzzing with activities and I'm more visible during these months.

To answer, "What do I do?" I'm not real sure where to begin.  I could start by telling you what the job description is of the Park Director but that would not give you the entire scope of the position. It's evident that I am in charge of the operations of the Parks and Recreation Department just by the title, but let's look a little more specific.

Let me give you a brief history first.  When I first came on as an employee for the city Parks Department, I was the Recreation Supervisor, a position that was only part time. The Department had a full time Park Director and one full time maintenance employee. Within a few years the Department grew into four full time employees; Director, Recreation Supervisor and two maintenance personnel. After ten years as the Recreation Supervisor I was promoted to the Director's position, however the position I held was not filled. Of course someone had to fulfill those responsibilities.....yes it turned out I still had to fill those shoes. Just five years ago one maintenance employee retired and was not replaced. To summarize, the department suffers through budget cuts and down sizing to the bare bones. For nearly six months I was the only employee in the department until the lone maintenance employee was reinstated!

With that said, maybe you have an idea what a Park Director does, or at least this one. Here are a few things you would find me doing; Preparation of the annual budget, coordinating over fifty team schedules on park ball facilities, answering the office phone, taking reservations for fields as wells as pavilions.....Oh! did I forget to mention we don't have an office clerical employee?  So, if you happen to call the office and my voice mail greets you, just leave a message and I will get back to you soon!

With  minimal staff to be care takers of nearly 70 acres of park land with pavilions, restrooms, and athletic facilities with various surfaces you probably wonder how can we keep up. Some days we don't, so on an occasion during the spring and fall you might even see me out on a mower when we are trying to keep up with the fast growing grass. During the peak times of the year we do hire seasonal employees. With the hiring of extra staff on a yearly basis that means; applicants have to be recruited, interviews have to be conducted, then all employees have to be trained.

With the involvement of the day to day operations, there is the interaction with the public, special groups, and volunteers that require organizing and coordinating. Working with such groups as Garden Clubs help beautify and maintain many of our gardens such as Fountain Park, Memorial Park and the Children's Garden at Smiley Park to name a few. Then there are groups like Boy Scouts and Senior Classes that have specific projects that they volunteer to do so they too can help improve and give back to the parks and community. Working with special people and groups as these make this position all the worthwhile....the life of this Park Director is rewarding.

Until next time. Have a great day!!!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014


                                                          What's Next ?

Renee Seeds

The snow is leaving much later this year. We procrastinators are panicking. It is the middle of March, and the farmers will be wanting to be planting their corn in April. I said , wanting. So this indicates, at least, we gardeners need to have a plan.

Seed catalogs arrived some time ago. We are seeing seeds in stores and Garden Centers. Flyers have arrived about new varieties of seed potatoes and sweet corn.

I have bulbs in a brown paper bag in my downstairs refrigerator that I purchased in February , at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show. I hope I have success keeping them this way until the ground reaches the right temperature for planting. The Helleborus are in my front window just waiting. I also bought these in Seattle. When there, it seemed the right  thing to  do. I don't know about you, but  my success rate seems to go up when I plant in the ground. Here it will be awhile. Today it is 16 degrees, and the middle of March. I see on Facebook, many of you are posting pictures of your Helleborus. Mine are still under snow. They may come out blooming, but will have many winter damaged leaves.


In reading today's local paper, I see many of the 4H Clubs are having their first meetings and planning for the new year . They are our future.  It is a great program that is managed through our Ohio State  University Extension.

We have two garden clubs , and The Master Gardeners that have plant sales starting the end of April. The Master Gardeners have their annual herb sale Saturday April 26. The Evergreen Garden Club, dig your own plants perennial sale is Saturday May 3 rd. and The Men's Garden Club ( and always will be) has their annuals, hanging baskets, and geranium sale on Saturday May 10th, just before Mothers Day. The local YWCA has a geranium sale and the Van Wert Booster Club also sells plants . Our local Garden Centers will have an abundance of plants all season. The city should be beautiful.

Fountain Park

It is also time to check out the condition of equipment and garden tools, unless you are very organized and did this last fall. This would be the best approach, but sometimes it just doesn't happen.

Walk around your garden to check for damage and visualize what may be under that frozen tundra. Like you, I am ready for Spring and all that comes with it. I will have aching muscles and joints, unless I worked out at the gym this winter. I WILL put that on my list for next year.

I love my garden. I love Easter. It brings forth new life and hope.

It is time to dig in the dirt. Get down and get dirty.


Wordless Wednesday

Sue & Louise

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Living Life

With an Attitude


Live in The Sunshine

                                                                                    -Ralph Waldo Emerson

Sue & Louise

Wednesday, March 12, 2014


Do You Have This Problem?            

According to Webster:
    vol'un-teer. N      1. person who offers self        2. worker forgoing pay, - V.    3. offer for some duty or purpose    

Compliments of Wassenberg Art Center

We are a small community of 10,000 plus people. Very proud , and all in all have a lot going on. We have both a YWCA and a YMCA, Art Center, a wonderful Library, Historical Museum, a Preforming Art Center, an award winning Children's Garden, County Fair Grounds that support our 4H programs, a Farmers Market during the growing months, a top rated Hospital, Vantage Career Center, new schools, and many City Parks. Now that is only a part what happens here. The down side of this, is like many communities, it takes people to make this all happen. Budgets are tight, and that is where the volunteers come in. As the saying goes," It takes a Village to Raise A Child", it also takes an army to accomplish what needs to be done. We have many committed people, but some are aging, and we have had some brain storming meetings to see what we need to do to encourage a new generation of volunteers. How do we reach out and instill the pride that has been the core of our community.

I guess we are asking for suggestions from you, and what you are doing in your communities. Help us.


Wassenberg Art Center

City Park

Children's Garden

Determine that the thing can

and shall be done, and

then...find the way.

                                                                                -Abraham Lincoln

Thank you,
Sue and Louise

Wordless Wednesday: Snow, Snow and more Snow

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Ft Wayne , Indiana, Home & Garden Show 2014

This is garden show number two for this year. I love what all the local business people do to put on this show. Weather played a big part on setting up this years show. It has been a brutal winter and challenging growers with greenhouses. Fuel bills have been horrendous. I, as a visitor, want you to know your efforts are much appreciated. I always see things that are new. It keeps us abreast with what is being developed to make the things we do easier and better.

There was a lot of hardscape. There was garden art, mulch, and of course plants. A hydroponic planter took my eye,. It is used for year around gardening.  A fresh salad everyday.

Hydroponic Planter

Zelkova Bonsais

I bought a bonsais "Zelkova" that I placed in my south window. Perfect placement for sun exposure . I also purchased a cute red hanging planter  that I filled with Tillandsia.The Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory is always a favorite. of mine .Great plants at a good value. Shopped at the " Bee Hive" They had a nice display of honey, lotions, creams, soaps, and all things made with bee derivatives.

Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory
Bee Hive

The Master Gardeners had their usual booth with seeds and fielded questions about gardening. The Orchid Society had a fine display.

From the garden part of the show, we moved to the home part of the show. We sampled salsa, beef stick. and a slush made with wine. Now we can have a party. There are a lot of new products to be had for the home. An air purifier got my attention. I need to think about that.
They had educational seminars that I did not get to attend. It was reported to me, they were well attended.
All in all , it was another successful show .

Design by Arbor Farms

Until next year, Louise