Welcome February

On the first Wednesday of each month we like to pause and take a look at what’s going on in the world around us.  We’ll highlight some nature and environmental news, give you a bit of inspiration, and ask you to partake in a monthly sustainability initiative with us.

With all of the snow that’s falling, there’s no doubt that we’re definitely deep in the middle winter, yet the slowly growing days are making it all bearable. Did you join us during January in trying to reduce your salt/chemical use when clearing the snow? Katie spent a boat-load of time shoveling her Colorado driveway. All of that exercise was fueled by her afternoon milkshake habit!

This month we’re excited to share our new challenge as well as a bit of inspiration and some stories that caught our eye in the news.

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Seasoned View: Vol. 16

Each month we share our Seasoned View.  Snapshots of nature and daily life taken by the Seasoned sisters. Find last month’s past months’ here.

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Happy Monday! If you live in the States, I hope you had a relaxing holiday weekend and your pups survived the fireworks shows.  Did you happen to catch the Women’s World Cup game yesterday?!  It was amazing! I remember watching the U.S.A. win against China in 1999.  The game was broadcasting right after one of my soccer games and one of the coaches actually brought a bulky T.V. and an antenna so the team could sit and watch the World Cup game.  It was so sunny and the glare off the bubble screen was so bad that we were all practically peeing our pants with anticipation during the shootout.  I have no idea how my team did that day or even that season, but watching the U.S.A. team defeat China, with my teammates by my side, is certainly a memory I’ll never forget.  I’m never one to cheer too loudly or buy team jerseys, but looking back, I do have a lot of memories tied to various sports games.  Do you remember where you were during any specific tournaments or Super Bowl games?  What stands out in your mind about the celebrations?  These little memory exercises are a good reminder that I should gather my friends around more often even if I’m not that invested in one team or another.  Sometimes you need a specific event to tie your memories down so they’re not forgotten.  Do you find this is the case for you as well? Another more obvious way that I record memories is through photography.  Below are some recent nature shots for our July Seasoned View.  If you’re down with a dark and moody desktop, download Katie’s spectacular shot of a summer storm; it’s my favorite of the bunch!  You can upload one or all of these photos to use as your desktop background or as phone and tablet wallpapers.  Simply click on the download link below each photo and save the image.  Enjoy!

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Seasoned View: Vol. 14

Each month we share our Seasoned View.  Snapshots of nature and daily life taken by the Seasoned sisters. Find last month’s here and past months’ here.

Happy Monday!  It’s May! I can’t believe it.  This year is flyyyying by.  Do you feel that way too?  Today we’re sharing our Seasoned View and it happens to be flowers, flowers and more flowers! I guess April showers really do bring May flowers…  All these images were shot in Colorado, so know that you’re sprinkling a little bit of the Rockies onto your desktop this month.  Have a great week!

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You can upload one or all of these photos to use as your desktop background or as phone and tablet wallpapers.  Simply click on the download link below each photo and save the image.  Enjoy!

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Welcome April

On the first Wednesday of every most months, you can find us checking in with what’s coming up on the calendar, both literally and figuratively. 

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Don’t you feel like April is the month when we have at least one foot firmly planted in Spring? Sure, there was a little snow shower up in the mountains last week, but it didn’t seem to dampen any spirits, because there’s no going back to winter now : the first flowers are blooming, and spring is definitely on its way!  I love seeing the definite transformation from winter to spring.  Tiny buds, blossoming flowers and pollen in your sinuses.  It really is a beautiful world we live in. That and it’s finally dress and moccasin season.

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I’m so excited to see how the perennial gardens develop at our house in the mountain. Currently, the daffodils and grape hyacinth are in full bloom. The larger hyacinths are starting to develop, but I think it’ll be a couple of weeks until we have flowers yet, but down the mountain in Boulder proper, I saw a few hyacinths in full bloom just in time for Easter! It’s expected that peak bloom for the National Cherry Blossom Festival will be April 11-14th this year, again later than the average bloom date of April 4th.  In Sarah’s neck of the woods (North Carolina) the magnolias, dogwoods, crabapple and cherry blossom trees are blooming already.  The weather has hovered in the seventies for the past week and looks to be warming up even more next week.

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I have to be honest, we have bees on the brain this season (maybe we need an insect of the season category!). During last month’s welcome we highlighted bees and talked about some of the early spring activity that you may observe in their colonies. When introducing nuts as our ingredient of the season, we mentioned the valuable services bees provide as pollinators to the country’s almond crops, but their work doesn’t end there. Migratory beekeepers have many miles yet to travel this spring as they move their hives across the country. Around this time, hives have been placed in the cherry, plum, and avocado orchards in California, some have moved north to the apple and cherry orchards in Washington state, and others have traveled east to pollinate the tupelos and gallberries in Florida.

In other buzzin’ buddy news, hummingbirds are on the move! I spotted my first of the season earlier this week, which prompted a post about filling and hanging hummingbird feeders. Unfortunately I haven’t seen any drinking out of the feeder yet, but I’m hoping that’s because they hit the nectar early in the morning.

Besides birds, I’ve seen lots of reptile and insect activity this past week.  There was an enormous black snake in the driveway of the pottery studio and I saw a tiny green garden snake in my yard yesterday.  Spring is a popular time of year for our slithering friends.  They’ll be boppin’ about during the warmer days this month and next so watch where you step!  In insect news, I spotted my first tick yesterday *groan* while I was hiking with Cash. It was crawling on my leg.  If you’re a dog owner, vaccinate your pup!  It looks like we’re getting a little bit closer to preventing Lyme disease for humans too.  I’ve also dealt with my fair share of fire ants this past week.  Apparently my yard is full of fire ant mounds, which became apparent after a few barefoot escapades. Ouch.  As the season rolls on I’ll let you know if I take action or try to ignore the enormous underground anthill that is my yard.

Arbor Day is celebrated on the last Friday in April, which is the 24th this year and the eve of baby AMax’s second birthday! We’ll have to plant a tree in honor of that little guy and all the growing he has done over the past 24 months.  If you’d like to plant a tree or ten, you should become a member of the Arbor Day Foundation. It’s only $10 and you receive ten free trees when you sign up! Sounds like a steal to me.

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Earth Day – It’s the 45th anniversary of Earth Day this year and we think focusing on the health of our environment is of utmost importance today and every day.  We also love a good Earth Day celebration.  There’s an Xtreme Zero Waste event going on in Boulder that we may have to check out.  How will you be celebrating? Planting any trees? Walking to work?  Every bit counts.

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That Bouquet is Good for You!

If you’re like me, you walk past the cut flowers in the grocery store, wanting to buy a bunch, but holding back because it’s such a frivolous purchase. Is it? Today you can find flowers in almost every price range, from a single stem for less than a dollar to the $80 orchids I noticed last week. This bunch of healthy tulips was a steal for $5.
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If you’re still fighting the February blues, there’s no better excuse to pick up some flowers. Studies have shown that having flowers around the house or office improves your mood, making you more happy and relaxed while reducing stress-related depression.

Concerned about the environmental impact of cut blooms? When buying your flowers, don’t forget to look for Veriflora certification, or even better, purchase from a local farm when in season. Many of the vegetable farms in our area also grow flowers for cutting, selling them at the weekly farmers’ market.

When you bring your flowers home, be sure to properly prepare them. This means starting with a vase that’s been well cleaned with soap and hot water. Give the bottoms of each stem a fresh trim. Remove any foliage that would be submerged in water. I kept the upper leaves on these tulips (because I wanted a touch of green in my vase), but I cut off the bottom leaf from each stem. Accordingly, I only filled my vase half-full of water, so as not to cause the upper leaves to begin to decay.

liveseasoned_spring2014_tulips_vase2_wmRemember to watch your water level and refill your vase with fresh water daily (or top it off day and completely replace every 3 or so days). You can also add a touch of bleach to keep microorganism grown to a minimum. Use the food packet that comes with your flowers – it’s the easiest way to give the flowers the little bit of nutrients they will need for maintenance.

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A few more notes about about tulips ~ they continue to grow after they are cut, and they will bend their flowers towards a light source! To keep your bouquet balanced, you can give it a turn every couple of days, and don’t hesitate to cut those growing stems again to keep the bottoms fresh.

If well cared for, cut tulips will look great for over a week in your home. That’s less than a $1/day for a week of happy-inducing vibes!

 

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