Tuesday, October 25, 2011


What a difference a day makes.  Twenty-four hours ago, it was mild, in the 50's, barely a breeze and calmer than calm outside.  Today, it's windy, bordering on cold, and it's heavy...I don't know how else to describe it.  It just feels heavy out there, overcast to the point where it seems like the sky will simply burst into tears at any minute.

I'm grateful then, that I took the opportunity to come home early yesterday and finish some things up in the yard.

The garden is now fully turned, covered with compost and almost ready for winter.  When I say almost, it's because I haven't planted my garlic yet...soon, very soon.

The compost bin is full and happy.  We're trying to figure out where to put our second compost bin...we need a new one to be filling while this one gets to cook, otherwise I'll never have any compost to use!  Love composting, but it takes time, sweet time.

While I worked, Trooper was on critter patrol.  Protecting me from the varmints is her favorite pastime while we're out working.  Second to lying comatose in the sun, that is.  Yesterday, there just wasn't quite enough warm sunshine for that...

Hard to be thinking about settling in for winter when there are still flowers blooming!  Tiger lilies of some sort here...

...sunny yellows of another sort there...

 ...and snapdragons still going crazy!  Even though snapdragons are technically considered annuals for this part of the world (Zone 4), these little babies came back this spring and have flourished!  All because I didn't get around to pulling them out of the ground before the snow started flying (about THIS time last year...).  Who knew??  You can bet I'm going to leave them alone in hopes that they'll come back next year as well.

The Dakota County Soil and Water Conservation District came by to put an official sign in our raingarden to let our neighbors know what the heck the big divot in the yard filled with plants and mulch is for.  Look for the 2012 Blue Thumb Workshops listing on their website for class information on raingardens and how to build one of your own -- and get a grant in the process!  I'm totally open to talking to anyone about it who's interested.

I dug up my dahlias and am preparing them to overwinter.  This is new to me...I was told to put them in a paper bag packed with a bunch of sawdust or peat moss to insulate them and absorb any moisture.  Store in the basement and plant in the spring.  Can't wait to see how this works...I LOVE dahlias!

The irises have been shorn and put to bed and the bulbs have been replanted.  Daffodils, tulips, teeny tiny irises and other goodies galore...as long as the squirrels don't go crazy and dig 'em up...

Terry arrived home in time to rake the yard...trust me, he was thrilled.  When I was done with my varied tasks, I jumped in on the fun!  We raked the leaves down the hill into the woods to naturally compost.  I am so grateful we don't have to bag leaves!

As a ceremonial end of the chores celebration, we torched the burn pile that had grown throughout the past month.  Everything I trim or cut ends up in the fire ring.  Nice kindling for an evening fire.

At long last, our work was done and Oktoberfest beckoned us.  Hard work well rewarded!  Looking at the weather right now, I'm so very glad we got it done y-e-s-t-e-r-d-a-y...

I adore the Lake Superior Oktoberfest and can't wait to be visiting Duluth this weekend, where we will say a Big hello to the Great Lake, dip our toes, visit the scene of the crime (we got married on the North Shore 11 short years ago) and I'll have the opportunity to try blogging on the go.  Lots of family history there...maybe I'll even get a picture of the Lion at the old house on London Road?!?//

What's For Dinner Tonight?
As I mentioned yesterday, Minneapolis St. Paul Magazine's Restaurant Week runs through Friday.  What is it?  It's a fun way to try a new restaurant (or restaurants, depending on how wild and crazy you are) for a fairly discounted price.  Many participating restaurants around the Twin Cities offer specially priced tasting menus for lunch ($10) and/or dinner ($15 or $30).

For our adventure, we chose Rinata -- a recent addition to the Lake + Hennepin scene.  We chose it for three reasons: first, it was in the $15 per person price range, which we preferred since we're going north for the weekend, second, we really enjoyed Giorgio's, another rustic Italian restaurant who used to be in that same space (the space is gorgeous), and third, they're offering homemade gelato for their dessert course.  I mean, come on...who can say no to that?

What I love is that via the Minneapolis St. Paul Magazine website, you not only get to view what the tasting menus for each restaurant are, you can make reservations online.  Which we did in two seconds flat.  Easy peasy...and I LOVE easy peasy!

Stay tuned for tomorrow's All Rinata post...

What are you having for dinner tonight?


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