Summer Weekend Adventures

Weekends are never long enough, especially in summer.

Spending a long holiday weekend at my parents’ house on Lake Michigan is always full of adventures, from kayaking to hiking. This time we also hiked The Ridges and the Mink River Trail.

Exploring the variety of flora is a fun treasure hunt throughout the seasons.

Noticing the wildlife is an exciting outdoor activity too, finding birds, wildlife and insects.

Some critters are hard to capture with the camera, like this pileated woodpecker, and other critters are fun to watch their shenanigans, like these cute little red squirrels chomping on cones right outside our kitchen door.

And of course, there are many varieties of butterflies and dragonflies to follow. I’ve never seen this particular 12-Spotted skimmer dragonfly before. I had fun following a tiger swallowtail and a few monarchs too.

I always cherish these weekend getaways and wish I could stay longer. I’m already looking forward to the next one! Cheers to more summer weekend adventures!

Summer Hiking

I don’t go hiking on the trails too often in summer because it can get pretty buggy (mosquitoes love me!) and muggy with our warm, humid summery days. Our weather has been all over the place lately, from temperatures in the 60s and breezy to 90s with a heat index. We’ve had a few nice weekends of low humidity and temps in the 70s to low 80s, so I’ve been able to spend time on the hiking trails the past couple weekends.

I love noticing all the sweet little flowers (er, maybe weeds) along the trail. They look dainty and fragile but they are usually vibrant and hardy.

I’ve also been noticing the bluest skies lately which means low humidity or haze in the atmosphere.

I’m still working from home for a little while longer, which is great but feels like too much time in front of computer screens, so I’ve been trying to soak up more fresh air, wide open spaces and time on the trails or in the woods.

Hope you are taking the time to pause or slow down, get out there and enjoy lovely summer days!

Around Here

We don’t have much blooming in our gardens these late summer days. But things are still green and thriving around here, with steady sunshine and summer rain storms.backyard in august

butterfly weed seed pods butterfly weed beetles

beetles ALL over the butterfly weed seed pods!

rain storm

rain storm
rain gauge on day 1

rain gauge – day 1

rain gauge on day 2

rain gauge – day 2

hydrangea tree in bloom

garden path

We still have some coneflowers, black-eyed susans, phlox, roses and our dwarf hydrangea trees blooming. I would like to pick up some asters and mums from the garden center to fill in the bare spots left behind from summer perennials that are done for the season.

specimens from my backyard

In the meantime, it’s fun to walk around the yard and look for treasures, which are always great inspiration for my sketchbook. New illustrations are always in the works!


Field Notes: Late Summer at the Farmers Market

Seen at our farmers market these days: Peppers, tomatoes, fingerling potatoes, and the most vibrant colors of flowersIMG_1514 tomatoes and peppers at farmers marketchili pepper strings at farmers market

fingerling potatoes

late August flowers at farmers market

stunning bouquet at farmers market

flowers at farmers market

Of course, there’s always a usual huge selection of cheese, popcorn, honey and bakery to drool over too. But I’m usually attracted to the flowers – I want all of them but I never buy any; just take lots of pictures. Hope you’re out enjoying these last couple weeks of summer!


Summer Bucket List

I’ve noticed a few people sharing their Summer Bucket Lists online lately, which inspired me to make my own list of things I want to do while the weather is nice around here.

sunset over lake michigan

• Go for more bike rides

• Go kayaking more

• Try stand-up paddle boarding – done!

• Go to one of the many beautiful beaches on Lake Michigan

• Roast marshmallows

• Make s’mores

• Stargazing and cloud watching

• Go to a couple local farmers markets

• Go to Art Fair on the Square

• See a play at American Players Theater, a classic outdoor theater

• Go to the butterfly exhibit at Olbrich Botanical Gardens

• Have corn on the cob

• Go to a concert

• Plant milkweed and butterfly weed in our gardens

• Pick berries

• Do more marketing for my new graphic design studio

• Draw more in my sketchbooks

• Read more books

• Start sewing again

• Keep a more routine exercise schedule

• Go through some of the Skillshare classes I signed up for

I’m sure I’ll think of more stuff I want to add to my bucket list right after I publish this post. What’s on your summer bucket list? Don’t let summer slip by!


First Weekend of Summer

Yippee for the official first weekend of summer! I was lucky enough to be able to spend the weekend at my parents’ cottage on the lake. The weather wasn’t very summery the first couple days but we managed to have fun anyway, with some kayaking, bird-watching and hiking in the woods.

kayaks in door county

gull on the dock

gull in the water

loons in Garrett Bay

tree stump terranium

tree roots

tree roots

poppy in Door County

The kick-off of summer meant the Fyr Bal Festival in Ephraim, where the city sets up a few bonfires on the beach to symbolize burning the winter witch and welcome summer. After the bonfires die down, they put on a great fireworks show over the water.

Fyr Ball bonfires

Fyr Ball fireworks

fireworks in ephraim

Hope you enjoyed your first weekend of summer!



Summer Has Arrived

Since we passed the unofficial marker for the beginning of summer with Memorial Day weekend, and beautiful warm weather is here to stay, I am switching gears from looking for signs of spring to soaking up all the inspiration I can find this summer.




inside a tulip


inside an anemone

It’s wonderful to find so much inspiration this time of year at the garden centers, farmers markets, and right in my own backyard. Hope you’re out finding inspiration too.


Garden Update – Late Summer Treasures

One thing I love about these mild late summer days is finding cool things happening in our gardens.

Some days turn into a treasure hunt in nature.

I like to think we have our own little eco-system going in throughout our yard.

We have been enjoying beautiful late summer days lately, with mild, dry, sunny and cooling temps.

I cherished a peaceful day off last week by spending an afternoon experimenting with the travel watercolor kit I received from my best buddy.

It was fun to mess around with the palette of colors that came in this little kit. At first, I thought it might too hard to paint an image with such a limited collection of colors. Once I got mixing and painting, I realized how fabulous this little kit is, with just the right about of paint colors, perfect little mixing trays, a water bottle, a mini brush just right for working on my art cards, and a cover that doubles as a water dish.

Hope you’re finding opportunities to relax and enjoy these late summer days too!

Garden Update

It seems like I haven’t shared a garden update in awhile.

Since my last post showing you our lily collection, we continue to have coneflowers, which last so much longer than many other flowers in our gardens.

The phlox have joined in the summer fun.

I always forget where these are planted in our gardens, so I have come close to pulling them, thinking they were weeds.

We had a super hot July around here, so I didn’t spend as much time hanging out in our yard as I would normally.

On those hot days, it was just refreshing to see so much green out there.

I never tire of looking outside, especially in summer!