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3/25/2015
Summer squash growers, has this happened to you? One week you’re admiring a clump of sturdy green vines sprinkled with blossoms. The next week you’re looking at a heap of yellowing, wilted leaves. Squash seeds are easy to start directly in our Midwestern soils as soon as the danger of frost has passed. The problem is that by early to mid-July it’s all over for the typical... More
3/20/2015
Spring starts today, and spring blooms—frilly daffodils, dainty bleeding-hearts and statement tulips—will soon follow. Though these harbingers of the season look beautiful in the landscape, I like to snip a few from my yard to arrange in tiny vessels like teacups or drinking glasses. Try these flower display ideas inside or outside your home. They're great for Easter dinner, a... More
3/2/2015
In February, our Instagram photographers delighted in the contrasts of winter: red barns against snow, bare trees silhouetted against bright blue skies, brilliant sunsets and sunrises. The five most-liked photos of the month: #1: A rural winter wonderland near Knoxville, Iowa, by @iowablessed (https://instagram.com/p/y18RbZGzR0/). #2:  "Fiery sunset" in northwest Indiana... More
2/25/2015
Dear Spring, Although I've had a good time with winter, I'm ready to say good-bye (he's been a bit blustery and cold). I'm looking forward to greeting you ... it's been way too long. When you arrive, could you please bring: 1. Flowers 2. Electric green   3. Rain 4. Songbirds 5. Flowers 6. Farm-fresh produce 7. Tree... More
2/16/2015
Jane Fiala pulls over for barns. The self-proclaimed barn hunter regularly escapes from her suburban Minneapolis home and hits the backroads of Minnesota to capture the perfect scene of her favorite subject. “I give no thought to where I am, sometimes getting lost and needing to use GPS to find my way home," she says. "Along the way, I’ve had farm dogs chase me,... More
2/13/2015
Love may be in the air this Valentine's Day weekend, but scientists hope you'll pay attention to something else—birds. Today through Monday (February 13–16), Midwesterners can join bird-lovers all over the world to view and track bird species for the 18th annual Great Backyard Bird Count. House sparrow Participating is easy. For at least 15 minutes on any (... More
2/9/2015
My friends mean the world to me. At the risk of sounding like a Hallmark card, these are ladies I’ve road-tripped, carpooled, celebrated and vented with. That deserves a little something! 1) Set up a GNO—a Girl’s Night Over. Invite your besties to your house for conversation and cocktails. Whip up a batch of drinks, settle on the couch and catch up! Top to Bottom:... More
2/6/2015
Want to grow some tasty obscure veggies to serve family and friends? Me, too. After all, why should tomatoes get all the garden love? After overplaying my tomato hand yet again last year, I ended up with more salsa than sense. So this year I’m saving some soil to try something new—or something so old that it seems new again. Fortunately, one of the most diverse resources for little... More
2/4/2015
In the dead of winter on the North Dakota prairie, I find beauty across the vast landscape. The crisp, cold air of winter provides a natural canvas for brilliant colors, especially at sunrise and sunset.  Each minute of daylight is precious. I like knowing that after the first day of winter, we have a little more sunlight to savor each day. Winters in... More
2/2/2015
Even though most of the Midwest got only a dusting of snow in January, our Instagrammers loved the beauty of frosty landscapes and the winter sky. The five most-liked photos of the month:  "This is why we endure our long, cold Michigan winters," wrote @tara12891 (http://instagram.com/p/yPX5ZAmzQn/). A spectacular shot of the South Haven, Michigan lighthouse!  We... More