Frost aster, seedum and bees

It is Friday and Fridays are for fun. It is late summer and fall starts next week. I have been enjoying the bees that flock to the frost aster and the sedum growing in my flower beds.  I have seen more honey bees in the last week than I saw all summer. The asters are native plants but the sedum isn’t and it attracts all sorts of bees.

I am looking forward to cooler weather and I am not looking forward to cooler weather. I do like living in a place where there are seasons.  Have a wonderful weekend and enjoy the weather.

fall blooms
Frost aster and sedum

How to spend less money

It is Fridays and Fridays are for fun. Recently I  am seeing articles about how to spend less. Most include a list of items that a person who wants to spend less or save more should stop buying. I am not sure if I am bragging or complaining but I rarely find anything on the lists that I buy and therefore can not stop spending on.

spare change

I make coffee at home every day. I figure for two of us it costs about as much as 1.5  cups of coffee at the coffee shop down the street. As an added benefit we use one compostable coffee filter rather than two disposable cups with plastic lids each day.

Instead of a fancy expensive stationary bike that requires a monthly subscription, I have an old school bike that I actually use to get from point A to point B.

We rarely dine out and because of the huge amount of salt in most restaurants and take-out food, we mostly cook at home.  Our total grocery bill for a week costs a little more than it would cost to dine out once.

I’ll admit it would be better for the economy if I spent more but on the other hand, I can’t possibly spend enough to make a difference. During the great recession, I managed to cut a bunch of expenses and haven’t added much since.

The lists I find usually include 5 to 25 items. They are fun to read. Maybe it gives me an idea of how the other half or maybe 10%.

Bad jobs and bad employers

It is Friday and Fridays are for fun. As I get ready for the last holiday weekend of summer I am remembering all of the jobs I have had.

After college, there was a recession. I wasn’t able to get any of the jobs that I had hoped for.

I worked many jobs including ten years as a government employee. Some of my work experiences were horrible and some were alright and I learned something from each.

There were a few times that I had bosses that were totally insane. There was a boss with a drug problem and one who was a narcissist.

When I worked in a family-owned business I competed with the boss’s children for the best jobs. I won’t even mention the toxic work environments and poisonous company “cultures” I endured on my way to greatness.

I have been self-employed since early 2002 and started my own company six years ago.  I no longer have to worry about being let go.  I meet a lot of interesting people and I have a lot of control over how I spend my time and who I spend it with.

Self-employment and working on a 100% commission basis isn’t for everyone but for me it has been a perfect fit. I don’t like doing the same thing each day and I need to be challenged and I actually like to work. I especially enjoy problem-solving.

Enjoy the last holiday of summer any way that you can and don’t think about work until Tuesday.

Learning how to use less water

It is Friday and Fridays are for fun. I have lived in Minnesota my entire life and haven’t thought nearly enough about water conservation. This summers’ extreme drought got my attention. It hasn’t been fun but it has made me so much more aware of how I use water.

I put a large empty plastic planter under one of the downspouts from the roof to collect rainwater. It doesn’t rain often but when it does I can collect enough water to water the plants on my porches for several days.

If I put a bucket under the faucet before I take the shower I can collect the water that would have gone down the drain while I wait for warm water. I have been recapturing some of the water we use for rinsing dishes. Water that was heated up for cooking is easy to reuse once it has cooled.

We mostly let the lawn go because of the drought but I have been able to keep the vegetable garden alive and some flowers that I grow near the house.  I have been rethinking my gardens because some of the annual flowering plants can’t go a day without water during heatwaves.

We have been using less water for just about everything. Some of it has been just a matter of breaking some bad habits.

Next year I may put gravel down in a couple of areas instead of planting annuals. I’ll keep the vegetable garden but it will be smaller.

The drought got my attention. One of my winter projects is going to be planning a yard that uses less water.

What a strange summer

It is Friday and Fridays are for fun. This summer has been an unusual one starting with those few weeks when we felt like the pandemic was ending. Everyone went on vacation until everything was booked. Since then we have had heatwaves, drought, and lots of smokey air and of course a pandemic.

It has all been a reminder to me that no matter what is going on it can always get worse and sometimes it does which is why we need to make the most out of the good days.

The good days are the days when the air isn’t filled with smoke and when the weather is pleasant. When it rains it is a very good day. When I can get out and enjoy the woods or the river or a lake that is a good day. If I get to take some pictures that is an even better day.

goldfinch and flower
Goldfinch feeding on Prairie Ironweed

I had to take the picture from a distance because those little goldfinches are easy to spook but the flowers mostly stay still. I took this down in Lilydale Regional park by Pickeral Lake.

Oh selling houses is fun too.

Happy bike trails

It is Friday and Fridays are for fun. I haven’t been biking as much this summer because of the heat and then the smoke. One of my favorite trails is the one that goes through Harriet island regional park and hooks up to the three rivers trail. Part of it just outside of the parks was closed this spring due to a rockslide.

Last week I explored the new Robert Priam Regional Trail. It is 3.7 miles long and connects Harriet Island Regional park to Kaposia Landing Park in South St. Paul and is part of the MRT (Mississippi River Trail).

The Harriet Island trail goes through the woods and along the river. The Robert Priam trail takes us past parking lots, self-storage facilities the scrap yard, and an airport. They built a bridge over a rail yard.  It goes past a post office and the large parking lot where all those Amazon vans sleep at night. It is all very industrial until it connects up to Kaposia Landing Park. The trail is also fairly flat and very smooth.

The trail also connects to the River to River greenway and more. One of the things I really like about where I live near downtown is access to several local and regional trail systems and the grand round.

bike trail
Kaposia Landing Park