Plants just know

It is Friday and Fridays are for fun. I grow a variety of house plants. Most of them are plants that will go outside for the summer in pots or in the garden.

During the fall as the days keep getting shorter, the plants stop growing or they grow more slowly. Some plants stop blooming.

As of today, we have 8 more minutes of daylight than there was on the shortest day of the year. My plants seem to notice this. My violets will soon bloom again and the mums I brought inside are blooming and the coleus that lost a few leaves is growing some more.

Now is the perfect time to feed those house plants and start planning the garden for 2020.

violet and coleus

January, Winter, Friday

It is Friday and Fridays are for fun and the freaky late December rains have ended. January is an interesting month in Minnesota. There is plenty of cold and sometimes a lot of snow and the winter carnival. (January 23 to February 2 this year)

There are oh so many chances to get outside and enjoy the cold and snow and maybe if we are lucky temperatures will get to -27 below zero like they did last January.

Here are some photographs I took last winter to kind of get everyone into the post-holiday, beginning of the new year and winter mood. Winter can be beautiful. Taking pictures in the snow can be fun.

Alexander Ramsey house winter
The Alexander Ramsey House
Crabapple tree - snow
Crabapple tree
snowy street
Snowy street

The last Friday of the year

It is Friday and Fridays are for fun. I took a look back at the last decade and much has changed in St. Paul and in the world. There was no light rail in St. Paul in 2009, the Union Depot was all boarded up but was restored and re-opened in late 2012.

I have a picture of Porky’s – the popular and historic Drive-in that was removed in 2011 to make way for development. There are a lot of new buildings along University Avenue and of course the light rail line that opened in 2014.

Porkys drive-in
Porky’s drive-in – moved to Pioneer Village Hastings, MN

The Historic Hope Firehouse is now the Hope breakfast bar, as it was and as it is now. The building was saved and repurposed and a hotel was built next to it.

hope firehouse
Hope firehouse before ad after

There are numerous new businesses that have cropped up in my neighborhood along West 7th near downtown. There is a new hotel on West 7th and 7 Corners hardware was demolished to make way for Trailor Bar and OxBo apartments and New Bohemia.

In the last decade, we saw the population in downtown St. Paul doubled or triple as new apartment buildings were built and the old central post office and the former St. Paul Police station were converted to housing.

Former St. Paul PD HQ – Now Penfield apartments

We have come such a long way since the great recession. I see a lot of houses being repaired and improved. There are a few near my house that spent much of the decade vacant and are now occupied. Change is the one constant in life that we can count on and it is fun to look at what are now old pictures and remember how things used to look.

Enjoy the last Friday of the year.

Fa la la la la Friday

It is Friday and Fridays are for fun. Last year my father died shortly before Christmas which wasn’t fun. Things were pretty crazy and busy last December and I didn’t get a chance to even think about the holiday until December 23.  I did most of my holiday shopping on Christmas eve day. I have to say I really enjoyed and it and plan to go shopping again on the 24th. The trick is to get started early in the morning by mid-morning it gets busy.

When I got to the mall last year I had no idea what I was going to buy. I am going to go with the same plan this year.

moose – Rosedale Mall, Roseville Minnesota

To straw or not to straw

It is Friday and Fridays are for fun, and today is Friday the 13th.  Plastic drinking straws are probably not good for the environment. We use a lot of them and some big companies like Starbucks have decided to discontinue their use.

During my holiday shopping adventures, I noticed alternatives to the plastic disposal drinking straw being sold in stores everywhere. They come in cardboard, plastic, and metal.

My husband and I went out for lunch earlier this week and we were given ice water and asked if we wanted a staw.

I have pretty much quit plastic when I have a choice. I can do that because this is America. 🙂

In fact, I can drink ice water without a straw of any kind. I am that talented. Cardboard straws don’t appeal to me at all and washing out a straw for re-use doesn’t appeal to me either.

A plastic straw is used for a few minutes and then discarded, and take up to 200 years to degrade, but will never fully biodegrade. That was all I needed to know to stop using them.

Giving up straws doesn’t seem like a hardship at all. I gave up buying any kind of beverage that comes in or is served in a plastic bottle or cup, giving up straws is even easier.

Let them eat fruitcake

It is Friday and Fridays are for fun. Last weekend I managed to acquire 25 of the 26 ingredients to make a fruitcake from the recipe my mother and grandmother used.

Making the cake is quite the process. It is hard to keep track of all of the ingredients but I have a system. The recipe I have was missing a couple of instructions but I figured it out and updated the recipe.

It takes at least an hour to measure and mix the ingredients. I have one bowl that is large enough to hold it all. Once the batter is ready it goes in the oven and bakes for 4 hours.

Once the cake cools, which takes at least 4 hours it gets wrapped in sherry soaked cheesecloth, and put in a container which I keep in a cool place. I check it every couple of days and add a little more sherry.

There isn’t anything like my boozy little fruitcake. It will be ready to eat by December 20th but I’ll wait until Christmas eve.

I think the reason why people don’t like fruitcake is because they have never had a good fruitcake.

The ingredients are not as easy to find as they used to be. I generally have to visit at least 4 stores to get it all.

fruit cake ingredients
fruitcake ingredients