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Practically Speaking

Kyle and her husband moved to Brookfield in 1986. She became active in local politics and started blogging in 2004. Her focus is primarily on local issues but often includes state and national topics, too. Kyle looks at things from the taxpayers' perspective in a creative, yet down to earth way, addressing them from a practical point of view.

Weed Out at Mary Knoll Park this Saturday, May 17, 2014

Brookfield, Gardening, Special events, Nature

This year, rain or shine, the Weed Out at Mary Knoll Park in Brookfield will be held on Saturday, May 17th, from 9am to noon.  We may be having a slow spring, but the Garlic Mustard marches on!  In most places, it is already up and easy to identify--some of it is already blooming.

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Two 'Weed Out' Days at Mary Knoll Park! Saturday, May 4 & 11, 2013

Brookfield, Gardening, Helping others, Nature, Special events

This year there are 2 Weed Out days at Mary Knoll Park in Brookfield on Saturday, May 4th and then Saturday, May 11th.  Both dates start at 9 am  and finish at noon. We may be having a slow spring, but the Garlic Mustard marches on!

The first weekend's focus on May 4th, will be on pulling the invasive Garlic Mustard. It is already up and easy to identify.  Don't worry if you are inexperienced. As always, Patty Gerner will give instruction on what to look for and how to pull the weeds. (Usually Gary Majeskie from Park & Rec. Forestry Department attends too).  It is a great opportunity to learn about these invaders so you can check your own yard for the pests.

On the second weekend, May 11th, the more hearty will help Boy Scout Troop 23 volunteers dig out the bigger invaders: Buckthon trees and (possibly) Honeysuckle bushes. Both produce numerous berries and are prolific spreaders. The Buckthorn trees shade and crowd out native plants and trees; Honeysuckle berries irritate bird's digestive systems and provide no nutritional value.

To help, give the Parks, Recreation & Forestry department an idea of how many volunteers to expect, call 262.796.6675 to register. (Not necessary. If you forget to call, come anyway.)

So consider joining the group this Saturday and/or next at Mary Knoll Park, 615 S. Sunnyslope Road, just south of the I-94 overpass bridge, in Brookfield. I've been to most of the Weed Outs and it's always been an enjoyable workday, not to mention a great opportunity to enjoy a morning in the park and see the wonderful native plants that are thriving now that they aren't being crowded out by the aliens.

Wear gardening clothing and bring gloves.

Past Garlic Mustard Posts with photos:
2012 Weed Out Time (with photos)
3rd Annual Weed Out (with photos)
It is worth saving (pictures from Weed Out and wildflowers)
Oh, the shame! (photos and tips for evicting Garlic Mustard)

Weed control links: Garlic Mustard and garlic mustard's pretty cousin, Dame's Rocket. (It can take over native areas too.) Garlic mustard should be thrown in the trash and labeled Garlic Mustard: Do not compost.

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Invasion of the red and black beetles

Gardening, Nature

Has your home and yard been invaded by 1,000s of small, red and black beetles? 

Mine has, and they are leaving blood-red drip marks all over my freshly painted white garage doors!

Though nowhere near the epic proportions of the plague of flies and gnats Pharaoh and the Egyptians had to endure in the book of Exodus, I do not recall ever seeing such swarms in my lifetime.

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My very own Fox & Friend or natural rodent control

Brookfield, Gardening, Nature

May I introduce you to my very own rodent patrol squad: Mr. and Mrs.(?) Red Fox

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It's Weed Out time at Mary Knoll Park, Sat., May 12, 2012

Brookfield, Gardening, Helping others

View same post  with pictures

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Early spring means early garlic mustard

Alert, Gardening

What a beautiful spring we are having. Though temperatures have retreated a bit from our unseasonable highs, I am enjoying the spring flowers and emerging plants--you can't beat fresh garden asparagus!

But unfortunately, our warm temperatures are also prompting the vile garlic mustard to make its presence known. I just pulled 2 huge garbage bags full from my own yard--and I didn't think I had much at all. So unlike last year, when the stuff was barely visible this early in the season, this year I am finding 18" plants that are beginning to blossom.

Now this isn't all bad. Because other plants are relatively slow growing yet, the garlic mustard sticks out like a sore thumb. I plan on following up in the places I yanked it from to check for regrowth. I will pull the large plants and Roundup the babies.

By the way, the official Mary Knoll Park Weed Out date is Saturday, May 12th, 9am - noon. Judging from my own yard, we won't have to look too closely for the culprits. In the meantime, keep an eye on your home-front for garlic mustard is no respecter of persons.

Past Garlic Mustard Posts with photos:
3rd Annual Weed Out (with photos)
It is worth saving (pictures from Weed Out and wildflowers)
Oh, the shame! (photos and tips for evicting Garlic Mustard)

Weed control links: Garlic Mustard and garlic mustard's pretty cousin, Dame's Rocket. (It can take over native areas too.) Garlic mustard should be thrown in the trash and labeled Garlic Mustard: Do not compost.

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Remember, Saturday, May 7th is WEED-OUT day at Mary Knoll Park

Brookfield, Gardening, Special events

Though the temperatures might seem more like it is March or April, the calendar says it is the first weekend in May.

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Save the herbs

Gardening, Living well on less $

Last year, I decided I would try to save a few herb plants over the winter in the house.

My experiment was 2 fold: to have some fresh herbs over the winter months and to save the price of buying the plants again the next summer.

So I dug up the plants from my garden and plunked them into a 3 Cup container. (Larger would have been better.)

Outside of placing them in a sunny location (east exposure) and watering occasionally, that was the extent of the tender loving care I gave them.

While they didn't exactly thrive, they did survive. The photo was taken last spring just before putting them back in the garden. They also supplied me with fresh rosemary and the occasional spearmint leaves. The creeping thyme I found did not need to be wintered in the house; it survived outside just fine.

This year I brought in the rosemary and mint again, and I will try a pot of parsley too.

My other gardening experiment this year will be to move a parsley patch close to my back door and cover with a translucent plastic bin when the temperatures head to the teens and lower. Between the warmth radiating from the south side of the house and the hardiness of parsley, I should have fresh parsley for Thanksgiving stuffing and other culinary delights all winter long.

So what do you have to lose? The weather should still hold for today and tomorrow. Get out the trowel and save those herbs!
 

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Attack of the Giant Tomato Plants

Gardening, Just for fun!, Interesting idea

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Who ate my dill?

Just for fun!, Nature, Gardening

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What is BIG, Yellow & Black, and Scary? (to some)

Gardening, Creation Science / Intelligent Design, Nature

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Attention gardeners: Master Gardener Plant Sale, Sat. May 22

WISCONSIN, Special events, Living well on less $, Gardening

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A peach of a year... literally!

Just for fun!, Gardening, Food, Living well on less $, Weather

Blog post with more photos

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My Mulberry marathon continues

Just for fun!, Gardening, Good food / recipes, Living well on less $

For full photo version see brookfield7

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My tomatoes not happy with chilly July

Just for fun!, Musing, Gardening, Weather

My, oh my, we had a chilly July. We only went above our average high of 85 degrees to hit a sweltering 86, according to Weather.com once and 3 times if you use AccuWeather. Out of the 31 days in July, only 4-6 were above the average low of 63 degrees, depending on which source you use. That is pretty chilly.

The chart on AccuWeather.com was rather interesting for Milwaukee. It shows the highs, lows, records, etc. all in easy to compare columns. Neither Weather.com nor AccuWeather show the high of 94 degrees on July 27 this year as JSOnline reported though. But we really don't need the charts to tell us this July has been cool, our gardens and number of blankets on the bed tell us that.

Milwaukee's all time high was 105 in 1934. In fact, the 1930s look like a hot decade. The next record high was 103 in 1995. I knew that without looking at the chart; that was the summer we remodeled and literally had half our house open to the elements. Yup, that means living with NO air conditioning and lots of mosquitoes. Believe it or not, you do get used to the heat. The mercury topped 105 at our house.

Most of us have not had our air conditioning on for much this summer, which is a plus when it comes time to pay our WE Energies bills. But the tomato plants in my garden are not so happy with all these good sleeping, cool nights!

Today I did find one tiny tomato that had fallen off the plant and had started turning a dull orange. It is a new variety to me called a berry tomato and is shaped much like a small strawberry. That berry tomato was my first inkling of anything ripening in my garden.

Any of you gardeners out there have tomatoes ripening? Do let me know if yours are maturing. I would like to think someone is enjoying a tomato mayonnaise sandwich out there. After all, it is summer.

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Making room for Heirloom Tomatoes

Gardening, Just for fun!, Living well on less $

This will be my 3rd year planting heirloom tomatoes. If you have not tried any, make room for 1 or 2 this year. Their flavor is spectacular and their color and shape fun. I don't think you will be disappointed.

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Genetic engineering gone awry? Take a look; it's funny!

Food, Gardening, Just for fun!

If you have ever grown a vegetable garden, you know that sometimes the carrots or potatoes grow in some unusual shapes. I have harvested anatomically correct boy carrots or potatoes that looked like aliens. But I have never encountered produce that resembled the female form. That is until now.

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1st sign of spring--a gardening catalog!

Gardening, Interesting places, Just for fun!, WISCONSIN

One of the sure signs of spring are the gardening catalogs that arrive in my mailbox. I received the first yesterday, and what a beauty! It was from Klehm's Song Sparrow Farm and Nursery in Avalon, Wisconsin.

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It's Puffball mushroom season again

Food, Gardening, Just for fun!, Nature

There was a buzz of excitement amongst the adults in my aunt and uncle's Brookfield home, as they laid their treasures on the kitchen counter. The grownups had just returned from a mushroom hunting expedition at Kinsey Park and the 2 neighboring homes and had struck pay dirt.

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*Happiness is a trailer and a hitch, or fun times at the recycling center

City of Brookfield, Gardening, Going Green, Just for fun!

One of the first things we purchased when we moved here was a utility trailer. What do we need that for? I asked my husband. He said we would need to to haul brush to the dump. (Back then we still called it the dump.) He did use it for that purpose...a lot.

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Happiness is a homegrown tomato

Gardening, Just for fun!, Living well on less $

It sure took long enough. I planted earlier than other years, and my tomato plants looked great. Yet those green tomatoes just would not ripen!

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Have Mayapples, Will Travel

Free, Gardening, Just for fun!

One of the great things about gardening is that there are usually plants to share with others. If a specimen is doing well, invariably there will come a time when it needs dividing or thinning. Sometimes a particular plant does a little too well and spreads itself to places you don't want it. That is when your garden clean up can be another gardener's boon.

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Heirloom Tomatoes, Everything Old Is New Again?

Gardening, Just for fun!, Living well on less $

I actually got my tomato plants into the soil yesterday! That is a record for me--usually I don't get them it until the first week in June. I am pleased with my accomplishment. :)

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Yippee! 2 peach blossoms so far

Birds, Gardening, Just for fun!

On a  glorious day like today, there are few things I like better than an afternoon out in the yard. I just finished my Dr. Death duties (Weed B Gone and Round-Up*) and now I am ready for a little digging time in the flower bed.

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Weed Out and Nat. Day of Prayer Report

Gardening, Special events

Last Thursday was the National Day of Prayer. The day was brisk, but at least the sun was out!

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