Carolyn Antl

C. Antl's art and musings.

May 7, 2019
by Carolyn
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Late Spring Gardening in Northern Ohio

After mid-May in Northeast Ohio when the coast is clear of frost, I focus my gardening efforts on weed control and planting annuals.

I find the best way to remove weeds, involves manually pulling them one at a time from the soil. Grab the weed at the bottom of the stem near the soil and pull. Pull weeds after it has rained when the soil is wet and they will slip right out.

Broadleaf Perennial Prickly Weed: Thistle

Broadleaf Perennial Prickly Weed: Thistle

Once I start pulling weeds, I get on a roll. Weeds beware, not even the prickly, the stubborn, or the creeping spreading suckers are safe with me around.

If there’s a large patch of weeds I’ll use a weed killer spray first, wait a few days and then pull what’s left of them out by hand.

Weeding can be tedious work, but I enjoy the scents and sounds of spring, and the sight of perennials popping up after a long winter’s nap. Plus, clearing a garden of weeds provides great satisfaction. One can really see the difference they’ve made in the garden.

Once weed control has been set in motion, I switch gears and begin planting annuals. Around the fourth week of May I plant seeds and small plants.

My favorite annuals include basil, geraniums, marigolds, portulaca and sunflowers. They grow well in sunny spots.

Sun Annual: Portulaca

Sun Annual: Portulaca

This year I’m also planting specimens that thrive in shade including Impatiens, hostas, tropical looking ferns and colorful Coleus.

Shade perennial: Hosta

Shade perennial: Hosta

Shade Annual: Coleus

Shade Annual: Coleus

Happy gardening!

March 15, 2019
by Carolyn
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Early Spring Gardening in Northern Ohio

In Ohio from late March through mid-May, I focus on pruning, soil preparation and some planting in the garden.

First I prune trees, vines and shrubs: Autumn Brilliance Serviceberry trees, Raspberry plants, Concord grape vines, Butterfly bushes, and a Texas Quince. What a wonderful change of pace working to the sounds of songbirds after a long quiet winter.

Pruned Butterfly Bush

Pruned Butterfly Bush

Then I’ll go through and clean the beds to remove any stray leaves or weeds. I prepare the soil by sprinkling some weed and feed product to enrich the soil and make it less accommodating to the growth of new weeds. Then to further enrich the soil where annuals will be planted, I refresh the soil with some fresh peat and Miracle Grow® garden soil.

As we head into late April I enjoy planting bulbs and flowers. This is one of my favorite gardening activities. I like the exercise, the feel of dirt running through my hands and the refreshing color of flowers following a bare, neutral winter landscape.

Since it may frost into mid-May here in Ohio, it’s best to plant hardier varieties of annuals first and then the more sensitive warm loving plants later in late May or early June. In April I plant Pansies and Durango Marigolds since they both tolerate colder temperatures well.

Pansies Offer a Burst of Color

Pansies Offer a Burst of Color

Marigolds, Durango Outback Mix

Marigolds, Durango Outback Mix

These gardening tasks go through mid-May. In the next post, I’ll describe late spring gardening in Ohio.

September 7, 2017
by Carolyn
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An Ibis Bird Drawing

White Ibis Bird Drawing by Carolyn Antl

My Dad’s birthday is in August and I had wanted to give him a gift he would appreciate. As he grows, it gets harder to come up with a unique gift that will surprise and delight him; to give him something new he hasn’t already gotten himself.

I think about this throughout the year. I’m on the lookout for a special gift for him.

Last year I gave him a very old, documented shark’s tooth that I had found at a vintage shop and he appreciated it.

This year on my quest to find something rare and unique I was having trouble. I didn’t find any treasures he might enjoy.

What could I get for him that would be unique and one-of-a-kind? Then it hit me, I could make something for him! I made this one of a kind, handcrafted piece of art, the Ibis bird drawing, then framed and wrapped it.

On his birthday when he opened his gift, his eyes lit up as he smiled. He really liked the drawing and passed it around for all of us to see. Since then, he has placed it in his living room to enjoy.

If you’re having trouble coming up with a unique gift for a loved one, look no further than yourself. Be creative. Any item you make for a person is not just the final project presented to them, but more so the time, thought and effort you put into creating something for them.

Happy crafting, baking, planting or whatever you like! Make it special as only you can.

August 30, 2017
by Carolyn
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College Bound

Our daughter has earned placement at college and we are happy, proud and excited! I’m also feeling nervous about the upcoming “empty nest.”

Packing Supplies for College

Preparing and Packing for College

For 18 years we’ve been close, within arms distance. We’ve said “good morning,” and “good night,” face to face, and shared challenging and wonderful times together.

As Lee and I work together to move Kelly into her dorm room, I’m nervous, sad, and happy for her. (Basically, I’m a mess; yet I hold it together, suck it up and smile to keep an upbeat feeling in the air.) I’m uncomfortable with her being further away.

Moving a Child Into College

Moving Supplies Into a College Dorm Room

This is a special time in her life. A milestone. And I want her to know how happy I am for her, to remember a feeling of joy.

Helping a Child Move Into Her Dorm Room

Helping Our Child Move Into Her Dorm Room

Before I leave her at school, I say to her with a smile and hug, “Enjoy this time and study well. You’ll do great; and call us if we can help with anything. I love you!”

Having Dinner with Our Daughter Before Classes Start

See You Later After a Dinner and Walk in the Rain

We both had tears in our eyes and I tried to comfort her by letting her know this was a good thing and a change. That we would both adjust and keep in touch.

It’s a bittersweet moment. I love her so much and want the best for her. And I cried a waterfall as I prayed for her well-being on the way home. I will miss her dearly.

If you have a child preparing to leave home for college and you feel uncomfortable, I hope these words have helped. Hang in there! You’re not alone.

July 30, 2017
by Carolyn
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Summer Birthdays

Spending time with family is most special to me, and in summer we’ve got a few birthdays to celebrate together. There are four birthdays to be exact, including mine.

Warm temperatures and fireworks remind me of my birthday. I was born on July 3rd and can remember the day after my 5th birthday. My family and I went to Bushy Run State Park in PA, and we dropped ourselves on a blanket to watch a wonderful display of fireworks.

The first event of my birthday this year was spent with my daughter on a wonderful walk to Spudnuts Donuts. Their donuts are the best, since they are made with potato flour. This is one of my fondest memories on my 50th birthday.

Enjoying Spudnuts Donuts After a Walk

Enjoying Spudnuts Donuts After a Walk

We rarely plan anything elaborate to celebrate birthdays in my family, but the time we spend together is the best gift of all.

I love receiving cards on my birthday. It’s a special surprise that brightens up my day and I enjoy displaying them in my home.

A Handcrafted Birthday Card from my Daughter

A Handcrafted Birthday Card From my Sweet Daughter

This year I turned the big “50” and I still can’t believe it. My birthday is the first family birthday in July. After a morning walk, we joined my husband and had a wonderful dinner together. The message included in my card made my day!

A Card from my Husband

A Card from my Husband

The second birthday in July that we celebrate is my Grandmother’s birthday. Grandma Jones is a sweetie pie and is fit as a fiddle. I love picking out a card for her that speaks to her. We both love flowers, family and staying active. I like to include a little handwritten message at the bottom of the card to remind her of our time together.

Sometimes I get stumped on how to say, what I want to say in a card. And I’ve found that this website provides inspiration; it helps me to write a truly heartfelt message.

The most special birthday of all is my daughter’s birthday in July. This year we spent some time working together in the morning and then we went wakeboarding on the Huron River together. It was a blast! She has grown into a lovely, intelligent, kind and talented person. We went to dinner after and had a great time. I made a handcrafted card for her and a bookmark.

Wakeboarding on Kelly's 18th Birthday

Wakeboarding on Kelly’s 18th Birthday

Next up, is my father-in-law’s birthday. We usually get together for dinner and discuss times past, present and future. He always has an interesting story to tell and I love listening to him share family history. He has taught me so much!

And the last birthday we celebrate in summer is my Dad’s. He and my Step-mom live out of town, and this year my sister and I arranged to visit him at the same time. What a pleasure it was to be together for his birthday! We stayed overnight at their house and enjoyed some outings, including a visit to Jungle Jims. I learned more about our family history and took plenty of pictures.

Dad's (Papa B's) Birthday with Family

Dad’s (Papa B’s) Birthday with Family

Visiting with family is a great experience. There is nothing more special to me, and time is short. I’m fortunate to have a healthy family.

My Sister and I With Dad

My Sister and I With Dad

Enjoy summer and treasure moments you have with loved ones.

Happy summer!

June 27, 2017
by Carolyn
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High School Prom and Graduation 2017

This year I’m experiencing high school graduation through a parent’s eyes. My daughter graduated this past May and did well in her classes. She graduated with an Honors Diploma and Magna Cum Laude; my and husband and I couldn’t be prouder. She’s an intelligent, kind and responsible young lady.

High School Graduate with Family

High School Graduate with Family

With High School graduation, there were events and celebrations. Preparing for prom and going dress shopping with her was a blast! It was fun taking pictures of her and taking pictures with her to record the moments. Following prom was the graduation ceremony. We were smiling with pride as we watched her receive her diploma. More pictures…

Pre-prom Photo with Friends

Pre-prom Photo with Friends

BMHS Prom 2017 Family Photo

BMHS Prom 2017 Family Photo

Bobby and Kelly in Cleveland

Bobby and Kelly in Cleveland

This past Saturday we hosted her graduation party at home. The American Greetings blog offered great advice for planning a graduation party and was very helpful. Thursday and Friday time went quickly. We cleaned, organized, shopped, ordered food, decorated and baked. And boy-oh-boy did we bake! 168 mini cupcakes to be exact! It was wonderful time spent together. The kind of time I treasure.

Making Mini Cupcakes

Making Mini Cupcakes

The time spent with our family at the graduation party was also special. I really enjoyed seeing everyone, both clans together. My cousins confirmed my feelings and said that I’ll adjust and get through post-graduation changes as they had. It was great talking with them, especially the seasoned moms, Cindy and Joy. I’m fortunate to have a large and loving family.

Graduation Party with Family

Graduation Party with Family

Kelly’s graduation also prompted many emotions: happiness, joy, excitement, and a bittersweet feeling; not sadness, but an anxious feeling about upcoming changes.

For 18 years we’ve been growing together, sharing the same home with many good mornings and nighty-nights, and lots of “I love you,” face to face. It’s been a wonderful adventure for us and we are very close. I’m happy for her and at the same time I’ll miss her dearly when she’s away at school.

Into uncharted territory as the adventure continues… When she goes away to college it will feel odd at first. Just going to the grocery store will be different. I’ll be alone, but it’s comforting to know that we can text and send pictures in real time. She’ll still be able to tell me the shoes I’m about to buy are ugly, or whether my outfit is acceptable. Thank goodness for modern technology! I’m thinking that we may want to upgrade to unlimited texting.

As she flies from the nest I will continue to pray for her safety, enjoy every moment I have with her, and trust we raised her and gave her the tools to navigate through her life well. And I will always be here for her.

Cheers to more milestones and accomplishments.