Saturday, October 1, 2016

Checking off the Bucket List - Bonsai Tree

Bonsi tree ficus

I have a bucket list.  Not anything written down, just ideas in my head.  What's a bucket list?  It's a list of things you want to do before you kick the bucket.  (My favorite movie is The Bucket List.)  Could be to run a marathon, or see the Great Wall of China, or try escargot.

Our city has a touristy place called Meijer Gardens.  It's great actually.  If you are visiting the area, it's a beautiful place to visit - lots to do, especially in good weather when you can see the outdoor art installations, trails and gardens.  Good for locals too.  Huge.  Always changing and Meijer Gardens has a good concert lineup too in the summer.  I've never been to a concert there, but the venue doesn't hold very many people (2,000 I think?) so I'm sure it's a good show.

Recently my husband and I became members of Meijer Gardens, primarily to get access to pre-sale concert tickets.  I pasted the concert lineup from 2016 at the bottom of this post if you are curious.

So this week at Meijer Gardens is the fall Bonsai show.  I'm told the spring Bonsai show at Meijer Gardens is larger because it's state wide, whereas this show is geared more toward local/West Michigan Bonsai Club members.

I don't know why these little trees intrigue me, but they do.  A bucket list item was to learn about them and perhaps start a tree of my own.

Clint, a grower and collector of Bonsai trees works at a local garden center and came in to teach a group of about 20 of us how to select, transplant, and train Bonsai trees.  We were given a ficus tree to start.  From the sounds of it, ficus trees are fairly hardy, and can withstand cooler temperatures.  They like to be watered every few days, misted daily and have plenty of light.  I think my success rate with indoor plants is about 50/50 so we'll see.  Clint works at Growco so he knows what he's doing.  He warns us that Bonsai trees can be addictive.  Once you have one, you'll soon have two, three and so on.
Killing Trees is the Tuition You Pay for Learning Bonsai.    -John Naka
Here's some pics of our class today:

Bob Goddard helping a student trim her Bonsai tree


training a young Bonsai tree

using wire to train the branches to form desired angles

Clint (the Bonsai expert) showing us how to transplant a Bonsai tree

these little weeds might look cute, but they will steal nutrients from your Bonsai
tree so it's best to pull them - tweezers work best.

Clint has offered to help us transplant our trees in the Spring.  (hopefully they will live that long, lol)

a tree from the West Michigan Bonsai Club - looks great!

Boxwood Bonsai Tree - she's been training it since 2012 and it's about 9 years old

Step 1: Nursery Stock - no training
Step 2: starting to shape and train into Bonsai
Step 3: Basic Bonsai

Video footage of the 2014 European Bonsai show:

Meijer Gardens 2016  Outdoor Concert Lineup:
June 8 2016:
The Monkees – Good Times: The 50th Anniversary Tour
Sun, Jun 12
Mon, Jun 13
Of Monsters and MenSOLD OUT
Wed, Jun 15
Ziggy MarleySOLD OUT
Fri, Jun 17
Tedeschi Trucks BandSOLD OUT
Wed, Jun 22
Michael Franti & Spearhead with special guest Chali 2na & The Funk HuntersSOLD OUT
Sun, Jun 26
Fitz and The TantrumsSOLD OUT
Mon, Jun 27
Jackson BrowneSOLD OUT
Wed, Jun 29
Gregg AllmanSOLD OUT
Sun, Jul 10
Ben Folds with yMusicSOLD OUT
Mon, Jul 11
The DecemberistsSOLD OUT
Wed, Jul 13
Ben Harper & The Innocent CriminalsSOLD OUT
Thu, Jul 14
Old Crow Medicine ShowSOLD OUT
Sun, Jul 17
Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic ZerosSOLD OUT
Wed, Jul 20Femi Kuti & The Positive Force Band and Bombino
Sun, Jul 24
An Evening with Lyle Lovett and his Large BandSOLD OUT
Mon, Jul 25Diana Ross
Wed, Jul 27
The Goo Goo DollsSOLD OUT
Thu, Jul 28Jay Leno
Wed, Aug 3
Grace PotterSOLD OUT
Wed, Aug 10WAR & Los Lonely Boys
Sun, Aug 14
Wed, Aug 17
ABBA The Concert: A Tribute To ABBASOLD OUT
Sun, Aug 21
An Evening with The Beach BoysSOLD OUT
Wed, Aug 24
Lake Street DiveSOLD OUT
Fri, Aug 26
Wed, Aug 31Bonnie Raitt
Thu, Sep 1
Wed, Sep 7
Gavin DeGraw & Andy GrammerSOLD OUT
Mon, Sep 26
Tears for Fears - RESCHEDULED

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Book Review: Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

I've been finished studying for the Michigan bar exam for a few weeks now.  Time to catch up on reading!

I just finished “Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet” by Jamie Ford.  A very good novel with some historical events taking place around the fictional story.  The main character is Henry, a 12 year old Chinese boy living in the outskirts of Seattle.  He attends school at an all-white elementary school and is bullied by the older and bigger boys.  Then, a Japanese girl becomes a student at Henry's school and they become fast friends.  Most of the story is told in the 1940s but the book jumps to the 1980s, and then back again.

I liked this story.  You could call it a romance, drama and historical fiction.  The author does a good job with telling the story and had me keeping the pages turning to see what develops. 

I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.  Highly recommended.

Affiliate link book:


What books have you been reading?  What would you recommend I read next?!

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Not much bigger than....

Here's yet another picture of Chili, the dog  we adopted 3 weeks ago.  She's 8 pounds and has stuffed herself into this bed.
Now, before you think I didn't get a proper dog bed for her.

This isn't her bed.

It's a guinea pig bed!

Chili has her own dog bed, that she inherited from Pepper, but the guinea pig bed was sitting on the floor next to the kitchen stove and I was busy making chicken marsala.  (which turned out gross, by the way.  after I bought all the ingredients; spent hours cooking, and tripled the recipe so I could freeze some).  She wanted to be near me and be snuggly so she tried out the guinea pig bed.  hee hee
Here's a pic of the pet that is supposed to be using this bed.  Thanks Snickers for sharing your bed.

Monday, August 22, 2016

New United States Postal Service Stamps

The post office is featuring a new set of stamps for Pets!
I was mailing a textbook I had resold on Amazon today (good riddance)....Had to look up the proper spelling, found here:
good riddance

"said to express relief at being free of a troublesome or unwanted person or thing."

So good riddance textbook.  Yes, I think that's about accurate!  These stamps brought a smile to my day, and I bought a few books to have on hand.  These stamps are cute, but the colors and detail of the printing is a bit lacking.  The stamps are "Forever" stamps, which means that if the postage rate goes up or down, the stamps will still be accepted for mailing a first class standard letter.

Did you have a stamp collection as a child?  I did.  Somewhere I still have it.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Chili Update

Some more pictures of Chili, the dog we adopted 2 weeks ago.  She's such a good girl!  She has her moments of being super hyper - jumping around while we trying to get her leash on or off her.  We are working on some good dog manners: sit, stay, come, heel, and all that stuff.

She loves sitting on laps and snuggling.

It took her about a week and a half to learn how to play with a ball or squeeky toy.  I bought her a small, squeeky chicken, (grin) but she didn't know what to do with it or how to play catch at all.

The vet said she is about 3 years old.  She's housebroken which is probably her best quality.

Love her!  She's so happy all of the time - and quite the tail wagger.

A great placement from Animal Rescue Project in Kalamazoo.

When looking for your next dog or cat, don't buy, ADOPT!

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Thinking of a dog name....

Hi, nice to meet all of you!  My shelter name is Akiko (ah-KEY-co) and I have a new family!
Animal Rescue ProjectAnimal Rescue Project

My mom picked me up yesterday from Animal Rescue Project in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

I'm a Jack Russell Terrier Mix.  I have a lot of Jack Russell in me - and I'm hyper!

The vet says I'm 3 years old - but I forgot when my actual birthday is.

I love my new mom and dad and want to follow them around everywhere!  When I have to go in my kennel all by myself, I scream and screech!  I don't know how to bark, I just screech!  My mom thinks it sounds like nails on a chalkboard but I'm not sure what that means.

I've been at my new family's house for less than 24 hours but here's my favorite activities:

  • following my new mom around close to her feet. 
  • going for walks every hour.  I go potty outside and mom says I'm a good girl.
  • sleeping on my new dog bed, although I can't ever seem to get the blanket right no matter how much I drag it around my bed.
  • sitting on my mom's lap.  Yesterday she went outside to read a book and I stayed on her lap the entire time.  I love her!
  • chasing after chipmunks and deer.  Except for that darn leash.
My new Mom and Dad have a hard time saying my name correctly, and said they're going to give me a new name.  Some favorites are:
- Daisy
- Chili
- Millie
I don't care what they call me as long as I'm right by their side.  
famous Jack Russell Terriers - from Frasier

famous Jack Russell Terriers - from RCA

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