It’s Porch Season

Spring is here, and throughout Southern Illinois, people are looking for excuses to be outside in the warmer weather. One way to do this is by making some easy updates to your outdoor living space.

I recently decided to tackle a few improvements to our front porch. My kids, and even my daughter’s boyfriend, helped do some editing and pitching of things that accumulate when it’s too cold and gloomy to do much on it. Granted, a power washer would do wonders, but that is yet to come. I hope…

Meanwhile, I decided that a few plants would bring some life and coziness to the space.

Fortunately, I saved my hanging baskets from last year to be reused. The Carbondale Farmer’s Market has already had a great selection of flowers and plants this spring. I’ve started filling the baskets with wave petunias from a local farm.

I also rescued some impatiens from a clearance rack at a local store. They really just needed to be dead headed and watered. Last year, I had painted my little bistro table chairs sea green and covered the table with a lemonade-ish colored thrift store cloth. Amazingly, I found a trendy striped trash “can” at a thrift store this spring that perfectly matches the chairs and tablecloth. So, I lined it with a plastic bag to protect the interior, added rocks for drainage, and planted the impatiens. It is now the living floral arrangement on the bistro table.

A goal is to make a cozy spot to paint on glass (or whatever I feel like doing to relax) when there is a nice breeze on the porch. Once upon a time, people spent more time relaxing and socializing on their front porches. We tend to hear more about decks now, but both are valuable outdoor living space. I hope to deal with our deck soon too, but at least one space now has a few fresh updates. I’m picturing a glass of refreshing sun tea poured over ice on the bistro table now…

Sunshine and Market Fresh

It was still pretty warm this morning, but the weather was perfect for the Carbondale Farmer’s Market. Despite a late start, I still arrived in time to snap some photos, shop a bit, and get my iced holy basil tea.

Many dogs enjoy walking around the market each week with their humans.

Beautiful fresh flowers from a Carbondale vendor paired with some iced holy basil tea from Mustard Seed Sowers.

Lots of yummy choices from Leepy’s Gourmet Foods.

Southern Que was on site with delicious barbecue.

Mario’s Mama continues to be a favorite among canine shoppers.

One of the talented musicians that entertain shoppers at the market.

The Annual “Cemetery Run”

One day plus two restaurants plus three counties and six cemeteries equal my family’s annual “cemetery run.” That’s the day on Memorial Day Weekend that we meet somewhere and travel as many of the cemeteries where are loved ones are buried as we can fit in to place flowers on gravestones. Actually, there are more than six cemeteries, but some were done on a different day as the geography makes it extremely difficult to accomplish in one day.

This has been a tradition within my family for as long as I can remember. I’m pretty sure my parents did this before I was born, and I’ve included my children in the tradition. Personally, I believe it is one way to reach respect for those who have come before us.

It is sad to see the disrepair of some cemeteries, especially older ones, as not all receive any funding, and some rely on donations. Repair and upkeep might be a good project for groups looking for service projects as it preserves a part of our country’s history.

Below are some photos from Marion and Wayne county cemeteries. They are not necessarily any of relatives, but I liked the pictures.