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June 2, 2013 / Leslie

Is it June Already?

Lily of the ValleyI think there is something to the theory that time accelerates as you age. Or perhaps I read too much science fiction. Regardless, I feel like May just flew right on by. Somehow I managed to read 10 books and review nine of them.

May is migration season so I spent a chunk of time looking for birds that I can only see a few times a year. Then there is the new wildflower garden and the veggie garden. And I’m in the market for a job so there are resumes to send out and interview appointments. Also some frustration with a new Windows 8 laptop touchscreen computer.

The Wildflower Garden

I began tearing out a large chunk of my front lawn last spring to put in variety of wildflowers and flowering shrubs. Unfortunately we were hit with a summer long drought and I had to stop halfway through the project. Plants don’t like 100F heat and no rain. I’ve been working on it again the past few weeks and have the sore muscles to prove it!

Front GardenThe photo on the left is what I finished last year. I’m hoping to get the rest of it planted this month.

I should get lots of audiobook time in while I work. This is great timing, June is Audiobook Month and June 17th – 22nd is Audiobook Week.


CardinalAtTheBath-sml_IMG_7804Frequent visitors here already know I love birds and love to photograph them and share what I see. May was the height of spring migration and many birds pass through the Chicago area staying only a week or so on their journey to their nesting grounds farther north. I was able to get photos of some birds I don’t see very often to add to future Weekend Birding posts.

Looking for a particular bird photo or old post? Use the search box in my sidebar.

New Touchscreen Laptop

Win8forDummiesArrgggggh! In a misguided effort to join the 21st Century and stay up-to-date I now have a laptop that runs Windows 8. No, I’m not giving up my desktop, known as The Mothership, with its trusty, solid and familiar version of WinXP. If I did I would get nothing done. All my photo editing software is for XP, and that is one of the reasons I’ve hesitated to move on to a new operating system.

Windows 8 is an operating system that one needs to ease into. Well, I do anyway. I suppose some people could be thrown in and be productive, but that’s not me. The interface is very, very different from previous versions of windows. There’s little info on how to even get started and no manual in the box. And I do mean different. Hey, where’s the start button?? It’s gone!

Anyone using Windows 8? Do you like it? Any tips?

May Reading Wrap-up

Written in Red by Anne Bishop
Parrots Prove Deadly by Clea Simon
Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight
Waiting to be Heard by Amanda Knox
Trauma Farm by Brian Brett
• The Other Typist by Suzanne Rindell

Looking for Me by Beth Hoffman
Lucky Bastard by Deborah Coonts
The World’s Strongest Librarian by Josh Hanagarne
The Apple Orchard by Susan Wiggs

How was your reading month?

© 2013 Under My Apple Tree. All rights reserved.


Leave a Comment
  1. laurelrainsnow / Jun 2 2013 12:10 pm

    I’m afraid to move on to Windows 8, since I finally adjusted to Windows 7 (after my desktop with XP).

    I don’t do well with technological changes….sigh.

    Hope you figure it out….and share your knowledge!

    I’ve been wanting to read Reconstructing Amelia and The Apple Orchard. And, of course, Looking for Me, which I received this week.


    • Leslie / Jun 2 2013 12:20 pm

      My advice, don’t switch to Win8 unless you get a touchscreen tablet. I’ve been playing with it for a week and can see no reason to upgrade from Win7 if you have a keyboard. It’s really meant for the tablet and they are trying to force it on everyone. I have a few books that I got from the library on how to use it and find out where they hid everything in this new version. I’ll post more about it when I figure it out.

      You will love Looking for Me. It was fabulous.


  2. Suko / Jun 2 2013 12:34 pm

    Leslie, I love your photos; the new garden looks lovely. I also plant with drought in mind, as it “never rains in Southern California”.

    I don’t know anything about Windows 8, but I do enjoy those books for “dummies”. I have few on various topics and they are wonderful.

    Happy Sunday!


    • Leslie / Jun 2 2013 12:54 pm

      I’m trying to plant things that are native to the Illinois prairie. Those are the best plants suited to our variable weather conditions. Last year drought, this year flooding. I figure less work for me if the plants can take care of themselves.


  3. irene / Jun 2 2013 12:38 pm

    Well, I’ve certainly enjoyed your birding weekends, and I too have begun to rip up my lawn, at the back/side of the house, not so much for a wildflower garden but for a no lawn to mow. I’m sort of working my way in from the edges. Can’t do that in the front of the house, as I have neighbor that shares our front yard and she’s so particular about the grass, so I let her do it. But the back is all mine. I’d like a little more Zen though, not quite sure how to achieve that but I’m working on it. We are full sun, so understand how you had to quit, because of the heat. My reading hasn’t been nearly as good as the winter months, but that is to be expected. Once I finish with my classes I’m sure it will drop considerably, because I’ll actually have to clean. I’ve enjoyed most of the books I’ve read, and returned one that was just not going anywhere for me. I’m into Peaches for Monsieur le Cure. it’s quite good. Enjoy your garden.


    • Leslie / Jun 2 2013 1:00 pm

      The bottom half of my front lawn is on a slope and is horrible to mow. My solution was to get rid of the grass on the hill. Most of the plants I’m putting in are native to the Midwest and once established can survive without watering or adding any chemicals. Also, many are bird friendly. I attracted a family of Goldfinches that were feasting on my sunflowers. It’s going to take a few years before I’m happy with it. Nice thing about these perennials, you can divide them up and move them around and they don’t mind a bit.


  4. Pat @ Posting For Now / Jun 2 2013 1:03 pm

    Good luck with your challenges. I love your photos!


  5. Mary / Jun 2 2013 3:38 pm

    I love the lily of the valley pic – so sweet. Good luck with the job search! And yes, the older I get the faster time seems to pass. I think that also means I’m enjoying life 🙂 Have a good week, Leslie. I hope things get better with the new computer!


    • Leslie / Jun 2 2013 3:53 pm

      I only turn on the new laptop/touchscreen when I’m mentally in learning mode. Eventually I’ll get it figured out.


  6. WordsAndPeace / Jun 2 2013 4:22 pm

    great titles! I need to read the book on the librarian!
    here is May wrap-up:


  7. Diane@BibliophilebytheSea / Jun 2 2013 8:43 pm

    no Windows 8 here yet – I think I may be a MAC gal soon though. You had a great great month. I just finished The Other Typist on audio and really enjoyed it.

    Have a great June…..I think your wildflower garden is a wonderful project. I can just see the butterflies everywhere/


  8. Lloyd Russell / Jun 2 2013 10:44 pm

    I only have 1 category – print:
    The Barbed Crown, William Dietrich (ARC)
    The Sisterhood, Helen Bryan (terrific)
    What Happens After Dark, Jasmine Haynes (as proofreader)
    The Clover House, Henriette Lazaridus Power
    If You Were Here, Alafair Burke (ARC)
    Traces of Kara, Melissa Foster
    The Silver Star, Jeannette Walls (ARC)
    A Novel Obsession, Jeff Joseph


  9. Jess resides here (@frellathon) / Jun 3 2013 5:34 am

    No start. What do you start with then. Freaky


    • Leslie / Jun 3 2013 9:09 am

      The front page that comes up on boot-up with all the brightly colored tiles to stuff you don’t want is, apparently, their new ‘start’ page. I’m still fussing with it. My Android tablet was so easy to figure out sometimes I wonder what they are smoking at Microsoft!

      I just read that the Windows 8.1 update will include a Start button and the ability to bypass the goofy start page. There were a lot of complaints! Market research department? Hellooooo?


  10. stacybuckeye / Jun 9 2013 9:58 pm

    Thank you!!! I am hating on this Windows 8 everyday and unfortunately it is my mothership 😦 I do not have the time to figure it out. Maybe when Gage goes to school, haha.


    • Leslie / Jun 11 2013 2:13 pm

      Oh no… maybe you can downgrade it to Win7. I did an upgrade by downgrading my last notebook. Vista down to XP.

      I don’t understand why they needed to make everything so different. Perhaps there should be two versions of Win8 … one for tablets and mobile devices and one for people who use their computers to be productive. And maybe add an option to make it emulate Win7 or XP. They just can’t get past the “my way or the highway” mentality.


      • stacybuckeye / Jun 11 2013 3:10 pm

        I do need to do something! If my husband used this computer it would have been dealt with the day after we hooked it up!


      • Leslie / Jun 11 2013 4:14 pm

        Honestly, if Win8 were my main PC I would be fuming. I’m a reviewer for the new laptop and also trying to learn how to use it as a tablet.

        If your version is Win8 Pro, it comes with the ability to downgrade. I’m guessing that’s a concession to business folks that will want to through the new computer out the window after a day or so. If you have the standard version it can still be done but you’d have to buy a copy of Win7, download the necessary drivers (if they exist), enable legacy boot and install it yourself … or find a geeky person to assist.



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