On the Road and In Your Backyard

Good Morning All,

On The Road and In Your Backyard is a weekday feature spotlighting reader submissions. From the exotic to the familiar, please share your part of the world, whether you’re traveling or just in your locality. Share some photos and a narrative, let us see through your pictures and words. We’re so lucky each and every day to see and appreciate the world around us!

Submissions from commenters are welcome at tools.balloon-juice.com


Something short and sweet, and just plain awesome. An unexpected blossom/fruiting tree post-purchase is a dream. A former house of mine had a small pear and a small peach tree out front. In-season, the mailman happily took one fruit per day on his driving rounds, a smile beaming from a 1/2 block away as he approached. He was a tea party jerk, most likely now a diehard MAGAT. I hated his leer but loved that my trees welcomed and sustained him, even if he wished for our (pro-Obama/liberal) despair.

Have a wonderful day, and enjoy the picture!


Today, pictures from valued commenter PenAndKey.

First Spring as a homeowner!

Taken on 2019-05-12 00:00:00

Southwest Wisconsin

After nearly 20 years of sacrifice and planning my wife and I finally bought our first house a few months ago. Late last week we got a happy surprise and discovered the the previously unidentified tree in our front yard is a cheery tree! It may make a mess later, but for now we’re enjoying this colorful proof that spring has arrived.


Thank you so much PenAndKey, do send us more when you can.


Travel safely everybody, and do share some stories in the comments, even if you’re joining the conversation late. Many folks confide that they go back and read old threads, one reason these are available on the Quick Links menu.


One again, to submit pictures: Use the Form or Send an Email

25 replies
  1. 1
    Rob says:

    Congrats PenAndKey, on your new home. The flowers are making me smile this morning.

  2. 2
    JPL says:

    The flowers are lovely and enjoy your new abode.

  3. 3
    satby says:

    Congratulations PenAndKey! I had a similar fun surprise when I moved here three years ago and the ratty old tree in the backyard turned out to be an ornamental cherry. Sadly, it finally lost its last living branches last fall and is only a four foot stump this year.
    You’ll find that any mess from fruit on your tree is often more than compensated by the birds and wildlife it attracts. Happy homeowning!

  4. 4
    oatler. says:

    My pomegranates are flowering beautifully. Hope I have better luck with the fruit this year.

  5. 5
    Mary G says:

    I sold my house in 2004, and the buyers kept calling to report new things blooming and fruiting. Your cherry blossoms are gorgeous.

  6. 6
    debbie says:


  7. 7
    WaterGirl says:

    First spring as a homeowner! Big congratulations!

    Beautiful photo.

  8. 8
    The Very Reverend Crimson Fire of Compassion says:

    OT, but is anyone else experiencing technical difficulties accessing the site on a mobile? I’m on an iphone running safari, and everytime I try to reach balloon-juice I get one of those stupid “You’ve won a prize!” scam pages. It seems to work just fine on my apple laptop running chrome.

  9. 9
    WaterGirl says:

    Sort of off topic, but maybe not really.

    BillinGlendale, if you read this comment, I wonder if you would mind getting in touch with me at BJfestivus at the google mail place. Tom Levenson suggested that we might want to use one of your glorious astro-photos as the grid image for “Science and Technology” on the View by Topic page, and I thought that was a great idea.

    Hoping maybe you will think so, too. If you’re not crazy about that idea, you can just let me know here, but if you think it holds some possibility it would be great if you could reach out to me at the email listed above. thanks.

  10. 10
    WaterGirl says:

    @The Very Reverend Crimson Fire of Compassion: I won a prize, too! Ack.

    The BJ ads are really out of control right now. They are rearing their ugly heads even with AdBlock Plus installed, and I know they are giving satby fits on her tablet.

  11. 11
    MattF says:

    @WaterGirl: Me too. The mobile site is getting hijacked repeatedly, and is now entirely useless for me.

    ETA: Grrrr.

  12. 12
    TomatoQueen says:

    @WaterGirl: On the gov’t laptop, which has its own gov’t issue blocking software, the same ads (on the right side) do the same thing

  13. 13
    TomatoQueen says:

    2/ play when they want to, fail to respond to mouse. The cursor has a complete mind of its own and mostly can only be operated by magic, wishful thinking, or bribes. On the personal laptop, running Fireyfox and a couple of adblockers due to Mozilla being weirdoes, all the right side ads appear but behave a little better, shutting off when told to, and then there are the other ads, big banner ad up top and other places (mostly for shoes) that show up but eventually disappear. Last night the arrow keys worked intermittently. This morning the tab key in the govt laptop is the only control that the cursor will obey. I think this thing is haunted.

  14. 14
    walden says:

    I’m having bad experience on mobile. The site has one pop-up after the other with you have won a prize from apple, or walmart, or click here for your award…and the banner shows a funky url. The front page is visible behind the pop-up. Cannot see the content or get to it at all.
    Running Safari on iPhone.

  15. 15
    MattF says:

    @walden: Clearing Sarari’s cache and history may help. Go to Settings->Safari, and press the ‘clear cache and history’ button. Note that this will temporarily complicate your browsing and log you out of any auto-logins that you may have been using. OTOH, it worked for me; no more hijacks and popups. But it’s a temporary fix– if they find you again, you will have to repeat clearing the cache and history.

  16. 16
    Wag says:

    @The Very Reverend Crimson Fire of Compassion:

    I’m getting the same thing every time I open a page. It doesn’t happen on the front page, only when I open a post

  17. 17
    Wag says:


    Nope. Just tried this and no difference

  18. 18
    MattF says:

    @Wag: It didn’t work immediately for me. Wait a bit and try again. These new-fangled gizmos are tempermental.

  19. 19
    stinger says:

    Lovely picture, and what a happy surprise!

  20. 20
    The Moar You Know says:

    I don’t have a problem with ads, but I’m using Chrome, Ghostery, Ad-Block Plus and (I think this is key) my firewall blocks all non-US traffic.

    I hate using the ad-blockers, but the ad service people that BJ uses aren’t screening their ads for malware – they have to screen every ad that gets run, no exceptions. Until that happens, I can’t risk the integrity of my network.

  21. 21
    gvg says:

    @The Very Reverend Crimson Fire of Compassion: I get those on my ipad. The way I found to get rid of them is in settings open safari 1) clear cache 2)open advanced and turn off javascript.
    I usually wait awhile then turn java back on because lots of sites don’t work without it, but the pop up does away for awhile usually for days or weeks. Its annoying to have to reenter logins to all other websites but I don’t want Cole to go crazy and hope the new version fights them better.
    When it happens on Android, I have a lot more trouble getting rid of it.
    I learned this version on the internet but several suggestions didn’t work until this one did and I don’t remember where I found it.

  22. 22
    rikyrah says:

    Congratulations, and a beautiful picture.

  23. 23
    mad citizen says:

    @MattF: Me three! Using android level 9 Samsung galaxy 8S. As R L Burnside would say, “It’s Bad You Know”.

    Congrats on the new house. I had a small cherry tree for several years with nice flowers, but it was crooked and in a bad place, and eventually I allowed for it to be taken our when my neighbor was having something done in his back yard and a big truck needed to get through our side yards.

  24. 24
    susanna says:

    Cherries are coming to this eye-candied tree, I assume! You’re a nice person to have kept yourself neutral with the rightie-tightie’s helpings.

  25. 25
    B says:

    Like you I went through many years (decades) of apartment living before I was able to buy a house and have a yard to dig in. Congratulations. Fruit trees are a lovely way to commit to a new place.

Comments are closed.