Sunday, September 14, 2014

A New Voice in the Garden

There is a new voice at the Garden Spot. As I was feeding the other night, Sundance, odd kid that he is, did something weird: he left his stall to go outside and have a look around. I wondered what he was up to. He stood by the fence looking toward the hen house. As I wondered about doing chores,  I heard what he must have heard: a croaky EEERRRRER. I thought, sounds like the neighbors had finally gotten some chickens. Then I heard it again EEERRRRER. Much too close.

Meet Chanticleer and Peretelote

I have named him Chanteleer and her name, obviously, is Peretilote, inspired by the rooster and his hen in the "Nun's Priest's Tale" in Chaucer's Cantebury Tales They remaining 4 baby chicks that the HG purchased in the spring. While the chicks are all supposed to be females, occasionally one will be male. He will be a grand rooster. You can see the difference in the coloring between him and the hen. They are silver laced red wyandottes. I don't know how long he will here because he will mess up our egg production, not that we are getting that many eggs now, anyway and the city ordinance for chickens excludes roosters. When the HG presented his proposal to allow chickens in the city limits, even though we are zone agricultural, roosters were excluded. Our poultry plan did not include a rooster either because they can be very aggressive not only with the hens, but they will attack children and adults, too. The HG has made friends with him, so we will see how aggressive a bird he is.

Our growing season may not necessarily be over. Since we had our first freeze last week, we are now officially in Indian Summer. We still have an abundance of green tomatoes in the garden, so I am hoping that the weather will stay warm enough so that the ones left will ripen. The frost was a light frost, nipping the top layer of plants. I am glad that I took these last photos of the few flowers out by the garden: an handful of zinnias and the wild sunflower.

We just did not spent the amount of time in the garden that we should have this year, so it was really weedy and messy. We will do better next year. It is still amazing just how much plants desire to live. Here is our harvest:

Two Carrots. (The seeds didn't germinate and the HG cultivated them out--by accident)

A handful of red beets.

A few Black Crim tomatoes. I love the basket. I can wash the vegetables in it before taking them in the house.

An EZ-Go full of butternut squash and spaghetti squash along with the rest of the garden harvest: a handful of potatoes, the last of the strawberries, lots of jalapeño peppers.  Lots of tomatoes and a lot Anaheim and jalapeño peppers.We didn't get our potatoes in early enough and what we did plant probably didn't get enough water. 


We don't know what sort of apples these are, but for as badly as they look (bird pecked and wormy) they are tasty. I will make apple sauce this week.

Sundance isn't picky. He loves apples, wormy or not.

The little girls were here yesterday and left their mark: apples on the fence posts. Love it. 

Today's Gardening Tip: Paper Grocery Bags do not--I repeat-- do not make very good containers for hauling garden produce fresh from the garden.

A busy week ahead. Looks like Jen and I will be making salsa and I will be making jalapeño jelly. What plans do you have for week?

I will be linking with Judith at Lavender Cottage for Mosaic Monday. Joins us

Have a fabulous week. I appreciate that you have taken the time visit.

Sunday, September 7, 2014


It is just me, or do the weeks seem to just fly by? Here it is already Sunday evening. Are you ready for some football? To all of our Bronco fans, season opener in the Mile High City tonight. I can't even tell you who we are playing. None the less time to share my Denver Bronco Pride.

Heather and the boys were up this week end. It has become a tradition to go to a small private nursery that specializes in miniature plants, alpine plants, succulents, and pine trees. Come along with me as we build a little rock garden for Mosaic Monday at Lavender Cottage.

The shopping spree was a family affair with all 5 grandchildren, both daughters, even grandpa, and a naked Rapunzel doll.

Our first stop is always the hen house to view the nice assortment of laying hens. The hens are really hard to photograph through the fence, but I love the black ones. They are an iridescent black which makes them glow that neon green in the sunlight.

We talked turkey, too, as we wondered around the yard. It is a small place with the green houses, potting shed, a large vegetable garden and several raised beds of very young pines. (no photo). So it is a compact garden with so much to see.

 Time to get down to business. Heather's friend Karen who propagates the plants, gave the girls a cart, to haul the plants, flats to carry them home in, and a clipboard and pencil to write name tags for each plant since only one plant in each growing flat is labeled.

They have the neatest dog that loves to play with the kids.

Now, down to some serious shopping.

It really is cool to see the little succulents all lined up neat and pretty. Karen supplies High Country Gardens and local nurseries with her plant material. Since it is the end of the growing season, the green houses are pretty bare.

The rock garden in the center of yard provides lots of inspiration and good ideas. I love this globe blue spruce.

Heather and Karen can spend hours talking plants. Some women love shopping for shoes. Heather loves her plants.

The blue spruce is Colorado's state tree, a tree that I love. Look at this cute little tree. I'd love to take it home with me.

Time to tally up. Guess who writes the check?

Not all of our plants that we chose. These are what the girls chose. Karen threw in a couple of free ones. Did you know that when a Hen and Chick blooms, the hen that blooms, dies? So Lucy got a freebie. But Aunt Heather says that if you cut off the bloom, the hen lives. (Lucy calls it peeps and chick)

So here it is. Our rock garden. We will add more each year as we make our annual visit. I wish I could remember the name of the little nursery in the middle of town, but Karen only deals with very special clients and Heather has made an effort to nurture her friendship, but if you go to the Denver Botanical Plant Sale next spring, you will probably meet Karen there. Stop and say "hi"; she's a sweet lady.

Meanwhile, back at the Garden Spot. We have the sweetest little neighbor boys 4 and 6 who come visit all the time. They like to pick flowers from the garden to make their momma happy. You can see that their favorite one is the rudbeckia in the center garden. The other day little Bobby came by to tell me that my flowers were dying. He was so concerned, so we went out to see just what the problem was, and indeed their favorite flower is dying. I explained that they will dry up, make seeds, spread those seeds all over and be more beautiful flowers next summer. He liked that answer.

Hopefully the point of the center garden will fill in nicely. The grasses are really gaining some size, finally.

There's a bear spot on the burm since Heather and the Head Gardener took a saw to the dead pine tree.

A ponderosa pine, just like this one, that just plain died. No reason. Just died. We will clean out the root ball and seed it to grass.

The fairy garden is all grown over. The decorative strawberry that I planted last year as ground cover has gone to town  filling in just as I wanted, but but the fairies and the gnomes are no longer visible. I may have to come up a new location next spring.

The weather is warm, but mild with threats of rain in the afternoons. Corn harvest will start soon. I love summer and hate saying good-bye, but I am ready for Jack Frost arrive to shut down the garden. I am done. What about you?

Have a fabulous week. Not sure what I will be doing this week, but for sure I will be visiting you. Thanks so much taking time to visit.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Just Peachy

The week is coming to an end. The weather has been mild, even hot yesterday with a promise of a change in the weather today. A cold front is supposed to come in with cold and rain. I expected to awake to that change this morning, but the early morning is still, cool, and quiet. I am on chore duty, for the Head Gardener has exchanged his gardener's hat for his hunting cap.

The week began with canning peaches in Jen's kitchen on Sunday.

 Since she now has a gas range and I have the glass cook top, we decided to do the canning on the gas stove. It was an easy chore since we have it down to a system. I blanched, peeled, and sliced while she boiled the jars, filled the jars, capped them, and put them in the water bath. I had wanted to water pack rather than using a sugar syrup, but I chickened out when I read that sugar does help to preserve the color. Instead we made a a very light syrup: 1 1/4 cups of sugar to 9 cups of water. Don't they look pretty in the jars?

Bubble bubble, toil but no trouble.

I picked a few tomatoes and peppers yesterday after I fed the horses and hens. I need to pick a few more, hoping to have enough to can salsa. I don't know about others in our area, but our tomatoes are very slow to ripen. They seem perfectly happy to stay green. I usually have an abundance of peppers, and while the Anaheims are prolific, the bell peppers are slackers this year. I do have one lovely red, small, pepper. I pick the ones that are destined to be orange or yellow to ripen in the house because otherwise they will just rot on the vine.

 How do you like my turkey tureen, a thrift store treasure. Do you have ARC in your area. I choose ARC over Goodwill because of the prices.

Here is a Black Crim tomato. It is a very sweet and very juicy tomato and not the traditional bright red. While not really black, it does sport a dark green stem top and a much darker red outer skin and inner flesh. My favorite way to eat tomatoes these days is a simple salad with avocado, onion, a sprinkle of lemon or lime juice, a dash of pepper, a bit of salt, some garlic powder. Sounds a bit like guacamole, but I only slice the avocado rather than moosh it. Were I brave, I'd slice up a bit jalapeno pepper, for I have plenty in the garden, but I am not that brave.

Okay, I have to admit that I started this post on the iPad early before I went to do chores. I took the camera with me to take some photos. Let me tell you, the boys did fuss with me because they are used to the Head Gardener's no nonsense approach to chores. I know he talks to them, but I want linger and take pictures. Smile Sundance. Smile!

Pop needs a bath, don't you think. Breakfast first.

The hens aren't too thrilled about a photo session either. These are the youngsters that we bought as chicks this spring. They are really pretty hens. Let me see if I can get their breed correct: Silver Laced Red Wyandotte. They should start laying brown eggs soon. We are down to six hens with one not doing so well and only one laying. I have told the Head Gardener that perhaps we should see if any local pet shelters have hens to increase the flock. My colleague at the university will be wanting eggs.

Monday the girls ended summer vacation with a riding lesson at my friend's barn where her daughter gave the lesson. Ellie rides without a lead rope. She looks so small on big Bear. He is such a gentle soul. And what a beautiful day it was. Cooler, sunny, a beautiful Colorado Labor Day.

Lucy learns to trot. Mara has to be worn out at the end of the lessons. She is very good and the girls love her and they love riding that big horse. But what about Pop?

I have to thank you all for your wonderful support on my first Monday Mosaic. I have felt that my blog has become a bit stagnet, so I need to spruce things up, energize it, spend more time working on it. Monday Mosaic provides a great opportunity to challenge me to spend more time with The Garden Spot and encourages me reach out to read new bloggers, a nice opportunity to grow. And it did, so a big Welcome to the two new followers Pat @  She is new to Colorado and wrote a wonderful post about one my favorite childhood memories, a buffalo herd just west of Denver off I-70 that as a little girl we would pass on the way to our grandparents cabin. I loved her post. And a thank you to Judy who also signed on. Of course a thank you to Judith, new host of Mosaic Monday who patiently helped me figure out how to create the link. I'll see if I can do it correctly next time.

Time to get on with my day. Headed to town do some errands. 

Have a fabulous week end. Thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

My First Mosaic Monday

For the first time, I am joining Mosaic Monday hosted by Judith at Lavender Cottage. Since August is my blog anniversary month, I thought I'd do a bit of a reminisce of the Garden Spot over this last year and revisit some of my favorite mosaic title banners.

We have an active family to look after: the golden boy Sundance, his pal Pop, the Ladies in charge of Egg Production, and the most unfriendly cat in the universe Mo. Cute cat, but not cuddly.

Broken hearted with the loss of our beloved Max, we finally gave into the loneliness and brought home Baby Boone. He is growing into a handsome handful. A rescue from a Nebraska adoption agency, he is now part of the Garden Spot Landscape.

Life is a bowl of cherries here at the Garden Spot, sweetened by making new friends. Meet PomPom, fellow blogger.

Muddy feet, dirty hands, helping hands, we all pitch in here. Sadly, little white hen Snow has joined some of her flock sisters in Hen Heaven. The Head Gardener always has a project or two in the works. 

We love pink: peonies, roses, and strawberries.

While not in chronological order, here are some of the banners that I have used over the years:

This is one my favorite title banners. It pretty much sums up what we are about here.

I love decorating for the holidays and while I am a pink person, I get all aglow with the warmth of fall colors.

Sunflowers grow wild here and are given free reign to seed and reseed wherever they want. Another one of my favorite banners.

I really liked this series of collages that I had fun making using Great Grandma's garden cultivator that the Head Gardener still uses to ditch the vegetable garden. I can't remember if I actually used this collage.

Colorado's state flower the Blue Columbine was another favorite banner that I used for a while.

I could go on and on as I look back at my library of photos and mosaics that I have created since becoming a blogger. Let me leave you with one of the first mosaics that I created representing the first growing season here at the Garden Spot, the Summer of 09 as I learned how to use Picasa to edit photos and create wonderful picture collages.

So glad that you stopped by to visit. Love your sweet comments yesterday, today, and tomorrow. Enjoy your Labor Day.