Monday, August 14, 2017

Fair Time

August is the month of agricultural celebrations where farmers and growers, bakers, and makers of things display their hard work. The crowds come from all around to step back in time to the ways things used to be and get a glimpse of the present.

The first weekend in August is always the busy one with two celebrations: The Ault Fall Festival and and Lucy's birthday.

Behind the scenes where the parade participants gather before the parade in the parking lot behind the high school. Grandson Nathan and his little friend love riding on the float for Ault Historical Museum.

The Head Gardener revs up his vintage tractor to pull the float.

Nathan and his friend and mom Heather waving to the crowd.

The festival always has a display of vintage machines. I had to photograph the old Maytag wringer washer. My mom used one for many years and when I rented my apartment in college my landlady let me use her wringer washer that sat next to her automatic washer. Here, now, is my new Maytag. I am so thankful that I don't have to go back to the good old days. 

At the end of the parade, we walked around, came home, had some lunch, then it was time to party with Lucy to celebrate her 9th birthday with a beachy theme. She looks more like a California surfer girl, doesn't she?

The same day,  Mom is at the country fair with Elinore and her pet rabbit, Peter, participating in the 4-H fair. Peter seems relaxed amid all of the action of the fair.

Peter is an old rabbit, one that has surpassed his expected age. He lives in Ellie's bedroom and is a pampered bunny. She is now ten and has had Peter since she was two. In his first competition, he was judged on rabbit qualities, he scored rather low, 9th out of 10. Not too bad, considering that he was old. I loved what the Judge kindly said to Elinore: "He is old, but nice and past his prime."  I had to laugh and answered, "Much like grandma. Old but nice, and past her prime."

Instead of entering 4-H competition, Lucy entered her photograph in the open competition in the county fair. She used my Canon Rebel with the 75mm-300mm telephoto to take the photo of Sundance and the wild rabbit above her.  As we strolled around and looked at the photos and wondering why certain photos won the ribbons and others didn't, a lady who heard our conversation joined in, explaining that she had watched the judging.  She told Lucy that the Judge really liked the photo of Sundance and it might have placed had it not been out of focus just a bit.

The fairs also have home arts competitions. This display caught me quite by surprise, the tea tables.

This one was the juvenile winner

And the senior grand champion.

Meanwhile back in the rabbit barn, Elinore is doing the required housekeeping to keep her area clean.

The midway, or carnival, is the best fun. I took the younger sisters out to the midway to ride a couple of rides. The merry-go-round first. Didn't get photos because I stood with the girls on the ride.

Lily takes a nice drive

while Lucy flies high.

Finally, Ellie's showmanship competition, the last of 50 exhibitors. Here the young 4-H-er is judged on her knowledge of rabbits and how well she handles the rabbit. This was her first competition, so she didn't quite know what to expect, so didn't place. She is looking forward to next year and shopping for younger rabbits. Nice and younger rabbits in their prime.

Dare I show the biggest eye sore of the Garden Spot?  That piece of real estate in the front to the house. We cleared out the dead bushes in the early summer and then let it go to weeds--not on purpose. Yesterday we finally came up with a plan. Mow the weeds, spray the weeds, till the weeds under and replace all with sod. We decided to reduce the 10 foot wide space to a 4 foot wide space, reasoning that grass is easier to maintain than garden. I am waiting for the tiger lilies to fade then I will transplant them.

And thus ends another week at the Garden Spot. Today we are taking nice drive to Estes Park, to the mountains for a bit of lunch and shopping--or looking. I love for you to join us in the Colorado Rockies. I'll take photos. 

Have a fabulous week. 

Monday, July 31, 2017

Just Peachy

Can you believe that it is now the end of July--tomorrow when you read this it will be a new month. August is, of course, for most children and teachers Back to School, as it was for me for so many years as a teacher. So teachers, too, are winding down their summer. August in northern Colorado is also the month of abundant harvest in the garden as all of our hard work begins to pay off. So far we have enjoyed another rhubarb pie, cucumbers, onions, a green pepper, and raspberries. And peaches. 

One tree fruited this year. We had a late cold spell and freeze that ruined the apricots and apples, but this one little peach tree managed to hang on to its peaches. They were on the verge of almost being ripe when I noticed that birds had already done their taste test and seemed to like what they were tasting, so the granddaughters and I picked the peaches. They are not very large, but they are very sweet and juicy. Now I have to figure out what to do them. I think I will freeze them.

I left four peaches on the trees that the birds had pecked on. Sunday when I went out on the patio I caught a glimpse of what I thought was a western tanager. And indeed it was. You will see in directly in the center of the photo. Not the best photo, the tanager can be recognized by its bright red head, yellow body, and black wings. I was quite excited and lucky to have time to go back into the house to get my camera before it took off. 

Hoping that it would return, I took a seat underneath the nearby pine tree sort of behind the trunk so that I could photograph the mother oriole and her two daughters.

I ended up with quite a nice collection of photos of the mom and her girls.

The orioles were so intent on eating the sweet fruit that I was able to walk right underneath the tree to get this nice closeup. 

And then the bird suddenly took off, leaving the peach tree. I figured that I scared her away until I saw the Head Gardener walking into the house with a jar of grape jelly. I quickly realized where the oriels had gone: to the jelly, obviously their favorite. 

This week is fair week and the granddaughters are participating, so next week I should have county fair adventures to share. Since this is the girls' first year in 4-H, we took them to the Weld Country Fair last week so that they could see what it was all about. But before we hit the fairgrounds, lunch at A&W and ice cream for all--the girls. These are my little peaches.

Funny faces and cows. It is very hard to get a good photo with three silly girls.

This week is the Larimer County fair. Ellie (in the hat) is entering a cake and doing rabbit showmanship. Peter is her rabbit, an old guy who lives in her room. She will be judged on how to handle a rabbit properly and her knowledge of rabbits in general. The trip to the fair last week gave her the opportunity to talk to some rabbit owners who gave her good ideas.

Lucy built a stand for her archery bow with the help of her daddy and she will be entering photos that she took with my DSRL Canon in the open class. 

Lily is too young for 4-H.

In the evenings I continue to work on the dollhouse, so if you like, check out my progress on my other blog, Ann's Dollhouse Dreams. I made this vanity that will give the bathroom in the farmhouse a modern look.

I am so glad that you stopped by. I always enjoy and appreciate your comments. Have a grand week.

Linking with Mosaic Monday. Join Us.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Elinore Has a Horse

The heat of mid-summer has taken over the Garden Spot, making the flowers droopy and looking tired, same for me--droopy and slow, I've been walking lately to rev up the old cardio system.

I think when I last posted we were planning our trip to Texas, so let me share a few of the highlights with you in this week's Monday Mosaic

Perhaps you have seen their HGTV program ran a few years ago. The shop is located in Round Top, Texas in the hill country. Click on the link just up above to see their website. Round Top is known for its antique shops and the big antique show in the spring, an event that I would love to go to.

The first night that we arrived we attended a Texas style barbecue, met some really nice folks and had the best food. With an Independence Day theme, the dinner was wonderful.

I didn't buy anything in the Junk Gypsy, but I loved the picnic table umbrella which inspired me try to figure out how to make own. Cowboy boots anyone?  Here in Colorado, cowboy are all the fashion horse or no horse, and JG had the best selection of fashion boots.

The front yard to the store was filled with more vintage outdoor furniture. We flew down, so no chance to take anything home.

This is probably my favorite photo, the rocking chairs on the front porch and red, white, and blue banners.

A few of us will remember the old Coke a Cola coolers and wouldn't it be fun to have our own knight in not so shiny armor?  It was a fun drive to visit the store. Now I can say that I have been there.

 Texas Song Birds

It had been two years since we visited and the last time we went I took a lot of photos of the Northern Cardinal, but had only a glimpse of the painted bunting and this year, the vegetable garden was full of beautiful painted buntings, so I shot a lot pictures. They have the sweetest song.

And as luck would have it, a male cardinal showed up. I took a few of him, too. 

Yes, it was hot in Texas, but it was hot in Colorado, too. The food down there was better and the company wonderful.

Meanwhile Back at Home

July's flowers are in full bloom; in fact, some are already fading, but here a few photos taken a couple of weeks ago when they were in their glory.  Black and pink are always a great color combo, so when this rarely seen Black Spotted Forester moth spent time on the echinacea. I had to take a pictures.

Another tiger swallow tail on the echinecia.

A true garden favorite for both butterflies and humming birds (and me) is the Lucifer, the corcosmia. I love the bright red. When I took the photo, it was just beginning to bloom and now it is nearly finished.

When I planted it in the center circle, it had full sun. Now the garden has become the shade garden that I wanted, so it now lives in the shade of the aspen tree and the Eastern red bud. I may have to moved it this fall.

We have so many day lilies and they have prolific blooms. We have them in nearly every garden bed where they have done quite well. Moved from one house to the next, they have thrived and are all ready to be divided again.

Here is another favorite, a rudbeckia that I planted several years ago. At one time they self seeded and I had several. I want to collect seeds this year and get them started in a new spot.

Forgot the name of this vine. It struggles on the patio because I forget to water it, but I have fun photographing it the other day.

Entomologists say to plant milk weed for the monarch butterflies. I have always enjoyed the milk weed until it became invasive in the garden. Out of the garden it can live where it wants, but in the garden it will take over. It is a very pretty plant and I put up with it in hopes that a monarch will actually find it and lay her eggs on it. What a thrill that would be. We used to see a lot of monarchs here, but we are lucky to see one or two flit through yard in late summer--probably on their way winter over in Mexico.
Hello, Honey

Finally for one young girl, a dream come true. Ellie has a horse, a 19 year old mare names Honey. At the moment, Honey may only be visiting, both seem to be enjoying their time together. 

I am way behind on blogging. I absolutely don't want to give it up. I miss you guys. So, I'll be back. have a great week.