Sunday, October 19, 2014

October: All About Trees, Pumpkins, Late Bloomers, and 40.

Among other things, October after all is all about the trees. Armed with the real camera this morning, I took shots of the more dramatic tree color that puts a golden glow on the Garden Spot in the fall.

One of the few deciduous trees on the acreage, this honey locust really puts on a show with its delicate, lacy leaves, and exotic looking seed pods.

The tree has probably doubled in size since we moved here 5 1/2 years ago, so it has been a fast grower and is beginning to provide some shade, which means that I may have to rethink the garden on the north side of the house.

The aspen in the center circle are finally getting some fall color. The aspens in the high country have already put on their fall show and have probably dropped their leaves. Speaking of the High Country, any of you skiers out there? A Basin has opened, first ski area of the season. Way early. (Arapahoe Basin, that is).

Even the little red bud has a golden glow.

I don't think I shared this ash tree last week because it was rather blah compared its purple sisters out by the barn. This trees lives with the little fruit trees on the south side of the house. I see her from the bathroom window, and what a beauty she is this week.

On the north side of the house hides two snowball bushes. We tolerate them, but they are in desperate need of a good pruning or even removal, but look at the character of this old lady. And what do we see but a tiny bit of bloom--way, way out of season because the snowball bush usually blooms before the lilacs in May. In Colorado, anyway. We live in an odd zone, 5. Generally badly infested with aphids, the leaves take on an unsightly character, crumpled and curled. But I leave aphid control tot the birds who do a fair job.

In Search of the Great Pumpkin

For the kids, October is all about Halloween and finding the perfect pumpkin. The pumpkin farm that we have gone to for the last two years is located north of Ft. Collins, CO just west of  I-25. Whata  pretty view there is from the pumpkin fields. When most think of Colorado, they think of the majestic Rocky Mountains. Looking west we see the mountains, but looking east from the pumpkin patch that we visited yesterday you can see what Colorado looks like in the northern part near the Wyoming border. I zoomed in quite a bit to get the horizon, so you can see the railroad track that parallels the interstate highway. In this photo we are located west and north of the Garden Spot's location. Google Earth Wellington, Colorado and you see the prairie view of Colorado.

In search of the Great Pumpkin, the kids head out into the pumpkin patch, making their way through the tall and thick weeds.

A perfect specimen.

Still attached to the vine, this one will stay put for the next person.

No neatly cultivated rows on in this patch. So selection of the perfect pumpkin is somewhat of a challenge.

Loaded with pumpkins and kids, the wagon makes a heavy load, but dad is strong.

It is a very long walk to the field and just as long back to pay for the pumpkins.

The farm has a few attractions. This one was new this year. 

Love this one. What characters these 3 are!

We ended up with a nice cache of pumpkins, but paid a heavy price for them. At Sam's these large pumpkins were $8 a piece, at the super market they are under six, and for our two wagons we paid $85. Not again. We will plant our own next year. 

While the sunflowers faded out weeks ago, this wild thing is loving the fall sunshine. 

Such sweet boys enjoying the last of the green grass.

Yes, October has much to offer, but this year October 16th  had special meaning as the Head Gardener and I celebrated 40 years of marriage. Wow. Where did those years go? I will spare you the long details of our meeting and courtship other than to say that we met on Friday the 13th, when he followed me home from the high school homecoming game late that Friday night. He asked if I wanted to go pizza and for some odd reason I said yes. We have been together ever since that night in 1972. We married two years later.

 And here we are now, giving thanks each and every day for the blessed life that we share.

Have a fabulous week and may the wonderful gifts of life make your week a great one.

Thanks so much for visiting and for your wonderful comments. 

Sunday, October 12, 2014


A new week--already? I have been struggling these days to come up with blog ideas that somehow are unique, different from what I have written about in the years past. So armed with my iPhone this morning, too lazy to walk downstairs to get the real camera, I set off to take photos of the trees at the Garden Spot since Trees in Fall are in the spotlight these days


When I took the photos from the cloud into Picasa for the mosaics for Mosaic Monday that Judith at Lavender Cottage hosts each Monday, I was in for a sad, but predicable discovery: poor quality.

Not to give up, I have used some of the iPhone photos for the collages. The clouds are hanging low, threatening rain, so the photos were dark. Once I applied Picasa magic to them, they are passable. The iPhone camera in the 5C does take rather nice photos of grand kids, dogs, walks in the park, and selfless, but it really will never replace my Canon Rebel or the Head Gardener's new point and shoot Canon.

None the less, here is what I came up with this morning: The Trees of the Garden Spot

Influenced by daughter Heather who hugs trees for living, I have found interest in mini trees. Not to be confused with traditional bonsai trees, these little trees are truly minis. The two top photos show the little cedar that I added to the fairy garden. It has a nice perspective next to the fairy house and tucked up next to the moss stone. You can see its ratio next to the strawberry ground cover leaves. I just hope it survives the winter. Heather has a neat trick of covering her minis with burlap to protect them from winter cold and snow. The bottom left little cedar demonstrates Mother Nature's urge to  reproduce. We have this little guy growing under the protective arms of one of the giant Austrian pines. The last photo in the mosaic is the mini pine that grows next to the water fall in the fairy garden in the from court yard. Heather's has grown to nearly 3 feet. I am wondering how big mine will get.

When we moved here, we loved the trees that others before us had planted, mostly pine trees. They grow fairly fast, relatively disease free, cheap, but I love leafy trees that change colors and have interesting leaves, and provide lots of shade. We also like fruit trees. The Spot already had fruitless crab apple trees that produce small, inedible fruit that the birds don't even eat and two mature apple trees. So we set about adding fruit trees: a dwarf cherry, two bargain apricot trees this year, and two peach trees. The second apple tree is loaded with small, but tasty Delicious apples, dragging its branches to ground under the weight of the apples.

We picked apples yesterday. Surprised at how many apples were blemish free, we were rather picky with the ones that we saved. Apples on the east side were the best, worm free, smooth, and blemish free, while the ones on the west side had hail damage and tended to have more worm holes.

I may have to make a pie and some apple sauce, too.

While they are festive looking, the fruit of the crab apple don't serve much of purpose. Smaller than the ones that my mother used to make jelly out of, I just let these go.

With most of their leaves gone, these new cherry trees planted early in the season look rather sad. They will be wrapped and Heather believes that our tender new fruit trees should be somehow protected with burlap. She will come up in a few weeks to help winterize the trees.

We have 3 ash trees that line the drive, two turn this dark purple. There is also another one on the other side of the house. I do like ash trees, but we may end up  losing them. Those who live back east may be familiar with the emerald ash bore, a beetle that destroys ash trees. It has been discovered in Boulder, CO about 60 miles east of us. We are not treating for that bore yet; the tree hugger daughter will let us know when we have to start preventative treatments.

In front garden circle, the eastern red bud planted this summer has done well. I am excited to see it bloom next spring. Fingers crossed, but not relying on superstition and luck, we will wrap this tree's trunk, heavily mulch it something, and maybe even dress it in burlap. I have never had a red bud last more than two seasons. I am thinking lack of water over the winter. In the recent past, we have had very dry winters which may be harder on plant material than the freezing cold. 

So there you have it, a few of our favorite trees. 

Another iPhone photo taken on the walking path last Tuesday as Jen, Lily, and I took a long walk after dropping the older girls off at school. Jen will be volunteering at school on Tuesdays, so she took her training while I sat with Lily.  I took this one because I like the way the early morning sunlight filtered through the trees.

Not such a good iPhone photos of ducks on the pond next to the trail. . .

but a decent one of the pond reflection of the trees with the early morning sun casting long shadows.

I love this photo taken with new point and shoot Canon. First Prize has grown tall this summer and presents this beautiful bouquet against the burning bush in the back that will turn blaze red by the end of the season.

Veteran's Pride is really a much deeper red than she ever photographs, but lovely none the less.

Another iPhone photo, St. Patrick suffered this summer, never seeming to catch up with the other roses.  Last winter was a rough one for the little girls in the courtyard.

Conclusion: Take the time and the extra steps to get the real camera. 

Looks to be a quiet day. I am going to update the dollhouse blog, work on the dollhouse, do some laundry, fix a good soup for lunch all with the Broncos playing the Jets in the background. Sounds like they are having a hard time.  I will be updating the dollhouse blog, too. Check it out, if you have time.

Looks like a quiet week ahead. The Head Gardener will be out east helping our farmer friends harvest millet. I will be back on chore duty. 

Hope you have a great week. Thanks for visiting.

Monday, October 6, 2014

More October: Helping Hands

Good Morning. We are enjoying a glorious October with sunny, warm, golden days. The leaves are turning ever so slowly, but the countryside is golden with the aging crops in the fields awaiting harvest. The silage corn has been cut; the rest waiting to be combined.

Last weekend the last cutting of baled hay was loaded and stacked in the barn. Without seed heads this time, the hay is rich in protein and the boys are enjoying the fresh hay. This is a rare view of the Garden Spot taken for what we refer to as the Back 40, part of the average that I seldom visit. Lily and I drove the EZ-Go out to watch the crew load up the hay.

Lucy came to spend this weekend while her older sister went to stay with their other grandma, so I had little helper and good company for the weekend.

 When the girls come to stay, they always want to walk downtown to visit the antique stores. Our favorite Blooms and Heirlooms always has wonderful window decorations.

It was also the Ault Food Fest where all of the merchants prepare their special dishes to serve to the public. Of course there is a beer garden, a coffee tent, dancers, and good old fashioned polka music fills the air. We were strolling main street a bit early before all of the festivities got started. Our plan for the day didn't include the Food Fest; instead we were headed to the Big Town to do some serious shopping.

The antique stores are all decked out in their fall finery, offering beautiful treasures for the home. I left my debit card and home--on purpose.

With the Head Gardener still away, it was very nice to have a little helper with the chores. Lucy has lots of practice feeding hens at both grandmas'.

The photo is big fuzzy as I used my iPhone for most of the photos. It is so easy to take along, but sometime the quality isn't the greatest.

Lucy was great help. She shuts the gate to keep the boys in for the night.

At the end of the day grandma's spaghetti gets a thumbs up.

Lucy and I had a wonderful weekend, just the two of us. While I did a few house chores Sunday morning, we put on Celtic music and she found a sunny place to look through one my books on England and Ireland-- a nice way to end the weekend.

I have  done some fall decorating around the house. I do enjoy the warm browns, yellows, and oranges of the fall. I found this quilted piece at the thrift store this summer. I need to finish it out by putting a backing on it and quilting it. 

I really don't know why I tolerate this Mo cat not the tables. He just looks so cute. I had to take his picture before I shooed him off. 

I think I have a quiet week ahead of me. I will work on the dollhouse, hoping to finish it up. I need to update the dollhouse blog. This little house is a ballet studio and I must say it is going to be very pink and very cute. 

Do have a great week yourself. Thanks for dropping in. 

Wednesday, October 1, 2014


Hello Everyone.

My mind just cannot seem to get in a blogger mood. What's up with that?  I always have something to say, but lately I feel like what I write is a repeat of last year. Simply put: The garden is done. The flowers are gone, looking pretty ugly now with their seedy heads which means the work is not done. I need to spend some time cutting back the dead growth. Another day for that, too. The Head Gardener has been in the mountains all month. He comes home on the weekends. This is the last week to hunt the Rocky Mountain big horn ram that he has been in pursuit of all month. So far the rams seems to know that he is lurking in the bushes. In his absence, I have been Head of Everything.

I reported to him yesterday that we had lost another hen. Disappeared. Just disappeared. There is hole underneath the hen house, too small for a hen to escape, but we speculated that a skunk must have taken her. Then last night when I decided to lock them up for the night, which I had not been doing because I don't like to go out at 0'dark:30, I saw her. I knew her by her limp. She hadn't disappeared into thin air or been abducted by a skunk. I just can't count.

Today I had planned on staying home all day, but no. I am about to run out of chicken scratch, so that means a trip to Ft. Collins to get feed which means that I can go to Old Town and do some serious window shopping.

I thought about doing a post on You Can Tell It's Fall When. . .

 . . .You can hear the school kids screaming, laughing, yelling on the near by football field on a brilliant fall day. What a gorgeous sight: school kids, the American flag, spacious skies, amber waves of  grain, and purple mountain majesties.

. . .The last of roses has bloomed.

. . . You switch from flip flops to walking shoes; from shorts to leggings. 

Then you know surely it must be fall.

On another note, has anyone told you that your sidebar jumps or bounces. I have. I googled the problem and found that the malady has several causes: bad html which can be fixed, but it is a real pain to locate or the Followers widget is in the wrong place, moving may help. I have removed my Bronco logo since Jen@ Muddy Boot Dreams alerted me of my problem. I am hoping that the sidebar no longer bounces. Let me know.

Well, I guess I did pull of a post of some sorts. I am off to the feed store: dog chews, horse chow, and chicken scratch. 

The Head Gardener owes me. Big Time. 

Have a fabulous October. Here we will be celebrating birthdays: Great Grandpa will 85, Ellie will be 8, Boone will be 1, and my dear brother, well let's just say he's celebrating. 

Thanks for stopping by. Love your sweet comments.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

New Cat

The fall colors are beginning to appear nearly leaf by leaf here along the Front Range. While we live on the edge of our small town, to the south of us the farmers have begun cutting corn. Soon those fields will be amber with corn stock. The onion harvest is on, too. The large farm trucks loaded with onions on the way to storage rumble down the highway leaving a trail of dried onion skins floating in the breeze. The roadside will be dotted with those huge awesome blossom onions that get shipped out of state to restaurants. We can buy them locally and let me tell you they are painfully stout to chop. 

And so the rhythm of life continues. The days are warm, sunny, quiet and peaceful. 

Meet The Cat. He is a wild cat that showed up here some months ago, a shadowy figure that we would see hunting mice out the in the pasture. He'd roam the yard, not daring to venture too close. The Head Gardner began to talk to him, call to him: Kitty, Kitty, Kitty. He looked bedraggled and thin, sickly. The HG began putting feed out for him, but the neighbor cats ate it. Now we feed him on the patio. He comes every morning and every evening asking to be fed with a sweet kitty meow. The HG wants to make friends and has barely touched him. And it looks like he will be a permanent member of the family here. We need to catch him to take him to the vet to shots and a little bit of a surgery. He will wear out his welcome as he seems to want fight with Mo and the cats next door. 

Remember the "Shout Heard Around the Yard" post earlier this summer: "I have Grapes"? Well here is our meager grape harvest:

They must be Concords with seeds, a bit sour, and not enough to do much with. But I have my own grapes. I hope we can repeat the yield next summer.

I wanted to share the apple jelly with you one more time before I stored it. The apples lent a pale yellow, cloudy juice but with very good apple flavor. I added half a cup of cinnamon red hots, a childhood favorite treat. I did add sugar too and pectin. The granddaughters loved the jelly and thought it would be good on their cream cheese and jelly bagels. I thinks so, too.

The jalapenos nearly gassed me, too, when I chopped them. I was a bit wiser this year to wear plastic gloves. Their fumes clogged up my throat, causing a coughing fit. This jelly is not as clarified as it was last year and it seemed to thicken rather than to jell as last year's did, so it is not a pretty clear green jelly. I used Truvia baking blend, a blend of the sweetner and sugar, trying to cut down the amount of sugar. I decided that the compromised color and texture are not worth the less sugar route. We will only be eating a bit at time. Next year: sugar.

And so the sun sets on another day at the Garden Spot. I have a counter full of tomatoes in various stages or ripeness. Each day when I go out to feed, I tromp through the fallen tomato vines picking the ripe and nearly ripe ones. I think I will can or freeze spaghetti sauce. Never done that before, but I am game.

I am glad that you took the time stop by. I love your comments. Thank you. See you next time.