Monday, August 22, 2016

A Test Garden

I come to you this afternoon, coughing and sneezing, eyes tearing. No I don't have a cold. I have been cleaning and chopping Anaheim peppers, jalapeƱo peppers, and onions in preparation for making salsa. I needed a break, nor do I want to miss the deadline for Mosaic Monday with Maggie at Normandy Life. 

So this post will come to you in intervals.

Tomatoes need blanching, peppers and onions chopped in food processor.

Last Week in the Garden


Perhaps your husband does the same thing: You are occupied with something important, any thing. He comes rushing in the room breathlessly demanding that you have got to come see_______fill in the blank. Now we have hawks patrolling  the skies over the Garden Spot all of the time shopping for mice, voles, rabbits, hens. So what's the big deal? You gotta see this one. Grab your camera, he says. So I finally gave in to go have a look see. 

I was able to get quite close to this handsome fellow. We are not sure just which one it is. I kept creeping closer and closer, using my 300mm telephoto. He finally got tired of my spying on him, so he took off. There have several in the air the last several days, young ones learning how to hunt with their ever watchful parents near by perched on high electrical polls and in tree tops supervising the hunting lessons.

 While I was in the garden camera in hand, I took a few photos.



Late summer blooms and seeds: Sunflower and Dill. Nice garden companions. I like the contrast in texture, shape and color.


These are wild sunflowers left to  their own devices in the garden. We leave them because they are so pretty and later the birds will eat the seeds.

You will find a lot of pink in the garden, too.



Hollyhocks grow like weeds around here. The soft pink ones are my favorites



I get all queasy when I see my shades of pink zinnias.


Orange sings out loud and clear.


The multicolored ones make me smile, too.


The glads are winding down. I'll be sad to see them go. Next year I am ordering them from a good catalogue, instead of the supermarket margin bin.


You will notice that there is a lot of pink in my garden:


Cosmos Light Pink


Cosmos Darker Pink


Hibiscus (Heidi for short) Big and bold blooms for the end of summer.


The last of the cone flowers are fading.


A rather small dahlia that I am so thankful bothered to bloom. They were planted late in the north bed that only the brave dare to bloom.


First Prize in the north rose bed where the roses get too much shade, I suspect.


Still she makes me happy.

A Quiz of Some Sorts

Hints: 
  • We visit this place every year except the years that we forget to go.
  • It's free
  • It's eye candy for the gardener
  • Inspiration for the gardener
  • What do giant can of Campbell's Tomato Soup, an old high school building, and a hibiscus have in common?
Of course: Colorado State University's Test Garden. 






The old Ft. Collins School is now the home of the University Center of Arts. It is one of those classic old school buildings like the ones we might have gone to school in. Love the architecture. 
 

Here are few of my favorite photos. I took so many, but I only a chose a few to share.


Phlox.

The garden's web page explains that supplies donate plant material for the garden an volunteers plant the leaf slips. Yes, almost all of the plants come from leaf cuttings. A few plants were marked as planted from seeds. I found this most interesting.


Would you serve this beet to your family or guests: Bulls Blood. The plants are gorgeous, dark and mysterious. Something Henry VIII might serve.


Rows upon rows of our favorite annuals in every shade and color.


We had weekend guests who helped their grandson and his girlfriend move into their college apartment, so when I saw her photos of the garden I told the Head Gardener that we were going this year.





This is Moon Carrot. What an unusual plant. Here it is growing next rudbeckia and what an interesting combo this two make. 

There was so much plant material to see and ponder and wonder about. There is not a weed in sight or sickly bloom to be seen. The sun was warm but not hot, the breeze gentle, making a perfect afternoon stroll through the garden.

Meanwhile back a the Ranch


We have seen them flirting through the yard and finally one humming bird stopped by the feeder. 


And I'll leave you with our golden boy with the setting sun making him shine like the gem he is, even as he scratches his itch.

The salsa is done. The kitchen is a mess. Canning does make a mess and I cleaned up some of it along the way. I am tired. I took a taste of it and boy does it have a bit. I forgot wear gloves when I seeded and chopped the peppers, so they burn a bit. I made six pints that have quite a bite to them. I hope the salsa isn't too hot. 

Tomorrow I am going to make kraut burgers. Do you make them? I have 3 great heads of cabbage, so I am going to make them from scratch, including bread dough. I'll let you know how that goes.

Have a wonderful week. Thanks for stopping by.


Monday, August 15, 2016

Colorado Prairie

Happy Monday, folks. The day is slipping away, and I haven't written my Mosaic Monday post. We picked up the boys last Thursday, so you know how it is when you have children--you don't get much done. Today I wanted to share some prairie photos with you that I took several days ago when I rode with the Head Gardener out to his hunting spot where he and Jacob are hunting prong horned antelope this week.

The eastern plains of Colorado can look pretty bleak and bare, but it all depends on the eye of the holder and the time of the year. This year the dry lands had abundant rain, so the grasses are green, the wildflowers blooming, and the cacti even bloomed earlier in the season. Iconic on the landscape, the windmills still serve good purpose to pump water for livestock and wildlife, too. Whether close-up or on the far horizon, the windmill always attracts the photographer's eye.


So about 30 yards from downhill from the water source seems to be a great place to set up the hunting blind, several weeks in advance of opening day so that the antelope get used to it being there.  The odd species, actually a goat and not an antelope, roam the prairie in large numbers. The meat can either sage-tasting or tender and delicious. I grew up on game meat since my dad's doctor told him way back in the '50s that beef and pork caused his gout. Already a hunter, he began hunt in earnest to supply meat for the family. The Head Gardener hunts with a bow, so he is not always successful. Now he is taking his grandson on his first hunt with his bow. 



Here a doe and her twins approach for their mid-day drink. She is weary because the pick-up is parked near-by, something strange and different. I am always amazed at the wide-open spaces in the grasslands, dotted by small acreages, ranches the span miles and miles, fence lines that are endless, and in the last few years the abundance of gas and oil wells. 

While sparse, the land still supports a variety of wildlife and always I want to photograph birds.While the black Angus bulls take their afternoon nap up on the hill, fenced off from this particular windmill, the horned lark and lark bunting (the black bird with the white wing, a male here and Colorado's state bird) sit on the fence long enough for me to photograph them. 

Tomorrow Nathan (7) will get to join his grandfather and brother (13). While he is too young to hunt, he does shoot a compound bow. Today we made breakfast burritos for tomorrow. He's such a little helper. 

In the garden, plant life looks pretty sad. The July plants have faded now, weeds have resurfaced, and I am out of steam. I'll leave you with two pretty bouquets, the plain and simple Cosmos and zinnias that are thriving. The more I cute them, the more they bloom, so I love bringing them in.


As soon as I edit and spell check, I'll be linking with Maggie at Normandy Life for Monday Mosaic. 

Have a great week. 

PS Thanks for stopping by the Dollhouse blog. I'll be updating there, too. 


Happy Monday, folks. The day is slipping away, and I haven't written my Mosaic Monday post. We picked up the boys last Thursday, so you know how it is when you have children--you don't get much done. Today I wanted to share some prairie photos with you that I took several days ago when I rode with the Head Gardener out to his hunting spot where he and Jacob are hunting prong horned antelope this week.

The eastern plains of Colorado can look pretty bleak and bare, but it all depends on the eye of the holder and the time of the year. This year the dry lands had abundant rain, so the grasses are green, the wildflowers blooming, and the cacti even bloomed earlier in the season. Iconic on the landscape, the windmills still serve good purpose to pump water for livestock and wildlife, too. Whether close-up or on the far horizon, the windmill always attracts the photographer's eye.


So about 30 yards from downhill from the water source seems to be a great place to set up the hunting blind, several weeks in advance of opening day so that the antelope get used to it being there.  The odd species, actually a goat and not an antelope, roam the prairie in large numbers. The meat can either sage-tasting or tender and delicious. I grew up on game meat since my dad's doctor told him way back in the '50s that beef and pork caused his gout. Already a hunter, he began hunt in earnest to supply meat for the family. The Head Gardener hunts with a bow, so he is not always successful. Now he is taking his grandson on his first hunt with his bow. 



Here a doe and her twins approach for their mid-day drink. She is weary because the pick-up is parked near-by, something strange and different. I am always amazed at the wide-open spaces in the grasslands, dotted by small acreages, ranches the span miles and miles, fence lines that are endless, and in the last few years the abundance of gas and oil wells. 

While sparse, the land still supports a variety of wildlife and always I want to photograph birds.While the black Angus bulls take their afternoon nap up on the hill, fenced off from this particular windmill, the horned lark and lark bunting (the black bird with the white wing, a male here and Colorado's state bird) sit on the fence long enough for me to photograph them. 

Tomorrow Nathan (7) will get to join his grandfather and brother (13). While he is too young to hunt, he does shoot a compound bow. Today we made breakfast burritos for tomorrow. He's such a little helper. 

In the garden, plant life looks pretty sad. The July plants have faded now, weeds have resurfaced, and I am out of steam. I'll leave you with two pretty bouquets, the plain and simple Cosmos and zinnias that are thriving. The more I cute them, the more they bloom, so I love bringing them in.


As soon as I edit and spell check, I'll be linking with Maggie at Normandy Life for Monday Mosaic. 

Have a great week. 

PS Thanks for stopping by the Dollhouse blog. I'll be updating there, too. 


Monday, August 8, 2016

Life is just Peachy

Good Morning Friends.  I began the morning early by trying to catch up on what you have been doing all week. I didn't quite get through the list, but I'll get back to reading soon. It's been a busy morning already, after a whirlwind of a weekend. When the weekend ended, I told the family that we must not try to squeeze the entire summer into one day: two class reunions, a parade, pony rides, and birthday party.

So far this morning I have processed the peaches. The Head Gardener picked them right after they were hailed on. They had some damage and most were still a bit green. I ripened them on cookie sheets that I placed on the dryer in the laundry room. A couple had spoiled so I knew that I had to do something with them this morning. They are small, about the size of apricots, but tasty. I thought I would just cook them down for jelly, but couldn't bear to let them go to waste, so I skinned and pitted them--very easy since they were cooked. I will freeze them for peach pie. later I did save the liquid so that I can make peach jelly later in the week. I had hoped to do the same with the apricots, but the birds got to them before I could pick them. I was wanting to let them ripen on the tree, but I am thinking that these fruits need to picked while they are slightly green just before they are bird food. What was so maddening the birds only took a few bites out of each apricot, ruining all of them. But I guess birds have to eat, too. But we feed them--good stuff, too.






While I was processing peaches, the HG was supervising the tree service that cut down two of the many dead trees on the property. This one was a cherry tree, the tree guy said. It bloomed every year, but never fruited. It was not a particularly pretty tree either. We will replace it with a hawthorn or mountain ash, an nice ornamental and shady tree. The other tree was out the pasture that had died. No need to keep it either. The tree cutters didn't take long to take out the two trees. I wanted to see how they actually cut them down, but the cherry tree was halfway shredded by the time I got outside to take pictures.


A few whacks with the chain saw--I assume-- then the chopper/shredder and the tree is gone. The really big logs were hauled off. Good-bye loyal tree. So sad to see you go.





Looking back, despite the busy weekend, the family did get to spend some time together. It was the annual Highland Fall Festival, our small town celebration complete with a parade, old car show, bouncy houses, the opening of a redesigned playground in the park, and other festivities.

Jennifer attended her 20th class reunion dinner Friday night. She had such a good time connecting with the old gang. As well, the HG attended the 10 year reunion for the old folks, years 1964-1974. Had I gone I would have connected with former students; instead, I was much happier staying home with the granddaughters.


You either love small-town parades or you don't. Ault has a population in town of under 2,000 and then there are the residents who live on farms and acreages outside of town, so the crowd can be substantial. The parade represents the current trends of the community: The Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) always lead the parade with the Color Guide and a gun salute; Stan Cass, retired military pulls the Honor Fight veterans. Honor Flight raises funds to send the aging vets back to Washington DC to visit the war memorials. Smokey Bear reminds the crowd about fire safety and prevention, and the vintage GTO reminds everyone that Alcohol and Kids Don't Mix

He says he has waited a life-time to drive his tractor in the parade, so here smiles the Head Gardener on his 1965 Case Tractor. I have to say that I was not very pleased when he spent money on a second tractor last winter. Then when he said that this was the tractor that he had wanted since he was kid, my cold heart melted. In 1965, he was the farm kid and this was biggest row crop tractor Case made, but his dad never owned one.




He is pulling the Ault Area Historical Museum float. We are on the committee that is working on the project. Right now the building is undergoing restoration work, but we need to let the community know that we want its support and help. You will see Nathan, Ellie sitting right behind, Heather with Lily on her lap, and Lucy behind the flag. 


And what memories this float brings back. The kids that grew up at our house and Jen at their houses from pre school to graduation. Jason lived next door to us for years until we moved. But I am still his "Other Mother." Kelly in the dark glasses runs a meat processing plant, Jen raises her girls, and Michele works in Denver. I ran into the moms at the park later. We laughed because we all had grand kids that we were herding around. Twenty odd years ago we were in that same park selling burritos to raise money so that these kids could to Washington DC for 10 days to the 4-H convention. I think it was called Washington Focus. Our group raised money for years so that the kids could spend 10 days to tour the the area.  Now look at them. Grown up. Parents. Professionals. Whew. Getting emotional here. 

 
The parade always ends with local Fire and Rescue squads. Sunday morning they host a free pancake breakfast, where we always leave a good donation because we have used their services more than once: a fire in the basement in the middle of night, my fall that broke my ankle, and just the other night when the HG called the paramedics because I had a stomach ache. A really bad one. I am fine. Better safe than sorry and the whole crew including two ambulance crews were in town for their monthly meeting, so they needed a training exercise. None-the-less it is an all volunteer department and we appreciate and value their service to community.


We really cannot believe that it is August already. Here at the Garden Spot I have waited all summer for the Star Gazer lily to bloom. I planted three bulbs, but only one bloomed, but she gave me double blooms. The glads have recovered from the hail. I love them; I want to plant dozens next year. I think I'll buy more expensive bulbs. Some did not grow. I planted 22 and got just over half. 
The weeds are getting away from me--AGAIN. Still. This week: weed patrol. I have been spending a lot of time trying to get this dollhouse done. I need to update that blog so that you see the finished project. It's looking pretty good. Here is a sneak preview while I work on that blog: 


I have been calling it the Blue Farmhouse, but that no longer applies.


I wanted a taupe shade, but had a very hard time getting the color I wanted. I like this color, though, a pink sort of shade. Check out Ann's Dollhouse Dreams in a day or so to see my progress.


I hope you have a wonderful week. Thanks so much for stopping by. I am going to try to do another post this week about our trip to the prairie. I think you'll enjoy those photos. In the meantime stop by Maggie's for Mosaic Monday because I'll be there, too.