Monday, March 9, 2020

Spring is in the Air

"It smells like spring. Come out and smell the air," said the Head Gardener as he left the house to feed the horses. I obliged, taking a long deep breath of clean, freshly washed air. A light rain had dampened the patio and softened the lawn and indeed spring was in the air. Still officially weeks away, Spring is making her intentions clear at the Garden Spot this morning.

Last week I was lamenting the lack of moisture, hoping for rain and took the photo on the left for Instagram to show that Garden Spot was beginning to green up. Wanting to show how much the rain has helped stimulate the grass, I took a second photo today, but the shadows don't help to accomplish my goal.


Spring bulbs offer more proof that Spring is lurking about. In the front courtyard the crocus and tulips have a good start along with the wild hyacinth ready to burst forth in bloom. While in the newly planted bed at the end of the barn circle, the tulips are barely poking through the ground, making me nervous that they won't bloom at all. Be patient, I tell myself; they are young.


When the HG is gone, I am on chore duty which isn't a big deal: feed the horses and the hens. There is a certain perk to chore duty: a handful of fresh eggs. The ladies are now producing 3-6 eggs a day. I think I'll make some deviled eggs today. 



We've lost more fish, some now in the large pond. Yet Big Boy the koi has survived. I'm so glad. We lost the other koi last year when a great blue heron took it. 


As the garden comes to life and the gardening catalogs arrive, we can't help but begin to plan the garden work that will begin in a few days. We have five acres, so there is a lot to do. Some of those chores were neglected last year as we prepared for a wedding here, so some things got out of hand. Here's my list of TO-DO in the garden:

  1. Prune and feed Roses in front court yard
  2. In the center garden, rake away dead debris and top dress with compost to help discourage the bindweed. I've been doing research on how to control bindweed. There are 3 approaches: Round-up, aside from the risks, it does not reach the roots so only the surface plant dies and will regrow; cloth or plastic weed barrier only cover up the plant and it is strong enough to grow out from underneath the weed barrier; finally, composting or changing the soil make-up. The roots grow very deep and are very hardy and the plant like this Colorado clay, but it does not like compost. We will have the local nursery deliver a load and where the bindweed grows, we will top dress and water like crazy--another thing bindweed doesn't like, water--with the hopes of at least reducing it.
  3. The pastures and lawn need fertilization, which my husband will spread either using his 4-wheeler or the golf cart to spread the fertilizer. 
  4. Replace all of the drip system that the dog tore out. Ugh.
And that is a partial list. Mostly maintenance in early spring.

So as the days warm, we will be spending more time outside enjoying the sun and doing what we love the most, tending plants. 

What's on your garden list? 

Thanks for visiting. I'll be joining Angie for Mosaic Monday.

Sunday, March 1, 2020

Some Bunny Loves You

Good-bye February. You were a brutally cold month. Hello March. Please be gentle with us. As February left us shivering and wishing for Spring, March came in like a lamb this morning--no wind, but March gifted us with a skiff of snow. 

I never know what my one daughter will come up with next. Yesterday it was a photo shoot for the the rabbits. The three granddaughter have show rabbits, so we had a photo session yesterday.

First up was the test, Peter. Peter is an 11 year old Himalayan who arrived with the Easter Bunny when Elinore was just three. Peter is not a show rabbit. He's too old and neutered. He is just a love pet who lives in Ellie's bedroom.




Next up, Midnight, Little Lily's bunny. While Lily is too young for 4-H she does take him to the open shows and while he is generally the only Dutch and places well, he did well with the competition at his last show.


Meet Texico, a red rex, Mom's bunny. She hasn't showed him yet, but he is registered and show quality. His coat is like velvet.


And then the newest baby, Blue. Even though she is very allergic, the middle granddaughter Lucy bought her own rabbit to show. He is known a Blue Rex known as an "otter" because of his white belly. 
 (I really don't know why).


These are Ellie's last two babies of her first litter of babies. Now about six months old and not show quality they are looking for new homes. The boy on the left is a seal point Himalayan while his sister is a lavender because her points are lighter. They are very sweet and very gentle, having been handled since birth. They will make excellent pets for children.



They weren't the most cooperative sometimes.










And Fritz the pup got his portrait taken, too. 


And the horses, but they weren't into getting glamor shots.

  

Here at the Garden Spot, we are really anxious for Spring to arrive. The pond has finally thawed completely while the fish just hang, waiting to warn up. We really have a mess in the bottom.



The dreary brown landscape is as dry as it looks. Rain would be nice, but I'm sure that there is more snow in our future.


The Head Gardener fired up the rototiller; the garden is ready for a good dressing of compost.


If you look really close, you will see the horses at the far end of the hayfield. They were excited to get out back this morning.


Brody's favorite pass time: heckle the hens. He sneaks up on them and they go running to the henhouse.



The girls survived the winter, all looking fat and sassy, four of them laying eggs, others in the middle of a serious molt.



So there you have it: a quiet weekend at the Garden Spot.

Thanks so much visiting. Join me at Angie's for Mosaic Monday.

Sunday, February 23, 2020

Gone Fishing

February is nearly spent. We will be glad to move forward on to March with high hopes of an early spring. January broke records as the warmest January in years, while February has broken records for the snowiest February in decades. We would now hope that March, normally our wettest month, keeps that promise because the landscape is winter dry, winter brown, winter dull.

February has been a very busy month, with every week filled. In December I wrote about Wreaths Across American, as our Daughters of the American Revolution chapter sponsored and laid wreaths on patriots' graves at a Ft. Collins cemetery. After the holiday season passed and the cemetery workers picked up the 1500 wreaths that had been laid, various organizations that sold the wreath as fundraisers (Boy Scouts, 4-H, American Heritage Girls and the DAR, Civil Air Patrol) gathered at the city shop to disassemble the wreaths for recycling.

Pine bows are mechanically bound into heavy gage wire frames, so we used pliers to release the boughs. It wasn't hard work, but my hands did get very tired and cold. The pile of wreaths was pretty daunting, but with all of the helping hands the pile disappeared in about 2-1/2 hours. Children as young as 7 hauled the wreaths tot he tables where a line of workers assembled to dismantle the wreaths.



Releasing the wire that held the pine bows in place did require force, but soon we each found our own method that worked best.


The pine bows were piled so that the younger helpers could load them into wheel barrows and haul them to the mulching machine where they would be ground by city workers into mulch that will be used throughout the cemetery where needed.


I had an opportunity to visit with one of the city workers and asked him exactly how the wreath materials were reused. Bows, of course, were not recycled, but the wire frames are recycled as rebar for cement foundations, so very little goes to waste. The organic material goes back in the environment and the nonorganic matter substitutes for more commonly used material. 

The end is in sight as the pile of 1500 wreaths has been conquered.


Last week the Garden Spot became a bit of a winter wonderland with a dusting of snow, looking like the landscape had be sprinkled with glistening glitter. I had to get outside to take a few photos.



 The beauty doesn't last, for as soon as the sun burns its way through the foggy cloud layer, the crystals disappear.



Lilac seed pods take on new beauty decorated with the delicate crystals.



 With the snow finally melted, the landscape does look pretty bare and boring. 


But take a closer look and you see the daffodils forcing their way thorough the soil. I can't wait for their glorious, golden blooms.


Even the tulips at the front step have a early start.  I am always caught off guard when I see them this soon.


Inside, I'm putting a roof on the big dollhouse, a massive and intimidating job. Affixing the chimney has been long procrastinated because it I feared that I couldn't get it to stay in place. 


The chimney is made of plater of paris bricks, making the chimney heavy, but I use Gorilla wood glue that held it in place very nicely.






You can read more about the dollhouse roofing project over at my dollhouse blog: Ann's Dollhouse Dreams

A few weeks ago, the Head Gardener discovered that pond had been drained nearly to the bottom when a hose froze causing the filter to overflow rather than circulating the water. It was a near disaster. The thick ice had collapsed, making us worry that the fish had either been crushed or had run out of water. He filled the pond with fresh water, the ice reformed, and we hoped that the fish were fine. Yes, February's cold has had its challenges. 

As the temperature rose this week, the ice melted. With the clean, fresh water, the ponds secretes are revealed, mostly the tangled mess of water lily pots at the bottom, but where are the fish?



The little water garden in the front where 5 little gold fish live, has had it problems, too, mostly ice and leakage. We rescued one little fish entrapped in the ice. I had heard that gold fish survive freezing, so the HG broke off the hunk of ice. We brought it inside and put in a bowl of cold water to thaw him out--unsuccessfully. I don't like such failure. I felt like had let the little guy down. Some will say that it was just a gold fish, but it was born and raised here at the Garden Spot. He was a part of our little world here.




 At the same time, I am most happy to announce that rest of the gold fish in the main pond survived the winter, even Big Boy, the white koi that keeps himself hidden.



Finally on a more serious note, I feel that I should pass on this brief message on suicide prevention. My sister-in-law and I attending a talk at the American Legion on how to offer help when someone is in trouble. We felt necessary to educate ourselves in the name of a beloved family member who passed far too soon by his own hand two years ago this month. Take note of the national 1-800 number available for those who need help. Colorado ranks 9th in the country for suicide deaths and of the 77 in 2018 who took their own lives our young cousin was included. 


Have a great week and thanks for stopping by. I'm linking with Angie for Mosaic Monday. Join me there. 








Monday, January 6, 2020

2019 in Review

Happy New Year

2020 at one time seemed so far off in the distant future, but here we are full of hope and enthusiasm for the new year. I've not made any resolutions, just set some goals that I'd like to accomplish this year: Continue to work on maintaining good health--that's pretty vague, isn't it? None the less, some days it's hard to remember to take care of myself; becoming a little more social by spending more time with old friends and making new ones; reading a little more. Things like that. I'd like to do some traveling, too. We'll see how that goes.

As we begin the new year, it's fun to reflect on the past year, so I went through my photo library to see what I could come up with.There were so many good garden moments and beautiful plants and there were some trying times in the photo album, too.  I tried to select one photo for each month to keep the post short, but that was really hard to do. This is supposed to be a Garden Blog, so let's see what went on here at the Garden Spot.


January: The seed catalogs begin to arrive, and we begin dream and plan and select: I want one of each.
 
Anxious for Spring Blooms, we cheat and buy a handful of daffodils at the supermarket.


February: Mother Nature gets pretty bossy, reminding us that it is still winter as we are ready for Spring.



March: The Head Gardener fires up the rototiller and lays out the garden beds, creating a clean slate to start the garden.


April: The first of the spring bulbs begin to appear: the early daffodils along side the tiny iris that if you blink you will miss them. They come early and disappear quickly.



      

May: The show begins. I call them the Three Sisters, crab apple trees planted by a previous owner always delight with their deep reddish pink blossoms. 



The first male oriole arrives, scouting out the feeders, looking for grape jelly. Soon his family and friends will arrive. They will gorge themselves most of the summer as they raise a new clutch and teach them where the free food is.




More daffodils appear. A garden have too many daffodils. Right?



Spring always has to put with Mother Nature's little temper tantrums, but the daffodils are hardy and will shake of the snow and continue to smile.

                 


One of my favorites in the garden: the bleeding heart.

    
June: The garden shows signs of life as the iris bloom with the tender tomatoes are covered as a storm forms, threatening wind and hail.


The clematis and Edith Wofford iris are always such a joy.

  

There are so many other beautiful flowers in the garden that I could share, but I vowed to do one photo for each month--well that isn't working too well. I take my camera out every day and take pictures of the flowers. It's hard to choose which will make the year end post.

With a two major events--a 50th class reunion and a wedding-- planned for August, there was a lot of work to do to make the Garden Spot a real show place. The barn circle consumed with weeds and bad grass needs had been an eye sore for a long time and required a lot of hard work to get it ready for the big events.


After removing gravel mulch, a load of top soil arrives, followed with a pallet of sod.


               



All of the Head Gardener's hard work pays off as the Garden Spot begins to look clean and beautiful. Trust me: it's a lot of hard work for old people.



This garden will be the focal point for the bride's beautiful wedding photos.



For the Bride and Groom, it was perfect night.



Mid summer: a most unwelcome visitor to the Garden Spot who certainly is not invited back. He kill our prized koi. We were heartbroken and felt so badly because we didn't do a better job of protecting our fishy friend.


Lady bugs are always a welcome in the garden. I asked my little grandson once what lady bugs ate and then gave him the correct answer: aphids.


August: We have apple trees, cherry trees, and two peach trees. This year the apples froze and the birds devoured the cherries--mostly because I didn't want to deal with them; Cherries are the pits, you know. And while there was late spring freeze, a few peaches survived. They were so good, but it certainly is a race to get to them before the birds discover them.

                    

As September rolls around, Lady Hawk takes a break from supervising her fledglings that sprint though sky, squawking and screaming under her watchful eye. The hawk is quite approachable and tolerant of my camera.

                            

For Mother's Day I received and assortment of 25 dahlia tubers and what a show they put on once they started to bloom in earlySeptember. We saved the tubers and we will plant them earlier this year, hoping for a better yield earlier.





November: The weather cools and sometimes we have fog. We loved fog here at the Garden Spot, but only because we don't have to drive in it and it is a rare weather occurrence.


And who doesn't love a harvest moon?



To add spring color to the newly sodded barn circle (so named because it out by the barn and to distinguish if from the front circle), we planted 50 assorted colors of tulips. In a few months they will make me smile.


As Fall descends on the Garden Spot, light changes to a golden glow. It was a good summer with good things that happened. My husband reconnected with classmates, some whom he hadn't seen in 50 years and a young couple began their life together. They were, we promised ourselves, one time events for the the Garden Spot. 



By the end of the summer the weeds got the best of the garden and dahlias took off. We always promise ourselves that we will do a better job of managing the garden next year. Next year we won't plant as many tomatoes. Next year we will hoe weeds more diligently. Next year. 




 The bride wanted sunflowers, so I purchased seeds and my dear neighbor cultivated them in the green house at a local nursery and they were gorgeous. We harvested the ones that we wanted for the wedding and planted the rest in the garden. They looked so hopeless and weak and spindly. I staked them to keep the wind from breaking the over and by summers end what a show. Many grew to giant heights, making me wish that we had started some seeds in the garden. They certainly are a do-over planting.



Fall soon fades and the winter storms come. It's a doozy of a winter. So far one big storm, followed by one that brought less snow that the wind scattered and drifted, but we were cozy inside. January will vanish quickly. Already it is booked up: This week clean up the basement and store all the Christmas decorations; host a DAR Valentine card making session for the veterans; go to a rabbit show with the granddaughters; attend the state DAR Board of Management meeting at the end of the month. And then it will be February. The really good news: we have an extra day this year. 


 Finally, Christmas is always a joyous season, even in the garden. I wanted the trees out front decorated, but the weather turned bad and we never got it done. Next year.





         


I'll finish my post with a baking lesson. 

I didn't bake last year, leaving it to the girls to bake the cookies since I follow Weight Watchers and didn't want to be tempted; however, this year, I decided to at least make my ginger moose

As I sprayed the cookie sheet to lay out my first round of cookies the Pam spray didn't come spray quite right, but I didn't make too much of it. I filled the sheet and put it in the oven and began the next batch. I sprayed the second sheet and the Pam didn't smell right. Sort of lemony, but once again I didn't make too much of it and I began cutting and placing cookies on that second sheet then I caught sight of the can on the counter that didn't look like Pam at all; instead, it was Pledge. 

Some how the Pledge, usually kept under the sink, was placed in the cupboard underneath the cooktop where I store the Pledge.

I pulled the first batch of ginger moose and ginger horses out of the oven and trashed them, washed my cookies sheets, put the Pledge in its proper place, and continued one, feeling rather silly.



Happy New Year, Friends. 

Thanks for joining me here at the Garden Spot all year long. 


I'm linking with Angie for Mosaic Monday



































Spring is in the Air

"It smells like spring. Come out and smell the air," said the Head Gardener as he left the house to feed the horses. I obliged, t...