Sunday, July 17, 2016

Busy Life

Welcome Friends. It is hard to believe that half of July is spent. We have had a busy week, spending way too much time at the car dealership trying to figure out what's wrong with the computer system in the SUV that provides some of the necessary functions. It's Ford's Sync My Ride that has the GPS, map, radio,  iPhone hook-up, and back-up camera, accessories that I have become dependent  upon. The car still isn't fixed and I will have to make another trip this week to get the part installed.


We harvested the cherries from the North Star Dwarf Cherry tree. It was loaded this year. Who does not love fresh, hot cherry pie? 

From  tree to pie takes quite a bit of work.  For the pie, I hand pitted only enough cherries to make the pie. Our sweet college student who lived us was coming for lunch, so I wanted to bake a pie.

The rest of the cherries had to be pitted so the I could freeze them. I searched the Internet for a cherry pitter and finally came up with one at the local Ace Hardware store. I give it a B-/C+. Still better than my thumb. And messy. 

We also harvested the garlic. I pulled a few onions, too, so see how big they were and pulled up the radishes, too. I was so surprised and impressed with our garlic harvest.

While not all the cloves are this big, the garlic did quite well. We The Head Gardener planted three varieties last fall, not labeling them, so I don't know which variety this one is. I have started using the garlic and it is very stout. Just the way we like it. Hopefully I have enough to last the year.

My last post generated a lot of discussion on holly hocks, for they are a garden favorite. I had this one in the center circle that took up too much room, blocked the sprinkler head, and chocked out the mallow legitimately planted. The holly hock found its own way to the spot, so I had the HG dig it out. As the photo on the right shows, it's sibling remains. It is next to go.

We did take a weekend off for a short camping trip with the granddaughters and their parents. There is nothing like parking lake-side at 8500 feet. Not used to the altitude, I had to take it easy at first so that my body could adjust to the thinner air. If you vacation in the Colorado Rockies, do remember to give yourself time to adjust to the high altitude.

A wonderful view from the dinning table. Now this is living.

Our home away from home: gas stove with two essentials, a cast iron skillet and a coffee pot.
A queen size bed for to a good night rest with crisp, white sheets.

A cozy sofa

This was Boone's first camping trip. He is such a rowdy boy that instead of camping with us, he has been sent to doggie day care. Now two and half years old, he is better behaved, so he got go along. He was a very good boy.

He even learned that water can be fun. The little girls taught him how to fetch a stick from the shallow shore. At first he wasn't too sure of the water, but it didn't take too long for him to realize just how much fun water could be.

I took my current book, Philipa Gregory's fictional history about Catherine of Aragon, Henry VIII's first wife. Anne Boleyn gets all of the attention, but Catherine was an amazing queen. Of course, I took my gardening magazine along, too.

On Saturday we went for a short drive. Colorado mountain scenery just begs to be photographed and this scene was meant to be shot in black and white. Can you believe that this is an iPhone photo?

While this may look like a sunrise reflecting on the lake or maybe even a sunset, I am actually facing east and the sun is setting behind me, reflecting off the the clouds onto the water.

We took a hike a long one shore of the lake. The caretaker of the property has placed birdhouses all over the woods. This birdhouse was hollowed out of an old tree branch and wired to a fence post. The Tree Swallow will fly right in the small round opening to feed her babies.

All morning we have been watching this young bald eagle as we walk along the lake shore. The kids first saw it scoop up a fish from the lake for breakfast. Now hours later, it is perched atop this dead tree. As we have been watching it, I am sure it has been watching us as we made our way around the lake--giving us the eagle eye.

Using my 300 mm lens, I was able to get a reasonably good photo of the cormorants lifting of the water far across the lake.

What a privellage to get to spend time at the lake, even for such a short time. Nature's beauty always refreshes the sprit. The weekend went by quickly and once we got home the sprinkler system was started to water the thirsty lawn and the newly planted sod. +90s F. Hot. July is always hot.

With Shey and her friend coming for lunch, I had fun setting a pretty table for our guests on the patio.

In the garden, things are happening.

The giant alums done blooming look really cool with irrigation water dripping off of them.

So does this baby's breath. Can't wait for it to blooms. There will be tiny purple flowers on these delicate thread-like stems.

My favorite time photograph the garden is at the end of the day when the sun is nearly set, giving a soft, warm tone to the plants and photos. The point on the center circle is in full bloom. July blooms include these wonderful Prairie Rudbeka and blanket flowers.

I have worked hard to get this part of the center garden to fill in. I began with a nice selection of the Black Eyed Susans and blanket flowers, adding this yellow daisy two years ago. At a distance it is a lovely garden, but close up the plants are smooched in together and plagued with bind weed that winds itself around nearly every stem. We worked on cleaning it up and it looks better. 

These rudbeckias were at one time the size of a tea cup saucer, but as they have seeded and reseeded, they get smaller each year. I also had some really deep brown ones. I miss them.

The birdhouse in the center circle is in need of repair. The front if fell off, revealing the nest upon nest that the English sparrows built.

Lucifer haunts the garden too. This corcosima is one my favorites simply because of the splash of brilliant red that has. Butterflies and hummingbirds also like it.

July is day lily month. I like this dark one just at  the edge of the patio.

I leave you with the gorgeous echanisia with the swallowtail that has been dancing through the yard the last few days.

These are the days that I live for. Sunshine. Lovely flowers and butterflies. 

But I must add how saddened I am at the terrible event in Dallas, Nice, France, and today Baton Rouge. I cannot image. I don't want to imagine. Unfortunately, I must think about the suffering and pray for those who suffer in the worst ways. 

Have you heard? I promised Maggie at Normandy Life that I would help spread the news: She will be hosting Mosaic Monday. I am so glad. Judith was so wonderful as the MM host, especially in the very early days when I decided to venture out of my little blog coccoon and join in on the fun; when I needed some help to navigate the technology, she so kindly guided me through my first post. And I made new friends. Some of you I met there. So I'll be with Maggie. I hope you join us. 

 Elinore competed in her first swim meet. She has been working for the last five weeks with the swim team. This is her first year. I am so proud of her for she really is out of her comfort zone. While not the fastest swimmer, she certainly gave all of her effort and swam very well. 

Thanks so much stopping by and leaving such sweet and generous comments. I've not kept up with the blog so much, but I know that you all understand. I've started walking early in the morning instead of getting on the computer to start my day. Funny how I seem to have more energy now, nor have I forgotten you. So thank you for staying with me. I appreciate that very much. Have a fabulous week. 

Monday, July 4, 2016

Don't Tell Lily

Happy Independence Day. Our celebration will be quiet, listening to the neighbors' fireworks explode all around us, as they have been for the last week.

We have had a busy week. The skies have been blue with lots of sunshine, cooled by late afternoon thunderstorms that rush over us, building steam and power as they head east. Our friends in the eastern part of the state don't need hail or heavy rain since wheat harvest is just days away. Nor do we need hail here, though the possibility is quite likely. The garden has just begun to take off with Roma tomatoes now taking shape, the peppers are flowering, and my zinnias are looking great. Best of all the peach trees are loaded with baby peaches. I am not holding my breath, for I know that all can be wiped out with rough weather.

The raspberry bushes, too, are loaded with fruit for the first time. They were the first to go into the new garden and it has taken years for them produce with any abundance. I never remember if they fruit on new growth or old growth branches, so I leave them alone. Please don't tell little Lily that we have raspberries, for she will pick them clean, eating every last one.

The peas have been harvested. This is my second basket.

This is one batch of peas that won't be recalled. I don't know about you, but I have had two recalls on bad food this last month. One was frozen foods; the other Gold Medal flour. I was surprised (don't why I should have been) when the clerk at the super market pointed out on my sales slip that I had a recall on the frozen vegetables that I had purchased. I had heard about the both recalls on the news, but paid little attention. I did return the vegetables. Next I received an automated phone call from General Mills informing me of the recall on flour. 

Thee peas are as fresh and pure as they can be: no fertilizers, no pesticides, or herbicides. Just sunshine, water, and marginal soil.


Battling weeds here at the Garden Spot most often seems like an endless battle. One troublesome spot  lies between the corral and the chicken coop. When I had to move my day lily collection, we decided to put them in this spare space, but weeds lack total respect of land use and continued to take control. I don't like weeds. The  tank that stores the well water for the irrigation system lies beneath the sparse lawn that others planted. So we decided to turn it all to grass with the thought that grass is easier to mow than weeds are to pull.

This is just a small amount of the 100 rolls of sod that the Head Gardener has laid this week not only by the barn, but covering other bare spots in the lawn around the yard, too. 

I warned the HG that the horses would nibble on the newly placed sod, and indeed they did, pulling one of the pieces out into the corral, he told me. Easily replaced. We want everything to look clean and neat. Perhaps we going to an extreme, but with all of this new grass on well water with an semi automatic watering system, it beats weeds any day.