Sunday, October 26, 2014

Shhh. I'm Sleeping

I was nervous this morning as I drank my only cup of coffee for the day pondering what I would post today because there really isn't much going on. Oh we have plenty of work to do, but the Head Gardener is gone again. Let's see. He spent a month hunting, coming home on the week ends; now he out in Northeastern, Colorado helping our farmer friends with corn harvest for 5, 6, 7 days--until all of the corn is in.

Were I there, the blog would be filled with pictures of two combines cutting corn, the HG's tractor pulling the grain cart, and one semi hauling the corn to storage. I'd ride in the combine with Dan, keep Dave company in the semi for a round, and give the HG a hug or two.

But I am not.

Instead I am keeping the Garden Spot running smoothly, feeding, paying bills, cleaning, doing laundry, yadayadayada. Single handed.

So when the HG calls, I have to give him an accounting  of what's going on.

Generally there is little to report. This morning when I fed the hens; however, they were acting differently. The old ladies ventured out of the hen house, but didn't seem too eager to eat the scratch I scattered. Chanteleer crowed from inside the house. So I took a look.


Looks like the happy couple is thinking about starting a family. I don't think they knew exactly what to do with the egg as they circled it and clucked to each other.


I think I was making them nervous taking photos, so they left the house.  I left the egg for them to ponder exactly what was happening to them. I'd say they are experiencing puberty. The HG will make accommodations for Peretilote to nest when he gets home. He has grand plans of creating a private suite for them on the other side of the hen house. 

So that was the news: we're expecting a baby. Maybe. Probably not this time. 


The last tree on the place to show color is the flowering crab in the pasture. Fruitless, this tree makes up for its Plain Jane look all summer with fire hot leaves the end of October. Soon the honey locust will be bare. As her dressing falls to the ground, she whispers "Shhh. I am sleeping." We don't think of our trees as actually sleeping, but according to my tree hugger daughter, while they look dead or dormant over the winter, their roots are actually busy storing food and moisture for next year.  The ash have only a few leaves dangling precariously from slim branches with the rest skirting the trees on the ground waiting for wind to carry them away.


The doves will have find other places to perch for the winter. Not a bad photo through a dirty living room window.

I thought I'd share some of my husband's hunting photos since he does not blog, Facebook, Tweet, or Instagram. He does do Craigslist, Amazon, and email.

He bought a new camera, a nice little point and shoot Canon that takes exceptional photos.

He had been sending for years to draw a tag for Rocky Mountain Big Horn for the Big Thompson area, most commonly known as the main way into Estes Park, where I know some of you have vacationed.


He drew one of three ram tags for archery. Three ewe tags were also issued for archery. Only one ram tag was filled, which wasn't his. 


He camped at a small campground in Drake about 6.5 miles east of Estes along a tributary of the Big Thompson River that flooded so badly last fall. 


The photos now show the campground cleaned up and open for business, but the couple who owns the campground lost their home. They now live in a tiny cabin that was spared the devastation. Hubby met so many people, but the Mennonite from Pennsylvania who were there to help residents in Glen Haven on up the road rebuild made the biggest impression. He met professional photographers, including a crew from National Geographic who were filming Colorado wild life. He met people from all over the US and even a couple from the Scottish Higlands. So while he was disappointed that he didn't fill his tag, he did have a great experience.


So this handsome fellow lives another year.


Ewes feeding both on craggy over hang and on the highway.


This small herd of big horns spends a lot time along the highway, stopping traffic and getting a lot of attention. State hunting rule: hunter must be 50 feet from the road to shoot. Ethical Hunter Rule: Hunter does not shoot in public view. Archery hunters, many of them, have their own code: hunting is a private, sacred endeavor, so they don't shoot near a populated highway.


The rams had not yet gone into rut nor the ewes in estrus, but apparently the young ram that hung out with ladies didn't know that he was supposed to be in hiding with the rest of the old guys. 


Rut begins with ritualistic battle where the rams charge each other, hitting foreheads square to each other. You'd think that they would get a great headache. Here these two rams had just finished ramming each other in the forehead. 

Aside from his hunting, the HG spent a lot of time parked along the highway glassing rough mountain terrain. Travelers, seeing him with his binoculars, would stop to see what he was looking at.


A black bear. 

He was thrilled with these photos. 

So while he came home empty-handed and disappointed, he will admit that he had a great time, met a lot of people, and enjoyed all of the wildlife. 


Two birthdays this week: Elinore will be 8 October 30. Her party is  Saturday and she has invited Pop. We will have to see about that. The HG has to leave harvest, the weather has to be decent, and she has to be good this week. Lots of ifs.

Boone will be 1 October 31. What a little gremlin he is and handsome handful. When all of the hunting and harvesting are over he gets to go school. At least he won't be a drama queen about his birthday.

Alone all of this time, I have spent most of it working on the dollhouse. It is nearly completed. Would you like a peak? The grand reveal will be on the dollhouse blog. Take a look later.

Yes, it is pink. Lots and lots of pink because it is Ballet Studio. 



I am linking with Lavender Cottage to share on Mosaic Monday. Join us there.

Finally, thank you so much for all you kind congratulations on our 40th. For me it doesn't really seem like a big deal. When I signed on, I knew we were in it for the long haul. The years have passed quickly, we have had a wonderful life, but I think the best is yet to come. 

Have a wonderful week. I'll be busy getting ready for birthday party and keeping the home fires burning. Thanks for stopping by. 

Happy Halloween.





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

Trees

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

Well.

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.