Sunday, September 15, 2019

In the Light of the Silver Moon

Keeping children busy these days can pose a challenge for some parents with busy schedules and plenty to do, but for my granddaughters, there is always something going on that keeps this grandma busy. Yesterday I was recruited to haul rabbits to a show, so I packed up my night bag and spent Friday night with them since we had an early drive to Cheyenne, Wyoming, an hour away.

Ellie loaded up the four rabbits in the back of my Edge while her mother and sisters loaded up mom's car with all of the gear and lunch.

And we off.

The first show that I went to with Ellie, I nearly froze my toes off, but Saturday warm and a nice breeze blew through the rabbit building, still I kept my jacket on all day.

It was at that show that Jennifer bought a very tiny baby rabbit for Lily.

Rabbits came from all over, some crossing the state lines from Nebraska and Colorado. Rabbit Competition is a big deal. People love their bunnies. People of all ages.

 Not a 4-H sanctioned show, it's sponsored by the Rabbit Association (not the official name)

This year was Lily's first year with her Dutch Black named Midnight.  She knows what she is doing.

Mom made the girls' aprons to protect their clothing from rabbit hair. Simple aprons made out of kitchen towels.

The mosaic edited the first photo showing mom tying Lily's apron on. Next Lily grooms Midnight to get him ready for to show. The rabbits are called by breed and put into show cages. The judge takes the rabbit out of the cage and examines it, commenting as he spreads it out, examines it, making note of its strengths and weaknesses then he hands Lily the tally sheet, declaring Midnight the winner of his class. He was the only Dutch in this class, a fine rabbit none the less. 

And a kind man who posed for a photo. By the end of the show Midnight had won every class that he showed in, four blue ribbons

and a purple food dish.

Ellie's rabbits are dwarf red Rexes, Dawn and Mavrick.  Rare in color, so they always win for their color and coat, but they are not perfect rabbits, in fact the buck has been disqualified for being over weight, so Ellie put them both on diets this summer and an exercise program and they both lost enough weight to be competitive. Now they wait to be judged.

And here are Ellie's show results:

Eldorado is a Hymalian buck, a true champion. He comes from a Rabbitry that won all of the top prizes for the day. He will soon be a father.

Here are some random rabbits that I had to photograph. I love the second one, a lop eared rabbit. Rabbits come in so many shapes, colors, sizes. Which one would I choose, were I too choose?

I don't know.

Back at home, the Head Gardener and I drove out a friend's farm late in the day so that I could photograph the sunset at the irrigation pond. Upon arriving we caught sight of pelicans sleeping late. 

End of day as the sun sinks behind the Rocky Mountains is my favorite time of day as sun casts the last of its light, making the world look warm and golden. I love seeing cattle in the fields.

The alfalfa field has been cut and the corn tassels reflect the sun. Soon the corn cutters will run.

We took Brody. He's still a shy boy, not sure at all of the world around him and he takes his time adjusting to new things.

He's a handsome lad, don't you think?

Soon he relaxes and begins to explore; still on a leash, we don't trust him to let him free.

 He's a bird dog, a German Short Haired Pointer, that is supposed to flush the birds and retrieve them. We don't know if he likes water. Some short hairs don't and for sure he doesn't like loud noise, like gunshots. He may not hunt. That's okay.

Black birds have amazed me since my childhood. I grew up with farm ponds and cat tails and Red winged blackbirds.

The pelicans awake when we startle them and float away on the breeze stirred water.

Yes, we have pelicans in Northern Colorado. Lots of them. Most bodies of water have pelicans. 

Its a quiet sunset tonight. No clouds to absorb  the colors.

In the east the moon begins its journey. Full and silver, mysterious, now being invaded once again by earth man's desire to know what's on the moon. Who cares, I ask?

Back at home with less light, I take one last photo the moon.

It was a full week. 

How was your week?

Thanks for joining me. I'll see you over at Angie's for Mosaic Monday

Monday, September 9, 2019

End of Summer

As summer winds down, we seem to move at a slower pace. The last cutting of hay is now baled and stored. We don't have to worry about rain ruining any party or flower, or precious hay.  It was a an intense summer; now we can relax. Have you noticed a difference in the late summer, pre fall days? There's a stillness in the air. The birds seem quieter. They no longer call to each other trying to attract a mate, or scold their fledglings. The breeze seems softer, gentler, and the sun's not so intense. A nice way to ease into fall.

We woke early to a light fog over the Garden Spot. We love the fog here because it is a rare weather occurrence. We knew, though, it would soon burn off as the sun lifted itself higher in the sky.

A walk through the garden gave me a chance to enjoy the last of the summer blooms. The dahlias have been slow to bloom and not quite as healthy as they have in the past. Frankly the vegetable garden was not the best choice to plant them. You won't see many photos of the garden either because it was so badly neglected this year. We'll do better next year.

This was a poor year for the roses, too. Not enough water. We have fought with Brody all summer. He takes great joy in lifting the sprinter heads out of the front garden. We hope that he will soon outgrow the urge to steel the stakes that hold the tiny sprinklers. If it wasn't the lack of water, the heat also has taken it toll on the flowers. The court yard gets full afternoon sun, making the heat more intense when it is absorbed by the brick walls of the house. We do our best.

Sunflowers always have a special place here at the Garden Spot, more so this summer as they were grown for the wedding. Now, they are on their way out. Good news? They will be back next year.

Does the black top look any blacker on the driveway? You probably wouldn't notice. We had it resurfaced. More accurately, the cracks were filled, the bad spots repaired, and seal coat applied, making it look new and pretty.

Veteran's Honor blooms her heart out, still bedazzled with droplets of last night's rain, this is one of the last blooms of the season.

I'll miss this lovely lady, too.

These girls always bring such joy to the garden, even the wild, errant ones that take up residence without permission or tending. They thrive where planted.

Rudbeckia newly planted grew nicely. I fought weeds all summer, especially the milkweed. They will all fade soon, but I look forward to seeing them again next summer--not the milkweed.

They boys are little less active. They are out for their mid morning snack than as it warms, they will return to their stalls where a cool breeze blows through the barn and the flies are less likely to annoy them.

Sundance, lame as ever, seems to be doing bit better now that he gets a few drops of CBD oil twice day with his warm mash. While the elixir won't cure or heal his lameness, it does help with his pain--we hope. 

More sunflowers. The pale yellow one is one that was started in the green house and transplanted. In fact so was her neighbor. The the green house girls finally did take off after the wedding. I look forward to  planting more next summer. They were real beauties.

I always plant zinnias is the vegetable garden to add a spot of color. This year I didn't. This one, among others, came up on her own. That's the nice thing about self seeders. 

A lovely dahlia. We will dig up the tubers and replant in a better spot next year. 

Seemingly playing peak-a-boo, this one will be fully bloomed tomorrow.

So this really says it all about the garden spot: A blue sky, the horses, lots of sunflowers.

My parting shot: sunflowers finishing their life's cycle, weeds hanging on to the last of summer, and me behind the camera enjoying the moment.

I hope that you enjoyed my moment. 

Thanks for visiting.

If you get a chance drop by Ann's Dollhouse Dreams--just for fun.

And don't forget Mosaic Monday with Angie. You'll find me there, too.

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Happy Anniversary

Doesn't it seem just like yesterday that we met?

Nine years to this day I launched my blog, August 19, 2010. I was inspired by another blogger as I searched for information on toads with my grandson. When I read her blog, I decided that I could that--blog. I am not sure that she keeps her blog up to date, but I now follow her on Facebook. I've made some good friends across the globe along the way whom I consider as important to me as those friends who are closer to home.

Wanting to freshen up the blog's look, I'm trying a new layout with a cleaner, less cluttered look. I am not quite sure that I like this one; I miss seeing the list of current posts, so I may have to go back to the old layout. What do you think?

I am still trying to put the house back together after the wedding. The sunflowers are fading and soon headed for the mulch pile in the garden. I have so enjoyed their bright, cheerful faces I thought that I would share them once again.

What beauties this hot house girls are.

 I finally brought home this bunch the Thursday before the wedding.

Look at the luscious colors--everything from lemon yellow to brown to the golden girl on the right.

 Luscious and yellow and perfect.

These lovely ones came from the super market.

They make a lovely mosaic, don't they?

Shifting gears, the Head Gardener and I decided to take a drive north to the grasslands Friday. With the storm clouds hanging low, threatening to burst open with rain, we welcomed the cool day to go explore the prairie. 

The vastness of the open space of grasslands and farmlands always astound me as we leave the rush of a crowded civilization and becoming more so even here in our small town.

As the towering telephone and electrical wires stand testament to, more and more people are moving to the wide open spaces in search of the solitude, peace, and quiet of the prairie.

With access to a private ranch, we went off the main road to look for antelope.

They are fairly used to vehicles and Man, so they didn't panic and run off as we drove passed them.

These are unusual creatures, not rare by any means and certainly not endangered, but they are unique to the central and western North America. Generally referred to as antelope or pronghorn antelope, they are the only surviving animal in their family Antilocapridae. You can read more about about them on Wikipedia,where you learn the most interesting thing about their classification. They are a member of the superfamily Giraffoidea, making them most closely related to giraffes.

They don't look much like a giraffe, do they? 

While they appear calm here as we drove passed them, they can make a quick exit. As this buck did when we startled him. Some say that they can run 45 miles an hour.

The grasslands have served agriculture since the early settlers first tried to farm the arid country. This part of our trip was closer to the foothills where a stream runs through the landscape, so there will be a few trees where is there is water. Crops include wheat, corn, hay, and a new crop: hemp.

I was actually quite surprised to see hemp growing so far north. It is becoming a rather popular crop to grow with farmers now leasing their farmlands to hemp companies with the hope of a goodly yield thus a good income. 

More antelope--bucks.

This is one may favorite photos of the day. I could imagine it as a water color or an oil painting.

 We headed east and left the west side of Highway 85. . .

 ...then went north toward Wyoming. . . 

...then turned east again.

The further east we drive, the more barren the land becomes. The houses are sparse, the antelope roam a bit freer.
Windmills dot the landscape. Some still work, watering herds of cattle.

Sunflowers abound. An interesting combination: barbed wire and flower.

We used to take this drive all the time when the girls were little. The Head Gardener's grandfather had a farm out here and lost it in the '30s. For a while remnants of the farm could be found, but the road has been closed to vehicles and it is a long walk back in to the home place. Along the way, remnants of other inhabitants are found. Surviving the decades, tee pee rings are a reminder of earlier travelers as the Native Americans wandered the plains. Tribes included Cheyenne, Kiowa, Souix, and Pawnee, thus the Pawnee National Grasslands. 

When we have a wet summer, the grasslands abound with wild flowers. The wild  pink cleome line the roadside.

Some of the ranches' boundaries are marked with fence. The Head Gardener laid claim to this fence, as he told about helping his grandfather build it when he was kid.

City hawks will sit still for a photo, not this fellow.


More sunflowers and barbed wire.

Not many abandoned homes survive. This one is fairly modern with the electric pole in the yard, still the living conditions on the prairie are harsh that even modern day residents find it hard with violent windstorms, lack of rain, heat, and blizzards, along with snow packed roads in the winter.

Heading back toward home, we reach pavement.

In the distant West horizon the signs of civilization begin to appear.

We know that we have left he grasslands when we see the tasseled cornfields, a sure sign that fall is not fall off. Soon we'll hear the hum of the corn cutters.

I hope that you have enjoyed a drive to the grasslands. Now it is back to civilization.

Thanks for visiting.

In the Light of the Silver Moon

Keeping children busy these days can pose a challenge for some parents with busy schedules and plenty to do, but for my granddaughters, the...