Monday, March 23, 2015

Wakey Up

When the girls were little, I'd wake them up with a little kiss on their sweet, sleeping foreheads and whisper, "Wakey Up"--the first time.

The rhubarb looks promising for this year; the Eastern Red Bud has been proclaimed alive by our tree hugger, though it still snoozes. The daffodils will soon brighten up the garden with their yellow as the little white crocuses fade away.
The Spring plants are hearing my gentle whispers as I sweetly call to them to "Wakey Up." It seems quite odd that the first begin to show signs of life other than the crocuses are the succulents. I doubt that they really went into to deep REM sleep, for it looks as though they only slumbered a bit over winter. We have such odd weather here during the winter ranging from sub zero to balmy sunny days. Little wonder that plants get confused. The crocuses are nearly done blooming; as they wither away, the iris are sending up strong, pointy shoots, soaking up the glorious sunshine. The spring bulbs now seem to be in a race to see who can send forth its first spring bloom. So far it looks to be the daffodils are in the lead. I have missed them.



We have two new chickens to replace the sweet little blue laced red wyandotte that didn't wake up yesterday morning. We were very sad that it didn't make it. The two of them were doing so well. We don't know what went wrong. The other six are doing so well. They have been moved from the brooder to small pen in the chicken coop. 


I finally got the roses pruned back, but it doe not look like they survived the winter. Once the drip irrigation is turned on, perhaps some water might bring them to life. They should have greenish stocks coming close to the ground and enven a hint of leaf showing, but nothing so far. 


The clematis needed a harsh pruning, but it does have some green already, so I didn't take it back as far as I wanted.


Neatly pruned back, the rose looks pretty dead to me. A bit of water today may bring it to life. No rain in the forecast, so I will start the drip irrigation.
Our grandsons are here for spring break, so  we will have a busy week. There is still lots of spring clean-up to do, potatoes, onions, and garlic to plant. Sweet peas and green peas, too. 

I look forward to seeing your spring garden wake up.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Something New

I should be outside enjoying this wonderfully warm just about Spring is Here Day. Also the Ides of March, a day that the seer warned Julius Caeser to beware of; he should have listened.

Instead here I am with lots to share with something new, something blue, something old, but nothing borrowed.

Something New



The office is looking more like a nursery these days with the brooder as a chick nursery and the table se tup ready to plant vegetable seeds. We can close the door to keep Boone away from the chicks. He has a great curiosity for them.

We determined that we would plant potatoes, garlic, and onions March 15. Beware. The potatoes and garlic did not arrive at the garden center until late this week because bad weather delayed shipping back east. The spuds (as his mom called them) need to sprout eyes first then we will quarter them with at least one eye or sprout to a cutting. Then they have dry for a day or two, so we are a bit
behind in schedule. We have Yukon Gold, Lasoda Reds, and Cal White. We have never planted garlic before. The nurseryman told us that typically here it is planted in late fall and left to winter over in the ground for the biggest cloves, but he said that we will get a harvest then we can save the vest cloves to plant in the fall. I am excited to see how the garlic does.

Something Blue

The  baby Blue Laced Red Wyandottes arrived Thursday. Such little cute chicks they are.  The Head Gardener divided the brooder to make room for them underneath the heat lamp. The other 8 are about ready to go to the chicken house, so he is out there now trying to figure out how to add a coop on the other side of the chicken house/potting shed. They need to be kept warm yet,and will be in the house for a few more days until he builds accommodations for them.


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Outside, blue skies and early blue dwarf iris (forgot the name) break up winter brown, sure signs that Spring really is on her way. 



While the HG tills the garden bed, Boone, the brown dog, runs with the horses. The young apricot, peach, and cherry trees are still blanketed until our tree hugger daughter says that it is okay to uncover them As yet, no sign that they survived the winter.  The last photo in the mosaic shows the HG digging up one of the two huge clumps of dormant chives for relocation.  The garden is fully tilled ready for compost and planting.

Something Old (besides me): Pop

The girls came over yesterday to ride Pop. He is doing so well for an old guy. This spring he will turn 26. 



Look at this little rock star, dressed to ride: Bicycle helmet, pink shades, camo skirt, leggings, with lady bug boots. She dressed herself.


Horses can be dangerous and unpredicatable, as the Golden Boy who was sent to graze while the girls rode, but Pop spent his life with little girls. He loves them and we trust him with the little ones.




And he is hairy. Boy is is. Sister Lucy helps groom Pop before they both ride.



Meanwhile, inside Elinore bonds with a chick she has named Blondie.

 Done riding, Lily decides to check on the egg production. 


In her tiny little voice, "Help me. I can't reach."


She finds the one green egg aside the fake egg.



 If we are looking for more signs of spring aside from early iris, increased egg production, blue skies, and shedding ponies, our country roads east of the Rockies show plenty of Spring.



Just down the road from the Garden Spot, a country road that I travel at least once a week shows signs that the earth has begun to warm. The fields, looking like a tapestry of brown woolens, tweed, and corduroy take on a new character as farmers prepare them for corn, sugar beets, or onions.













I always enjoy watching this herd of momma black Angus cows with their new baby calves, most born in early February. The scene will be especially beautiful once the grass turns green and then dotted with the black heifers and their babies.

The Garden Spot Googled


There we are at the end of town, barely in town. It is often hard to explain where we live, so here is a Google Earth image of the farms that I photographed today just south down the road from us. Most farmers use center pivot sprinklers to irrigate their crops no,  thus an aerial quilt in shades of green 

Well, I have taken up plenty of your time today. Thanks so much for stopping by. I really must get outside. 


Enjoy this Ides of March and wear your green on St. Patrick's Day. 

Spring officially arrives Friday. Can't wait.







Sunday, March 8, 2015

Time

It was a long weekend, but what a great one. Youngest daughter and I loaded up the little SUV for a trip to visit the older daughter in Denver. Since we left at 4:30, we had miserably heavy traffic all the way traveling I-25. A drive that should have taken a little over an hour took 2 hours. We had great plans for Saturday, a day long of thrifting and shopping in the Big City.

                         
   Heather has the most amazing little garden in the middle of the big city. She lives in quiet cul-de-sac with quiet neighbors who admire her little garden, as well I do. So we saw pretty little signs of Spring poking through the cold soil, which seems to be gradually warming, bringing forth the early spring flowers.

                                 

Back home, a walk around the Garden Spot reveals little. The boys standing at the pasture gate beg for us to let them out in the pasture. The garden awaits the tough rototiller tines to break up the soil. While I was gone, the Head Gardener sorted seeds, so as I fixed lunch we went over our stash of seed packets to decide what to plant and what to fore go. We always end up with way too many tomato plants, so we narrowed down the choice 8 varieties of tomatoes and decided on 15 plants. We will plant bell peppers--orange, yellow, red, and green-- and Anaheims. In the next few days, the HG will plant the seeds to start them inside. And this is just the beginning. More to come.

Baby chicks are doing well, growing, with a nice growth of wing feathers. 

I am tired tonight. I didn't sleep well last night and now with the time change sleep may be difficult tonight too, so tonight's post is skimpy. Batteries on both iPhone and Cannon are dead, so I didn't get the photos downloaded, and I am relying on the iPad for tonight's post. I even downloaded PhotoCollage (an app to make this week mosaic) so that I could work on the couple of photos that did make it to the Cloud. I think I need far more practice to figure out how use it. None-the-less, I did manage to get a little mosaic for Judy's Monday Mosaic. Make sure to swing by Lavender Cottage to see what everyone is up to. 

As for me, I am calling it a day. Perhaps I will get out in the garden this week as the snow has melted, the weather will be warm, and I am anxious. Digging out vinca tops my list. 

Will you be out in the garden this week? I do hope so. We still have a few days before Spring announces her official arrival, but her preview this weekend was grand. 

Have great week and thanks for taking the time to visit. 





Sunday, March 1, 2015

Peep, Peep, Peep


The Garden Spot has been very quiet this week after the excitement of our Afternoon Tea last Saturday. Thank you so much for all you sweet comments.

I spent most of the week working on the dollhouses. The first part of the week was lovely, warm, with a bit of snow melting. Wednesday the atmosphere turned ugly. We had gone shopping for the kitchen remodel, looking for tile for the back splash and trying to select our granite for the counter tops. Of course the granite slabs are displayed outside and by the time we got to the shop, the wind had come up with snow only minutes away. It was so cold and I had worn only a light jacket. So our look was quick, quick enough for me to say, "Nope, not that one, or that one, and certainly not that one." While I do have the back splash tile selected, the granite will take more time.






While I was in town on Thursday, the Head Gardener left a message in the cell phone: the chicks were in and he had gone to pick them up.



He ordered 8, but two did not come in--the blue laced red wynandottes. We already have a pair from last year's chicks, one hen and one rooster. Pertelote has steadily been laying one egg a day, as has one of the older hens. Two eggs a day give us a good supply. I had been quite nervous about the rooster whom I named Chanticleer, inspired by Chaucer's Canterbury Tales (English major that I am). Roosters tend to have rather bad attitudes and can be very aggressive not only towards the hens, but small children, even grown-ups. We both have childhood memories of what happened to the rooster when he attacked small children. Nor does our HOA association in line with the town ordaninace on poultry keeping allow roosters. Yet, since we are zoned agricultural we are getting way with keeping the rooster. The HG tends to get attached to the animals here and becomes rather protective of them. As long as Chanticleer behaves, he will avoid the soup pot.

I set up a back board, dropped a bit of lace shower curtain on it and added Easter grass for some color so that I could photograph the chicks. They don't have names yet. The Head Gardener will eventually name them as he has all of the others. Only a week old now, they are beginning to grow their wing feathers. They are eating well, peeping, pooping, poking around in the wood shavings, and taking long naps as babies do.






They are kept in this Rubber Maid tub in the office with screen top and a heat lamp.



A bird dog by nature, Boone has a curiosity, but we dare not leave him unattended with the little ones. We have let the mature hens out of the chicken pen when we are working in the garden so that we can keep a watchful eye on them. The old dog Max left them alone, but this new pup will have a few lessons to learn.





A thermometer helps to let the HG know how warm the brooder gets. The little girls (they are supposed to all girls, but Chanticleer is proof that sometimes boys are shipped) have good appetites and will grow quickly.




I am excited to see the mature  Black Copper Morans. They will lay very dark brown eggs that some describe as chocolate. While I don't think the eggs will actually be that dark, they will be brown brown. The hens will be black. 

We tend to choose our hens by the color of egg that they lay rather than by production and by what the adult hen will look like, too.  I just really enjoy seeing a bowl of multicolored eggs.


This is on my favorite egg pictures. Gathering them fresh from the nest, Elinore put them in a bird's nest that she had picked up off the ground from under one of the pine tress and added a delicate little weed flower, presenting with pride her little creation to me. I will keep you posted on the chicks' progress.

Charles Osgood on CBS Sunday Morning told us today that we have 19 days until Spring. Oh can we wait? Denver has surpassed a long-time snow record for February by .4 of an inch. We have not had that much here in this part of the state, but enough is enough.  So as I close, I present you with the little carnations from last week's tea. Carnations last forever, don't they?



I changed my header this morning, using the first header I ever created for my blog. It is one of my favorite spring photos of the Garden Spot, taken the first spring we here. We have been here now officially for 6 years. I believe we spent our first night here February 28, 2009. We wonder sometimes if we made the right move, especially at our age to 5 acres where there is so much work to do. Then we realize the alternative: a big house with stairs to nearly every part of the house, one of the big reasons why we moved to a ranch style home after I broke my ankle and couldn't get around the house. We think, too, that in retirement we would be really bored in a house on a small lot. So here we are thankful for the good health, the time, and the means to garden, raise chickens, chase horses, and, listen to the sounds of nature. 

And a big thank you to everyone of you who visits the Garden Spot whether you leave a kind comment or not, I appreciate your time and for those do leave comments, I call my friends and thank you. 

Have a wonderful week. Keep up the Vigil for Spring.  Oh and be sure to visit Lavender Cottage for Mosaic Monday.



Sunday, February 22, 2015

Afternoon Tea

For most of the week, weather prognosticators have been scaring the pants off Colorado citizens with dreadful warnings about the impeding snow storm that was on its way. It would begin Friday afternoon with rain and freezing stuff, and white stuff. "Be prepared," they cautioned. After the weather guys were done with their gloom and doom, the news reporters took over with dire warnings and to-do lists to be safe and warm and wise. Look. Born and raised in Colorado; it snows here. While we do boast of over 300 days of sunshine, Colorado does have some bad weather.  The roads get icy. The wind blows. The snow flies.

Why I remember the blizzard of '75 late in March when I was about to deliver my first daughter. . . . . Anyway. This morning it is 10 F degrees with about 4 inches of snow on the ground, not the 10-22 that they were predicting. Yes, it is cold, but I am warm and toasty inside. And more snow is on the way, so the weather guys promise. Chile for supper.

My friend and former colleague at the university decided that we should have Afternoon Tea for our dear friends still manning the battle front teaching freshmen how to write decent essays, offering a bit of respite from the grading, conferencing, and the daily grind that we, both retired, really do miss. (But not that much. )

We divided up the duties. Sharron out did herself. She spent a greater part of her childhood growing up in England and Scotland in a military family, so for her the components of Tea were important.

She baked the scones, three times. I sampled. Tasted good to me. Are they too dry? Will they crumble? She would ask. I don't recall ever eating fresh baked scones, mamma's biscuits, yes, but not traditional English scones fresh from the oven. They were delicious, I assured her. While she made the creme anglaise for the fresh fruit and lemon curd for the scone  (other delicacies that I had never had), I sent hubby to Whole Foods, the organic super market, to get Devonshire cream.. I will just say the the creme anglaise was heaven. It tastes like really rich, homemade vanilla ice cream custard just before it goes into the ice cream maker.


I made my orange pound cake and heart and butterfly cookies.




Thursday I bought two very skimpy bouquets of tulips and daffodils to practice my floral design. We decided that between the two of us we had enough white pitchers for a variety of flowers arrangements.

 I returned to the store on Friday and went home with an armload of tulips, daffodils, small pink carnations, and baby's breath. Spring is still a ways a way, but the super market has the most wonderful display of gorgeous spring flowers. Who can resit, especially when one is planning a party? Good excuse to splurge on the flowers. Sharron bought a large bouquet of roses and baby's breath that I used to place small arrangements around the house. While I adore the daffodils and the tulips, I think I really like this little vase of baby carnations and baby's breath.








The foods became the center pieces of the Tea, but the dishes deserve a mention, too. They came from a variety of places. The little square sandwich plates to left were my grandmother's. She held garden club and entertained a number of other groups, as women did back in the late '40s and and '50s. I have had those little plates along with their punch cups forever, and I've used them a lot instead of paper plates for girls' graduations and birthday parties. Sharron proudly brought out her grandmother's delicate china and pieces from her husband's family, too. 

The tea pots were mine. One is Lenox that I found in an antique store. I then purchased the little serving set with the tray, sugar bowl, and creamer to complete the set online from a website called Replacements.com. The other tea pot, barely visible, I found at at thrift store. Nothing special. Just a pretty little tea pot with a pink rose.


The table was set, the water heated, and the ladies arrived. I  wish I had taken more photos, but it wasn't my home, and some are not real keen to have their pictures plastered all over Blogland. 

We had fun planning, and baking, and decorating. With such busy lives, working women often don't have time to just sit and enjoy a quiet moment with friends. We didn't talk shop too much, but it was comforting to know that our friends are true and sweet and appreciated a bit of a time out. In America we don't have that gentile custom of afternoon tea, so it was a special time for us and we were so happy to serve our friends. 



And Then the Drive Home


We had a lovely time. Several ladies didn't make it, but we will have another afternoon tea just before finals, perhaps when it really has warmed up. The promised snow did arrive, those big, fat, heavy flakes that floated gently to earth, blanketing everything, including my car. Sharon's husband and granddaughter kindly swept the snow off. 

The storm had finally arrived, but not with the fierceness that weather guys had predicted. The roads iced up as wind swept the snow across them. 

I had bit of a drive home, but my all-wheel-drive SUV delivered me safely to the door. 

The Morning After

There always is the morning after the party. Hubby was in for treat for breakfast. 







We had beautiful flowers, fresh fruit, and French toast made from his favorite bakery fresh cinnamon twist bread. I skipped the maple syrup this morning, using instead the Devonshire cream. We won't be eating like this every Sunday, but I think we should at least have fresh flowers. 

Hurry up Spring.

We have a busy week ahead. I've not mentioned the kitchen remodel project looming in the near future. We have done some looking, but have not finalized anything yet, so this week I hope to have countertops picked out along with the tile for the back splash. I, of course, will share all of the details when the times. 

Friday the baby chicks arrive. The Head Gardener has ordered 8. You will get to meet them next week. 

And so a new week begins. Make sure to swing by Lavender Cottage to join Judith for Mosaic Monday. It'll be fun. 

I hope you stay warm and safe and wise as this awful winter weather covers a good part of the country. Colorado does know bad weather; however, our storm here is rather mild compared to what those in the East are enduring. We will keep up our Spring Vigil, knowing that the sun will come out and the the tulips and daffodils are not far behind. 

Have a fabulous week and thanks so much for taking to stop by the Garden Spot. 


























Sunday, February 15, 2015

The Vigil Begins

The vigil for spring has begun here at the Garden Spot. Let's head out to the garden.


There's the Head Gardener now, cleaning up last year's weeds.


He had quite a mess to manage.


Would you believe that this the asparagus patch along the fence? Just you wait. I can already taste the tender, sweet sprigs.



Even dried out, sunflowers have appeal.





The blackberry bush got a radical prune


so that it can be dug up and transferred to the Back 40, a part of the place that gets little attention.


A clean slate. Now the HG will rototill, shape the growing beds, and add compost. He had planned on doing that today, but snow is on the way.

March 15: Plant potatoes and garlic


The corral got a clean sweep, too. He removed the metal fence panels that made two stalls for the boys and brought in the tractor to grade away the mess.


In the center garden out front, while the Eastern Red Bud still sleeps, the grape hyacinths are greening and if you look really carefully just breaking through the soil by the sprinkler head you will see early daffodils poking through.


Newly planted last year, the mallow shows signs of life. A big thumbs up to you sweet mallow and your two other sisters. (Do you talk to your plants?)


And what do we have here in the courtyard? Aquila peeking through last year's growth and it is only Mid February. 


One can hard tour the garden this time of the year and not take note of the work to be done in a few short weeks. This clematis will get a deep pruning this time around; since I didn't prune it last year, went rather wild.


The roses still sound asleep will be awakened once I cut them back. I always cut them back in March before they start to show signs of life just to the point on the stem where green begins to show. 


And who do we have here just peeking through? Oh, sweet crocus. 

The garden chores are beginning. One day the weather is warm and suitable for working outside, but then the next day snow is on the way. No, we are not getting slammed as the East coast is, thankfully, but my old bones do feel every bit of the cold. Today the HG rests in his chair with heat on his neck and pain in his arm. 

And now to finish up Valentine's. The warm glow of love lingers. Our little town held its first Sweetheart Lantern Festival Friday night. Oh my. It was so much fun.

For $25.00 a couple, participants received a lantern, a lighter, two sugar cookies and hot chocolate. Two bonfires kept the crowd warm until it was time launch the lanterns. The gate opened at 6 PM, when we left home, just a couple of blocks away. We had no idea of the traffic jam that would be created. We would have been smart to have walked.


We received our lantern, read the instructions. They are heart shaped, pink, and very, very delicate tissue paper. Ours, sadly, did not inflate because it had a rip in the fold when we removed it from the package. Once unfolded and the burner was lit, we held onto the lantern waiting for the heat from the flame to fill the lantern for the release.


Instead, my sweetheart had to stomp out the flame.



The first hearts have been released. Silently they drift into the night sky, sailing toward the starts.


All aglow, bright pink hearts carry away love in the night.


For those lucky enough to get their heart launched, the feeling was exhilarating.


Hundreds of glowing hearts fill the dark night sky.




Some drifted quite high and quite a ways. The cold night air, clear and crisp, was perfect for the launch. Generally we have a bit of breeze, but the air was calm with just enough stir in it to lift the lanterns away.

The town purchased 200 lanterns, and according to the newspaper, a crowd of 600 gathered at the fire department to enjoy some love at night.


Coming up this week: My friend and I are hosting our first afternoon tea for our friends and colleagues at the university. I will be baking this week, washing table clothes and napkins, ironing and starching them too. We are excited. We have talked a long time about having a tea, but now that we are both retired, we are finally going go to do it.

This is the prototype of the invitation that I made, cutting the tea pot out on my Cricut machine. We met at Sharron's where we assembled the invitations. She addressed the envelopes and delivered them to the mailboxes in the faculty workroom.


The invitation is on the back. (I didn't want to show it because our phone numbers are on it -:)). Pictures next week. 

The HG reminded me, too, that the baby chicks will arrive in 10 days. So soon? Now that will be something to blog about.

I see that it is nearly time for lunch. I plan to start applying the shingles to the Ballet Studio this afternoon. 

I wish you a fine afternoon and a fabulous week. Thanks for taking time to visit. Love your comments and I read every single one. 

Make sure to swing by Lavender Cottage to see today's Monday Mosaics.