Monday, March 5, 2018

Lavender, It Is

Question: How soon do the March winds have to arrive in order to declare that March has come in Like a Lion? Yesterday was so lovely with the warm sun that I sat for a few minutes on the bench by the water garden watching  my gold fish sun them selves at the surface of the murky winter water discolored with the decaying fall leaves that blew in over the winter. The fish hung there in the water so languid that I was able to actually count them. I reached 30 then gave up on the skoal of fish too clumped together to count. Looking more like carrots floating, I was glad to see that so many had survived winter.

In a few weeks when it warms up, the pond will be drained; it will get a good cleaning. The water lilies will be re potted, and a UV light will be added to help control the rampant allege growth that we can't seem to control otherwise. We are slowly emerging from our winter cocoon and I will transition from the indoor activities like sewing to pruning roses and cleaning up the flower beds.

I'd like to share with you a few photos that I took at the DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution) meeting Saturday. One of our chapter members is World War I buff and presented a program on the "Hello Girls."  Have you hear of them? When President Wilson, an isolationist, decided to join the war in Europe, one of the many needs to get the American military ready to go to war was improved battle field communications. So a call was put out to women who were telephone operators (Who does not remember Lilly Tomlin's act as a 1950s switchboard operator and her snorting 'One ringy dingy'). These young women, however, had a far more serious job: battlefield telephone communications, sometimes serving only five miles from the the battle field.

Our speaker, Laurie Button, brought along some of her WWI memorabilia that she has acquired as an avid collector. The two pieces on the left top and bottom are most interesting, known as trench art. The little toy airplane is actually a spent shell casing that a soldier in a more quiet moment fashioned into a little airplane. The larger shell casing below is a casing that would been ejected from a large cannon type gun. While it was still hot after being fired, the soldier would decorate it. How interesting is that?

The top right photo is what we might refer to as a locket. On the outside cover it has the soldier's initial engraved on it, but open it up and there is photo of a lovely young lady. He is girlfriend perhaps? Laurie explained that rather than a locket, it is a case to hold the soldier's dog tag. As Laurie tenderly held the locket, she pointed out that the ribbon that once perhaps was worn around a soldier's neck had been cut off. She noted that she had a very bad feeling about the little case.

Update on Sundance

We have very much appreciated your kind thoughts and concern for Sundance. He was examined last week by yet another vet to get a third opinion on the broken pelvis diagnosis. This vet performed a more physical examination--I will spare you the details--, she determined the location of the break and determined that it had not yet healed which both are good indicators of possible good healing results. She prescribed six weeks of confinement to limit the horse's movement and a powder to add to his food to help stimulate bone growth. Fingers crossed.

Needles to say, Sundance is a\not a happy camper confined, especially when he sees his stable buddy Pop hanging with the horses in the next pasture or when he sees Boone running the back fence looking for feral cats and running off the fox. Sundance would like to be running with the dog.

His stall got a bit of a make over. The Head Gardener purchased a nice rubber mat for more cushion and added fresh wood shavings. Sundance does not like change, but he didn't make a big deal out of new flooring.

Jennifer is applying essential oils to the area where he is injured to help calm the pain. She has learned that the there are no equine pain medications because they cannot metabolize them, so many horse people are turning to essential oil blends to help manage pain and inflammation

Jen is doing her research to see how to use essential oils. First she let's Sundance sniff the oil to see which one he prefers. If he does not like the fragrance he will turn away or shake his head or blow the smell out of his nose.

The sniff test: 

Even Pop got a chance to choose his favorite. Lavender seemed to be the oil of choice. To apply the oils, she mixed them with coconut oil then rubbed the oils in her palms and massaged them into Sundance's pelvis. The oils can also be applied to the horse's lips. As in humans, when applying essential oils only a single drop may be enough to get desired results. 

Special powder to stimulate bone growth (Os-CAL for horses, I call it), essential oils to make his feel him better, and now a shot to help his joints manufacture lubrication fluids.

He is a very good boy as he stands quietly to get his weekly injection.

The wind still howls, as it will most of the week. We are under a red flag alert, meaning that the with the lack of significant moisture and wind as a contributing factor, there is great concern for wild fires. Now blowing here 35 mph, I'll be staying inside.

I hope you have a wonderful week full of good things to do. Thanks so much for stopping by. Join me at Life in Normandy for Mosaic Monday. 

Monday, February 19, 2018

Spy Cam

Hoot Hoot. We hear the owls late at night, sometimes in the middle of night, or in the earl morning far before dawn. Rarely do we see the giant horned owls, but occasionally we have what I like to call a Harry Potter moment when we see the owl take flight from its high perch in one of giant Ponderosa pines. As the owl flies through the dark of night, its white underneath gleams in the dull yard light on the pinnacle of the barn roof. My heart takes a leap at the thrill of getting even a fleeting glimpse of the majestic bird of prey.

Owls, as nocturnal creatures, are really hard to find, but they leave behind sign. So when the Head Gardener found these odd looking things on the lid of the box where the irrigation valves are located, he knew we have a second species, a barn owl perhaps. Owls spit out pellets that contain, for lack of better description, the indigestible parts of their prey such as bones and hair. Here at the Garden Spot the owls are likely to eat small birds, mice, and voles.  Wearing a glove, he collected the ones that were on the lid and in the grass located beneath the peak of the barn roof. The owl must perch on the peak of the barn roof to enjoy his meal or to digest it.

Last year the Head Gardner built a nesting box for either barn owls or the horned owls, which ever needed a home. He hung it just outside the barn above Pop's stall, hoping to attract a pair, but the box remained empty, so he decided to moved it to a more private place, high in the tree when we see the great owls perch. He decided that the stall area for the horses had too much traffic for the owls. I should have documented the installation of the nest box, but I didn't. It was ugly, requiring a very tall extension ladder, a rope and pulley system, and of course, a safety belt. Now I ask you, should any 65 year old grandpa be climbing trees and hoisting heaving boxes for creatures to maybe nest in? Apparently so. 

Of course, Boone gave the nesting box one final inspection and his ARF of approval before it was installed.

It is doubtful that we will have any takers this year since the owls begin nesting as early as February, so they have probably already found suitable accommodations. Next year, perhaps.

 Our next step was to determine what sort of owl is depositing it pellets, so we invested in  a game camera that is now located on the side of the chicken house to photograph what might light on the barn roof.

Here is brief sequence of the first 24 hours. Nothing interesting.

Hmm. A stranger wearing a hoodie and ball cap. Oh. It's the Head Gardener.

The camera takes a photo when it detects movement. You can see the boys standing outside their stalls.

More Movement: Boone. 

There's that hooded guy again.

Who knows how long it will be before we see an owl. The weather is bad. Snow. Cold. Wind--which also activates the camera to take a photo when the pine tree limbs move, so the HG will move it so that it does not take unnecessary photos. And I hope that we don't run out of mice or voles. 

This next photo was taken and edited by my friend, Patty Lang. She and her husband spent the weekend with us and we were looking at her collection of photos. She uses an online editor, Smart Photo Editor, which lends her wonderful special effects that take her photos to the next level. I believe that this photo was taken on a very foggy morning at Confluence Lake in Delta, CO. It is an interesting photo because if you know geese you will recognize the white geese as domestic ones, the two grays with the hump nose are domesticated Chinese geese, and the one wild Canada goose. You have to wonder why he is with the domestics.

There are a dozen captions that go with this photo. What would you say about the photo?  I'll post them, if you want to suggest a caption.

Well, thank you for visiting. I appreciated your concern and good wishes for the horses. They are all old and we can sympathize with them. I wake up many mornings stiff with sore joints from the arthritis that is settling in. Sundance is now on a injection of some sort--a cortisone type drug that will help his joints produce lubricating fluid and an anti informatory tabled "For Dogs Only." So far Sundance has not begun to bark yet, but he is moving more easily and we hope pain free.

I'll be linking up with Life in Normandy Mosaic Monday. You will find we at the bottom of the list. 

Have a wonderful week.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Happily Returning

 Happy Valentine's Day

Greetings. Yes. I have been neglecting my blog and you. I miss my little community of friends and wish I were more disciplined to do my weekly posts. I will try to be a little more diligent, friends.

It's mid February and we are in the grips of a Colorado winter, thankful for the moisture since the Weather People--those pretty, sweet, smart young women who deliver the grim weather new reports with a smile, outside in the elements, dressed in chic winter coats and faux fur hats--reminded us of the reality of a warm (?) dry winter who remind us that we are officially in a drought, dreaded news for us here in the northern part of the state who hope for green pastures and abundant hay in the summer. Thus we have snow on the ground, not a huge amount, but it is a mere eleven degrees out there with bright sunshine that promises to warm up the day, with more snow in the forecast. We remind each other that it is February; it is winter; and it is Colorado. But enough about the weather. It will change in awhile, anyway. 

My first mosaic pretty much shows what I have been doing: Sewing for the girls, the 18 inch ones. I do enjoy sewing for them because they are are patient with the fittings and always love what I make for them regardless of the color or style or fabric.

The two dolls pictured are Target dolls, Our Generation. Both rescued from the dreadful toy bins at the thrift store. The price of these dolls is climbing. Last year I picked up a couple of Madame Alexander dolls for two to three dollars; the cute little red head was fifteen dollars. You will not find American Girl dolls in a thrift store either. Used, you will find them on eBay and Craig's List. 

If you want to know more about the patterns, email me and I'll be glad to share them with you. The first dress and the American Native dress come from a book of patterns by Joan Hinds. This book has dresses of the decades beginning in 1700 through 1950. The patterns are very easy to sew. They come on a CD and are scaled to print out the perfect size.  The little Edwardian dress pattern comes from a website specializing in doll clothes: Pixie Fair. Click on the link to see the pattern. The site also offers free patterns. You order the pattern then download it and it prints to the correct style. 

I buy most of my fabric at the the thrift store when I see a piece that calls out to me. I am acquiring quite a stash. I am also trying to use up my stash of notions and materials that I have collected over the years. My sister-in-law gave me a piece of doe skin leather that I will make a more authentic American Native dress. For this first one, I used faux suede. It was a very easy pattern to sew. I still have to finish the little moccasins. I've purchased a dark complected Madame Alexander doll on eBay with long black braids as my native doll. She'll be here tomorrow. I can't wait to meet her. 

I also need to catch you up on the equine members of the family. The boys are doing well, sort of. We noticed that Pop, the pony was shying at shadows, stumbling, and not quite sure as to where to go sometimes when he had his UV protective mask on. One day as Jen helped Lily ride, the light caught Pop's left eye just right so that she could see a cloudiness in his eye. The vet confirmed that he is blind in that eye and partially blind in the other eye. She says that blind horses do quite well and with Sundance as his buddy, he gets along very well. In fact, Doc Autumn told us that he has been blind for a very long time and that he probably had the condition long before we got him. He turns 30 this years and still has spunk.

Sundance, the golden boy, has more problems that poor Jen is trying to sort out. Basically he is lame. She has had a chiropractor work on him, put him an arthritis medication for dogs only--but also prescribed for horses--, and now he is on butazoline. Once used in humans for gout and arthritis, it is still used in horses for inflammation. But he has a lameness in the right hind quarter that suggests two problems: sciatica or even a cracked pelvis that will take months to heal. He will a begin around of shots soon to help his joints make lubrication fluid. Jen is heart broken. She had hoped to be able to ride Sundance with her girls this summer.

Ellie and Lucy both have horses now at their house. Ellie's horse has problems, too, that we are trying to figure out. Right now Jen is researching the possibility that Honey might have stomach ulcers. The horse's stomach can be scoped with may or may not locate the ulcer and it is an expensive procedure, so she is trying to figure out how to help the mare get to feeling better.

Horses are big animals and when they get sick or injured, it is often expensive to diagnose and treat their problems. Surprisingly, they are treated with much the same medications as humans are such as omperzole for ulcers, for example. Such treatments for horses are very expensive, so Jen is looking for alternatives, wanting to find homeopathic ways to heal Ellie's mare.

With Spring just around the corner, we are beginning to think ahead to spring gardening. While we have more snow yet to come, with March our heaviest snow month--if you can believe that. 

That that winds up this post. I'm joining Maggie at Life in Normandy for Mosaic Monday. See you there. 

Have a fabulous week. Thanks visiting. 

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Lighting up Life

Greetings. One would hardly know that we are in Colorado this week, for the weather is mild, sunny, and while not especially warm, dry. And at the moment, no wind. Looking east across the yard and the acreage, the trees and buildings are silhouetted in black against the orange glow of the not yet risen sun.

And so begins the day.

It is so dry here that the ski areas west of Denver are still manufacturing snow, rather than relying on Mother Nature--not deep powder yet. Texas friends and relatives had more snow last week then we have had in in two months. Children awoke to a blank of snow. My great nieces and nephew built a rather respectable snowman, too, complete with his A&M scarf. (Representing Texas A&M University.) So the weather here is hardly frightful, as the song says.

Inside a flurry of activity. The tree is up and the Christmas village is assembled. The tree is pink and gold, as it has been for many years. I use the same decorations year after year, including the pink bows that I tied a few years ago. The tree holds a collection of Victorian era dolls, crystal-like ornaments, and this year I added the beaded garland, which really made the tree look richer and finished. I love the warm glow of the light from the tree, especially at night.

The same with the village. The colorful lights not only light up the house, making it dazzle, but the Christmas lights all over town bring joy.

 I haven't begun baking yet, and will do only a little. Our annual Santa party is this week, so there is plenty this week, so I do need some high sugar treats for the kids. Since the party is right after church, we will have a chili lunch with a vegetable tray and a fruit tray, hoping that the kids will fill up on healthy food before the cookie plate.

This week's mosaic is simple--I seem to be in a rut as all or my mosaics seem to look the same, recently. I need to take some serious photos, but I am not quite done decorating, so I'll have more to share next week.

Along with the pink tree and a much reduced village, I have my bright red poinsettia that my neighbor, Carol, brought me. It is one of the very large ones from the garden center where she works. What a nice surprise when she showed up at the door with this lovely plant.

After using Collegit 3 Pro, I am not particularly happy with it. I find the templates limiting. I much preferred Picasa and was sad to have to finally give it up. Perhaps with more practice with Collegit, I will master it and be able to present more creative mosaics. Nor are photos of very good quality. My iPhone camera doesn't seem to produce the sharp, clear photos that it used to for a couple of possible reasons: I have dropped the phone a couple of times and/or I am not allowing enough time for it to focus. Who knows? I need to better.

Thanks so much for joining me today. I'll be sending this post over to Maggie at Life in Normandy. Join us there.

Have a great week. I will be wearing myself down shopping this week and getting ready for Santa's visit on Sunday. Have great week.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Elves, Deer, and Dolls

I am up early this morning, starting my day by trying to meet the Mosaic Monday deadline for posting. I had thought to do it last night, but I could hardly stay awake. We had a busy week, still haven't done any major Christmas shopping, that will come in the next few days, I fear. I have started some decorating. Would you like to see?

As long as the weather holds, Lily comes over once a week to 'work' Pop, as the girls riding instructor told her to do. Both Ellie and Lucy have their own horses now. I need to introduce you to the girls--their mares. Since they only have a two stall barn, Pop an Sundance stay here. Lily would love to have Pop at home with her. He is such a good boy, so patient and gentle with the little five year old. He's a good sport to play Elf Pop.

 The President General of the Daughters of the American Revolution, Ann Turner,  has an American Gil doll and chapters all over the country are sending her an outfit for her doll's wardrobe.  Our Overland Trail DAR Chapter will be sending one of the dresses that I made. The dress is the one on the right end. The outfit includes the dress, pantaloons, the apron, bonnet, and black lace up boots. It is indeed a honor. I am not sure where the outfit will be displayed or what will become of it. I had inquired last year about how to go about making the dress, and no one could answer my questions, so I made up four little outfits and took them to a meeting, and one was selected to send to the national president's project. This dress represents the 1870's prairie life of a young woman who would have lived in Colorado as the state was joining the union in July 1876.

The dolls, I jokingly say, are rescues from the thrift store. The one on the left is a Madame Alexander doll with long blond hair and the other one is Target's Our Generation. I love this doll with her freckles. I paid less than three dollars for these dolls that were in great condition. I always have a hard time trying figure out why these beautiful dolls get donated. When I see one I buy it. The last one that I found, I gave away to an age appropriate child. I do enjoy sewing for these little girls and they always reward me with a smile.

I used to set up a little table with my special dolls gathered around having a Christmas tea party, but as the the grand children became toddlers, the dolls were too much of a temptation to play with. I used my mother's antique child's tea set, which I loved to display, but I haven't put the dolls out in years for fear that things would get broken. The children are older now and the dog seems to be leaving things alone, too, so I have brought the dolls out this year. The scene isn't done; this is what I have so far. The table and chairs belonged to my mother-in-law when she was a child. It is one of my favor things. I keep it in the kitchen along with the little child sized cabinet complete with a plastic Barbie tea set. Even my youngest grandson likes to serve tea.

Meet my girls: The one on the left sitting is a thrift store rescue, probably 1950s or '60s, the little doll sitting on the table is a '50s baby doll. The next two are Lee Middle dolls, Little Boy Blue and an little angel, though you cannot see his wings. I had to replace them because the cat chewed one up. The doll in the back is the only doll from my childhood, Susie. The other doll seated was my sister's doll.  The angel is Barbie.

(The iPhone photos are blurring. Sorry)

I purchased this My Size Barbie some time ago. She has always presided as the "mom," but this year she is an angel. I have always wanted to make her an angel, so I purchased wings at Hobby Lobby and made her gown out of a pillow case by making slit in the bottom and arm holes on the sides, and binding them with seam binding and adding Velcro to close the back. Because Barbie gets tossed around and stored in the closet most of the time, her hair is tangled mess, so I washed her hair yesterday using a cheap shampoo/conditioner then lathered it heavily with a cheap conditioner that I had in my bathroom cupboard. Her hair combed out beautifully.

The reindeer at one of the garden centers in Ft. Collins are another Christmas tradition. The girls have quite a story, but I save that for another time. They are, however, old--one is in her twenties. They were both born and raised on a ranch in southern Colorado. They are owned by our neighbor who works at the garden center and they are boarded a the back of the garden center year round. We had hopes that she might bring them here to graze in the pasture, but moving them is very stressful for them.

We didn't put out our Christmas lights last year, but this year we actually enjoyed doing the little chore. The trees are growing and require more lights than what have. I may have to buy more next year. We load up the golf cart with our supplies and begin our work.

The Center Garden gets the Angel and the deer

We light four trees out front--I need to use a better camera.

The corner welcomes guests and I hope puts a smile on travelers.

And that, my friends, is the week that was. The sun is up and it is time to tackle the rest of my day. Thanks so much for stopping by. Join me at Life in Normandy for Mosaic Monday. 

Monday, November 27, 2017

Liquid Silver

We had an unseasonably warm day for end of November, post Thanksgiving when our Colorado weather ought to be raging, according to some. The high 80 miles to the south in Denver broke a record with 81 degrees, the new high for the date. No wonder when some vacation here they decide to move here only to be shocked when Colorado's weather gets it revenge with sub zero temperatures and blowing snow. Tomorrow will be another day with cold weather promised.

Speaking of Denver. We took the grandsons home Wednesday after having them for a few days. Jacob and the Head Gardner spent their quality time deer hunting while little Nathan kept me company. He has become great friends with the little boys next door. While Nathan is the city boy living in the Cup de Sac, John plays hard and rides a kid sized four wheeler. It has been a challenge to keep Nathan off of the machine, but with the permission of his mother and under the supervision of John's mother, Nathan took his first ride.

These machines pose a certain risk, but the main rule is always safety first and with mom's supervision, John gave Nathan good instructions and Nathan had a good time. I hope we didn't get something started. 

We dropped the boys off and headed home at the height of rush hour just as the sun was setting behind the Rocky Mountains. We were on an over pass with a spectacular view of the city skyline and while the orange tinted clouds over the mountains in the western sky were spectacular, I chose to photograph with my iPhone camera the eastern sky above the city, a delicious pale pink and pleasant blue. The photos taken with the live action feature on now look bit blurry and the reflection of the sun is not quite as spectacular, but the colors are pretty.

The glass buildings looked like liquid silver, shimmering in the late evening sun. Denver is growing so fast as illustrated by the number high rise cranes used to stack one floor on top of another. While I am not a city girl, I do enjoy the beauty of the city. 

I've been laid up for the last couple of days with a bum knee. It is feeling better tonight. Tomorrow I am off to the university to tutor. It is the last week of the fall semester. I'll limp my way into the building. The Head Gardner returned to the corn fields of eastern Colorado to help with the last fields of corn and then I do believe he will retire from his second career. 

So. It is quiet here again. Have you begun your Christmas decorating yer?  I put lights and garland on the fence out front Saturday. I decided that this year we would light the place up, having skipped last year, so I decorated the corner of the fence, but the lights are not yet plugged in. I love Christmas lights, but it is a lot of work to hang the lights and the weather has to be warm, too. The HG will have his work cut out when he returns by the end of the week. My Christmas tree won't go up for a couple of weeks yet. I always feel the pressure to get things decorated, but I really don't need to hurry, do I. 

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving. 

Linking with Normandy Life. Hope to see you there.