Friday, October 26, 2012

Blog It


First snow: October 25, 2012

The garden has been put to bed for the winter. Jack Frost stole the breath from the flower beds. Now the the Garden Spot is blanketed with a nice, wet, fluffy layer of the season's first snow. Our first snow last year was a doozie with over a foot of snow that broke and damaged trees so badly that many will never recover. This snow will go a long way to replenish the drought parched earth. Jen over at Muddy Boot Dreams posed the question about how fellow bloggers come up with ideas when they suffer a debilitating case of writer's blog. Her post hit home as I was pondering this week's blog. Let's face it, there really isn't anything happening in the garden. And then it snowed. Before I settled down to a spend my free day grading on Thursday, I bundled up, grabbed the Cannon and went for a walk about.


A lone cotton tail seems bewildered at an early snow.


Sundance already out in the pasture early in the morning suns himself.


Winter evergreen and frozen berries.



The little ash trees are the first to lose their leaves. They look pretty lonely and lifeless without their greenery.


The pine bows wear their frosting naturally and gracefully, while the sunflower just looks sad.


Snow brings magic to the garden, adding a certain beauty.



Will someone get Barb her coat? Silly girl.


We love feeding the birds. This little feeder filled with peanuts attracts chick-a dees, blue jays, and wood peckers. We will have to keep if full all winter.

Our wickedly hot summer days seem seared into our memories; now these cool fall days with a bit of snow laden with a good dose of moisture have been a welcome change. So what's a blogger to do? Blogg it. 

Gratefully the week end begins now. I can't say that the week was long and tedious because it wasn't. The weeks fly by and there doesn't seem to be enough time to get everything done. 

Tomorrow we will help little Mother Nature celebrate her birthday. Elinore will be six on the 30th. Years fly by, too, when we watch our little ones grow.

Hope you have a good week end, too. And if you do:

BLOG IT.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Orange

Bathed in the warmth of a sunset, Autumn glows radiantly in Northern Colorado. The days continue to be warm, the nights crispy cool, the skies clear and blue. The farm down the road from us is nearly Ideal perfect at dusk.  (Who is old enough to remember the Ideal magazines that had beautiful inspiration poetry, verse, and gorgeous pictures?)


 The little aspen sets the garden a fire. 





BOO! 



The little granddaughters were here today. We did some crafts, rode the golf cart, colored, and took pictures of baby Lily. The head gardener put on his farm boy hat, called up his nephew to help him go pick up a harrow he bought off of Craig's. He argued that it would be handy to groom the hayfield, level out the horse piles, and maybe even disrupt some weeds. I know. He's spoiled. The ice cream truck made a stop and it was ice cream bars for all. 

Lily wears her great grandfather's baby dress that is nearly 100 years old. He was photographed in it probably at about the same age that Lily is, 4 months on the 25th. I have imagined my grandmother tatting the lace and stitching the little dress as she awaited baby Duane's birth. He was probably born at home in the old farm house in Washington, Kansas Jan. 19, 1917. I have photographed all of the little grandchildren in the dress except for Jacob because I hadn't yet found the dress hidden away in an old trunk.

And the sun sets on another grand day at the Garden Spot.

 Week 9 begins at the university.

The comp classes will begin their argumentative essay, the advanced writing class will be working on their annotated bibliographies, and the Intro to Lit class will be reading Shakespeare's sonnets 18 and 130. I think (hope) they will enjoy the sonnets. Tons of grading to do, too. 

Hoping that you all have a great week.


Friday, October 12, 2012

Notes on Fall

Maybe I am weird or something. I love these cool, cloudy fall days with a bite in the breeze, leaves dancing to ground to blanket the grass, or watching the leaves scurrying across the road as if on a serious mission. Colorado claims to have over 300 days of sunshine, which, of course, we love. I have noticed, however, that on the these gray, cloudy days the golden fall colors seem so much more vibrant and brilliant against the gray clouds. On my way home today a field of pumpkins caught my eye. When I got home, I grabbed my camera and headed back to take a few photos. The corn in the field has been harvested, revealing the pumpkin patch that lies beyond. They plant pumpkins every year, but this was first year that the patch was visible from the road.


Classic old farm barns here in Northern Colorado are becoming more and more scarce as they fall into disrepair then crumble to the ground; however, this beautiful red barn is well kept on a neatly groomed farm. It really is a lovely farm. Our farm neighbors take such good care of the fields, keeping them preened and groomed. The bare fields have been disked  and raked looking a bit like a piece of corduroy fabric laid upon the ground. Some fields are green yet with sugar beets still waiting to be dug, while other fields are growing newly planted rye or sorghum to keep the soil from blowing away as the fields lie fallow over the winter. Have I told you that we get a lot of wind here? A lot.



There's still picking corn left in the fields around this barn. I couldn't resist this shot as I drove down a bit of a hill. You really can't tell that I took this photo through the windshield--I did stop the car to get the shot.

Jack Frost made his rounds last week. Still in my nightgown, camera in hand I headed to capture the frost before the sun began to melt the delicate crystals on the gentle petals. Gardening really has come to an end for the season, Well, almost. I still want to top dress the gardens with horse stuff to mulch and add humus to the soil. Maybe tomorrow.

I had fun wandering the garden taking pictures of the frost. It really wasn't a heavy frost, just enough to lay claim to the tenders leaves and delicate petals. We have to dig the glad bulbs and the dahlia tubers to save for next year. I miss them already.

The head gardener has the vegetable garden ready to till. He'll clean the hen house and add the stuff to his raised beds where they will cook and stew all winter. We do hope for plenty of snow to help speed the process. What are your routines for putting your gardens to bed for the winter? Any good tips?



The David Austins roses finally began to take off towards the end of the summer, especially after we mulched them.  Tess of the D'ubervilles did so well her first summer here in the Garden Spot. Some of her stems are nearly six feet tall, though they were so heavy that they laid on the ground. She looks lovely with her deadly little crystal jewels that will steal her life. Next year I will either have stake the tall branches or learn how to prune them to give the bushes a more pleasing shape.


It certainly is not hard to notice that I don't have a header. I have spent two nights trying to add a new header. I created a frosty fall header with amazing lettering, but when I post it it is way too big. I cannot not seem to get the sizing correct. Blogger frustrates the heck out me.  I am using Picasa just as I have for all of my other headers. I even returned to the web site where I learned how to do a banner in Picasa. Simple enough, but I seem to have lost my touch. Any suggestions?

The weeks at school just fly by. Week 8 next week. The comp class and the theme class will get their library lesson and learn how to navigate Michener Library, while the lit class will begin the poetry unit. I hope they enjoy the poems that I have selected for them. The semester is half over.  I have plenty of grading to do this week end, too. And no Broncos game as white noise. 

Have a glorious week end.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

And Now the Rest of the Harvest

Cold has descended upon the Garden Spot and the rest of northern Colorado.  The countryside has turned golden amber as the life in the corn fields ebbs away. Jack Frost should soon make his late night visit--probably tonight,  so we stripped the vegetable garden of the last of the tomatoes, peppers, egg plant, and cabbages and brought in the tender water garden plants to keep them for next year.  Weather is so strange, isn't it? Earlier this week it was 81 degrees and I over dressed for work; today it was 45. BRRRR. And there is snow predicted for tomorrow evening. I am not so sure that I am ready for snow. Time to fire up the furnace.

Hubby and I had time together today (I don't have class on Thursdays), so we went to town to have lunch then we drove out to Russ' corn field where they were threshing corn. I thought you might like to take a trip to the corn field and watch a bit of the harvest.


As we pulled up, the combine had just finished a round, ready to unload.


I don't really how this machine works; I think it ingests the corn cobs then gives them a good rattle and a shake so that the corn kernels fall off the cob. The corn is then deposited in the trailer and hauled to the grain elevator where it is sold for cattle feed.

 
The combine runs about 4.5 miles an hour up and down the rows. In this field, one round fills the combine.



With seven heads shaving the corn stalks to the ground, the corn harvest goes quickly and efficiently.


With different cutting heads, this machine is capable of harvesting other crops, too: pinto and soy beans, wheat, and sunflower seeds, so the owner/operator hires his combine out to custom cut seasonal crops.


 Russell was lucky this year to have enough water to get his corn to harvest. Other farmers across the country weren't so lucky.





Ready for another round,


the combine disappears into the cornfield, and we head down the veggie patch across the field road to see what is left. Russ and Doris closed the vegetable stand last week, and hubby hauled the last load of watermelons to the Longmont store. Meeker Produce had a good season and has plans to open the stand again next year, the good Lord willing and with plenty of moisture this winter in the high country.

I don't have any special plans for the week end. I do have grading to do, and laundry, and maybe some late fall gardening. I do hope that you have great plans for the week end, that you take lots of photos, and that we can read about your adventures Sunday evening. Cheers.