Wednesday, September 18, 2013

What's Up with Gertrude?

The quiet that had befallen town has lifted as the freight trains return. I hadn't really missed the WooooHooooot of the trains as they blast through town. I don't know just how many trains a day power through town or how many at night, for that matter. Let's just say that the Rio Grande's main line through Northern Colorado has heavy traffic.

They blow their whistle at each intersection, as required by federal law--long, steady woooohooooots that seem a bit overdone. Sometimes the noise can be quite annoying and very loud, especially if we are on the phone or want to hear something on TV. Other times the trains run through town barley noticed, and so I was a bit taken a back when I realized this afternoon that I had not heard a single train whistle in a couple of days.  Late today the first train hauling new automobiles eased its way south through town on the siding, making room for the freight train roaring north on the main line. The trains were back in business.  With the amount of flooding south of us, we are sure that the train tracks were compromised. The freight trains haul any number of things: train loads of  factory new cars, mile long trains of box containers double stacked arriving on the west coast from China to be distributed to the rest of the country, coal trains, trains pulling oil tankers, hazardous materials, and yes even lions, tigers and, bears when the Barnum and Bailey Circus comes to town (Denver).

As the trains resume their regular schedule, are they the metaphor that life will be getting back to normal for those thousands who have lost their homes in Northern Colorado? Oh no. Not so quick. For many, life will never be the same.

This morning the housekeeper came to help me prepare for the carpet cleaners coming tomorrow. With the dog and one cat now gone, it is time to freshen up the house. It takes lot of work to move furniture, put away nic-nacs, and de-clutter. I sometimes wonder why I am so driven to collect, for all that I collect only collects dust.

Then I spent part of the afternoon in the garden in the fresh air. I love this pink rose. While not as big as it was or colored the same as when I bought it, I still love to take its picture. Soon Jack Frost will steal its breath away. She is my sweet one.

I filled up the back of the Ez-Go with weeds pulled only from the garden beds around the house. Noxious weeds: thistle, wild lettuce, button weeds, dandelions.  Jack Frost can't come soon enough  for them. They have quite worn out their welcome.

And would you look at Gertrude Jekyll! She must be in a terrible snit for she has barely bloomed all summer and grown to nearly 8 feet, I'd guess. I stand 5'2 and she towers over me and the rest of her sister roses. The other David Austins are growing tall and not flowering. What's with them? I bought Gertrude because she was such a gorgeous pink rose and I love the way her flowers open.

Winchester Cathedral, a David Austin, seems to be behaving nicely, although I think the blooms should be bigger. I love the whiteness. This rose is not growing gigungous as are the other David Austins. I must do some reading to see what I am doing wrong with them for they certainly are not compact plants like the tea roses and they were a big disappointment this summer. They are growing tall and not blooming.

New to the Garden Spot this year is this Echinacea, Big Sky Sunrise. I have several varieties here and I have waited all summer for this one to bloom. It does not yet look quite like its name tag, but I think I am going to like it.

We also dug potatoes. I'll have pictures later. I really like home grown potatoes. I made a wonderful Tuscan type soup with the first that we dug--the baby potatoes. It was a very simple soup that I dreamed up myself--well sorta. Not having the ingredients for potato soup (lots of bacon and a ton of Cheddar cheese), I lightened up it up with less milk and more chicken broth and added Italian sausage and fresh parsley to the baby potatoes. I didn't even cut them up. The soup was hardy, tasty, with a fewer calories and fat than my over-the-top potato soup that ends up being a cheese and bacon with potatoes soup. the lighter soup tasted much like my favorite soup at Olive Garden, the Zuppa Tuscana.

And so as the sun sets on another good day at the Garden Spot,  

We give special thanks for our good fortune and the blessings in our life as we worry and pray for our friends and neighbors whose lives have been turned upside down and may never be the same again. The toll has been great with nearly 20,000 homes damaged or destroyed, hundreds of bridges and miles upon miles of roads washed away. It will take Northern Colorado millions of dollars and years to repair the damage, much of which probably won't be really restored. I mean, how do you rebuild a home on a piece of property that was totally swept away down the river? So far only 6 have been confirmed dead with 2 missing and presumed dead, although the death toll may raise as search and rescue of the stranded has now turned to search and recover bodies. Pray for those who are lost.

Let the rest of your week be full of sunshine and joy. 


  1. I've seen some of Colorado's damage on T.V. and had one niece rescued in the mountains, unscathed and a grandson's belonging removed from a flooded apartment in Boulder, but thankfully no one hurt. I am so glad you were not in all that. Your roses are gorgeous. I thought that big one might be a Jack and the Beanstalk look-a-like for a minute! It isn't a climbing rose, is it?

  2. So many people have said that this year has been a bad one for roses. Ours haven't been prolific, and have suffered from blackspot.

  3. I have only one David Austin and it is a Gertrude Jekyll, too. Mine seems to only bloom once a year, but I do get really nice, large rose-hips from it.

    I love to hear train whistles, but can't imagine having to hear them all day and into the night. That must get old, but where would we be without trains. I wouldn't be able to take my annual trip to Olvera Street in Los Angeles in October without them.

  4. Gertrude is quite the overachiever this year! Maybe she's decided she'll give you either height or blooms, but not both. I'm so glad your safe from the flooding.

  5. Good to hear that you are safe, there have been so many bad floods in Alberta this summer it's hard to believe it can continue to happen.

    Your rose is gorgeous, she's just a tall girl, that's all.


  6. I'm so glad you are safe and sound.

  7. It has been a terrible year for your beautiful state. We are keeping everyone in our prayers. I love your beautiful roses my friend. Email me and I will give you the link to the mouse pattern! (you're a no reply blogger) Sweet hugs, Diane

  8. My roses always reach for the sky, to the point where my friend said "Robin, don't you ever prune your roses?" But I did! Now if they reach for the sky without blooming, it makes me think they were over fertilized with nitrogen. Maybe?

  9. So devastating - it made the front page in England too. I am so sorry to hear of the sadness.

    Your roses seem to have withstood the rains nicely - David & Gertrude will tell you it rains a lot in England - perhaps they felt at home over the last weeks :) Are they as fragrant as they are beautiful? Have a great week, Ann!

  10. What a lovely echinacea and the roses look so pretty, not a trace of black spot or rust. I like your idea of a potato soup recipe, I'll have to try something similar.