Wednesday, September 23, 2015

The Egg and I

For most of the summer life dawdled along at a peaceful, easy pace. Then I decided to go back to work. September thus far has been brutal with one group of company then another. We do love entertaining our friends and sharing our home with them. Often we do things that normally we wouldn't do, making entertaining family and friends even more special. So would you like to see what we might do should you come to Colorado to visit?

First have a a To Do List. Our guests this week end had their Must Do List and we did our best to help them check off all of the items.

Day One

1. See Pronghorn Antelope on the Pawnee National Grasslands

Our company arrived from Texas on an early morning flight Thursday. While I dressed for work, the Head Gardener drove to the airport to pick them up at 7:30. It is nearly a two hour drive to DIA. They managed to entertain themselves quite nicely all day while I worked. After dinner we took a ride out to the prairie to see the antelope. They are always far off in the distance choosing the grassland to the wheat fields, so can be spotted on the grassy knolls--about as elusive as my drive-by photography late in the day.

Often the prairie is thought of as dull, unexciting, but it hides so much history of the early settling of this part of Colorado, much like these old grain storages. The old buildings left abandoned tell a story as well as all of the new structures continue to the prairie's story, everything from elegant ranch homes, to poorly maintained mobile homes, to oil rigs, and gas wells. 

Sunset on the prairie is always worth a drive east out of town just to see the warm, golden glow as the sun sinks behind the Rocky Mountains.

Day Two
2. Elk in the wild

While the HG spends most of September in the mountains hunting elk (and not seeing any), a drive to Estes Park especially this time of year always gets the best results. So we planned our trip: shopping, eating, looking. Estes Park, known for as a tourist destination, sits isolated in a deep valley surrounded by beautiful mountain scenery. Not only is the city full of cheerful tourists from all over the world, the residents and shop keeps welcome not just the tourists. 

Our guests were on a mission shopping for beautiful turquoise jewelry; the HG was hungry; I was along just for the company. After lunch we drove into Rocky Mountain National Park, using or Senior pass to get in free. (By the way, a senior pass will allow the holder to enter any of the national parks all over the country. Do you have yours?) On the way back down, we checked off item 2, a beautiful bull elk with his small of harem of cows hiding in the trees.

We headed out of town and there they were, a bull with his harem of cows causally grazing roadside in a neighbor's backyard. This time of year the bull are in rut; they are gathering their harems and have come down out of the high country. Soon the bulls will begin bugling, challenge each other for the ladies. The town will advertise "Elk Fest" to attract more visitors who come from afar to wittness the sparing matches between the bulls in the alpine pastures in the park. Once rut is over, the elk will settle in, wintering leisurely in town. Literally. Try playing a round of golf with this fellow on the green.

He seemed rather bothered by all of the attention that the onlookers were giving him roadside, so he rounded up the girls, disappearing behind the pines.

We weren't sure if we heard another bull bugling in the distance; perhaps that's what disturbed him.

Or perhaps there was better munching on the other side of the pines.

A small crowd always gathers to photograph the majestic animals. We caught up with them on the next block, pulled over so that our guest could photograph them with the iPhone.

He is majestic. Gorgeous in his late fall coat still dark and shiny.

During rut these big boys are irritable, edgy, vigilant, and protective of their cows. Generally, however, they take the toursists in stride.

Our friend was standing roadside in front our SUV snapping away to get good photos of the big guy. He notices her.

Now he is getting annoyed. We joked latter saying he was giving her the stink eye. She did feel threatened and while I was photographing him him, I missed her scrambling to get into the car, for the big guy had lowered his head--never a good sign--, glared at her, slightly shook his horns and then

decided to finish his lunch.

He was a massive fellow. What a thrill to be that close. I used my 300 mm zoom to get these shots safely inside the car. None the less, a two lane gravel road separated us.

Day Three

3. Picnic in the mountains, roasting hot dogs on an open fire.

While Fire Danger was HIGH, we were still able to build a small fire, closely tended camp fire where roasted our hot dogs, ate chips and grapes, and drank water.


We had four happy campers.

Our second day-trip to the mountains was a long day. We headed north out of Ft. Collins to Cherokee Park, the HG's hunting grounds, drove around up there to see where  he camps--got the tour. We drove over the river, though the woods, and down the little road where we found our spot to roast hot dogs. With a warm sun, slight breeze, and the fall colors around us, the day couldn't have been any better. From there we descented into North Park where some of the world's best hay is grown. We had fruit cobbler and coffee in Walden at a quaint log type cafe. From there, we headed for Poudre Canyon, always our favorite mountain drive. We took a side road to look for moose, a bumpy, rutted road that jiggled us until we were ready for smooth highway. The HG assured us that we might see some moose--well maybe--one? Try none.

4. Moose in the wild

 We came back to the main highway and just around the curve there she was, a cow moose taking her evening meal. We were at quite a distance but √ off the moose.

We know Fall has arrived when the aspen begin to turn in the High Country. We were a week early to see the aspen in their full glory. This weekend they should be spectacular.

Sometimes there just isn't road enough to stop to take a proper photos, so you do it out the window on the fly. Still gorgeous.

5. Bear in the field. Not this time. Bears, while they seem to get into a lot of trouble in the Denver suburbs, generally stay well hidden in the forest. Next time.

The Egg and I

You remember this photo from a few weeks ago when I showed the two huge eggs we had gathered. The green one had a double yoke. Always a nice surprise and not really that rare. The third egg was more the size of a goose egg and we wondered what misery the hen had suffered laying that one.

So while the folks were here, I opened the largest egg and look what was inside: another egg. An egg in an egg

Complete with its own yoke.
 She googled the phenomena to find a similar youtube of a woman breaking open one of her eggs with the same result: we could hear our own laughter and squeals of amazement.

We know which hen laid the huge egg, the maran with the chocolate eggs, those deep, dark brown ones. We don't think that she has laid another egg since.

We have lost two of the young hens. The last one, Baby, our little pet that didn't like anyone. She was put in the pen with the other hens to put the rooster in time-out in the dog crate where Baby was safely living. We don't really know what happened and I won't go into detail, but these two hens  died the same way. I am thinking a problem with egg laying. I need to do more research.

And that is the week that was. I missed Mosaic Monday, so I had some catching up to do. Teaching has settled into a nice routine with the weeks flying by. They always do.

Fall descends slowly. I noticed the red maples are beginning to color on campus. They were planted only a few years ago and have grown so much. They will be gorgeous this year.

I hope you have all had a good week, with more to come. I will be around to visit. I am way behind. Thanks so much for taking time to drop by. I appreciate your sweet comments--always.


  1. I love reading about your wonderful countryside. The aspens must have been an amazing sight.
    I thought of Betty Macdonald's books when I read your post header!

  2. What marvelous creatures those elk are. Your photos are wonderful. Beautiful landscapes to show your guests. I'm glad you are settling into the teaching routine. Half the time I feel like I'm still scrambling to stay abreast of everything.

  3. Dear Ann, that was a marvelous treat! I enjoyed the journey into the wild and the beauty all your nature can give right now. So similar to here, at the same moment they are in rut. Somehow, I never thought of that. And how amazing to have had an egg in an egg. However, it cannot be healthy for the maran. How delicate hens are, something I have learned since the beginning of hen keeping. Glad you enjoy to be back in work. Happy fall!

  4. Gorgeous photos, Ann! I'd love to visit Colorado...
    The home-produced eggs look beautiful and are surely much much better than the ones we buy.
    Wishing you a beautiful autumn and much joy in your teaching!

  5. Mission accomplished with the `to do list` of your guests, enjoyed watching the beautiful nature of Colorado through your lens.
    This is a very rare and strange discovery, an egg in an egg. I think your maran must recover some time from this operation before she lays another egg.
    Have a good time teaching at the university!

  6. Your outdoor adventures are wonderful! Fascinating egg doings, too!
    Happy weekend, friend.

  7. I have been saying to my hubby a trip to Colorado is on my bucket list. Between the beauty you show and a few other bloggers, you gals live in what must certainly be 'God's Country'.
    The elk are a amazing creatures and I enjoyed coming along with you while company was present.
    Now, the egg inside an egg is extraordinary and I'll be sure to mention it to the lady at the farm where I buy ours.
    I hope you're not getting too bogged down from work but am sure once you find a rhythm to balance everything you'll find more time for yourself.
    Have a good weekend Ann.

  8. Oh my goodness Ann what spectacular images of those Elk, and the prairies....what a land of big skies and big animals.

    And that poor hen...oooohhhhh poor poor baby.


  9. No wonder everyone wants to visit you! What a wonderful week. The egg in an egg is a new one for me. How bizarre!

  10. That was a lovely slice of Colorado life. And that egg inside an egg was very cool!