Sunday, March 29, 2015

A Bit of Spring

A new week begins, a more quiet week, a more controlled week-- I am hoping. The Week that Was couldn't have been packed with much more activity. Our grandsons spent spring break with us. They are such good boys, and they are a pleasure to have around. Jacob helped me prune the roses in the courtyard, patiently listening to my moans and groans about how dead they looked.  Another great moment during the week was catching up with a childhood chum whom I had not talked to in 40+ years. We  initially reconnected through Face Book, made plans to meet up, but you know how life gets in the way sometimes. We visited on the phone, promising to get together soon, for we have a lifetime of stories and adventures to share. She has published her first book, You Fall off, You Get Back On (by Mary Stobie), so we will have lots to talk about.

Seeming slow on her feet to make a presence, once Spring, arrived, she now makes it quite clear that we will have to  work extra hard to keep her bad habits in control. I was reminded of one this morning when I went out to do the Head Gardener's chores while he took a long week end away with Jacob. With a bright warm sun, a very chilly breeze made me realize that perhaps it is too soon for Capri pants and flip-flops. And while many of Spring's babies still sleep, the wild grasses and weeds seize the opportunity to take over prime real estate in the garden .



We are wanting rain. March, typically the snowiest month of the year for Colorado, has been dry. The irrigation pumps will be turned on April 1, so we can start irrigation.  Mach did come in like a mild lion, and while it is breezy this morning, hopefully it leave like a lamb. I hate wind. 




We are so proud of our oldest grandson, a Boy Scout, a reader, and a good student. He wanted to have a cook out, so along with grandpa's supervision,  he built a great fire to roast hot dogs and marshmallows for scores.



Little brother, Nathan, and Boone, kids that they are, played in the dirt.




Without driving to the mountains, we had a great picnic and camp fire. I sat in the sun next to the fire, soaking up the warmth of both, enjoying watching the boys be boys.

In the rose garden, things are not looking much better from my lament last week.

Hybrid St. Patrick shows a bit of life this week with two new shoots. The one on the left appears to be sprouting from above the graft, while the other looks like it is too far out to be part of the hybrid. 

Not a lot of hope here for the this bargain rose planted
at the end of the season last summer. Tags still intact, I will
know what to replace.
The most of my roses still look dead. Other gardeners have complained about their roses, too. I am thinking that our early freeze last fall set them up to fail over the winter. I don't think that they had time acclimate to the cold before they went dormant. That's what I think. I've bought expensive roses: David Austins, Weeks, Jackson and Perkins register roses. Jackson and Perkins is out of business and Weeks are so expensive. Wallmart has $5 roses, but I am not in the mood right now to plant roses. I will give them some time to see who survived then decide if I will replace them. The registered roses will go on sale at the end of the season.


The week culminated with a grand birthday celebration. Oldest daughter, Heather had her 40th. Along with her husband and sister, we pulled off a major birthday surprise party, Our cars loaded with cake, food, and decorations, we showed up at her house ostensible to just hang out. We told her to go take a shower and to get dressed up pretty. She still was clueless, until guests began to arrive. The best line of the day speaking to her sister, known for her beautiful cakes that she bakes for her daughters, Heather says when she sees the 4 tiered birthday cake, "Now I know my sister didn't make the cake." Jen played along for a moment, replying, "No. I picked it up at a local bakery."



The birthday girl sports her mother-in-law's gift, a gardening hat. What a great gift with a gift certificate from a local nursery included. 

So that is the Week that Was. I hope for a quiet week. The kitchen remodel continues this week as we have a new cabinet to install and under the cabinet lighting to be selected and installed; then I think we will be ready for the granite counter top. I am excited for a new look. 

I am enjoying seeing all of your spring flowers. I am so glad to have my blog and to have you as blog friends. Thank you for visiting. Have a wonderful week.

I leave you with our favorite daffodil poem by our favorite English poet. Read it out loud.

I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud

                                                                 BY WILLIAM WORDSWORTH
I wandered lonely as a cloud 
That floats on high o'er vales and hills, 
When all at once I saw a crowd, 
A host, of golden daffodils; 
Beside the lake, beneath the trees, 
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze. 

Continuous as the stars that shine 
And twinkle on the milky way, 
They stretched in never-ending line 
Along the margin of a bay: 
Ten thousand saw I at a glance, 
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance. 

The waves beside them danced; but they 
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee: 
A poet could not but be gay, 
In such a jocund company: 
I gazed—and gazed—but little thought 
What wealth the show to me had brought: 

For oft, when on my couch I lie 
In vacant or in pensive mood, 
They flash upon that inward eye 
Which is the bliss of solitude; 
And then my heart with pleasure fills, 
And dances with the daffodils.

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.


.



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.