Sunday, October 30, 2016

One Day Ends and a New One Begins




Everyone seemed to enjoy A Mouse Tale last week. I did have another mouse encounter, but this time it was my fault that the little guy ended up in the metal can containing Pop's pellets when I left the lid off. His extraction was easier and less traumatic for him-- and me as I placed the broom in the bin and he ran right up it and ran swiftly off.

Yes there are traps set loaded with peanut butter, but the mice don't seem go after it. We will look into different traps when the Head Gardener returns. Poison does rid them quickly, but with a cat and dog, we don't want to take a chance that our boys or the neighbors' pets might find a poisoned mouse. We also have raptors, hawks and owls, that feed on the mice and such poisons are very bad for them, too. So the battle will continue. Still adventures with the mice make for fun story telling and blogging, don't they?


We have had a very warm fall and very dry too, leaving us wondering when we will get significant moisture. The warm weather makes for very pretty sunsets and the glow shines on the autumn leaves still on the trees, making dusk a fun time to shot photos, even with the phone camera.


Evening photos in the barn make interesting shoots of the horses.


At the end of the day, the only thing Pop cares about is his supper: a scoop of low carb pellets with his pill for his auto immune disorder and a scoop of alfalfa pellets.


Feeding the boys is down to a routine: Two scoops for each and Sun Dance gets two flakes of hay. Done Now off to the hens, the same routine a scoop of scratch, check the water, and gather the eggs.


These girls are just the sweetest. They are always happy to see me, greeting me with sweet clucks and chirps


A new day, Sunday, dawns shrouded in fog and a thick cloud cover that lasted most of the day. The same garden spot now looks cold and dim; however, call me odd, give me a strange look, for I rather like cloudy, foggy days. We seldom have fog. I like fog. 



Sundance welcomes me with sharp whinny that sounds somewhat demanding. I wish he were as polite as the little hens.




             

Pop, too, lets me know that he starving. I will admit that I was bit late getting out to feed them this morning, but don't they both look under fed and neglected? Perhaps I did deserve a bit of a scolding.



Then we have Mo, just as demanding as his big brothers. He likes his water, fresh, cold, straight from the tap, please.





And look a this surprise beauty that I found first thing this morning, a dinner plate dahlia. Yes. I know. It is more soup bowl size, but I am thankful that it bloomed at all. We planted six dahlias late in the season, so they have been quite behind. But what a gorgeous color. I'll have the HG dig the tubers once they die back and save this beauty for next year.




And here is another little beauty. We celebrated Elinore's 10th birthday today. My how she is growing. I received a text from her mother this evening lamenting how fast the years have gone and I readily agreed, acknowledging that I had been there, too, but I am going through that same lament that the children grown up so fast for the second time with the grandchildren. The Genie in the Bottle was a great theme because as Ellie grows older, the Genie certainly is coming out of the bottle and won't be stuffed back in. And do you know what she wanted for her birthday gift? Office supplies. So I filled a bag with office supplies. She loved it.



Tomorrow I will pick Lily up at preschool at noon while her momma spends the day at the girls' school. I asked Lily what she wanted to do tomorrow and she said that she wanted to go to the library, so that's what we will do. 

Will you be handing out candy to Trick or Treaters? We seldom have many come knocking, but I will have a bit of candy in case some of the neighbor kids to come by. We are off the beaten path, so we don't get much traffic.

Head Gardener is  still harvesting. I hope he is home by Wednesday. Tomorrow is Boone's birthday and we won't get to celebrate with him until he gets home from the boarding kennel. He'll be 3.

And now a parting treat for you to help you get in the mood for Halloween tomorrow night: the last two stanzas of Edgar Allen Poe's "The Raven"

“Be that word our sign of parting, bird or fiend!” I shrieked, upstarting— 
“Get thee back into the tempest and the Night’s Plutonian shore! 
    Leave no black plume as a token of that lie thy soul hath spoken! 
    Leave my loneliness unbroken!—quit the bust above my door! 
Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my door!” 
            Quoth the Raven “Nevermore.” 

    And the Raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting 
On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door; 
    And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon’s that is dreaming, 
    And the lamp-light o’er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor; 
And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor 
            Shall be lifted—nevermore!


BOO: Scary.

If you want more, read the full poem @Poetry Foundation.org


Thanks for visiting; it always nice to see you. I'll be linking with Maggie at Normandy Life for Mosaic Monday. Join us there tomorrow. 

Oh, and I'll be updating Ann's Dollhouse Dreams

Sunday, October 23, 2016

A Mouse Tale and Other Stories

Another week gone. Fall has a strong hold on Northern Colorado and the Garden Spot. The ash trees here are nearly bare, the garden is totally done following a hard enough freeze that took the breath out of what few tomatoes were still clinging to the vines, and the days are cooler. The garden will rest, but I won't until I  get those 85 daffodil bulbs planted or given away.

So here's a question for you in the from of Monday's Mosaic: What do bales of hay, a rooster, and a broom have in common? Today's Bog Post.






Looking like something from outer space, this praying mantis won't as I try to snap his photo with the iPhone camera. I think he was rather annoyed. Nathan, visiting for the weekend, found him while he was shooting baskets. We see at least one every year. I think if I would tromp around the hay field I would find more. They are always fun to find and play with for a short time. I don't think he really enjoyed being a curiosity. We left him on the hay bale so that he could find his way elsewhere.

Next, Chanticleer the resident rooster gets a new home. The Head Gardener spent days building this rooster hut so that he would have a warm place to spend the long, cold winter nights.


The hens got a short visit. They were curious about this side of the hen pen that they share with the rooster, only he is fenced off from them--for obvious reasons. 


He is a handsome fellow, but he does tend to bite, the HG says. I cropped this photo, losing some of the quality.

Now for A Real Mouse Tale

The Head Gardener has left me. He has gone to Eastern Colorado to help our friends with corn harvest, so those of you have been with me for while know that I am on chore duty. It's not that big a deal. The HG has worked very hard to make tending the animals easy. The horses get two scoops of pellets. Sundance gets a couple of flakes of hay, too. The chickens get a scoop of scratch, and at night I gather the eggs. Fresh water in the morning.

Heather and the boys were here for the weekend, so I had my little helper, 7 year old Nathan who knows exactly what to do and is very good help.

Only Friday night we had a bit of a challenge: A mouse.

With the cooler weather the mice have moved in. Fortunately they haven't found their way into the house. Either the house is tight or they are sacred off by a lazy cat and the dog. I don't much like mice, but I can keep my cool when I am confronted by one. 

Right away when I opened the door to the chick coop I saw the lid was off of the scratch storage can. And look what I found:


While I am not scared of mice as long as we keep a safe distance between us. I don't want to have to handle them. Really, who does? The question now was how to get him out of the can?

Easy. I put a broom down in the can, thinking that he would climb out. After a couple of attempts, he finally just hid himself in the broom straws and I was able to lift him out.



We had quite a chuckle watching the little guy. He was clinging for dear life, hiding in the broom perfectly still,  his little heart beating the only sign of life. I put the broom back in place and left him there to come out when he felt safe.


Meanwhile, out east on the farm, the crew gathers to start the corn harvest. The HG left Friday. 


New storage bins have been erected to meed the demands of an ever expanding farm operation. They will thrash 23-2500 acres of dry-land corn.


Here's the HG's office for two weeks.


Command Center.  He sends a lot texts.


Let the thrashing begin. The combine leads, while the tractor pulling the grain cart follows to take on the corn once the combine is full.  

The routine for the next several days.

Looking forward to this week: tomorrow a museum committee meeting late Monday. Laundry. Wednesday, tutoring at the Writing Center. Thursday, Weight Watchers and lunch with my friend. She has had her back surgery. Her recovery is long, difficult, and painful. For one who has been so active, taking it easy and resting has been a bit hard on her. I'll take lunch in or fix something there and we will have a nice chat. Oh and planting daffodils. I'll let you know how that goes. 

What will you be doing? 

Thanks so much for stopping by. I'll be linking with Maggie for Mosaic Monday. See you over there.












Monday, October 17, 2016

Finalizing the Garden Produce

I enjoyed our conversation last week inspired by my Purposeful post.Your purposeful living inspired me to expand my own efforts, seeking new, challenging, and exciting things to try. Thank you.

The weather lady promised wind for today, and boy was she right. With the leaves still clingy to the trees benches, their tenure there is fragile and limited as the wind whips the branches about.  The warm glow a Autumn gives such a comforting feeling. I watched "The Kitchen on the Food Network Saturday. The hosts were cooking all sorts of fall foods rich with pumpkin and spices, all good fall comfort foods. My Weight Watcher's weekly handout has a great butternut squash soup, which I plan to make. We have an EZ-GO load of squash. I'll take some to my friend recovering from extensive back surgery.

Speaking of cooking. I had a few comments, too, about my Kitchen Aid mixer attachment. It looks like this:




You will find this handy gadget on Amazon, among other places.  Believe me, it has been a life safer for my old wrist and fingers that don't hold on to things like they used to.

The garden is finished, finally. Yesterday I froze the last of the harvest.


As I have written before, our tomatoes were awful. These are the last of the best. Jen grew them from seed, She used Martha Stewart organic seeds, with great success. The sets that we purchased just did not perform, so she has been designated our tomato starter. The Head Gardener will hand down all of his growing paraphernalia to her so that expand her grow production. 

I pureed the tomatoes in my blender to make a lumpy liquid that I froze until I get time to make more salsa. Next I tackled the peppers, jalapeño  and Anaheim. Our bell peppers failed early in the season. 


First, the peppers get a nice cold bath. They sat on the patio for a couple days, so the cold water helped to crisp them up again. I sorted out the jalapeño  from the Anaheims then placed them zip-lock bags to freeze. Quite a harvest of peppers this year. I was wondering if we needed to plant peppers next year? Of course we will. I will make jalapeño pepper jelly and salsa later. I must remember to use my food grade, latex-free gloves and a protective mask when I chop the peppers. The peppers emit very strong, noxious fumes, so protective gear is a necessity.




We began planting the 100 daffodil bulbs  arrived  few weeks ago from White Flower Farms. Fifteen down; 85 to go. Jen is coming over tomorrow to help plant more. I may end up giving some away. But really can a garden ever have too many daffodils? I think not.


And so I leave you with Veteran's Prize, that last rose of the season. While we haven't had a hard freeze yet,  the roses have stopped blooming. What a lovely one this is. 

Linking with Maggie at Normandy Life for Mosaic Monday. 

Join the fun.

Now I am off to update Ann's Dollhouse Dreams blog. I always enjoy seeing your there, too.

Monday, October 10, 2016

A Purposeful Life

When I was working, I spent my professional life dedicated to working with students. I loved my job. having a great sense of pride that I was a teacher. I always considered my job a honor and a privilege to work with young people, helping them to grow and move forward in life. As minuscule as my contribution was, I always felt it a privilege to teach.

Then I retired. I was tired physical and mentally. Six months after my retirement a during regular yearly exam my blood pressure was sky high. Panicking I went to the next MD who put me on more blood pressure medication. After the first of the year, I decided to join Weight Watchers, which helped me lose 25 pounds. I feel much better and I continue to work on weight loss.

I realized, too, that laong with seeking good health in retirement, I needed to lead a purposeful life.  Only in the last few weeks have I actually set the goal of leading a purposeful life, and when I note to my friends and family that I am seeking to do something purposeful each day, they look puzzled and ask me what I mean.

Retirement often for some who have lived their entire life working is a very daunting life change that some just cannot handle. Some choose to go back to work. Some just sit in front of the TV or computer. Some just fade away when they could have had a greater purpose, a fulfilling life beyond the job they were dedicated to.

Nor does the adjustment to that change occur over night. LatelyI have determined to do something purposeful every day whether it be a load of laundry or pulling weeds, or visiting with a friend or nurturing family.  The point is that I do something that moves me forward in life each day rather than just sitting and watching TV or even working on my hobbies--not that they don't serve a purpose; I need to get something accomplished and sometimes that is very hard to do when the job is no longer a driving force of life.

Thus today's mosaic reflects my purposeful project for yesterday. I had Robert Frost's poem "After Apple Picking" in mind as the Head Gardener and I picked the remaining apples--well, most of them. Each tim I drove up the garage I saw those unpicked apples going to waste, so after the HG graded the horse corral with the tractor, I enlisted his help in apple picking.


I bought a food dehydrater fro Bed Bath and Beyond on Thursday, so anxious to use it I used my handy dandy Kitchen Aid peeler/slicer/corer to prepare the apples. I can't say how many I processed, but as you can see the four trays yielded 3 small baggies of dried apples that are, by the way, packed with flavor. 

And so Frost states perfectly my feelings toward apples: 

For I have had too much 
Of apple-picking; I am overtired 
Of the great harvest I myself desired. 
There were ten thousand thousand fruit to touch, 
Cherish in hand, lift down, and not let fall

Once the dehydrator was humming away, I peeled and sliced more apples to can. I wanted to can apple pie filling, but ended up just canning blanched slices. It will be to season them later. I put them  pints, too. A lot of work for little yield. I followed directions from the website Pick Your Own.org, making this task very simple: blanch sliced apples for 5 minutes, pack in sterilized jars, use the blanching water to cover the apples in the jars, place sterilized lids on, then process for 30 minutes in canner--30 minutes at our high altitude. 

Living a purposeful life, however, is certainly not all work and not play. Last week company arrived from Texas. They always love the drive to Estes Park. So do we, and it generally takes company to get us up there. The town for the most part will shut down this winter because the main highway will be under construction to repair damage from the 2013 flood. Year round residences will have passes to travel the road twice a day during restricted hours. The businesses will board up for the winter.

                  

The day was warm, but cool with a  bit of breeze, making a stroll up and down main street pleasant and enjoyable.

                  

The bull elk are in rut; this handsome one has his harem of cows just outside of side. He always draws such attention, stops traffic. What grand creature.





We don't drive to the top of Trail Ridge, which will be closing soon. While the sun was shining in town, up the mountain the clouds moved in bring bits of snow and rain. Our Texas friends were excite to see a bit of snow. The fall colors were in full glory, too.

It was a purposeful day.

Now I must spend considerable time catching up what all of you have been doing the last two weeks, a most purposeful way to spend time. I though of Diane in Florida, Lavender Dreams,  wondering how she and her husband survived the Mathew. (Quick check of you blog shows you did).

Later in the day will be updating Ann's Dollhouse Dreams. Stop by this week.

Thank you stopping by. I've missed you.

Linking with Maggie for Mosaic Monday at Normandy Life.