Monday, May 22, 2017

Life @ The Garden Spot

Hello Everyone. What a beautiful day we have. I have already enjoyed a walk downtown to have my sad, pathetic fingernails beautified and now I am avoiding doing dishes. The Head Gardener is in town having coffee with his buddies, as he does every Monday, and the roofing crew is on the roof pounding away. They will be here today until it starts to rain about 3 PM or if the wind gets too strong, sending them home early. So roof replacement? Five out of five and the hen house makes six.

Our roof damage occurred last summer with hockey puck sized hail, remember?  The two weeks ago a hail storm ravages parts of Denver some 70 miles south of us. Our son-in-law's SUV was right in the middle of that hail storm with golf ball and larger hail that pulverized Denver. My brother and I own a small four unit office building which is under contract to sell and, yes, roof number five. Most gratefully and thankfully, our insurers have been wonderful.

Hail one week and then snow the next. Last week we had rain and more rain and then rain that turned to snow. Those of you who live in snow zones know exactly how damaging spring snow can be to trees. We lucked out here at the Garden Spot. The HG did a lot limb and tree shaking, but Ft. Collins trees suffered. CSU had 800 trees damaged.

The sun does always return. Now for the fun part of today's post, the photos and Monday's Mosaic, Enjoy.

And What a Week It Was


Not a very good photo of Boone warming by the fire on a cold, snow Mid-May afternoon, dreaming of chasing cottontails, no doubt. I see images of people forging flooded roads on the news all the time, wondering why they aren't smart enough to---any way. Just like those folks, I trusted that my SUV would safely deliver me to the other side of deluge. That's a corn field on the west side of the road, the ground now saturated. A better photo would show the rain turning to snow.

A new washer and drying will be delivered June 1st. Oh joy. So I took a load of underwear--why is it that the washer breaks when you have put your last pair of clean underwear? I took three loads of laundry over to Jen's to do and little Lily made me tuna fish for lunch; here she shows how she can drain off the liquid.

A nice new roof, and YUM YUM YUM home made cheese cake. Now a college graduate and no more homework, Shey has turned to baking to pass her time and brought us this wonderful cheese cake--a running joke with the HG. And thank you, by the way, for all of your kind wishes for her future. 

And lastly, Lily's preschool commencement or continuation or what ever it is called. She is off to kindergarten next fall. Of course the day of her ceremony snow covered the ground and she wondered why her summer vacation had to be ruined with snow.  We were all wondering why we were dealing with snow Mid May, too.  The only explanation?  As I told the young man at the garden center who had just moved here from California, "This is Colorado. Get used it."

Summer Visitors: Some will stay; some are just passing through 


This mail oriole is in the top of the honey locust singing his little heart, trying to attract a mate.


This poor little Lazuli bunting found some comfort food in the middle of the rain and snow.


He is is all dried out and enjoying more free meals. He won't stay long, headed for the Rockies.


He is smaller than I thought we have had before. He fits in the caged feeder that keeps the grackles and starling out of the feed.


He is so pretty. I wish he would stay.



A Hermit Thrush that the HG spotted. He was feeding under the pine tress. Here it pecks around underneath the lilac. He won't stay either.


The HG build several nesting boxes for the robins and this mother found one and made it her home. It is located in one of the ash trees. 


We put out grape jelly for the oriels. They devour it. 


The male's sweet song did bring in a lady.



Caught with her mouth full and the little horned sparrow wondering what is she eating?

So that was the week that was. This week, planting more flowers. I have to take my friend to the eye center where she will have a cataract removed. Piece of cake, I told her. So I will take her tomorrow and take her back on Tuesday to get the patch removed.  The HG will go down to Haxtun to help a friend with her garden work. And another week will pass.

I hope you have great plans for the week, too. 



Monday, May 15, 2017

Mother's Day





Finally we are able to really enjoy Spring this weekend. We have had a rough start: bad weather, bad colds, more bad weather, so getting out and doing those early spring clean up chores didn't happen when it should have, so Mother's Day weekend was perfect on all accounts. We have plenty of projects on the list, and we got one major one accomplished. But before I begin, let me share little Lily with you. She had her last pre school program. She will turn five in June and be off to kindergarten in the fall. Yes, she has a paper plate on her head. It was part of her costume for their little play, "The Little Red Hen." She was the kitty with one line, "Not I," said the kitty. And she smiled so sweetly. I took her shopping Thursday and what a little shopper she is.


Heather and the boys were up for Mother's Day, arriving on Saturday. We loaded up the kids and drove the couple of miles to our favorite garden center, Eaton Grove. Do you see the momma pea hen?  She has a nest there next to the the dig your own strawberries every year. She had a clutch of seven eggs, but the farm already has 40 pea fowl. The garden center was quite busy and crowded Saturday with everyone shopping for Mother's Day flowers and this momma was right in the midst of the activity, calmly nesting. 



I brought home two varieties of mallow and some blue veronica and a potentella ground cover. Jen grew our tomatoes and peppers for us this year. She has a pretty successful crop, I'd say.

 For some time I have wanted a drip system on a timer to water my hanging baskets on the pergola. So my Mother's Day gift from Heather was her help installing the system. It will be on a timer set to water the pots twice a day. We already had all of the materials: the water line and the hangers. (what she professionally refers to as spaghetti line)




Thank you, Heather May for your help. You are awesome.


    

The line will be hooked up underneath the deck floor. The timer and the pressure reducer have to installed yet, but then I can hang my flower baskets. The second photos shows how the line will hang down from the pergola beams. Once the plants are in place it will be hardly noticeable.

The little hens have been moved out to the hen pen. We turned the rooster in with the last year's hens and he has left them alone, so far. The little girls like being outside.


Meet Fancy, a Dark Brahma with feather legs and feet.



She will be a grayish brownish color with beautiful green highlights. We now have too many hens: 17.


 Sunday morning Heather decided that the pine cones and needles should be removed from under the big pine tree. So there they are, a big pile of needles. Not sure what we will do with them. She suggested shredding them and putting them in the garden. Nice idea; only we don't have a shredder.


Project: Operation Bush Removal.


We have had some brutal winters that have killed some plants, such as our burning bushes in the front of the house and the three David Austin roses that I loved so. Heather and I had decided that the David Austins aren't hardy enough for our cold and sometimes dry winters. I won't plant anymore.


The one burning bush was quite large and required heavy equipment to remove. Plant removal is always more fun when the Head Gardener can use his tractor.


Now the front is bare. I like the clean look. The daffodils will die back, the peonies on the right will bloom very soon and then I will move one. They are planted in a triangle now, but I will move one to be in line with the others. The tiger lilies on the end may get moved too once they bloom. Now I have to come up with a plan for what I will plant. I want a clean, weed free look. 



This week's Monday Mosaic features the May bloomers: Iris and clematis.


We ended the day with grilled chicken and grilled vegetables with garden fresh asparagus. 

This week's project: Clean the water garden. Now won't that make an interesting post? Join me next week to see. But now, pop over to Maggie's for Mosaic Monday.

Thanks so much for visiting.





Monday, May 8, 2017

Celebration

We have had a long two weeks. I missed my post last week; sometimes we just get too busy, don't we?  I am finally over my cold. It lasted long past its welcome. My next focus centered on preparing a graduation celebration for our college student whom we have nurtured since she was a freshman. Sheyanne graduated Friday night with her Masters of English, so now she is ready to greet the world and find a job. Currently she works as a substitute teacher in an elementary classroom with low functioning special needs children. Of course she is applying for more permanent work, her destined career in some aspect of education. It could be as adjunct faculty at one of the local community colleges or Colorado State (CSU) or even UNC or perhaps a charter school that does not require state licensing. This week's Monday Mosaics tells her story:


For a small Liberal Arts university, UNC (that would be the University of Northern Colorado as opposed to North Carolina), graduated an impressive number of post graduate students  held Friday night while the undergraduate commencement was held Saturday in the outdoor stadium. This commencement was very long, especially the PhD. honors. Saturday the Head Gardner and I spruced up the house and the patio for company, mostly Sheyanne's family and a few of her friends. I cooked brisket which I am always very nervous cooking meat, but this one was exceptional, even if I say so myself. No. I don't have photos. I was just too busy preparing food. The decoration were simple: lilacs picked from the bushes in old porcelain pitchers on the tables with red and white checked table clothes. Nothing fancy. I just wanted a place where she could gather with family friends, eat some good food, and celebrate. Mission accomplished.




I did make a poster for Sheyanne that tells her life's story for the last couple of years as a grad student: A hug from her graduate committee faculty chair, her dancing, her lovely smile, and sleep. We are so very proud of her grand accomplishment and know that she will take the future by storm. I used Picasa to create the collage, saved it on a flash drive then took it to Office Max where it was printed poster size on photographic quality paper. The photo of Shey lost some quality, so if you want to do the same for a special event, you have to make sure that your photos will maintain their quality as the are enlarged.

TREES


Here is the planted Russian Hawthorn that the HG planted last week while I was too sick to participate. I was so excited this morning to see that is has greened up and now is in bloom. In the fall the blooms will leave red berries. I am going to love that tree.


We also purchased another North Star Cherry tree, a dwarf tree that produces abundant sour red cherries. You have seen the one on the left in many blog posts. Last year it yielding enough cherries for three pies. We love the tree so much, that we planted the one on the left. 

Today we have severe thunder storm warnings. Does it happen for you? The weather man breaks into the regularly scheduled program to report the impending storm activity, designed to send us into panic. I am not panicking yet. Let it rain. We like rainy days and Mondays. 

This week: catch up. I would like to wash windows inside and outside. Little Lily will spend the night and I have a couple of heaving lifting yard projects that the HG will help me accomplish. I'll write about them next week. 

I hope you are enjoying the lovely spring weather. I sure am. Thanks for joining me. I'll be joining Maggie at Normandy Life for Mosaic Monday.




Tuesday, April 25, 2017

We Bought a Tree

Good Morning. The Garden Spot is awash with sunlight, all clean and pretty after sweet rain. One of Mother's miracles is her ability to bring the green to the landscape after a long, cold, dull brown winter. The locusts trees at the back o the house are leafing out and soon the little migrating warblers will be picking them for bugs.

Inside it has been a little more bleak for me. I came down with the worst cold that I have had in years. Not one to get sick often, this one has been a doosey. I am on the mend this morning, so I thought I would share the only two photos that I took last week. The Head Gardener and I went tree shopping.


It's hard to choose when you have such huge choice of trees: row after row after row. Some leafed out, some blooming, some in full color. While not a very good photo, we had decided before we went shopping which tree we wanted, a Russian Hawthorn that will have a nice rounded shape, white flowers, and red berries. We chose this one to offset all of the pine trees on the property and to attract the beautiful masked Cedar Waxwings. The HG has yet to plant it, so when he does, I'll take better photos. That's my tree there with the red "Sold" tag. I love it already.

Thanks for joining me today. I'll be joining Mosaic Monday.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Tulips, Asparagus, and Eggs


This has got to be my favorite time of year. The Garden Spot looks so lovely with wearing its spring colors. Crab apple trees are lush with bloom this year and the bulbs are so fresh and springy. I do wish that they would last longer--like all summer.



In the vegetable garden, the peas and onions have sprouted. I should have retaken my photos to show how big they are now. Next week.

These rows are the potatoes, but it looks like more weeds are sprouting than potatoes.


The asparagus plants are beginning to actually produce enough spears for a meal. This clump I think is now four years old. I had to take a photo of the eggs that I was boiling for deviled eggs. Who needs the Easter Bunny to deliver colored eggs when we have Easter Hens? I boiled these the old fashioned way to devil the eggs, but if you watch the TV show mid-day The Chew they showed a great way of making deviled eggs:

  • Separate the yokes and white of a dozen eggs (or the amount that you want)
  • add a bit of water to the whites, beat them as though you will be making an egg white omelet. Place in a 9x9 baking dish and bake. (Can't remember the time or the temperature). The whites will bake into a very nice, perfect square
  • While the egg whites back, whip up the yokes and cook them as you would scrambled eggs, without seasoning
  • Once the yokes are cooked, place them in the blender or food processor with mayo, vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper and blend until smooth and creamy.
  • cut the whites into one inch squares and pipe the yoke onto the top of the white. Garnish with paprika.
I was so impressed with the way to make deviled eggs. No peeling eggs that don't want to turn loose of their shell. I'll let you know how it works.





A parting shot of the drive way. Soon the tulips will fade and the blooms on the trees will fall, I will enjoy the color and the green grass as long as I can before the heat of the summer takes over.

So glad that you dropped by. 

If you like, visit Ann's Dollhouse Dreams to see my latest project for Nathan.


Monday, April 10, 2017

You Know that It's Spring When. . .

I loved Maggie's description of a beautiful spring day in Normandy. Paradise. While we are not yet wearing flip flops here--well some are--, the days have been sunny and a bit coolish, but we know that spring is on the way


When:

Four new baby chicks arrive.  Two Delawares, a cuckoo maran, and a dark Brahma. They are so cute. Right now they live in the Rubber Maid tub serving as a brooder with their heat lamp to keep them warm. I' will be taking their baby pictures in a few days for next week's post.

When:

There is fresh asparagus in the garden ready to picked. I missed going out today. It could be two feet tall by now tomorrow. Asparagus grows very rapidly.

When:

The Eastern Red Bud reaches full bloom, a delight for sure with daffodils dancing at her feet. Love it. 

When:

The red tulips bloom. These red flowers were planted by previous gardeners here and they great us each year. 

Yes, it is spring. 


Other moments of note for the week: 


Nathan turned eight. Look at that sweet smile. He driving grandpa's tractor.

No Photo:

Pop the Pony had surgery in a rather delicate place to have a tumor removed. The vet sent the tissue  in to be tested to see if is cancer. If so, he will receive a dose of chemotherapy that will slow the growth of the cancer. He is twenty-eight, feels good and still has a good attitude. 

And that is how you know that is Spring

Thanks for visiting. 





Monday, April 3, 2017

Dream A Little--or A Lot

The Head Gardener came home one day some time last year and announced that he had purchased a tractor. "What another one? Seriously? We are retired. We can't be spending money like that," I loudly protested.

Days later he came in the house after working on his tractor, declaring that he had wanted this specific tractor since he as a boy, 1965 Case Tractor. His dad farmed with Case tractors, perhaps even this model. So how was I to protest? In fact, t my cold heart melted as I saw the joy, pride, and satisfaction on his face.

Dreams to come true. Last week we had the grandsons, Jacob is now fourteen, the moody, pensive, funny, sweet, charming teen-aged boy, and Nathan who will be eight next week, cheerful, interested in so many things, knows about a lot of stuff, he says. And he does.

So on Thursday, Grandpa took his tractor to small field now owned by a Denver suburb and farmed by a family friend and sank his plow in rich loam. For him it was a moment because it was a piece of ground once a part of his family farm. Perhaps more importantly, he was able to share his moment with his grandsons, each getting to take turns "plowing." I asked the oldest if he wanted another turn and he asked, "Why would I?" I replied, "Because you will never get to do this again."  I think that point was lost on the youngster, but he smiled and said, "Yes."

And finally, the the HG found the plow out in a field somewhere destined for the salvage yard where it would have been recycled.


We did other things with the boys, including a trip to the city to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. The place was packed with people--Spring Break for Denver. Nathan loved it; his favorite was the Egyptian exhibit.

We also took a drive north to the Prairie, a part of the grasslands that I have never been to. The Soapstone Prairie Natural Area is the location of a major dig of a fire pit of pre-Indian culture on the plains dating back to 10,600-10, 720 B.P. We had hoped to visit the Lindenmeir dig site, but we are not sure that it is open to the public.  Here is the Wikipedia link if you want more information:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lindenmeier_Site. It is very interesting to see the artifacts that were discovered. It was a major discovery or pre-Indian civilization.



Yes, as far as the eye can see, but look to the east and you will see the Rawhide power plant and more civilization.




If you visit northern Colorado, plan a trip to the prairie where there are bike trails, walking trails, bird sanctuaries, and lots of wildlife to see. This park has a herd of free ranging buffalo--well, they are fenced in, along with Prong horned antelope and a variety of birds. Most often Colorado visitors are quite familiar with the ski areas and mountain resorts, but the prairie, especially in the spring, is a wonderfully quiet and human free zone to visit.

We have had rain. Finally. Today the sun shines, but it is chilly. Snow on the way tomorrow. After a busy week with the boys, I am looking forward to the quiet of the house. 

Wishing you a fabulous week. Thanks so much for stopping by.