Monday, November 20, 2017

Fall Lingers On

The house is quiet this week. The Head Gardener has our fourteen year old grandson out in Eastern Colorado deer hunting. My 8 year old grandson is here keeping me company. He is very good company, too. We have stayed busy. His favorite thing to do is go down the road to the Rec Center and swim. I enjoy swimming, too. He also enjoys spending time with the the nine year old boy next door.

As you can see, "Welcome to the Garden Spot has a new look--a temporary one. I dumped Picasa because I have so many photos that it bogged down. I just updated my Mac laptop os and the Photos Ap has been improved, but still does not offer a collage maker, so I found one in the App Store, Collageit Pro, only $9.99. I downloaded the free the version first to try it out, finding it limiting, but liking it, so I decided to buy the Pro version.

If you have a Mac, you might like it. I have tried some of the on line collage makers and sometimes they are very slow and I am cheap so I didn't want to spend the money for on line access. So if you are Mac user and are looking for a new collage maker, I think you should take a look at Collageit.

I could name this mosaic "Signs of the Season" with the skim of ice on the surface of the pond and the Canada geese moving from one field to another by the thousands, honking and talking to each other along the way. Then Nathan hanging upside down to show me his new trick on the swing set on our way to feed the horses and hens, bit of morning sun filtering through the  pine tree. Last, the odd looking thing attached to the chimney on the play house is a bird house that John and Nathan built and installed. John is quite the little character with his power tools.

The merchants around town have their Christmas decorations up and this is my favorite window at a little Antique store here in our little village, Blooms and Heirlooms. Ann creates the prettiest Christmas trees. I love this all white display with pretty tree and the lovely white deer statures, but my favorite is the beautiful angel. Ann purchased a mannequin and found a very inexpensive wedding dress at a thrift store for the angels beautiful gown. The photo really isn't that good because of the glare on the window and sometimes I am thinking that my phone camera doesn't focus as well as it should.

I wish you all state side a Happy Thanksgiving. Will you be cooking? This year Jennifer will prepare the dinner. I'll make the pecan pies for our son-in-laws. I nearly fainted when I saw the price of pecans, but I make the pies once a year. My goal is not to over eat. I promise. 

Thanks for visiting. Join us at Mosaic Monday with Maggie at Life in Normandy.

Monday, November 13, 2017

EEEK! A Mouse

A Flight Plan

It has been a slow week. The Head Gardner came home from corn harvest late Friday and left again early this morning. The weather has been decent for the harvest crew--over a hundred miles east of us--but problems with the machinery breaking down have slowed down the combining of the corn  this year, robbing the farmers of precious work time.

My husband apologizes for being gone for so long, but I told him that I get along okay. The first couple of days, I am lonesome, but as the hours pass and the days go by, I adjust to him being gone--knowing, of course, that he will return. So he left again early this morning, leaving me to keep the home fires burning and doing the chores.

So imagine this: Boone found a young, wounded pigeon in the barn and took it to his master. Surprisingly, he dropped the poor bird and the HG was able to rescue it. He put it in spare dog crate in the chicken coop with food and water then left, leaving me to tend yet another critter. After a few days the young pigeon's leg wasn't tucked up inside the feathers. And one day he was walking on it. Now more active, the pigeon had kicked wood shavings into this food and water, so I opened the door to the crate and reached to give him more food and fresh water. Before I could do anything, the bird took flight, flying into my face and out the the door and into the wild blue yonder.

I called the HG to tell him that his bird had flown the coop, afraid that he would be upset since the night before I threatened to turn it loose since it was better and he asked me to wait until he got home. He took it good naturally, laughing and thankful that the bird healed.

Talking to Mice

With the weather turning colder, little critters come in looking for food and shelter. With hay, grain, and chicken feed there is an endless supply of food for little scavengers. I began stressing mid-day about what I was going write about for this week's post. There really isn't anything very interesting going on here at the Garden Spot. Over the years, I have photographed and written about everything there is, so I am sometimes hard up for topic. So here is what I came up with for this week with inspiration coming while I fed the horses. I always take my phone with me, mostly in case I should fall and need to call for help. 

Here then is Monday's Mosaic:

(Just so that you know, photos are not in sequential order)

Someone did not put the lid back on the can that holds the chicken scratch. So when I reached into scoop up the grain for the hens I was surprised by movement.(Photo top right). The HG got distracted and didn't finish filling the gain bin with the cracked corn and left and= open bag of corn next to the open storage. So I scooped corn into the trash can, filling it up so that little mouse could escape. What a lucky shot of him sitting the edge of the trash can. I had time to take my phone out of my pocket and take two shots.

Bottom left: Sundance has a new stall mate, a mouse snacking on--never mind. You know. The mouse is out there every night waiting for some grain to fall on the floor. Once again I was able to get photos, even with a flash. Risky using a flash--Sundance tends to not like a camera flash, but he remained calm. In the second photo you have to look really really close to see the mouse down in the lower corner.

So. That's the way it is here this week. How are things at your house?

Monday, November 6, 2017

Happy Birthday

The Boone Doggle turned four Halloween. It's hard to believe that he has been with us for nearly four years. You may well have been with me when I posted about his coming home back then. We had lost our dear, sweet Max and had decided that we really couldn't replace him, so we would not get another dog. The Head Gardner, however, just had to look and you know what happens when you window-shop--or surf the web--you find something, and you go buy it. He found Boone on Pet Finder. com at a kennel in Grant, Nebraska just the other side of the Colorado boarder. In the photo, pictured with his brother and three sisters, Boone was the big male in the back. Gerald called and said, "I want that one, the male in the back, sitting tall."

We drove the two +hours to Nebraska to pick up him. Today he is the Crown Prince of the Garden Spot. Big. Strong. Fast. Smart. Funny. Sweet. Stubborn. He loves to chase the rabbits, play with the grand kids, and harass the poor cat, Mo.

The collage shows him sleeping on the sofa, only because it was his birthday. He even got a Birthday Cake, now his favorite toy that we have to take away from him or he will shred it minutes.

He is a handsome dog, that dark chocolate color with the ticking on his chest. He is across between a weimaraner and a German Short Haired Pointer. He has the build of the weimaraner--larger than the the typical short hair. but he has the color of the short hair. 

He came home with us February 10, 2014.

It was love at first sight at the little animal clinic that also did dog adoptions. He was one of a litter of 13 pups, five of which were surrendered for adoption.

He was so cute and such a handful. His very favorite thing to do: Steel my sock and give it up only when offered a cookie. I said he was smart.

The Head Gardener is still out east working corn harvest. Because we don't have a fenced yard and Boone is inclined to run off, he has to go to the boarding kennel while his daddy is gone. It is a long spell for him. 

It is hard to believe that November is ticking away. The weather has changed dramatically here in Northern Colorado. We are expecting snow all night. 

I am glad to be back blogging. I'll be joining Maggie at Normandy Life. See you there. 

Thanks for stopping by. Have a great week.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Back to the Neighborhood

Hello Friends, I have returned. I had not planned on a blog break, but it happened. I ran out of things to say and there didn't seem anything new or interesting to write about. I posted my very first post 5 August 2010. We had been here at the Garden Spot for just a little over year and there was a lot of gardening to write about. It took a long time to build up a nice list of wonderful loyal readers whom I began to consider as friends. We have shared so much over the years, but then some of the bloggers have dropped away, going to Instagram, and I still have not made that move.

Blogging is hard work and time consuming. I was having a hard time coming up new and fresh ideas, but Picasa failed me because I have so many thousands of photos in my iPhoto library and with the sharing, they are all on my all of my devices. I took all of the years of photos off of my iMac hoping that they would disappear from the iPad, phone, and laptop--I am little technology heavy. Picasa does not store photos, as you probably know, it merely imports what is already on your drive and with nearly 18,000 photos on my lap top, Picasa bogged down and I said, "I'm done" so I delete Picasa from both of my computers leaving me without a decent collage maker. Yes, I know that there are others out there that I can use, but I want free!

Beginning to feel guilty because I have been gone for so long, I decided to get back to work--writing the blog. I used my iPad's collage app and made up a mosaic for Monday Mosaic, and I am back in business. Nor have I stopped writing. I have been using my writing time and more to write fiction. I started my first novel just before Christmas and the story didn't end with the last line of the novel. So I wrote a second, and now I am finishing up the trilogy. What will I do with my masterpieces?  I don't know yet, but it has been a life long dream to write a novel. When I worked--teaching college students how to write a decent academic essay--I didn't have time to do my own writing. So now I do. My friend is also writing children's fiction and we daydream of the possibilities of publishing and I said, You know what? At our age, what do have to lose?  Our lively hood no longer depends on the success of our writing. We can write to please our inner need to tell stories and if we get published, well that is just the icing on life's cupcake.

So, A summery of the last two--almost three--but who's counting--months at the Garden Spot:

Fall has come.

I am still tutoring  at UNC in the Writing Center, helping the college students with their writing concerns and visiting with my friends. I tutor two hours on Tuesday morning.

Lily and POP: Lily is now five and in kindergarten two and half days a week. She goes to school on Tuesday and Thursday and half a day on Friday, so on Wednesday she and mother come here to work their horses. 

On of Lily's favorite parts about working with POP is picking out his hooves. We play with the horses  and have lunch and sometimes go down the road to the new recreational center and swim.

Jennifer works Sundance, but has discovered the cause of his limp that he has had for some time. I thought he had injured his shoulder slipping in the mud, but the vet has diagnosed him with arthritis in the joint just above his hoof line, so he is on medication for the inflammation. It has helped some, but she isn't sure if she will be able to ride him. 

Tomorrow is Halloween and we get really crazy. We all have with witch's hats, so we went to our DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution) meeting wearing our hates. We get smiles and comments, but wonder what the ladies are really thinking. Heather lives in Denver so when these two sisters get together and we all go to Target--well you can see why I disassociate myself with them. And these photos are tame.

For those of you who follow the dollhouse blog, I have a dog for the house, a German Short Haired Pointer, same color as our Boone.

The Head Gardner finished some landscaping around the water garden. We had extra red rock, so he put it around the pond to give a nice clean look. The weeds will pop up next year--we take on the battle sometime later.

Next year I may hang pots on the trellis. 

You have all seen this froggy who dreams pond side in the front courtyard.

But you have not  met this handsome dude. In the middle of the night I heard a bull frog, most certainly. I grew up listening to the bull frogs. I'll share some bull frog stories later--remind me if I forget.

He is not a large frog. We don't know where he came from. Did a bird carry a frog egg in and deposit it and he has been there all along? Or did he hop in, traveling a long distance to find a home? We do know that he will move on probably because the pond is lined with heavy plastic and he will need to burrow in to hibernate. I enjoyed his song while he was here.

We took a drive out to our friend's wheat from in Northeastern Colorado. He is planting the last of the winter wheat. Now the Head Gardener is helping the Anderson Brothers pick up bird seed--millet. We have a skiff of snow today. I hope it is dry out there so that they can be done and he can come home Wednesday

My last three photos were taken by my granddaughter, Elinore, who, by the way, is 11 today. She will soon be taller than I am. I let her take my Cannon Rebel around the Garden Spot and these are among my favorites

She has a good eye and nice sense of composition. 

So, there you have it friends. I'll be around to visit. It's nice to be back in the neighborhood. 

Of course I am linking with Maggie at Normandy Life for Mosaic Monday.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Fair Time

August is the month of agricultural celebrations where farmers and growers, bakers, and makers of things display their hard work. The crowds come from all around to step back in time to the ways things used to be and get a glimpse of the present.

The first weekend in August is always the busy one with two celebrations: The Ault Fall Festival and and Lucy's birthday.

Behind the scenes where the parade participants gather before the parade in the parking lot behind the high school. Grandson Nathan and his little friend love riding on the float for Ault Historical Museum.

The Head Gardener revs up his vintage tractor to pull the float.

Nathan and his friend and mom Heather waving to the crowd.

The festival always has a display of vintage machines. I had to photograph the old Maytag wringer washer. My mom used one for many years and when I rented my apartment in college my landlady let me use her wringer washer that sat next to her automatic washer. Here, now, is my new Maytag. I am so thankful that I don't have to go back to the good old days. 

At the end of the parade, we walked around, came home, had some lunch, then it was time to party with Lucy to celebrate her 9th birthday with a beachy theme. She looks more like a California surfer girl, doesn't she?

The same day,  Mom is at the country fair with Elinore and her pet rabbit, Peter, participating in the 4-H fair. Peter seems relaxed amid all of the action of the fair.

Peter is an old rabbit, one that has surpassed his expected age. He lives in Ellie's bedroom and is a pampered bunny. She is now ten and has had Peter since she was two. In his first competition, he was judged on rabbit qualities, he scored rather low, 9th out of 10. Not too bad, considering that he was old. I loved what the Judge kindly said to Elinore: "He is old, but nice and past his prime."  I had to laugh and answered, "Much like grandma. Old but nice, and past her prime."

Instead of entering 4-H competition, Lucy entered her photograph in the open competition in the county fair. She used my Canon Rebel with the 75mm-300mm telephoto to take the photo of Sundance and the wild rabbit above her.  As we strolled around and looked at the photos and wondering why certain photos won the ribbons and others didn't, a lady who heard our conversation joined in, explaining that she had watched the judging.  She told Lucy that the Judge really liked the photo of Sundance and it might have placed had it not been out of focus just a bit.

The fairs also have home arts competitions. This display caught me quite by surprise, the tea tables.

This one was the juvenile winner

And the senior grand champion.

Meanwhile back in the rabbit barn, Elinore is doing the required housekeeping to keep her area clean.

The midway, or carnival, is the best fun. I took the younger sisters out to the midway to ride a couple of rides. The merry-go-round first. Didn't get photos because I stood with the girls on the ride.

Lily takes a nice drive

while Lucy flies high.

Finally, Ellie's showmanship competition, the last of 50 exhibitors. Here the young 4-H-er is judged on her knowledge of rabbits and how well she handles the rabbit. This was her first competition, so she didn't quite know what to expect, so didn't place. She is looking forward to next year and shopping for younger rabbits. Nice and younger rabbits in their prime.

Dare I show the biggest eye sore of the Garden Spot?  That piece of real estate in the front to the house. We cleared out the dead bushes in the early summer and then let it go to weeds--not on purpose. Yesterday we finally came up with a plan. Mow the weeds, spray the weeds, till the weeds under and replace all with sod. We decided to reduce the 10 foot wide space to a 4 foot wide space, reasoning that grass is easier to maintain than garden. I am waiting for the tiger lilies to fade then I will transplant them.

And thus ends another week at the Garden Spot. Today we are taking nice drive to Estes Park, to the mountains for a bit of lunch and shopping--or looking. I love for you to join us in the Colorado Rockies. I'll take photos. 

Have a fabulous week. 

Monday, July 31, 2017

Just Peachy

Can you believe that it is now the end of July--tomorrow when you read this it will be a new month. August is, of course, for most children and teachers Back to School, as it was for me for so many years as a teacher. So teachers, too, are winding down their summer. August in northern Colorado is also the month of abundant harvest in the garden as all of our hard work begins to pay off. So far we have enjoyed another rhubarb pie, cucumbers, onions, a green pepper, and raspberries. And peaches. 

One tree fruited this year. We had a late cold spell and freeze that ruined the apricots and apples, but this one little peach tree managed to hang on to its peaches. They were on the verge of almost being ripe when I noticed that birds had already done their taste test and seemed to like what they were tasting, so the granddaughters and I picked the peaches. They are not very large, but they are very sweet and juicy. Now I have to figure out what to do them. I think I will freeze them.

I left four peaches on the trees that the birds had pecked on. Sunday when I went out on the patio I caught a glimpse of what I thought was a western tanager. And indeed it was. You will see in directly in the center of the photo. Not the best photo, the tanager can be recognized by its bright red head, yellow body, and black wings. I was quite excited and lucky to have time to go back into the house to get my camera before it took off. 

Hoping that it would return, I took a seat underneath the nearby pine tree sort of behind the trunk so that I could photograph the mother oriole and her two daughters.

I ended up with quite a nice collection of photos of the mom and her girls.

The orioles were so intent on eating the sweet fruit that I was able to walk right underneath the tree to get this nice closeup. 

And then the bird suddenly took off, leaving the peach tree. I figured that I scared her away until I saw the Head Gardener walking into the house with a jar of grape jelly. I quickly realized where the oriels had gone: to the jelly, obviously their favorite. 

This week is fair week and the granddaughters are participating, so next week I should have county fair adventures to share. Since this is the girls' first year in 4-H, we took them to the Weld Country Fair last week so that they could see what it was all about. But before we hit the fairgrounds, lunch at A&W and ice cream for all--the girls. These are my little peaches.

Funny faces and cows. It is very hard to get a good photo with three silly girls.

This week is the Larimer County fair. Ellie (in the hat) is entering a cake and doing rabbit showmanship. Peter is her rabbit, an old guy who lives in her room. She will be judged on how to handle a rabbit properly and her knowledge of rabbits in general. The trip to the fair last week gave her the opportunity to talk to some rabbit owners who gave her good ideas.

Lucy built a stand for her archery bow with the help of her daddy and she will be entering photos that she took with my DSRL Canon in the open class. 

Lily is too young for 4-H.

In the evenings I continue to work on the dollhouse, so if you like, check out my progress on my other blog, Ann's Dollhouse Dreams. I made this vanity that will give the bathroom in the farmhouse a modern look.

I am so glad that you stopped by. I always enjoy and appreciate your comments. Have a grand week.

Linking with Mosaic Monday. Join Us.