Sunday, September 23, 2018

Fall? Really?

As Fall secretly slips in, it doesn't seem much like fall here at the Garden Sport. We have been waiting for her arrival, but Sister Summer lingers--sisters are like that, sometimes, aren't they? w
Wearing out their welcome trying to be helpful. It's hard to tell a sister that it's time to move on, to go home, but when she just does not know when when to quit, then it is time. Like when she turns up the thermostat and refused to turn it back down no matter how much we fuss and beg, Sister Summer has the upper hand. Here's a very good example: Record breaking heat for the end of September here in Northern Colorado, like 90 degrees+. Sweltering. Even the "D word" is being spoken out loud: Drought. We haven't had rain for days, so we are ready for a change, for cooler days, and we might even welcome Jack Frost, especially if he could encourage Sister Summer to held else where.

Still we enjoy the the last remnants of summer, especially the roses in their last flush of the season, the third bloom, and reasonably the last one.

The roses weren't quite so prolific this summer. I am not too sure why. Perhaps they reflected my own lack of energy. In May routine blood tests showed that I was low in magnesium, seriously deficient due to a prescription that I had been taking for acid reflux. I was on it much, much longer than the recommended six weeks. My old doctor let me get by with taking it, while the the new doctor who took over after he retired had my magnesium level tested and as a result took me off of that particular drug and ordered me to take magnesium supplements to replenish my levels. It has taken me all summer to build up my magnesium, and I am beginning to get my energy back. I am using a magnesium spray on the bottoms of my feet and taking hot Epsom's salt baths when I am particularly tried. My regime seems to be working. 
As I took the iPhone photos of the front garden, I saw the garden through a new lens, so to speak, both literally and figuratively. I tend to get frustrated with things that I create be it the garden or the dollhouse or a homemade greeting card. I am too critical of the things I do, so today as I photographed the front courtyard, I was really quite surprised and pleased and said to myself that the little garden looks really good.
Just over the brick wall is the new garden that we built early in the summer. It has struggled with the heat and it has been hard to keep enough water on the new plants mostly because we have the gardens on a timer. Rain would help so much. We planted six dahlias, too--late. Too late. Four poked early leaves out; rabbits ate one; one just disappeared; the third is still growing--maybe it will flower, but probably not; and one bloomed and then faded because it has been so hot and dry. I love these dinner plate sized blooms. I'd like to plant a garden full next year. I think I'd like them better than the cabbages that the rabbits ate because we didn't have a dog to scare them away. But, hey, we have a dog now.

 The little water garden the summer looks so good at summer's end with its crystal clear water, finally. No scum. No algae. How'd that happen? And it is isn't leaking. You can't see them but there are 7 little gold fish that we caught in the big water feature in the back yard. We will probably have to catch them before the pond freezes. And the water lily bloomed. It's pink.

Even the bin weed the I can't pulled out looks almost good climbing on the little wind chime. 

The fruitless strawberries take all summer to fill in then die back in the winter. I get tired of them and think about redesigning the entry. I didn't have the energy this summer, and I'm glad that I didn't. 

The clematis continues to bloom and fills her corner. I cut it her back quite a bit this spring, but not enough. I'll try to prune her earlier next spring--just like I promised this summer.

I've picked a lot of tomatoes, green peppers, Anaheim, and jalapeños and taken them to my daughter' where we made salsa on two different days. We varied the batches all the way from one with only green peppers (for me), one with just Anaheim, and one with just jalapeños for my son-in-law who likes it hot. I still have plenty of tomatoes and Jen has her tomatoes and peppers, too. I have already told her that she's on her own. We still have a lot of tomatoes to pick. I am waiting just a bit longer then I am going to try to make spaghetti sauce. Do you have any really good recipes? 

Then there's Miss Lily who decided to make marmalade after she saw the current Paddington Bear movie. She didn't even know what it was, but her mother went along with it. She helped prepare the oranges and even filled the jars with the hot mixture with Paddington supervising. (My friend gave me the bear after our trip to England when we took the train at Paddington Station in London).

 He doesn't replace Boone, but then we didn't expect Brody to that, but he does do some of the same things that Boone loved. The chickens are great fun to harass and bark at. Here he is pointing at the rooster. While hens do their Chicken Little impression and run for cover when they see Brody approach, the rooster stands his ground. Brody does his pointer thing and barks a lot, too.

His first encounter with the horses didn't go so well either because he had never seen a horse, but Boon had the boys well trained, so they are not scared of Brody. He doesn't know that it's really not wise to walk under a horse and hopefully he won't meet any other horses who don't allow dogs such such liberties. He is slowly getting over his timid ways, but still household sounds scare him and he sets his feet and refuses to go to his outdoor kennel. The Head Gardener has to carry him. He is learning not to jump on me and we think he is making progress asking going outside when he needs to. We just have to make sure to listen to him.

Thanks so much joining me. I'm not as diligent as I should be--could be--used to be--at posting, but I'm not going to stop simply because I'd my my friends, so I do appreciate that you drop by just to see what I'm doing--if I'm writing about it. 

Join me over at Life in Normandy. It'll be fun.

Monday, September 3, 2018

Night Sounds

They start hooting early in the morning, long before the crack dawn. Often I am awake to hear them. Soon it will be time to get up and the hooters have gone to roost, the Chanticleer begins his morning crow around 4:00AM, and I try to snooze through his morning pronouncements. We tend to relate to our surroundings by the sounds that we hear everyday, and sometimes those sounds go unnoticed, like the freight trains that regularly pass through our tiny town on the Colorado plains or the roar of the semi trucks as they rumble through town on the highway that runs parallel to the train tracks. We hear the sirens regularly, able to recognize the different between the ambulances that from the south or the fire trucks that come from the west, and the Flight for Life helicopter that comes from the south flying low over the Garden Spot as it finds a place to land.

In the fall, we hear the sounds of school just down the road from us. If the patio door is open we can hear the cheerleaders and the pep band and crowd cheering on the Highland Huskies football team, punctuated by the game's announcer over the PA system. I like those Friday night sounds.

Most of the sounds we just live with, becoming oblivious to them until visitors comment on the how they heard every train that passed through town while they tried to sleep.

But the owls. We hear the owls more often now. They have been making regular visits to the Garden Spot, thus I devote this week Mosaic to them.

I generally spend most of evenings downstairs working on the dollhouse or sewing while the Head Gardener retires to the bedroom early. Lately he has been hearing a odd screeching sounds which prompt him to go outside to listen so that he can figure out what the sound is. Now with the pup that needs to be house trained thus requiring evening walks, the HG is a outside later in the evening. He came in excited the other evening to tell me that the Great Horned Owl was sitting on the trellis by the koi pond; I grabbed my camera and tired to get a good shot, but it was past sundown, so the exposer was not the greatest. I watched the owl for a while, and knowing that I was there, soon it flew away. The HG was amazed that he was able to walk Brody around the yard and right past the owl and it stayed put. While we easily recognized the hoo hoo, it took a while to realize that they also screech back forth. If we hear one near by and we wait and listen  we will hear one across the field answer. 

Here is a closely cropped photo of the owl on the trellis. Later it returned and we watched sit pond side taking drinks. I stood on the patio watching and he knew that I was there--he'd swivel his head around--as owls do--take a good look at me then go back to drinking. It was so exciting to watch him.

Another night, the HG called me upstairs to let me know the the owl was perched on the barn cupola and you can see my results are not very good in the early night fall. Still I got photos. 

We love the owls, mysterious and elusive that they are. The HG built a large nesting box for them and hauled high up into the pine tree by the swing set where the owls often light, so we are hopeful that next spring they might decide that it will be a good place to nest. 

Meet Hank

There is one very happy little girl in the family this week. She was surprised with a new horse, Hank, a thirteen year old Morgan that spent a good many years as a trail horse at a Boy Scout camp. He will become a very spoiled boy with his girl, Ellie. I went over to watch the girls ride Saturday--no devices, no cell phones, no iPads--just girls with their horses.

Her shirt says, "Believe in something wonderful," and her smile says it all.

Mariah isn't too happy with her new stall mate--a gelding? What kind of creature is that? Ellie's other other horse, Honey, has new home in the hills with the other grandparents where she will take on the job of teaching their new colt how to be a horse.

As much as I enjoy photographing the critters here, I love photographing the girls and their horses.

Front, back, sideways--any way.

 Hale to Kale (the flowering kind)

Lily had to take a shot. This might have been a really good shot had it been in focus. She was aiming for the kale but missed.

Fresh from the Garden 

No kale of any kind in my garden. Add an onion and some cilantro and we've got a good, fresh salsa.

Brody Report

Two weeks after we brought a timid, scared puppy home, Brody is warming up and figuring things out. He has now met four of the five grandchildren, and while Jacob now 15 isn't quite a child, he wasn't too sure of the new person in the house, but it didn't take long for him to realize that what we have know since day one, he's a cool kid and fun to play with. What pup doesn't like a bit of rough housing and then a nice place to chill?

Well, nice to visit with you. That ends the week's report on what's happening at the Garden Spot. Life is interesting and fun with surprises every day. I am so glad that you stopped by to visit. I'll see you over at Maggie's for Mosaic Monday--I think I'll hit the deadline today.

If you have nothing better to do, check out Ann's Dollhouse Dreams. I have so much going on over there. One dollhouse is about finished and I have begun a new one and have another in the box ready to begin. Lily talked me into ordering a kit for her. 

I have changed the format for the dollhouse blog. Please leave me comment to let me know how you like it. I'm not sure I do. It does have a cleaner, more modern look, but it eliminates all of the gadgets on the side menu and hides them behind icons that you click on. Do we like that? Should take I the Garden Spot there? Let me know. I value your opinions. 

Have a great week. 

Monday, August 20, 2018

A New Day

We left just a bit before dawn. A smokey haze hung heavy in the air. As we reached the the Platte River, a light fog drifted over the river's corridor. Soon the sun began to lift itself above the tree line. All summer the sun has glowed red, filtered through a haze of smoke that seems to cover most of the western states as forest fires continue their rage, some having burned all summer. Our journey will take up 6 1/2 hours, but it will be worth it.

We drove into the sun until we crossed the border into Kansas where the vast grasslands where cattle grazed gradually turned to farm fields. We crossed over a corner of Nebraska, but who would know other wise unless they were paying attention to road signs.

We drove along the northern border of Kansas and Nebraska, passing through little villages and small towns. I liked Kansas. The landscape was beautiful and the traffic nonexistent, unlike the Front Range of Colorado that has become so over populated and congested that a move to Kansas was beginning to look pretty interesting.

We drove, the anticipation building as the miles passed. We were headed to a very small village, Kensington, Kansas, population 469 (2010). We were looking for Outback Kennels. As we past through Phillipsburg, a friend's hometown, I texted her to tell her that were driving through her town and we made a lunch date for this week.

We still are not recovered from so suddenly losing Boone, but the house is empty and quiet. The Head Gardner began his Internet search for another dog, not at all ready for another dog. I said let's wait until after the first of the year. Let's get a puppy. We visited a breeder on the western slope when we over for the wedding. Her pups were adorable, but he wasn't ready. He studied the rescues and found dogs that he thought would be a good dog to have, but he wasn't ready for another dog. He found one that he was interested in and put in his application despite knowing that we are not a candidate for a rescue because we don't have a fenced yard then he found this pup in Kansas at breeding kennel selling very expensive dogs. He took several days to get up enough nerve to text the breeder to find out about an older pup on their website. He was born April 1, so he is nearly five months old. The kennel specializes in gun dogs, bird dogs, hunting dogs. High priced dogs. But not this one. The breeder had decided that this pup, a shy little guy, wouldn't make a good hunter so he was a bargain and no one wanted him.

But someone did. We've named him Brody: a good Irish name for a German dog, a German Short Haired Pointer.

He is timid and everything is new to him. He'd never been in crate or a car or a house. So we paid the man and loaded him in the crate in the back of my little SUV and headed across Kansas toward home.

He slept most of the way until I tuned the car radio to my iPhone to listen to my tunes. He started to fuss and bark and we realized that he had never heard music. While his kennel was clean, it was cement and chain link. He was timid and wouldn't come to the fence to greet us. He's still shy but he is coming around.

This part of Kansas is beautiful with woods and farm fields--and no traffic.

We got lucky. No bad weather, though we could see the storm clouds gathering. 

Look closely and you will the thin yellow line that marks the states' borders. Still we are three hours from home.

The HG has to coax Brody out of his crate. 

He gets his first toy.

I didn't have the camera when he took his first trip outside. I wish I had one when he met the horses for the first time. The boys were out grazing and when saw the new dog, they came to the fence to meet him. He barked and growled, trying to sound tough, but more scared. The horses were used to Boone running around the pasture, so they were curious to see the new dog, but he wasn't very nice to them. 

Sundance sees the new puppy in the driveway and comes to say 'hi' again.

Sundance has had enough. He's not really impressed with the little guy that barks and growls.

Still, sad with the loss of Boone, the Head Gardner has a new little buddy. He is sweet and shy, but he learning so fast. He is going to be an easy little pup to train. 

I'm joining Mosaic Monday with this windmill mosaic. I shared photos last week of our trip to the grasslands, but I hadn't played with a app that I downloaded to my lap top call Smart Photo Editor Std. You can download the trial version and play around with it, but you can't save your photo unless you buy the full version. It is a bit pricey, $49.00 but it has hundreds of effects that you can apply to your photos. 
I don't know which effect I like the best: the water color on canvas or the  pencil back and white?

I think I'd frame the colored one.

The app is easy to use, had a lot of interesting photo editing features that take the guess work out of Photoshop, which I have never really been able to master. I've had instruction on Photoshop, but it's one of those things that if you don't use it you lose it, so I am not very good with it. I like this program and will used it, I think. What do you think? 

I am so glad that you stopped by. See you over at Maggie's for Mosaic Monday.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

I Went Out to the Garden. . . II

I had to make a special trip to town to pick up a prescription, and of course, one does not go into the grocery story without thinking about what to fix for supper. I had just grocery shopped the end of last week, so I needed little, but I did pick up a package of turkey kabasa with a recipe in mind.

When it came time to fix one of our favorite meals, stir fry vegetables served with a lean meat over a bed of pasta, I realized that I didn't have any vegetables in the crisper to stir, so I made a trip to the garden. It is just beginning produce, but let me tell you it is an ugly sight out there this year.

 I'll not show any photos of the actual garden spot because it is a weedy mess. Some how I am able to find a lot of reasons not to go out to pull weeds:
  • Too Hot. It seems that the older I get, the less I can tolerate the heat, but then it has been above ninety most of the summer.
  • Mosquitoes. We have the dreaded West Nile disease here in Northern Colorado. Not as bad as it has been in years past when I would saturate myself with bug repellent and head to the garden, but still--I'm not in that mood at all.
  • Weed pulling is a thankless, endless job. No matter how much weed control a gardener does, the weeds keep coming.
In realty, the Head Garden's spring go off to a dismal start when he dropped his work here to go help the farmer friend in Eastern Colorado get ground ready to plant millet. His absence but us behind. The weeds really took over while we were on our Texas vacation and we have not been able to keep up with them since; however, the good news, the garden plants thrive despite having to share living space with weeds. The tomatoes are beginning to ripen right along with the cucumbers, so we have enjoyed garden fresh salads. We have a hardy crop of peppers and some very nice cabbages. The butternut squash will be a winter favorite. I went to the garden and  I picked zucchini both green and yellow, fresh onions, and two bell peppers and a healthy meal was a "GO." Left overs today.

As the vegetable garden begin to mature, it is also archery season for Pronghorn antelope out on the prairie. I don't hunt, but I do go with the HG when he puts up his hunting blind. The prairie is so interesting and while the vista and the landscape may seem uninteresting, if the visitor pays attention, the photo ops are abundant.

As we turned into the pasture where the HG would be hunting, a hawk seemed to stand guard on the power line at the gate.

Working windmills still provide a water source for both wild life and cattle. With the slightest breeze, the giant blades begin to turn and whirl. The camera is on auto shoot for this photo.

I changed settings to get the motion in the photo, using the action or athletic mode.

With his blind in place, the HG inspects the tent stakes to make sure that they are secure because a brisk wind will uproot them.

A distant farm house gives the aspect of the vastness of the grasslands of Northeastern Colorado. It really is a pretty landscape, especially with all of the rain that the grasslands have received.

I am not sure why the exposure on this photo is darker, but I like it.

Even at what seems to be a slow trickle, the windmill will pump the water tank full.

Now my photographic fun began. 

At home, I tightly cropped the photos and was so surprised at the color. I didn't adjust or edit the color; I just cropped the photo. We have a lot of hazy skies these days because of all of the wildfires burning in the part the United States, so that may be why there's purple in the images. Even in the ones that are not cropped, the water has purple shading.

The sunflower photo was taken from the other side of the tank. I had to crop out the pipe railing around the tank and only then did I see the bee in the photo. Not a photo bomb--a bee bomb.

We leave the windmill, with the Head Gardener satisfied that his blind is secure. We see the hawk again, this time with two king birds heckling him.

He lands on a land structure, not so much to get away from the annoying birds, more likely  to probably to let them know that he's done playing.

How many birds do you see? Look careful and you will the king bird's feet as he comes in for landing to sit next the hawk.

One with think that the two are friends.

And off he goes.

I do enjoy photographing birds. 

Back to the garden: Again playing with my setting, I photographed the tiger lily.

and the rose

Now, isn't this a nice way to end a garden post?  Thanks so much for joining me. Time to get some housework done.  I missed Mosaic Monday; I'll be there next week.

Thanks so much for visiting both posts. See you soon.