Tuesday, December 25, 2012

A White Christmas

So how has your Christmas been? Grand and glorious, I hope, as was Christmas at the Gardenspot. A house full of children, laughter, and good cheer. Gifts and food, noise, and hugs. One of the best times of the year. We gather as a family on Christmas Eve to celebrate not just Christmas, but our youngest daughter's birthday too. For 30 some years we have had the celebration. Our spirit of the holiday was sparked even more as it began to snow--a white Christmas, rare, really, for this part of Colorado. The news guy said in the last 100 years, only 13 white Christmases. And today, brutal cold.

Not a lot of snow, but snow non-the-less.

 Jen made the little eggs for the bird feeders in the family.

Hubby's dad spent the night with us, so we took him home today, a trip that included stops at two nursing homes. First we stopped to see hubby's mom who today was non responsive. We found her in the dinning room in the Alzheimer's unit sound asleep in her wheel chair at the dinner table, unable or unwilling to wake up and acknowledge us.  Next we stopped to see Sr.'s friend Ester in her care facility. She has had a stroke and serious surgery. She is now recovering, looking forward to going home soon. We had lunch with her.  
And now it is time to relax. No more shopping, no more baking, cooking, or frantic cleaning. Just resting and relaxing until school begins again January 14. Soon, though, our thoughts will turn to gardening. The catalogs will come in the mail and we will pine away the hours looking at the new cultivars and new plant sensations, anxious for Spring to come. Until then, dear friends we will keep each other company sharing our gardening plans for '13.

I've had another great year in Blog Land making new friends and learning so much from reading everyone's posts. I have visited some great places, seen fantastic photos, and had great conversations you all. And so I am looking forward to yet another year. Together we'll make a great gardening team. Cheers.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Warm Wishes

The decorations are all up,
the food has been prepared

The tree is trimmed, and the gifts wrapped.

I think I am ready. 

Merry Christmas and have a Happy, Healthy, Prosperous New Year

Thursday, December 6, 2012

My Town

Welcome to My Town: a peaceful turn of the 20th century village where life is quiet and simple in an era before automobiles and traffic lights; before cell phones, texting, and tweeting; before political correctness that demands generic holiday greetings and city fathers who issue edicts that proclaim a ban on Christmas traditions. A pretty little town where Christmas trees sparkle and glow with a thousand lights spreading peace, love and joy. 

 A nice little village. . .

 Where neighbors help each other out, wave "hello" to passing strangers, and shop at the local merchants instead of the big super store down the road.

A safe place where the children can spend the afternoon skating on the pond in the woods, their laughter ringing in the icy, cold air.

An inviting little village where the newlyweds will settle down to raise their family

Where the Nativity can be displayed in the city center without worry over a pending court case

Where the Christmas Carolers can sing "Oh Come All Ye Faithful",  filling the park with happiness and joy.

Where a Christmas Tree is a Christmas Tree that delights the hearts of all.

A friendly little village where every Christmas is a white Christmas, where the holiday cheer is sincere, where the Baby Jesus remains King, where warm hearts are kind and full of the Christmas spirit.

This is My Town where we proudly proclaim Joy to the World, Peace on Earth, and Good Will to All.

May this blessed holiday season bring you Joy, Peace, and Love as you celebrate a 

Merry Christmas 
and a
Happy Hanukkah 

Noel. Noel

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Talkin' Turkey

Now that Thanksgiving is over, we are still talking turkey, or should  I say, still eating turkey.

We had a lovely Thanksgiving dinner on Sunday with Jennifer and her family and my father-in-law. A small group. Heather's boys had had the stomach flu and by Sunday she was sick, so they didn't make it.

I made these cute little pompom turkeys for the kids. The instructions are on Martha Stewart.com. They are goofy looking critters, but the girls enjoyed them.

I roasted a 15 lbs. turkey. Not a huge turkey, but it was done in about 3 1/2 hours. Tasty and tender. I spent most of Saturday cooking and preparing all of the food so that all I had to do the day of feast was roast the turkey and bake the dressing. I was proud of myself for how organized I was. None the less, the kitchen was a wreck at the end of day. My organization sorta went by the wayside as the dirty dishes piled up.

Did anyone venture out to shop on Black Friday? Not I. I did go to town to get groceries and went to Michal's to some craft supplies, but no heavy shopping on the war front. Nor did I participate on cyber Monday. No. I am not a Grinch, just slow to shop. Once I get my grading done, I will hit the stores. I did shop a bit on the Wednesday before. 

I pondered for a couple of days debating whether or not I wanted to buy space on google. With encouragement from a few of you, I decided that I should go ahead and buy my storage. I pay $2.49 a month for Picasa storage, just a little under $30.00 a year. To have not made the investment would have meant the end of my blog. I am not ready to give it up. So I am here to stay.

Week 14 of fall semester is ending. Next week will be the last week of classes with finals week following, so I have boat load of work to do. The comp classes will turn in their final essay next Wednesday, the advanced writing class will turn in research papers and are doing their presentations,  and in the lit class we are reading Shakespeare's Much A Do About Nothing, a comedy. We will watch the film beginning Friday. We are all tired and grumpy, but the semester is nearly over, then we can rest and recharge our batteries for second semester.

Let the holiday season roll on. 

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

Hi there. Just poppin' in to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving, even if you are across the seas and don't celebrate our holiday have a great day. It's a good day to join with family and friends, eat lots of food, relax. Here at the Garden Spot we won't be celebrating in the traditional way. Our daughters go to their in-laws, so hubby and I will spend a quiet day. I will grade some papers, so some cleaning, and just relax. Sunday the kids will all come then we will feast. I have a big fresh turkey on order that I will pick up at the market on Friday, then let the baking begin.

My earliest Thanksgiving memories began in this house, a house that my grandparents built in the 1930s in Lakewood, Colorado. I remember every nook and corner and cranny in this grand tutor style home. So it is this time of year that I remember fondly my grandmother's wonderful Thanksgiving dinners, striving to cook like she did and gather my family around.

I wish you all a happy Thanksgiving.

PS I have cut short this post because I have run out of google room for photo storage in Picasa. I have used up my free 1 gb of storage in Picasa, too.  Delete photos from Picasa? Now what do I do fellow bloggers? I can buy space. Does anyone buy space for Picasa? 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Snow Angels

I feel good; in fact, I feel fantastic. For the first time this semester I am caught up my grading. Alas, not for long since I collect 50 argumentative essays tomorrow. However, I only one day of classes next week since it is Thanksgiving. The university powers that be just cannot bring themselves to close for the week. Students begin leaving the tomorrow so attendance will be low. Anyway I'll be there for the ones who don't have to go skiing or travel far away. Tuesday is a light day--tutoring and office hours which I might cancel.

Sincerest thanks to you all for your supportive condolences for dear, sweet, little Jasmine. She was such a part of our lives for so long. We do miss her.

Hubby has taken off on his annual deer hunt in eastern Colorado. He hunts with a bow, so he does have a challenge ahead of him. He calls to let me know how he is doing. Good news for the deer--they are elsewhere. So while he enjoys his quiet time communing with nature and himself, I am here doing his chores. Actually, feeding Sundance isn't all that hard. I feed him in the barn so I don't have to venture out in the muck. This year's hay was fantastic, so he snarfs it all up. He gets a bit of grain and a flake of hay twice a day.

The hens bask in the warmth of red glow of heat lamp. They are anxious to get outside to scratch in the dirt, though. They get a scoop of cracked corn in addition to their mash and protein.

Still munching hay, Sundance seems satisfied and I feel that I am doing a good job of looking after the livestock. On my day off it is not such a chore, but on work days I have to get up a bit earlier, adjust my schedule. He thinks he is going to get a couple of goats or a couple of sheep. We are still in the negotiation phase.

Snow Angels

Last week end we had snow. Glorious wonderful snow that we so desperately need to keep our plants vital over the winter. The mountains are getting plenty; not yet record amounts yet, but a goodly amount which is so necessary for an ample water supply next summer.

So what do little girls do when it snow? 

They make snow angels, of course

Little Mother Nature isn't quite ready for winter. No heavy winter coat, no hat, no gloves, no boots. Instead pj bottoms, a borrowed hat and scarf.

A nice way to end the post today: toasting cold toes by the fire.

Now, a bit of lunch and off to do some shopping. That's what hunting widows do, you know: he hunts, she shops. A new store has opened in Eaton,  shabby chic or country French decor. I drive past it every day and can't wait to go check it out after lunch. 

For the week end: peace and quiet, I hope. And the same for you, dear friends.

Friday, November 9, 2012


The week has been brutal. I guess the little empty kitty bed says it all.  We had to say good bye to sweet Jasmine Tuesday. She had gotten sick Sunday and it was apparent that she was probably bleeding internally, so we made the decision that night that it was time.

Jasmine turned 15 in the spring--a long time to have a pet companion. She was the quintessential kitty with a sweet little girl face. Not very big, she was a fatty with a waddle of fat that hung from
her belly. Dainty and picky, she never ventured too far from the door. After we moved to the Garden Spot, she stayed even closer to the house. Her favorite outside activity was rolling in the dirt. In side her favorite pass time was eating although as she aged she was no longer able to jump on the dryer where I keep the cats' food to keep the dog out of it. As a result, her little fat waddle began to shrink. Then she got horribly thin. She suffered from thyroid disease and didn't respond well to the medication the vet gave her last spring.

Jasmine decided years ago that her favorite spot to sleep was at the end of the sofa (or on my lap in the evenings), which was fine until we bought a new sofa. I found a little kitty bed and placed it in her sleeping spot. Of course she refused to sleep in it. You know cats. They have a mind of their own and tend to teach us how to run our home. Grandma came to supper every night and took it upon herself to teach Jasmine to use her little bed. She gently placed her in the little bed at the end of the sofa and kindly explained to her that she must sleep in the bed--and she did, until this summer. As her health began to fail, she began to nap in dark corners of the house, keeping to herself except when she wanted food.
Good bye, Sweet Jasmine

She came out a night to play when the house was quiet and dark when the bully cat Mo was safely locked in the garage for the night and when the dog slept soundly next to our bed. I'd find bits of chewed paper laying about. I didn't dare leave students' papers within her reach. I hated that excuse "the dog ate my homework" and I certainly didn't want to have to apologize to my students: "My cat ate your homework." When I sewed, she find scraps of ribbon, string, cloth to drag about the house during the peaceful safety of the dark.

Now the house is a little quieter. There is one less to look after. Tuesday we had to let sweet Jasmine go. The vet comforted us that her pain had ended, which helped a little. We still have the 3 boys to keep us company (the cats Country also 15 and Mo 5 and Max 14). They all became family members about the same time, so now we love them and enjoy them even more as we all grow old together, all suffering from the same aches and pains of aging.

The granddaughters will be here tomorrow. I have developed a little scavenger hunt for the girls -- a nature search for leaves, and grass, and seeds and such. Should be fun. Hope you have good plans for the week end. Give your pet kids an extra treat.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Just as was I starting to stress about what to blog about for my Thursday post, something wonderful happened in the Garden Spot thanks to the head gardener.Take a walk with me out to the garden to see what he was up to today.

The garden beds have been tilled and doctored with shavings and chicken stuff from the chicken house. They will simmer all winter and be ready for planting in the spring.

Tool of the month: Post hole digger. 
Can't believe that we have lived here over 3 years and haven't yet invested in post hole digger. 

We planted the blackberry summer 2011. This last summer it really took off, unlike it's raspberry sisters that it shares the row with. Some of the blackberry canes are nearly 5 feet long. With some research, hubby found that they can be trimmed and trellised. Here is his shipping list:

3 cedar 4'x4' cedar posts 8' long
1 standard cow panel 52''x60''
1 box galvanized staples
1 post hole digger

I am quite excited to see the trellis. It has added a lot of character to the garden. Right now the garden almost looks like a Pinterest perfect garden (with all of weeds gone). I have all kinds of ideas besides just the blackberry climbing on the trellis.  Morning glories, maybe, or a clematis. A bird house on top, perhaps. Shhh. Don't tell him.

The two raspberries that have been in for a couple of years  just have not really taken off, especially the one. We may end up moving them. See how long the blackberry canes are?  We will prune them to a more manageable length then use plastic slip ties to attach them to the trellis. Some growers weave the canes through the wires, but I think I like the idea of tying them in place.

The center of the plant is hearty and thick. 

 We were really surprised to find that the canes had rooted themselves at the end of canes. I didn't know that they would do that, so I think we will plant them back in ground and prune them off. If they don't grow, no big deal. 

Last week ended with Miss Mother Nature's 6th birthday party. Her mother made her a ladybug cake that turned out so cute. It is pink because Ellie has a sensitivity to red dye #40 (the USDA refuses to admit that some children have severe reactions to it), so mamma used a more natural food coloring made from beet juice. 

Week 10 at the university is nearly done. We have a month of classes left. The comp classes are working on their argumentative essays. Outlines due tomorrow. The advanced writing class turns in their annotated bibliography tomorrow. Lots of week end grading. The lit class will be reading Emily Dickenson. She is my favorite. I hope they enjoy her, too. We will see a great video ( I hope the library hasn't purged all of its vhs, otherwise I'll have to have plan B.) 

Oh hey. We had a trick n treater last night! Yes, I was so excited when the doorbell rang. Our first and only since we moved to the Garden Spot. He is the grandson of an old neighbor. I gave him extra candy. And some for his brother. Hope your Halloween was as exciting.

Let's keep our fellow Americans on the east coast in our prayers. They need all the help and support that we can send their way.

And remember to just 


Friday, October 26, 2012

Blog It

First snow: October 25, 2012

The garden has been put to bed for the winter. Jack Frost stole the breath from the flower beds. Now the the Garden Spot is blanketed with a nice, wet, fluffy layer of the season's first snow. Our first snow last year was a doozie with over a foot of snow that broke and damaged trees so badly that many will never recover. This snow will go a long way to replenish the drought parched earth. Jen over at Muddy Boot Dreams posed the question about how fellow bloggers come up with ideas when they suffer a debilitating case of writer's blog. Her post hit home as I was pondering this week's blog. Let's face it, there really isn't anything happening in the garden. And then it snowed. Before I settled down to a spend my free day grading on Thursday, I bundled up, grabbed the Cannon and went for a walk about.

A lone cotton tail seems bewildered at an early snow.

Sundance already out in the pasture early in the morning suns himself.

Winter evergreen and frozen berries.

The little ash trees are the first to lose their leaves. They look pretty lonely and lifeless without their greenery.

The pine bows wear their frosting naturally and gracefully, while the sunflower just looks sad.

Snow brings magic to the garden, adding a certain beauty.

Will someone get Barb her coat? Silly girl.

We love feeding the birds. This little feeder filled with peanuts attracts chick-a dees, blue jays, and wood peckers. We will have to keep if full all winter.

Our wickedly hot summer days seem seared into our memories; now these cool fall days with a bit of snow laden with a good dose of moisture have been a welcome change. So what's a blogger to do? Blogg it. 

Gratefully the week end begins now. I can't say that the week was long and tedious because it wasn't. The weeks fly by and there doesn't seem to be enough time to get everything done. 

Tomorrow we will help little Mother Nature celebrate her birthday. Elinore will be six on the 30th. Years fly by, too, when we watch our little ones grow.

Hope you have a good week end, too. And if you do:


Saturday, October 20, 2012


Bathed in the warmth of a sunset, Autumn glows radiantly in Northern Colorado. The days continue to be warm, the nights crispy cool, the skies clear and blue. The farm down the road from us is nearly Ideal perfect at dusk.  (Who is old enough to remember the Ideal magazines that had beautiful inspiration poetry, verse, and gorgeous pictures?)

 The little aspen sets the garden a fire. 


The little granddaughters were here today. We did some crafts, rode the golf cart, colored, and took pictures of baby Lily. The head gardener put on his farm boy hat, called up his nephew to help him go pick up a harrow he bought off of Craig's. He argued that it would be handy to groom the hayfield, level out the horse piles, and maybe even disrupt some weeds. I know. He's spoiled. The ice cream truck made a stop and it was ice cream bars for all. 

Lily wears her great grandfather's baby dress that is nearly 100 years old. He was photographed in it probably at about the same age that Lily is, 4 months on the 25th. I have imagined my grandmother tatting the lace and stitching the little dress as she awaited baby Duane's birth. He was probably born at home in the old farm house in Washington, Kansas Jan. 19, 1917. I have photographed all of the little grandchildren in the dress except for Jacob because I hadn't yet found the dress hidden away in an old trunk.

And the sun sets on another grand day at the Garden Spot.

 Week 9 begins at the university.

The comp classes will begin their argumentative essay, the advanced writing class will be working on their annotated bibliographies, and the Intro to Lit class will be reading Shakespeare's sonnets 18 and 130. I think (hope) they will enjoy the sonnets. Tons of grading to do, too. 

Hoping that you all have a great week.

A Rose by Any Other Name

Jackson and Perkins roses have been in the garden for at least 10-12 years. This year they have been spectacular. The bushes were taller and...