Monday, December 30, 2013


Christmas 2013 is all packed away, leaving the house looking rather white and bare. I enjoyed sitting in the quiet of the late evening enjoying the glow of my pink and white lights on the tree, all sparkly and pink. I'd light the fire and there in the quiet of the evening I could think, or not. Mostly not;  I just savored the quiet, appreciating the joy, peace, and good fortune in our life here at the Garden Spot.

Here a couple of iPad shots of the whiteness and the bareness. I have determined that this year will be the year of redecorating to purge the house of the former owners' green trim,  white walls, that yucky gold that hides beneath the white. We have spent a lot of time working on the outside, now the inside needs a make over. Stay tuned.

The Year in Review (quickly)
I reviewed my iPhoto library to find photos that represent 2013. With thousands to look through, it was rather difficult to pick the best. It was a year of loss, but mostly a good year, an odd year where in one of my blogs I think I wrote of our gardening disappointments: There is always next year. 

January: Nothing notable. We begin to get the itch to plan the garden. The garden catalogs start arriving in the mail.  Egg production still good. The ladies were in a decent mood, supplying us with ample amounts of eggs. Now, we get nothing. 0. I miss their eggs. We are wondering what to do with the 8 girls who seem to only want to eat. Practical poultry mangers would send them to the freezer and get a new bunch. Not happening here.  In the garden, the trees will get a good mid winter watering because we just did not have a lot of moisture all winter.

February: we say good-bye to Violet, my mother in law. She would have loved the flowers at her memorial.

March: We finally decide where we will build our water feature: right where the mature lilacs stand. The Head Gardener clears the spot.

 April: Pond Digging. He dug a rather sizable hole. We did not get the project done, however. Just too many things got in our way. There's alway next year. For sure. Top of the To Do list: get the pond finished!

April Showers: Not your typical April showers in 2013. We had more snow in one month than all year when we should have been getting rain. 

May: Retirement. I am still working that change out. Just today one of the girls asked me if I was getting used to it. I'd say I am.

The last photo of Max. We would lose him in early June. We still miss him. After all he was part of our family for 14 years, a pound puppy who gave us years of unconditional love. We haven't' replaced him.  Hubby keeps scouring Craig's List looking for that special dog. Nothing yet. It's hard.

Tulips and daffodils. I love May.

June marks the first cutting of hay and Iris. This is only a sampling of our iris collection. This actually is where all of the left overs go to hang out after we divide the iris.


July: We meet Pop. Pop comes to live with us. The grand kids love Pop, especially Ellie. She'd like Pop to come live with her.

My first official asparagus harvest. I am so excited to see just how much I get next year. The plants did really well last summer.  

August: While the rest of the garden has struggled all summer, the gladiolas don't disappoint. Next year I want more, more, more. 

September: An abundant harvest.

October: Not much happens at the Garden Spot in October. The vegetable garden has been put to bed, but the roses keep blooming. This year the roses were glorious

November: Time to shut down the water garden in the front court yard before a hard freeze, drain the tub, and catch the fish. The gold fish are sent to live the garage. They will go dormant and require no care.

December: So much happens in December. It is the the month of birthdays around here: Mine and Jen's (Dec. 24th). New neighbors moved in next door, a delightful young couple with two of the cutest little boys. Monica that  mentioned her birthday was the 20th and her mom's was the 19th. I laughed because mine is the 20th too and my sister's is the 19th,  so I made her this little birthday house. These little houses have become my latest addiction.

 Santa Party: The little kids LOVE Santa. The college graduate asked Santa for a new car. He asks her what  happened to her old one. She answers: I broke it. On a her way to Cheyenne, she hit a patch of ice and rolled her jeep. Yes, she broke it pretty badly. She was very lucky to walk away with only a stiff neck.

Funky Photography

Take an ordinary plastic desert plant, place it in front of the camera lens and just see what you come up with: 

Yes, I like to just hang out at night basking the glow of Christmas, especially with my camera in hand. Here is my mantle filtered through the plastic plate with a design. 

Here is the Christmas tree filtered through a little glass serving dish.

Doesn't life sometimes just look a bit better out of focus?

And so we bid 2013 a fond fair-the-well. Looking back, it was a decent year. Certainly a year of big change in so many different ways. Some good. Some not so good. A tough year where we lost our grandma and our dog and a job. We will be celebrating the New Year with friends in Haxtun. Then another round of birthdays: the son in law, the grandson, and the Head Gardener. I'll tutor once a week at the University writing center, try to get more exercise, eat less, (you know where I am going with that one), and begin my living room and kitchen long over due make-overs. Mid-summer we are planning a family reunion, and who know what else will happen in 2014. Lots and lots of gardening.

For you, my dear blogger friends, I wish you good cheer, prosperity, peace, and love and really good gardening.

Happy New Year.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Photo Shoot

So I walk out to the barn with two Christmas wreaths in hand. "Okay boys," I say, "we are going to take pictures for the Christmas card. Sundance throws his usual attitude about something new in the corral as he dances and prances around, snorting and throwing his head. I try to show him that is it just Christmas wreaths for the stall doors. He wants not of that decorating stuff. He's the kind of guy who just want his oats, no nonsense, no huggy, kissy aren't we a good horse this morning stuff, no 'tis the season to be jolly. Just feed me, now, please.

He has to be bribed and coaxed into his stall because there's is something odd about the door. He nibbles at the bit of grain used to coax him in, thinking he has won this round.

The arched neck says it all. He is getting anxious at being confined.  Sundance does not like to be penned up. Something about being a real horse, free and wild. I just wanna be me. 

Pop's reaction to the photo shoot is more subtle.

Photo shoot done. Good thing it was only head shots this morning. Some one didn't clean up for the event.

Ah. To be free and wild and run with the wind and get some breakfast. Humans!

I hope everyone is having fun and enjoying the season.

Have a great week-end.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Christmas Cheer Just Keeps Coming.

Are we having fun yet? Well, of course we are. I thought that when I retired holiday preps would be easier, but with more time I seem to be less productive. There is something to be said about working under pressure. No pressure, now, but first we had to get our girl graduated.

Saturday was Shey's big day, her college graduation. She is my best friend's granddaughter who lived on the far side of the mountain six hours away, an only child of a single mom who wanted to go away to school. So she lived here with us to complete her studies, a Bachelor's of Arts with an English major and a Film Studies minor. She lost her sweet mamma in 2012, so she has had a rough road, but she has not been alone. We followed Commencement with a small gathering of her friends and family here. We are so very proud of her. Now she will travel to England in June, work at the Walmart pharmacy, and make applications to grad schools in England and Germany.

I wanted the house decorated early for the party, so here is a quick iPad grand tour.

I wrote about my village last year. It is one my favorite parts of Christmas--sort of a little fantasy land that I create. I would like to add more pieces, but I am out of room and nice pieces are becoming hard to find. If you want to read the little story that I wrote about my village follow this link: My Town

I have decorated a pink tree for years. It is full of pink ballerinas, angles, and glass snowflakes. This year I used my 8 ft. fat tree instead of the tall narrow one that I have used since we moved it. 


I had hubby drag the mirror out of the barn where it has been since we moved here. My walls are white (soon to be remedied), so it is very hard to make the mantle decor have pizazz with bare white walls. I thought that the mirror might add some depth. I like it. The Santa dates back to Heather' first Christmas in 1975. My mom made it for her in her ceramics class. It is signed "grandma 1975."


Another tradition is my hobby horse that I bought at a used furniture junk store. I saw it outside as we drove by on our way to Jen's.  Not being an impulse shopper, I went back a few days later, hoping that it would still be there. The tip of one rocker is broken off, but I don't care, nor did the lady who owned the shop when I ask what her bottom dollar was; she would only take $5.00 off when I pointed out the imperfection.

Love out of focus lights.

I spent hours trying to make glitter putz houses like the gorgeous ones on Pinterest. I have a cricut that I used to cut out the houses. They are cut from a light weight poster board, so they are not real sturdy. I decided not to glitter them because the glue was too heavy and wet, making the paper wrinkle.

I had planned a totally white village, but as I began to add some accessories, I liked  the bits of Christmas color that gave the vignette depth and interest. Can you tell that I have a thing for snowmen -- people?

When one of the guests left the party last night, she commented that she was leaving the present. I liked that. There ought to be some sort of grand metaphor that I could write about the gifts of life, enter my door and receive my gifts of love and friendship. I'll think about that, but I do not need to wrap my door to give those gifts.

We put a a star on the chicken coop. Somehow the picture on the box does not really represent what is in the box. None the less, the lights are pretty. 

                                         My gift to you: the joys of the season, peace, and love.
Well,  not bad for an iPad post. Not polished and perfect, tis the season when I ( we)  am lucky to post. I so enjoy seeing your Christmas and holiday traditions and celebrations. I keep reading and trying to post comments. My day just cannot get off to a good start without a cup of coffee and a visit to my favorite blog friends. 

Have a good week. Only 9 shoppings days left. Nope you are done.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Christmas Cheer

We are still in the grips of Winter Cold, sitting at a sunny -4 F. After having spent most of the week indoors last week, we ventured out yesterday do a bit of shopping and visit the granddaughters.  Are you finding the stores to be picked over already and the things that you really wanted are gone? I found that to be true the Monday after Black Friday, so I came home and finished my major shopping on Amazon. I feel so good. Now the baking will begin.

I do have more trips to town. I'll go today to do most of my shopping for the graduation party. I have discovered a wonderful place to get photo projects printed, as I discovered on Pinterest: Office Depot. I will share later my project for the girls 16x20 prints made at Office Depot. They charge $1.49 per foot, so two large prints were under $7. Suitable for framing. I had worried that my 12 pixel Canon was good enough for large prints. Surprise. So I will make another stop at OD to get a banner printed for the graduation party. Tonight baking: Ginger Moose and Ginger Chickens and Ginger Horses. Maybe some ginger people, too.

Here are my iPhoto shots of the week. A bit out of focus, but cheerful none the less.

Each year I buy a pair of poinsettias. I used to buy them from a little antique store here in town. Now I have to go to my favorite garden center. I chose the pink this year because my tree is pink and gold. 

And nothing says Merry Christmas like friendly, very friendly reindeer. Our neighbor actually owns the  reindeer. She bought them last year when the owner had to get rid of them. She works at the garden center, so I guess you could say that Bath Nursery has its own reindeer. They are very soft and oh such sweet creatures.

A country inn (in the middle of town) decorated for the holiday brings more Christmas cheer. Our UNC English faculty held its annual Christmas party there last Friday. I ventured out on such a cold night because my dear friend was being recognized for her retirement. 

We are in the final countdown. Lots to do in the coming days. I hope your days are filled with peace, joy, and good tidings of the season. Have a great week, everyone.

PS I am loving your Christmas traditions. 

Thursday, December 5, 2013


Yes, it's cold out there. Denver weather people have named this storm the Polar Freeze. And freezing it is. At 11:15 A.M. it is -4 according to iPhone weather app. Now that is cold, so I am staying in. Have lots to do to get ready for Christmas. Most of of my shopping is done. Can't believe that I did most of it on Amazon. I have the upstairs decorated--only took two days and the house just isn't that big, really. Now I will work downstairs to get it ready for company and do a bit of decorating. We have a busy holiday schedule. December 14 our resident college student will graduate from the University of Northern Colorado with a major in English and a film studies minor. She will work at Walmart until June when she take her solo trip to England and Germany to scout out graduate schools. Now how exciting is that! December 22 we hold our annual Santa part for the children, and then Christmas Eve. Lots of cooking from now on. I think I am tired already.

I have been trying to keep up with you all, commenting when I can. For now here is my parting shot taken on the iPad. I call it "Bird Sauna" or  "An Avian Margarita." You can barely see the stream rising.

Time to get back to work. Have a wonderful week end and if you are in the chill zone, bundle up.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Thanksgiving Prep

So are you up to your elbows in flour? Is the turkey defrosting? Are the little ones ready to go over the river and trough the woods to grandma's? Are the men planning out their football schedule? Perhaps there will be some shopping for the bargain seekers. Here, the first of the Amazon gifts have arrived. So easy. I tell the head gardener what to order and he does it.  

My dinner duties this year are simple: pecan pie, cranberry relish, and mashed potatoes. The pecan pie is a must, according to the family, especially the men. It is oooooy-gooey sweet. A once a year treat wish filled, especially with the price of pecans.

I came by the recipe years ago, 39 to be exact when we spent Christmas at my brother and new bride's house in Texas. My brother gave me his recipe to copy. I don't know if they bake the pie or not, but I have made the pie every year since.

I cherish the worn and torn patina of the recipe of the yellowed graph paper. Seems that every year it takes another spill. One year it nearly went up in flames. Just for safe keeping, I have a copy on the computer.

Done. One to perfection, one  not so, but it won't go to waste.

If you are traveling, travel safely, if you are cooking, rest your feet and back and call for back up when it comes time to clean up. 

                                                  Most of all, Happy Thanksgiving.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

What a Difference A Day Makes: Thank You Canada

Hello everyone. Yesterday we were riding around in the car looking for a TV console. The day was warm, sunny, calm, a balmy 55 degrees;   however, today just as the weather people predicted the Canadian Cold Front finally reached Colorado.  Thanks, guys. I rather enjoy these snowy days, especially now since I no longer have to get up before dawn and drive to work. I can sit at home and appreciate the beauty in the garden. Take a look:

We don't have much snow. Can you measure a skiff? An inch or two were predicted. Because the roads were warm and the temps dropped so dramatically, they are very icy today. The thermometer reads 16. BRRR.

More than frost on this aging, sagging pumpkin. 

With the garden put to bed for the winter, I am doing what I love to do in the winter. I am crazy over the colors in Elinore's afghan. I saw the colors in an afghan on Pinterest. The yarn is Caron 16 oz. skeins. It is not a very soft yarn, so hopefully once washed it will soften. I have one more set of colors to add then it will be finished.

I had plans for making the '70s Holly Hobby dolls for a couple of little girls, so I have the dresses made, but much more to do, including some handwork, but the dolls take a lot of time and I may not get them made.

I do have the flannel pjs made for the girls. The top one is little Lily's night gown. They turned out so cute. I have to buy more material to make pjs for the boys. 

So there you have it, a snowy day at the Garden Spot. Quiet, peaceful. Projects to finish, more to start. 

Next week, we will have Thanksgiving at Heather and James'--their first year to host. As the mom, I am being good not to offer all of my secrets and letting they discover and learn and plan all on their own. I will take pecan pie, fresh cranberry sauce,  and mashed potatoes. 

I'll be popping in no doubt with pie photos, but just in case I don't,  I hope you are all snugly and warm with dreams of Thanksgiving feasting.  And to our Canadian friends, we will gladly take your left over snow. 

Have a wonderful week end.

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...