Friday, February 21, 2014

Busy, Busy,Busy.

Hello folks. How was your week? This week literally flew by. Yesterday hubby and I spent the day in Denver with our grandson at his Science Fair. He was so hoping to win the first place cash prize; competition was very tough. He had said himself that he was proud to represent his school. He goes to a very small Lutheran school where he is doing so well. We are proud of you, Jacob. There is always next year. His next challenge: the Spelling Bee. He has been chosen to represent his school once again.

His project was a study on how to make paper. With the support of his mother, he made a variety of papers and wrote the report.

The moment of reckoning when it is time for each student to defend his and her research. The judges were tough.

The painting continues. Bridget is now working on the dining room/living room. Big walls, vaulted ceilings, crown molding and chair rail. By profession she is a roofer, this tiny blond woman. Not yet 40, she is also a widow and works very hard to make a living. She is my son in law's sister and together with their father they have their own roofing business. Just the three of them. So with poor weather, she is happy to come paint for me.

I took these photos on the iPad to take to the hardware store to get some help deciding on paint, so the quality isn't the best.

What a struggle it has been to decide on color. And to have the house in disarray. But I will love the results. Next on the to-do list: kitchen flooring. Now that we have Boone, carpeting will have to wait.

With a family reunion planned for summer, I have been obsessively searching my mother's family in Iowa. I have my great, great grandmother's Bible and last night I finished accounting for all of the names she had entered. I have boxes of photos, but no names. How disappointing is that? Another iPad photo of the old Bible with yellowed, brittle pages. I will post these photos to my family tree on once I get the story assembled.

For the newly painted kitchen, I wanted a table cloth and place mats, so I decided to sew them. The place mats need quilting and I am not too sure just how to finish them since I am not a quilter.

I need more practice to hone my sewing skills, especially if I want to do more quilting. I am even making friends with my serger.

Boone is making progress, slowly. He knows his name and I think he is learning not to jump up. He has stopped barking in his kennel at night and early in the morning, now sleeping all night, but ready to get out when hubby gets up about 5:30. He still needs to learn to tell us when he needs to go out, but we are working on that. 

I must direct to Casa Mariposa's post on pesticide riddled bedding plants and perennials purchased at local nurseries. If, as gardeners, we want to create wildlife sanctuaries, safe havens for everything from ants to zinnias, we need to arm ourselves with the best information we can find. So I am passing on her post the give you something to think about before you rush to the nursery to purchase your garden plants. Once you have read her post, think about my suggestion to start an blog plant and seed exchange where we will vow to share pesticide free and especially Bee safe plants and seeds. And there may already be such exchanges. Let's start sharing ideas to become more natural growers.

Today I return to the university to spend two hours in the Writing Center tutoring students with their 
Writing projects. I enjoy going back for a couple of hours each week to see old friends and to work with college students, which helps to ease missing my job.

The snow is nearly all melted. Perhaps spring really is on the way. Now we are in the windy season. I do not like wind. As I walk around the garden, I do see green. Right now the chamomile carpets the center circle. I have to decide if this wonderfully fragrant plant is indeed a herb or a weed. I wonder too how the tender little plants survive the sub zero temperatures that we suffered through a few weeks ago.

Time to start my day. I love your wonderful comments, but I enjoy even more visiting you.

Have a glorious week end.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Boone Doggle

How is everyone? Are we managing to get through winter in one piece? Once again our eastern and southern regions are in the grips of awful snow and ice storms. Here in Colorado out on the plains the weather is mellowing. The snowfall in the mountains, however, is being measured by the feet rather than by inches. Our weather people promise a warming trend by week's end. Believe me when I say that I am ready.

Well, for the last couple of posts I have been hinting at exciting news. As I posted on Facebook yesterday from the middle of nowhere as we drove though snow covered wheat fields, we were off on a boondoggle, often an expensive, wasteful project but done anyway and more often associated with policy. I had fun posting photos of the giant grain bins, the long road ahead of nothing but white, and the Welcome to Nebraska sign nearly 3 hours from home. Where were we going? Why were we in Nebraska?

From Ault, Grant, NB is 2 hours and 51 minutes away, but, of course, I had to stop at my favorite gift store in Sterling. A brief stop.

It is just a very small vet clinician a very small farming community that also takes in pets that owners have to surrender. They are no kill and make sure that if they cannot place the animal that it goes on to another no kill facility. Very clean. Very friendly staff.

Now, this is love at first sight. A man and his dog.

Hubby signs paper work and writes out the check under the close supervision of the office manager.

What a sweet face.

 When we lost Max last June, we were sure that we would never find another dog. We were not even sure that we wanted another dog. Hubby, however, began searching for a German Short haired pointer on Craig's list and the rescue sites. We did not qualify for a rescue dog because we do not have a fenced yard. As he searched for the perfect short hair, in each beautiful dog we saw sweet Max's face, for he was a pure bred short hair. Finding a short hair was a little painful. I finally told hubby that I wanted a puppy that we could start on our own, one that did not have all of the bad habits that Max had when hubby rescued him from the Greeley shelter. Already 11 months old with two previous homes, he was trouble for a long time. He was, though, the sweetest and smartest dog and companion for fourteen years. Then he found a litter of 5 pups at the vet  hospital in Grant, NB. The pups are a cross between a weimaraner and a short hair, both powerful hunting breeds. He is 14 weeks old with his birthday on Halloween. A perfect fit for the Head Gardener.

He has much to learn. Lesson 1:  Don't mess with old gray cat!

So there you have it, not a wasteful, useless project. Expensive, in the beginning, probably.  His full name: Boone Doggle, Boone for short. He will be checking in on the blog from time to time.

Oh, did I mention that hubby has gone back to work three days a week?

Today we worked on learning that the crate is a sanctuary, not a prison and to come when called. Both skills in progress. Oh and he got the message not to mess with grumpy old Country. A couple of swats made that lesson quite clear.

Wishing you sunshine and valentines.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

The Love Month

I started working on Valentines way back in January, wanting relief from the first of the year doldrums, wanting to leave all of the hurry scurry of the holidays behind, so I got busy making the Valentine bunting or garland for the fireplace mantle. I also made Valentine houses for the girls and grand kids which I have not yet finished. 

I began getting my records gathered for the tax accountant. Never a pleasant chore.

I also bit the bullet and signed onto to begin building genealogy for my mother's side of the family. While my father's side is finished back to the Mayflower thanks to my grandmother and aunt, the Eaton side has never been done. I have been obsessively searching for long, lost relatives with surprising success.

And last week had my kitchen painted, rather spur of the moment. I could write an entire post about the the 4 trips to Ace Hardware to get the correct paint. But I won't. I will say, however, that the folks at the Ace in Eaton, CO, are very nice people. So when the color that I chose did not work out, JT recolored it and said if we didn't get it right he would start all over with fresh paint. No charge. In other words this Ace will take back paint if it does not work. Bummed that Ace no longer carries my brand of paint, I was glad when Ace redeemed itself with a return policy. How cool is that? So the kitchen is painted. I love it. Flooring next.

Unless you live in California where folks are suffering through a terrible drought or in Florida when the  tropical sun shines nearly all the time (I think), you are in the grips of winter. While we have not had the tremendous amounts of snow that regions east of us have, we have had snow on the ground now for over a week with very cold temperatures. Yesterday it was a balmy 20 degrees; today it is foggy and 16 degrees.

I did venture out this morning to take photos of winter clinging to the trees and the landscape. I didn't stay out long; I just do not relish the cold much any more. Then I played a bit on Picasa.

While the other photos speak for themselves, you might be wondering why this old wheel is on top of the rock. I asked myself that question one day. The wheel leans against another boulder at the front point of the center drive-way garden. I will simple say that Elinore had visited.

Yesterday the snow glistened in the sunlight and the bunny tracks dissected the the pasture as the cottontails travel from the neighbor's windbreak where they make their home to our yard to scavenge underneath the bird feeders. Today the pasture is cold and gray, the bunny tracks erased by a bit of wind. 

Not fit weather for the delicate lady bugs.

I do hope that you are staying warm and cozy. Have a Happy Valentine's Day.

My next post will be exciting. Stay Tuned.

Have a fabulous week.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Part III Fav Photos

We have snow. Lots of snow. Not as much as on the east coast, about 6+ inches with more on the way. It snowed lightly yesterday morning a really fine, soft snow that sparkled and glistened like the artificial snow that I sprinkle on my Christmas village that has an iridescent glow about it. The Garden Spot looks like it has been sprinkled with glitter.

I went out tonight to photograph my little LED garden lights. You can see the sparkle in the snow. It really is quite pretty. I needed to use the tripod to get better focused shots. More snow on the way, and it is supposed to get really cold.

With the Garden Spot sleeping soundly under a blanket of snow, it is fun to look back to the sunny warm days of summer.

Let's begin our journey down memory lane in the far northeastern corner of Colorado at Anderson Wheat Farms. While I had fun shooting the wheat harvest, I also took photos of the old buildings on the farm and the some of the old machinery. The farm does not have livestock, so the barn stands only as a reminder of previous owners.

Old trucks and tractors bring back all of those nostalgic memories of our grandparents  who farmed with what seems to be pretty primitive farm machinery. Today with trucks that sport Sirius radio and GPS and tractors with on-board computers that can calculate nearly every vital statistic the farmer needs to know about his crop, we wonder how the past generations eked out a living.

There is something so classic and nostalgic about old trucks. I have fond memories of an old red 1950 chevy truck that I learned to drive in. While this one is older, it does rekindle memories my grandpa's old truck.

I think our hen house is one of the my favorite places here. I like the Texas star with the Hobby Lobby flag that is fading and will need to have it's color refreshed.While the hens can't see the embellishment, nor do they care much about such stuff, I like it.

This is a fav photo with holly hocks and the old hand cultivator with Head Gardener's hat and gloves. I took a lot of photos that day of the cultivator and the hat and gloves. I don't know if I ever put any of them on the blog.

Holly hocks grow wild here. So much so that they have been reduced to weed or nuisance level. We dig them out by the shovel fuels, but I do keep a few around because I like them, but I do not want them taking over. My favorite time at the Garden Spot is as the sun sets behind the Rocky Mountains casting a warm glow and long shadows on the garden. During the heat of the summer, the day has cooled and we go out to pull weeds, water, or just  lean on the fence and give thanks for the wonderful life we have here at the Garden Spot.

This photo was actually taken very late in the summer when the holly hocks should have died back, which they did, and then they had a second coming.

Another wild child, the Sunflower always pleases. I have a moratorium on digging up sunflowers. We get quite a varied collection of volunteer sunflowers. We never know what we will get until they bloom. I did plant some Teddy Bears last summer that failed to germinate. 

I can see my little dwarf cherry tree out the bathroom window. I do have quite a struggle with the robins. Last year they beat me to the fruit. It does not produce many cherries and each spring I expect it not to make through another winter. The trunk is looks pretty weak. We plan to plant a medium sized cherry tree this spring.

Granddaughter Elinore is a most creative little girl. She really does over step her boundaries sometimes when she is in her creative mode, but I just have to love her creative notions and then remind her that she should not rob the hen house to practice her art, that eggs are not craft supplies. With all of the trees on the property, we have a lot of nests that fall from the branches during wind storms, which I like to gather up. I don't know why, other than that the nests are such marvels of architecture And the birds have only their little beaks to build a water tight nest. Amazing. So the naturally colored  chicken eggs, a bit of weedy flower, and an old nest made a lovely little gift for this grandma.

Mid summer the two older granddaughters spent the week here so that they could go tothe vacation Bible school that the two local churches held for children. The circus also came to town with lions, tigers, and dogs. I should have taken a better camera. It was a rather sorry circus, I have to say; however, the girls loved the tigers and the trapeze girl.

I'd have to look up this rose name. It is not the same rose that I featured a couple of weeks ago. This one has a very tight, lovely flower. I photographed it in the living room with the lace curtain behind it before I planted it. I am sure that she will be glorious this summer.

If I were to describe life here at the Garden Spot, I'd say that it is "Just Peachy." We are enjoying those wonderful fruits that I worked so hard to can last fall. Hopefully our own trees will produce this year. One produced a couple of teeny tiny peaches last year, but the rest fell off. I was feeling pretty inadequate when someone else complained that the same happened to their peaches. I felt better--a bit.

Life here at the Garden Spot is also berry good. Another hope: more strawberries. They have been slow to produce. The best have been the ones Jen dug up from her garden when they built the addition to their home. So sweet and juicy. The black berries were disappointing as they got a beetle infestation. The little boogers wedged themselves inside the fruit and ate away. I think they were Japanese beetles, one that we had not seen here before.

Look at the boys running, their manes and tails flowing in the wind. Pop had only been here a couple of weeks. Horse lover that I am, (if you follow me on Pinterest you will see my passion), I take hundreds of photos trying to get the perfect picture of Sundance that I can frame as wall art instead of buying horsey framed art.

Now this is a classic photo. While Kevin Costner danced with wolves, Cousin Carol (60 something and comrade in horse obsession since we were kids) runs with horses. I call this photo "She who Runs with Horses." Probably the best photo of the summer for a number of reason.

With a bit of cropping and some more editing, this photo has possibility, but I want one that shows his wild streak in his eye.

We fondly call her Icky Nicky. Or the Head Gardener does. I love the pink echinacea. The Garden Spot will never have enough of these sumptuously pink pleasers. A nice way to end my Fav Photos 2013 series. 

So there you have it, a bit of a review of last summer. 

By week's end, I hope to have a big surprise for you all. Stay tuned.

Well friends, the Super Bowl game did not go well from the Broncos! first play. if you were watching. We lost. 40 something to 8. True Bronco fans know that the team had a record setting year none the less,  and there is always next year. Thank you for indulging my spirit, although I was surprised that many of you were rooting for Denver too. I had fun with the posts. 

Now life can go on. We have exciting things to look forward to: The Winter Olympics, Tax Prep, and Garden Planning. 

It'll be Spring before we know it! 

Thank you for visiting and leaving wonderful comments. 

I love reading them and then dropping by to see you. 

Have a fabulous 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...