Monday, March 31, 2014


We woke to cloudy skies Sunday morning, rather disappointing because I had wanted to work in the yard. On Saturday I began pruning the roses, but had a few interruptions and didn't get the job done. So Sunday was the day to get a lot done outside. And we did. While it was cloudy, the temperature was mild and we didn't have wind. Not like today: Sunny, windy, and cold.

Now that the weather is warming up, the inside projects will go to the back burner. Little crocheting, some sewing, a bit of scrap booking, but for the most part we will be in the garden. At long last.

Last Sunday we started tomatoes, a variety of peppers, broccoli, cabbage, squash, alyssum, and pansies. So far everything has sprouted except the pansies. Just by reading the label, I suspected that I might have trouble with them.

The little plants in all of the pots are growing so fast. Everyday there is new growth. We have the table set up in the east window of the living room where the seedlings get full value of morning sun. The grow light is set on a timer to come on early afternoon and goes off at about 10 PM. The living room is still pretty bare after painting more so because of Boone's propensity to grab anything and everything with a desire to chew it to pieces. So I will forgo curtains a bit longer. Luckily we are in the country and don't have window peepers.

Last fall we planted more new bulbs. I remembered planting tulips and daffodils and I vaguely remember buying dwarf iris. Look at these little beauties. They were such a surprise because I expected them to bloom later with standard iris foliage. I will have to dig in my records to see if I saved the label because, honestly, I do not remember what they are.

Whatever you are, your are beautiful.

What a mess at the front door step. The roses look so ratty.

Gertrude Jekyll grew so tall and unsightly. A cat or some critter knocked over my blue ball.

So here is the question I always ponder: how and when to cut back roses. My strategy has always been to prune in March when I see the first sign of new leaves and  to cut back at the point where the new growth green ends and the dead brown begins. So I began whacking away. Then after the fact as I toured Pinterest I began seeing several suggestions on how and were to prune. Too late. I haven't killed a rose yet; however, if I pay attention to where I prune when I deadhead the roses after first bloom, I might increase my buds. I'd like that.

Much better. I didn't even bother to photograph the other side because it is still a disaster area. The pond is full of snow melt water and the waterfall needs to be rebuilt because it has leak. 

The garden is all tilled. The Head Gardener got that chore done on Saturday. I decided that we needed to clean up the black berry that just grows wildly.

So the Mister started removing sod to make clean lines so that I have a nice flower bed. 

We were out in the garden working, when I told Mr. that something was missing. He wondered what. Max, I said. The old dog was always with us, along with Country the cat who is usually with us, too. The Head Gardener disappeared for a time and returned with Boone. He had a blast digging in the loosened soil behind Mr. as he dug sod. He especially loved the soft soil after it had been tilled. He is still very much a wild child and must remain on his check cord that is looped over a fence post until he learns not to run off. And that will be when?

Boone is up to 38 pounds now. Big. Strong. Funny. A real handsome handful, though. And he loves digging in the dirt.

Not to be left out of the activities, the hens do their digging, too, looking for grubs and bugs.

The sprinkler heads have been marked with yellow flags so that the front pasture can be seeded this week. The Head Gardener has tried to hand broadcast grass seed but because the seeds lay on the surface, the birds ate them all. So we have a true professional coming who will use a grain drill to plant new seed. Right now the pasture is bare in spots, weedy in others, and just ugly.

I set out to trim up the rambling blackberry, but decided that it was nearly impossible. I have forgotten if  it fruits on new growth or old canes. I finally decided it didn't matter and we gave a hard prune. It will either bear fruit or it won't, but I should know if it fruits on new or old canes by mid summer. Besides, I had a bug infestation on the few berries that it had last year.

As the canes grow this summer, I will have better control over zip tying them to the trellis.

Do you see it? Look very, very closely. Asparagus. One nice sturdy sprig on plant #1.

Plant #2 just might produce enough for one meal. The 13 plants we planted last year have yet to show their heads. Waiting.

Could not resist this rose. No name. It is one of those little super market gift roses--a green rose. I don't know if the center will be green or yellow or pink. I am hoping pink. Once I dead head it, it will be planted in the courtyard beside my other super market roses. I love them because they are small roses and look so pretty in little vases or nosegays that I like to make for the little girls.

And here is Heather as she sees her doll house for the first time. It was a great surprise party. She loved it. Thanks everyone for joining on the fun. 

So. I proclaim Winter to be gone for Northern Colorado with Lady Spring here, but still showing her bad temperament. March came in like a lion and seems to be leaving in the same manner. We have 60% chance of something--snow, rain, a mix with lots of wind this week. Some one asked where the lamb of spring is. We will be spending lost of time outside with so many projects to get done. We decided not plant so early; instead, working on the infrastructure of the garden. Next we will install our bean trellis made of hog wire, like we have talked about for how many years now? We still have weeks before we need to plant. Around here we say after Mother's Day to avoid any hard freezes on tender shoots. Our farmer friend who plants tomatoes by the acre plants the first of June, so we still have plenty of time.

What sort of time table are you on? 

Hope your have a great week in the garden. Thanks for stopping by.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

You're Invited

It's Heather's birthday today, our oldest daughter. I dare not say exactly old she is; however, she is the age that Jack Benny always professed his age to be. I am having a surprise birthday party for her and you are invited. So, go find a good place to hide--over there behind the door, or just around the corner, or behind the curtains maybe. Be very quiet. When your hear her log on in just a few minutes, be sure to holler "Surprise" just as loud as you can.

 After the first of the year, she begins reminding us and dropping little big hints that her birthday is just around the corner, along with a few gift suggestions. This year she asked for only one: that I restore her childhood doll house that I built from a kit years ago and never got finished. My immediate answer:
"That old thing? I had intended to throw it away when we cleaned the barn."  Instead I set about the task.

Once she out grew the doll house, it went from garage a to storage unit, where it was hidden way for 10 years or more. When wemoved here and had a barn, we emptied the storage and the little house has only collected more dust in the barn.

The glue dried out and many of the pieces fell off, but surprisingly, I think we had most all of the pieces.

It needed so much work, but structurally seemed pretty sound.

All cleaned up and vacuumed out, the house was ready for work.

Heather wanted a blue house with a yellow front door.

It is very difficult to repaint an old house already assembled. Lots of touch up work to do. Everything required two coats of paint or more. The project took up the entire kitchen. 

I replaced the old, flat  porch pillars with fancy new turned post from Hobby Lobby. The stairs are missing, so we will have to build new ones.

Mother sits on the front porch enjoying a cup of tea.

I don't remember if the original had ginger bread trim; this was an after thought, which really dressed up the little house.

Uncle has just come back from the garden.

Grandma and Grandpa spend time with the new baby. The living room doily also an ARC find.

I hope you have fun. The rest is up to you. I still need to install the front door and the stairs. Right now tape holds them in place.

The bathroom wall needs wallpaper. I used scrapbook paper that was actually cloth downstairs with modge lodge.  Another set of stairs will be in the bathroom.

The maid makes the bed.

Oh, by the way the porch table and chairs are only one loan.

Uncle always has lots of garden stories to tell.

The house also had to have shingles this time. I priced shingles at Hobby Lobby and by the time I bought shingles, dye, and glue--pretty pricey, so I thought time for Plan B--only I didn't have a Plan B yet.

I dug in my closets looking the vintage bathroom fixtures that I knew I had once upon a time. Luckily, I found them.

I have returned to a bad habit: thrift shopping. I come home with stuff I like but really do not need. So one of my trips to ARC, I hit the jack pot. A box of shingles along with the dolls, a modern sofa and chair, and the baker's rack on the porch. All for only $4.99.

There is one room left to finish with furniture, more interior paint, and more touch up work.

I think she just logged on.


Monday, March 24, 2014

Supermarket Spring

Here in northern Colorado we are still wondering when Spring will come to full life. In walks around the yard I see signs. The daffodils and tulips are slowly pushing their way through the soil, seeking sunlight. I woke to cloud covered skies which finally produced a skiff of snow that melted quickly. The day remained cold. I have been cold for days.

So while we wait for Spring to complete her enterance, it is hard to resist the beautiful spring flowrers in the supermarket.

I really need to stay out of the thrift stores because I always find cool stuff, like this little pitcher. Smaller than the first one I bought, this one is perfect for a handful of daffodils. I can't wait to fill it with lilacs in May.

BY the way, how do you like the quality of this unedited iPhone photo? Not too shabby. 

I hope that you are having a good week. 

Thanks for stopping by.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Three Cheers: It's Spring!

Officially, it is Spring. Here is a sweet super market bouquet for you along with an Emily Dickinson poem.  While today was warm and wonderful, the weather lady predicts cold and snow for the week end. So much for working out in the yard. I hope you had a delightful day celebrating the changing of the season.

clr gif
A Light exists in Spring
Not present on the Year
At any other period —
When March is scarcely here

A Color stands abroad
On Solitary Fields
That Science cannot overtake
But Human Nature feels.

It waits upon the Lawn,
It shows the furthest Tree
Upon the furthest Slope you know
It almost speaks to you.

Then as Horizons step
Or Noons report away
Without the Formula of sound
It passes and we stay —

A quality of loss
Affecting our Content
AsTrade had suddenly encroached
Upon a Sacrament.

Emily Dickinson

Have you noticed that white pitchers are in this season. They are turning up all over Pinterest and the decorating and gardening magazines. I found this one at ARC. Cheap. $5.99 and the little candy dish or sugar bowl. I do need to stay out of thrift stores.

Happy Spring.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

In the Mood

We had a glorious week end with lots of sunshine. The spring bulbs are emerging from their long winter's sleep. We planted new bulbs last fall, so I am anxious to see them. Last spring the tulips and early daffodils were ruined by heavy, wet snow in April along with hard freezes, an unusual April. Today we have wind: cold, loud, bringing with it a skiff of snow which is supposed to turn to rain. I had planned on pruning roses and cleaning flower beds today.

We made our first trip of many to the garden center, Ft. Collins nursery. Planting early seems risky since we can get freezes as late as May. So we hold off until Mother's Day to plant the tender greens, even the garden although we could plant lettuces, carrots, red beets and even potatoes now. We planted peas early last year, but had bad luck perhaps because we soaked them first. Every year we say will do things different. Nor did our trip to Texas help when we planted the garden late and then left. This year we will be home paying attention. Their new spring offerings that have been forced to bloom early are so tempting.

 I want one of those, that one, a couple of. . . .You get the idea.

The primrose and ranunculus  are gorgeous, so big and healthy. 

We wondered through the indoor selection. The cacti caught my husband's eye, while I drooled over the fairy gardens and ended up buying a little fairy and a couple of little plants to make a small terrarium. How do you tell yourself "no?" 

I loved the spring bulbs. Such a delightful display of spring color. 

Love this! Caribbean Jewels: Sapphire Blue

A geek for pink, my heart skipped beats at this little red wagon display.

We eventually made our way to the tree sections outside. A nice young man greeted us. I asked to see the eastern red buds. They hadn't arrive yet, he didn't think.  We wandered back to the greenhouse.

Then back to the trees.

The nice young man told us that they had some of last year's red buds and he brought us 3 to look at. With the old weeping willow by the garden gone, we decided to plant cherry trees, so we bought two of these semi dwarf mesabi cherry trees and one eastern red bud. I have had red buds before and they seldom made it through winter. Jeremy gave us good ideas on how to plant to the tree. It will go in our center circle underneath a canopy of aspens and pines; however, Jeremy said that the aspen suckers will take all of the water from the red bud, so we must dig a larger hole when we plant it, making sure that we dig out any aspen sucker roots. And we must remember to water it over a dry winter. The red bud was $79 with 20% off. 

I had hoped to prune roses and clean flower beds today. The week isn't over yet, but the weather has been too cold to get out and work. I gave the Head Gardener his marching orders, though: get the Ez-Go ready for work. He changed the oil, checked the rear end then loaded it with my tools. He scoffed when I first requested a golf cart after our first summer here to help tote my tools, but we use it all the time. Boone had his first lesson riding the golf cart. Max learned that it was easier to ride than to run along side. As for Boone, it will be years before he is off leash to run any where.

Despite the wind and the cold today, we are in the mood to garden. We have our system set up for starting seeds. Not very attractive in the living room, but we decided to put the plants where we will be sure to keep a good eye on them. We will plant the seeds in the next few days.

So, are you in the mood? Silly question, huh? 

The granddaughters are on spring break. They have invited me to go the the aquarium in Denver tomorrow to see the mermaids. Friday I will spend the day with them to give the baby sitter--their other grandma--a nice long week end. 

Hopefully the weather will warm up and we can get on with the work outside. 

Have a wonderful week. Thanks for dropping by.

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...