Sunday, January 25, 2015

Seeing Red

Oh yes, the January Blahs are still with us. I haven't been taking photos outside
 because this is what I get: Brown--light brown, dark brown, tan, gray. Boring.

The vegetable garden is a massive mess. Sorely neglected last year just because we were so busy, the garden didn't do well; weeds thrived, tomatoes got away from us, and most of the other plants just barely survived. Generally at the end of the gardening season, the Head Gardener is out there with rake and tiller cleaning up the garden to ready it for the next year. Looks as though we both have a lot of work as soon as it warms up.

One of my To Do items will be to take out this rambling blackberry. We built this wonderful trellis just so that it would have a place to climb, but the plant is most uncooperative and unproductive, so it will be dug out. I am thinking that we will plant it out in No Man's Land, east of the hay field where we seldom venture. If it produces there, great. If not, no matter. Instead I will plant sweet peas and start a clematis to climb on the trellis.

There will be quite a bit of clean-up in the court yard, too. The water fall has always leaked, so I hope we can tear it down and rebuild it leak free. Most of the plant material is in, though I may add a some annuals this year. I want to refine the fairy garden, which I have put away for the winter.

Pond side, literally, we will work on landscaping and building this little garden. I have a few ideas. I would like to add one of those sweet little crooked trees. Nothing tall, but a touch of drama. I would like to design some sort of Japanese or Asian garden. Any suggestions? The pond still needs a lot work.

The trashcan filter froze late last fall, so now the water just circulates through the pump and hoses without the filter, so the HG will build a new filter. We are rethinking the waterfall too,  eliminating the little pool at the top if it.

Patches of snow and ice remain despite what the weather people are telling us. It is supposed to get up into the 60s. Really? Haven't seen the sun in two day. 

I called to Sundance, so he steps out from eating breakfast to say "HI." I called Pop,too, but he didn't come out to see me. I went in the barn to check on him. He was busy eating Sundance's breakfast, after having eaten all of his. 

Inside, it is warm and cozy and we are seeing lots of red and pink these day. Last year I made this paper Valentine bunting for the fire place. (You can see last year's decoration in the header). I changed things up a bit this year.

I told Jen that when we went thrifting again that I wanted to find a cherub or a Cupid to add to the Valentine scene. She reminded me that I had two cherubs in the bathroom. My mom made them in her ceramics class years ago. I have candles in them in the guest bath. The little vase does hold special meaning because my dear friend gave it to me when I was recovering from a badly broken ankle. 

One of my thrift finds this apothecary jar makes a perfect nesting place for a sweet little bird sitting on her Valentine chocolates. (That way they are out my reach--too much trouble to dig them out.)

This sweet lady dreams of her Valentine.

Instead of dollhouses, last year I built paper houses using my cricut machine. I made them for my daughters, granddaughters, and  friends. Now I am on to bigger houses.

Red was my mother's favorite color. Me. I love pink. I never decorated for Valentine's when I worked. I always loved Valentine's because it is a celebration of pure love. I don't know if school children still have Valentine parties at school when they make the Valentine mail box and exchange Valentine's. I hope so. 

This year I added a bunting to the kitchen window. I sewed these cloth hearts from my stash of scraps and fat quarters, using buttons and ribbons and bits of lace to decorate the hearts. They don't hang quite as straight as I imagined, but they do add a nice spot of red to the kitchen.

So while it is brown and blah out in the garden, inside it is warm and red and pink and cheerful as I hide away in my basement amusing myself until we can get out and get to working the garden.

I am working on a fun project now, inspired by things I see on Pinterest. I have printed photos on muslin of the girls and am trying to figure out how to embellish them and then frame them in old metal frames.

The printing process has been fairly easy. While directions that I found said to iron the fabric to butcher paper, I just taped my fabric to card stock with blue painter's tape and printed as I would on paper. I am using a $40 Walmart HP printer that I have had for years, so if the printer heads get clogged, no big deal. There are other ways to transfer photos to fabric, but I have taken the easy way out, hoping that they turn out. I printed the bottom ones in sepia, so they are very ethereal and vintage looking, which I like. But the color photo has that same ethereal vintage look as well. 

I will be joining Judith @ Lavender Cottage for Mosaic Monday, so I hope you take time to pop over there to see the other cool mosaics. I have found it so much fun to read new blogs and a few are discovering the Garden Spot. That is always fun.

I hope you have a great week. Nothing special planned here. We will celebrate Jacob's 12th birthday next week end, so I will be planning a little party for him. If the temperatures really do warm up then we can get outside and do badly needed tiding up. If not, you can find me here sorting buttons, bows, and old photos. 

Thanks so much for stopping by. I love reading your comments.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Walking with the Eagle

Tomorrow I will remember my father for it will be his birthday, so today's post I dedicate to his memory.

I have reconnected with an old childhood chum through FaceBook. Mary has written her memoir You Fall Off, You Get Back On, (available on Amazon) which I can't wait to read. Now as she contemplates writing a novel, she asked her FaceBook friends to comment on their fathers, her own father a WWII war hero and Japanese prisoner of war. Thus I am inspired to honer my own father today.

Born in Washington, Kansas, January 19, 1917, Harry
Duane 's early life began on a Kansas farm, probably his grandparents' farm homestead.

The back of this photo names 2 year old Duane behind his father's 2 ton team  

I could write so much about my father and his accomplishments. As child he was probably a prodigy reading at a very young age. His mother interested in horticulture and nature taught him to love, respect and nurture nature which he passed  to me. As a youngster, guided by his mother, he raised butterflies and moths in his bedroom and had a rather large collection of butterflies. I once asked him why he tolerated those awful horned tomato worms. He had a simple solution. Leave them alone, plant a tomato bush for them because they turn into the hummingbird moth. This passion helped him develop his reading skills, no doubt. Dad was a story teller, telling the tales of his youth rich in humor and morality.

One of my favorite photos of dad show him as a pensive young man, much like the pensive man I knew as a father.  

Dad was probably in second grade when his family moved from Kansas to Lakewood, Colorado. He graduated from the University of Denver with a degree in Chemistry in 1944.  I have letters that he wrote to his parents as he sought his first job, attending a job fair in Kansas City, MO, where he landed his first job which took  him to Providence, Rhode Island. He then went to work in a munitions plant in Des Moines, Iowa where he met my mother. He told stories of those days and of his work in the factory that made ammunitions for the war effort. Dad didn't serve in WWII because he was nearly blind in one eye. He did tell how he tried to fake the eye exam for the military physical, but was caught and thus turned down for military duty.  After he and mom married, they moved to Lakewood where he joined his father's egg and poultry business. 

I was about to enter my third year of college when dad announced that I was on my own financially and would therefore have to borrow money to finish college because he was returning to DU to get his teaching certificate. So I went to the bank and borrowed money to finish my college degree. For a short time there were three of us attending college, me, my brother, and my dad. Dad graduated with his teaching certificate in Math, and while he did have two teaching assignments he found that working as a substitute teacher suited his lifestyle more than a full time job.

Dad loved the outdoors. He hunted, fished, rode trail bikes, and snowmobiles. He tended his small acreage and raised a wonderful garden. When my friend asked us about our fathers, I responded with the three most important lessons that he taught us: Life is isn't fair. When we would whine or complain or dare to argue against his parental authority using the argument that his decision wasn't fair, he had a simple answer: Life isn't fair. I passed that lesson on to my own children. 

He was an educated man; therefore, so his children would be, too, and all three have college degrees. I knew as a very young child that I was college bound because he talked about the money that he was saving for our college found. In 1965 when I graduated high school before the feminist movement,  women had few choices. Most were married in June following graduation and some went onto school to become teachers, nurses, or secretaries. I never questioned him about schooling. I knew better.

His final lesson came very late in life. One day he asked me what money was for. I pondered, not quick to answer because I knew that whatever I said wouldn't suit him. He answered: Some think money is to spend, to buy cars and gas, and groceries. Oh, yes we need those things, but money should be used to make more money. He was a saver and an investor and wise with his money, for which I am most grateful today.

He passed June 11, 1998 5 years after by-pass surgery, leaving a legacy of values he learned as a result of being raised by parents who barely survived the Great Depression, endured WWII,  and lived the post WWII American dream when he and mom worked hard and raised their  children with that tough Life isn't Fair philosophy. 

Happy Birthday, dad.

A Walk with the Eagle

We took Boone for his first away from home walk yesterday along the Cache la Poudre River on the walking trail that goes for miles and miles and miles. Boone did very well with his heal and sit lessons along the way. At home he is full-speed around the yard chasing the doves and rabbits. He is not one to be contained or leashed for long. Thus he wore Max's old harness with the leash hooked on. What a rodeo performance he put on when the Head Gardener fitted it to him for the first time. All geared out with his harness, tags, and even an electronic collar, Boone behaved on the leash. When we left home, it was 47 F degrees, but by the end of the walk we were ready to shed winter hats, coats, and scarves. I am looking forward to more walks along the trail in the spring when the migratory birds have returned. 

We saw one eagle. He allowed us walk right under the tree where he regally perched. Bald eagles are no longer a rare sight here during winter, for they migrate from Alaska and Canada specifically to northern Colorado. None the less, knowing that they were nearly extinct at one time, it is still a thrill to see them and to be able to get close enough that with the aid of a telephoto zoom I can capture good photos.

Here we are, now, on the downside of January. We have had a snowy and cold month, but winter is just gearing up, I fear. Here in Colorado, actually, March is our month that promises the most moisture be it snow or rain. February will be all warm and lovey with Valentine's Day. 

So today I will entertain myself. The HG has gone to Denver to a sportsman show. I will make a valentine bunting for the kitchen.

I hope you have a wonderful week.

Thanks for joining me. I always love reading your comments. You can see my mosaic and others when you visit Lavender Cottage with this week's Monday Mosaics hosted by Judith. Better yet, make your own mosaic and join the fun and make new friends. I use Picasa (the free version) for my mosaics.

Sunday, January 11, 2015


From shaggy horses looking unkempt in
their winter coats to. . .
January seems to draw out the restlessness in wayward gardeners who can't get their hands in warm spring soil. I can see that restlessness in your words as you write about January, cooped up in your house, desperately wanting  needing to be outside in the warm sunshine. Oh, we have had sunshine here, but the temps are cold, hovering below freezing with another bout of bitter cold on its way to the plains of Northern Colorado.

As I write today's post, the Head Gardener is upstairs on his computer. As I cleaned up the breakfast dishes, he kept coming into the kitchen to check the calendar. He asked what day Mother's Day was. I got all warm and fuzzy. He was planning something special? Or planning a fishing trip with his buddies? Wrong on both counts. Even he has that January restlessness. He was planning his planting guide. Having planted potatoes so late last year and failing to get the garlic in, he has a plan for 2015: Garlic March 20th, potatoes April 20th. I feel better. He has a plan. We buy potatoes early then wait to plant them for who knows why when actually I do believe that when those early sets appear in the garden centers they can go in the ground then well before they rot in the bag.

. . .frost covered trees and crusty, dirty snow,
leaves little to brag about.
Raise your hand if your gardening plan begins to take shape in January?

With crusty, dirty, old snow hiding a layer of ice underneath from the thaw/freeze cycle here, just walking across the lawn can be perilous. So I have retreated to my basement work area where I sew, craft, work on the dollhouses, write. I can last another month or so.

The little granddaughters were here yesterday. They always want to craft. I have been sewing, so they decided to make something too. They are rather specific in what they want make until an new idea pops into their little heads and then "Grandma, let's make this…." 5 minutes into the first project. The biggest challenge, then,  is keeping them focused long enough to finish a project.

Lucy wanted to make a blanket for Ellie, so I dug in my stash of flannel so that she could make a blanket big enough to wrap Vern the teddy bear in. I had her iron out the wrinkles. She was rather wary of the heavy, hot iron, but I convinced her that she could iron, cautioning her to keep her hands away from the hot metal. "But grandma. . . ," she tried to whine. "Hey, look," I said, "when I was your age [6] I was ironing all the clothes. That was back when clothes had to be ironed." I got a rather blank stare in return, but she did manage to iron her flannel flat. I turned and pressed the hem, then showed her how to use the sewing machine.  I explained to both of the girls that using the foot control was much like pushing the accelerator on the golf cart, which they have both driven: the harder you push, the faster it goes, so don't push too hard. Both girls did very well. I'd show you Ellie's project, but I took her photos on her mom's camera and didn't get them downloaded.

I think that is very important to teach children to iron and sew and bake and clean. The home arts are getting lost in modernization. Children have so little clue or interest in creating, making, or doing. Ellie made a lace edged cape for her sister that required a button. She came up with idea and with some help, Lucy went home with a cape.

Today's photos were taken by the girls' mother. She got a new camera, a Canon Rebel, for Christmas.  She thought I should be outside taking photos of the hoar frost covering the landscape, too, but as I told her, I have dozens of hoar frost photos. And then there is the little Miss Frozen Princess in her Anna dress, a nice contrast to the cold, frozen, ice covered landscape.

And so this all I have to write about today. The Broncos play the Colts at 2:40 this afternoon. I don't know why I get so anxious about a silly game, especially since I probably won't be watching much of it. I have laundry to fold and a messy craft area to clean up.

I am not sure what the week will bring. I have finished Drums of Autumn and will go to the library to get the next book in the Outlander series this week. I do hope that you have a good week planned.

Thanks for dropping by. I love your comments, too.

Be sure to visit Judith at to see this mosaic and all of the other cool mosaics posted. 

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Time Travel and other Adventures

For some odd reason I am really struggling with this morning's post. I actually wrote my Mosaic Monday post last night, but I didn't like it last night and I didn't like it even more this morning.  The Year in Review thing just isn't working for me because as I go through my photo library of hundreds if not thousands (but who's counting) of photos, I am having a very hard time selecting which photos best represent last year.

So I decided to start by looking forward because it seems a bit more manageable to look at the next few months.

I will be doing a lot of reading. I am half way through book 4 in the Outlander series. My dear friend has read all eight books in the series twice, if not more, insisting all the way that I should read them. After watching the Starz mini series last summer, I was hooked. Clair, a nurse in WWII gets launched back in time to 1745 Scotland and there her adventures begin when she marries the handsome clansman Jamie Frazier. The books are lengthy, 600-800 pages each, so they require long periods of non-stop reading. Okay by me on these snowy days.

My reading list also has a plethora of catalogs that feed my passions, some coming unsolicited. These will do until the gardening catalogs begin next month. I am working on dollhouses, so of course, I study the Miniatures.Com catalog. Now looking for lights for the farmhouse that I am renovating.

After seeing Diane's Madame Alexander 18 inch dolls on her blog other other day, I am thinking that perhaps. . . .? Maybe? The American Girl Doll catalog intrigues me, but I am leaning towards the Madame A doll.

Speaking of dollhouses. The ballet studio needs it roof shingled. 

 I purchased this farmhouse at an antique-junk store. Don't ask me why. I just had to have it.

I feel like the HGTV show Rehab Addict with the pretty, perky blond woman who buys old houses destined to be razed for $1.00 and restores them to their original grandeur. I am neither pretty, perky, nor blond, just an aging woman reverting to her childhood. 

Once the old walls are stripped and sanded, I will feel that I have accomplished something. I am also working on the electrical system, thus the catalog page turned to light fixtures. You can catch up on my dollhouse adventures on my other blog Anns Dollhouse Dreams. I haven't spent much time with that blog. I need to work out some Google bugs. If you sign on, your comments are emailed to me so that I can keep up with the one or two followers who  have probably given up on the blog since I don't post to it regularly.

My dear friend sent me a box full of her departed aunt's hankies. I have seen those beautiful hankies made into Barbie dresses on Pinterest, so I have grand plans of doing the same. So grand daughter Lucy and I hit ARC Friday to look for suitable Barbies. We came home with several @ 99 cents apiece. I wonder how these dolls end up in the thrift store. I picture some college age girl home for the holidays becoming nostalgic for her childhood best friend Barbie and goes on a frantic search of the basement storage looking for her childhood dolls. When she can't find them, she asks her mom where there are. Donated. What? She cries, yells. Swears never to forgive her momma. Oh please. However, I do have my first Christmas doll, Susie. I understand. So if Barbie is lucky, she will be rescued by an old lady who was too old for Barbie in 1959.

She will look smashing in this pretty pink gown.

Crocheting always remains on my TO Do List. I made dozens of the fingerless gloves as little gifts for friends. The dark blue pair will go to my son-in-law's sister. When she saw what I was crocheting, she raved about how perfect a pair would be for her job. Another pretty, perky, little blond woman who is a roofer, working along side her dad and brother.

Looking Back over the best of 2014:

 Sunny days with golden horses with sweet little girls.

And pretty pink summer flowers

Sweet Berries and Golden Butterflies

Lions, Tigers, and Bears, too.

And a new puppy joined the Garden Spot Crew
Boone Doggle, a rescue pup half German Short Hair Pointer and part 
A rescue pup, one lucky dog, I'd say.

We said a sad good-bye to dear, sweet companion Country who had been with us for 18 years.

And then woke up one morning to see that the Gnomes had taken over the Toad Abode.

It was a year to get some projects done:

The water feature began to take shape

And the old patio was transformed into a beautiful pergola

The house got painted and what a chore that was.

There is plenty to do today: I'll put way the Christmas Cheer. All the pretties will go back in their boxes and crates for another year.


I'll take time to enjoy the little things in life this year like the joy of watching the winter birds at the backyard feeder, spending time with the grandchildren, and maybe we can take a trip or two. Certainly work hard in the garden, hoping to do better this year. Staying healthy, counting blessings, helping others, being kind and loving and trying not to get so depressed if the Broncos don't make it to Super Bowl or worse lose if they do, praying that our leaders can make our lives safer and simpler--well I can hope, can't I?

To you my dear readers and friends, I wish the same for you: happiness, joy, peace, tranquility. That you keep busy and that your garden grows sweetly and with good cheer.

Thank you so much for visiting today. Join us at Lavender Cottage for Mosaic Monday hosted by Judith to see more great mosaics.

Happy New Year. 

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...