Monday, May 25, 2015

More of the Same: Watching and Waiting

I am beginning to sound like a broken record: No sun this morning. More rain on the way. We have plants waiting in wings to be planted and the garden will be late. Worse off are our farmer friends out east who have not yet been able to plant their 100 day corn. They are running out of time for the corn crop. Yet with all the rain, the country is as green as the Irish countryside. Trees are still budding out, slowed down by the cold temperatures and I think the May flowers are behind schedule too. 

Today's post will be short as we have over night company coming. So I will leave you to enjoy Monday's Mosaics. Be sure to join Judith at Lavender cottage for more.

First mosaic: A twist on the classic pretty little girl picking dandilions: our little Lily waiting for her turn to ride Pop.

And finally, the wait is over. The iris have begun to bloom.

A quick shot with the iPad. A  quick post from the iPad. I will be back later in the week when life has slowed down a bit.

On this Memorial Day take a moment to say a prayer for our men and women in uniform and for those who gave their lives to uphold freedom.  Actually, I know that you don't need reminding. Enjoy your day and thanks for stopping by. 

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Just a Little Batty

I find myself out of sorts a bit tonight, so I decided to write a late week post to see if I could cheer myself up. Generally I am a cheerful person, cup always half full, the sun will come out tomorrow type person. I still am, but I am just in one of the moods. We have had cold, cloudy weather for all of the month of May. Not just cold, but lots of rain, too. I don't keep track of the inches that we have received, but let me say that we have a enough.

We really must be grateful for the rain because we have had a long drought and once it does stop raining and the sun does come out it will be blistering hot and we will be begging for the rain to return as we see our lawns start to burn up and the flower beds wilt. (Feeling better already).

Why don't you put on your Willies and join me outside in the rain.

Mud volleyball, anyone? 

You've heard the saying ?Mad as a wet hen"? I'd say the girls have reason to be a bit irate.

The pond is full to nearly running over. It has been so wet and muddy that we have not been able to do any yard work nor gardening.  Finalizing the the rock around the pond and doing some landscaping were at the top of the Spring To-Do list.

Wet prairie grass. 

Wet sedum

The clematis in front of the house looks so beautiful with huge blooms thanks to the rain.

The snowball bushes are just beginning to bloom.

I like this photo. I was trying to layer it with the snowballs in focus and the blue spruce in the background all blue and shiny and wet.

Even Fat Cat Mo looks cold and grumpy with the crummy weather.

The pasture is rich and green. The boys love the tender, wet grass but I remember how sick it made Sundance last spring when he ate too much, so we are keeping them off the pasture when it is wet. A horse with a belly ache is not a pretty sight.

In my last post I had this robin picture up at the top. I should have given it a bit more narrative. On the left is the original taken from my living room window with my telephoto lens. Not the best quality because of the blurriness on the side, but a handsome Robin Red Breast. I put the photo into Waterlogue on my iPad with very good results, I think.

And another wildlife rescue. I took quite a beating on Face Book when I posted pictures of our rescued bat safely contained in a cat carrier in front of the lit fireplace. If there were an EEEEWWWW/ICK/GROSS rating, this story would have rated at the top.

 The Head Gardener puts Boone in his outdoor kennel during the day since we don't have a fenced yard. After taking Boone out yesterday morning, he came back and told me that he had found a bat in his food bucket that had rain water in it. He said he put the bat on a post out of the rain, but I thought that the little guy should be in the barn.  It was soaked and so cold that it was very stiff.  Really, I thought it would die. After taking this photo, I told the HG that we should take him--it--in the house to warm it up. So we put him in the cat carrier that still had wood shavings in it for the fledgling doves that fell out of their nest last week. Their flight lessons didn't go so well, so to keep them safe from both the dog and cat, the HG but them in the cat carrier for a couple days. Once he released them, they were able to fly to the nearby pines where they would be safe.

Back to the bat. We brought him into the house, turned on the gas logs, and placed the cat carrier in front of fire place. In about half an hour the little guy had warmed up and climbed up the side of the crate where he found a comfortable spot to hang out and sleep. He slept all day.

By evening the cat crate was removed to the barn with the door left open so that the bat could leave when he was ready. And he did.

Now what is so eeeewwww about that? 

Some Bat Facts:

  • Only true flying mammal
  • Second largest mammal order after rodents
  • They are pollinators and disperse fruit seeds, too (did not know that)
  • They eat insects, 1,000 mosquitoes per hour, so during night shift with overtime each bat could consume as many as 10,000 mosquitoes. If he brings his family along, well adios mosquitoes.
  • They live world-wide, excluding the Arctic, Antarctic, and a few ocean islands. (source Wikipedia)

Other than misleading folklore that surrounds bats and the eeeewww creepy factor, bats do carry rabies. This little guy was so cold and stiff he had no fight in him, and the HG was very careful in handling him.

We save a lot of critters around here just because to do so is the right thing to do whether is it a snake or a toad trapped in the window well, a baby bunny lost from its mommy, a less than desirable bird, or feral cat, there really isn't a good reason not to show compassion for nature's creatures. Apparently others think otherwise. 

With the bad weather, I am spending a lot of time on the dollhouse. I have been thinking about what sort of  young woman might live in the old farm house. Looks like I might have my answer. The Pullip sisters stopped by to get a look at the bedroom that I have been working on. They are pretty picky creatures with a quick eye for the mistakes I have made, and let me tell you they don't hold back with pointing out the imperfections. I think they expect me to lower the rent. 

I caught them trying out beds that aren't even in the house. Who do those girls think they are?

Okay. After a bit of writing therapy and a bit whimsy, I am feeling better.  If you want to read more about the dollhouse and the Pullips, drop by Ann's Dollhouse Dreams in a day or two to see what the girls are up to. 

I'll be back on Monday with a the grand kitchen reveal. And perhaps reports of sunshine. Maybe we can get out in the garden. States side, enjoy your Memorial Day weekend. Camping trip for us has been postponed due to, yeah the weather. 

Thanks for visiting.

Sunday, May 17, 2015


You have heard this before: I am on chore duty, which means that I have to watch over everything while The Head Gardener has gone fishing. You have seen the photos of the horses eating, the chickens pecking, the grass growing, and my jokes about shopping when he is gone. I'll spare you that story.

I do wish I had more to share on the garden other than my continual Weed Rant. I'll spare you that misery, too.

In fact the weeds are doing quite nicely, thank you, given the amount of rain that we have been receiving. So I have been watching them grow out of control. Snow last Sunday, only one sunny day last week, and lot of rain with more on the way. Threats of hail. Tornado warnings.

The weather guy breaking into my fav afternoon soap opera just when the story is getting good with ominous reports of hail in other parts of the state miles away and harsh tornado warnings along with reminders of what to do: go inside; go to basement; stay away from windows. Blah Blah Blah. I liked my mother in law's storm warnings better.

The tile installer worked most of the day yesterday installing the back splash in the kitchen. She will return this morning to finish the installation then return tomorrow to do the grouting. So after she left yesterday, I went for a walk down town, visiting the little antique shops on main street. I hurried a bit on the way home to avoid the rain that was on its way.

On my way home I watched the storm clouds. My mother in law was a watcher of clouds. She could  tell where the storm was coming from, how severe it would be, and where it would go--all before the sophisticated Dopler and satellite storm tracking. Me? I just like looking at the clouds. I used my iPhone to get a few shots of the clouds as they rumbled and tumbled by.

I like thunder storms. I like to hear, even feel the thunder. Lightening, not so much. I like to watch the clouds swirl and turn--as long as they don't send down the ominous fingers that could stretch into funnel clouds. Time go inside then.

 You can see the distant rain as it falls on fields west of us still waiting for corn to be planted. The clouds gather over the school and the football field.

East of the Garden Spot, a thunder head forms. Not a very angry one--yet. It's headed my friends out in northeastern Colorado.

Down my road the sky looks clear, I heard distant thunder.

I watched Lily Thurdsay. Just as I was getting ready to leave at the end of the day, a beautiful rainbow appeared. Lily, nearly 3, had never seen a rainbow and declared it "Beautiful." Rainbows are the big payoff after a storm, aren't they?


I  watched the girls and momma work in their Fairy Garden at the end of the day, too. It is located in a shady spot underneath the upper deck. They have built quite a village. Take a stroll with me through their little fairyland.

Outside the deck, Jen has planted a Korean Lilac. Similar to my Miss Kim, it has smaller, more delicate leaves, fuller blooms, and a more whimsical look. 

I think Lucy took this photo, so it is a bit out of focus. The girls were working on the river bed.

An expert thrift shopper, Jen looks for interesting pieces on the bargain shelves to add to the fairy garden, and she finds interesting rocks, stones, and old wood camping that she adds to the garden.

We tried to decide what sort of bird built this nest because it looks like a nest within a nest. I am thinking that the top one is a hummingbird nest. How cool is that!

See the little mushroom? The girls painted wooden drawer pulls to create those delightful forest mushrooms.

 I think my favorite item so far in the garden is the little bunting that Jen made.

And a May Pole

Even a clothes line with fairy tutus/

And a classic red phone booth.

Finally I am bird watching. Generally we hear the new birds to the garden first. Sometimes I know them  by their song, other times I spot the migrating warblers by their movement in the aspen trees in the center circle. Right now the aspens, as are many other trees, are seeding. These tiny birds feast on the aspen seeds and bugs, filling their little craws so that  they make the flight to the mountains. Some even fly far into Canada, so my Canadian friends keep an eye out for these sweet singing little birds.

I added this photo so that you can see how hard it is photograph these tiny birds. They flit amongst the branches and leaves so quickly that it is really hard to get a good shot. I use my Canon Rebel with a 75-300mm telephoto lens and try to get as close as I can without scaring them way. 

I want to say the top is a Yellow Rumped Warbler, but I am not able to find one on the Audubon site that has a white throat. There are a couple of species that have these similar marking.  Below, a Yellow warbler that was flirting around the honey locust tree, and perhaps a Nashville warbler, which I just could not get a good photo of.

There will be other migrating birds to come through and I get very excited to see them: Indigo bunting, rose breasted grosbeak (very rare for here but we do see them at the feeder), or a lazuli bunting. Most migrating birds hang out at the feeder for a day or two and then are gone. I am glad to provide them with a meal to keep them strong for their long journey. I keep hoping that some day I will see a northern cardinal at the feeder. Fat chance, although there have been very rare sightings of the male cardinal in Ft. Collins west of us.

I am not done watching. I'll be watching for birds all summer. Watching the grass grow. Watching grand kids when school is out in, can you believe it, a week? Watching Iris bloom. Watching clouds. 
What will you be watching?

As I end this post I am watching the tile installation. Very exciting. Next week you will get the grand tour of the kitchen remodel, for it will be done then.

Thanks so much for taking the time to visit. Be sure check out Lavender Cottage for Mosaic Monday

Monday, May 11, 2015

Ah, Spring in Rockies

Spring came in much like a meek lion way back in March. Now joined by her sibling May, she rages. Today's Monday Mosaic speaks the reality of our last week, ending in snow yesterday. There is a reason why here in Zone 5 we are warned not to plant tender shoots before Mother's Day, the date that we can still have killing freezes. While we had about 4 inches of snow when we woke in the morning, by the time we returned home church it all melted.

Still the ravages of a week of rain continue along the Front Range as families along those rivers that flooded so disastrously Fall 2013 fear a repeat of the water disaster. The wet, heavy snow also causes a lot tree damage with broken branches and limbs. But this is Colorado in the spring and as Colorado natives we understand and take it all in stride. Once the weather settles down, the weeds will pop and we will return to the garden.

Happy Mother's Day

We are truly blessed with two lovely daughters who grew up to become such lovely young women and mothers, too. As daughters, they are kind, generous, and loving. Heather, the arborist and horticulturist is a woman of words. As her Mother's Day gift, she wrote a wonderful tribute to me on Face Book, actually making me wonder just which mother she was writing about. Jennifer, on the other hand, worked for Hewlett Packard for 15 years, now a stay at home mom, she creates. For her gift, she made a lovely quilted table topper in my favorite colors. Along with the quilt piece, she gave me this beautiful Lefton vintage pitcher filled with gorgeous pink flowers. 

Rain, Rain go away. Come back another day.

I love rainy days, although I think we were all beginning to feel like we were living in Seattle with the steady rain all week. We do need the moisture and I certainly do not wish rain to go away because here in Northern Colorado we know that once the May rains do leave, it will be many months before we see significant moisture again. Certainly the rains have made the landscape all shiny, green, and clean. 

While the peonies suffered frost last night, I think they will be okay and will be luscious pink in a few more days.

Rain drops on wood. 

The little female gold finch takes a breakfast of black thistle seed.

Really a pretty typical spring scene in Colorado. Most perennial plants are hardy enough to survive the snow.

Miss Kim this morning looking cold and wilted from last night's freeze. She will recover when the sun warms her.

Out the bathroom window, the holy hock forest looks rather sickly this morning; their leaves glistening with a thin layer of icy frost. They, too, will survive to bloom.

It is supposed to warm up this week along with afternoon thunderstorms. Hopefully we can get out in the garden to get the vegetables planted. We have a few projects to work on outside. When the weather is crummy, I will be working inside doing some spring cleaning. With the help of my house keeper, we scrubbed nearly every inch of kitchen last week, including all the foo-foo things that I have on the walls and shelves. While the counter top installation was pretty easy, it did create a layer of fine dust and dirt on everything. The house keeper will be vacationing in Hawaii on her next scheduled visit, so I will be on own until she returns. Oh it is not that I cannot do housework, I just prefer not to. I got spoiled while I worked having help keeping the deep cleaning up. 

I wish you a grand week. Thanks for stopping by and Welcome to the new members of my little group. I am pleased to be meeting new ladies through Mosaic Monday and a new Face Book group that I have joined at the invitation of Jen formerly of Muddy Boot Dreams blog, now of her new blog The Light Laughed. Ann's Dollhouse Dreams is gaining a bit of speed. I don't work so hard at it, posting when I have finished  a project. I have promised myself and me couple of followers to spend more time over there. I'll be updating it later today. Until next time, drop by Lavender Cottage for more awesome Monday Mosaics. 

PS: An revised addition: If you have nothing else better to do, please check out Ann's Dollhouse Dreams.  I have just updated it. Very slowly it is gaining some faithful readers. I love you. 

Monday, May 4, 2015

This Week's Blooms

Caution: Before you begin, let me warn you that something has gone wrong with Blogger. What you see this morning is not what Blogger displays in the work window. I had uploaded all these photos, but Blogger would not cooperate, so I thought I had deleted all the but the mosaic and couple of other photos. After I published the post and viewed it, all of those deleted photos showed up in the post that do not appear in the work window. Go figure. I don't have time to spend all day trying to fix it, so please forgive me. I'll try to get it cleaned up later in the day or the week. (GRRRRR).

This Week's Blooms

I should be outside working in the garden this morning. Instead I am trying get the blog post going. Besides it is cold, threatening rain. Actually perfect weather to work up a sweat. This post will be short mostly because Blogger is not cooperating or the Internet is just plain slow or the The Cloud is over worked or . . . . Who knows.

There are new blooms this week to share: the dwarf irises in the front courtyard that seemed to appear all at once. One day they were silent, the next day they were screaming, "Hey we're here. Look down silly or you'll miss us." So not only did I look, but I took their picture. Happy now, guys? You made the blog for the second year in a row. 

Another bloomer new to the center circle garden, a bleeding heart that I planted last year. Not pink like the one in the back garden, but a deep coral color. Small this first year, she will grow and bring a splash of spring color.

I can never remember the name of the little white flowering ground cover. It will come to me later and you will recognize it. My dad planted it and I transplanted some to the Old House and then moved it here, but it didn't make it, so I have started all over. I am going to add more to fill in around the hostas that also survived the winter. 

I am waiting now on the peonies and bearded iris. 

When I posted last week the Head Gardener had just started to dig up the sprinkler lines. To give some perspective, the barn is 90 feet long, so he dug all the way along the barn and the along the drive way. I'll post more about his project once my technology straightens up.

I am headed over to Lavender Cottage to post for Mosaic Monday, so since this is such skimpy post, you might want to pop over there for more reading and blog hopping. Or you could check out Ann's Dollhouse Dreams for last week's post. Or maybe you could go out and work in your garden and save your reading for after dark.

At any rate have a great week. I'll see you again later in the week to catch up. 

Thanks for stopping 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...