Monday, March 28, 2016

Happy Easter

I enjoyed every one's posts last week filled celebrations of Spring, cheering the end of Winter, while giving thanks for our blessings and celebrating Easter.

Here at the Garden Spot we did much the same. The week began with the Blizzard of the Year. "Snow, Really?" people were saying. We Colorado natives fully understand the brutality of early spring storms that bare that heavy, wet snow that does so much damage. While we had had 6 weeks without any moisture, the snow  was welcome, but such a nuisance. The kids had snow days, the power went out, trees suffered damage, and grandmas stayed in.

The snow did melt, but it never really warmed up, staying cold and windy the rest of the week.

We left the house Saturday just to get some fresh air and found ourselves at the New Life Celebration at the kids' church. What fun for the children--and grown-ups. While there were lots of activities for the children to celebrate the renwal of life downstairs in the church, the celebration was complete with worship of Christ's rising.

 Jen loaded up her six chicks to take to the festival and her mother-in-law brought her six chicks and two ducks. Ellie loves her grammy's ducks. Jen was saying that many urban farmers are opting for ducks as egg producers for many reasons: bigger egg, longer egg production, easier to keep, and more.  I'll keep my hens.

This was the first year that we had visited the New Life Celebration; while I knew that the kids took their animals, I had now idea that it was inside in the lower level of the church. Mrs. Jones, the kids second grade teacher, brings her lambs each year. I didn't understand what breed they are, but they are wool producers. She shears them, sells the wool, and even spins her own yarns.

Peter, Elinore's bunny, shares the pen with the lambs. He has been with Ellie for 5 years, now, a gift from the Easter Bunny. He lives in a cage in her bedroom. He is a very sweet boy, but Ellie's sisters are very allergic to him.

Lily in her pink cowboy boots and fuzzy pink vest (favorite outfit that she wears everyday, everywhere), has little fear, is very outgoing, and loves horses. She made friends quickly with the miniature horse.

Probably the hit of the celebration was little Dancer, a miniature horse. I wanted to take her home with me. I didn't get a chance to ask her owner her name, but she is a student in the CSU School of Veterinary Medicine. Dancer suffers from laminitis, an condition that horses, especially ponies get from a high carb diet that causes lameness. It is treatable if caught soon enough. Pop had been over fed before we took him, and suffers from the same ailment, so I did come home with suggestions as to how to help him. Dancer, by the way, was bothered by the lambs. She doesn't like goats, either.


I have enjoyed so much seeing your spring flowers because ours are so slow to emerge here. I did sacrifice these early bloomers to bring in for Easter dinner.

I didn't do much any Easter decorating this year, but I did bring out my little bunnies to help celebrate.

Jen's family came for dinner and girls had hunted Easter eggs.  I kept the meal simple, with cupcakes for desert.

And now a new week begins. The Head Gardener is milking cows this morning. I haven't decided if I am going to take photos and blog about his part time job or not, not until I get permission from the cow owners. Our neighbor, whom I wrote about a few posts back, now has two milking cows. The HG told her long before she actually bought the cows that he'd milk for her if she ever needed him to. Well, guess what? They are on a week's vacation. 

She has quite a process and it takes the HG nearly two hours twice a day to milk the 2 cows: 6 AM and 6 PM. He does have some help. Another neighbor pasteurizes the milk and her husband has been helping with preparations and clean-up after wards. A CSU dairy production major is house sitting and taking care of the calf that has to be bottle fed. So essentially  three people are doing what one young mother does to provide milk for her children and others who barter for fresh cow's milk. I have to hand it to the HG, when he offers his help, he follows through. Besides there are not many around anymore who can milk cows.

While the granddaughters had their spring break two weeks ago, the grandsons have theirs this week. We will be driving to Denver to pick them for the week this morning, so I'd better stop writing and get busy.

I hope you all had a wonderful Easter. Now it time to garden. See you there. 

Thanks for stopping by. Linking with Judith at Lavender Cottage of Mosaic Monday.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Spring Arrives

Here in the northern part of Colorado, Spring spent her first day cleaning up the mess Winter left behind as one final parting gift. The week began with wind. I have declared my loathing for wind, and for most of March winds have stayed in Wyoming. (The joke around here when the wind kicks up: We live too close to Wyoming which is windy all the time.) Then the snow came in late Thursday and continued though the night and a good part of Friday with a scant more early Saturday. It was one of those light, fluffy, wet snows, heavy with much needed moisture, and it was cold. We had about 4 inches.

Generally, I do garden clean-up during spring break because as a teacher I had that week off and the routine still fits nicely, except the bad weather kept me in this year. There are plenty of signs of Spring the garden. The daffodils have yet to bloom, the crocuses are blooming, and the tulips are close to bursting open. I worried about the buds on the trees freezing, but Tree Hugger Heather assured me that as long as the buds are still tightly closed the frost won't damage them. Fingers crossed. So while Winter has fled to the Southern Hemisphere, Spring will warm us up, but we have to remember than she does tend to get a bit edgy and could team up Jack Frost even as late as early May. According the weather people, Spring will take her time warming things up. She seems to have arrived this year with a bit of temper for there is more snow and cold  on the way this week. 

This morning it is obvious that Spring still has some work to do.

We are waiting, literally, for the spring thaw so that we can get the water features cleaned and the pumps running again. Won't happen this week. The right photo shows Veteran's Honor leafing out before I had a chance to cut the roses back. Remember last year when I fussed and fumed that the roses had probably winter killed? Not the case this year. They are coming out early and strong. The Aspens are just about to burst out with their fuzzy little seed heads. Soon they will be abuzz with bees.

The chamomile is such hardy stuff, surviving the harshest even winter condition. As you can see, too,  I leave the perennial dead heads all winter to either reseed or for the birds to munch on, so I have a lot clean-up to do. The crocuses are fading. The layer of snow broke them over, but they were lovely for a few days.

The little girls had spring break last week, so Wednesday we loaded up two cars and drove to Denver to visit the Denver Aquarium. What fun. Though the facility was packed with school children, we were able to navigate through the displays. Jennifer packed a lunch, so we ate in the facility's designated place on the second level inside because it was too cold go out on the patio to eat. Then we took another walk through the aquarium this time without the hoards of children. Join us as we visit the magic of marine life.

Magic, indeed. All last summer the granddaughters channeled their inner mermaid selves with mother making them mermaid tails, they played with there mermaid Barbies, and watched over and over agin their favorite mermaid movies. Now look at the wonder in a little girl's face the first time she sees a real-life mermaid.

There girls are amazing. One of my students a few years ago was a mermaid. 

After their show, the mermaids sit for photos with the children. Lily was just too shy to get her photo taken. Behind the girls is a tank of small manta rays that the children can feed, probably their favorite thing to do--to get to touch a little ray. 

As we waited at the elevator to take us to the ground level, two young ladies pushed a covered dog crate through the nearby exit doors on a cart labeled "Sloth." I had seen the sloth on a news story, so I was excited to see the sloth. We lingered then, watching the young women move the cart about. One told us to wait to see the Serval. 

 A small group gathered there at the exit door as she told us about this special resident of the aquarium, stressing that she though she was very well trained, she was still a wild animal and must be respected as such. Interestingly, she can run up to 50 miles and hour and is the only cat to have both stripes and dots as camouflage markings. She can literally hide in green grass and go unnoticed.

Coincidentally on the news last night, a story presented a woman who paid $5,000. for a Serval to keep as a house pet. This young woman speaking to us about the cat respected the animal's wild nature and emphasized that she was not a pet.

The aquarium also keeps a tiger. The first time we walked through, he was high atop his rock mountain sleeping. We could barley see his head as he napped in the sunshine. On our second round, he came down from his nap spot, headed for his den. 

The marine aquarium is a wonderful place to visit. The little girls had a great time and I think the Head Gardener enjoyed his time off, too.

Back at home for the weekend, Heather and the boys visited. 

We celebrated Heather's birthday a week early. This year it falls on Easter Sunday. There is bit of an inside joke with the cake that her sister made for her. Heather earned her horticulture degree at Colorado State University, taking classes from Dr. Klet, the leading horticulturist in Colorado. He trained his protégés that yard art was vulgar, so she has had an attitude about pink flamingos for a long time, so we goad her a bit with flamingos every chance we get. She is also a beach type person, loving the California beaches where she and her will vacation this summer. Jen always comes up great cakes. 

Next week the grandsons have their spring break, which they will spend here with us. I am thinking a trip to the Butterfly Pavilion will make a good day trip. 

This week I am nursing a cold and waiting out the weather with more snow and cold in the forecast.  I am also working on photo album for my youngest grandson and working on the dollhouse. For the miniaturists in the crowd, visit my dollhouse blog to see my latest project, a tiny sheep pull toy, one like our grandmothers might have towed around.

I'd like to welcome new friends to the Garden Spot, Lady Jane is the newest. 

Have a wonderful week.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Spring Cleaning

We have been looking for signs of Spring for weeks. Officially she hasn't arrived yet, but there are sure signs that Winter is making preparations to welcome her in. Around here, Winter seems to be suffering burn-out after his heavy duty work all across the country, driven to near madness by a little boy off the coast of Mexica. El Nino has been blamed for a lot Winter's bad behavior. Soon the little kid will turn over his duties to La Nina and we shall see what little sister has up her sleeve for us.

Here at the Garden Spot, as the weather warms, the Signs of Spring emerge. Spring cleaning and other signs of spring help us welcome the lady in.

One of the first signs here this year were the little dwarf iris that suddenly appeared. I wish I had more of them, and, of course, I don't remember where I got them. They come up even before the crocuses awake. Another sign that Spring arrives occurs when the Head Gardener gets the tractor out to groom the corral after a long winter with horses penned up in it. I always wonder if it is work for him or grown-up play? A bit of both, I suppose. The chicks have been moved from their baby brooder in office to the new deluxe loft addition to the hen house where they will continue to grow until they are ready to join the flock. The HG spent several days reconfiguring the hen house to accommodate chicks once they out grow the Rubber Maid tub. They have room with a view, the garden spot.

Another sign of spring: Mo naps on the stack of patio cushions on the outside patio in the warmth of spring. He spends a lot of time the dark garage--by his choice mind you--, but I think this is his favorite napping spot.

Despite the fuzzy iPhone photo, the corral looks clean and fresh with the top layer of soil turned over.

Another fuzzy photo. I am remembering; I took these with my Canon. So why so bad? I did trip on a step at church one day, camera in hand and it hit the ground, so now I am wondering if it isn't damage. When I get post published, I am headed out take more photos to see if it operator error or if the camera is damaged. 

The renovations in the hen house included a hinged screen door for the second coop where Chanticleer and the old hen live, along with a poop deck and perch.

Up stairs, the kids get new accommodations.

The HG lifts the tub of chicks into the hen house.

The little girls are quite happy in their new home. They have more room and will spend a few more weeks here before they are ready to join the rest of the flock.

We do have a storm approaching and temperatures are supposed to drop, so Winter will take one last stand before he leaves. I never complain about a little more moisture, but the fruit trees are budding out, so we hope they don't freeze.

I'll be joining Judith for Mosaic Monday. Be sure to join us. Thanks so much stopping by. I was gone over the week end, so I don't think I got around to visit everyone. I'll do better this week. This week's project is a photo album for Nathan. His birthday is in early April, so I have a lot of work to do if I want to get it finished by then. I hope you have a fabulous week. 

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Take Me to My Happy Place

The week has been quiet, cool, windy. The tax information has been delivered to the accountant--always a big sigh of relief when that chore is accomplished. Now we begin to turn our attention to the chores that need to be done as Spring makes her arrival.

Earlier in the week Jen scheduled a play date with Pop. She was working on a secret project one morning when I texted--no response---Face-Timed---no response. What's up with that? Later she responded to show me her secret project.

She and two of her girls arrived Saturday to play with Pop. Lucy was dropped off at the roller skating rink for birthday party. Mom felt a bit guilty leaving her there alone when all of other parents stayed. I questioned, "You mean parents stay for birthday parties? What happened to the days when kids were dropped off at the party to have a good time on their own?" Boy, times have changed. She explained to me that especially at the girls' charter school the students come from all over the area, so they are not neighborhood kids where everyone knows everyone else, so the parents don't feel comfortable just dropping kids off at someone's house anymore. I get it. I still argued that it was good for Lucy to have an opportunity to develop a sense of independence.

Here at the Garden Spot, Jen's main chore was to give the horses their worm medicine. It is an oral paste that they seem to accept without too much complaint, though Sun Dance, melodramatic as he is, made horrible faces as he struggled to get the stuff down. At least he didn't spit it out on the ground.

Pop then got glammed up. He really wasn't too impressed with his make-over. Nor did he really seem to enjoy the play date all that much, either until it was reward time with food.

As you can see, the secret project was to create a unicorn horn for Pop. Does he look thrilled at the idea? Lily and her pink cowboy boots, ready to ride. Pop is 27 this spring. We think he is beginning to show his age. 

Ellie always dresses up to go riding. A skirt? Really Elinore? And Pop still wearing his winter coat looks pretty shaggy.

Pop shows how he feels about all this unicorn business. 

Now, Take Me to My Happy Place

Some Sundays we go out for breakfast and this time year we visit our favorite garden centers. There are always such pretty things to see.

The Head Gardener picks the potatoes and onions that we will plant. With rain expected tomorrow, the garden beds will be nice and moist to plant potatoes, onions, and peas next week.

Ft. Collins Nursery is always our favorite and easy to visit since it is close. There is always so much to see and so much to resist.

These are the indoor plants that I have to resist buying because I want to save my gardening money for perennials and pretty plants in the garden.

At Gulley's, another favorite garden center but a ways to drive to, we pondered this weeping pussy willow then realized that we would have to pass on this one, $180. A bit pricey, but so pretty. The bees were working it over.

Yes, garden centers certainly are my happy place this time of year. In the garden the spring bulbs are forcing their way through the soil and mulch. In the garden centers they look happy, healthy, and tempting. And look at the aquilegia blooming already--indoors.

As each day passes, it gets warmer and we get closer to getting serious out in the garden. I have big plans this year with some serious projects. Getting them done will be another Happy Place.

Where is your Happy Place? I bet I can guess.

Have a wonderful week. Thanks for visiting. 

Make sure to visit, too.

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...