Monday, November 28, 2016


Good Morning, Friends. How was your Thanksgiving? Ours was quietly spent, and now here I find myself caught up the rush to get ready for Christmas. I guess I am feeling the pressure all around me because my friends have their trees up and shopping done. Who does that?  

As a child, for me it didn't seem that Christmas came so early. The wait seemed endless.  My birthday is December 20, so that was day mom put up the Christmas tree. The trees were always fresh cut from my grandparents' mountain property west of Denver. Mom's birthday was December 31st, and the tree came down that day.  

Now trees are up sometimes before Thanksgiving. Do you feel the anxiousness of the holidays? I am trying not to. We have a full month of holiday related events, too.  Lunch Friday with the women from the English Department at the university. A trip to Haxtun next week for friend's annual Christmas party, an over night stay. We come home early Sunday so that we can go to the Nutcracker to watch Lucy dance her 30 seconds. The next weekend we host our Santa Party for the grandchildren, then Christmas Eve, the New Year's which means another trip to Haxtun, then a week of birthdays.

I always begin the decorating by putting up my Christmas village. It isn't quite finished yet, but you would like to see my progress?

The project begins by having the Head Gardener carry up the boxes containing the village.

He also places the large plywood board on the cabinet and brings two saw horses from the barn that extends the length of the village. I cover the board with a roll of "snow" which gets thinner and thinner each year. This little carousel came from a garage sale for $5.  It is one my favorite pieces.

I empty out the boxes on the dinning table so that I can see what I have--too much stuff.

Installing the lights in all of the pieces is the biggest challenge. I struggled yesterday with that. 

I changed the layout too, and I am not yet finished. Usually the train goes in the center of the village and the amusement park goes on a second layer on top of boxes. This year I created the woods at the edge of the amusement park. My other favorite piece, the carousel on the left, has stopped working. It rotates and plays music--well it used to. It didn't want to turn yesterday; instead, made a grinding sound and then a very loud pop, so I image it shorted out and is done. It is still a pretty piece and other one rotates.

Using the iPhone, I am able to photograph individual pieces. I enjoy the little children making the perfect snowmen.

So I have several children making snowmen.

The village has three sections with a fourth one to add if I have room. The first section is the neighborhood where the residences live. The middle section is the town. My church was the first piece and year by year I added more pieces.

I still have more to do. I add lots and lots of sprinkle snow to make it sparkle and to cover up the wires. Messy but pretty.

And this how things look this morning. The box in the lower right here in the photo has 5 more houses that I am hoping to fit in. Maybe. 

I am done adding pieces to the village simply because I am out of room and don't want to expand it any more. Stores used to carry full selection of Christmas village pieces, but no longer. Now the best places to look for village pieces are the thrift stores.

I have lots to do today, so I'd better get off the computer and carry on with my chores for the day. I look forward to reading about your Christmas and holiday decorating and preparations, so I'll be visiting. 

Thanks so much for stopping by. I'll be linking with Maggie at Normandy Life for Mosaic Monday.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving, dear friends. I am imagining you all in the kitchen preparing that turkey, mixing dressing, whipping up mashed potatoes. Here, it will just be the two of us. The girls will go to their in-laws. Heather and James are doing the turkey, green bean casserole, and salad at their house then will take the food to his mom's. I admire those young people. Jen and her family are supposed to go up the hill to Grant's parents, but Jen and Elinore will be staying home. Ellie woke up with croup yesterday and a had a very bad night last night.

The Head Gardener and Jacob went deer hunting down on the Platte River out by Julesburgs, CO. Meanwhile I had Nathan here with me from Sunday until yesterday when we took the boys back to Denver. What a helper he is.

We began Tuesday morning with a bit of a history lesson combined with some family genealogy. I told him that on his mother's side of the family he is related to John Howland, a Mayflower pilgrim. He, of course, knew all about the pilgrims. I dug out my old Norton American Literature anthology from grad school and read to him William Bradford's account of his great + grandfather falling over board on the Mayflower during a storm. He was so excited and impressed, guess what went home with him? My anthology. I think I was ready to part with it.

 Story time ended and it was time to bake the pies. I'll not share my secret recipe with you, but big hint: you can find it on the Libby's pumpkin can label.

When we went to Denver to pick up Jacob to go hunt with Grandpa, I asked Nathan what he would be doing this week since he didn't have school. Quite sadly he said that he had to go to Day Care at the school. So I asked his mom and dad if he could come home with me. Nothing better than spur of the moment plants.

After I rolled out the dough, I showed him how to crimp the crust. He did very well.

With left the over crust I had him cut out little leaves that I put around the edge of the crust.

Two pies: one for us here at home and for Nathan to take to Thanksgiving Dinner where can proudly announce that he helped make.

Don't let that look deceive you. He loved running the food processor to grind up the cranberries. My sauce: a bag of fresh cranberries, 1 apple, 1 orange with peeling. I chunk the apple and orange and blend it all together in the food processor. I add Trivia, a plant sourced, no calorie sweeter, and if I have it on had about half a cup of orange juice. It is a tart sauce and some may find the orange with peel too much, so remove the peel the orange.

I have a very simple meal planned for us today. I purchased a turkey breast and thighs which I will roast. I will make bread stuffing, and roasted asparagus. The HG requested mashed potatoes, but I am trying so hard not to over eat, but I will make mashed potatoes for him. And later we will pie have for supper. I will put away the Thanksgiving decor and get ready to start decorating for Christmas, for we have a very busy Christmas season this year.

Happy Thanksgiving to my friends in the States and a glorious weekend to my friends abroad. I'll be back to read and comment later. Thanks so much for dropping by.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Winter is Coming--When?

If you are a Game of Thrones fan, you will know that winter is coming in Season 7 next spring and that won't bode well for those folks living in that fantasy land.

Here in Northern Colorado, we are asking ourselves when will it really be winter? Right now, solstice grooving with the solstice, we are slowly edging toward winter, but Lady Autumn and Jack Frost don't always pay attention to the tipping of Earth's axis or its spinning or its trip around the sun. Their capriciousness leads us down the garden path in so many ways. Follow me today down my garden path and you will see what I mean.

It is mid-November and roses are still blooming. Gertrude Jekyll who quietly withdrew her blooms weeks and weeks ago brought forth this beauty. My little super market specials, roses that were on the sale rack, have bloomed all summer long, relentlessly and they continue.

Veteran's Honor made it nearly to Veteran's Day last week, but Jack Frost has been gently nibbling around her edges.

There are blooms in the center circle, too. This sea pink stopped blooming in the late spring.  I think the little girl is very confused as to the season. She should be storing food for her winter's nap, but I think she thinks that it is spring. NOT.

Another late bloomer, a rudbeckia brightness up the otherwise lifeless landscape.

The mallows have the proper approach to fall color.

Does the hollyhock forest look like it is going dormant?

Nor do the hollyhocks about by the barn. Instead of winter berries, we will have hollyhocks for the holidays.

The boys are basking in the warm sun. Sun Dance wakes up and begins talking softly to me, sweetly nickering, and I know what he wants. He wants out in the pasture. "Open the gate, please," he says.

I walk away to get a better photos of the blooms by the barn door and he calls louder, a bit more demanding. "Pleeeaassse?"

 By the time I leave the barn, his whinny pierces the cool, fall morning air. Translated, I am sure he is scolding me for not opening the gate, something like, "Hey I am starving here. Those dry pellets you call food don't fill a big guy's belly. I need food, real food." He continues to whinny at me, as I get further way, "Winter's coming, you know. I need to bulk up."

I laugh. Sun Dance, I think you are bulky enough." 

And so that's how it is this fine day at the Garden Spot. Warm, sunny, pleasant, happy.  I wish the same for you in your garden. Have a great week and thanks so much for visiting.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Hanging In There

It is Sunday night. We are half heartedly enduring the Denver Broncos as they play arch rivals, the Oakland Raiders. It is not a pretty game; thus, I am writing this post and probably one for the dollhouse blog, too.

Are you having a hard time recognizing that the first week of November is coming to an end? Really? Where does the time go? Here the weather has us fooled into thinking that it is late summer or early fall, not edging closer to winter. The high today was 70 degrees F, mild and dry. Very dry. In fact we haven't had any measurable moisture since the end of July, so now the "D" word is being slung around by the weather people: "D" for drought. We could either be in for a long dry winter, undoing all of the benefits of wet spring we had or we could have one heck of blizzard--sometime. While we love this mild climate, such weather is not healthy for the garden.

The Head Gardener has finished his farming duties, now he can get back to gardening with me. I still have my basket of daffodil bulbs to plant and the tulips that we dug up last summer when we planted the bushes that replaced the dead crab apple trees.

I had the HG dig large holes where I  planted multiple bulbs to make the chore go a bit more quickly.
This space in the center circle on the west side has little planted there, so I wanted the daffodils staggered in clumps. I think they will be very pretty next spring.

That's Boone. He's helping. He celebrated his 3rd birthday October 31st. Actually he was at the boarding kennel, so when we got him home we celebrated. No stuffed animals for he destroys them in the first 5 minutes. He loved his treats that I brought home for him.

Meanwhile, back in the garden: container of daffodils--we made a dent-- and a pile of tulips. I hate for them to go waste, so we will plant as many as we can find space for.

This clumpy, cloddy soil, however, hindered our progress and took away our enthusiasm because the ground was so hard to dig. The HG dug the holes, while I place the bulbs where I wanted them and then tried to back fill with hard, dry dirt clods that were so hard they wouldn't break apart and with my old, weak hands with a bit of arthritis, I gave up trying to break the clods; instead, I just scooped them on top of bulbs. The HG said rain or snow will break them up and dissolve them. Sure. We just need some moisture. 

 Look at what we have here, petunias too tough to die, hanging in there while the mild weather lasts. I haven't watered these pots in weeks, thinking that a killing frost would take the plants any night, but look at these little beauties. (Yes, that is a snow shovel in the back ground. Wishful thinking.) I will be planting a lot of bulbs in containers this week. I got my pots gathered and may buy a couple more. I will fill them with beautiful daffodils to set out around the front porch and the back pergola. 

 So that is how it goes at the Garden Spot in late Autumn.

The best part of the weekend was the completion of our Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) signing of our applications: Mother and both daughters. Jennifer on the left, and her big sister Heather on the right. Their Aunt Karen who submitted her application last month took our photo. My daughters qualify for the DAR on both sides their family tree and that is pretty special and honorable.

It was a proud moment for us.

Have a great week. Thanks for visiting. I'll see you soon.

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...