Monday, March 27, 2017

Signs of Life

With Winter in the the past pages of the calendar, Spring can now proudly show off her inviting signs of life. Walk around the Garden Spot with me to see what returned for another year.

We will begin the tour in the vegetable garden. The Head Gardener has it all tiled and ready to plant. The pea fences have been installed where we will plant the peas--soon. The potatoes are planted in the rows next to the corral fence.

The rows have been cultivated and ditched. The watering system has been put in place, waiting for the HOA irrigation wells to be turned on April 1. The hens beg to roam free, and my photos show off the sign that Jennifer and Grant made for us for the chicken house.

The garlic planted late last fall has sprouted and grows nicely, needing water now since it has been so dry. We anxiously await rain which may show up tonight. Fingers crossed. The apricot trees are in bloom, hopefully they will avoid any killing freeze that might be in our future. Look, too, the asparagus has sprouted. It grows so quickly that I must make sure to check it every day. It seems the more I cut it, the more it grows. I like that.

I planted two clematis. The one by the chicken house on the left was planted two seasons ago and it should be really full and pretty this year. The second one went in last year, so I am thankful that it survived the winter.

Another success, the Eastern Red Bud. If you remember last year I celebrated it's return. We are learning that some of our newly planted shrubs and trees need a good drink mid winter and late winter if they are to survive, for it is not necessarily the cold temperatures that kill newly planted plant material, rather our very dry winter conditions. 

There is still a lot of brown in the garden beds and this center garden still needs its spring cleaning. I cleaned the back flower beds last week. We added more daffodils last fall. They bring a smile.

More daffodils. These were planted when the soil was so dry that it clumped into big clods, making us worry that either the daffodil bulbs wouldn't be covered enough to live and sprout or the rabbits would find them or both. But no: 100% success.

These photo show the extreme conditions under which the bulbs were planted last year.

Really, who can resist such beauty?

The arrival of the daffodils indicate other signs of life emerging in late March. It seems that perhaps some of these plants are early, but maybe it is just me. 

I have one final note; I'd like to share a heart warming story that demonstrates the courage, capabilities, and fortitude of one young woman whom I love and admire, Sheyanne. If you have followed me over the years, you may vaguely remember me writing about Shey. She came to live with us in the fall of 2009, the year that we moved here to the Garden Spot. She was enrolled at the University of Northern Colorado and lived with us while she did her undergraduate work at UNC, where she majored in English. There were obstacles in her life that could have curtailed her college career, challenges that others might not have overcome. But Shey is strong and determined and she persevered. An only child of a single mom, Shey left the security of her home and family to come over from the Western Slope to the Front Range to begin a new life. She had a campus job as a work study and worked most of her undergraduate years at a Walmart pharmacy. She took a detour one year when she transferred to the University of Wyoming. That year she lost her mother to cancer. She returned to her quiet room in our basement and continued on, sad and lonely for her mother. We celebrated when she finally graduated with her BA in English and cheered her on with her decision to go to graduate school. At the very last minute before classes were to begin she was accepted and received a position as a teaching assistant. 

Last week with great pride and honor, I attended her presentation and defense of her English Master's thesis project and waited with her afterwords as the faculty decided whether or not to accept her project. And they did. Graduation will be May 5th and the Head Gardener and I will join her family  to cheer her on as her Masters in English will be conferred . Her grandmother and I are life long friends, seriously since before birth. So Congratulation, Shey. We are so very honored to be part of your journey.

Today she works as a substitute teacher for a local school district, tutors at the local community college, and serves as the director of ballet for a non-profit dance group. The world is hers. 

Thanks so much for stopping by. I have not been keeping up very well with the blog. I am spending a lot of time on the dollhouse. I should update that blog to share my progress. Enjoy spring and I'll be looking for your signs of life.

Monday, March 13, 2017

At Random

Bit by bit we are finding our way in to the garden. Saturday we woke to a bit of moisture, not much, just enough to dampen the dust. With plans to go to town, we decided to get some yard work done first. While the Head Gardener applied the pre-emergent weed barrier to the gardens and the graveled barn circle, I pruned the roses. Armed with newly sharpened clippers and my new gloves, I tackled the dormant roses.

I had quite a mess, which left me wondering why I don't prune the roses back in the fall, a little at least, so that they don't look so raggedy and sloppy. The clematis didn't get cut back at all last summer and she does tend to over take her corner. She must be pruned early in the spring--late winter--, really, to avoid cutting off shoots that are already showing green. I hate snipping off the green, but I did. She needed a good hair cut.

The front courtyard looks like carnage hit. The Christmas decor will come down and soon it will look presentable.

Here it is all neat and clean. I have been saving coffee grounds and egg shells to make a feed for them. I think I will skip the commercial stuff this year and see how they do.


One of my lovely Christmas gifts from the Head Gardener, Rose Gloves. They are heavy leather, high cuffed; perfect for working with the roses. 

The fairies and gnomes  have abandoned their homes. I am sure that they will show up somewhere. They will miss the tulips and daffodils this year.

Wrong time of year for frost on the pumpkin; instead, a thin layer of frost on the crystal mushroom. The frost covered pasture and lawn this morning glisten for a moment in the early morning sun.

My parting thought for the day: Happy Time of Change. 

Have a fabulous week.

Thanks for visiting. I love reading your comments.

Linking with Maggie at Normandy Life to share my unimaginative, but informative mosaics.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Broken Record?

I am beginning to sound like a broken record, here: It is a Windy Monday Morning. Yes again. It is March and it is northern Colorado and we are just down the highway from windy Wyoming. No Gardening today. We are getting to  into the mood, though; however, there will not be any planting done until after Mother's Day when for us here in Zone 5 we can safely plant the tender garden vegetables and tender perennials to avoid a killing frost. Until then we have plenty of clean up to do. I just haven't worked myself into that frame of mind yet.

Jen has started tomatoes and peppers for us this year. She grows nice beginner sets that did so well last year. The tomatoes that she shared with us did the best.

I thought I'd share my breakfast--or anytime of day--burrito. The burritos are easy to mix, easy to freeze, and make a quick meal when you just are not in the mood to cook or if you have spent the morning out in the garden working and are too tired to fix a meal.

You will need:

1 lb. ground beef (or not)
1 package of frozen potatoes. I used the Jimmy Dean Skillets: sausage  breakfast mix with green and red peppers, onions, and sausage. Of course you can cop it all fresh.
Scrambled eggs: I used 8 eggs
Picante sauce
Cheddar Cheese, grated
 10 pack of flour tortilla

If you use the breakfast potatoes that have the sausage included you really don't need the ground beef.  If you are not a sausage person or prefer meatless, use just the eggs. Really, customize the recipe as you like.

  • Brown the ground beef, adding seasoning: salt, pepper, garlic powder
  • scramble eggs, adding seasoning
  • Combine ground beef and eggs then add 1/2 cup picante sauce.
  • Assemble burrito. I add 1/2 cup of the filling to the flour tortilla on top if 1 ounce of cheddar cheese.
Before I assemble the burritos, I use individually cut aluminum square sheets lined with baking parchment. I stack these before I assemble the burrito: aluminum foil, parchment, tortilla. 

Next I roll the burrito by folding the sides in first then rolling the tortilla. With the seam down, I roll the burrito in the parchment then roll the foil around the wrapped tortilla. I place them in the freezer, and now I have a snack or meal for the Head Gardener. While I eat one, he will eat two. To reheat them, I take them directly from the freezer, remove the foil wrap and warm in the microwave. Mine has a setting for reheating a dinner plate. Since it warms by temperature of the food, the burritos are nicely thawed and warmed usually with one setting

Of course you can add or substitute ingredients that fit your taste. 

I have taken on yet another project, re creating a 150 year old christening gown. My dear cousin wants to recreate her grandfather's christening gown, and while she is a quilter, she does not sew clothing, so she has asked me to make the dress for her. I really should prepare a better post to show the work that we are going doing. Her friend made a pattern from the dress. There isn't much to go on as far as directions in assembling the dress, so we had to figure it out. Together we figured out how the dress was assembled, so after Jeanne left, I cut the pattern top out of inner facing, sewed the pieces together then tried it on a Cabbage Patch doll. I have it figured out. Now I have to figure out how to do the lace insertion on the front panel. I will make it out of muslin first then then use her beautiful lace and cotton.

Saturday was most exciting, for my daughters and I were inducted into the DAR. Here we are taking the oath. My sister-in-law standing at the far right hopes that her application will soon be approved.

I had quite a grandma moments. Certainly the hanging strap on my sweater shows, but worse at the end of the meeting when I got in the car I noticed that I had two different shoes same style only one was navy and one was black. We had a good laugh over both.

Saturday ended at the skate park. Sweet Nathan waited all day to go to the skate park a few blocks away from the house. We all went down to watch him have fun. 

This week, if the weather cooperates, I hope to get outside to do some clean-up. The sewing project is on hold until I get my sewing machine back. I had to take it in to be serviced.

Have you started your garden work yet? We will have plenty to share soon with the spring bulbs breaking ground. Have a wonderful week.

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...