Monday, May 22, 2017

Life @ The Garden Spot

Hello Everyone. What a beautiful day we have. I have already enjoyed a walk downtown to have my sad, pathetic fingernails beautified and now I am avoiding doing dishes. The Head Gardener is in town having coffee with his buddies, as he does every Monday, and the roofing crew is on the roof pounding away. They will be here today until it starts to rain about 3 PM or if the wind gets too strong, sending them home early. So roof replacement? Five out of five and the hen house makes six.

Our roof damage occurred last summer with hockey puck sized hail, remember?  The two weeks ago a hail storm ravages parts of Denver some 70 miles south of us. Our son-in-law's SUV was right in the middle of that hail storm with golf ball and larger hail that pulverized Denver. My brother and I own a small four unit office building which is under contract to sell and, yes, roof number five. Most gratefully and thankfully, our insurers have been wonderful.

Hail one week and then snow the next. Last week we had rain and more rain and then rain that turned to snow. Those of you who live in snow zones know exactly how damaging spring snow can be to trees. We lucked out here at the Garden Spot. The HG did a lot limb and tree shaking, but Ft. Collins trees suffered. CSU had 800 trees damaged.

The sun does always return. Now for the fun part of today's post, the photos and Monday's Mosaic, Enjoy.

And What a Week It Was

Not a very good photo of Boone warming by the fire on a cold, snow Mid-May afternoon, dreaming of chasing cottontails, no doubt. I see images of people forging flooded roads on the news all the time, wondering why they aren't smart enough to---any way. Just like those folks, I trusted that my SUV would safely deliver me to the other side of deluge. That's a corn field on the west side of the road, the ground now saturated. A better photo would show the rain turning to snow.

A new washer and drying will be delivered June 1st. Oh joy. So I took a load of underwear--why is it that the washer breaks when you have put your last pair of clean underwear? I took three loads of laundry over to Jen's to do and little Lily made me tuna fish for lunch; here she shows how she can drain off the liquid.

A nice new roof, and YUM YUM YUM home made cheese cake. Now a college graduate and no more homework, Shey has turned to baking to pass her time and brought us this wonderful cheese cake--a running joke with the HG. And thank you, by the way, for all of your kind wishes for her future. 

And lastly, Lily's preschool commencement or continuation or what ever it is called. She is off to kindergarten next fall. Of course the day of her ceremony snow covered the ground and she wondered why her summer vacation had to be ruined with snow.  We were all wondering why we were dealing with snow Mid May, too.  The only explanation?  As I told the young man at the garden center who had just moved here from California, "This is Colorado. Get used it."

Summer Visitors: Some will stay; some are just passing through 

This mail oriole is in the top of the honey locust singing his little heart, trying to attract a mate.

This poor little Lazuli bunting found some comfort food in the middle of the rain and snow.

He is is all dried out and enjoying more free meals. He won't stay long, headed for the Rockies.

He is smaller than I thought we have had before. He fits in the caged feeder that keeps the grackles and starling out of the feed.

He is so pretty. I wish he would stay.

A Hermit Thrush that the HG spotted. He was feeding under the pine tress. Here it pecks around underneath the lilac. He won't stay either.

The HG build several nesting boxes for the robins and this mother found one and made it her home. It is located in one of the ash trees. 

We put out grape jelly for the oriels. They devour it. 

The male's sweet song did bring in a lady.

Caught with her mouth full and the little horned sparrow wondering what is she eating?

So that was the week that was. This week, planting more flowers. I have to take my friend to the eye center where she will have a cataract removed. Piece of cake, I told her. So I will take her tomorrow and take her back on Tuesday to get the patch removed.  The HG will go down to Haxtun to help a friend with her garden work. And another week will pass.

I hope you have great plans for the week, too. 

Monday, May 15, 2017

Mother's Day

Finally we are able to really enjoy Spring this weekend. We have had a rough start: bad weather, bad colds, more bad weather, so getting out and doing those early spring clean up chores didn't happen when it should have, so Mother's Day weekend was perfect on all accounts. We have plenty of projects on the list, and we got one major one accomplished. But before I begin, let me share little Lily with you. She had her last pre school program. She will turn five in June and be off to kindergarten in the fall. Yes, she has a paper plate on her head. It was part of her costume for their little play, "The Little Red Hen." She was the kitty with one line, "Not I," said the kitty. And she smiled so sweetly. I took her shopping Thursday and what a little shopper she is.

Heather and the boys were up for Mother's Day, arriving on Saturday. We loaded up the kids and drove the couple of miles to our favorite garden center, Eaton Grove. Do you see the momma pea hen?  She has a nest there next to the the dig your own strawberries every year. She had a clutch of seven eggs, but the farm already has 40 pea fowl. The garden center was quite busy and crowded Saturday with everyone shopping for Mother's Day flowers and this momma was right in the midst of the activity, calmly nesting. 

I brought home two varieties of mallow and some blue veronica and a potentella ground cover. Jen grew our tomatoes and peppers for us this year. She has a pretty successful crop, I'd say.

 For some time I have wanted a drip system on a timer to water my hanging baskets on the pergola. So my Mother's Day gift from Heather was her help installing the system. It will be on a timer set to water the pots twice a day. We already had all of the materials: the water line and the hangers. (what she professionally refers to as spaghetti line)

Thank you, Heather May for your help. You are awesome.


The line will be hooked up underneath the deck floor. The timer and the pressure reducer have to installed yet, but then I can hang my flower baskets. The second photos shows how the line will hang down from the pergola beams. Once the plants are in place it will be hardly noticeable.

The little hens have been moved out to the hen pen. We turned the rooster in with the last year's hens and he has left them alone, so far. The little girls like being outside.

Meet Fancy, a Dark Brahma with feather legs and feet.

She will be a grayish brownish color with beautiful green highlights. We now have too many hens: 17.

 Sunday morning Heather decided that the pine cones and needles should be removed from under the big pine tree. So there they are, a big pile of needles. Not sure what we will do with them. She suggested shredding them and putting them in the garden. Nice idea; only we don't have a shredder.

Project: Operation Bush Removal.

We have had some brutal winters that have killed some plants, such as our burning bushes in the front of the house and the three David Austin roses that I loved so. Heather and I had decided that the David Austins aren't hardy enough for our cold and sometimes dry winters. I won't plant anymore.

The one burning bush was quite large and required heavy equipment to remove. Plant removal is always more fun when the Head Gardener can use his tractor.

Now the front is bare. I like the clean look. The daffodils will die back, the peonies on the right will bloom very soon and then I will move one. They are planted in a triangle now, but I will move one to be in line with the others. The tiger lilies on the end may get moved too once they bloom. Now I have to come up with a plan for what I will plant. I want a clean, weed free look. 

This week's Monday Mosaic features the May bloomers: Iris and clematis.

We ended the day with grilled chicken and grilled vegetables with garden fresh asparagus. 

This week's project: Clean the water garden. Now won't that make an interesting post? Join me next week to see. But now, pop over to Maggie's for Mosaic Monday.

Thanks so much for visiting.

Monday, May 8, 2017


We have had a long two weeks. I missed my post last week; sometimes we just get too busy, don't we?  I am finally over my cold. It lasted long past its welcome. My next focus centered on preparing a graduation celebration for our college student whom we have nurtured since she was a freshman. Sheyanne graduated Friday night with her Masters of English, so now she is ready to greet the world and find a job. Currently she works as a substitute teacher in an elementary classroom with low functioning special needs children. Of course she is applying for more permanent work, her destined career in some aspect of education. It could be as adjunct faculty at one of the local community colleges or Colorado State (CSU) or even UNC or perhaps a charter school that does not require state licensing. This week's Monday Mosaics tells her story:

For a small Liberal Arts university, UNC (that would be the University of Northern Colorado as opposed to North Carolina), graduated an impressive number of post graduate students  held Friday night while the undergraduate commencement was held Saturday in the outdoor stadium. This commencement was very long, especially the PhD. honors. Saturday the Head Gardner and I spruced up the house and the patio for company, mostly Sheyanne's family and a few of her friends. I cooked brisket which I am always very nervous cooking meat, but this one was exceptional, even if I say so myself. No. I don't have photos. I was just too busy preparing food. The decoration were simple: lilacs picked from the bushes in old porcelain pitchers on the tables with red and white checked table clothes. Nothing fancy. I just wanted a place where she could gather with family friends, eat some good food, and celebrate. Mission accomplished.

I did make a poster for Sheyanne that tells her life's story for the last couple of years as a grad student: A hug from her graduate committee faculty chair, her dancing, her lovely smile, and sleep. We are so very proud of her grand accomplishment and know that she will take the future by storm. I used Picasa to create the collage, saved it on a flash drive then took it to Office Max where it was printed poster size on photographic quality paper. The photo of Shey lost some quality, so if you want to do the same for a special event, you have to make sure that your photos will maintain their quality as the are enlarged.


Here is the planted Russian Hawthorn that the HG planted last week while I was too sick to participate. I was so excited this morning to see that is has greened up and now is in bloom. In the fall the blooms will leave red berries. I am going to love that tree.

We also purchased another North Star Cherry tree, a dwarf tree that produces abundant sour red cherries. You have seen the one on the left in many blog posts. Last year it yielding enough cherries for three pies. We love the tree so much, that we planted the one on the left. 

Today we have severe thunder storm warnings. Does it happen for you? The weather man breaks into the regularly scheduled program to report the impending storm activity, designed to send us into panic. I am not panicking yet. Let it rain. We like rainy days and Mondays. 

This week: catch up. I would like to wash windows inside and outside. Little Lily will spend the night and I have a couple of heaving lifting yard projects that the HG will help me accomplish. I'll write about them next week. 

I hope you are enjoying the lovely spring weather. I sure am. Thanks for joining me. I'll be joining Maggie at Normandy Life for Mosaic Monday.

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...