Monday, July 23, 2018

I went out into the garden. . .

From Texas sunsets to rainstorms over a ragged Rocky Mountain vista in western Colorado, July has taken us thousands of miles. We have a special place on Texas that we like to visit. There are some favorite things that I like about the area. One is this tree, a giant live oak tree. It is a beautiful evergreen tree with its long, low branches that create a beautiful canopy where the local white tail deer and their fawns linger in its shade during the heat of the day.

The sunsets over the Texas Hill Country can certainly equal any sunset. Once it begins it's end of the day descent, the sun quickly disappears below the tree line of the woods as it slips through the clouds.

One of my favorite things to do in Texas is to photograph the wild cardinals that live in the woods on the ranch that we visit, which isn't an easy task. This beautiful male was feeding in the bush, offering only quick glimpses of himself, but I kept clicking the shutter, hoping that he would reveal himself, and finally he did. I don't always get the best photos; I consider shots like these lucky. The birds often land in the big tree tops and quickly disappear into the wooded canopy. I used my Canon Rebel with a 70mm-300mm zoom. 

This last weekend we traveled to Montrose, Colorado over on the Western Slope. Now, let me explain if you are not familiar with Colorado. If you look at a map, you will see that Colorado is a rectangle with the Rocky Mountains running through the middle of the state, from the north to the south, not quite dividing it in half. The Front Range lies east of the mountains. We navigate along the Front Range using Interstate highway 25 that takes commuters from as far away as Cheyenne, Wyoming down to Pueblo and on into New Mexico. You'd be surprised how many people commute daily for work from Cheyenne to Denver, over a hundred miles. 

The Western Slope, naturally, lies beyond the mountains to the west. In between are the ski resorts-- Loveland, Vail, Breckenridge and any number of small mountain villages once mining towns in the 19th century, now swelling with an ever growing population. 

It should be a six hour drive to Montrose, the small town where we stayed; instead, because traffic coming through Denver and on into the mountains is brutal, awful, terrible, it took us two hours longer; it was a very long drive over and back home. 

We were invited to a wedding that was held in the the high country outside of Montrose.  I took this picture along the way to the wedding of this mountain range  that is part of the San Juan mountain range and one of those craggy peaks is Wetterhorn Peak, (Click here for information on the mountain) a fourteener. The fournteeners are the mountains in Colorado that exceed 14,000 feet. There are 53 peaks that exceed 14,000 feet and for mountain climbers, many accept the challenge to climb all 53 of these mountains. 

With the milder weather on the Western Slope, the climate is perfect for fruit orchards, so we stopped in a little town, Palisade to buy peaches. The Head Gardener and I shared stories about our grandparents making the long drive to get a truck load of peaches to take home. His grandfather took took the old farm truck to buy peaches to take back home to sell. My grandparents made the annual trip and one year when I was very young they invited me ride along int the new 1951 red Chevy pickup with a red wooded camper top on it. I remember getting very car sick and sleeping in a hotel room. 

Today, we travel I-70 west over the mountains, a modern four lane highway that winds itself over the mountains, through the forests, and aside the rivers-- Clear Creek running to the east toward Denver and the plains and the Colorado River flowing to the west through the Grand Canyon and on to the Pacific. Our grand parents, however, took the old road, Highway 40 over Loveland Pass instead of through the mountain via Eisenhower Tunnel. Highway 40 still goes to California, too, just not as swiftly or gracefully as the interstate. 

The transitions in landscape and topography are gradual, and you know that Grand junction is not far away as the palisades begin. They are very unusual formations, barren of greenery, looking like sand, but they aren't, maybe held together with rock. I wish I had spent more time taking photos of the strange formations. We found a grower who had road side stand where we bought four boxes of peaces and a bag each of bing cherries--Colorado grown--not shipped in from anywhere--, Rainier cherries (yellow, sweet, and, costly in the super market), and a bag of freshly picked apricots! Now that is what I call from farm to table.

On the way home, located on the east side of the hills, we saw the George Town Loop, a vintage train that takes people for a train ride. A fair picture taken with iPhone traveling 70 miles an hour--or maybe we stopped in traffic? 

With July nearly spent, I'd say that the garden is at its peak. It has managed to do okay with our absences, but don't look too closely because you will see that we are also raising a very healthy crop of weeds this year.

I went out into the garden this afternoon. . .  

Our college student--who has long graduated--(the one lived with us, now out on her own)--has asked us if she can have her wedding in our barn in 2020. Of course we said yes. She likes sunflowers, so I picked some of the wild ones and made up a little bouquet of sunflowers and dill and sent it to her. 


Sunflowers and Dill. Just as they are growing in the vegetable garden. 


By the back patio the echinacea  thrive.


Sometimes flowers don't cooperate. It's hard to center a flower when the breeze is swift.

Roses and rain always make a pretty picture--so you have to take two.

This Gertrude Jekyll is a bit shy.

This little garden I call "the point" has become over run with weeds, but the floral colors are so pretty.

I just heard that the bumble bee is on the endangered list and now I am not surprised that I haven't seen any this summer. Here as I photographed this sweet pink holly hock, I got a bonus, the green flower bee loaded so heavy with pollen that I wondered if it would even be able to take off, and it did. 

I went to out to the garden this afternoon. . .and came back with a handful of happiness.

When I opened up my blog to write this post, I had a moment when I to pass by the post on Boone. We miss him so much. He was such a part of life, in part because he required constant attention either to keep track of him, making sure that he didn't leave the yard or tending to him in the house. He was a handful. Whether he was outside running constantly, patrolling the fence line looking for feral cats that live int he back alley or chasing rabbits, he never stopped. In the house, he was constantly steeling something--socks, the HG's hat, a towel, a shoe--whatever he could use to trade for a treat. He was always busy, up to something. I don't know if he was just plain stubborn or persistent--either way, Boone got his way, so he was spoiled. 

Now we find ourselves headed to check on him, and he's not there. 

We had free time on Saturday before the wedding, so we went to look at puppies. The HG found a breeder of German Short Hairs in Montrose, so we paid her a visit. While she had two new litters only a week old, the HG did not put one on hold. Maybe after the first of the year. I'll let you know.

So, thank you for all of your kind words of sympathy and comfort. I sincerely appreciate your kindness and friendship.

I'll be joining Mosaic Monday, so I'll see you at Maggie's. Have a fabulous week and thank you for visiting. I've missed you. 

A Rose by Any Other Name

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