Sunday, September 30, 2018

This Kind of Day

Finally Autumn has taken control here at the Garden Spot, and gladly we welcome the change in weather. This morning I was on chore duty, taking the place of the Head Gardner who has gone fishing. Because they are rare here in this part the country, we enjoy these cloudy, damp, almost drizzly days that give a nice respite from the dryness of which Colorado usually boasts. Come along with me as I do the only chore for the morning: feed the boys.

I have to tread carefully around Pop, the little guy who is blind in this eye. I let him know where I am by talking to him. He has some sight on the other side and does hear well, but he becomes easily disoriented and spooks at odd sounds or sudden movement.

Today's mosaic sums up the end of summer. Rain drops on the fence wire. If you are tempted to lick one off, don't. It's an electric fence. I didn't get my zinnias planted this year, but they came up anyway, at least the pinks reseeded themselves. They were everywhere. That was fine.

We are done with the garden. Yes, those are over grown yellow squash. They grew so fast that it was hard to keep up with them. We ate plenty, but couldn't even give them away. Nor was I in the mood to freeze them.

Look familiar? These ferny type branches are the over grown asparagus stalks, now gone to seed and are as tall as the fence.

The lane to the pasture and the fence make a fun photo. I had to walk to the other end of the pasture to pick up POP's fly mask that had fallen off.

The wild sunflowers had their way in this corner. Now that they have gone to seed, the birds are enjoying a sunflower seed banquet.

These two tomato bushes yielded more that twenty pounds of tomatoes. We made salsa and I froze the last large picking.

We are glad that this gardening season is done for the year. The weeds got away from us. First we anguished over it then we said to heck with it. The garden plants grew and produced right along with the weeds. It wasn't pretty, but it was plentiful.

I love these colors. 

More fall colors. Whatever this yellow plant is, it has taken over the raspberries.

And then there is a spot of summer color: one last holly hock.

Coming back from the garden, I pass the koi pond. The gold fish linger in the water, their metabolism slowed by the colder temperature.

The gold fish linger quietly, but the big koi never rests.

At first I didn't see the reflection in the water then I noticed it and had fun photographing it.

Seldom is the water's surface so still and reflective. It's almost hard to tell which is up and which is down.

Before I grow anymore confused, I have laundry to do. I've made my white chicken chili for later today day when the Head Gardner comes home. It's that kind of day.

Thanks so much for joining me today. Meet me over at Maggie's for Mosaic Monday.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Fall? Really?

As Fall secretly slips in, it doesn't seem much like fall here at the Garden Sport. We have been waiting for her arrival, but Sister Summer lingers--sisters are like that, sometimes, aren't they? w
Wearing out their welcome trying to be helpful. It's hard to tell a sister that it's time to move on, to go home, but when she just does not know when when to quit, then it is time. Like when she turns up the thermostat and refused to turn it back down no matter how much we fuss and beg, Sister Summer has the upper hand. Here's a very good example: Record breaking heat for the end of September here in Northern Colorado, like 90 degrees+. Sweltering. Even the "D word" is being spoken out loud: Drought. We haven't had rain for days, so we are ready for a change, for cooler days, and we might even welcome Jack Frost, especially if he could encourage Sister Summer to held else where.

Still we enjoy the the last remnants of summer, especially the roses in their last flush of the season, the third bloom, and reasonably the last one.

The roses weren't quite so prolific this summer. I am not too sure why. Perhaps they reflected my own lack of energy. In May routine blood tests showed that I was low in magnesium, seriously deficient due to a prescription that I had been taking for acid reflux. I was on it much, much longer than the recommended six weeks. My old doctor let me get by with taking it, while the the new doctor who took over after he retired had my magnesium level tested and as a result took me off of that particular drug and ordered me to take magnesium supplements to replenish my levels. It has taken me all summer to build up my magnesium, and I am beginning to get my energy back. I am using a magnesium spray on the bottoms of my feet and taking hot Epsom's salt baths when I am particularly tried. My regime seems to be working. 
As I took the iPhone photos of the front garden, I saw the garden through a new lens, so to speak, both literally and figuratively. I tend to get frustrated with things that I create be it the garden or the dollhouse or a homemade greeting card. I am too critical of the things I do, so today as I photographed the front courtyard, I was really quite surprised and pleased and said to myself that the little garden looks really good.
Just over the brick wall is the new garden that we built early in the summer. It has struggled with the heat and it has been hard to keep enough water on the new plants mostly because we have the gardens on a timer. Rain would help so much. We planted six dahlias, too--late. Too late. Four poked early leaves out; rabbits ate one; one just disappeared; the third is still growing--maybe it will flower, but probably not; and one bloomed and then faded because it has been so hot and dry. I love these dinner plate sized blooms. I'd like to plant a garden full next year. I think I'd like them better than the cabbages that the rabbits ate because we didn't have a dog to scare them away. But, hey, we have a dog now.

 The little water garden the summer looks so good at summer's end with its crystal clear water, finally. No scum. No algae. How'd that happen? And it is isn't leaking. You can't see them but there are 7 little gold fish that we caught in the big water feature in the back yard. We will probably have to catch them before the pond freezes. And the water lily bloomed. It's pink.

Even the bin weed the I can't pulled out looks almost good climbing on the little wind chime. 

The fruitless strawberries take all summer to fill in then die back in the winter. I get tired of them and think about redesigning the entry. I didn't have the energy this summer, and I'm glad that I didn't. 

The clematis continues to bloom and fills her corner. I cut it her back quite a bit this spring, but not enough. I'll try to prune her earlier next spring--just like I promised this summer.

I've picked a lot of tomatoes, green peppers, Anaheim, and jalapeños and taken them to my daughter' where we made salsa on two different days. We varied the batches all the way from one with only green peppers (for me), one with just Anaheim, and one with just jalapeños for my son-in-law who likes it hot. I still have plenty of tomatoes and Jen has her tomatoes and peppers, too. I have already told her that she's on her own. We still have a lot of tomatoes to pick. I am waiting just a bit longer then I am going to try to make spaghetti sauce. Do you have any really good recipes? 

Then there's Miss Lily who decided to make marmalade after she saw the current Paddington Bear movie. She didn't even know what it was, but her mother went along with it. She helped prepare the oranges and even filled the jars with the hot mixture with Paddington supervising. (My friend gave me the bear after our trip to England when we took the train at Paddington Station in London).

 He doesn't replace Boone, but then we didn't expect Brody to that, but he does do some of the same things that Boone loved. The chickens are great fun to harass and bark at. Here he is pointing at the rooster. While hens do their Chicken Little impression and run for cover when they see Brody approach, the rooster stands his ground. Brody does his pointer thing and barks a lot, too.

His first encounter with the horses didn't go so well either because he had never seen a horse, but Boon had the boys well trained, so they are not scared of Brody. He doesn't know that it's really not wise to walk under a horse and hopefully he won't meet any other horses who don't allow dogs such such liberties. He is slowly getting over his timid ways, but still household sounds scare him and he sets his feet and refuses to go to his outdoor kennel. The Head Gardener has to carry him. He is learning not to jump on me and we think he is making progress asking going outside when he needs to. We just have to make sure to listen to him.

Thanks so much joining me. I'm not as diligent as I should be--could be--used to be--at posting, but I'm not going to stop simply because I'd my my friends, so I do appreciate that you drop by just to see what I'm doing--if I'm writing about it. 

Join me over at Life in Normandy. It'll be fun.

Monday, September 3, 2018

Night Sounds

They start hooting early in the morning, long before the crack dawn. Often I am awake to hear them. Soon it will be time to get up and the hooters have gone to roost, the Chanticleer begins his morning crow around 4:00AM, and I try to snooze through his morning pronouncements. We tend to relate to our surroundings by the sounds that we hear everyday, and sometimes those sounds go unnoticed, like the freight trains that regularly pass through our tiny town on the Colorado plains or the roar of the semi trucks as they rumble through town on the highway that runs parallel to the train tracks. We hear the sirens regularly, able to recognize the different between the ambulances that from the south or the fire trucks that come from the west, and the Flight for Life helicopter that comes from the south flying low over the Garden Spot as it finds a place to land.

In the fall, we hear the sounds of school just down the road from us. If the patio door is open we can hear the cheerleaders and the pep band and crowd cheering on the Highland Huskies football team, punctuated by the game's announcer over the PA system. I like those Friday night sounds.

Most of the sounds we just live with, becoming oblivious to them until visitors comment on the how they heard every train that passed through town while they tried to sleep.

But the owls. We hear the owls more often now. They have been making regular visits to the Garden Spot, thus I devote this week Mosaic to them.

I generally spend most of evenings downstairs working on the dollhouse or sewing while the Head Gardener retires to the bedroom early. Lately he has been hearing a odd screeching sounds which prompt him to go outside to listen so that he can figure out what the sound is. Now with the pup that needs to be house trained thus requiring evening walks, the HG is a outside later in the evening. He came in excited the other evening to tell me that the Great Horned Owl was sitting on the trellis by the koi pond; I grabbed my camera and tired to get a good shot, but it was past sundown, so the exposer was not the greatest. I watched the owl for a while, and knowing that I was there, soon it flew away. The HG was amazed that he was able to walk Brody around the yard and right past the owl and it stayed put. While we easily recognized the hoo hoo, it took a while to realize that they also screech back forth. If we hear one near by and we wait and listen  we will hear one across the field answer. 

Here is a closely cropped photo of the owl on the trellis. Later it returned and we watched sit pond side taking drinks. I stood on the patio watching and he knew that I was there--he'd swivel his head around--as owls do--take a good look at me then go back to drinking. It was so exciting to watch him.

Another night, the HG called me upstairs to let me know the the owl was perched on the barn cupola and you can see my results are not very good in the early night fall. Still I got photos. 

We love the owls, mysterious and elusive that they are. The HG built a large nesting box for them and hauled high up into the pine tree by the swing set where the owls often light, so we are hopeful that next spring they might decide that it will be a good place to nest. 

Meet Hank

There is one very happy little girl in the family this week. She was surprised with a new horse, Hank, a thirteen year old Morgan that spent a good many years as a trail horse at a Boy Scout camp. He will become a very spoiled boy with his girl, Ellie. I went over to watch the girls ride Saturday--no devices, no cell phones, no iPads--just girls with their horses.

Her shirt says, "Believe in something wonderful," and her smile says it all.

Mariah isn't too happy with her new stall mate--a gelding? What kind of creature is that? Ellie's other other horse, Honey, has new home in the hills with the other grandparents where she will take on the job of teaching their new colt how to be a horse.

As much as I enjoy photographing the critters here, I love photographing the girls and their horses.

Front, back, sideways--any way.

 Hale to Kale (the flowering kind)

Lily had to take a shot. This might have been a really good shot had it been in focus. She was aiming for the kale but missed.

Fresh from the Garden 

No kale of any kind in my garden. Add an onion and some cilantro and we've got a good, fresh salsa.

Brody Report

Two weeks after we brought a timid, scared puppy home, Brody is warming up and figuring things out. He has now met four of the five grandchildren, and while Jacob now 15 isn't quite a child, he wasn't too sure of the new person in the house, but it didn't take long for him to realize that what we have know since day one, he's a cool kid and fun to play with. What pup doesn't like a bit of rough housing and then a nice place to chill?

Well, nice to visit with you. That ends the week's report on what's happening at the Garden Spot. Life is interesting and fun with surprises every day. I am so glad that you stopped by to visit. I'll see you over at Maggie's for Mosaic Monday--I think I'll hit the deadline today.

If you have nothing better to do, check out Ann's Dollhouse Dreams. I have so much going on over there. One dollhouse is about finished and I have begun a new one and have another in the box ready to begin. Lily talked me into ordering a kit for her. 

I have changed the format for the dollhouse blog. Please leave me comment to let me know how you like it. I'm not sure I do. It does have a cleaner, more modern look, but it eliminates all of the gadgets on the side menu and hides them behind icons that you click on. Do we like that? Should take I the Garden Spot there? Let me know. I value your opinions. 

Have a great week. 

The Last Hollyhock

(Note: if the font in Safari is too small: press option command + keys to zoom your Safari screen.)  Here in Northern Colorado, we are all f...