Sunday, August 18, 2019

Happy Anniversary

Doesn't it seem just like yesterday that we met?

Nine years to this day I launched my blog, August 19, 2010. I was inspired by another blogger as I searched for information on toads with my grandson. When I read her blog, I decided that I could that--blog. I am not sure that she keeps her blog up to date, but I now follow her on Facebook. I've made some good friends across the globe along the way whom I consider as important to me as those friends who are closer to home.

Wanting to freshen up the blog's look, I'm trying a new layout with a cleaner, less cluttered look. I am not quite sure that I like this one; I miss seeing the list of current posts, so I may have to go back to the old layout. What do you think?

I am still trying to put the house back together after the wedding. The sunflowers are fading and soon headed for the mulch pile in the garden. I have so enjoyed their bright, cheerful faces I thought that I would share them once again.

What beauties this hot house girls are.

 I finally brought home this bunch the Thursday before the wedding.

Look at the luscious colors--everything from lemon yellow to brown to the golden girl on the right.

 Luscious and yellow and perfect.

These lovely ones came from the super market.

They make a lovely mosaic, don't they?

Shifting gears, the Head Gardener and I decided to take a drive north to the grasslands Friday. With the storm clouds hanging low, threatening to burst open with rain, we welcomed the cool day to go explore the prairie. 

The vastness of the open space of grasslands and farmlands always astound me as we leave the rush of a crowded civilization and becoming more so even here in our small town.

As the towering telephone and electrical wires stand testament to, more and more people are moving to the wide open spaces in search of the solitude, peace, and quiet of the prairie.

With access to a private ranch, we went off the main road to look for antelope.

They are fairly used to vehicles and Man, so they didn't panic and run off as we drove passed them.

These are unusual creatures, not rare by any means and certainly not endangered, but they are unique to the central and western North America. Generally referred to as antelope or pronghorn antelope, they are the only surviving animal in their family Antilocapridae. You can read more about about them on Wikipedia,where you learn the most interesting thing about their classification. They are a member of the superfamily Giraffoidea, making them most closely related to giraffes.

They don't look much like a giraffe, do they? 

While they appear calm here as we drove passed them, they can make a quick exit. As this buck did when we startled him. Some say that they can run 45 miles an hour.

The grasslands have served agriculture since the early settlers first tried to farm the arid country. This part of our trip was closer to the foothills where a stream runs through the landscape, so there will be a few trees where is there is water. Crops include wheat, corn, hay, and a new crop: hemp.

I was actually quite surprised to see hemp growing so far north. It is becoming a rather popular crop to grow with farmers now leasing their farmlands to hemp companies with the hope of a goodly yield thus a good income. 

More antelope--bucks.

This is one may favorite photos of the day. I could imagine it as a water color or an oil painting.

 We headed east and left the west side of Highway 85. . .

 ...then went north toward Wyoming. . . 

...then turned east again.

The further east we drive, the more barren the land becomes. The houses are sparse, the antelope roam a bit freer.
Windmills dot the landscape. Some still work, watering herds of cattle.

Sunflowers abound. An interesting combination: barbed wire and flower.

We used to take this drive all the time when the girls were little. The Head Gardener's grandfather had a farm out here and lost it in the '30s. For a while remnants of the farm could be found, but the road has been closed to vehicles and it is a long walk back in to the home place. Along the way, remnants of other inhabitants are found. Surviving the decades, tee pee rings are a reminder of earlier travelers as the Native Americans wandered the plains. Tribes included Cheyenne, Kiowa, Souix, and Pawnee, thus the Pawnee National Grasslands. 

When we have a wet summer, the grasslands abound with wild flowers. The wild  pink cleome line the roadside.

Some of the ranches' boundaries are marked with fence. The Head Gardener laid claim to this fence, as he told about helping his grandfather build it when he was kid.

City hawks will sit still for a photo, not this fellow.


More sunflowers and barbed wire.

Not many abandoned homes survive. This one is fairly modern with the electric pole in the yard, still the living conditions on the prairie are harsh that even modern day residents find it hard with violent windstorms, lack of rain, heat, and blizzards, along with snow packed roads in the winter.

Heading back toward home, we reach pavement.

In the distant West horizon the signs of civilization begin to appear.

We know that we have left he grasslands when we see the tasseled cornfields, a sure sign that fall is not fall off. Soon we'll hear the hum of the corn cutters.

I hope that you have enjoyed a drive to the grasslands. Now it is back to civilization.

Thanks for visiting.

Monday, August 12, 2019

The Party's Over

Greetings. I am sure some are wondering if I have abandoned The Garden Spot. No, I certainly have not, dear friends. Settle down with a nice cuppa and enjoy the Party.

I actually don't know where to start. Perhaps at the beginning.

When the request--or rather at my own suggestion--came to use the barn for a wedding, we faced two huge projects to get the place ready for a wedding. Along with the new landscaping for the barn circle that I wrote about earlier, the barn clean out was a major project. The photos really don't do justice to the work that the Head Gardener had to go to to empty out front half of the barn. In a few days time he had managed to move everything to the back half, parking the mustang, four wheeler, camp trailer, and tractors outside temporarily, praying that we did not get hail.

I don't know how we have manage to collect so much and worse save so much over the years.

The first party was the Head Gardener's 50th class reunion.

We decided to hang a curtain to hide the the stuff and to create a backdrop for the parties. We used four canvas painter's drop clothes. They listed as 9x12, but the measurements were not exact. A friend  sewed a 5" rod pocket in each panel and they were slipped onto a two inch PVC pipe that spanned the width of the barn, about 22 feet. 

Classmates of the Class of '69 helped to hang the panels for their party.

We were pretty much in awe of the clean palette for a party.

Even Brody, who does not like the barn, seemed to approve. 

The classmates partied all evening. It was wonderful watching old friends gather again, telling stories, laughing, loving each other again.

The next morning they all gathered again for the Ault Fall Festival Parade, with about 30 on the float. 

Meanwhile, the sunflowers for the wedding that my neighbor planted for me at the nursery, were growing nicely.

I picked wild flowers and practiced making a boutineere. 

I played with super market sunflowers and baby's breath to build the alter arrangements. I added wild growing Queen Anne's Lace and dill to add interest.

These sunflowers added such joy the dining room window.

Eighteen 57X96 table clothes arrive, ordered from Sam's Club. They were packaged 3 to package. Nice quality. While I don't need 18, I will give them to my daughters to use for their picnics and parties.

Three weeks before the wedding my neighbor texts a photo of the sunflowers. I am amazed at their beauty and hope that some will bloom for the wedding.

I took some home to plant in the garden. While they are growing, the heads are too heavy for the weak stalks and are breaking off. 

A plan begins to take shape for the wedding decor. My mother's old piano will be a backdrop for photos.

The Monday after the reunion, the bride and groom arrive and begin hanging lights.

Some of you will remember Sheyanne. She came to live with us soon after we moved to the Garden Spot to go to college. The daughter and grand daughter of life long friends is as much a part of our family as our own daughters. Her groom is a delightful, kind, wonderful young man. It was our honor to have their wedding here.

 The Thursday before the pick up the nursery flowers. They are gorgeous.

Look at this beauty.

Everyone arrives Friday for the rehearsal.

The bride's maids are charged with steaming 19 table clothes. They discover that our power grid will not handle 5 steamers. Plan B--or was it C-- just use the table clothes as they were with fold creases, and actually they looked very nice once laid out on the tables.

I couldn't hold back the tears as I saw the piano with the bride's family photos, my dear, life long friends with whom I grew up. Shayanne calls us Aunt and Uncle because that's what I called my best childhood friend's family. Pictured are her mother who passed while Shey was in college, her grandfather who she she never knew, and her grandmother who passed some years ago. I couldn't help but get a little weepy knowing how proud of this young woman they would be. 

Two of the doors were in our barn. The one on the right I scavenged from my home place, an old 19th century farmhouse. I took the door when we sold the property, never dreaming that it would be a wedding alter. The door in the middle came on loan from a friend. We loved the cracked paint on it.

A dear friend of the Bride's officiates the ceremony.

And the romance is just beginning.

I didn't get a change to take very many pictures. I was just too busy. Once Shey's photographer gets photos to her, I'll share some more. We used two 20X30 tents. With the lanterns in the tree branches, Edison garden lights in the tent along with twinkle lights in mason jars, at dusk the party looked so pretty with nearly a full moon to light the night.

Inside, the barn became a dance floor, even a bit enchanting with the dim light. Shey set aside a chair with a spray of sunflowers for her mother.

Chinese lanterns dangling from the trees along with the blurred tail lights of a car with the camera set on night exposure create a elusive, ethereal image, as the wedding becomes a fond memory. Truly a wedding to remember.

As we were preparing for the Reunion and wedding, the girls were competing in the 
4-H fair. I spent one day with them as they competed in the English competition but missed the Western competition because I had company, but I went back the third day for Ellie's trail course.

The girls looked so smart in their English attire along with their horses groomed and braided. 

Ellie has brought Hank a long way; he is becoming a show horse.

I don't suppose the little mountain mustang, Mariah, ever dreamt that she would be a show horse either.

Because Lucy took Grand Champion in the English show, she was invited the next week to participate in the Round Robin where the kids from the horse show joined the kids from the livestock show and competed in showmanship of the species. Not all of my photos turned out because the arena is a very hard place to photograph, but you will get the idea.

After showing her own horse at halter, Lucy moved on the show two species of goats.

Part of the showmanship is to get the animal to "pose" to show off it's good qualities, which takes practice and training.

After two goats, she showed a young Jersey heifer, a dairy breed. Ironically, her great grandfather raised Jerseys and had a small dairy herd. 

Next she showed a hog-- about like herding cats--as we say here in the West.

And a lamb.

Then a rowdy steer

 that was not very cooperative. Lucy did very well handling the beef and for never handling any of these other animal.  She said afterward that she had a lot of fun doing it. She won Reserve Grand Champion.

Mariah was part of the show, allowing all the other participants to show her at halter. Here, the completion has ended. Sister Ellie and Millie helped as horse holders during the competition.

And that's the way the summer went.

The party's over. The house is a wreck and I'm a little weary, but it has been a great summer full of joy and love and good things. 

I'll be linking with Angie for Mosaic Monday. 

Have a wonderful week and thanks for stopping by.

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...