Showing posts with label nature. Show all posts
Showing posts with label nature. Show all posts

Monday, October 24, 2016

Mary Prayer Garden Establishment

Two enterprising Mesa State University coeds worked over the weekend in our new back patio area to help create a meditation garden. "Before" pictures three days ago would have shown aspen tree branches hanging down to the ground, completing obliterating the view of a raised tree bed area. If only pictures had recorded progress from Friday through Sunday... 
(Friday afternoon, half way finished pruning)

Megan's dad, a horticulturist, Face Timed with her and helped us decide which aspen branches to remove (all below fence line). Then Allie and Megan put their shoulders and backs to the test and trimmed branches, hauled gravel away from the bed, raked in a dozen bags of topsoil and compost, and planted a stature of the Virgin Mary in an elevated pot, placing St. Frances in another small stand of trees in the corner.  Water added, task completed!

(birds and bunnies placed beside St. Frances)
The young women are helping to finance their Alternative Spring Break to El Salvador in 2017, sponsored by The Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Parish.  What a win-win proposition for us! 

Allie and Megan did excellent work and created a peaceful, spiritual, meditative space. We are all anxious to see how this space looks after the ajuga gets rooted in for the winter, with future herbs to be planted around the border of the bedded area. Thank you, girls!

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Views from the Porch

Flowers planted in 2012 for my wildflower garden have grown. Some have not flourished, and a few have succumbed to over-watering and too much sun and summer heat.  The picture above shows most of the original plantings, plus a few others. Bluebells, where are you? Was the soil not to your liking?  I have been putting used coffee grounds around the wildflowers every morning to increase acidity uptake.
Iris are blooming

Penstemon are almost ready to bloom

Jupiter's Beard *transplanted two summers ago from slips*

Phlox that will go into earth at the end of the season

A new painting started (oils) from this reference photo:

And from the kitchen:

Rhubarb for this recipe (a yum, thanks, Marianne)

Mrs. Tittlemouse, do you recognize your pretty crochet?

Julie is coming over today from the manor.  We have had quite a few days, and maybe that is why I have neglected blogging for a while.  Last week, she had an optometry appointment that was a bust.  Her wheelchair would not go through the door of the examination room because of its width, 36 inches.  The optometrist was a bit embarrassed since his offices were supposedly "wheelchair accessible".  But she did finally get a referral to an ophthalmologist, which she needed to begin with, but the manor Powers That Be would not listen to me.  It might take another few months to get that scheduled, however.

Then there was the issue of dealing with Julie's headaches that lasted a few days...nothing more to report than worry resulting in a natural resolution to her headaches.  And then another visit scheduled to the surgeon who first helped out with the diversional colitis resection, which has still not been resolved.  That appointment will happen at the end of the week.  Perhaps infection is still evident?

I leave you with this verse that struck me from Sunday's homily, referring to Romans 5:1-5:
...affliction produces endurance, and endurance, proven character, and proven character, hope, and hope does not disappoint because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts...

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

What Happened this Week

Best new recipe tried this week: Lemon Ice Box Cake  by 12Tomatoes to be served at RCIA tonight

Finished Projects: A Line Vintage Dress (modified pattern) and Yard Clean Up ( trees, boxes, rose bush limbs) in time for city-wide trash pick up, likely today

source is our front sidewalk

Frustrations: Julie has been in bed two weeks; sewing machine tension is off, making sewing almost unacceptable; Julie does not keep her new phone charged

Successes: Julie was in wheelchair and playing cards in the manor activity room with only minor headaches Sunday and yesterday; Pfaff sewing machine taken to be fixed at the repair shop; went fishing today and we caught our limit of trout! Geese were present

Happiness Derived from Material Goods: New Merlot Leather Lazy Boy Recliner delivered yesterday so Gene and I now have Edith and Archie Bunker chairs

Blooming:  Iris in front

144 seeds planted on April : progress of sprouting as of April 14. half are up:

Electronic Update: The Fire was knocked off Julie's bedside table on Sunday night and is broken beyond repair; new phone for Julie is working (but hardly ever charged when I need to call her)

Trying to learn how to use Jack's Camera (macro lens):
actual size: a 50 cent piece
Ollie the Owl: still here, seen most often at dawn and then again about 10 AM daily

Reading: Almost finished another Rosamund Pilcher's Winter Solstice, and Pain in the Tuchis

So what is up in your neck of the woods?

Monday, April 4, 2016

April Begins

Feeling better this week, thank you very much.  And thank you for comments and prayers.  Sandra, I empathize and sympathize with you for not allowing yourself to be caught up in time consuming efforts at the expense of not getting done what you need to accomplish. Thank you for your email.

Favorite recipe last week from Lee Drummond, Pioneer Woman, for Sunshine Muffins.  Pretty good, a happy yellow muffin with marmalade. Recipe here.  My old stand by recipe is quicker, but not quite as tasty. Gene made beans with ham and a tasty casserole last week, good for taking to the manor.

On April 1, I planted 144 seeds in plastic seed starters for yellow and red cosmos to go into our newly expanding Flower Bed, seen here two years ago when the Delancey Cardigan was knit up.  It will be increased in size by 100 %, to about 10 feet by 4 feet.

Received a dozen 5"x7" gessoed panels to paint from saved pins on Pinterest.  Amazon also provided a like number of mattes in white for pop in pictures.  Yesterday they all received a coating of acrylic peach paint, readying them for images.

On Saturday I saw "Hello, It's Me, Doris" with Sally Field.  It was a time to get out and see how the world and its occupants viewed our first day of warmer weather.  Gave the movie a B+; hard to see Gidget get older, but she kept her charm in tact.

Julie starts her eighth day in bed with a new wound care regime to help heal.  The director of nursing at the manor (DON) and I will be having a serious discussion about getting Julie out of bed and into her wheel chair for at least two hours a day.  It is not good to have her just lie in bed in her room for days at a time, no matter what the DON says.  

We shall see how that idea fares today.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Ring Neck Dove

Rather a good shot of a dove in our yard this week, don't you think?

Gene says it is of the invasive species brought in from Africa and Asia; it is called a ring necked dove. In Colorado, Fish and Game says there is no limit to hunting doves, but
TO HUNT EURASIAN COLLARED-DOVES, and other invasive species, you must have a hunter education card.
They also have a gentle nature, and are often kept as pets, so I will just look at them and listen to their cooing.  No dove hunting for me!

These are emerging from under mulched cottonwood leaves packed over by snow through winter:






Julie sent me 2 dozen tulips by mail!


Crocus (March 19)

Monday, June 15, 2015

Clematis and More

Beauty observed from neighbor Woods' fence...

and a Woods' iris to boot.

Also, courtesy of Mr. Woods, a cedar nursery box he made for me in April; trusting the coleus will flourish through September on our back patio.  Some critter was munching on foliage this morning; everybody has to eat, just not at this smorgasbord.

A little crowd of google eyes was in Jack and Julie's knick knack box in York.  She thinks maybe Jack made it in years past.  It is now keeping company with the coleus.

 And day lilies about to bloom

Over the weekend, I pulled out tons of mint that overgrew grassy areas, and the bindweed was having a field day, too.  Out that went, which only makes it grow more profusely.  And I trimmed down the rose bushes, too.  At least I can expend energy in eradicating weeds, even though tackling the thorny issues of life is a bit more daunting. 

On the Julie front, she is moving to Mesa Manor this week from Colorado Canyons Hospital.   Mesa Manor is a Genesis owned 84 bed licensed facility.  This is a picture of its entrance and information can be accessed here

 It is probably the best place for her now.  She soldiers on.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Only the Necessary

Going through my closet, discarding clothing and deciding that I need only a dress or two, a funeral dress or a party dress, for both are indeed the same, decisions were made.  Good Will received a portion, but the garbage pile also took on am embarrassingly large accretion of tee shirts.  Today's wardrobe, for me, consists of pants, long in winter, cropped in summer, and long flowing tops of linen or cotton.

So why on earth did I still hang on to that suit jacket from 15 years ago?  I will never again have an office job, nor will I ever don that expensive wool suit, for I am not of that generation, although time and age is creeping me onward.
A man who has at length found something to do will not need to get a new suit to do it in; for him the old will do, that has lain dusty in the garret for an indeterminate period.[....] I say, beware of all enterprises that require new clothes, and not rather a new wearer of clothes. If there is not a new man, how can the new clothes be made to fit? If you have any enterprise before you, try it in your old clothes. All men want, not something to do with, but something to do, or rather something to be ... Henry David Thoreau
For I have found something to do, something to love, something to look forward to and some place to be in my old and comfortable clothing.  Gardening, volunteering, reading, writing and painting need only replacement items.

Even our dead wood and other debris placed on our front curb, set out for the annual "Fresh as A Daisy" pickup by the city, funded by tax dollars, was eschewed by several clunker type bashed up pickups.  This was after the old wrought iron paraphernalia and plastics were previously snatched by recyclers seeing gold in our discards.

One decision made last summer regarding our garden was that I would never purchase an accessory for the outside that was not made from natural materials: iron, clay, stone, rock, wood are all acceptable.  Look what I found yesterday while clearing off fallen leaves from our cottonwoods.  It is a tree stump hollowed out over the years by little ants (carpenter ants?) that turned the wood into "frass," something that looks like sawdust.  When I moved the stump and turned it over, the bottom portion turned out half eaten and decayed, a perfect place for planting pansies.  How fortunate when turned upside down, a lucky benevolence!

And now nary a piece of plastic to show in the wildflower garden!

This week a friend whose husband recently passed away gave me a polished rock from his collection.  He was a lapidarist with a massive collection of rocks and equipment that she donated to Ft. Lewis College in Durango where he taught for over two decades.  

This rock has snails embedded in the fossil.  I looked it up and found it is called an "ammonite" and the snails could have lived as long as 415 million years ago.  I am wearing it today and thinking of her and her lovely garden.

My last writing class in April 28, and I will have some readings to share during May.  And for all you Garrison Keillor fans of "A Prairie Home Companion," Sharon Olds will be on his show tomorrow evening, April 25, live from Town Hall.  We have read some of her work in our writing classes, so I am looking forward to hearing her.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Spring Luck

As I have previously said, Jeans Knitting is one of the first reads of the morning when sitting in my chair, or actually my husband's chair, after I get up and turn on the fire and have coffee in hand.  She blogs daily and wakes me up with her perspective on her coming day.  Jean makes lists of things that she needs to accomplish that day. And updates me, for of course she is writing to me from Edinburgh, telling in her quaint ways of what on her yesterday's list was accomplished and what yet needs to be finished from her uncompleted list.  Most days she gives herself  a 100 percent rating, but a few times she laments that she was just too tired to finish one or two of her self assigned tasks.

Seems I follow Jean closely because I think of her as my one-generation-older friend who is keeping it together in her own way.  So maybe a list is the thing to keep in the forefront of my mind as I try to age with grace and wisdom.

So back to Jean's list, or my list, for the day.  Half of her day seems to involve taking care that her octogenarian, somewhat cranky husband, as she gets his lunch and keeps his writing files in order. That part of my day, compared with hers, does not exist, since my husband is in a reverse role with his own mother and ensuring she is fed and watered,  Although she still lives independently, except for not driving and having severe macular degeneration and not being able to read much or change the time on the clock or figure out how to order on Amazon.  But he needs no care whatsoever, other than being listened to, and occasional affectionate words and kisses.

Then Jean's list goes on to her knitting.  My, what a knitter she is, even to the point of designing her own laces and looking into software to aid in her motif designs.

My knitting, sorely neglected as of late, consists of this pair of socks on the needles, using picture yarn.  Google it and you will see clever yarns that have been mathematically designed to create pictures within the pattern, no matter the gauge you are using.  Here is a picture of my watermelon socks.  Notice those little black dots of color that play into the reds for the seeds within.

these are The Perfect Fit Socks, Abi Grasso Etsy Shop yarn

On the cooking front, two recipes I made this weekend are absolutely the best: carrot cake and hush puppies.

No pictures, but the carrot cake was found here, originally published by Southern Living. It has the usual suspects in the batter of grated carrots, crushed pineapple, with a little surprise of coconut.  We liked it, the neighbors liked it and I am serving it to friends today at coffee and tomorrow (frozen, but thawed) to the pinocle card group.

I was looking for an old fashioned sweet hush puppy like my grandmother used to make, but times have changed and what I found was from Paul Prudhomme, found here. We had fried trout with the couture hush puppies. Those puppies have onion, green onion tops, red pepper and only one egg, but after setting for a couple of hours in the fridge, the juices from the vegetables incorporate themselves into the flour and cornmeal and give an excellent texture. Beware these pups are fried, and I used only a film of grease, but they soaked up every bit of that canola oil. Not low calorie, but delicious. (And I did not find one recipe that called for just cornmeal, flour, egg and sugar, like Mom used to make.)

Saturday, I thought I was buying plain ol' johnny jump-ups for a splash of blue color on the patio while waiting for anything to rear its pretty head from the cold soil.  When I got home, I looked at the label more clearly after planting it and was happily surprised to learn I had purchased Rock Cress Axcent Lilac plants, a perennial.  What luck!  I needed new perennials.

The husband reminded me of what Garrison Keillor said:

“Some luck lies in not getting what you thought you wanted but getting what you have, which once you have it you may be smart enough to see is what you would have wanted had you known. ” 
― Garrison KeillorLake Wobegon U.S.A.

If you are following Angela in A Pause in Lent, I have written a piece on Path to Writing concerning what I heard yesterday in church since we are just two weeks away from Easter.  (It is under revision, in case you click on it and do not see it.)

Have a great week, and haste ye back in a few days to see the laundry line bowls in progress, thanks to the tip from Elizabeth, seen here when she writes about Washing-Tale Lines.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Cottonwoods Are Thirsty

Old Trees (NM)
Old trees
Cottonwood shade.
Leaves fall in summer time
We are alarmed to see this change
Why now?

They thirst
Nature's moisture
From mountain snow is less.
Last year they needed supplements
To live.

Times past
They thrived with creeks
Sending mesa snow melt
Supplying water from nearby.
Not now.

(Cinquain poetic form described here)

(our cottonwood trees last spring)

In Colorado, last summer we were in extreme drought:

Our cottonwood trees in the back yard required much more water than in previous years.  The news for the summer of 2015 may be better.  More here.