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Thursday, August 9, 2007

Natural Beauty

Had to drive to Pueblo yesterday to buy new ink cartridges for my HP Photosmart all-in-one and the prairie is still lovely from all the rain we've had this year. I spotted this herd of Proghorn Antelope west of the highway and had to stop to appreciate them and take photos. There were quite a few young ones in the group, evidently a good year for the antelope. We often see pronghorns along here but this is one of the largest groups I've seen so close to the highway (U.S. 50). You'll need to click to enlarge the photo to see the animals better. The mountains in the near background are the Wet Mountains and the dim one on the far rear left is one of the Spanish Peaks. The small town of La Veta, which is the home of Ricky Timms, and where he and Alex Anderson film their new webcast Quilt Show, is located in a most beautiful valley at the foot of those peaks.

At about the same time I noticed a small plume of white smoke on the Wet Mountains behind Florence. It looked to me like it was close to the Oak Creek Grade, that I've posted about in the past. This afternoon's paper reported that it was near Oak Creek and that firefighters on ATVs would have to go into the wild area to fight it. It is believed that it was started by lightening. Luckily, with all the recent rain, the landscape is moist enough that it isn't growing quickly; mostly smoldering.



Joe and I always enjoy seeing the Great Blue Herons fishing in the edges of the river and flying gracefully overhead. Recently I told Joe that there must be a rookery somewhere along the river before the one at the west end of the Pueblo Reservoir, since that would be a long flight for dinner. When I drove home on the old highway, now a scenic narrow gravel road from Hiway 50 to Colorado 115, just east of Florence, I noticed a rookery in the tops of big old bare cottonwoods along the Arkansas River where Hardscrabble Creek joins from the south. I drive this way often but usually when going to Pueblo. Evidently it doesn't show up as well when I drive by in the other direction. Sorry I haven't been able to take a photo of one of the Herons, but here is what they look like: Great Blue Herons

I want to report that we ate the Green Zebra tomatoes and they were delicious; can't wait for more to get ripe. Next year I'm going to have to try to get some more heritage tomatoes planted. There is no comparison between store bought tomatoes and the home grown ones. One of my happiest early memories was going with Mom out to the garden, in front of the farmhouse, where we picked and ate ripe red tomatoes, warm from the sun, sprinkled with celery salt from a depression era green pillowed glass salt shaker. Thanks to that memory I searched out and purchased many more of those old shakers, which then led to cannisters, etc., ad infinitum. Guess how my kitchen is decorated. The shaker on the top shelf, sixth from the left is one of my shakers like the one Mom had when I was a small child (there are several of them on these shelves with my larger spice cannisters, but that one is the clearest to see.) I still see shakers like that in some restaurants, only in clear glass instead of that special green. The red plate on the right is a vintage Staffordshire souvenir plate from the Royal Gorge, which is our local greatest tourist attraction, bringing in around half a million tourists a year.

I had to do that wall in my tiny kitchen in two parts because I can't get back far enough to take the whole wall in one photo. I've always claimed that the best things in the world are red and green, watermelons, strawberries, Christmas...

10 comments:

Allison Ann Aller said...

I love your posts, Fran!
That high prairie reminds me so much of Wagon Mound, just a ways south of you...
Doesn't Judith Montano live in La Veta, too? A real quilting hub, that.
That green depression glass speaks to me too....your kitchen is wonderful.

Beth said...

I really like your wall...it's so pretty and perfect.

Next time you put up anything, how 'bout a tutorial?

Hope you are feeling better!

Barbara C said...

Hi Fran. Thanks for the lovely post on your travels. I love the GB herons. We have them here too, but I don't spot them very often.

Your kitchen shots are great. It's wonderful what our memories inspire us to collect. For me it's enamel cups, small white ones with black or red rims, or the white ones with flower transfers, because these remind me of my grandmother and her kitchen. I also have a pressed glass sugar bowl just like the one she had. I found it in a junk shop. Now that was a red-letter day.

Jane Ann said...

Deja vu alert: LOVE that red and green kitchen, Fran. We're more alike than you know. Look at the first picture under "About Me" in my blog.

I hope your outings are a sign that you're feeling better.

Deborah said...

You are right about home grown tomatoes. No comparison! I love that green depression glass too. The pictures are lovely & your narration very interesting.

Debra Spincic said...

Glad to hear you are out and about! Stopped by to say Hey!

Susan Ramey Cleveland said...

Love all the new pictures.

ruth said...

You live in a really beautiful part of the world. Thanks for taking the time to share it with us.

jenclair said...

Such beautiful country! And the herons, well, they are wonderful and make me feel good just thinking about them fishing in the river.

I love depression glass and envy you those canisters!

Deb H said...

What a homey post Fran! I want to come sit in your kitchen, & take a drive with you too. The antelope herd was amazing, & so was the number of nests in those trees!

My mouth waters just thinking about those tomatoes. We can't get sun-ripened tomatoes up here. The summer growing season is too short, & too many daylight hours. Apparently tomates need the darkness to develope their sugars.