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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Ultimate Eye Candy

I wanted to share a gorgeous slide show of pretties from the New York City garment district that was sent out on "The Quilt Show" e-letter today.

This is one of the reasons I love being a charter member of "The Quilt Show".

We ought to all just charter a plane and go look at this wondrous place together.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

April Garden Bloggers Bloom Day

Along with many other gardeners throughout the world, I am sharing what is blooming today at Toad Haven at the foot of the Rocky Mountains in SE Colorado. Check out May Dreams Gardens for the list of gardening bloggers taking part.

Outdoor blooms are still scarce at Toad Haven as we are having our typical April weather; warm, sunny 60/70 degree days interspersed with cold, cloudy snowy days. Because it has been such a dry winter we are overjoyed to have the moisture, even in the form of snow. "April (snow) showers bring May flowers."

Here is a photo of the dooryard garden and patio today, to show what the typical garden looks like in this climate in April. I left the turned over chair the way it was to show you how much the wind has been blowing. Every time I go out it seems that I have to put the chairs upright again.

There are a few flowers poking thru the green grass and dried plant material, such as these Scillas.

In an old whisky barrel the Grape Hyacinths are popping up. This batch of plants originally came from my Boulder garden; some were transplanted to Dad's garden in Fowler, when my kids were still kids; then transplanted into a whisky barrel in my downtown Florence rooftop garden, La Playa Brea; and 6 years ago the whisky barrel was moved into the prairie border here in Toad Haven. This is the one batch of plants that I never transplanted into the garden soil, but they seem quite happy to bloom in the barrel each Spring, where they encourage many lovely memories.

A batch of small Daffodils are blooming through the Creeping Phlox plant, that is not blooming yet. Daffodils always seem like such happy flowers and it thrills me to have a few in my garden. As much as I love them I don't know why I haven't planted more. Maybe this will be the daffodil bulb planting fall.

Here and there throughout the garden are self seeded Violas. This tiny little guy is growing between the pavers in the Herb Garden path. Other than fresh green shoots of Marjoram, Italian Parsley, Oregano and Sage this garden is still pretty much straw colored. I did pick up 6 pots of Cilantro to plant the other day, but with a major snow storm expected it will be a few more days before they can leave the Sun Porch.

A pot of fragrant purple Hyacinths are blooming on my front porch to welcome visitors.

In the dining room the red Phaelanopsis Bonica Orchid is still blooming and the blush white Phaelanopsis Mount Beauty x Stope New Candy Orchid buds are about to pop open.

The Lipstick Vine has done so much better since it moved into the south window of the new Sun Porch a couple of years ago. Right now it is covered with bright red blossoms. Watching the blossoms develop from bud to full bloom is always fascinating.

I should have a lot more flowers to share in another month. Check it out on May 15.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Busy, Busy Time

This month has been rather insane. We started with a trip to the ER, by ambulance, for Joe with chest pains, which was finally determined to be a bad case of indigestion from a huge Mexican burrito dinner the night before rather than a heart problem.

The next day Amber had major oral surgery, in Colorado Springs, with her jawbones broken and reset to properly align her teeth. A couple of days later she had a seizure in the shower with her Mom, because she was too weak to do anything alone, and she was sent to the ER where the doctors decided it was caused by the heat of the shower acting on the narcotic pain medicine she was on. She is so brave that after less than a week she went to her Senior Prom, with nurse Mom accompanying her, while barely able to walk and unable to open he mouth or talk. She is doing so well now that the bands were removed from her braces and she is able to eat a little soft food instead of having liquid squirted in with a syringe. After two weeks she was able to go back to school today, but didn't make it all day.

On Friday, I was in Urgent Care for one of my chronic complaints which required antibiotics.

Saturday, April 4 was Mom's 89th birthday and we had a party for her in the dining room of her assisted living home with a chocolate cake with 3 sparkler candles, one for past, one for present, and one for future. My brother, Steve and his new bride, Gwen, celebrated with us. We adore Gwen and are so happy that Steve found her, living nearby, when he moved back from Reno to live in Mom's house in Fowler. We think they are an adorable couple.

On Sunday, when Mom got home from church, she took off her coat and laid it on the bed and as she started to take the few steps to her recliner, she fell flat on her face and shook herself up royally. She didn't think she needed to be checked out at the ER but the next day she called me with pain in her neck and back. Since she has severe Osteosporosis, I feared she could have a broken bone. It turned out that she was having muscle spasms from a Cervical strain so she was sent home with an RX for a muscle relaxent and Extra Strength Tylenol. For the few days she took the muscle relaxent she was not allowed to walk anywhere without assistance because of the danger of falling again.

During this time granddaughter Mandy was staying with us and she was at the hospital with Amber when she had her surgery. She found 3 pieces of vintage plaid fabrics with reds and blacks in my stash and sewed a simple six block top for a pillowcase and made the back out of another piece of plaid.

Then when Amber's sister Makayla stayed with me, while Amber had followups with her Oral Surgeon, she found some black and white fabrics with gold stars which she pieced in a four patch pillow top which she backed with a matching red and stars fabric as a gift for her recuperating sister. Luckily I had a big bag of stuffing material in the closet for that project. So while I haven't really been able to get into quilting since those small strokes last summer, at least I am still able to help the girls learn how to sew and piece.

Kathy and Greg came for Easter weekend, with little Evan, to take Mandy home after her three weeks with us. We made a big pot of chili con carne for Saturday supper and went to a restaurant for Easter dinner. My son, Carl, drove down from Niwot to visit with us because Robyn was in California with her mom and aunt. Unfortunately, when we went to pick up Mom to go to dinner, we found her still in bed. She had had another dizzy spell that morning when she got out of bed and fell backward onto her bed, so didn't get up to go to church or go eat with us.

We went back to her room after dinner, with a piece of lemon meringue pie for her, and she was feeling better and able to sit up in her recliner and visit with us. Since all 8 of us didn't fit into her room, Mandy and her friend Jack took Evan out to play in the hall where he made friends with the Manager, who had him hunt Easter eggs in the dining room. He had an indoor egg hunt earlier in our house because our wonderful Easter surprise was rain and wet snow. When I woke up and saw the snow falling it was so exciting that I started singing the Hallelujah Chorus from the Messiah in my head. Normally I hope for a sunny, flowery Easter, but this year the moisture is more appreciated.

Evan brought me the best Easter gift a Grandmother could have, a seedling Sunflower that he had grown in his Kindergarten class, in a small plastic glass with a hand colored label with about an inch of dirt for the seed/plant. Today I transplanted it into a pot with more soil to grow a bit more before I transplant it into the garden. I promised him I would send him a photo of it blooming in Toad Haven.

So today Joe and I and the two cats have the house to ourselves again. The snow melted off and it was 70 degrees and sunny outside this afternoon so I was able to do some more clean up work in the herb garden and refill the little pond and get the fountain spraying again. And, as usual, when I work in the garden I get breathless and have to rest often, so I put up the table umbrella on the dooryard patio and read as well as enjoyed watching the birds feeding at the newly filled bird feeder stations. There were 2 irredescent Grackles making pigs of themselves, numerous little red headed House Finches singing their lovely spring songs, not to mention the multitudes of Eurasian Collared Doves and English Sparrows (darn those introduced pests!). The Robins happily hopped across the grass finding worms in the damp soil, a Red Tailed Hawk flew from Elm Tree to Elm Tree across the RR tracks and a couple of our Turkey Vultures circled in the blue sky to the south. Hopefully, the rest of April will slow down for us so we can enjoy watching spring come in.