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Tuesday, May 26, 2009


My "adopted" granddaughter, Amber, graduated from Florence High School on Friday night. She has been accepted by Adams State College in Alamosa and has already signed up for her classes and dorm room for next fall. We are so pleased that she has received a very good grant to make it possible to get a college eduation. This summer she is enrolled in a job training program with the Colorado Job Corps and will work as a landscaper at a local golf course. It must run in the family, since my grandson, Jason, has worked as a landscaper each summer while attending CU Boulder. He will graduate in December as the fourth generation of his family to get a degree from CU.

Amber's younger sister, Makayla, graduated from the Florence Middle School this evening, and will be a Freshman at Florence High School next fall. She appears to be a bit happy about her graduation. She is wearing a crocheted throw that I made several years ago and gave to her recently.

Here are Mandy (right) and her friend Amanda (would you believe they are both named Amanda Marie?) at the Prom earlier this month. It tickles me that girls are self confident enough, these days, to go together, when they do not have dates, and enjoy themselves. Remember that old adage, "A woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle."

This is grandson, Evan, (Mandy's brother) in his Kindergarden photo. He is not as studious as the glasses make him look; he is all boy!

Grandaughter, Samantha, was a seventh grader at a Salt Lake City area school. She didn't come to Denver for Memorial Day weekend, but DD Sharon says she has definitely become a teenager with all that entails. She is a very talented dancer. She is thrilled that her braces came off since this photo was taken.

Sam's sister, Rachel, was a fifth grader and did spend the weekend with us at my daughter, Michal Ann's, in Wheatridge (a western suburb of Denver) with her Mom and little brother, Alex. Rachel is into sports and is a definite brain; the computer game she was playing this weekend was about physics!!? and she played it while watching funnies and music on the laptop, simultaneously. She was also making origami pieces for us and keeping us laughing at her great sense of humor.
I got to visit with all 4 of my children and 2 of Joe's son's and lots of grandchildren and greatgrandchildren over the weekend. It rained a lot and so much of the time the kids had to play, very noisily, in the house. They did get out into the back garden in the intervals between rains.

Here are Miles (GGS), Rachel (GD), Evan (GS), and Kaylee (GGD) playing in the playland corner of Grandma Mike's backyard. It was wet, but they didn't care.

Alex, from Utah, plays Hungry Hippos.

Shaun (greatgrandson) wants to go downstairs where the bigger kids are playing. He doesn't understand that the steep steps are not safe for him to go down by himself.

Granddaughter Brook with Olivia, who will be our sixth greatgrandchild in September.
These are some of the other flowers blooming in our world.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Spring Bliss

At the first of the week we had three 90+ degree days with hot, dry sun and wind. Yesterday it cooled a bit to the 80s which was still a bit hot for this time of the year. However, the lady from Sun City, Arizona, who was ahead of me in the Subway line, thought it was cool compared to what she was used to. A pleasant cold front came in during the night with up slope moisture and it was only up to 60 degrees with quite a bit of rain this morning and later in the afternoon. After running like the dickens keeping the hoses running on the drying greenery in my yard, it was a relief to see the plants drinking up the natural showers. Thank goodness, the weatherman expects seasonal temperatures for the weekend and next week.

Here is what the Toad Haven Herb Garden looked like after the morning rain. Not much blooming yet, but look at all those lovely shades of green. And it smells heavenly!

When we moved here six years ago, the landscaping had not been watered or weeded for several years. I found a couple of stunted Peony plants near the back door growing in dirt the texture of concrete. I transplanted them to the front sides of the garden shed and have babied them with water and fertilizer. The plants grew bigger but never a bloom appeared. I had no idea what color they would be if or when they did bloom. This year one plant had one bud and the other had multiple buds so I've been holding my breath and crossing my fingers. This morning I was rewarded with a pink blossom from the single bud. It was worth the wait and I look forward to seeing the other buds blossoming soon.

I love Peonies, and every May Joe delivers a large bouquet of red peonies to me from an older gentleman in Canon City who grows them to sell for Memorial Day. He has a huge field of them wrapped around his Victorian bungalow, and Joe works on his flower cooler when he starts it up each spring. My Dad had wonderful red Peony plants at the house in Fowler and this August I am going to dig one up to transplant into my garden.

My quilt muse has been pretty much absent since my health challenges last Summer. It has taken me so long to regain enough strength and energy to do just the absolutely necessary housekeeping tasks and shopping, as well as looking after Mom's affairs. I am able to do a bit more gardening now and am getting it in shape with the assistance of yardman Carl. I don't know if I can manage to garden and make quilts at the same time, but I have finally been gifted with a concept for what I want to do quiltwise, and am beginning to dream and sketch some ideas that I can work on next winter, when the garden is hibernating. I am so excited about the history of this area where we live, and want to do a series of quilts about Fremont County, beginning with the Dinosaurs and working up to the present. I don't know what size they will be, yet, but they will be small enough to make it possible for me to manage them with my sewing machine, and yet, large enough to present the subject matter well. I don't enjoy working large.

I plan to encorporate my photographs of the County into the quilts. This concept has been working in my mind for several months and is finally beginning to develop. It's strange that the history series idea just took shape suddenly yesterday, and I immediately thought, "Aha, that is exactly what I can get my teeth into," and the creative energy began to flow. It is good to feel excited about a quilt idea again. Now to take my new camera off the shelf and start learning how to use it.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

What's Blooming

I can't ever seem to remember to post "what's blooming" on the 15th. Here's what's blooming at Toad Haven in SE Colorado at the foot of the Rocky Mountains.

Old Fashioned Bleeding Hearts on the north side (front) of the house; this clump has gotten huge.

I finally planted a Blaze Climbing Rose in the middle of the front fence; I've wanted one since we moved her 6 years ago and couldn't resist this one at Home Depot with so many blooms.

Basket of Gold Allysum and wild Blue Flax in the Liliaputian Prairie border.

The first bloom on the Austrian Copper Rose this spring. The ashes of my beloved cat, Yul Brynner, the King of Siam, are buried under this bush. It does him justice each spring.

A volunteer Bachelor's Button (Cornflower) at the driveway edge of the Prairie border. I've loved this flower since a child and I also love most volunteers, although some become pests.

These Chives bloom in the Prairie border instead of the Herb Garden because they came in the same pots as some of the other perennials from my previous rooftop garden and got planted here before the Herb Garden was designed or constructed. I should move one of the clumps into the Herb Garden.

A tiny pot of Ice Plants was planted on the edge of the Prairie Border several years ago and have spread into a large mat. They bloom in the mornings and close up later in the day. A great plant in a dry climate garden.

One of the old fashioned Iris that were along the front fence when we moved in. It took 2 years of nurturing to get them to start blooming after being neglected for so long.

Creeping Phlox at the base of the front porch, with a Chinese Elm seedling (the bane of my existence) and some unknown vine that transplanted itself here by putting roots into the soil where it trailed out of a pot.

One of the many volunteer Violets that have begun to travel all around the front porch from the seeds of one transplanted clump a few years ago. This is another variety of volunteers that I love.

How I enjoy the new blossoms of spring after the dark and dreary winter! I still think I was designed to hibernate in a very luxurious fur lined cave during the cold, dark time.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Hey, Dude!

Just to cheer up your day. When Mom and I walked out of the Medical Building in Pueblo today, this is what met our eyes. I immediately fell in love and asked if I could take a photo of this very coooooool dog, Blanco, and his companion Joe. Joe raised Blanco from a puppy and he always wears his sun glasses when out and about. Not only is he cute, he also has a sweet disposition. He sure cheered my day considerably.

Friday, May 8, 2009

The Merry Month of May, Hooray!

Here are consecutive views I caught at the north end of our street, on the way out of town the other day; snow covered Pikes Peak behind my favorite apple orchard and the Arkansas River bluffs. I love this orchard, and have photographed it, and one old gnarled tree in particular, many times over all seasons. As I turned the corner and drove past the edge of the orchard, I saw an old man and woman setting out the irrigation pipes for the summer, so I stopped and told them how lovely I thought their orchard was and that I appreciated their hard work at keeping it looking so good. [Click on the photos to get the scope of the scenes.]

Wow after a couple of 80s degrees days, Joe had to turn the water into our swamp cooler, aka evaporative cooler, which we use in place of a refrigerated A/C in this dry climate. Today while shopping in Canon City I saw 91 degrees F on a bank sign! Sorry, that is just too hot for this early in the year, but we have a couple of cool fronts coming in for the weekend with the possibility of more rain. While working in the garden this evening I heard and felt my first mosquitos of the year. I love the moisture we've gotten, but I'm not crazy about the mosquitos. Especially after what my sweet DIL, Robyn, has gone through due to West Nile Virus with Encephalitis (sp?).

I knew I was feeling tireder, weaker, and slower since the 2 mini strokes last summer, but today when I went to buy compost for the vegetable garden I wasn't able to lift the heavy bags of compost onto the cart and had to get a staff member to help me. Last spring, I lifted my own bags, but that was before.... I'm just so glad that I am still able to do some gardening, even thought I have to have a little help from my friends (yard men Dave and Carl).

It was rather nice, when I was ready to plant the new Blaze climbing rose at the front fence, I didn't have to dig my own hole, I just showed Carl where I wanted it, and he dug through the broken and burned chunks of concrete and brick that are down about a foot beneath the surface of the yard. This is the debris of the old oil refinery that blew up here in 1926.

The Florence area had the first oil wells and refineries west of Pennsylvania, before Texas and Oklahoma. We only have a few oil wells and no need for a refinery here now. While the price of gas was up so high there was some more exploration in the area, but I haven't heard any more about it since the price dropped.
Today I picked up quite a few flowers and plants to transplant into pots and the garden. It's supposed to be a bit cooler tomorrow so I hope I won't have to wait until evening to do my gardening tomorrow. I'm going to have to sweet talk Joe into unloading the compost bags from my car trunk to the veggie garden tomorrow so I can dig it in and get some seeds planted. I haven't had the nerve to put out frost sensitive tomato, pepper, or squash plants yet. There is still snow on Greenhorn Peak (named for Cerno Verde, a Comanche chief who caused grief for the Spanish military in the pioneer days) to our south and the old timers around here say that is how you know when it's warm enough to safely put out those plants. Lots of others are already setting them out, so maybe it is safe. I'll at least wait until the weekend cold spell is over.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Farewells Are So Hard

Joe and I lost two dear loved ones this week and will attend two memorial services on Saturday.
(Wife of Joe's Nephew, Ron)
birth 3 Jan 1957
death 23 Apr 2009
Denver, Denver, Colorado
photo with husband Ron at Disney World in December after her diagnosis with pancreatic cancer.
Robin's late father, Thomas Monnett Davis, was the first American ambassador to Israel.

(Husband of Joe's late cousin Marjorie)
4 Apr 1916
26 Apr 2009
Strasburg, Adams, Colorado
This photo of Ralph in his cowboy persona was taken by his daughter, Star, about 5 years ago.
"Earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust; in sure and certain hope of the resurrection unto eternal life, through or Lord Jesus Christ."
[I've edited this page 3 times and it refuses to print the way I arranged it! I do get frustrated with this problem from time to time.]