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Thursday, August 27, 2009

Goodbye and Hello

Ditto aka Buster Keaton
Once upon a time a lynx point Siamese kitty showed up at Toad Haven, kept moving closer to the house, and then moved in and adopted Joe, me and ChoCho as his family. Since he looked like a smaller version of ChoCho, we named him Ditto. Where ChoCho is big, energetic and adventurous, and hunted in the vacant land back of the house, Ditto was small, low key and snuggly and didn't wander very far from the house. When we took him to visit the vet, we discovered that he was at least 9 years old and had badly abcessed teeth, which had to be removed. Even toothless he refused the soft catfood and insisted on eating the dry Iams cat food and drinking lots of water. Over the years the cats became friends and brothers; with Ditto living up to his name when he invariably shadowed ChoCho around the house.

ChoCho and Ditto sparring

A week ago on Tuesday, when we came home from dinner with DIL Jennie, Ditto was not there with ChoCho to greet us at the back door. He didn't show up all evening nor during the night. Joe looked everywhere he could think of and found no trace of him. Noone turned him in to the Humane Society. Of course, both cats had collars with name and phone number tags. I kept checking the back sliding glass door to see if he had appeared; I missed him terribly. ChoCho kept looking for him and sticking closer to us than usual, needing extra attention and petting.

This afternoon after an appointment with my eye doctor, on a whim, I stopped by the Humane Society to look at the cats. I looked at them, murmured sweet nothings to them, and seeing nothing to interest me, I went to ask the guy at the desk if they ever got any Siamese cats. He said they had a 5 month old one and led me to the proper cage. There was a gorgeous little lynx point Siamese cross kitty curled up in the litter box. They handed her to me, and I was hooked. So I brought her home for a weekend test, to see if she was the one for us.

Little Kiddo staying close to under the bed

As soon as she was let out of her carry home kitty box, she hid under the couch. Joe got down on his tummy and managed to convince her to come out. She checked out the house, I showed her the location of the litter box, and she headed under my bed. Ditto had been shy and spent a lot of time under that bed, also, especially when we had visitors. I fixed her food and water dishes and her new box bed in the corner of the bedroom and went in the living room to read and watch TV. Eventually she came out from under the bed and started exploring. I put a smidge of the kitty tuna on her nose and she dived into the dish to eat it. In addition to their Iams dry food the cats also share a small container of kitty tuna each evening.

Little Kiddo discovers she likes tuna

Later she came into the living room and did more exploring and finally checked out my recliner and climbed up and made herself at home on my lap. I think we have bonded. She and ChoCho are curious about each other but still in the hissing at each other stage. For a while I had them both on my lap, back to back. I'm sure they will become friends in the near future.

Joe was right when he said that I had already made up my mind to keep her before I brought her home on a trial visit. Monday I will take her back to the Humane Society for the formal adoption, they will send her to be spayed at the vet clinic we use, and she will be able to come home to live with us.

I know what happened to Ditto. He showed up unexpectedly and he left unexpectedly. He was a guardian angel sent from heaven to help ChoCho look after me and when the time was right he went back to heaven, over the Rainbow Bridge. Now ChoCho has the help of little Kiddo (a cross between kitty and Ditto).

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Home Grown Tomatoes

Here is my latest harvest, in spite of the hail. Note the hail damage to some of the tomatoes, and the yellow crookneck squash. The zucchini, patty pan squash, and pumpkins are growing new small leaves at their centers and the corn seems to be standing straighter. If frost waits long enough I might have more garden goodies. The will to live and procreate is amazing at times.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Hail, Hail, It All Fell Here!

This afternoon, as I was preparing to go out to pull bindweed and cut down elm seedlings the clouds got dark gray and threatening, wind began to blow, rain to fall, and hail began to clatter on the roof. I started watching it from the front door and then hurried to get my camera. It kept me running from frontdoor to backdoor, taking photos and videos, as the rain and hail got heavier and heavier. The noise was deafening. ChoCho sat up from his nap on my bed and looked with alarm toward the window. Oh no! My poor garden!

Please check these photos against those I just posted earlier today.

Scene from the sliding glass door of the sunporch.

My corn and pumpkin patch, taken 4 hours later; the hail still hasn't all melted.

Joe came in and told me that the raccoons wouldn't eat the corn this year.

These were going to grow baby pumpkins for the kids for Halloween.
The Black Eyed Susans survived the falling limb but not the hail.

This is almost more than a poor old Granny's heart can take; what's left of Evan's beautiful sunflower.

But, as I told Joe, it's not as if we had to make our living from these plants, like the farmers do. [As a kid I saw what hail did to farmers and that is why I refused to date the farm boys and end up watching each storm with fear that there would be no harvest that year. I didn't realize that you can take the girl off the farm, but you can't keep her from loving to dig in the dirt.] We can clean up the mess and enjoy what remains. Our cars and house survived because these were not the golf ball or baseball sized hail stones that have fallen recently in other parts of Colorado. This is part of the gamble that every tiller of the soil makes each year. Some years you win and some you lose, but the rewards to being a tiller of soil are worth the risk.

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day August 2009

Our cable internet server was out of service for over 24 hours [ oh, internet fits!] and this is the first day I have been able to get back online. This has been frustrating because I had lots to blog about. I'll go ahead and post August blooms, which were due on the 15th, because it is germaine to what happened today.

Jupiter's Beard in front of Russian Sage in the Prairie Border. These are both great plants for our hot, dry climate. They make a beautiful show without requiring much water.

The Butterfly Bushes are putting on a good display and drawing many butterflies; I've seen Monarchs and Mourning Cloaks partaking of the nectar, not to mention the Broadtailed Hummingbirds.

I purchased my first small Blue Mist Spirea bush from Brady's Nursery years ago when I was roof gardening downtown and it began reseeding itself in other pots and even in the dirt in the rain gutter; which I proceeded to transplant into another pot. I brought them with me when me moved to Toad Haven and they also do very well in our climate.

These Black Eyed Susans brighten the Prairie Border and survived having half of the Russian Olive Tree blown down over them on July 31, my 71st birthday.

The year I began creating this garden, 6 years ago, I planted seeds of these red sunflowers and each summer I have had a few volunteer in the prairie border.

I do not limit my flowers to flower beds and borders. Here is the newest raised bed in the vegetable garden, which was built and planted late this summer. I have marigolds and cosmos planted with the corn and pumpkins. The large leaves at right front are Borage, which I plant for the gorgeous blue blossoms; come on Borage blossoms.

This is the first zinnia to bloom from seeds also planted in the above vegetable bed.

These Bells of Ireland were seeded in front of the Sugar Snap Peas in the vegtable border bed behind the raised beds.

These are Tomatilla blooms and fruit in one of the old raised beds to the south of the new bed. Tomatillas along with Cilantro, tomatoes, and chili peppers make a best salsa. I grow them all. I grew up with Gramma Hernandez's Mexican food and still love it. I can still see her patting out tortillas and cooking them on the pristine top of her old fashioned wood burning range.

In addition to pots of red Geraniums (Pelargoniums) I like to grow Scented Geraniums; this is Citrus Scented Geranium in a pot on the back dooryard patio.

This Dill plant in the bed with Chili Pepper and Eggplants has absolutely glorious blossoms, in addition to being a great herb for cooking.

I finish off with the most treasured flower in the whole of Toad Haven this summer. My grandson, Evan, gave me this plant, that he started in Kindergarten last spring, when it had only 2 leaves in a decorated styrofoam coffee cup. I transplanted it into a large pot and moved it to the garden to Become. This is what it Became, isn't it gorgeous?
To see what is blooming this month all over the world check out May Dreams Gardens.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Temple Canyon

Grape Creek Canyon is between the first ridge and the rock formations in the rear.

Our daughter-in-law, Jennie, is back down here to study at the DOC Academy this week. After her classes, yesterday evening, we picked up chicken dinners at KFC and went to Canon City's Temple Canyon Park for a picnic.

Very old native Juniper (sometimes called cedar by the locals) with a small Pinon Pine and Pegmatite rocks.

Temple Canyon is in the foothills pinon/juniper forest a few miles southwest of the city, up a narrow winding gravel road that is in bad shape in places due to all the heavy rains we've had recently; but it is worth the bumping to get there. The Temple is a natural cave formation in the rock cliff of Grape Creek Canyon just before the creek joins the Arkansas River. In the old days a railroad ran up Grape Creek to Silvercliffe when the silver mines were active. Like most of the early railroads through mountain canyons here, it washed out in a flash flood and with the silver collapse there was no reason to rebuild it. When we were younger, Joe and I used to climb down the near side of the Canyon, wade across the creek, and climb back up the other side to get to the Temple. We did this several times with youngest son, Chris, when he was a kid. I can't even conceive of doing it 20 years later.

Local pegmatite rock with native flora, including a variety of blue/gray fringed sage (Artemisia Frigida).

The scenery here is gorgeous, with interesting native plants and flowers surrounded by mountains and canyons with wonderful rock formations. We originally discovered the Park, before we moved here, from a Colorado birding book. The evening sun and sunset made it even more beautiful, but we couldn't see much of the scenery driving, in the dark, out the back way, which connects to the back road to the Royal Gorge, which is another City owned park further west.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Continuing Tree Saga

Poor Echinecea, just at the height of their bloom. I hope they survive the trauma.

Here is a video of Joe and Evan removing the broken half of the tree.

Back to normal with half the Russian Olive missing.

Why we still need to prune the tree. Rather grotesque, don't you think? It will be a nice small tree again when we get rid of that tall, lopsided limb.

Here is what the border looks like now with the broken limb removed. The plants are mostly standing back up but don't look as good as before. At least when we had a bit of hail one day it did not do much damage to what was left. Notice the drunken looking sunflower in the center. ChoCho still seems to admire it.