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Monday, July 26, 2010

Reentering the Blogosphere

I'm still here, although I have been quiet for some time. I realize that I haven't been myself since I had my first of 3 TIAs (mini strokes), a little over 2 years ago. I've done no quiltmaking and little sewing in this time, but I have kept up with my gardening, and with my interest in quilts and quilting. Thanks to a new doctor, who adjusted my meds, I have become me again. Hooray and Praise the Lord!

[I even forgot to post on July 15 Garden Bloggers Bloom Day.]

During this time my world has been like living in blah shades of gray, and I've been a color loving person all my life. [I tell my grandkids that the reason old movies are B & W is because the world wasn't colored before Technicolor movies started. LOL] But we all know that my world was not B & W in those ancient days of yore. Now suddenly the world is a colorful delight again, I'm me again! Food even tastes better, oh oh...... I have been losing a bit of weight slowly and hope to continue that.

I have been FaceBooking, to keep in contact with family and friends, and enjoy seeing photos of grandkids and great grandkids. But the FaceBook format doesn't allow a person to say much at a time. In face, it is rediculously limited. "See Dick. See Jane. See Spot. See them run." etc. Where are all the words I love?
I remember, a number of years ago, being told in my church prayer group that the word "enthusiasm" came, somehow, from "God with us". I did not study Latin so can't really figure it out, except for "Theos." I believe now that the TIAs screwed up my brain wiring so that the enthusiasm channel was blocked. Enthusiam has much to do with having the Muse visit us, so without enthusiasm, my Muse was in a coma; not dead, thank God! The adjustment of meds has evidently allowed that channel to open and I am enjoying life immensely, again.

Now, I am still getting older and tire faster while working slower, but I am beginning to bring some order to the chaos that my world and office have become when I lost not only enthusiasm, but my life long talent at organization and multi-tasking. I'll never be 30 again, or even 60, but I can still do some of the things that I love to do. And instead of doing things being a burden, it becomes a joy...well...maybe not major housecleaning, but at least I can slowly scoop out the dust and junk and live a bit more civilized life.

I think I will even be able to start making journal quilts again; maybe not this summer while I have so much energy and strenth taken by my beloved gardening, but in this climate, I cannot garden in the winter, and it is cozy to fuse and sew in a nice warm house.

Since I am such a visual person, I can't just write, I have to jazz it up with my photos. Since getting my new computer with Windows 7, I have not been able to move the photos around within my blog, so, since I didn't think of posting photos until all this is written, I will post them at the top.

A few months ago I stepped out of my front door and the porch floor collapsed beneath me for several feet. Luckily I was not hurt, but pretty shaken up. The wood was covered with green fake grass and we couldn't tell that it had rotted out. We managed to shore it up until we were able to tear down the old, tiny stoop and build a new larger deck/porch. See the progress and try to feel how excited and happy I am with the new porch. We still need to dig Joe's late mom's old patio table and chairs out of my sister-in-laws storage units; I think it was small enough to fit on the west end of the porch. Our nephew is coming down from Parker to visit his mom tomorrow and he will help Joe get it out and over here. I love to decorate my home and garden with vintage pieces.

I've always been a night person but I have to adjust to the new med regimen so that my energy shows up earlier in the day and I don't keep getting sidetracked from getting to bed and sleep. And I need to work on pacing, which is what we are working on in my chronic pain support group.

Glad to be back; hope to have some quilt photos one of these days.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day June 15, 2010

Gaillardias and Yarrow, south of the house, planted last summer.

Things are a bit late this year due to the unusually cool, wet spring. To further complicate our gardening, it jumped from freezing to 100 degrees with dry winds in a very short time which stressed transplants that hadn't had time to grow deep roots. I still have lots of planting and transplanting to do because of this. Some friends tell me that they haven't managed to get any gardening done due to the weird weather conditions.

Serious gardeners in Colorado learn to go with the flow and succeed in having attractive gardens when they learn to grow plants that stand the conditions without coddling or using too much water, which is getting scarcer as more people move here and try to grow giant size blue grass lawns. I love my native Blue Gramma Grass that takes much less water and doesn't have to cut often and grows well in our sandy river bottom soil. I've become a missionary to spread the word about xeriscape gardening, and I don't mean only hot rocks and gravel.

Ozark Yellow Evening Primroses that grow beside the Lilliaputian Prairie Pond.

Volunteer Coropsis that moved from prairie border to the herb garden, probably with the help of one of the birds that flock in the Locust Tree, next to the bird feeders, behind the herb garden.

Closeup of Yellow Yarrow planted south of the house last summer.

Gaillardias planted with Yarrow last year. Notice that I don't even try to grow plants like beautiful Delphiniums that don't do well in our hot, dry climate gardens.

Feverfew in the dooryard patio garden with the California Poppies and Lavender.

Violas and California Poppies in the dooryard patio garden.

Honeysuckle Vine behind the herb garden.

ChoCho checking out the newly planted Catnip, which has to be protected by a metal basket to keep the cats from rolling in it and eating it down to the roots. Our historic patch didn't make it thru this tough winter, but there are volunteers coming up in all kinds of places they shouldn't be.

Pretty yellow blooms on unknown herb which I planted last year and can't find the label this spring. Any suggestions on what it is are welcomed.

This Caroway Thyme smells exactly like Caroway. It's been here since planted in 2004 when it began as a tiny plant.

This Cilantro is working on becoming Coriander seeds. Everything tastes better with Cilantro, well... Mexican dishes do.

Yellow Prickley Pear peeking out from the edge of the Cholla that is trying to take over the mini prairie garden. These PPs are blooming all over the prairie right now also. I hope to add a Claret Cup PP to the prairie garden. There are some of them growing on certain prairie hills around here, but they bloom a bit later. I am trying to figure out how to armor myself to prune down this overgrown Cholla, which has wickedly painful loooong spines that hurt, and they reach out and grab you if you come too near. I'm thinking I need a long handled lopper and very heavy leather gloves and a long handled grabber of some kind. Joe tells me I need to use the flame thrower on it, but I'm afraid of that thing. Note the bindweed that I am reluctant to try to pull out of those small spaces between predatory spines.

Pink Chintz Creeping Thyme by the front gate. I had a brilliant idea several years ago to plant a Creeping Thyme lawn on this side of the small front yard. The weedy grasses, dandelions and bindweed that had had free rein here for decades pretty much crowded the thymes out. I should have sterilized the soil before planting the thymes here, like I did before planting the prairie and veggie gardens in the side yard. The first summer we lived here I spread heavy black plastic sheeting all over that area and weighted it down with concrete pavers and the huge potted plants I had moved here from my previous roof top garden. The heat sterilizes most weed seeds.

Some of my beloved volunteer Bachelor Buttons along the front fence. These have been favorites of mine since I was a small child. They look good next to the Blaze Climbing Roses.

This is the Blaze Climbing Rose I plated on the front fence last year. I may decide to put them all along the fence.

Check out what is blooming all over the world, on May Dreams Gardens, each month on the 15th day.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day May 15, 2010

Happy springtime, fellow gardners and bloggers. We've had the coldest, wettest spring in ages here in Southeastern Colorado, interspersed with a few sunny, quite hot days. It is a big difference from the decade of serious drought that we just lived through. You can see how the Bleeding Hearts and Pansies were beaded with raindrops this late afternoon. Even on such a cold, dark, rainy day there are reasons to celebrate life. The cold and rain have not bugged me as much as the continuous high winds we have suffered through for a couple of months. On the warm, sunny days that hot, dry wind sucks up a lot of the moisture in the Toad Haven gardens as well as on the prairie surrounding us.

The pansies look especially fresh with the raindrops shining on them.

This is the first year I've had lots of blooms on this Lilac Bush. When we moved in seven years ago, it was quite small and suffering from years of neglect. I've babied it with water and fertilizer and tried to overcome the damage caused by a plague of grasshoppers and late freezes. This year I received my reward for my nurturing and was even able to take a large bouquet of Lilacs and Purple Iris to my mom on Mother's Day.

I love the color of this clump of Violets by the front porch.

These tiny Jonquils bloomed later this year than they usually do.

Old fashioned purple Bearded Iris, which were here when we moved in, are blooming along the front fence and in front of the garden shed in back.
My heart is so much lighter when the world begins to green up and flower. I'm also having a great time photographing the wild prairie flowers that are popping up in thanksgiving for the rains. The prairie grasses are so green and luxuriant this spring, also. Goodbye, drought! Not sorry to see you go.
For what's blooming around the world today, check out May Dreams Gardens.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day April 2010

Spring is finally springing! Warm days and sun, but lots of wind and dust also. This Aloe Vera, on the sunporch is blooming. It will go out onto the dooryard patio once the danger of frost is past. The first time this big Aloe bloomed I was amazed, didn't even know that they got blooms.
This Phalenopsis orchid in the dining room is still blooming beautifully. It is wonderful to have blossoms that last so long.

Out at the front corner of the house I have a few Scillas blooming. They are such a clear blue that they really show up inspite of being so small and so few.

The Violas in the dooryard patio garden are now blooming in bunches.

The Vinca under the Russian Olive next to the mini prairie is making quite a show. There is a lot of dead annual grass in that bed that needs to be grubbed out.
All the garden blooms tend to be in the blue/violet color range. For some reason my yellow daffodils haven't made a show this year. I hope something didn't eat all the bulbs. I see that I need to put in more daffodils and tulips this fall for early color. Ought to try some crocus as well. Even my ancient batch of Grape Hyacinths have been absent this spring, except for one self sown straggler in the Gramma Grass. The small Blue Grass lawn, in front, is beginning to turn green with attendent dandelions, but the Gramma Grass is a warm weather grass and won't get green until later in the spring.
I wish I could find flowers for my garden that were as prolific as the dandelions. While blooming, they put on a nice show, but look awful when they go to seed. My late, previous, husband, Lou, who was a plant ecologist and into natural plant medicines, wouldn't spray the dandelions because he believed that tea from the roots was very good for the kidneys. I've also tasted delicious homemade dandelion wine but don't know how to make it.

To see what is blooming around the world check May Dreams Gardens.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day March 2010

Welcome to Toad Haven Gardens on March 15. Some of yesterdays snow still covers the flower bed next to the front porch, on the north. Later there will be Daffodils, Creeping Phlox, and gorgeous Violets in this area.

Here are new green shoots from the Yarrow planted on the south side of the house last summer. Only dried flower heads are blossoming here.

This is in the same corner of the dooryard patio garden that I showed, looking so dead, in February, with the first Viola to bloom this spring. I love the Johnnie-Jump-Ups that seed themselves all over the garden. Some winters they manage to bloom through the season, but definitely not this year.

In between the March snows we are getting lovely, sunny days with up to low 60s temps so I will soon feel that it is safe to remove the dead stalks and dry leaves that I leave over the winter to protect the plants and for seed heads to feed the winter birds. My fingers are just itching to get out there and do the spring cleaning.
Indoors, the Orchid, that I recently posted photos of, is still in full bloom.

See what's blooming all over the world, today, at May Dreams Gardens.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

All Orchid Buds Bloomed Out

Here is how the Orchid looks with all the blossoms open. It will be interesting to see how long they last this time.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

New Winter Blooms

These Snow Blossoms were blooming all around the prairie border, at Toad Haven, this evening. I think they are really quite attractive. Brightened up the garden considerably.

Friday, February 19, 2010

The Orchid has a Bloom

Today I was happily surprised to find that one of the orchid buds had blossomed out. It is gorgeous and they usually last for quite a while. There are still more buds waiting to make an entrance.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day February 2010

This is why February is the worst month of the year for me. Everything is brown, dry and dead; if I hadn't seen the miracle of Spring for 71 years, I would find it difficult to hope or have faith in live, green, growing, blossoming plants.

Usually, I have a few pansies and violas that manage to bloom through the winter, but this year even the pansies haven't been able to survive.
But indoors I manage to have a few blossoms. This is the lovely, tiny blossom on a hanging succulent that my mother started for me several years ago. If anyone knows what it is, I'd love to know the name. This hangs in the window over my kitchen sink. Since mother is in assisted living, I have her huge mother plant hanging in the sunporch.

A couple of blossoms are on the mini Hoya in the dining room south window. I think Hoyas have some of the most beautiful flowers I've ever seen; they look like they are made of glass. These are petite compared to the regular size Hoya on the sunporch. This plant started from three tiny sprigs from a sweet lady in senior housing in Lyons, when I was working for the Boulder County Housing Authority in the 70s. My oldest daughter also has a house full of these now in Wheatridge.

This is the final gasp of the Christmas Poinsettia in the dining room.

This is from the final stalk of Amaryllis blooms from the dish of three huge bulbs my daughter-in-law Robyn gave me at Thanksgiving. It's bloomed for three months and cheered us up during the sleeping garden season.

Finally, one of the Orchids (P. Mount Beauty x Stope New Candy) is getting ready to bloom again soon, in the south dining room window. I've been amazed at how faithfully these Orchids bloom year after year, and how long the blooms last. I have finally learned to only try to grow plants that don't take a lot of coddling, both indoors and out.
To see what is blooming around the world, today, check out the list at May Dreams Gardens.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Happy New Year with Family in Byers

This is our granddaughter, Crystal's, senior photo. Isn't she pretty? She hopes to go on to college and medical school to become a doctor after her high school graduation this coming spring.
This is Heather's dad, Tom, with his grandson, Brendan. If daddy, Brian, was in the picture you could see that all three guys look alike with their red hair and blue eyes.

Joe's daughter, Lori, mother of Heather, and spouse of Tom, with Adam, who is Breanne's little one. It is great to see how Lori and Tom are so good at caring for and playing with our little great grandsons. They seem to enjoy being grandparents.

Here is a photo of the little cousins that Lori gave to us.

We are home from a great weekend at Byers where we had good company, food, and even Champagne on New Year's Eve at the home of our son Doug and his wife Jennie. Here are Mandy, Brendan and Kat enjoying Evan playing the keyboard. 17 week old black pug, Boo, has joined two toned Cooper as our Granddogs.
On Saturday Kat and I took Mandy to Aurora Mall to shop for a prom dress for her to take to Utah when she flew back to her Job Corp School on Sunday. It was fun to watch her look thru the shops and try on dresses. She wanted a long dress that wasn't very frou frou, and the style seemed to be for veeeerrrry short frou frou dresses, but she found a simple long black and white paneled dress that looked good on her. She says she and her friends don't go to dance, they just sit around and talk. Do you suppose they do it face to face or on their ever present fashion statement cell phones?
It was cold in Byers, with lots more snow banks than we have here, and I was wearing my sandals, not expecting having to walk thru snow. I forget that we live in Colorado's Banana Belt, and that they get much more snow than we do. That's why I-70 is often shut down due to blizzards and drifts.
I was washing, ironing and wrapping the kids' pillowcases at the last minute, before we left, and forgot to take photos of the finished pieces. Take my word for it, they were colorful and looked great, even though they are so fast and easy to make. That is the kind of project patterns I like to find.