Wednesday, May 24, 2017

In the garden

Last fall, we added a couple more raised garden beds in the backyard.  I've been itching to get something planted in them ever since. Between the snowfall last week, and thunderstorms expected later this week, we had a couple of sunny days to get some gardening done.  On Sunday, Dan helped me plant some rosebushes, meaning he dug the holes and I supervised the placement.

Then on Monday, I worked on the herb and vegetable gardens.  One of the raised beds is an herb garden.  

So far, we have some freshly planted oregano. . . 

Rosemary. . .

Chives that were hastily transplanted from another garden last fall. . . they are hearty and withstood the winter.

Sage. . .

And, some lemon verbena which smells delicious and is irresistible to butterflies!

I also planted an assortment of squash -- butternut, acorn and spaghetti -- along with some cucumbers and a variety of peppers.  Then, as dark clouds loomed overhead, I mowed the lawn, front and back -- after which, I came inside, fell into a chair, and didn't move for two hours.

It was a good day.

Monday, May 22, 2017


We spent the third night of our trip in Taos.  The drive there from Santa Fe was fabulous.  The scenery is mostly flat, wide open country that goes on as far as the eye can see with snow covered mountains in the distance. It is spectacular and I wish I had photos to share, but I was just taking it all in.  

I also didn't take many pictures of Taos itself. It is very much like Santa Fe, but smaller and more rustic.  There are lots of art galleries, a nice city park where all kinds of festivals are held spring through fall, and plenty of historic spots.  My favorite was the Kit Carson museum.  He was such an interesting person, and his life story reflects much of the history of the west and the southwestern United States.  

One of the things that you see a lot of in Santa Fe and Taos, besides adobe, is the fencing on the left in this picture.  It's called a coyote fence. Apparently, the odor of the junipers and the construction of the fencing is supposed to keep coyotes out.  I'm not sure if it's entirely true, but it does explain why there is so much of this style fencing in the southwest. 

We had a marvelous dinner at Lambert's of Taos, right off the plaza.  Most of my food pictures didn't turn out -- and there was plenty of photo worthy food on this trip -- but I wanted to share this soup.  I'm not a huge fan of chilled soups, but this was fabulous.  Coconut-Mango soup with pickled shrimp and an herbed sorbet.  To die for.

We found a wonderful little book store tucked in among all the usual clothing and art and souvenir stores.  I like to support independent booksellers, and op.cit. books was a great find.  We didn't even make it up to the second floor, and I walked away with three books.

This is the courtyard at the Kit Carson Museum, which was the home of Carson and his wife Josefa Jaramillo for over 25 years.  I'm a big history buff, and of late have been reading a lot about the family, so it was really exciting to see their home.  There are many family artifacts and photos. There's also a movie about Carson, with his great-grandson playing the role of Kit. An accomplished horseman, he's the spitting image of his great-grandfather.

I don't have any interior pictures of the house.  And I'm not sure what this wood basin is, maybe a sink of some kind?

I should mention that we stayed at the El Pueblo Lodge which is a refurbished motel that was built as a small ranch in 1912.  It is near restaurants and the city park, very nicely kept, and has a great staff.
Most of the rooms are ground level in the style of old motels, so parking is right outside the door. I have to admit, I have a new appreciation for Dan who is the person who hauls in the luggage whenever we travel! A parking space right outside the door was sweet!

The morning we started for home was another beautiful, cloudless day.  Even though we were only gone a few days, the experience of Santa Fe is like another time and place, so it felt like a lot longer, in a very good way.  Nevertheless, it is always good to see the mountains of my home state.

I hope you enjoyed the trip!

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Santa Fe

A week ago I was in Santa Fe with my Aunt Ann.  We drove down on Friday, taking the scenic route through the Rocky Mountains in Colorado.  It took a little longer, but it really is a pretty drive along the Sawatch Range and then the Sangro de Cristo Range. Road trips are the best. We stopped for coffee, stopped to take photos, and then at the very southern most part of the state, we stopped in Conejos to see the oldest church in Colorado.  This is somewhat disputed, because the original building  burned down and was reconstructed in 1926.  However, the parish has been in existence since 1858, and Our Lady of Guadalupe Church is beautiful in its simplicity.  The acoustics are perfect, and a softly whispered "Amen" as you enter can be heard throughout the church. (This I learned from another visitor).

We stayed the first two nights of our trip at the Hotel St. Francis in Santa Fe.  It is a block off of the Plaza, the heart of the historic district.  The hotel has a big, beautiful front porch that is the perfect place to people watch and enjoy the beautiful Santa Fe air.

Secreto's, the hotel restaurant serves the most delicious and exquisite food.  But, what brought us back for the second night was the margaritas! Unfortunately, Secreto's Smoked Sage Margaritas have spoiled me for good. I'll never be quite satisfied with a regular old margarita again.  They blend the finest tequila with Brazilian Orange Liqueur and lime juice. Then, a sage leaf is smoked and infused into the margarita.  It has the most delicious flavor.

In the morning, we took a wonderful tour  and saw highlights of the city. After that, we walked to the areas that interested us most. The first place, not knowing what to expect, was the Georgia O'Keefe Museum.  I'm no art connoisseur, however, I think the $13 spent for my ticket could have been better spent elsewhere. (Perhaps on another margarita!)

The surrounding galleries and architecture were beautiful.  This origami horse is made of steel, but doesn't it look like folded paper?

Rock, paper, scissors. . .

I loved all the adobe buildings and the turquoise blue trim.  There's a story that blue doors and windows keep away evil spirits. As for the adobe, apparently the rule in Santa Fe is that your house can be any color you like -- as long as it matches the color of earth it sits on;)

This sculpturist was working on several projects.  I'm sure you can tell who the bust is. . .

He was also working on a smaller version of this Indian maiden.

Beautiful architecture and pretty blue skies all around.

I loved this! He took me by surprise, he looks so real!

This is part of a much larger, life-sized sculpture honoring all of those who traveled the Santa Fe Trail. It was exciting to see the area where the wagons all finally arrived.

St. Francis is the patron saint of Santa Fe.  This is his likeness in front of the Cathedral Basilica named for him.

These are the doors to the Cathedral, followed by a close-up of one of the panels, and a photo of the inside. The whole city is just a work of art.

Tomorrow, I'll share some more pictures of our day in Taos.


Friday, May 19, 2017

Finding favorites

Happy Friday, everyone. I'm still going to post about the Santa Fe trip, but I'm linking up to Living to Tell the Story and Friday's Fave Five in the meantime. It has been a busy, shorter week following my trip, but still nice to look back at moments that blessed me.

1.  It snowed this week! We got about 6" in our town, some of the mountain areas got upward of 3 feet.  That's quite a spring storm.  Spring snowstorms aren't my favorite thing, but it's a good feeling to know that at this time of year it will melt very quickly and I'll be out in the garden again this weekend.

2.  Yesterday, I was driving home from the rec center where I met my walking partner, and it was snowing those big, beautiful fluffy flakes.  Overhead flew a small flock of pelicans! It was such a beautiful sight to see.  I commented about the pelicans in our area in an earlier post, and several people were surprised that we have pelicans in Colorado. They do seem out of place here, but they arrive every spring to breed on the shallow lakes here on the plains. In the winter, they head for the Pacific coast.

This is a picture that I took several years ago, on my cell phone so not the best quality, but it's one of my favorites of the pelicans. The rubber ducky on the pond still cracks me up.

3.  We had a small gathering for our Book Club on Wednesday night, just four of us, and we met at a favorite restaurant.  I got to choose the book this month. It was Father Melancholy's Daughter, by Gail Godwin.  It's one of my favorites and I was happy to get to re-read it and discuss it with friends.

4.  Between my travels last weekend and some evening meetings for Dan, it has been over a week since we've sat down to dinner together.  He was supposed to be gone this weekend (trip got cancelled), so yesterday I took off from work a little early and went to the grocery store to pick up some items for dinner.  Then I made one of his favorite suppers, and we got to enjoy it just the two of us.  We've had a full house lately, with kids and grandkids popping over.

5.  Phone calls with my boys. Yesterday, I talked to Joey for a while, and he told me about the project he's working on for summer semester.  Then Luke called and we Facetimed, just the two of us. Usually we talk in the evening and there are at least four or five of us all trying to get in on the conversation, which is hilarious. It was nice to have some one-on-one.

How was your week?  Think about some favorite moments, even if you don't write them down. It does wonders for the soul!

Happy Friday!


Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Fresh blooms

I have some pictures to post from the weekend, but I hit the floor running when we got home yesterday. So, until I get my thoughts and photos organized, here are a few pictures of what bloomed in the garden while I was gone.

Last fall, my friend Diane gave me some Columbine from her garden.  This yellow one is very small and dainty, and rich in color.

Winnipeg Parks is a pretty cherry pink rose that is hearty and blooms all summer long.

Not a very good picture of the one and only poppy so far.  It's really a much deeper orange than this, but I'm excited because I put the plant in last fall and it appears to be healthy and happy;)

And Lily of the Valley! Success at last!

  Emily and Marcus and the babies brought this miniature rose bush over yesterday for Mother's Day. You can be sure I will find the perfect spot for it:)

I think the lovely rain this weekend pushed all of the plants forward a bit. Believe it or not, we might get some snow later this week.  Keeping my fingers crossed that it won't do any damage.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

6 things

Outside my window: Damp and cloudy
Listening to: Darius Rucker Wagon Wheel
Feelin': Mellow

1.  Yesterday on my way to work, I dropped by the library to return an overdue book.  I have a lot of overdue books, and it isn't just because I'm forgetful.  I like to keep them for as long as I can, and there is a weird kind of satisfaction that I can break the rules and only have to pay 5 cents a day for doing so. Sick, I know. Anyway, the library is set next to a park with a little pond. Every Spring the pond attracts flocks of pelicans.  It's amazing to watch them, swimming in formation and then gathering in a circle, each one facing the middle, and in perfect choreography dipping their beaks into the water to look for fish. Who teaches them that? Yesterday, there was a Mama Pelican and about 8 babies.  She was swimming a few feet from the shore, and the babies were all very close to the shore, flapping about and trying to lift off into the air.  A couple of us sat and watched them for a while, and it was the best show in town.

2.  On Monday I bought some geranium plants from Costco. One of my favorite Spring rituals! All week long, we've had rain and some pretty fierce hailstorms. So, I've been shuffling the plants around the deck, out in the sun in the morning, under cover in the late afternoon.  Another week and then they will be planted in the big, heavy ceramic pots on the back deck and one on the front porch, and I will hope for fewer hailstorms.

3.  One of our clients came into the office yesterday with donuts for all of us. We have the loveliest clients.

4.  I've been volunteering at a pregnancy resource center for about two years now. Yesterday, I met with a young mom that I'll be mentoring.  I love meeting with 'my moms.' We have lessons that we go through together, lessons about parenting and faith and taking care of yourself. I learn so much from them, even though it's supposed to be the other way around.

5.  My friend Pam has the most beautiful Christmas cactuses (cacti?) Last December, I implored her to take my scrawny little plant home and teach it to grow and bloom.  A couple of weeks ago, she gave it back to me and it had two beautiful flowers and lots of buds.  Those buds are plump and ready to open now.  The plant sits on my desk and every morning I can see a little more progress.  Thank you, Pam;)

6. Tomorrow I'm leaving for a little road trip with my Auntie Ann.  We're going to one of my favorite places, Santa Fe, and I can't wait to experience it with her. We'll take the mountain route down there and stay for a few nights.  I will have lots of pictures when we get back.

Happy weekend to all,


Sunday, May 7, 2017

This and that

Outside my window: Sunny and warm
Listening to: Blake Shelton Based on a True Story
Feelin': Lazy

This weekend was the unofficial start of garage sale season in our town.  As I drove to an appointment on Friday,  hand printed signs were posted at every intersection.  I noticed one pointing to the house next door to the first home that Dan and I bought.  The couple that lives there had always been so kind, so I stopped just to say hello.  Come to find out, they are now living in an assisted living center, and the sale was being run by their daughter. We talked for a few minutes and then I hurried off to my appointment.

Yesterday, I was torn between going to garage sales and working in the yard to prepare the gardens for planting.  The gardens won out.  While Dan set down some stone pavers in the backyard, I put fresh dirt in the raised beds, trimmed some of the old growth from the perennials, and felt brave enough to plant Slavias, a little rosebush that my cousin sent us for Easter, and even some basil plants.  The temperatures will be nice throughout the week, but I'm still waiting to buy bedding plants and to put in the larger rosebushes. For now, I'm thrilled to see the perennial garden, now in it's third year, coming along nicely. Sweet woodruff, columbine, and hostas seem to grow leaps and bounds by the day.  I picked up an Easter lily from the church last weekend -- after Easter, the vestibule is filled with plants for the taking -- and I added it to Lilly's Garden, which also includes day lilies and lily of the valley.

Dan and I worked together to wash windows yesterday afternoon.  What a job!  Afterward, he said it was a lot of work and one of those jobs that doesn't look like you accomplished a lot. But it makes such a difference to me, especially looking out the window over the kitchen sink. By the end of the day we were both exhausted, so I made quesadillas and we settled in to watch the Rockies on TV, and it was a win for the team.  Not a bad way to end the day.