Saturday, May 31, 2014

Beauty in the eye of the beholder...

My brother asked me about the 'metal clouds' on our way to the airport last week. I have often wondered about these, wondering when they'd be finished. I figured money had run out and they were just sitting… waiting.


It turns out they are supposed to be art. They are a sculpture by a guy named Christopher Lavery, and they are designed to remind visitors of Colorado's vivid sunsets and skies. 

Hmmph!

It turns out they are part of the public art collection of the Denver International Airport, and they are temporary. The sculptures were installed in 2010 and were to be here for about a year. 

Hmmph!

The Public Art Administrator of the DIA (since when do airports have Art Administrators?) explained the exhibit, saying,  "It's a piece about the plains and the ingenuity and the vision of the plains that you get from what people have constructed. This artwork is lovely and people will think it's wonderful."

Hmmph!

It turns out that Denver has a "percent for art ordinance" stipulating that one percent of the cost of a building be used for art projects. I thought the airport was outside of Denver. This particular piece (a temporary piece, remember?!) cost the Airport Art Commission $120,000.

Hmmph!

I guess I just don't get it!

Maybe they should add a billboard with an arrow that says, "This is art." Just in case there are other folks out there that don't 'get it'! The billboard would be just as pretty as the art… in my opinion!

What's wrong with enjoying the beauty of Colorado's open prairies and open views? They have a beauty no one can replicate! Why mess that up?!





Friday, May 30, 2014

That Was Then…. This is Now

My garden has experienced a population explosion.

This is a photo of my garden, then...

July 2011

I've circled, and identified, the perennials in the garden…
(well, those that survived!)


The perennials include:

Light Blue: Flax
Yellow: Day Lily
Green: Berry Lily
Orange: Echinacea
Pink: Hollyhock

This is the garden, now…


… and a few of those bare spots are where I have already removed Echinacea and Hollyhock plants. I moved about a dozen to different areas in our yard. 

The iris (white circles), which weren't in the first picture, are thriving. I was given a few rhizomes to plant in the spring of 2012 and now each one has mushroomed into a mound of plants. In just a few days, the poppies (circled in red) and the iris should both be open, bringing the first splash of color into the garden, as they did last year:


But, before too much time passes, I need to clean house so the plants have space to grow. But, oh, how I hate to tear out plants. It breaks my heart! I feel like I should put a "Free to Good Home" sign out by the road!




Thursday, May 29, 2014

Smile! You're on Candid Camera

Mama Boots is gone… yet her food keeps disappearing. 

I received an outdoor 'critter cam' for Christmas.
Mr. Dreamy set it up in the barn…..

Caught ya!


I think our critter is Mama Boots' elusive friend.

I have never seen him at the barn. If he lives there, he makes himself very scarce when I come around. We Dreamers have decided to keep some food around for our feline friend. Even if he lives at a nearby home, if he visits often, he may take care of the spare rodent or two!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Who's Driving?

What gets you going, and doing the things you know that have to get done? What keeps you on task? How do you balance the gotta do's with the wanna do's?

I had a conversation with my son about this the other day. As a child, my mom or dad would structure a good part of my day and provide direction for my activities. My dad had two driving beliefs that have also stuck with me. They are, "Do something constructive!" and "Finish what you start!" I hear those words when I am doing things around my house, and they are primary drivers of my life.

I was fortunate to go to summer camp in Algonquin Park, Canada. Little did I realize how much those days of fun would also shape my life!


The camp, begun in 1925, is on a narrow peninsula in one of the thousands of lakes in the park. To get there campers would meet at the train station in Toronto, board a camp train to Hunstville, Ontario, climb on a bus and ride to Cache Lake, and then climb in a canoe and paddle to Tanamakoon Lake. It was a long journey, even for energetic kids!


I loved camp! I loved it all. I loved the activities. I loved hearing the call of the loons on the lake. I loved the crisp, cold nights and early mornings, when a bell would summon us to flag raising. We'd tumble out of our warm sleeping bags, shoving our legs and arms into our camp uniforms. We'd scramble to get to flag raising where we'd stand in loose rows around the flag, with bleary eyes and tousled hair. Every morning the Camp Director, Mrs. Raymer (who was, in my opinion, as old as the hills around us, but who was, in fact, quite a bit younger than I am as I write this) would lead us through the daily ceremony. I remember fidgeting, and wanting to swat a mosquito, and my stomach grumbling as I thought of the warm oatmeal that would be mine at the dining hall, and becoming lost in thought as I gazed at the mist rising from the lake. I remember the feeling of one knee sock up and the other having annoyingly slipped down around my ankle, but not wanting to risk the chance of 'that look' from Mrs. Raymer if I moved. I remember having to learn the words to "Oh, Canada" the year we changed from singing "God Save the Queen". But mostly, I remember "The Salutation to the Dawn".  The ceremony would often end as Mrs. Raymer would recite this poem. A directive to us to be busy and productive and have a good day. 

Salutation to the Dawn

Look to this day! 
For it is life, the very life of life. 
In its brief course 
Lie all the verities and realities of your existence: 
The bliss of growth; 
The glory of action; 
The splendor of achievement; 
For yesterday is but a dream, 
And tomorrow is only a vision; 
But today, well spent, makes every yesterday 
a dream of happiness, 
And every tomorrow a vision of hope.
Look well, therefore, to this day.

I don't recite the poem. I don't even have it memorized. But I often think about how each day can lay the foundation for a better tomorrow. And, that's what gets me going and shapes my day.

Thanks, Mrs. Raymer, for touching my life in so many ways!



Monday, May 26, 2014

Wonderful Weeds

Why, I wonder, as I pull the grass


Sitting in the rocks on my big, broad a$$,



Do flowers grow in the turf, so green



While grass grows everywhere in-between?



Our house is surrounded by rock beds. 
They make a good fire break… but only if they are free of dried plants. 
They haven't been totally weed-free since we bought the house.
This year I'm going to try to get them back to what they once were.


East view of garage… after weeding.
(Top picture shows the 'before' view)
I removed 2 garbage bags of weeds
and took another 2 wheelbarrow loads to the compost heap.


Another view…


Oh, look! 
We have beautiful iris that were hidden in the grass!
They will be blooming soon.




Sunday, May 25, 2014

Tomatoes on July 25

I planted tomatoes yesterday. One of the plants is a 62-day variety. That means we should have tomatoes on July 25. I can almost taste them!

Tomatoes will not set fruit if the temperature falls below 55. Since our nights are still cool, our tomatoes get their start in "walls of water". The tubes of water absorb the energy from the sun and modulate cool evening temperatures. Later in the season we will remove the walls of water.


I have two more early varieties of tomato to plant. They are terribly tiny, though. I'll let them 'harden off' for a day or two before putting them in the garden with their brethren.



Saturday, May 24, 2014

Dinner with Dad

My brother flew in (between thunderstorms) for a quick visit to see Dad. We went out to eat and had a fabulous time. It seems the older my dad gets, the greater his sense of humor becomes.


He had us all cracking up!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Gypsy Jitters

We had another stormy afternoon.


I had a pocket puppy.
If she wasn't under 'her' table,
she was by my side.

My brother was flying in from Phoenix.
His flight was delayed about two hours while the storm moved through.

Here are some shots of the storm I found on the Internet. 
We didn't experience anything like this.
We just had a lot of rain and some small hail in a short burst.


Five tornadoes were reported, but evidently damage was limited.


The hail was quite heavy just north and east of Denver. 
Hailstones larger than golf balls were reported.
When we neared the airport, we found areas where the piles of hail, 
which had been plowed off the road, were still 6"-8" deep!


Wouldn't you hate to come out and find your car looking like this?

We'll see what this afternoon brings.
Thunderstorms are expected each afternoon through Sunday.




Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Siren's Song

This afternoon, as I worked in the garden,
the winds turned brisk...
and cold. 

I heard sirens wailing on the wind.
I've never heard them before.
How eerie.


The severe weather stayed north and east of us.
Some areas had large hail.


We were fine and the weather system made its way 
out of state. I hope everyone is safe.

Monday, May 19, 2014

RIP

We lost Mama Boots today. 
Sad day. 


Mr. Dreamy found her curled up beyond a tree in the back yard.

I suspect it was not a peaceful,  curl up in the sun
and slip into eternal sleep type of death.

I think she may have been run over by a freight train...


Tucker (the rather over-sized Aussie) doesn't mean to be rough...


... he's very loving.

But, he is very big...

and very enthusiastic...

... and he loved playing with Mama Boots.

I think he may have tackled Mama Boots on the fly.

I am thankful. 
It looks like she died instantly.
She didn't suffer.

But, I will miss her, 

and our conversations. 

RIP,  sweet kitty.


Friday, May 16, 2014

PIP & PIG

Heard this on the news the other day....
We were cautioned to remember PIP and PIG

PIP - around Mother's Day
Plant in Pot

Mine are waiting in the garage...

PIG - after Memorial Day
Plant in Ground

The average frost dates in Colorado vary, mostly due to elevation. I found this nifty map online. It is an interactive "Last Frost" map for Colorado. Other states are available at http://www.plantmaps.com


We live in the dark brown zone. We'll wait until after Memorial Day to put anything, except the most frost-tolerant veggies, in the ground!

Although, I must remind myself that this is Colorado... 
where anything can happen! 

We've had snow flurries in June. 
We had a hard frost as late as June 12th.
We had inches of hail in June
... one never knows!! 

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Fascinating Fluorescence

Did you know that scorpions will fluoresce in ultraviolet (black) light?


I took this picture at a hands-on museum, 
so luckily for me, this fellow was behind glass.
Without the light, he was barely visible against the sand.

Icky, but fascinating!
Scientists aren't sure why scorpions glow in UV light.
Some think it may be a way to help scorpions find shelter at night.
Others think it may be a sun screen agent, 
converting harmful UV rays to light.
Perhaps it is a way for the scorpions to lure prey.

Regardless, this phenomenon fascinates children and adults, alike. While visiting in Arizona one of the big kids(70+ years old) at the campground was often seen walking along in the evening with his black light flashlight. In some ways, I'd prefer not to know what he was seeing when he stopped at one area or another!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Go Snow!

The sun is out. The snow is already beginning to melt.


Time to carry on with spring!

OK... so maybe the snow did make Dreaming a bit crazy!
On second thought...
maybe Dreaming has always been a bit of a nut!

Monday, May 12, 2014

Missing Winter

Mother Nature, in honor of Mother's Day, decided to give me a snow storm... just in case I had missed them while I was on my snowbird journey in the south this winter!

The snow began around 9 yesterday morning:


It has not stopped, yet. 
This morning I have a beautiful winter wonderland surrounding me.


And, the snow continues to fall. 
It is beautiful, but.... seriously?! 
On May 12th?!



Sunday, May 11, 2014

MIssing Mother's Day Prequel



The Saturday before Mother's Day has always been the day of the Bluffton Festival. Well, at least for the past 34 years. The festival was "the" thing to do. Everyone went. The Festival provided the opportunity to catch up with friends one hadn't seen since the previous year's festival!


It was a chance to buy treasured art pieces from vendors who you hadn't seen since the past year. If you got there early enough, you could even snag a loaf of yummy "Ulmer" bread at the booth in front of the Methodist Church. Again, if you were prompt, you could buy one of Madeline's orchids. She'd hold it for you while you enjoyed the rest of the festival! You could get a shrimp salad sandwich from the ladies at the Church of the Cross. You could appreciate the music by local bands, whether you parked yourself in a chair in front of them, or just listened as you browsed the booths lining the street. There were games for the kids, too. And of course, the toy seller, with squirt guns and marshmallow pop guns was always set up at the far end of the street, under the oak (which sadly met its demise a few years ago.) And, there was the Ugly Dog Contest sponsored by a local realtor, where dogs could win the highly coveted trophy made by a local potter. Our dog won 2nd place one year. He was too cute to win first place, and there wasn't much competition that year. It was too darned hot. Most people left their dogs home in the air conditioning!

This is our Zebrador, Monty.
Don't you think he was too cute to be ugly?!
Monty passed away four years ago
and I still miss his gentle ways.

This is Monty's trophy:


The boys would take their crumpled dollar bills and scour the festival for the perfect Mother's Day gift. One year it was a pair of earrings. Another year, a carved wooden rose. Perfume bottles were a favorite. And, a Bottle Brush plant. It hurt me to move from South Carolina and leave that gift behind. Every Mother's Day since we have moved, I realize how much I miss this part of our lowcountry life. 

Our neighbors gave us this limited edition print by a local artist, Lynda Potter. Dr. Mik is the fellow in the khaki shorts and green shirt! Our neighbors figured this was a great going-away gift. They were right. It brings me right back to Bluffton on a hot, spring day! (Those memories are especially nice today, as frozen rain is falling, and an accumulation of snow is expected! What crazy weather!)


Just one look at the picture brings back a plethora of memories!

Happy Mother's Day y'all!






Saturday, May 10, 2014

Not a Happy Camper

I am enjoying a beautiful Saturday morning.


I was just outside without a jacket!


It rained last night.


The sun is shining.
The plants are reveling in the moisture and warmth from the sun.


Many of the trees are fully leafed out.


They are in blossom.


I've been imagining a bountiful harvest of apples and cherries.
(Last year we had a late freeze that killed most of the flower buds.)

The birds are singing.

Tomorrow....

All Hell breaks loose.


I hope the meteorologists  are wrong!

Don't mind me if I wine a bit...





Thursday, May 8, 2014

Great Day - Gesundheit?

I took my dad to lunch the other day. We haven't gone out together in ages! He was in great spirits and really seemed to enjoy the day. As we pulled into the parking lot, Dad commented that I was a very good driver. I reached over and patted his leg, saying, "Gee, thanks, Dad! I learned from the best there ever was....."
"Mom!"

Dad's sense of humor is still in tact... he laughed!

We went to one of his favorite restaurants, André's. This is a little 'hole in the wall' restaurant and sweets shop that only serves lunch. They only have two menu choices, which change daily.


We chose not to have gesundheit... I mean, geschnezeltes (beef tips and gravy) and had the toast with tomato, melted gruyere cheese and a mushroom gravy. 

Everything is one price, and includes a beverage (their iced coffee is served with a generous dollop of whipped cream, real cream), the meal and a selection from the desert tray. The desert tray offers about 10 choices of their yummy sweets.


And, if you want more, they sell all kinds of sweet treats,
cakes, quiches and chocolates at the front of the restaurant!

This time I had the marzipan 'potato' - a cream-filled cake covered in a layer of marzipan. Dad had the fruit tart. 


And... at the end, Dad decided to try to embarrass me....


 He forgot, I'm the mother of two boys.
It ain't gonna happen!








Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Urban Ride

Many years ago... (ah, maybe I should amend that to say: many, many years!) my parents moved to New York City and I moved to college. I have never been a city girl and I didn't particularly care for apartment life in the city. In a ploy to get me to stay in the city for the summer, my mother sent me across town to ride at Claremont Riding Academy. That was the best carrot she could find to get me 'home' for the summer! The experience ranks among the top 10 on my list of incredibly cool, memorable events in my life.

That spring day, so long ago, I hopped on a bus, wearing my riding boots and breeches, and carrying my helmet. After a transfer, I finally arrived at the stables on West 89th Street. The stables were originally built in 1892 as a livery and later became a riding academy. I walked into the office, introducing myself and explaining that I had a reservation for a ride. The fellow at the desk turned to an intercom and asked the metallic voice on the other end to send Floppy down. He told me to step into the 'arena' and that my mount would be there momentarily.

The 'arena' was a large open space, like many arenas, but this one had posts throughout. I guess horses who were used to the space would be quite handy at dodging the 'urban trees'.

source

Before I could take too many steps into the arena, Floppy ambled down the ramp, all by himself, and came to stop in the middle of the arena. Shortly afterwards, a stable worker motioned me over to Floppy. He made sure that the tack was fitted correctly, that I mounted safely, and that the stirrups were the right length. Then he explained that I could exit the stable, turn right, then right again until I reached 90th street, which was one-way going towards Central Park.


He explained that I would see the entrance to the bridal path in front of me, and I should turn left to ride the path around the park.  I was the only horse out there. The path was a nice wide, gravel way, with fences on either side. A far cry from the trails I was used to riding 'in the country'! There was absolutely no way I could get lost!


I enjoyed my ride as I walked, trotted and cantered on this island of green in the midst of mayhem the city. 


When I finished my circle, I exited the park, and rode down West 89th Street back to the stables. 


After dismounting I inquired about what I was to do with Floppy. The stable worker told me to simply let him go. He explained that Floppy would go up the ramp, get a drink of water, and then enter his stall. Someone would untack him and shut the stall door later. I asked if I could follow, as I was intrigued. Sure enough, Floppy knew the routine. I was amazed!

I made my way to the bus stop, and made my way slowly back to my parents' apartment. It was a long, hot trip. I considered my experience. It certainly was novel. Would my horse acclimate to life in the city? Was she a country horse or a city horse? 

Ultimately I decided that neither my horse, nor I, would enjoy the city life. My mother was disappointed, but she understood. I spent the summer, with my horse, living with a friend in Rochester, NY, but had the enduring memory of a wonderful experience riding in New York City.

The Claremont Riding Academy, like so many institutions of old, succumbed to the increased costs of providing services in an urban setting, health and safety regulations, and changes in the park.