Gardening + Nature

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On our way out to walk Juniper this morning, there was quite the ruckus of the bird of prey variety. When I looked up, I saw the giant Golden Eagle. It was being harassed by a couple of Red Tails, which were too fast for me, but alas I was still able to catch this young whippersnapper in action. Marvelous!

Kissing Camels

A sweet rain turned snowy Wednesday evening, bringing the usual welcome hush. The blanket wrapped us like wee babes and sent us into the deepest of sleeps. We awoke shockingly late on Thursday, got our daily workout in, and walked our sweet lover of snow dog. How she can be so fond of it, joyfully rooting and spinning and romping, yet do everything in her power to avoid a single drop from a sprinkler shall always be a curiosity.

As if the magnificent morning wasn’t enough, we went for broke with lunch, venturing to the Garden of the Gods, winding and winding through glorious snow capped views. Goodness, the name of the park never leans towards hyperbole. How crazy privileged we are, for flexible work at home hours and to have such wild wonder nearby. Lunch was green chile topped buffalo burgers, wedges of fudge (amaretto swirl (a tad too sweet!) and walnut), and boiling hot coffee. Natives living like tourists, delightedly so. I also bought a painting, a winter scene much like today, of the park.

I have been reading a bit, with The Wonder and The Strangler Vine the best of the recent lot. Oh, and my dearest reliable friend The Shell Seekers, for about the 25th time (no kidding!), tearing up at all the usual places, and feeling immense gratitude for the now departed (February 6th) – Rosamunde Pilcher.

I’ve turned out quite a few lovely pieces of jewelry, too, some of which I ought to photograph. Perhaps soon. I’ve also got movies to talk about, probably next post, a raft of gorgeous heart breakers and side splitters. And maybe a Seventies playlist, as we dove gaily headlong into it recently, with memories of barefooted endless summers, dancing in my room to Steve Winwood in his various incarnations, and Todd Rundgren and Bread and on and on. My word, that decade!

 

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And all of this, this breath-warmness and plum-tenderness was held forever in one miracle of photographic chemistry which no clock winds could blow upon to change one hour or one second; this fine first cool white snow would never melt, but live a thousand summers.

Ray Bradbury

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For two years running, we have attempted the Labor Day Lift Off Balloon Glow. And for two years running, we have missed. Last year, it was rain and lightning. This year, we made it to the park, but the wind kept the launch from happening. The saving grace, an exhibit of full fuel burns among a sea of thousands. It was really quite something to feel the temperature spike 20 degrees as every balloonist let loose.

We made up for my disappointment by watching a few tricks at the park.

I followed it with a little camera mess around on the way home. Isn’t light a marvel?

Cut to the morning, an early walk to watch the launch from afar. It was much more our speed, frankly, the three of us (and a flock of birds!) on a hill, with one hot air balloon after another rising and rising.

All you need is love…

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It is prime preserving season under our red roof. Over the past month or so, I have swooned over roiling pots of apple jelly, peach, strawberry-rhubarb, strawberry, gooseberry, and blackberry jam, as well as apple butter. For reasons of quality control (!!), I have made batch after batch of angel biscuits (my new and likely forever favorite – the texture the truly heavenly bit of exterior crisp and interior fluff!) to slather and savor. I have absolutely no complaints.

And the pretty pink concoction above? A bit of leftover strained apple syrup prior to jelly making. I sweetened it ever so slightly to make a tart apple soda. I am thinking it would be pretty spectacular with rosemary and whiskey, that first hint of fall sipped on the porch – birds chirping, bees buzzing.

Our first harvest of our backyard blackberries (one more since and how I made the jam!!) was a swell accompaniment to a cantaloupe, cucumber, and mint salad, with a few chopped pistachios for crunch. I served it with a smoked chicken thigh – compliments of our stovetop smoker, of course. Good golly, what a magical supper that was…

A dutch baby, which we, of course, enjoyed with wee dabs of all the jams and butters and a delicate sprinkle of powdered sugar. And how about that cute pot? We haven’t owned a microwave in probably fifteen years, so it is our go-to for reheating cold coffee and making chai. I bought it in Portland, a $3 thrift store find. We have since procured, via Etsy, an identical twin, which makes me immensely happy.

 

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