Gardening + Nature

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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.

 

Lady of the Wood

David Walker

Noor ReverieĀ 

Rebecca Maxwell

Ornitho-Maia

(foreground)

Nadine Jaggi

The Exchange

Tatyanna & Natasha Meharry

Stories Upon Stories

Nora Naranjo Morse

Melanie Yazzie

Destruction by Fire #4: Fall From Grace

Rudy Hernandez

Emergence

Andrew Velez

Escaped the heat with a lovely visit to the Fine Arts Center, and especially enjoyed the Wearable Art Exhibition. It’s highly doubtful I would wear anything on show, but wow, what beautiful artistry and dedication to craft. Seriously. Followed our artistic reverie with happy hour at Stir – always kindly and delicious!

It’s hard to go wrong with turquoise…

The horsetail milkweed (those blossoms!!) is in full splendor, as is a lovely miniature rose. The garden gives and gives…

Speaking of gardening, when I hurt my knee on the trampoline and was relegated to the couch, I could not get enough of Garden Rescue! And, truth be told, I’m still watching. A friendly British garden competition and oh, so sweet. If you’re in need of outdoor inspiration, get cracking…

My cousin Allison’s new pup, Rookie. He and Juniper got along like a house on fire, Mutt and Jeff style.

Celebrated this sweet girl’s eighth year! She’s holding a Kate the Unicorn Squeezamal we gave her – it smells like grape bubble gum. So cute…

Driving home from the party – hard to beat the view!

With all their favorite flowers in full blossom, our hummingbird friends are in a frenzy, with Rufous, Calliope, and Broad Tails zooming for garden domination!

New mushroom sculptures – aren’t they sweet?

Breakfast delights: biscuits, jam, sausage gravy, and, of course, coffee!

To riff on the famous Jaws line, I think we’re going to need a bigger table…

a hungry fritillary (I think) on the orange echinacea

We’ve also been hosting swallowtails, monarchs, admirals, mourning cloaks, sulphurs, cabbages, and just as many moths that I don’t know what to call. If only they weren’t so camera shy.

My favorite companions in one of my favorite places!

Gooseberries! These are from the neighbors, as our bush is just getting its legs. I made jam, of course. So good!

 

 

 

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Duck Musubi at Lucky Dumpling

Lunch buffet at our favorite Indian restaurant – Mirch Masala. Second to naan!!

Ingrid’s brood…

neon, always neon…

Time in the garden – it’s really coming along now!

Did someone say walk?

the Platte River

freshly canned cherries!

I am writing this on Wednesday, the second day back from an unexpected staycation. We were originally going to snake a winding route along Western Colorado, with stops in Telluride and Grand Junction, places this native is slightly embarrassed to admit I’ve never been. Both of us were super excited to scale mountains and skim creeks previously unknown to us. Then I blew out my knee while trampolining (kid at heart, right here!) and couldn’t walk. Giant sad face.

I spent a week on the sofa and hobbling around on crutches, as any amount of weight on my leg made it scream. The lesson? Listen to your body! Don’t push to get your money’s worth at the trampoline gym when you already feel satisfied. Rest and enjoy the time you’ve had. I really wish I had done that. Boy howdy.

Ever the optimist mated with yet another, we didn’t really feel it was a loss, save for the annoyance of pain. It was nice to putter around the house, watch scads of gardening and home improvement shows, start and finish projects. We cleaned and organized the shed, which finally enabled us to get our bicycles out of the basement. Then there was a trip to the garden center and the purchase and planting of a dozen more sweet scented lovelies, like dianthus and phlox. Greg built a much needed roof over our wood pile. If you give a good look, it’s in the third picture of the garden and looks great! We’re especially glad to have made it entirely from scrap.

You may be laughing that this was more work than play, but, oh, we did play! We enjoyed whole days lounging in the garden, watching every growing thing, birds andĀ  insects flitting about, sipping mango iced tea. We grilled to keep the house cool and ate out a bit, happy for old favorites and to try new to us Lucky Dumpling, enjoying that gorgeous and yummy duck musubi. Then there was a nice morning at Garden of the Gods, lunch in Manitou Springs, and an evening with our Portland neighbor Ingrid and her brood of five on the Colorado Springs leg of their epic summer vacation.

We also went north to meet two of my nephews and parents for lunch. That was followed by a stroll along the Platte to get Juniper’s wiggles out before heading to Michael and Mary’s for a retirement and 40th Wedding Anniversary celebration. Fun…

And the cherries! My sweet neighbor Judy offered up her fruit laden tree, and I picked almost seven pounds of ruby jewels, watched a movie or two while seeding and stemming, and canned what I hope to be enough for two generous pies. My cup runneth over, peeps, in all aspects, again and again and again…

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