Gardening + Nature

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Up early for an excursion to the Paint Mines. Forty five minutes and a world apart, Indians roamed here, fashioned pottery from the clay, hunted buffalo, lived well. My goodness, what perfection, the two of us, the birds and Pilar and Pedro’s cousins, hopping up a storm. Can you spot the second one in the photos?

We marveled at the earthly quiet, our hushed voices and birdsong, wind in the grass, blue sky. This is what our Western hearts missed out east, the prickle of cactus, gazing upon the vast plains, scorched rock and dust.

I returned, my heart full, of love for our home and inspiration for our garden. It will be like this, with bunnies hopping, flowers dancing and grasses waving, birds whistling and butterflies flitting, bees zooming and us sighing, happily. Absolutely yes.

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All the best angles of our new yard! Our lot is huge, almost double the size of our Portland house and more than double that of our Pittsburgh place, though most of that was taken up by our ginormous house.

It is a shambles at the moment. After years and years of neglect, the back is mostly dandelions, a falling down fence, and the remains of dead trees and shrubs. That big dumpster I told you about? I filled about half of it with branches and the skeletons of six foot tall monster weeds. Fear not! There are a few gems – the snowball bush just above the bird bath, a spindly volunteer of a flowering cherry, a lilac, choke cherry, and three onion plants, smack dab in the middle of the yard. We’ve been using the greens in salads, and will, one fine day, move the plants to a proper garden bed. There, they will be joined by rhubarb and tomato plants (Sun gold! Cherokee purple!), cucumber, and maybe some ground cherries and boysenberries, if we are lucky enough that they can grow here.

In a wildly wonderful windfall from my friend Jennifer (holla!), we got two massive piles of beautiful stone that we plan to break our backs moving into some pretty configuration involving runoff from the roof, then add masses of flowers, currants, wild roses, and native grasses. Oh, and a patch for herbs and peonies (I already have an order in with Adelman Peony Gardens!), because, well, it wouldn’t be a Colleen Sohn garden without them. No, it would not.

That’s all dreaming, though, at least for now. The inside of the house still isn’t 100 percent hospitable. There’s no shower, but a dilapidated bathtub, no toilet on the main floor, but one in the basement, next to a sink that doesn’t work. BUT, the kitchen counter comes this week, and the guest room is looking pretty snazzy, with a fresh coat of paint, new bedside table, bed frame, box spring, and linens. Just in time, too! Our Pittsburgh friend Megan is joining us today for a visit. We are so excited to see her!

Oh, and the first picture, we’re enjoying a mighty pretty and delicious bulgogi and bibimbap at our new favorite Korean restaurant Shin Sa Dong. Yum…

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We went to the library last night, returning a heavy bag of books, one of which, rather sadly, went unread because of a lack of time. Dorothy Parker, I may just have to buy your complete stories!

It rained, fiercely, sheets plummeting from the sky, with the whitest brightest flashes of thunderous lightning and little bits of hail littering the rooftops like snow. A genuine Colorado storm. When we lived in Portland, we sometimes lamented the fact that we never had what we thought as REAL thunder and lightning, having grown up with claps so powerful as to rattle the bowels and stun the ears. Pittsburgh had better thunder, the kind movie makers use to replicate the perfect summer storm, which was wonderful and I loved.

The poor neighborhood turkey ran fast and furious across the frame, shaken and stirred by hail and torrents of water. There’s the view from the library I’ve told you about, one to get lost in. And the mammatus clouds, hanging wild and heavy above. Eeek, how I love this place!

choke cherry

green mertensia

pasque flower

trumpet gooseberry

sand lily

yucca seed pod

best friend ever

white loco

scarlet paintbrush

three tooth ragwort

old school litter – a pull tab!!

the path home

One surprise, two surprises, three, and FIVE!

First surprise – not a single contractor chez nous this weekend. A quiet house, me and the hubster, the hubster and me. We celebrated, of course we did, with pyjama lounging, music turned up loud, a delicious lunch at La Baguette, French and cheesy, as in loaded with cheese, not corny, a mushroom omelette and a casserole, namesake baguette loaded with butter, red ripe strawberries, sweet as could be.

Second surprise – hail! Bouncing and skittering during lunch and on our way to our new favorite library, the East branch of PPLD. Nothing like our beloved Bayne Library in Bellevue, but lovely still, modern and bigger and with a stunning view of Pike’s Peak. I’ve decided, should I ever make a Colleen style fil-um, the cosy couches of the reading area will play a role. One day I’ll take a picture, and you’ll understand why.

Third surprise – wild flowers at Palmer Park, some hidden in plain sight, others practically hollering to be seen. As you might imagine, I did a lot of squealing in delight. I can’t wait to try to grow some of these at the new homestead!

Fourth surprise – Radiohead released their latest album, A Moon Shaped Pool! As someone who likes so little of what is released into the world these days (yeah, I am one of THOSE people), I was and remain giddy at hearing their bit of newness, playing it on a steady loop. Thank you ever so much Thom, Ed, Colin, Jonny, and Phil. You make my world better.

Fifth and best surprise – my brother Chris (hey brother…) called! This is no small feat because he is in a tiny town in Namibia, Africa, doing a stint in the Peace Corps. It was our first time speaking in over a year and a half and did as much chatting and laughing as humanly possible in fifty-three minutes time.

Here’s hoping your weekend was equally wonderful, with a lovely surprise or two…

 

We had two snow storms in three days, the first ugly and brutal, with howling horizontal winds raging for more than eight hours, rattling brains and nerves, the hubster shoveling what was mostly ice in the dark once all had finally calmed down. But the second one left the whole of Colorado Springs blanketed in a fairytale hush and our block looking so pretty. It’s almost all gone now, sun melting it down to puddles and crusts of ice and love.

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