Saturday, December 29, 2012

Christmas past

When Dear Son visits my house after Christmas and sees the decorations still up, he always says, "You're living in the past, woman!" So true. But gosh, it took a long time to put up, and it's no fun to take it all down. The older I get, the longer and steeper the stairs seem as I haul bins up and down one by one. I might start today, I might not. When I was little, we never took our Christmas trimmings down until after the Epiphany on January 6th. Nowadays, in Denver we get a pass that lasts until the annual National Western Stock Show is over, sometime near the end of January. Come to think of it, maybe I'll start today. Here's what I'm taking down.

The tree, of course. Why do I keep adding ornaments? I have 40 years worth.

The lighted wreath in the window. I love this cozy spot. But I've learned not to rest my head on the pillow with the chunky glass rhinestones. Ouch.
Hmm, the mantel. I'm not actually taking this down since the lights stay up all year. I just don't turn them on. I might take the snowy bough out of the canoe since it will look weird there when it's 95 degrees outside.
The Garden Santa is busy working below the trees in my bird hallway.

He carries a topiary, a hoe, and a shovel. And of course is wearing the approved Garden Santa straw hat.
 There are a few nests and eggs for him to tend to also.
Oh yes, the Christmas Village. My niece says this is Mesa Verde style. I think she's right. Some years I put a few houses under the tree but this year it's the cliff version, with a mountain stream running below.


Dining room table with reindeer and glittery cones. I love these guys with their wreath necklaces.
This is the forest tree in the kitchen. It's full of birds, acorns, pinecones, and icicles. Also a couple of bears thrown in - it is the forest, after all.

I like to decorate the whole house but this year I ran out of energy. The farthest I got from the main living areas was the end of the hallway. Sorry, bathroom and bedrooms.

I almost forgot that I hung these peacock glass balls from the chandelier. I was glad the thread didn't break and drop the balls in someone's cup of cocoa.
This wreath is all silver glittery stuff . At least it's close to the stairs. I might be able to just pitch it over the railing and into the bin below. I think I'd better get started so I don't end up living in the past.

Friday, November 23, 2012


So I took the day off before Thanksgiving to clean my house. This is a big deal for me as I only "clean" before relatives visit or if I'm hosting dinner, as I was this year. I woke up full of energy to clean bathrooms, but got sidetracked immediately when I decided I needed something festive on the front porch table to welcome guests. I wandered around the yard snipping evergreen boughs and stuck them in this planter which also holds a dead buddleia. I figured the boughs would cover it up okay, and added a few peacock feathers for good measure.

Ready to clean the bathrooms, but wait, I'd better do the pies first because what's more important? Doorbell rings, and its the UPS man with the cute little pie cutters I ordered from Williams-Sonoma. I didn't expect to see them before next week. I'm so excited I start cutting out acorns, maple leaves, pumpkins, and turkeys. How cute is that?

Here's the pie ready to go in the oven.

Finished baking pie, then look at the instructions for the pie cutouts. Oops, I was supposed to brush them with a wash of eggwhite and water mix, and bake them SEPARATELY on a cookie sheet and then place them on the finished pie. Oh well, it still looks pretty good, but maybe a little brown. Good thing I put those tinfoil-piecrust-cover-things over the edges before I put the pie in the oven.

I still can't get excited about the bathrooms as I'd rather work on the dining room table decorations and figure out what plates to use. Hmm, the only tablecloth that will work with all three leaves in the table is a Christmas tablecloth. I'm sure I have a plain white one but I can't find it so this will have to do. And what about the dinner plates? They're a little small for a feast so I decide to use chargers under them to hopefully catch the overflow. I go to the basement and look for chargers. I seem to have them in red, brass, and also silver. I must have gotten a good deal on these after-Xmas some year. I decide on the deep red.

Gourds and pumpkins are the centerpiece, with a few pheasant feathers thrown in. Why not?

At the top of each charger I add a glittery acorn. Now, I realize I could have used these for napkin holders, but seriously that would have taken a lot of time. Besides, I used paper napkins (the store brand calls them "elegant" napkins) and they don't deserve the effort.

At midnight, I clean the bathrooms and give thanks that I got it done.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Lighten up

I've always wanted a chandelier in the garden and I found one last summer for 50 cents at a garage sale. Pretty simple but the price was right so I put some green candles in it and enjoyed the whimsy of it the rest of the summer. And the squirrels didn't bother it so it was a huge success all around.

Now that I've put so many things away for the winter it ocurred to me that I could keep my chandelier up and put battery operated candles in it and I would be able to enjoy it every winter's eve when I came home from work. Since it's pitch black at 5:30PM. Here it is.

It hangs near all the birdfeeders which is the preferred gathering place for the neighborhood squirrels. Actually I might as well call them MY squirrels since they all congregate at my house. Hmm, I thought, maybe this isn't the best place for it. Just because they ignored green candles, wouldn't they think the lighted candles would be wonderful for illuminating a midnight snack? And shouldn't they go ahead and chew on the candles since they chew everything?

So I moved it up to the overhang of the patio roof. It will keep my skyrocket junipers company. And maybe the squirrels will leave it alone. Or maybe I should lighten up on the squirrels? I don't think so.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

All tied up

The Skyrocket junipers normally live out in the yard in the summertime. So I don't forget to water them in the winter I haul them up to the back porch and line them up like sentinels. I tie them up too. Otherwise the snow will weigh down the branches and they will never have their pencil-shape again. I know because I was too lazy to tie up a big one a couple of years ago. It no longer looks like a pencil. Since I took this picture I did finish tying up the other two.

I thought it would look pretty cool to add pinecones around the base of these. The squirrels thought so too and everyday when I come home from work I find a few cones scattered around the ground. Would I expect anything less?

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Fall on the front porch

This is what it looked like before the mums and ornamental kale started fading (well, before I got tired of watering the potted plants).

Nice pumpkins, huh? And I do like that crow.
Uh-oh, a pumpkin smasher on the loose? That also eats Indian corn?
Uh, no, just my usual nemesis.

Saturday, September 01, 2012

What plants are these?

I was in Tulsa last weekend visiting my daughter and am mystified over the plant I.D. on these guys. The first plant is about 2 ft. tall and has fuzzy green leaves like lambs ear. Next, a small bush with all the various shades of leaves. Last, the stripey-leaf plant mixed in with the petunias. Any help?

Sunday, August 12, 2012

August garden

I know better than to take pictures in bright sun but that's what I had. Here's how plants on the terrace are doing this hot, hot summer.
This cute Gambel's Quail pot (in honor of my brother-in-law in the desert) is holding a sempervivum that is starting to bloom. The bright orange moss rose is from a pot behind it.
Who knew that WalMart sold staghorn ferns? I'm very pleased with this one. It reminds me of my dad who grew these in San Diego. Of course, his didn't have to come inside for the winter. Where am I going to find room?
This carrot is the extent of my vegetable gardening. Nice, huh? Actually I did use the parsley below it in a some recipe I was following. Not much of a cook these days.
This Taro plant was decimated in the hail earlier this summer. Finally it sprouted a new leaf and there's another one coming. And for some reason, Chickadees would rather drink out of this small water garden than the many birdbaths on offer.
Hard to tell, but I guess you'd call these White-eyed Susans. They aren't yellow and they don't have any eye, but the grocery store had these hanging baskets 2/$10. I Bloom-Boosted them and they took off.
I'm surprised I get any bloom from these containers since my terrace doesn't get full sun. But they manage, sort of. More terrace below with my tiny pond and one of the birdbaths.
You have to look hard to see the tiny black orbs on this Ornamental Pepper. They look like shiny marbles in the sun. I'm surprised this plant is doing anything since I forgot to water it and it looked totally dead and withered. I watered it anyway and the next day it was feeling fine. Plants can be so surprising.

Garage sale garden

I like to troll garage sales for castoff household stuff that I can re-use in my garden, otherwise known as garden kitsch. It doesn't cost much, I can always find a spot for it, and if it breaks (squirrels are responsible for that) I can always find something else to fill in. Here are a few recent finds.
This giant egg is porcelain so putting it on this metal stand is iffy as far as jumping squirrels are concerned, but so far so good.
I love the design on this pot. I couldn't figure out if it should go with my Mexican stuff, my Buddha stuff, or what. I decided it might be Art Deco and that I don't have. It was $2.
Isn't this parrot lamp fabulous? It's all metal, came with a bulb, and it's a 2-way lamp. $5.  Looks fabulous on my Goodwill wicker table. As my 6-year-old grandson said, "Who would SELL that?"
This Mexican pot is huge and I knew I had to have it the second I spotted it. The guy wanted $2. Okay, I said.
Not real sure where these will end up, but for $1 apiece I'm sure I'll find a spot. All metal.
This huge pot came from the same sale as the Mexican pot. I would normally have bargained down the $5 price but I was so happy with the Mexican pot I gladly paid.
And this rattan footstool (also $5) works well on my back porch. I can kick it around to wherever it's needed. I'm glad I live in a cold climate so garage sales will come to an end in a month or so. My yard is big, but not THAT big.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Hot weather, hot fires

It's been hot, hot, hot in Colorado. Over 100 degrees every day for the past 6 days. We were complaining about not being able to keep our gardens watered enough but the magnitude of the fires that have exploded from high winds, hot temps, and no moisture has overshadowed mere garden troubles. Tonight, the fire west of Colorado Springs has jumped into the city and is burning homes within neighborhoods. The Air Force Academy has been evacuated; and 32,000 more people evacuated from their homes, some of which are burning now. These shots are from Fox 31 News in Denver.

Colorado Springs is about an hour south of my house. My nephew and his wife are on alert for evacuation.

To the north of us is Flagstaff Mountain. My son and his wife were married up there 12 years ago. It's on fire today too. Heavy winds and a thunder storm (no rain) flared up with many lightning strikes. This is the result of one of those strikes.

There are so many wildfires in Colorado it's hard to keep track of them all. Everyone knows someone affected and its hard to find an area where there isn't smoke or ash or flames. Hot weather, indeed.