Wednesday, September 25, 2019

The Witch's Thanksgiving

This Columbine looks rather 'spooky.'

Full Disclosure: I'm not a witch. I've been called that. Many times! But I possess no special powers with which to back up that allegation. 

Therefore I have no witchy photos to document Monday. You know.. The Autumnal Equinox. Which is also called the Witch's Thanksgiving.

You must drive up another 2,000 feet in elevation, right now, to see the beautiful fall colors that are coming our way.

“The Autumnal Equinox is a very potent time for magic and manifesting, because the gateway between both the spiritual and physical world will be unlocked..”

I don't feel it. Do you feel it? The whole magical manifesting thing?

I do feel a change in the air. A cool breeze. Finally. After such a beastly hot summer. Autumn. For this gardener. Is much appreciated.

And, I also feel somewhat neglected. Even though I deserve it.

For laughing out loud during the meditation. At the annual autumnal equinox party which gets bigger every year and I am never invited. Not after the first one. When I had the nerve to giggle. The whole meditation thing. It's just not my cup of tea.

Even though I 'meditate' all the time at the pretty places, aka my usual haunts, in these pictures. The mountains are my church.

At my elevation, we are still celebrating the wild Sunflowers.

Every Equinox, they gather. At Linny's house. They share all kinds of tofu dishes and super duper totally organic vegan appetizers that don't look terribly appetizing to me.

Tip: If you find yourself at one of these group meditation extravaganzas, always tell them you're doing a cleanse. Works like a charm. They are all over that cleanse thing! Very understanding. And, supportive! As to why you couldn't possibly fill up your plate with those totally vegan nibbles.

At 'the ceremony' ~ the first and only one that I was invited to ~ we enjoyed some idle chit chat.

Then we lit a whole bunch of candles.

Sat in a gigantic circle with our eyes closed. (Well. Not everybody. When I opened my eyes, I noticed that Sandy had her eyes open, too, and she was looking around the room like.. how much did that cost?)

You can also find early autumn colors in the High Uintas. It's quite chilly, now, but Charlie doesn't seem to mind.
So, we're sitting there. All quiet and stuff. At one with our woo woo selves. Ready to start the meditation. And, the leader of the coven whoops I mean neighborhood group began by quietly asking us to 'shed the trappings of our material world.'

Your. Material. World?

We were sitting in a $3.5 million dollar home. Does anyone, other than me, feel like we are sitting, cross-legged, on the stage of Comedy Central??

Well. I laughed. Then Sandy laughed. And, that is why we are shunned from the Annual Autumnal Equinox Meditation Party.

Park City ~ where I live ~ is kind of a weird place. It's such a picture perfect little town that no normal middle class family can afford to live here any longer. Seriously. There's just a few of us left. Lauren, Kelly, Janet, Sandy, Cher (yes, that's her real name and she still doesn't speak to her mother.)

And, me.
Crab Apples are ready to harvest in my garden.
I know that I'm very jaded. And, sometimes I feel a little shallow about things. Which is why I accept offers to step outta my comfort zone. To dabble in group meditations and vegan lifestyles and all that stuff.. Merely as an attempt to bond with other people.

But, then I realize there's a darn good reason why it's called my comfort zone. Because I feel pretty comfy there. Especially now. When it's nice and cool.. and the central a/c has been turned off. In celebration of my favorite season..

Crab Apple Freezer Jam
  • 2 cups crab apples
  • 4 cups sugar. (I'm not kidding; they are very sour!)

Slice the crab apples in half. Boil until the apples are slightly squishy. Reserve enough of the water to dissolve your sugar. Place apples in a bowl and mush them, add the dissolved sugar, transfer to jars. Let them rest on the kitchen for 24 hours before putting them in the 'frig.

* Crab Apples contain enough natural pectin that you do not need to add this ingredient.

** Columbines will flower all summer long, into fall, provided you chop their heads off, after the pretty flowers begin to die. (AKA deadheading.)

Monday, September 23, 2019

The Divine Inspiration of... Onions?

Well whaddyaknow. It worked.

I guess third time really is a charm. As in.. three attempts to remember the password to this poor, neglected, blog.

I suppose it seems rather silly to be dusting off the blog at the end of gardening season. Been thinking about blogging all summer long and wrote quite a few posts. In my head. While pulling weeds.

Too busy doing the real thing, I guess. Too tired, by days end, to yak about it.

But I just gotta do a shout out for The Onions.

This beautiful little native wildflower was the divine inspiration for my entire summer!

Came home, from a month long vacation on June 30th. While I was gone, it rained, and rained and rained some more.

Which is unheard of in this high plains desert.

Thanks to that rain, something magical happened!

The Allium bulbs I ordered.
The entire north 40 (acres, old rancher term) which, in reality, is the east 1/2 (acre)...

... and best known as my backyard..

Had turned bright pink.

Blanketed with wild onions, flowering in the summer sun. Hundreds of them! I just couldn't believe it!

A pink backyard!

Remarkable, really, how those little pink flowers gave me back my mojo. 

Inspired me to take on the mighty task of reworking the big rock garden. 

To dive deeper into waterwise wildflowers vs. hybridized perennials. 

To skip the Daffodils altogether. Spend an arm and a leg on 'true' Allium bulbs this autumn.

The bulbs arrived today. Which got me thinking about those pretty in pink little wild onions whose blooms are long gone but not forgotten. 

Allium Canadense
Part of the Lily Family

* Some call them wild garlic, midwesterners often call them meadow garlic. We westerners call them wild onions and they are as lovely to eat as they are to behold. 

When camping, I've often picked 'em and cooked with them. 

Be sure to smell them if you do that.. make sure they have an onion aroma and that they are the real deal.

PS: That top photo is a Nodding Onion. They, too, are a delightful addition to your garden. 

Bonus: Deer, moose, elk absolutely hate allium - bulbs, wild onions, you name it.. they will avoid your garden if you plant some.


"My bank account is like an onion. Whenever I check the balance, my eyes tear up."

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Hattie and The Babysitter

Charlie Waffles to Miss Hattie: "I used to be a little pup, just like you."

#toocuteforwords #babiesofinstagram

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Hollyhock Time

Chater's Double Red Hollyhock

For years, I was a purist. Growing only the ancient heirloom hollyhocks - from seeds I grabbed at my Mom's and my Grandmother's houses. Most of my gardens are filled with these heirlooms and they are fabulous. A tall, flowering forest reaching 15 feet high in the right conditions (i.e. 3x weekly water + a whole lotta sunshine.)

These are hybridized double hollyhocks. They don't last as long, they don't easily reseed like the heirlooms. But, I don't care. I just absolutely love the cottage garden feel to these bright bloomers.

* If you come back here in a week, or two, you might get to see the apricot Holly in bloom. Can't hardly wait!

Chater's Double Red Althea Rosea - Zone 2! Yep! They grow everywhere! :)) Reaching 4-6 feet.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Chief Joe 2018

Hello Handsome. Isn't he a stunner? This is Snuffy. An Appaloosa this pretty deserves a better name but that's what happens when you put the kids in charge.

I've ridden 600 miles with this guy!

This is my girl, Sable, on the Chief Joe Ride in 2017.

The only breed allowed on this ride are Appaloosas - spotted ponies. Which works out great for me! Seeing as how they are my favorite breed of horses.

Snuffy spent the night in my backyard and off they go, up into Washington for their grand adventure.

I've been told I'm being a baby for sitting this one out. But, I just couldn't bring myself to do the ride this year. It's so freaking hot! Plus, this leg of the 1,300 mile journey is too difficult.

* I overheard horse, Sable, breathe a gigantic sigh of relief when I announced we would not be working so hard on these 100 degree days. :)

300 people show up to participate from as far away as Maine & Florida

* The Chief Joseph Trail Ride commemorates the Nez Perce Native American flight from the U.S. Calvary. The tribe was running to safety, in Canada, riding their Appaloosa horses. They made it 1,300 miles before surrendering 40 miles shy of the Canadian border.

** It takes 13 years to complete the Chief Joe Trail Ride. I still have 700 miles to go.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Moonshine Yarrow

Moonshine Yarrow - coping beautifully with the heat and drought of this sweltering summer. #gardening #garden #perennials

Any Yarrow is a fantastic choice for hot dry spots in a high mountain garden (over 7,000 feet.) I'm partial to the yellow varieties.. Achillea Moonshine - zone 3 - provides nectar for butterflies and gorgeous color when wimpier perennials are overcome by the heat.

Saturday, July 14, 2018



Fireweed - Named as such for it's amazing ability to quickly colonize burnt landscapes after a wildfire. You may know this beauty as Willow Herb - makes a yummy jelly and a great tea, too!

#wildflowers #utahwildflowers

Thursday, July 12, 2018


Wild Canadian Columbine + A Bonus Bee! :)

There are a million different colors of Columbines.

I can exaggerate like that because, at some point, in the future of this delightful perennial, it could actually come true.

Did you know they hybridize themselves every season? Plant yellows and purples adjacent to one another and the next year you will very likely see a brand new color. Or, a variegated purple and yellow!

* Most prefer partial shade -- this happy little Canadian Columbine does best in full sun, hot, dry, conditions.

** It does not reseed as readily as the many hybridized Columbines.

Monday, July 09, 2018

Morning Glories

A Heavenly Blue Morning Glory stretching toward the sun. This is the only annual I plant in my gardens. Most are too tender for life in the mountains -- and this one is, too! But I just can't imagine a gardening season without this beauty decorating my deck. :)

* Plant from seed. Best in a container, with trellis. They can stretch to 30 feet but once they reach a height where they can climb no higher, they will shift their energy to what they do best. Gracing you with hundreds of stunning, 3- 4 inch, flowers. Blue in acidic soils. Purple-blue in alkaline soils.

Friday, July 06, 2018

Flax Flowers

Flax Flowers
Winds shifted. Blowing all the smoke from the Too Close For Comfort Strawberry Reservoir Wildfire in my direction.

Felt like I was 'warming myself' in front of bonfire. What with the heat and the smoke and smell of burning timber.

Lasted a whole 45 minutes out in the gardens because of that.

Just long enough to give the Flax a sip of water and snap this pretty picture.

Flax (Linum) is a pretty common wildflower out west but you rarely see them so healthy and blue. The secret happened entirely by accident. It's horse poo!

Thank my Chief Fertilizing Officers for these pretty blossoms.

* Flax is an annual, reseeds readily, consider it a perennial - since she will return to flower every season. One of the very few true blue flowers we can enjoy in our western alkaline soils. Plant by seed. Fertilize for stronger flower power.

Thursday, July 05, 2018

Apache Plume

Apache Plume
It's been beastly hot around these part so I finally broke down and watered the 'street garden.' Which is just a fancy name for the ditch in front of my rural home. :) Thought the drops of water on the fluffy seed pods of the Apache Plume were so pretty I needed to share.

Look close - you can see the remnants of little white flowers. They're kind of boring compared to what happens after she blooms. Masses of pink, fluffy seed pods decorate the shrub for the entire summer.

If you live in the mountains (above 7,000 feet) and have sections of your property that do not receive regular watering, you should give this babe a try. Birds, Bees and Butterflies love it. Deer and Elk? Not so much.

Apache Plume [Fallugia paradoxa] Zone 4. Requires low nutrient, western, alkaline soils. Will die if fertilized.

Tuesday, July 03, 2018

Hattie Baby

Happy 4 Month Birthday, Hattie Baby!

* Being a grandmother is nothing at all as I had imagined. It is sooooo much more.  More love, more smiles, more happiness, more everything.

#justlookatthatface #toocuteforwords 👼

Monday, July 02, 2018

Desert Mallow

Got a hot spot in your garden? This is the gal for you.

Mallows are a very common wildflower in Utah. In the west desert, you can see entire fields of them in bloom at the same time.

I have been babying this Desert Mallow growing wild in the ditch in front of my home. Once a month I'll drag a hose out there and give her a drink. Started with one plant but now I have a small field of happy apricot flowers.

Desert Mallow
Sphaeralcea ambigua Zone 6
* Once established, requires light watering, once a week, to produce non-stop flowers all summer long.

Saturday, June 30, 2018

The Divine Miss Katie Bug

Looking off toward the mountains... anxious for her next adventure.

* She was named Kate when she was gifted to me. And, we can't have two Kates, hence her pet name Love Bug Katie Bug.

** Her real name is Spirit Angel Fire. Which is way more befitting such a stunning paint.

Friday, June 29, 2018


Wolfsbane -- wards off werewolves. And, quite successfully! I've never seen a werewolf in these parts so I guess you have me to thank for that.

Do you love this flower? Love it from afar.  Because it will kill you.

It's a very popular pain reliever in traditional Chinese medicine. And, it's gorgeous. Which is why I planted it.

Then... one dark and stormy night... I was watching that murder series Dexter and whaddyaknow.. it's the mystery poisoner used throughout the season.

So, look, but don't touch. And, never get on by bad side. :)

* Also known as Devil's Helmet, Monkshood, Aconite.