Saturday, January 16, 2021

Beauty Fades. Dumb is Forever.

This English countryside painting is the screensaver image on my desktop.
I find a new one every week.

Strolling down a cobblestone pathway.. accompanied by a dog who prefers to walk beside you.. 

Well, how cool would that be!?!

In contrast to my real life dog, breaking his leash, racing miles ahead to jump on all the passersby. Barking like a maniac. Prompting me to apologize over and over and over again... 

I suppose the upside to the Hell Boy scenario of walking my own dog is that I get to meet a lot of people. Though they rarely introduce themselves. And, it's highly doubtful they would ever invite me to afternoon tea.



The view from my window. Yes. I've contemplated chopping down those electrical poles. Many times!

That English countryside painting - the screensaver image on my desktop - is a common exercise during the non-gardening half of the year. 

Inspires grand plans. And, new gardening notions.


My favorite 'Christmas Cactus' rarely blooms before mid-January. 
Which makes perfect sense because it's not a Christmas cactus. 
Different varieties bloom at different times of the year. To tell them apart, look at the leaves.

But this year, those wonderful little paintings are for a different reason entirely. It's supposed to fool me into feeling all cool, calm and collected.

It's not working.

I'm so pissed off right now.


Every sunny window deserves a Mandevilla. Even on the worst of days, listening to the news, 
her plentiful pink flowers put a smile on my face. Draw the blinds in the afternoon
 if you live in a hot climate. Fertilize monthly and trim the plant. 
She'll grow 20 feet tall if you let her.

During the ‘it's a hoax/fake news’ bullshit of these last 4 years, I have come to rely on the Atlantic. An excellent magazine that has been around since 1857. You know. Before the first civil war?

If you haven't read The Worst Revolution Ever, you should stop looking at my flower pictures and do that right now.

The magazine is filled with daily, thought-provoking, articles from very smart people. Who don't always compliment my point of view. This morning they were preaching kindness and tolerance toward all those morons ~ who are just dumb enough ~ to believe all the lies ~ that person ~ who wasn't elected ~ told them.

Problem #1 when reading magazines on your iPad vs a paper magazine. You can throw the magazine across the room in disgust. But, if you do that with your iPad you are forced to buy a new one. And, they're expensive!


Did you know that most of the micro mini roses sold in the grocery store will flourish in a zone 5 garden?
I have dozens of them planted along my walkway.

It is pretty easy to do, ya know. 

Read newspapers and magazines. In search of the truth. 

Listen to a pack of lies in a publicized speech. And, question that truth.


Kalanchoe bloom for a long time. The best (only?) way to kill them is by over-watering. They will re-bloom but it's hardly worth the effort. Treat yourself to a new one. Re-blooms can never match the beauty of these babes forced under the grow lights.

If you happen to be one of those dummies. Who voted against the environment, against saving endangered species, against education, against affordable health care.. in the high hopes that you could stop progress, so we can return to the 1950's. A time when you felt comfortable because you can't handle change? I invite you to step off this blog and never return.

Because that whole kindness and tolerance suggestion from the Atlantic? It ain't happenin' here.


Today's tirade is brought to you, in part, by: 
  • Twitter - for stopping the disgusting chatter.
  • United/Delta/American - for putting those pigs on no-fly lists.
  • Forbes - for taking a stand against the incessant lies perpetuated by Press Secretaries.
  • Apple/Google - for deactivating the apps 'they' use to coordinate attacks.
  • Shopify - for shutting down the terrorists' websites. 
  • Stripe - for refusing to process credit card payments on any maga websites.

#impeach #stopthestupidity

#flowersmakeeverythingbetter

Friday, January 01, 2021

Hey, 2020 ~ Here's you're hat, what's your hurry?

Cheers to the end of the most difficult year.

I survived. That's what I was thinking as I was gazing at the playful clouds on this New Year's Day.

I survived. And, if you're reading this. You did, too.

I'm talking about surviving the hopeless, helpless feelings that plagued everyone, during this horrible year. I am not making light of the tragedy that has befallen so many.


One $5 dollar flower bulb gifts you with all these pretty flowers. Just add water. Buy an #Amaryllis kit!

Some lost quite a lot, considerably more than me.

All I really lost was faith. 

And, 12 months.


I can attest to the fact that Christmas cactus live for a hundred years. 
I've had this one since my college days.

Which is why I forced myself to stay awake until midnight. 

Getting up at 3 a.m. is easy for me, what with all my irrational fears and worries... I'm very good at that. 

But staying up until midnight - to ring in the New Year? Now, that is hard work. 


During 2020 Covid lockdown, I planted tons of flowers, by seed, in my sunny window. #Zinnias

Felt like I needed to do it.

Stay awake. Watch the clock announce it is 12:01 a.m. 

And, kick this awful year to the curb.


Elf Sunflowers are tiny + adorable. Grown by seed in my sunny window during lockdown.

In prep for NYE, since we cannot socialize.. 

I curled up on the couch, gazed at my beloved mountains… and took a delightful afternoon nap.


10 days into our first covid lockdown, I created a shrine to the cutest little artist on the planet. 
Hattie B. My granddaughter. It was the longest time we were apart since she was born. 
[#Anthurium flowers]

I was tired!

All talked out, after real true phone calls, not text messages (yay!), from people reaching out to me. Wishing me a Happy New Year. Thinking of me. 

Missing me almost as much as I miss them.

Feeling ‘loved’ and no longer invisible. 


Social distancing tomatoes. Grown indoors, from seed, during covid lockdown. 

Which is how you feel ~ invisible ~ when you can barely cope with the first lockdown..

So very excited for that to be over. 


Chalk it up to lockdown boredom, I ordered Passiflora seedlings, and she bloomed!!!

Only to discover that it's time to do the isolation thing all over again.


Yes. You really can grow Morning Glories indoors. But, they need a whole lotta space!

When I woke up, I thought about this long, strange, blurry, dragged on forever year.

And, how grateful I am for the little things that kept me going. 



Like this goofball. 

"This is the bestest stick ever!" - Charlie Waffles

The dogger who refused to take no for an answer on days when I was too sad to walk out the door.

Royal Velvet Amaryllis - growing in the big bay window.

Grateful for so many little things. Like a sunny window. 

Where I can grow pretty much anything. 

Canterbury Bells.

How. During the worst of it.

When everyone was soooo busy - selfishly fighting over the last roll of toilet paper..

They quit buying all the blossoms at the supermarket flower store.

Paper Whites (Narcissus)

So I started my very own Flower of the Month club. Rescues from the discount bin.

Audrey - my Venus Flytrap. An essential plant for an indoor flower garden. (She gobbles all the bugs.)

And, how walking the dog isn't always a bad idea. 

Like the day I found this:


And, when I discovered this remarkable wildflower. On one of our many wilderness adventures. 

Some kind of Wild Iris!

Which prompted me to starting writing a photo book. 

Of all the gorgeous wildflowers we discover in the High Uintas, northern Utah. Our favorite stomping ground.

Knowing full well, that book will never get published. Since it took me 15 months to write one blog post... what are the odds of finishing that thing?

Oh! And, I baked bread. 

Lotsa bread..

Just like everybody else did. That's why we all gained those 19 covid pounds..


From my very own sourdough starter. 

Back toward the beginning of this nightmare. When I truly thought this is how the world ends. For the last time.

Ornamental Sweet Peas. Best grown by seed.

But, it didn't. 

End, that is. It offered a brand, new, beautiful beginning. I know it's not over but it is getting better.

Here's wishing everyone a Happy New Year.

PS: See you in hell 2020


***   Here's your hat, what's your hurry - quoted from It's a Wonderful Life, 1946

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

Fireweed

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

Columbines


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.