Saturday, April 30, 2011

5th Blogoversary!

My how time flies when you're having fun.

May 1st is my 5th Blogoversary

5 years.
700 posts.
Countless new blogging friends. 
Thousands of impulse plant purchases.

And, the odd realization that I've been blogging since before blogging was cool.

T-Shirt Give Away. Just leave a comment.
I began this humble effort back in the Dark Ages.

There was no Twitter. No Facebook. (Restricted to college kids at the time.) No Blotanical. No r.e.s.p.e.c.t.  People who knew what blogs were thought I was silly for having one. People who'd never heard of blogs looked at me funny when I tried to explain what they were.

It's loads more fun nowadays. Don't ya just love how big your world becomes when you start blogging? All the kindred spirits you meet? It's like a whole new virtual family. And, you'd never know they existed were it not for their blogs... 

5 years. Wow. Who would have thought I could drone on about flowers for 5 long years? 

This calls for a celebration. 
So, I'm giving away my all-time favorite t-shirt. 

Now don't worry. I'm not sending you mine. You're getting a new one. A clean one! But, you'll get to look just like me. Which is a super scary thought...

To enter the drawing for this cute as a button t-shirt, simply leave a comment and tell me what you love most about blogging.

And, to those of you who have visited here before... thanks for being out there. I feel fortunate to have met you.

* My darling daughter will randomly select a winner, from the commenters, next Friday.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

An Easter Gift for the Bigguns

"If you'd like to help, you can watch them express their appreciation." 

So said my friend, Janet. Cowgirl extraordinaire and surrogate Mom to my 2 horses, who are boarded at her stables.

What's the best time to buy a better camera? Why the day before you need it, of course! And, yesterday I was sorely wishing I'd had a crystal ball.

We've been having hard times. Incessant rains causing problems for all of us. Soil so saturated that small lakes have cropped up in the middle of my garden.

The biggest members of our extended family were suffering mightily. Feet sinking deep into the quicksand-like mud. Their large corrals just not large enough to manage this rainy mess.

A gracious neighbor, right down the road, saw their plight and offered up her empty pasture. On a slope, drier ground, a sweet, green spot where they could kick up their heels.

It's not easy moving these guys from there to here. It took 4 trips and 11 temper tantrums (one for each pony!) All were in a foul mood over the mud.

These are the times when you kinda wish they spoke English. If they had an inkling of where they were heading, they would have hopped on that bus, without a moment's hesitation.

So, it was a bit of a battle. But once they arrived, they were ever so grateful. Blowing off steam in the most joyful of ways. Thundering hooves. Happy nickers. Huge competition to see who can run the fastest.

People often wonder why women love horses.

I think it's because horses are a lot like women. They form bonds easily. They're more flight than fight. They are wise, forgiving, with an innate, motherly attitude that never ceases to amaze me.

Take this massive white Percheron, for instance. Adopting this little black pony as if it were her own. They've got 4 acres of pasture in which to graze. But, this spot tastes just fine...

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Depressed Daffodils and Sad, Little Tulips

Weather is a great metaphor for life - sometimes it's good, sometimes it's bad, and there's nothing much you can do about it but carry an umbrella. ~ Terri Guillemets

This little gardener is in desperate need of some sunshine.

I get so cranky with the false starts and stops of gardening in springtime. Wasn't it just last week that I was happily slathering on sunscreen and madly cleaning up the garden beds?

And, just that quick winter made a comeback.

Each morning, I peer hopefully out the window only to be greeted by heavy dark rain clouds obscuring the mountains. Mother Nature having a giggle at our expense.

Sweet spring bulbs try their level best to add cheer to these gloomy surroundings and I guess that's why we plant them. No matter the weather, they insist on doing a colorful job. But, just look at this gal...

Have you ever seen such a depressed Daffodil?

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Flower. Power!

Three cheers for the well-established garden.

Not well-planned, mind you.

Just, sort of, well-established.

I was thinking about that as I slaved away, prepping the garden beds for a brand new season. Man! I'm outta shape. Muscles squawking mightily this morning. I'd intended to clean up one, maybe two, areas but I got in a groove and just kept on going.

Plus, I wanted to stay ahead of the weather. Spring doesn't really happen in the mountains. We vacillate between summer and winter, and back again, quite often in the same, darn day.

I lack that gene, commonly known as self-control, so my yard is home to 11 different flower patches, the first of which was planted in the summer of 2003. (AKA, the 'well-established' one.)

At some point, this crazy mess might merge into one gigantic garden. Like you see in those jungle movies. Where The Rock, or Schwarzenegger leads the way, wielding a machete  ~ should you have the hutzpah to go for a stroll.

But, right now, they're just separate, sunny flower beds. (Mild-mannered enough that you don't need a macho guide.)

The oldest garden is the last place I visit and the longest place I linger. Not so much to admire. Mostly to catch my breath.

In spring, I'm so exhausted by the time I reach that flower patch, it's nice to just plop down and inspect the perennials peaking out of the muddy soil.

These perennials are so big and bossy, that after 7 summers, they are super self-sufficient. Making life easy as pie for lazy little me.

Heck, they even weed themselves.

Mostly because they're packed in like sardines.

I know... I know... I should thin them out a bit. But, I highly doubt that's gonna happen. I'm likin' this dense pack. It's so crowded in there, most weeds don't stand a chance.

* My dense pack flowers are just tiny green shoots this early in the season. Bulbs are squeezed into what little soil is left in these over-crowded gardens. They keep things colorful while the long-blooming perennials wake up and start growing.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day ~ April, 2011

Things are just getting started at my place. With the weather finally cooperating, I donned those much missed and very tattered garden gloves to clean up the first of the beds. 1 down, 11 to go. The bulbs are beating me to it, this year. Blooming without the usual TLC from me.

Grecian Windflower (the whities are heirlooms)
Peeking out from beneath the debris were these fancy little Windflowers.

Peter Pan Heirloom Crocus
Pretty white Crocus trying hard to steal the show but ~ up until yesterday ~ she was flowering in the snow. I didn't even see her until the last of it melted.

Rip Van Winkle Heirloom Daffodil
This is my "I Wish I Had More Money Garden," hence the reason it's so sparse. :) I'm madly in love with Old House Bulbs ~ their stuff is a little spendy but well worth the expense ~ seeing as how all of these bulbs will multiply over time.

I was up early, traipsing around with the camera, shivering on a 30 degree morning, feeling extra proud of this band of bright bloomers.

We've had an unusually cold winter.

An unseasonably cold spring.

Though that seems to bother me a whole lot more than it bothers the flowers!

It's as if they have little wrist watches attached to their roots. No matter the weather, they're always happy to put on a pretty show.

Pay a visit to Carol @ May Dreams Gardens to meet more flower lovers participating in Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day.

And, I'll leave with a mystery bloomer. A mystery to me, that is. I can't remember her name. Perhaps you know?

Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Diana Garden

Flowering Sweet Peas will decorate the fence behind the new Diana Garden.
Do you name your gardens? I do that out of love ~ and also by necessity. I don't have an automatic sprinkler system (which is unusual in the Desert Southwest.) Naming my flower patches helps me remember where I watered last and who's in need of a drink.

Plus, it gives them lots more personality. Everyone who visits loves the Impulse Garden best of all. It's a chaotic, colorful mess of all the flowering perennials I simply had to have! Whether I needed them or not. All squished into an ever expanding sunny spot.

Holy Frijoles! Sadie's Horse Beans (left) & Pinto beans (right)
This week, I've been starting the Diana Garden ~ thus named because it's a collection of heirloom veggie seeds from my blogging friend, Di. I skulk around her blog quite often because she includes recipes for the harvest.

Di gifted me with all kinds of great stuff. These pretty Horse Beans... black tomatoes... Hungarian peppers... and some sweet and sassy Watermelons.

I'm coming off a bad luck year for growing veggies of any kind so this inspired me to design a new raised bed for all of Di's goodies. One that's more protected from the elements.

I'm dolling up the ends of the raised bed with climbing sweet peas and Hyacinth vines. All of which I'm starting by seed.

That's one of my favorite, Zen-y things to do.  Sitting Indian-style on the floor, planting teeny, tiny seeds with an eye brow tweezers.

Been doing that every evening this week. Will probably be doing that every evening next week, too. I went way overboard on seeds this year.

And, just in case you're wondering where your seeds are... Not to worry! I should have those in the mail to you real soon. :)

Cherokee Heirloom Tomatoes
Seed Planting Tip: The fabric mesh wrapper on those ever popular Jiffy seed pods do not decompose in the soil. Remove the mesh before planting in the garden to avoid sad root-bound little flowers.

Thanks, Di!

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Splish Splashin' @ San Acacia

This has absolutely nothing to do with gardening. :)
But, I thought you might enjoy it, just the same. 

It's a short, one minute video of my friends goofing off on their horses while trail riding in San Acacia, New Mexico.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Mud Month Escapades

Indian Paintbrush and Prickly Pear Cactus
What a difference a year makes! I know that old saying typically references the difference in a day, not a year, but it keeps ringing in my head as I recap the 'spring round up.'

With predictions of yet another blizzard, we made a run for it.

Sneaking off in the dark of the night, waving bye-bye to those pesky snowdrifts as they disappeared in the rear view mirror.

Flower buds on the Prickly Pears
Ten hours later we set up camp, with our happy horses, near Sedona, Arizona. Where winter is a far distant memory. Buds and bright blossoms greet us at every turn. This was my 2nd year participating in the Caballos del Sol (Horses of the Sun) ~ seven blissful days on a benefit trail ride.
Wild Mallow
  • Bonus ~ The money we raise helps out a number of horsie organizations. 
  • Double Bonus! ~ The trek to a warmer climate reminds us mountain folk that the sun is shining somewhere, flowers  blooming, too. 
I'd love to speak more positively of it but... this trip stirred up a whole lotta trouble.  For yours truly.

125 horses converged on Sedona for the annual Caballos del Sol trail ride.
Been in a bit of a messy mood ever since I returned. And, that's not really like me. To be all frustrated with the weather. And, openly jealous of my kinder-climate friends.

Jamie & Zeba
Down South, the wildflowers are blooming, nurseries are laden with pretty perennials. I find myself desperately wishing I could be planting something... somewhere... other than a greenhouse.

Has this ever happened to you? 

You while away your days, thinking you've got life all figured out. Then something happens you don't truly care to acknowledge... like a few too many years slipping by. And, then a few more.

I don't know that I could live in the desert but I'm beginning to hear other locations call my name.
The passing of years can take their toll on all sorts of things ~ including those original grand plans I felt so smug about, way back when. I moved to the mountains to ski but I felt no inspiration to ski this year. I mostly just looked out the window and wondered how soon that snow would melt.

Uh oh. It never pays to re-think your entire life but how do you stop once those wheels start turning??

If gardening and horses and all things summer strike my fancy... Why, in the world, am I living on top of a snow-covered mountain?

Red rocks of Sedona, Arizona
* Mud month is a real, true season in the mountains. A winter's worth of snow melts all too quickly turning everything into a muddy mess. Which is why we cowgirls like to get the heck outta Dodge.