Thirty Years On

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The end of October is a pivotal time for me.  I am closing up the garden, cleaning house for the upcoming winter,  and frankly....falling apart from exhaustion.  As I age I realize the beauty of changing seasons and taking time to rest.  I live in a high altitude mountain community where many of my neighbors run to Arizona, Texas, or Florida, upon the first hint of frost.  I don't blame them.  I used to want to emulate them. This year I really was grateful to be home and going through boxes.

 I have come to value this quiet time of the year.  Soon enough I will be shoveling snow so my beloved can get into the driveway after a 90 minute commute.  Already I am splitting kindling every few days and making a fire every morning.  It is our main heat source even though we have central heating.  In an old cabin, central heating is expensive.  I am grateful my husband is strong and can still split our three cords of wood per winter. 

As I go through my Autumn rituals and clean out cupboards and boxes, I find that no matter how old I get or how many times I move, some things just have to go along with me.  A few of the baby clothes that I made for my son Julian are included.  I only have to touch this little piece of flannel and I can smell his sweet baby smell which leads me to his whole entire life of 30 years if you include the time I got to have with him inside of me.  Which I do.  I feel very blessed these days.  

A few weeks ago, the community of Santa Rosa, California, where I lived when I first began this blog- burned to the ground.  Not the entire city or the county of Sonoma, but a very large part of it.  It was shocking to watch, even as an ex firefighter. It was even more shocking to realize how sad I was.  I always wanted to come home to Colorado but Santa Rosa and Sonoma County were very kind to me and my family.  My son and and I still have close ties there.  We have friends whose homes burned to the ground.  Something I've lived with in theory for decades but never had to personally endure.   I'm happy that one couple we love so much are relocating to Boulder, at least for the Winter.  I hope to be as welcoming to Suzanne as she was to me that cold winter night when we met at a cooking class in Santa Rosa.  

I hope we can all embrace the changes of the seasons and our lives as well as she.  Blessings to all.


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It's been a long Autumn as I try to get this garden up to snuff after years of previous abuse.  By other owners I'd like to point out. The last of my flowers are dying off and making their seeds. We've had two snows yet quite  a few Pansies and these lovely Clarksias are plugging along.  I had never grown Clarksia but they  came up unexpectedly in a mix I threw out this past Spring.  I cannot say enough about these wonderful plants that flowered  nonstop for months on end in a myriad of colors.  I'm so glad that they came up in a nice even row because the greenery looked like a weed.  Frankly, I nearly pulled them up!!!  I saved seed and also let them reseed on their own.  I am excited to see how they do next year!  In the meanwhile, I am excited to move to indoor projects including holiday decorating.  Stay tuned!


Saying Goodbye to Summer

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I awoke this morning to the first snow of the season.  It's always bittersweet, especially at 7800 feet.  I have been limping my plants along for two weeks now, covering and uncovering them.  Secretly wishing it would freeze and I'd be done! And hurrah, it has finally happened!  Except for the lovely little pansies and vioalas that will fight on long after everything else has been mulched.  I love these beautiful and cheerful flowers.  

Since this was my first summer in this new garden I wasn't sure what I'd find.  It was a long seven months of moving rocks, building up the soil, making new beds, and patiently waiting to see what would come up and if it was happy.  I'm pleased to report that lots of things came up.  Most were not happy.  The previous occupant of my garden hadn't a clue what they were doing.  The decomposed granite was not amended and plants had been plopped in willy nilly with little to no planning and very little water.  (I'm no fan of xeriscaping.)   I've moved some plants to sunnier locals, split long forgotten and neglected perennials, pulled up excess "wildflowers," and planted like a mad woman.  I'll be waxing poetic this winter about some of my greater successes.  

The one thing I had forgotten about mountain gardening is that most seed is better sown in Autumn than in the Spring.  It's on my list for the coming weeks along with planting bulbs and transplanting.  All in all it was a great year.  No crazy wildlife problems except for one mishap with a beautiful carnation and a naughty rabbit.  I've discovered that adding water, dish soap, and ground pepper to your coffee grounds keeps most things at bay.  Including my neighbors not so well trained dogs.  Why people think it's okay to let their dogs crap wherever they like just because they live in the mountains is beyond me.  So training my neighbors has also been on my list of Summer chores.  As more and more of them head off for their winter homes I breathe a sigh of relief and welcome the cold.


Biscuit (No Gravy!)

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A couple of months ago this 35 pound bundle of nerves came to live with The Lovely Husband and I.  At the approximate age of three years, Biscuit was a neurotic mess caked in dirt.   But he was so damn cute and had the sweetest eyes!  He came from a rural community in New Mexico and has spent most of his life in shelters.  I have no idea how he got to the Longmont, CO Humane Society, but there he was in all of his easily spooked out glory. He didn't want to be on a leash.  He most certainly didn't want to be touched.  No one could predict if he was house broken. For such a cute dog it was easy to see why he hadn't been adopted.  So naturally we snatched him up.

Two months on and he is a different animal.  He is learning to play, walks well on a leash, and has become super loving.  We can't imagine our lives without him.  He may always have to be on a leash because when he is frightened he bolts.  He spends a fair amount of time under the bed napping and because of all the wildlife where we live we are getting more exercise from walking him.  Verses just opening up the back door as you'd like to on a cold night!

He's never made a mess in the house, doesn't chew things up, or require an inordinate amount of attention.  This has led me to believe he is actually a cat in a dog's body. In other words, he's practically perfect.  After this experience I really would recommend an older pet as a consideration.  In my heart I know he is grateful and happy.  In his heart I hope he knows what a gift he has given us!


Life With Biscuit

Biscuit is an adorable rescue pup that the Lovely Husband and I adopted 3 weeks ago.   He is sweet, loving, kind, and shell schocked. He spends a great deal of time hiding under beds and when out and about, he is dodgy,  He wants to play but can't be trusted offleash.  Getting angry only makes him all the more skittish. He is not a big hiker by these mountain community standards, but he is interested and loving so I feel strongly that he will make his way into our community, which of course we much all do as well.

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Starting Fresh

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Summer is not usually the time that I start new projects.  I'm up to my hindquarters in gardening and outside DIY projects.  Now that we are living in the mountains once again,  I spend a lot of time doing fire mitigation and watching for smoke in the sky.  With the west on fire it seems to be the only thing my neighbors have been able to talk about.  Until two weeks ago when it started raining. I've barely had to look at a hose since, but I have used this time to transplant and propagate.  As with many mountain cabins, ours has a name.  We call it Dew Over, and with a chuckle I have to say we are having to do everything over.  I suppose we are lucky to have a new chance at being back in the woods.

And speaking of do overs, I've decided to start blogging and writing again as well as teaching myself to oil paint.  Life has to be about more than digging holes and nail guns.  Although I must confess to being in love with mine.  The nail gun that is.  Even though I did put a hole right through a water pipe when I was trimming out the bathroom.  My husband does the plumbing and he was an unusually good sport about the whole thing.  Plus we were able to tear out all of the truly gross and disgusting insulation we didn't even know was there.  Who in the world insulates interior walls???

There have been hundreds of these little discoveries in the past eleven months and I have no doubt there will be more before we are done.  Along the way we have been truly grateful for our little cabin in the woods and now we have the addition of Biscuit.  More on the adorable dog after he gets his first bath tomorrow.  I feel for the groomer and will probably give her a bottle of wine along with a hefty tip.  This little guy has been in shelters most of his three years of life.  Can't imagine why as  he's amazing!

Let's share our Dew Overs and the creative things that inspire us.  It feels good to be back.

Until next time, Lou Lou