Saturday, April 30, 2011


We planted most of the plants we bought this morning at the plant sale, (see last post) and then had fun at the soccer match with a great Sounders 3-0 win! 

We're off to the island in the morning.  No Internet, so I'll catch up with you all later!

Yes, I'm Still Around

It has been a week of settling in and catching up.  I've had plenty on my mind, and yet nothing to say.

We were supposed to visit my mother this week, Wednesday and Thursday, having just returned from our trip, but we couldn't face the three and a half hour drive down the freeway and then back the next day, in the rain, so we cancelled.  My mother was not happy, and for the first time ever, laid a guilt trip on me!  I know she's scared of the upcoming move, but when she said "Don't forget about me," all I could respond with was "That's not likely."  We will be going down to Molalla, OR, where she lives, on May 11th, to prepare for her move to assisted living May 14th.  My mind is constantly mulling over what we need to do to be ready. My older sister is with her today.

Then there was son Jake to worry about.  He had the stent removed from his ruptured kidney on Monday, and was cleared to play soccer.  He played for about 30 minutes Tuesday evening, and on Wednesday he was in pain again.  The Docs are non-commital, but I think he's going to need to have that malfunctioning kidney removed.  It has about 7% function, apparently just enough to cause trouble.

Other thoughts during the week:
   Donald Trump is a jackass and a media whore.
   The wedding was lovely, but almost anti-climactic.  The wedding gown beautiful, but old-fashioned.  The flowers dull, no color.  But I'm glad that the happy couple are off to a good start.

Around here, we THINK there is a weather change occurring.  We HOPE that we can start gardening for real.  We worked outside yesterday afternoon, and this morning we went to a very big plant sale and came home with lots of plants.  I'm going to go out and plant a few here in a bit.  And then we'll get ready to leave for a Sounders match at Qwest field tonight.  Woohoo!

Tomorrow we're taking off for an overnight on Whidbey Island.  The weather is supposed to be wonderful tomorrow.  We'll tidy up the garden there, walk on the beach and enjoy the sunset.  Monday we'll drive up island and over to the Skagit Valley to see what's left of the Tulip Festival.  While the official festival is over, there should still be plenty of color, since, because it has been so cold, it is really just mid-season for tulips.

And now that sunlight in the back yard is calling me.


Tuesday, April 26, 2011

And Then There Was Sunshine!

We're getting back into gear here at home.  I spent most of the morning catching up on blog reading.

Tom was able to get the lawn mowed, and then this afternoon the sky cleared.  It was time to grab my camera and go out and see what changes had occurred since we left ten days ago. 

The tulips and scilla are coming into bloom.  The beds are erupting with growth.

Grape hyacinths are such a lovely blue.
Bare soil is disappearing.
Fairy Bells, a native here.
And wood violets, also native.
The white trillium have aged to purple.

Magnolia stellata
Leucojum - Spring Snowflake
Viburnum Burkwoodii has a heady, sweet fragrance

Tom moved his tomato and flower seedlings out of the greenhouse into the sunlight for the day.
Red trillium have beautiful foliage
After a hiatus while traveling, I'm getting back to my exercise routines, and back to cooking healthy meals.  We're hoping the weather warms up by next week so we can start the spring gardening in earnest.  Plant sales begin Saturday!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Home, Sweet Home?

We had a fun family gathering yesterday in Fort Morgan with Corey's family.     
We shared lots of yummy food around this colorful table.

With good food, good company, and no rain (or snow) for the Easter egg hunt, it was a good day.

Spring is finally arriving in Eastern Colorado and the pansies we planted are looking perky.  The lovely crab apples that do so well there are bursting into bloom.

Jake, Tom and I flew home late last night, arriving at the house about midnight.  Today we are back to cold rain.  And yet everything is green and bursting with color outside.  Maybe tomorrow we'll catch a sun break.

Today I have been busy putting things away, downloading pics, grocery shopping, doing laundry, and generally catching up with things here at home.

And I passed the weigh in test this morning - no weight gain!

Now if it will just stop raining!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

And Of Course There Is Soccer

Besides having a great visit with family, celebrating a birthday and Easter, and enjoying a great road trip, there was also soccer.

The Colorado Rapids and the Seattle Sounders met in a soccer match at Dick Sporting Goods Park, near Denver, on Good Friday evening.  Jake and a friend flew in from Seattle and the rest of us met up with them and other Seattle supporters in the parking lot before the match.

It was sunny but windy so we layered on the sounders gear.  The stadium, built for soccer, is a nice facility, and since it was only about half full, the kids had freedom to move and roam.

The good news is that Seattle won, 1-0, but the bad news is that we lost one of our star players with a severe double break of his lower right leg.

This morning the Frog FC has a double header at Jaycee Park in Fort Morgan.  There was less drama on field, although it did try to snow during the play! 

The Frogs lost one and won one, and Coach Jill reports much improved field play.

And this afternoon we'll all sitting around playing with technology.  Currently there are three lap tops in play.

But now I need to go play with Irene.  She's been waiting.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Road Trip, Day Four: Oregon Trail

What makes me happy?  How about mixing natural beauty with history, while the sun shines, and the skies are not cloudy all day.  Add the creature comforts of modern life, like a car, a good interpretive center, and a casual pace and I have the makings of a great day.

It was not so for the emigrant wagon trains that made their way west in the 1850's. They faced miles and miles of endless, featureless prairie, so when they finally saw the features that came to be known as Monument Valley, they had assurance of progress.  This marked the end of the first third of the journey.

After leaving the Missouri River the wagon trains traveled along the Platte and North Platte Rivers,  The first monuments they passed were Courthouse and Jail Rocks.

 The feature most mentioned in reports and journals came next, Chimney Rock.

 While the wagons could spread out across the plains, here at Scotts Bluff, they were required to go single file as they picked their way between the bluffs.
The Oregon Trail Museum at the Scotts Bluff National Monument tells the story.

 And then modern visitors can walk the trail the wagons took.

The first signs of spring are beginning to appear on the high plains.

The tree below sits right in the middle of the wagon track.

Ruts, below, and the track above show the way out.
A yucca pod, last year's flower.
I would not have made a very good pioneer.

And then we got in our car and drove the paved road to the top of Scotts Bluff, for some wonderful views.
The North Platte River, below, is at flood stage this spring.  The 'badlands' below, show why the wagons had to go through the narrow pass through the bluffs.
Pines grow in the water catching cracks in the rocks.

Coal trains out of Wyoming are constant companions here.  Look closely to see one coming down the valley.
Creeping phlox are beginning to bloom on the bluff top.
And then we were on our way again.  Welcome back to Eastern Colorado.
Tonight we are back in Fort Morgan for a three day weekend with the family.  It will be a busy time, so I will probably not post again until we are back home next Monday.

Three cheers for Suzie (my little Acer net book), who has learned to be ever so much more efficient at handling lots of photo postings.  I learned a few things too.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Road Trip, Day Three: South Dakota to Nebraska

This morning dawned clear and cold, 16 when the sun came up in Keystone, SD, but it warmed up fast to about 50.

We began our day by returning to Custer State Park, a huge reserve in the Black Hills.  We drove the Iron Mountain Road to the Wildlife Drive, hoping to see some wildlife.  We did!

Wild turkeys.
Prong horn, which are actually all over the place, as are white tailed deer.  After all, we are where the buffalo roam and the deer and the antelope play.

Yep, the buffalo / bison roam freely.
And the prairie dogs play,
 along with the deer.
 We did see a coyote too, but he was to elusive for a photo.

Leaving Custer State Park, we were on parkland for Wind Cave National Park.
This is the fourth largest cave in the world, or so far as we know, of those that have been explored.  And this one may be only about 20% mapped. It is called Wind Cave because it was discovered because of the wind blowing out of a hole in the ground.
This hole, here below Ranger Mike.  And this was the entrance until one was cut to allow people like me to enter.  I had a door, and a tunnel enlarged so I could walk in, which is the only way you would get me into a cave.
We walked down a lot of steps, but had an elevator to take us back up at the end.
 It was an interesting tour, in a cave unlike others I have toured.

Our next stop was Mammoth Site in Hot Springs, SD, a National Natural Landmark.  This is an active dig and research center enclosed over the sedimented remains of a sink hole/pool.  Probably because it provided water and grass on it's edges, but was rimmed with slippery rock, it became a natural trap for large animals who fell in and couldn't get out.  Many, even most of these victims were mammoths.

 This was a cool place which we had virtually to ourselves!
 Welcome to Nebraska!

 The last stop I'll show you today is in Alliance, Nebraska - Carhenge!
Don't ask me why.  Some guy just needed something to do with old cars, I guess.
Tonight we are in Scotts Bluff, Nebraska.  Tomorrow we will be exploring the Oregon Trail and some of the monuments here that were landmarks for the pioneers.