Tag Archives: garden

May I?

I love these things in May {a list}

  • I’ve got pieces of April, I keep them in memory bouquet. I’ve got pieces of April, but it’s a morning in May.“* All the hopes that sprang in April now blossom in May. Remember what your Kindergarten teacher told you, because it is true: April showers bring May flowers!  {*Pieces of April, a song by Three Dog Night, naturally}
  • Tara Jean, Stephanie May and Gemma May: all born in springs’ most surprising and spirited month. They’ve each taken on those characteristics!

steph and her cake

Stephanie let me make her a 4-layer, wedding-white cake with buttercream icing, topped with baby’s breath and scattered caramel macchiato macarons from Happy Bakeshop in Longmont (Cake design inspired by the amazing Constellation Inspiration).

  • Fully leafed trees, that bright, light, spring-green thing that happens. And carpets of lush green grass, chlorophyl all around!
  • I love these bright, sunny days that give way to sudden, dark, thundery showers, then perk right back up to sunlight and a spring song. The sunsets are more colorful, the air is cleaner, and the grass even greener.
  • Memory: splashing in curbside puddles after a spring rain as a kid. Wish I’d done that more. I wonder what the neighbors might think if I…
  • Store-bought tomatoes (at the best markets) are beginning to have some flavor again while my heirlooms are settling in their soil, gearing up to give me brag-worthy homegrowns come July.
  •  I painted my nails with purple polish to match my pansies and freshly potted petunias, but it didn’t last, not even 2 days, because it’s May! Yes, of course I have very pretty sky-blue gardening gloves. But sometimes, you must sink your hands into the soil, to really understand the essence of living. I came from the dust of the earth. Plunging my hands deep as I plant, I am home…
  • It is the anniversary of our very first date, Dave and I. He said today, on Facebook, “The beginning of my life…” I melt.  I didn’t know it was a date (I hoped), he did. It involved a Rock Hudson movie and Barry Manilow. And it has worked out for us, I am happy to report. Dave is the one. :)

The world’s favorite season is the spring.
All things seem possible in May.
Edwin Way Teale

I love the month of May and wish we could have another 3 weeks of it, at least. And I love making lists. May all things seems possible for you today! In May… :)  xoxo

When it’s Springtime in the Rockies

When the buds unfurl, when the pear trees blossom, as the lilacs burst forth in their purple glory, when the grass grows green and the gardening bug bites, you can bank on it:

some freak winter storm will zoom through the valley in a mix of wet and white, create a rush on milk, eggs and toilet paper, and break the branches on our flowering trees, generally creating havoc.

Never you mind that we always need that moisture in these arid parts. By this late date I just want to be living in flip-flops!

Shame on you, Home Depot and Lowes, for enticing shoppers with those tender tomato plants and petunias. 

People, dear friends, do not be deceived by this. Wait until after Mother’s Day to plant petunias, zinnias, squash, beans, tomatoes, and cukes! Wait, I say, waaaait!

denver spring forecast

April 28, and the forecast is rainy mixed with snow = heavy, wet slush. There go my lilacs, darn it!

Thought-Collage Thursday // A Bountiful Bunch of Dis-jointed Reflections

I don’t even know what that title means.

In the back yard yesterday 1

In the back yard yesterday

Except, I do have thoughts. That is why – this blog.  But sometimes life is careening with such force and speed, the thoughts, the observations and ideas – well, they just zoom on by and I can only retain the barest interpretation of them.

Such is this week.


I get so romantic about the autumnal  season

In the back yard yesterday 2

Also the back yard yesterday. No kidding – I got to see all these colors including that Colorado blue sky!

I go out in the cool breeze of night and watch the leaves drifting down and start composing silly poetry in my head like this:

When the breeze picks up and the leaves fall down

And the Jack ‘O Lanterns are scowling all around town…

There is actually much more, and maybe one day I’ll share it with the grandbebes, but I’m no poet. I know it.  ;) So for today, we’ll leave it here. Bet you’re wondering what was going to happen, aren’t you?

In the back yard yesterday 3

Which leads me to this question: Would Dr. Seuss be able to find a publisher these days? I mean – he just made up words to make them rhyme.

See how random things just barrel through?


The song of the month: Autumn Leaves {of course}

I love the song. I first loved the song, as a child, when I heard Roger Williams piano version (my Grandma gave me his album). To find it had actual words, not that many years ago, was a bonus. It was originally in French (1945), and all the greats have recorded it. Jo Stafford (one of my favs) was first, but then Edith Piaf (who did both an English and a French version), Diana Krall (she makes all songs amazing), Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra, Jerry Lee Lewis, Eric Clapton – they all have recorded it. Eva Cassidy, too.

In the back yard yesterday malakai not wanting to pose

Kai did not want to model

And I have spent the entire month of October singing it and plunking around on the keyboard playing it. Rocky told me to come to his office and he’d play the guitar and mix my voice (read: tune me up and make me sound good) in his studio. But who has time for that? Neither he nor I.


I get more wordy and gooey each autumn

I have been blogging since 2006, so you’d think by now I wouldn’t have a clue what all I have said. But I always do recall, each fall, that I get a little more, shall we say, descriptive, come autumn. I become quite melancholy and overcome with passion for the season.

i feel like


  • I ponder autumn red, quote Marilyn Monroe and dissertate on being a woman in the autumn of her life. {{see here}}
  • In “Delicious Autumn,” I quote George Eliot and tumble head-over-heels into a sensory love affair with nostalgia – the sights, the smells, the tastes, the feels, the sounds of youth faded…while visiting my parents. Haha. {{see it here}}
  • I’ve often written about October being orange. But in looking back, I do also pay my respects to the reds of October. This one is an homage to red, to “a fully florid, cherry, sanguine scarlet.  A puce, a rufescent russet,  a bloody, blushing, gushing, infrared hot pink mixed with flaming chestnut and rubies and gleaming copper, all at once…shimmering and iridescent fuchsia, yet dense and heavy garnet, a ruby…bittersweet in both color and the evoking of raw autumn melancholy.” And etc! :)  {{see it here}}
  • Two years ago this very day, {{THIS}} was happening. The grandbebes and a little weather forecast.  I remember that light, those leaves…

kids in leaves 2012 10 23

Oh, there are many more fall, autumn, October posts. Some November, too. And miles of words down roads of the romance of the season. But I’ll let this part go with those few examples.


I voted.

Oh how I love getting to vote in the convenient  location of my home. And mailing it in…wait, did I remember to mail it? I will say that I wish I could change one of my amendment-issue votes because I researched a bit more later and I think I may have been…*w*r*o*n*g*!??

That is (1) highly unusual, and (2) growth for me…to think that I maybe/might have been/possibly was/super-small chance that I was ever-so-slightly wrong, but instead of demanding a fresh ballot, I’m just going with the flow. It is what it is. And really, in light of SO MANY OTHER PEOPLE VOTING WRONG ALL THE TIME, this one minor issue is of little consequence.  Just kidding…about other people’s votes. Maybe.

So now, if all the political ads would kindly remove themselves from my presence. Thank-you very much.


Loved her book!

Oh, and I won’t tell you how I voted. No. You couldn’t guess if you tried because I am an independent. Do not try to fence me in!

BUT if she wants to hire me for her campaign, “Carly Fiorina for President!”  On women, 53% of voters: “We are not a special-interest, single-issue constituency. We are half the country.” up-project.org


I was in the country the other day

In the back yard yesterday 5

The burning bushes are on fire!

The cows were mooing and a tractor was motoring by. The smell of manure was in the air and a pretty gray cat with grass-green eyes came by to say hi {totally unaware that I am not a cat person, apparently}.  The sun was sweet and you could see miles of mountains from there. And even though life was happening all around and “town” was just 3 miles away, it was quiet. So quiet. I think I was made for the country.


A {Country Baby} came to see me.


Sawyer with Guini and Gemma

Two of them in fact, with their parents. Sawyer and Wryder were here visiting from Holyoke. That is country. The term Country Baby comes from one of my fav old movies, Baby Boom, with Diane Keaton. Do you remember that movie? I think that is a good movie to watch near the end of October.


Arsenic and Old Lace

arsenic cary grant

And always-always-always try to view Cary Grant in Arsenic and Old Lace near Halloween. Because. Cary Grant. He is hilarious in it and scary-good-looking!

It s such a great old black and white flick!


I miss my mom over there in Hoosier-land.

me and mom oct 6

I have been so busy I haven’t had a chance to tell you a million little details about my time in NW Indiana recently (in Chicago-land). It was so windy the last day there, but I held on to my mamala for dear life. In this photo I was thinking, “Oh I love her and I will miss her.” And I was so right. On both counts.


Since the Cardinals did not make the World Series, we are for the Kansas City Royals.


Got it? OK!

I love baseball. I miss my dad, too, because we watched a lot of baseball while I was there. But he can’t take seeing his teams lose, so we missed some great comebacks. Oh, pops.  ;) Cardinals forever, anyway!


I threw caution to the wind and listed my Jeanie-green ornate, Baroque, Italianate, solid wood, custom-built green coffee table on Craigslist.


I think I am changing my mind. Because, I mean – even the paint was custom-mixed for ME, to match a sliver of a piece of one of the grandbebe’s art pieces. I don’t know if I can let it go?



A thought about relationships…

Tara brought me a bouquet of flowers just before my birthday, more than 2 weeks ago. It was a huge bouquet of purple lilies, hydrangea, lavender statice, various mums and Gerber daisies.  Stormie brought me a big mums-filled bouquet a couple of days later, as seen on the coffee table, above (those fall mums will go on forever!).

purple bouquet, day 17

At day 17, the purple bouquet from Tara – a third of its original size, yet still lovely.

I have never been one of those women who needs her husband to bring her flowers, though I enjoy the surprise of them, like anyone. I get joy from growing things in the ground.

But both of these bouquets made me so happy and are still bringing me a smiles, light, bright joyful remembrances of warm thoughts and pure love shown towards me.

And while a fresh bouquet is glorious, people often throw the whole thing away when a few of the buds begin to age or drop. But you miss something when you do that. There is still so much beauty there. Yes, the “fussier” parts of the bouquet are long gone. But in just the minute or so it takes me daily to tend to the arrangement, to remove drooping leaves or a dead-headed flower, then to snip the ends and add fresh water, in less than a minute, I have revived the bouquet. It looks a little different each time, some of the filler going away, but its beauty remains and I get to enjoy them much longer.

It is the same with the people we love and the relationships that mean something. Even if things are different now than they once were, a love or friendship worth having is worth tending regularly.

You could just let it go to waste, throwing away wilting expectations and brushing off the dust of disappointment. But you could also decide to spend just a few minutes tending and repairing, loving and caring. And in a very short time you might be made glad by the beauty of it again. Maybe it won’t look like what it once did, as busy and full, but that is OK, too, I think.

Love with all you’ve got while you can.


There are so many leaves falling in this post, you may have to rake now.

I shall bring this to  close (I’m a preacher’s daughter and that’s what they all say), but of course, you NEED an autumn quote, yes? Then this, from F. Scott Fitzgerald, “Life starts all over again, when it gets crisp in the fall.” Remember, I told you? October is the new January!

life starts again

Happy Autumn and Magical Thursday to you!

See? Too many words! I just cannot stop myself…


Under Siege in the Garden


Aphids. Hundreds, thousands…maybe millions (naturally I would not exaggerate about something as important as this).

So aggravating.

I went out to harvest a large bunch of the greenest kale leaves for stir-frying with garlic. Sounded like a great breakfast. But, what is this? Some powdery weirdness that…what? Is it moving?

Yes. the underside of the kale – the whole big plant, covered in aphids and their eggy-spawn.

aphid infestation

This is a stock image. My infestation was worse, of course! ;)

I had to destroy that plant and some of the spinach, too.

But not worry.

Little does the poor, unsuspecting state legislator sitting near Dave at the downtown government building cafeteria know that just inches away, in a little brown bag, are 1000 Ninja-Ladybugs. They are on their way to my garden to feast on aphids.  From Paulino’s.

ladybug eats aphid oh yes!

Let the games begin!

It’s October 13th: Do You Know Where Your Home-Grown Tomatoes Are?

Did I make myself a BLT on toasted Italian with real mayo, salt and pepper, a little lettuce, some extra-crispy bacon and thick slabs of heirloom tomatoes from my own garden this morning for breakfast?  Why, yes.  Yes, I did.

blt october 13, 13

If bacon is going to kill me,  I intend to eat enough to die very happy.

The nights are way too cold for the fall gardening I had hoped to do.  You just never know.  I think I will “close-up-shop” this week on all but the kale and spinach, the lettuces and Chinese cabbage.  My amazingly loving and energetic husband has been covering the tender green beans, peppers and tomatoes nightly because I just had such a great garden year, he didn’t want it to come to the abrupt end the weather seems to have sent.  He even heat-lamps them at night.  How sweet is that?

The result?  I have piles of tomatoes all over the place.  Because-they are not stupid, you know.  If the end is near, they become extremely prolific, fruiting and leaving their legacy and seed behind.

The fall tomato is still sweet

blt oct 13

The autumn tomato in this zone?  Grows much slower, ripens at a snail’s pace.  The vigor of the August tomato has subsided to a more predictable, steady output.  I am tickled pink when I see new flowers on the plants – they refuse to go quietly and intend, though damaged by cold nights and shortened days and brittled by age, to stay fruitful until the last.

I love them for that.  I shall pattern my own life after the tomato.  Even if I get brittle and hobble and go gray and lose all my teeth – I intend to keep flowering and being fruitful.  :)

And that sandwich was so…what are the words?  You could not buy a tomato that tasty in an 8-state radius, I am certain of it.  It was really ambrosial, scrumptious, and just as delicious as the first fruits – maybe even sweeter.  Just like life…

The Year of the Tomato

Ah, yes…

Some years, the zucchini hogs all the glory, just producing and producing and flowering and fruiting out all over the place.  the cuke has had its year and green beans know how to arrive in glory.

tomatoes beefsteak

But I garden mostly for tomatoes and this year is just a really good tomato year.  When I stumbled in to the kitchen for coffee this morning and saw tomatoes in bowls and on trays on every counter and the kitchen table, too, I realized that I must have picked at least 3 dozen tomatoes yesterday – to add to a couple dozen still just sitting around.

That included tomatoes from 4 plants: an heirloom tomato, which, as they are known to be prone, contracted a disease and is dying, but still yielding its’ fruit like crazy (a lesson to be learned); a Sweet-100 cherry tomato plant which is madly fruiting golf-ball-sized tomatoes, an over-achiever to be sure; an Early Girl, which wasn’t particularly early, but which is certainly giving us armfuls of perfectly-globed 6-8 oz. tomatoes; and finally the beefsteak.  I picked almost a dozen of them yesterday and at least 6 of them were almost a pound each.  They hang off a slice of bread – they’re that big.  And that is fun. Dave was helping me show some off  (below) – but then I got more!

tomato beefsteak

I always tell everyone, gushing and exuding true love, “If you can only garden one thing, make it the tomato.”  And the tomato is loving me back this year, delicious on my taste buds and in my tummy!  :)

I grew a whole bunch of okra seeds

As okra goes, I stunk at growing it this year.  I kept waiting too long to pick it and ended up with a whole bunch of brown, hard seed pods.  So I have a lot of seeds…but did I wait long enough to remove them, or should I have let them completely die off on the plant?  Will they be useable?

Guess I’ll be back to frozen okra when I need it.  Does anyone ever see it fresh anywhere?  At Sprouts?  Anyone?

okra leaf

Meanwhile – I was noting the okra leaf…haven’t I seen something like that somewhere before? Oh, yes: everywhere in Colorado!!!

marijuana leaf detail

In other {GARDEN} news~

What is the deal with the beefsteak tomatoes?  Are they really like twins or triplets and sometimes even like quardruplets that just join together so we can beam over our 2-pound blushers?  I have got these gigantic beefsteaks on the vine, heavy, juicy and so deliciousssssssssss!  Yes, I am scheduling regular BLTs at this time in my life!

beefsteak tomato

Does anyone know if you can eat the leaves of the sweet potato vine – especially if they are completely hogging up all the room in all of my flower pots?

sweet potato vine leaves in a vase

Down to the last of the gargantuan Brussel’s Sprouts leaves.  Washing two big sink-loads as we speak, which will give me space for Chinese Cabbage for the fall garden!  I popped some seeds in 2 days ago and in this heat, they have already germinated!  Perfect!

brussell'sprouts leaves

Now-these leaves – You can stir fry them, use them in a fritata, cook them the same way you would cabbage or broccoli or kale, you can use them as a wrap for a crab filling, make a sausage soup, roast them with garlic or make flavored, baked chips out of them.  I am sharing these ideas for my kids because everybody is going home with some Brussels’ leaves!  :)

Do you know what I love most about this time of year?  It’s ripe.

When I stepped outside this morning, the air just smelled ripe.  Everything tastes better, all the colors are richer and the garden is reaching its’ intended glory.  This is why I planted and weeded and fed and tended.  For now.  The world is heavy with ripened fruit…

Pesto to Die For!

I have shared this wonderful tomato story before.  This is love.   :)

An old Italian man lived alone in upstate New York. He wanted to plant his annual tomato garden, but it was very difficult work, as the ground was hard. His only son, Vincent, who used to help him, was in prison. The old man wrote a letter to his son and described his predicament:

Dear Vinnie,

I’m pretty upset. It looks like I won’t be able to plant my tomato garden this year. I’m just getting too old to be digging up a garden plot. The ground is just too hard. I know if you were here you would dig it for me. Oh well. Maybe in the future.

Love,  Papa

A few days later he received a letter from his son.

Dear Pop,

Don’t dig up that garden. That’s where the bodies are buried.

Love,  Vinnie

At 4 am the next morning, FBI agents and local police arrived and dug up the entire area without finding any bodies. They apologized to the old man and left. That same day the old man received another letter from his son.

Dear Pop,

You should be able to plant the tomatoes now. That’s the best I could do under the circumstances.

Love,  Vinnie


 I LOVE Italian food!

lidia's italy pesto recipe

Scooped from the bottom, the thickest of it.  *Mmmmmmm…..

I made Walnut-Basil Pesto from Lidia’s Italy {{click here}} with fresh, bright green basil from my garden and it is sooooooooooooo good, I could practically eat it with a spoon all by itself.

But instead, I put it on some chicken tenders last night with provolone and it is still making me salivate to think about it.  I also tried spreading some on corn on the cob, and guess what?  YES!  It was so good!

Thanks to Lidia, I now know I can freeze it for later, but then again – I am not sure I will be able to because it is so scrumptious.  It is the taste of pure garlic-infused, sun-powered, tangy chlorophyll.  I threw away the store-bought jar of gray-green pesto from the fridge.  Because it should look as amazing as it tastes and greener than green because it is that fresh.

Dare to be Disciplined

I heard Joyce Meyer say this 20 years ago:

Jesus said if you don’t bear fruit, you’ll be pruned.  And He said if you do bear fruit, you’ll be pruned so you’ll bear more fruit.  So, I figure, you’re pruned if you do and pruned if you don’t – so you may as well let the Lord prune you.

It looks almost cruel.  And I am not even done yet.  Every year in July I have to do it.  I don’t want to do it and I think of every possible excuse.

For two weeks now I have known I needed to cut back the petunias and some of the other annuals.  Each day I’d think: I just can’t right now because they are so beautiful and flowering like crazy.  I will wait until they aren’t flowering so much.

But during this time of the summer, they are in their glory.  They are fruitful, they are going to flower.  They are flowering like crazy and they are going to keep up the pace until suddenly  – they can’t anymore.  Because it is what they do.  It is what they were created to do.  It makes them happy.

petunias in the trash can

But if they don’t get pruned, a month from now they’ll be long and leggy and weak and start to go to seed.  Their leaves will yellow, tired out from the heat and from producing so quickly, so profusely.  They won’t go into the next season healthier and fuller and stronger because they will have spread themselves completely thin just being their beautiful selves.

I finally just have to be courageous and pick up the flower-heavy handfuls of leaves and stems and soft petals and lop them off quickly, no looking back.  Pruning has to happen.  Pruning has to happen I meant to say that twice.

By pruning them now, in the height of their glory, I am actually securing a future for them with more leaves to take in more sunshine, roots that plunge more deeply for the trauma.  I am making sure that a month from now, there will be twice as much flowering, healthier, stronger plants filling my pots.  The fragrance will be deeper and sweeter, rather than barely perceptible from an over-expenditure of energy now.

pruned petunias

The pruning is necessary for the good of the flower.  It isn’t cruel.  It is my love for these spicy, ambrosial, purple petunias (and the others) that causes me to finally take the cutting edge to them.  It is my care and because I know the future for them.  Four weeks from now, 3 maybe, they will not only have recovered, they will be amazing.

I cannot help but see the application.  I have been pruned and I struggle to believe it is not a punishment for doing the very thing I was created to be and to do.  It stinks.  I never like it.  But…It is strengenthing me for what is next.  Dang it feels cruel and unneeded and what the heck – so many things, beautiful offerings, are in the garbage can.  I probably will never like it as it comes around seasonally, again and again in life.

But I caught a glimpse as I threw a handful of my treasured, silly little annuals in the trash today: This is for you, this will make everything better.

My dear child, don’t shrug off God’s discipline,
    but don’t be crushed by it either.
It’s the child he loves that he disciplines;
    the child he embraces, he also corrects. Hebrews 12.5-6

Prune away, Lord, prune away.



You common field weed, you

I am growing tomatillos this year!

I cannot wait.  I picked one up last year with no expectations and it did nothing.  I mean, it was green and it grew and got beautiful yellow flowers, but then – nothing.  I mean, I can grow tomatoes just fine.  Where o where were the tomatillos?

Mystery solved.

Tomatillas are not self-pollinating, it turns out.  So – they need to be in a serious, commmitted relationship with other tomatillos.  I got 4 this time.

A lot of people think they are just green tomatoes, however, they are a nightshade plant more closely related to cape gooseberry plants.  They’re a little wild by nature and considered a common field weed in Mexico.  Nonetheless – I am very excited at the possibilities…

The essential ingredient in the green salsas of Mexican cuisine is not the tomato but the tomatillo—a fruit with a citrusy, sweet flavor. Dainty paper husks encase the tomatillos, and by late summer, what seems like billions of fruits dangle from the plant’s branches, ensuring that you can more than satisfy your salsa cravings by summer’s end. Organic Gardening

They are indeterminate, grow 3 to 4 feet high and put down roots through their stems, so the idea is to plant them very deeply and then stake them.  I am so excited I am going to give them a place of honor this year where the pond used to be, right  near the patio so I can keep a good eye them.  I hear if they are happy they go a little nuts.  I hope that happens.

In about 75 days, I shall be in the kitchen making garden fresh salsa verde and it is going to be incredible!  Want some?