Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body,
but rather to skid in broadside, totally worn out & proclaiming “Wow, What a Ride!”

Thursday, August 28, 2014

thursday's garden ~bye bye summer, hello autumn

autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower
autumn garden to-dos

Summer is coming to a close and autumn is arriving. This is the last week of August which signals the ending of summer;  the beginning of another season arrives, September says hello to the beauty and tasty delights of autumn. We also need to do a little prep in our gardens. Here is a To-Do List that should get your autumn garden off to a grand start. 

  1. Continue to feed and dead-head hanging baskets and container plants  
  2. Autumn-sow hardy annuals for bigger plants next year.
  3. Plant hyacinth and amaryllis bulbs, to ensure colorful blooms in December.
  4. Plant spring-flowering bulbs such as daffodils, crocus and hyacinths now.
  5. Plant biennial plants; my two favorites, foxgloves and Violas.
  6. September is a good time to plant new perennials.
  7. Divide planted herbaceous perennials as the weather cools; water new divisions well.
  8. With wetter weather arriving this month, it's the ideal time to order trees and shrubs. They will grow vigorously next spring if planted in the autumn.
  9. Keep deadheading annuals and perennials to extend their performance.
  10. Deadhead Dahlias and Roses to prolong flowering. Prune climbing roses and rambling roses once they've finished flowering.
  11. Keep Camellias and Rhododendrons well watered to ensure that next year's buds develop well.
  12. Empty pots, old compost and decaying plant material can harbor unwanted pests in your greenhouse or potting areas.
  13. Clean out your greenhouse to reduce the risk of pests and diseases next year.
  14. Don’t forget to remove the shading from greenhouse towards the end of the month so that your plants receive the maximum amount of light.
  15. Water early on in the day so the greenhouse is dry by the evening; damp, cool nights can encourage fungus.
  16. Close vents and doors late in the afternoon to help trap in heat overnight. This will ensure your plants crop for as long as possible.

 Also I found a wonderful book hidden deep within my bookcase, not sure how I have missed this when looking through our library for books to take to Colorado.  It is one of those mysteries of synchronicity. Wasn’t ready for it then I guess, but there are a couple of great winter garden projects I would like to make.

Garden Woodwork in a Weekend
by: Richard Blizzard

Wednesday, August 27, 2014


SaraBear- stolen from her mother as a cub to be the pet of people who kept her in a six foot by six foot cage for their pleasure. Rescued at eighteen months and given a chance to return to the wild and learn to be a real “wild” bear. Not only did she succeed against all odds of this but also fostered and raised three orphaned cubs giving them a chance at life. Bringing joy to those who knew of her, she was the primary subject in a doctoral research study. While out in her woods, a protected preserve, harming no one, SaraBear was brutally shot and killed by...someone(s) prove a point. 
Although I haven’t a clue what that point is....

SaraBear you will not be forgotten

Monday, August 25, 2014

navigating a spiritual path

 a path to our "aspen glen" diligently
made by the equine efforts of Babe and Geneva
When out at the ranch we are removed from the general hub-bub of life, the noise, the everyday distractions of everyone else’s life; in other words, we are removed from humanity...and it is wonderful in the regard to being able to sit back and ponder, without interruption, my Life. When this magnificent opportunity comes I always look at my spiritual path and where I am on the journey. This year I discovered that I have hit a plateau- so, guess what I pondered?

Following a Spiritual Path for me is a life of inner reflection; finding ways to help others, and learning unconditional love. It strengthens my connection to life and helps me discover my True Self. It is a “journey” toward enlightenment. As the spiritual yearning grows, your own material needs and desires tend to seem increasingly petty and unimportant. A new desire emerges, a higher desire to help others, to be of service beyond your personal needs, to help make the world a better place.

my hidden alcove for reflection and meditation.
   "seat of wisdom" supplied by the loving efforts of Steve 
It is a natural part of spiritual development to have periods of activity and growth followed by periods of relative quiet. Sometimes we need to rest in order to integrate late realizations and let old patterns and habits fall away. The purpose of times such as these is to stabilize a new growth. While it may appear that nothing is happening, these can be necessary periods of rest and integration.

Sometimes, though, slow growth or no growth can actually be stagnation. We may have become attached to keeping things as they are, afraid to invite new change. Yet change is the nature of reality, and when we resist it, we fall out of sync with what is. Just as a plateau is a good location to get our bearings, to see where we have come from and where we might go next, it is also a place we must not be afraid to leave if we are to move to the next level.

There is a Zen expression: ” Practice as if your hair were on fire.” I think this is meant to inspire the sense that there is no good time not to be on your spiritual path. This is not to say that you cannot ever rest or stop. It is not about overachieving or overworking yourself; it is just about challenging yourself to always be awake in your life, to keep showing up in the moment. If you need to rest, do so for the present. But if you are stagnating-numbing out, escaping, or being unconscious- it is up to you to acknowledge it.

full moon + stormy clouds = a midnight inspiration
Often stagnation settles in just before an important breakthrough. It may be a symptom of fear; the last wall thrown up by your small self in order to protect yourself from a life-changing realization. Sometime it helps to explore the stagnation in order to move beyond it.

With that thought, I shall have compassion for myself as I work to remove the obstacles to my progress. With persistence, I know I will be on my way to the next stage.  Navigating a spiritual path is an ongoing process. There are many levels of consciousness and clues along the way. Remember it is a journey, not a destination.

This week... take a look at your Spiritual Path, where are you, are you at a plateau? reflect on what knowledge you have gained and how you have made the world better a place.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Monte the Moocher

bear's calling card
What can I say, yes I have to, just have to, feed the wildlife. I had taken out some bird seed-blocks and of course peanuts for the chipmunks and ground squirrels.  The birds were not use to getting feed by a hanging feeder so there was not much activity in the tree...except the night before we were leaving a Bear, yes you heard right, decided to come and tear down a branch on the “tree of seeds” and make off with the largest of the blocks. How do we know it was a bear you ask? he/she left a huge pile of scat (aka: poop) nearby and was the only one who could have been big enough to knock down the aspen’s limb. Of course, this excited me to no end- lol.

The hummingbirds have no problem finding their feeder or causing several “king of the feeder” moments. One little guy spent more time chasing the others away than he did sipping the sweet treat.

The real “Entertainment” were the ground squirrels, which we call our “Squirgoyles,” and a tiny chipmunk named “the baby.” It took a while to realize she was a chipmunk and not an infant squirrel, thus the name. The Squirgoyles, so called because all along our driveway, in the mornings and evenings, are ground squirrels sitting on rocks just like gargoyles protecting the ranch. Steve’s favorite thing was hearing their little feet scampering around the deck as they searched out the small piles of peanuts. For the most part everyone was very shy and would dash away if they saw us nearby, except ....Monte the Moocher.

golden mantle ground squirrel
The Baby, she was so tiny and preferred to get her nuts from the doorway alcove where she could stay hidden. she could hardly fit a peanut in her mouth.

this is Broken Tail, had a crook in his tail, he was the first to come out and nab the peanuts

Monte the Mooch  as he was called became very friendly once he realized not being afraid got him special treatment. The cutest moment was when he came by and ate several peanuts then took off to his den, we thought, when a few seconds later another squirrel would appear from the other side of the porch. Well, to make a long story short during one of these moments the second squirrel that appeared had cheeks so stuffed they were wider than himself...and it suddenly occurred to us that it was not two squirrels we were feeding but one, Monte, who would come from one side of the deck, eat and then run around the back of the house to the other side of the deck and pretend to be someone new who wanted nuts too. LOL he did this for quite awhile until we caught on to his act.

his cheeks are ready to burst
first taste of peanuts had him hooked
Monte quickly became friends with Steve and began taking the peanuts out of his hand. Steve said it was fun feeling his soft little paws. I am sure Monte had withdrawals after we left. And yes, there were others and they did get a share of the peanut offerings, but not anywhere near as many as Monte the Mooch. 

 ~moments from aspen willow ranch-2014~

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

magically magnificent

 the dandelion blossoms are huge, I have to believe that you would get at least five wishes from one bulb blow. however, they were so beautiful I couldn't bring myself to gather any, not even one. 
the ones I see in CA are usually about the size of a quarter

~moments from aspen willow ranch-2014~

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

helpers in the pasture’s wild flowers

mr. bumble busy spreading pollen
mrs ladybug cleaning up the "rift-raft"
this little honeybee has been very busy, love how his gathered pollen matches the flower's color

~moments from aspen willow ranch-2014~

Monday, August 18, 2014

dawn's rays awaken a new day

 Up at 5:00 am, the first thing we do after filling our cups with delicious mountain coffee is to find a spot of morning sunshine to bring an end to the night’s chill. Nature greeted us one morning as we headed down the drive toward our favorite sunrise location  ~ 

~moments from aspen willow ranch-2014~

Friday, August 8, 2014

news from colorado-

haven't posted anything since our little corner in the kitchen for internet connection turned out to have moved to a remote corner of the barn...right where Babe and Geneva, our two Saddle Mountain Paints stables' guest are stalled, pee-ewwww; as well Steve thought we would need to get out his elephant gun, the 505 Gibbs, to keep the horse flies at bay. and... the connection is extremely slow-- thanks to AT&T

last night we got into the trusty Lady Ru, my subaru, and headed off to Cripple Creek CO, just a half-hour drive from the ranch, for a mini vacation within a vacation, ha! it is an old mining town that has legal gambling and lots of fun. also, an excellent way to celebrate our 40th anniversary!
no, not our hotel.... ha! 
the town

and... the hotel, as old as it is has internet, yippee! She claps as "she," me in the third person, happily reads all past emails that have gathered into her box, and sends this post off into blog-land.

the ranch is absolutely beautiful, it is greener than I have ever seen due to all the rains this summer, there are so many wildflowers it is a field of color, the ponds are full... and of course breeding future bloodsuckers, which now is a new educational venture for me to figure out how to get them little suckers gone!, pun intended.
i will have lots of pictures when we get home next week- c u then