Friday, October 17, 2008

It's Harvest Time!

Before we had a hard frost last week I spent the morning gathering the last of my garden produce. This basket of herbs made the kitchen smell sooooo good. By the time I'd picked the rosemary, thyme, basil and spearmint, my hands smelled like a mixture of all the herbs.
I put the herbs on screens for the dehydrator so I'll have them to use throughout the winter season until I have fresh herbs again next summer.

I also picked the grapes that were hanging on the pergola on the backyard patio. I didn't think I'd have that much but by the time I had picked all I could reach I had 5 gallons of grapes.

The sink was full of grapes as well as a couple of old ice cream buckets. It was a bountiful grape growing season.

And there are still plenty of grapes left on the pergola for the birds to feed on all winter.
I steamed the grapes and made juice which will be used later to make jelly, jams or just to be added to lemonaide for a good drink.
It's been a busy harvest time--gathering the garden produce and getting stocked up for a long winter season. It's a good feeling to be able to enjoy the produce from my gardens all year long.

Happy Fall Y'all

I put together a little fall display for my front porch. I gathered some pumpkins, gourds, squash and cornstalks from the garden--and added a not so scary scarecrow.

I love the rich oranges, reds and yellows and the cool crisp days you get to enjoy at this time of year.

Grab your camera, load up the kids, the dog--any or all who might enjoy it--but get out there and enjoy this gorgeous time of year. These colors don't last nearly long enough and you'll be sorry if you don't get out and enjoy them while you can. Don't miss the chance to walk through the fallen leaves and inhale the smells of autumn. Get out there and have a "HAPPY FALL Y'ALL" before Mother Nature changes to a all white color scheme!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Biking at Jackson

Last Friday morning (Oct. 3rd) we loaded our bikes, picked up Bob and Mauri and drove over to Jackson. The drive over the pass was beautiful because all the fall colors were at their peak. That's just the kind of drive I love to take--rolling hills, farmland and Mother Nature showing off her best display of October colors. You have to appreciate all that beauty while you can because it never lasts long enough.
The temperature was perfect, a few clouds in the sky and miles and miles of nice asphalt trails to ride on. We started our ride at Wilson where we parked the pickup. Then rode on towards Teton Village--about a 10 mile ride.
The colors were so pretty. . . with a nice dusting of gold leaves on the bike trail.

We stopped at Teton Village for a little while, then rode several miles more to Teton National Park. We rode into the Park a couple of miles where we were reminded to be aware of bears--and where food storage is required. Was that for us, or the bears?

Behind Mauri and I, the mountains were dotted with pockets of yellow aspens and red scub oak. Everywhere you looked were beautiful autumn colors. It was such a pretty day and a great day for a ride. We couldn't have picked a nicer day to be enjoying some of Jackson Hole's bike trails.
We stopped at a new golf course being built near Teton Village. It's called "Shooting Star". If you have enough money you can turn what was once a flat pasture into a beautiful golf course--and in a relatively short amount of time. Just behind those beautiful gold and orange aspens and over several rolling hills is where the golf course was located. Of course, Bob and Randy were wishing they could stop and play the course, but that was for another day--after they are both a lot richer!
By the time we got back to Wilson, we'd ridden a total of 23 miles. We drove into Jackson for lunch at Merry Piglets, a great little Mexican Resturant, and then back home by way of Palisades Resevoir. We had a great day biking together and enjoying some of Mother Nature's finest work.

Riding with Friends

I've been fortunate lately in being able to enjoy my favorite season . . . FALL! Over the past month or so, I've been able take Olivia to the hills on three different occasions and ride with other women who also love to enjoy some beautiful back country trails on horseback.

This was taken as we was riding along a trail near Upper Mesa Falls, not far from Ashton. Lyn Longhurst is leading the ride on her big quarter horse, "Amos". We started the ride at the Bear Gulch Trail Head, then rode about 5 miles along a high ridge overlooking both Upper and Lower Mesa Falls.
Here we are with some of the beautiful fall colors behind us. It was kind of a busy day with lots of other riders on the trail. Livy hasn't had all the trail experience the other two horses have but she does just fine. Sometimes after we've made the "turn for home"-- back to the trailer, she gets a little excited but she settles back down again. By the time we got back to the horse trailer we'd ridden about 8-10 miles over awesome trails.

This is Carol Polansky, a good friend and ridding partner of Lyn's. It's been a great experience to spend some time with these women, getting acquainted and seeing the countryside from the back of a nice horse.

I've had a wonderful time with Lyn and some of her riding friends. It's a great way to enjoy some scenic trails and spend time with others who enjoy their horses the way I do.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

The view from where I'm sitting . . . .just perfect!

What a way to spend a beautiful fall morning! Load up my horse, Annie and the carriage-- drive to Harriman State Park--so we could enjoy the morning driving together. The temperature was in the mid 70's, a clear blue sky, gorgeous fall colors--all the ingredients for a perfect day!

Randy took a day off on Tuesday so we decided to drive the 80 miles to Island Park. We had driven at Harriman State Park several years ago, (probably 8-10 years ago) so we decided it was time to try it again since the forecast was for a pretty fall day. Harriman (the other Herriman) is a great place to drive because there are miles and miles of roads that wind through the Park. Nice little roads just right for a horse and carriage with hardly a soul around except for a few fisherman on the river. Annie kind of matches the fall grasses, don't you think? She did great - - - just a nice little road trot as we drove along. She seemed to enjoy the drive almost as much as we did.

We drove out through the Ranch for about 10 miles just enjoying the beautiful countryside with horses and cattle grazing on the golden grasses and lots of wildlife on the river. A perfect setting for a drive!

We crossed an old bridge that spanned a pretty stretch of river. Randy got out and lead us across the bridge because it looked a little scary to Annie. The hollow sound of a bridge sometimes is a little frightening to a horse but she crossed it just fine without any problems. She's a fun horse to drive--always willing to try and not afraid of new things--just looks them over and goes on--just like she should.

These are some of the cabins that can be rented at the Park. I'm sure during the summer and weekends Harriman is a pretty busy place. But this late in the season, and on a weekday, things were pretty quite, which was just fine for us. The river that ran behind the cabins had a pair of swans and lots of duck and geese swimming on it.

The morning sun shining through the aspens made a perfect backdrop for a carriage drive. We couldn't have asked for a more perfect day. Doing something you love with someone you love in such a beautiful setting --how could it get any better than that?

I'm so fortunate to be able to enjoy such a beautiful day. I hope the good fall weather continues for a least another month so we can have more opportunities to be out and about. Fall is my favorite season because the colors are so spectacular and the temperatures are perfect. I'm trying to enjoy every moment because the season is so short--so I'm trying to soak it all in while I can. I'm making great memories so I can recall these days when the ground is covered with snow.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

"Bloom Where You're Planted" . . . .

I am often asked, "How are you spending your summer?" So I thought I'd show you how I spend a lot of my summer days . . . . enjoying my yard and the beauty that surrounds me. We had a cold, wet spring but the month of July has been a beautiful and my flowers and yard are loving the sunshine and warm weather.
And here's a few of my favorite quotes about gardens:

"Happiness must be grown in one's own garden".
"One who grows does not grow old".

"I plant vegetables to fill my stomach . . . but I plant
flowers to feed my soul".

"You're only here for a short visit. Don't hurry . . . don't worry. . .
and stop and smell the flowers along the way."

"For mine is just an old-fashioned garden
where the flowers come together to praise the Lord
and teach all who look upon them to do likewise."
"A house without a garden is a temporary home."

"Scatter seeds of kindess."

"Good gardeners know the best dirt."
"The way to a green thumb is through dirty fingernails."

"Seeds of discourement will not grow
in a thankful heart."

"Just living is not enough . . . one must have freedom, sunshine . . .
and a little flower."

"Like life, few gardens have only flowers."

"Come to the garden
The soul's sweet bouquet
The flowers of tomorrow
Are in the seeds of today."

"How could such sweet and wholesome hours
be reckoned but with herbs and flowers?"
"A flower is a living jewel."

"Every garden begins with a dream."

I'm so fortunate to be able to spend much of my time doing things I enjoy. To be able to spend part of each day in such a pretty setting, to listen to the birds singing and to see the fruits of my labors is very rewarding. I am truly blessed. Many times when I see the beautiful flowers in my yard, I think . . . "I'd like to share this with someone who'd appreciate them." Now I have!
I hope you are fortunate enough to spend part of each day doing something that brings you joy. It's part of "Enjoying the journey" . . . no matter what season of life you're in.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Haying Crew

What could be better when there's a big job to be done than having some good strong backs and willing bodies to help with the project. Randy and I usually get the hay we need for the winter's feed by ourselves . . . but it turned out that the hay was baled and ready to be hauled the 4th of July weekend. Ted, Carson, Craig said they were up for an adventure, (Craig had never hauled hay before) so after a little preparation of finding work clothes and gloves for the "haying crew" the project began. And, of course, Carson wanted to be included with the work crew.

It was a good thing that Randy had some help because the bales of hay this year were extra heavy. . . he'd never been able to lift them on his own. Carson rode on top of the bales as they were loaded and yelled "whoa" to the pickup driver each time they needed to stop to load a bale - - so he had an important part in the haying project. When the haying crew got home with the load of hay they had a refreshing popsicle break before the unloading process began.

It was so nice to have Ted and Craig's help. Craig gained a new appreciation for working on a farm and Ted admitted that he even kind of enjoyed the whole thing - - but only because he didn't have to do it very often. I'll have to see if I can bribe some extra help again next year when it comes time to get our season's hay. It was nice to watch for a change instead of trying to help haul the heavy bales.

Carson is looking on as his dad hauls a heavy bale into the barn. It's hard work - - and always a good feeling to have the job done.

After the hay hauling was done, Ted and Carson headed for the sprinkler to cool off. I loved seeing Ted and Carson have so much fun together. . . just a couple of kids enjoying a hot summer day together.

Carson was filling the wading pool so he and Mitch could play in the water. Next thing I know I see Ted standing in the pool trying to get cooled off after his hay hauling work out.

It doesn't take a lot of water so you can have a good time with your boy. I'm glad I was in the backyard to capture this moment. The sight of Ted sitting in the wading pool with Carson will go down as one of my favorite moments of the weekend!

Some photos are truly priceless. . . and this happens to be one of them. Father and son playing together on a hot summer afternoon - - and me standing nearby with a camera. How lucky can you be! What a wonderful weekend working and playing together!

Friday, July 25, 2008

RTK . . .Lumberjack

Ted will get either the credit or the blame for this project. It all started with a conversation while he was home over the 4th of July weekend. He said something like. . ."that pine tree is in the way--you can't see around the yard--it blocks your veiw". That was all it took to get Randy thinking and he never stopped thinking or talking about how to get rid of that tree since then. So Thursday evening after Randy got home from work, he said, "I think I'll start working on that tree!" He'd been thinking about it and how he was going to do the job for weeks and he couldn't wait any longer. I wanted to wait and start the project first thing Friday morning- - -but no way! Next thing I know I hear the chainsaw. . .I go outside to find the project had begun! (6:30 PM)

The limbs came off a row at a time. This is as high as he could reach with the step ladder. One pickup full. . . and lots of tree left!

Then the taller ladder comes out and you take off more limbs. . .around and around the tree you go--until you have a second pickup full of limbs.

Then you reach as high as you can on the taller ladder. . .tie a rope around the tree--as high as you can reach . . . that's so Ilene can pull the top in exactly the right direction when the top gets cut off.

Then you climb to the top of the ladder. Notch the tree on the side towards where you want it to fall. And then cut off the top of the tree on the opposite side of the notch . . . which then falls EXACTLY where you wanted it to . . . so nothing in the yard is adversely impacted. When's the next lumberjack competition ?

Then we load the 3rd pickup full after cutting all the limbs off of the top of the tree.

Now we REALLY have a pile of limbs down at the bottom of the pasture. That's going to be SOME fire when we light that pile. Maybe Spud Day. Maybe sometime in October. We'll see. The wind has gotta be just right you know. So! That's how it's done. Time: 8:45 PM.
I left a tall stump . . . cuz maybe we'll want to put a big birdhouse up on top. We'll see.