2013 San Francisco Trip Report Part 2

A few more pictures from the Alcatraz garden tour. Again, very interesting, if you have any interest in plants, I would recommend it. Also just a good way to get more inside stories of life on “The Rock.”

More fuschia, so jealous.

Fuschia, Alcatraz Garden Tour

Fuschia, Alcatraz Garden Tour

This is an artichoke plant

Alcatraz Gardens Tour Artichoke

Alcatraz Gardens Tour Artichoke

.It is a large, very attractive (I think) plant – so I put it on my mental list and I have purchased one for my yard this year. It will probably not go in the garden per se, I don’t think that spot is sunny enough. I think I will try it in the flower bed on the south side of the house. We will see how it works. As of today, it is still alive, at least.

Poppies! Poppies! Oh, I do love poppies.

Oriental poppy Alcatraz Island Garden tour

Oriental poppy Alcatraz Island Garden tour

The light was shining through this one so beautifully.

Poppy Alcatraz Garden Tour

If I could capture that in a quilt of a painting, I would be happy. I have had poppies in some of my flower beds but they haven’t survived. I need to get some transplanted from my Grandmother’s poppy bed up at the ranch in SD – those are some healthy, spreading poppies. They are the traditional orange-red ones. Very hardy. But I also like the more delicate oriental ones, and I purchased some the other day, to try in a few different places around the yard. We will see if I find a place where they will thrive.

More amazing ground cover and succulents. Alcatraz was very green for being a rocky island, but most of this consisted of plants that had been brought in over the years.

Garden Tour Alcatraz

Garden Tour Alcatraz

The inside of the jail was, well, a jail. It was interesting, but I preferred the gardens! I managed to resist buying a tin cup and/or an Alcatraz Women’s Club cookbook….

And this seagull was there to tell us good bye!

Seagull, Alcatraz

Next up, more shopping and eating.

Progress Report

I have been meeting my self-imposed deadline of finishing one bunny block per week. The June one was a little out of sync, parts of the design had not transferred well, due to my poor ironing skills, and I needed to do some tracing in a window on a sunny day. I finally got that done and got this block done by the end of last Sunday. (Good thing there was some golf to watch/listen to.) The problem with this block is the rabbit-bride had to be wearing a white dress, which is not going to show up really well on the completed quilt. I don’t suppose I had to make the church white but it seemed like the thing to do. I did make the veil a light silver color, so maybe it will show up a bit differently.

I finished the October blockthe week before, not quite on deadline, but by the end of Tuesday. I am behind on the one for this week, but hopefully will have some time on Sunday. I have a business trip tomorrow, and am taking my Camp Loopy project, the color affection shawl (picture below.) The June one also had much less detail than this October one had.

This one was kind of a pain, but it looks nice, I guess. Now I just have November and December left.

Here is the color affection shawl. Thanks to my friend Judy, I am doing it on the size of needles recommended. Usually I go down two sizes, but she is also a loose knitter, and she is knitting it on a size up from the recommended size 6 needles. I am hoping to get to the end of the 2nd section (lavender and cream stripes) by the time I get home from my trip, and carpooling to a meeting on Friday. If I get enough knitting time on the airplane, maybe I can take embroidery on the trip to the meeting. I can’t just sit in a car and ride, it is very difficult for me. I have to be reading, or knitting, or embroidering. Usually I don’t get carsick. Usually.

I watered the flowers tonight and one of the peonies lopped over and bent its stem, so I felt the need to bring it in for a bouquet. Peonies are in my top five favorite flowers, and they are blooming happily this year. I am very tempted to convert most of the upper garden to peonies. It is half peonies and bleeding hearts anyway. Maybe I will put in an additional row this year. Can’t have too many peonies, in my opinion.

After a stressful day at work and coming home to swamp cooler problems, I declared it to be a night to sit in the driveway and have a drink and watch the sun go down. It was great. I will be making that declaration more often this summer.

Fried Chicken at Wishbone and the Seed Starting Project

This was not a good weekend for cooking, because I was trying to finish the koi quilt and that was taking all of my attention. I gave Ken a list of places to choose from for lunch on Saturday, and he went with P.F. Chang. I am not normally a big P.F. Chang fan but my sister-in-law took me there in December when I had a horrible cold, and I had their chicken soup, which was excellent and large. So I was in the mood for that and had that again (sorry, no pictures, I am not in the habit enough, apparently….), in addition to the chicken lettuce wraps which are also excellent. Ken did not think so, however, and just stuck to his beef and broccoli.

Sunday we went out to lunch at Wishbone, which is about as old school as a place can get. The parking lot is full of Buicks, which is a very good sign. They do other things besides fried chicken, but really, why bother? They have been doing fried chicken since 1963.

I go with the 3 legs, Ken goes with the 2 pieces of white.

These pictures do not convey the true yellowness of the gravy. That gravy is neon yellow. They also do a fine piece of Texas toast. Not everyone does Texas toast right. The correct way to eat it here, in my opinion, is to tear it into fingers and dip it into the extra cup of gravy.

After I got done with the latest color quilt, I needed to get some more seeds started or re-potted. These were ones that I had started mostly in moist paper towels in zipper baggies. Let me tell you, that technique really works. For the first time ever, I managed to get some yucca seeds to sprout. We will see how they do now that they are in little peat jiffy pots.

Here is what they look like sprouting in the baggies:

Those are cypress vines.

This just started as a small project but you can see it is out of hand, as is usual for one of my projects.

Currently growing: basil, cilantro (that is slow to sprout) two different kinds of sunflowers, pumpkin, marigolds, forget-me-nots, dill, morning glories (mixed and blue), cypress vine, and, hmmm, probably a few things I forgot. The pumpkins and the sunflowers sprouted so well I am thinking they will be taking over most of the garden, unless I can give them away. Free pumpkin plants!

K & S Come to Denver to Visit, Part II

We had stuffed shells for dinner Saturday night, sorry, I forgot to take a picture of them, and the recipe for those is pretty much different every time. It involves a lot of cheese, a homemade marinara that has a variety of things thrown in it, and pepperoni laid across the top layer of cheese for the last 20 minutes to brown and get crispy. And the leftovers are awesome.

I forgot to say that at the Bagel Deli, Ken and K. had a french dip and chicken salad, respectively. They both said their food was good, but S. and I were too entranced with our own food to even taste theirs (well, maybe S. got a bite of chicken salad???) and we really didn’t have time to take pictures.

After dinner we taught K. and S. how to play Progressive Rummy, which is the best card game ever and I would gladly type out all the rules, but maybe sometime when I am stuck in a car and don’t have anything to do, because they are kind of complicated and long. And S. lulled us all into a sense of complacency and then tried to go out early about three times in the final hand, and still was the first one out and cleaned all of our clocks.

Got up Sunday morning and had waffles and bacon, and then took them for a scenery run. (Run in the car, not an actual on-foot run, oh that is SO funny.) We went up to Standley Lake, and wandered out onto the floating dock to take pictures. The lake was like glass that morning.

I forgot to pay sufficient attention to the reflections of the mountains and clouds in the water. There was a gentleman up there fishing, and some ducks swimming close to shore, egrets (I think) further out, and pelicans. S. is a little freaked out by birds so she was OK with the pelicans not flying too close.

Not much of this cottonwood is still alive, but it was a spectacular contrast against the blue sky that morning.

They we headed up Coal Creek Canyon, just to show off that hey, we live 20 minutes from the mountains (if not less) and because when you live here, you don’t go up into the mountains and appreciate them enough.

The Flatirons and just south of the Flatirons, and Jefferson County open space in the foreground.

They have shooting star flowers here in Colorado too! At least that is what my family calls them. I had never seen them in Colorado before. They are a little more healthy and bushy than the ones in South Dakota.

Pose by the creek. I stuck my finger in the creek, it was pretty darn cold.

Awwwww. So happy for my friend K. that he and S. found each other. S. is my friend now too, but I knew K. for a long time before I knew her, and always hoped he would find the perfect partner. He has.

Then they had to head home, and I tackled the back yard. This involved spraying myself in the face with the hose accidentally, but if that is the only mishap for me with an afternoon in the yard, that is pretty good. Got 6-7 hollyhocks moved to a new place, plus a surprise peony that came up from an old root. Aggravated Ken by digging up two big rocks in the edging and leaving them on the grass. :  ) Went on weed patrol with my trusty jug of Round Up. Those rotten thistles that come over from the neighbor’s yard need strong measures. With all this nice weather in April I MAY actually have the yard in decent shape before I get tired of working outside in the heat and let it go to pot again. Who knows, maybe it will give me something to blog about if I keep it in decent shape, THERE IS ALWAYS A FIRST TIME!

I also tried starting a bunch of seeds in moist paper towels in ziploc bags. I put in a bunch that are kind of old so we will see if they sprout. If they all do, I am in serious trouble. So they probably will….

A preview of the current flowers:

Well, the lilacs over the fence from the neighbor, but I appreciate them. Much more than I appreciate the thistles.

Bleeding Heart, always an early bloomer.

And a happy, happy pink tulip. There may be a dandelion leaf in the background, but I choos to focus on the tulip! :  )

Signs of Spring at The Ranch

It has been a long week and I still have one day to go. So to give me a lift, I was looking at some pictures from the ranch. These were mostly taken in May of 2010. The SD grasslands contain great beauty, if you just get close enough to the ground to look.

Yellow johnny jump-up.

Plus, I get to go drive around with my Dad to take these pictures. He has infinite patience for me, stopping the pickup when he sees a patch of color.

Mayflowers. You need a really little vase or bowl to put these in, but Mom would always find one when we picked her a bouquet. I still pick her a bouquet, when we go out now.

Shooting Stars. I have no idea if that is what anyone else calls any of these flowers, but that is good enough for me.

Red Riding Hood, or Tomato Flower.

Prickly pear, not quite blooming.

And a solitary prairie mushroom.

We don’t really have pasque flowers, the state flower of SD, on the ranch, but I think these are pretty good.

MaryAnne the Gargoyle

It was a busy weekend, starting out Friday night with me making it home in time for us to go to the fish fry at the nearby Catholic Church (the week before, my drive home took an hour and a half, so we were too late for the fish fry, and went to Texas Roadhouse for rolls, large drinks, and steaks instead.) The fish fry was OK. They fried the tarnation out of that fish – it was a little tough for me. Ken liked it. In addition to the fish, there was Kraft macaroni and cheese, fried potatoes, cole slaw, bread and carrot cake for dessert. Lemonade, coffee and water to eat. Only $7 each, it was very reasonable at least. A little heavy on the carbs maybe. :  )

MaryAnne has a new bad habit. She jumps up on top of the entertainment center, hoping to reach down to the second shelf below and get one of her sparkle balls. If she wouldn’t knock them under the washing machine, she wouldn’t have this problem. Needless to say, it is a little startling to walk into the room and see furry gargoyle peering over her realm. There is also catnip on that shelf.

We don’t put her stuff on the TOP shelf, because she could reach that.

She thinks she is quite clever. This is what you see when you walk into the room, feel the hairs on the back of your neck prickle, and look up:

Got quite a lot of knitting done on my Mom’s socks while watching re-reruns of Diners, DriveIns and Dives on various evenings. I am down to where I need to start decreasing on one of them, so I will continue to work on the foot on the other one until I am also that far along, and then start decreasing on both of them.

I also spent some time looking through one of my top well-loved church cookbooks. It is not actually a “church” cookbook, it is the Hendricks Community Hospital Association Cookbook, published in 1993. I believe I purchased it in Hendricks while I was there for an auction, the summer I did repertory theater after college. It has the true mark of a good midwestern cookbook, separate sections for cookies and bars. You know they are serious about their bars if there is a separate section. I think I may have found my long lost favorite lemon bar recipe. I will experiment and post. It is also good to look through a cookbook again after you have maybe set it down for a few years, because your tastes change and you may cook differently, so more recipes may be useful. Which just means you should never get rid of a cookbook, maybe that is why I have so many, someday I should count them.

Noticed my crocuses were blooming this week! I was going to take a picture but they close up pretty early, and I missed them. The tulips and iris and several other perennials are also up, I am pretty sure we will get snow on them at some point but hopefully it won’t freeze too hard. It looked like snow/rain in the foothills this afternoon but apparently it is just dust blowing in the wind. There was a major fire going out on the Eastern plains on Sunday evening, I have farmer friends out there that I am thinking about. It is very dry and windy, we could use some moisture (even snow!) for the crops and just simply to cut down on the fire danger.

Leo says we don’t have to worry about HIM jumping up on the entertainment center. He and his fishy are happy to stay on the ground.

More Nashville

Sorry this is later than usual, but I was still recovering from the trip and didn’t have the energy to write one last night!

Well, I had been complaining about this convention that we attend every year being back in Nashville over and over again, but now I can see the reason why. I hadn’t been in Nashville since this convention in 2008, and we had to stay at a hotel across the street in 2008. This time we actually got to stay at the Gaylord Opryland, and it is a pretty nice hotel.  It is kind of spendy so I don’t know if I would stay there if it wasn’t a business trip, but it was a lovely place to stay. Also very handy to be at the convention hotel instead of across the street.

The Gaylord has three large interior atrium spaces, with tons of plants and flower and trees. Very relaxing to walk around and enjoy the greenery, especially if you are from somewhere that it is not so green right now!

I leave you with a few pictures from the atrium – more to follow! Now, I am trying to track down my camera, which disappeared somewhere between Nashville and Colorado, hoping it turns up (especially since it has FOOD pictures on it!)

This is one of my favorites.

It was HUMID in there too, as well as outside. My skin looked great!

A Little Spring

Since it is STILL cold and snowy and HAS BEEN for it seems like forever….(sorry, in Denver we are usually spoiled by snow falling, sometimes a lot of it, and then melting, and a few days of 60° before we have snow again. Not so since oh, January?) So I thought I would put up some flower pictures. These are from the summer of 2008. Early July, I believe, because later that summer we got hammered with hail.

Pink morning-glory. The birds like these, so they are scattered around the yard quite widely and volunteer the next year.

Purple morning glory. I am pretending it is 75 degrees and sunny….

Mr. Bee, busy in a sunflower.

Pink hollyhock. Hollyhocks are another one of my favorites.

I always start out gardening with great enthusiasm in the spring and then lose interest as it gets hotter and the weeds get more numerous. Maybe it will be different this year……