Sunday, June 30, 2013

Rewind - The Wool Market

The Estes Park Wool Market is proud to be "the largest fiber fest in the West".  It begins on Wednesday, with workshops on spinning, weaving and dyeing.  The weekend is devoted to demonstrations, contests and exhibits. Click here for more info. 

No surprise, what I enjoyed most was the animals.

alpacas aplenty!
bountiful bunnies!
(this one's an angora rabbit)
goats galore!
(this one's an angora goat)
plentiful paco-vicunas!
and best of all,
a slew of sheep.
This one's a Jacob sheep.
Cute, but he's no Jester (click here).
I took lots of video of the demos.  Unfortunately, my camera was off when I thought it was on, and vice versa.  I have a lot of footage of the ground.  I did manage some stills from the Junior Exhibitor Trail Class.
Some were more willing
than others.
Just like horses!
Can you stand more photos?
'Cause we haven't been to the vendors yet!
I won't show all 50 booths, I promise.
Spinning wheels!
My favorite?
This vendor, hands down.
Let's take a closer look -
It's bison fiber!
Of course I had to ask how you shear a bison/buffalo.
You don't.
They hand-gather clumps of down the bison shed.
The mind boggles.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Rewind - Part 1

Before The Fire, I had an excellent adventure!  But lazy blogger that I am, I didn't write about it ere The Fire knocked all other thoughts right out of my head.  So I'm rewinding!

My adventure started with a beautiful drive to the mountains.  On the way, I passed through the quirky little town of Lyons, home of

cozy eateries
spectacular sandstone outcroppings
and general quirkiness.
On I drove,
up into the mountains.
The Rocky Mountains, to be exact.
At last I reached

the town of Estes Park.
If you saw the very scary movie "The Shining",
you might recognize an Estes Park landmark,

the Stanley Hotel.
What a setting.
At last I reached my destination,
the Wool Market!
To be continued...

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Gardening Victories

Gardening is a challenge here.  We live at 6,880' elevation and have a 98 day growing season.  The winters are bitter, the winds howl, and we're in a drought.  Anything green is fair game to the hungry bunnies, voles and ground squirrels.  It's taken me a few years, but I am starting to discover what I can grow.

Did you know that peonies will grow at 10,000' elevation?
Mine are looking splendid.
Too bad they fade so quickly.
Sun Daisies (Osteospermum) aren't as flashy as the peonies,
but they've done well for me and bloom almost all summer.
Avalanche White
This spring I added the variety
Lavender Mist
It's listed as "marginally hardy" for our area,
so we shall see.  I don't know why this variety would be more tender.
I wintered over geraniums in the basement,
and they are doing well too.
The photo doesn't capture the color.
(Maybe I should say the photographer didn't capture the color)
They are somewhere between red, pink and purple.
Small victories, but victories nonetheless.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Fire Update

We are all fine.  We are grateful to be safe and to have dear friends that offered help.  Thank you too, blogger friends, for your best wishes and concern.  Fundy, thank you for offering to put Boomer in your suburban backyard.  It gave me a much-needed lift!

This has been Colorado's worst fire.  25 square miles burned, over 500 homes were destroyed, and 2 people lost their lives.  The fire is 85% contained.  There are still about 2,600 people under mandatory evacuation. 

At the height of the fire, the mandatory evacuation extended to about 2 miles south of us.  We were packed and ready to leave.

Bob's white truck and trailer for Boomer and Ben
Our truck and trailer for Paj and Reggie,
ready to roll
Don't be fooled by the clear sky in the photo.  We had moments of clear skies, but periods of pea-soup smoke.  Paj, with his airborne allergies, spent the week on Neo-Poly-Dex for his eyes, Dexamethasone for his labored breathing, and GastroGard for stress.  In hindsight, I should have boarded that boy out for the duration.  But that's stressful too.
What's that, Mickey?  You want me to tell everybody your eyes hurt too?  Okay.  Little Mickey kept rubbing his eyes.  He acted fatigued, and we were worried about him.
As soon as they pushed the mandatory evacuation zone farther away from us, we invited Once Upon an Equine to move her horses to neighbor Chuck's.  Once Upon an Equine had been evacuated to the fairgrounds, and Chuck had empty stalls.  He was on the road with 3 of his horses while David and I took care of his ranch.  Chuck was happy for us to host Misty, Lola and Lyra.
Misty, Lyra and Lola
Lola, the mini-mule, is loaded with personality.
While Misty and Lyra munched hay,
Lola was after that last piece of grain that Misty may have left.
No grain!
She stomped her little hoof to show her displeasure.
What a character!
Lola helped me with the cleaning.
Once Upon an Equine was able to go home last night.  Their home is safe and untouched by the fire.  For me, today is the first day that feels normal.  I spent most of it sleeping.
Jim, I need an in-case-of-fire relaxation technique.  When I tried "I am a log", that little voice added "and we all know what happens to logs in a fire".


Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The Down Side of Summer

Record heat and high winds put us smack into fire season.  There are three main fires burning in Colorado, and we can see smoke from two of them.

About 2:00 today, neighbor Kate called and said "Look South".  There was a plume of smoke.  By 5, it looked like this -

As I stood there, camera in hand, I could see the fire find more fuel.
The fire is called the Black Forest Fire.
It's about 40 miles from us.
Correction:  it's about 40 miles driving, but 20 miles straight line
We aren't in danger, but we are hitched just in case.
It's unnerving to see our ranch like this -
My heart goes out to those who have lost their homes.

Sunday, June 2, 2013


June is our most beautiful month.  It's not too hot, it's not too cold*, it's just right.  We don't have flies yet, and the ranch is aglow with wildflowers.

Indian Paintbrush
Field Mouse-Ear
You have to look closely to spot this little gem.
Sprawling Daisy
Golden Aster
One-Sided Penstemon (Sidebells Penstemon)
These tiny little cacti turn to mush underfoot,
and pose no threat to horse or human.
There were a few wildflowers I was less than happy to see.
Death Camas
Dr. Gary assures us that well-fed horses won't eat toxic plants,
but these guys are outta here!
And finally, so you won't think you're reading the wrong blog...

* In the interest of truth in journalism, I must tell you that it was 34F(1C) when we did the 7 am chores on June 1.