27 June 2017

While the Cat's Away...


This year's Ride the Rockies was just like the previous six. I came home to dead Stevia, and I lost all my strawberries, one rosemary and a couple of pepper plants, tomato plants and dahlia plants. I've replanted now, but look what else I came home to!!!




The volunteer sunflowers have become a jungle, and who says you have to wait until August for sunflowers???


Most of the poppies were done before I got home. I don't know if any blue ones opened up, but there were a ton of blossom heads the day we left.










Of course, hollyhocks mean time to dye once again...


So many flowers are blooming!












I stopped at the nursery to buy Stevia seeds because no one had any more plants. I'd fallen head over heels for a white spiderwort earlier in the season during a nursery shopping spree, but I couldn't justify $20 for a single plant back then. I had no such willpower this trip. So now I have a gorgeous trio of tri-petaled Tradescantia! (Plus one that hasn't bloomed yet, so I don't know what color to expect...)






I've been trying different methods of automatic drip systems to keep the indoor plants alive ever since we moved into our house. The most successful method I'd had so far was to place the terracotta pots into the overturned lid of a cake holder, filled with water.

This year I tried various watering spikes I purchased from the nursery and from amazon.com. We have no wine bottles, so I used bicycle water bottles. Because heaven only knows we have enough bicycle water bottles to supply the entire state with water for at least a day! (Just teasing, but we do have quite the collection; I counted 22 we didn't take with us on Ride the Rockies, and we each got a new commemorative one for this year's ride.)

Two water bottles tipped over while we were gone and didn't do their job but did a nice job of soaking the hardwood floors. The rest seemed to work satisfactorily. I like the terracotta spikes without the bottles when we're home, too. I just fill the spikes every two days. Eventually I'll have enough spikes for all the house plants, but for this year, it was more of a test to see if they'd work, because they aren't exactly cheap.

They pass the test; it will be worth investing in a few more.






Many of my delphiniums, probably my favorite garden flower, were top heavy and bowed over flat when I got home.

That means I got to cut them and bring them inside. I'm really enjoying a kitchen full of flowers this year!

26 June 2017

Snowflake Monday


I thought by giving readers two weeks to craft lid or button snowflakes, I'd be giving them enough time to save a few extra lids as well as giving myself time to unpack and unwind from Ride the Rockies. Apparently, though, two weeks is too long... Only two people entered the contest, but, oh, my, what stunning snowflakes they submitted!

Diane's #reflake2017june #recycledlids #buttoncraft

A post shared by Snowcatcher (@thesnowcatcher) on


First up, we have Diane's button and crochet motif snowflakes. Diane is co-moderator of the Sisters of the Snowflake group, which is free and open to anyone infatuated with snowflakes. Diane said she didn't have any lids, and she upped the ante by crocheting a few medallions to spruce up her pretty snowflakes. I really like the swirly one! What about you?




Diane wins some hand-dyed crochet thread or yarn, her choice.

My almost-8-year-old neighbor wanted to enter the recycled lids snowflake contest! #reflake2017june #recycledlids

A post shared by Snowcatcher (@thesnowcatcher) on


Next up is my no-longer seven-year-old neighbor. She has a standing date with me every week after work (if I can get off in time) to work on her ticker tape quilt. I've been teaching her to piece and quilt for a little more than a year now, and last week she decided to play with bottle caps instead, informing me that she is "very creative." I have to agree!


She was drawn to the black, blue and clear lids, and she was really into three-dimensional flakes. I think her rainbow flake is a winner, don't you?


Keira wins a much-coveted Eiffel Tower quilt panel because she's "always loved Paris my whole life!" and because her birthday was a couple of days later.


The nerve in my crochet arm will be tested tomorrow, so I expect to know what the future will hold by next Monday, but I don't expect to be crocheting at full strength by then. But don't worry; I have a few more non-crochet snowflake ideas up my sleeve. (With perhaps another contest to boot!) I leave you with my patriotic lid flake in honor of the upcoming holiday...

24 June 2017

Lost Week


Ride the Rockies, Day 7 – Gunnison to Salida via Monarch Pass

I'm back home, back at my laptop, in my own chair, and the whole week seems like a blur. I can't believe it's over, and I wasn't even a rider this time around!

I left just minutes after The Lizard this morning, hoping to stay ahead of the cyclists. I don't know if the cyclists were dreading the ascent of Monarch Pass or just ready to go home, but there sure were a LOT of cyclists out on the road before the sun came up this morning! I was passing cyclists for close to 30 miles! Of course, driving is the only way I get to pass that many cyclists...


So once again I didn't get any photos of the actual route. One photo I still kind of wish I had taken the time to pull over for was a recreational rider going up the pass from the opposite direction. He was sitting against a sign post with his townie bike leaning up against him, and he was thumbing for a ride. My first thought was not very many motorists would be able to fit his bike into their cars. My second thought was, "Wow, kudos for making it two miles up the mountain on a townie!"

I took a wrong turn in Salida, which allowed me to get a cool wildlife shot...


At closing venue, which was, well, next to the county detention facility, I discovered a parking spot set aside especially for me. (Not really; the position District Attorney just happens to have the same initials as me.)


At the finish line, I got to help the volunteers for a few minutes, and I found a surprise at the actual finish line and a cheerful robin in the grass nearby.


I found a silk moth literally ON the finish line. I moved him to safety, and he rested there for about an hour.


Olympic silver medalist Nelson Vails was one of the first riders to cross the finish line.


Not long after, My Lizard crossed the finish line.


I missed riding, but I'm glad I got to be in our favorite part of the state together for a whole week. I'm so happy to be done with driving for a good long time.

And I'm anxious to finish up the tests on my arm and neck, hopeful I might be able to ride again one day.

F

23 June 2017

Delta Dawn


Ride the Rockies, Day 6 – Montrose to Gunnison via Cerro Summit and Blue Mesa Summit

Back in 2003, Ride the Rockies traversed the north rim of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison for the first time. Now the tour has crossed that highway several times. That isn't today's Ride the Rockies route, but it was my route. I want to stay off the road where the cyclists will be, as much as I can, plus, I wanted a little trip down memory lane.

Some of my favorite memories from my first RtR are the messages "Agent Orange" would paint (in neon orange) onto the road to amuse weary cyclists. One such verse described a junkyard full of weathered vehicles as the place where SAG wagons go to retire. SAG wagons are the vehicles driven by volunteers to help cyclists along the route. SAG stands for Support And Gear.


In Delta, I discovered an open air sort of old vehicle museum, and I missed the sunrise, taking so many photos of the rusty old cars. Can you imagine any of these babies as SAG wagons in their heyday?!?










Then I passed a sign that pointed the way to "Gunnison Gorge." Sounded photogenic, so away I went. I never found the "Gorge" on that long, dirt road, but I saw a whole bunch of shy quail who wouldn't pose. The mourning doves were eager models, though...




I also found someone's idea of a remote picnic ground.


Outside of Crawford, I couldn't resist snapping a few reservoir photos.


My plan had been to drive to Delta for sunrise, then to Hotchkiss and Crawford, hitting the Blue Mesa ahead of the cyclists. I took too much time getting to the Blue Mesa, though, and couldn't watch any scenery while driving the length of the reservoir right alongside cyclists.

When I am The Lizard's private support vehicle during the Triple Bypass, most of my drive isn't quite as intimidating because much of the cycling route is bike path. No cars.

Driving alongside RtR riders is scary sometimes because the roads are so narrow. Some don't have much of a shoulder. I never want to do anything to endanger cyclists, so I don't have photos from any of the time I spent trying to drive carefully with the cyclists just a few feet from my car.

The north rim, however, had no cyclists and practically no other traffic. I had the canyon mostly to myself, and wildflowers were sensational. I couldn't stop taking pictures!









phlox

For the first time all week long, I was able to pull over safely and snap a couple of photos of My Lizard riding. Being able to snap this photo definitely is one of the highlights of my week!

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