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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Friends And Flowers

Last Saturday, I spent some time with other Sunflower State garden bloggers who write at Gaia Garden and There's No Place Like Home.

Our state's native plant society organized its annual wildflower weekend and the three of us made a plan to meet for the event.  There were presentations, books, meals, a photo contest and wildflower tours.  Saturday afternoon, a caravan of wildflower enthusiasts headed out to some prairie areas shared by ranchers.


This is just a sample of some of the great plants we saw.

I have this plant.

snow-on-the-mountain

I would love to add these plants.

scorpion something ???

golden prairie-clover

clammy-weed

rocky mountain bee plant

Time with these ladies was the highlight of the trip.
Aren't we cute in our rainbow of shirts?
It is  great how a shared interest in gardening and a little thing called the internet has brought us together.  Our paths crossed virtually and now we take paths to be together in person.  It was the first time for Gaia Gardener and I to get together even though plants and seeds have already gone from one garden to another.  Melanie and I have been able to tour each other's gardens in addition to sharing plants and seeds.


Everyone at the event was friendly and willing to share what they knew.  This gentleman was explaining something to my friends.


I took this photo just to show the rolling hills and this beautiful tree.  I just love its form.  Look how wide its canopy reaches.  I do not know what kind of tree it is.  


Friends and flowers.  Fabulous!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

The Big Hike and The Garden Continues Just Fine

It's been a big September for this gardener and her wonderful husband.

A number of years ago, WH and I visited the Grand Canyon.  We saw it from the North Rim and hiked along the top taking in the views.  We talked about returning one day to hike to the bottom.
  
This was to be the year of the Big Hike.

We signed up with a hiking company.  They provide a guide, the camping gear and the food.  We just had to bring our personal stuff and be ready to hike with backpacks.  We had never back country camped before.  This would be an adventure in many ways.  Our hike would take us from the North Rim across the Grand Canyon to the South Rim.  23.5 miles with some side hikes to waterfalls and view points.  We spent all summer doing extra workouts and hiking around our little city with backpacks full of books and bricks (I'm not kidding) to add weight.  

The week of the Big Hike arrived.  We headed to Arizona.

Along the way, we spent some time in Albuquerque, NM.  Love Old Town.


For you Eagles fans, we stopped in Winslow, AZ.  Everything in this photo makes sense if you know their song "Take it Easy."


We also visited the Barringer Meteor Crater.  That was amazing.


Finally, we were in Flagstaff, AZ where we would meet up with the hiking company.  There were three other hikers in our group, us and the guide.  We all got along so well.  New hiking friends!

I'll give you just a sample of what we saw.  The whole experience was amazing.  We lucked out on the weather.  It did rain on us one morning while hiking, but that cooled it down.  Hiking down into the Grand Canyon was actually the hardest day.  Think about walking down steps for seven miles while carrying a 35 pound back pack.  My knees were wiggly after that.  I was worried they would hurt the next day, but I was good!  Oh, my calves were tight.  So, I still took it easy on some terrain, but every sore step was worth it to see the Grand Canyon this way.  

View from the North Rim after we had cleared the pine trees.  (Yes, the North Rim has pine trees.  It is higher in elevation and the forest goes right up to the edge.)


Ribbon Falls on our second day.  That's WH and I in the second photo to give you some perspective.



The prickly pear cactus had fruits and our guide opened one up and let all of us taste it.  Not bad.


At one point, the walls got very close in Bright Angel Canyon.
The Grand Canyon has the Colorado River at the bottom, but it is also made by tons of creeks that come into the Colorado River and there are many side canyons that are amazing.


We camped near the bottom one night where people who ride the mules down also stay.  These mules were ready for their return trip to the top waiting for their riders as we geared up to hike to our next camp.


We took this bridge across the Colorado River.  You can't see the Colorado River from the rims.  It's amazing how big it is down there.


The sun was just lighting the Colorado River as we crossed the bridge.


For our last night in the Grand Canyon, we went to Plateau Point.  It is an amazing spot to watch the sunset and see the colors of the Grand Canyon.


Our last day was a hike up.  The spot where we got out is at the bottom of the V at the rim you see in this photo.  There is a trail up to that point.  


Here's WH taking in the view as we climb up.


This is looking back down on some of the trail we used.


The view from the South Rim of the Grand Canyon is AMAZING!


We want to do it again!!!

Meanwhile, back at the garden, some much needed rain fell while we were away and we had a drastic dip in temperature.  34 degrees Farenheit one night.  Brrr.  Earliest frost recorded for our area on September 6th.  I was glad I had brought in the few houseplants that would have been affected by the cold before we left.  Otherwise, all the remaining plants are still well.  I'm still getting tomatoes, peppers, etc.  I don't think my garden actually got the frost.

This past week, monarch butterflies have been stopping by on their way south.


And, the morning glories have been stunning.


I'm still catching up on life from being gone and enjoying more gardening adventures.

Thanks for stopping by.



Monday, September 1, 2014

September Tour 2014

Front Garden

Forest

Back Garden




Side Garden

Vegetable Garden

Patio

Alley

Friday, August 8, 2014

A Saucy Post

It has been a couple of years since I've had tomato plants produce enough tomatoes at one time to make tomato sauce.  This week, it all came together.  Enough tomatoes and enough time to make the sauce.


I've used the Tomato Sauce recipe posted previously for awhile and it has served us fine.

I was reading Margaret Roach's Blog recently and found her tomato sauce recipe.

The main difference is that she leaves the garlic and the basil in the sauce.  I was just cooking them to get the flavor.  OK, and she adds parsley.  I didn't add the parsley, but I did leave the garlic and basil in this time.


I put it in containers to freeze.


I use this sauce in recipes.  I don't mind it being chunky.

The whole recipe is one post back.


Tomato Sauce 2

Tomato Sauce 2

1/4 cup olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, lightly crushed and peeled
4 cups of fresh ripe tomatoes, chopped
4 fresh basil leaves, chopped

In a large saucepan, gently heat oil.  Add garlic.  Cover and simmer until garlic is soft.  Mash garlic.  Add tomatoes and basil.  Cover and bring to boil over medium heat.  Remove cover and boil for 5 minutes. Reduce heat to simmer. Simmer for 15 minutes.  Mash tomatoes.  Simmer and mash three more times. Sauce will be chunky. May puree to make smooth.  Serve at once, or allow to cool and freeze.

Makes 4 cups