20 May 2013
A while back, I shared about making a Blurb book about my week on the Queen Mary 2. I recently finished one on my time in England and received it in the mail this past week! It is so thrilling to see the books with my journal entries, blog posts and photographs all in one place!
Even the back of the books came out gorgeous! I must admit that choosing just the right photos for the covers out of thousands (over 11,000 were taken on this trip!) of photos was a challenge. The ones that made the cut were photos that I felt captured the essence of each segment of my journey.
In the books, I've included the entries from my daily journal that I kept and included lots of my favorite photos, including photos of many of the meals I ate!
There are pages about the different places I stayed.
And some spreads of groups of things that I found my self taking photographs of over and over throughout the trip!
I am working on one more book about this trip that will cover Scotland and London. While the books are on the expensive side, when I figured out the cost of printing photos and putting them in albums, it actually works out fairly well. And being able to include my journal entries and blog posts all together makes it such a complete book of memories! I'm very happy with them!
I've also been working on another set of books. Among the things I inherited from my parents were their large collection of slides and photographs taken throughout the years. It's actually a bit daunting to look at and try to figure out how to manage all of it. A while back, I invested in and Epson V500 scanner, which can scan slides and negatives. I've been scanning many of the slides so that we can actually look at and enjoy the pictures.
Triggered by an upcoming trip, I decided to scan all of my parents slides of two trips that they took to Grand Teton National Park in the early 1960's. It's fun to have these memories of my folks and to see the trips through their eyes. I've made it into a book, which I'll be able to share with family and friends of theirs that are interested. If you go to Blurb, you can see a preview of the book here!
18 May 2013
With a lovely day forecast, we headed for Rocky Mountain National Park yesterday. Our first stop was Endo Valley. We saw this wild turkey wandering among the trees.
The creek flowing through Endo Valley is tinged golden with peat. It's flowing fairly full with the snowmelt. We were actually surprised at how little snow there was at this elevation.
But as we headed up Trail Ridge Road, we started to see snowbanks.
At Rainbow Curve, the road is closed. Beyond this point they are still plowing the roads! I've heard reports of drifts over 15 feet tall and yesterday the park posted a photo on their Facebook page of the Alpine Visitor Center still buried in snow! From Rainbow Curve, you can see Horseshoe Park (in the distance) far below as well as the Alluvial Fan (on the left) from the Lawn Lake flood that happened in 1982. Endo Valley is out of view to the left. On the right, you can see Trail Ridge Road snaking up the mountain.
At Rainbow Curve there were many Grey Jays watching for handouts from visitors. Though feeding the animals is strictly forbidden, they must still get their fair share as they keep trying!
This little Colorado Least Chipmunk has found a snack and the little Junco seems to be asking to share!
Then we headed up the Bear Lake Road. It has been undergoing construction for a couple of years now, so we didn't anticipate seeing much wildlife, so were vastly surprised to come around a corner and see this moose! I've never seen the moose on the east side of the park. To get here, it had to cross over the continental divide, which would be quite a journey! The rangers we talked to said there is a small group of them that came over a couple of years ago. What a treat to see!
Mid-day, we stopped for lunch in the Sprague Lake area. We had a prime spot next to the beaver pond. Such a gorgeous day! This is my daughter Jessie and her fiance David.
Though this beaver pond is now abandoned, it remains strong and provides a lovely still pond. The sound of the water burbling through it is so peaceful.
After lunch, we enjoyed a hike around the lake and had a lovely view towards the snowy peaks. We watched an Osprey take a plummeting dive into the lake after a fish from this spot.
It's a lovely spot, and an easy 1/2 mile walk.
The afternoon found us in Moraine Park where we headed back towards one of my favorite areas. Late last fall, the Fern Lake Fire burned through this area removing a large number of trees and much of the undergrowth, leaving it very open. With the spring snow melt, the grass is coming in green and lush. It will be interesting to watch this area rejuvenate after the fire.
The fire also burned through much of Moraine Park. Along here, there used to be massive stands of willow that are now gone. Once again, the fresh green grass is brilliant. Really gorgeous. The creek is running full as it winds across the valley floor! A beautiful end to a lovely day!
12 May 2013
One of the things I've missed the most since I've gone back to working nights, is rising with the sun each morning. There is something so peaceful about the early morning and seeing the first rays of sun across the landscape fills me with joy. When I have more than a couple of nights off, I try to switch my schedule back, but still find myself sleeping the morning away most of the time. But on this glorious Mother's Day morning, I was up with the sun and watched the red glow of sunrise through the trees. It wasn't long and the day called me out for a walk through the nearby park.
What a beautiful morning! A sheen of dew across the grass, the warmth of the early morning sun and the cool air lingering from night! The reflective light across the pond was lovely!
The little island in the pond was filled with birds!
There were snowy egrets ~ brilliant white in the morning sunlight.
On the water, the American Pelicans were surrounded by fleets of Double Crested Cormorants. I love how the cormorants all have their beaks in the air as if awaiting something special!
When at rest, the cormorants spread their wings out in an imposing posture to let their wings dry.
But it was the amazing number of Black Crowned Night Herons that really caught my attention! I've never seen so many in one place together. They can look rather ominous with a hunched pose and a brilliant reddish eye, but then one notices their long white streamer feathers spreading down their back!
After watching the birds for a good hour, I completed my walk by circling the lower pond. It was still as a mirror, completely unruffled.
From some angles, the trees reflected in the water appeared almost more real than the real trees! What a gorgeous, beautiful morning!
As you know, I've been watching the owlet in the neighboring tree, and this morning, I saw that it must have flown the nest in the past day as the nest is empty for the first time in weeks. A few days ago, the crows were circling this pine tree and heckling one of the adult owls that was resting in it. The crows circled and made an enormous racket, making sure that everyone in the vicinity knew that there was an owl in the tree!
This lovely little chipping sparrow is the latest new bird to visit our yard! There is a nice little flock that comes to visit!
Yesterday we had a spring hail storm. The clouds were black overhead with a constant rumble of thunder far overhead. Then a subtle roaring sound started and I knew hail was on it's way. From the intensity of it, I thought it might be a devastating storm, but at least in my area, this was as bad as it got. The poor forsythia bush had been ready to burst into bloom before last weeks snowstorm and hard freeze. It's still managing a few blossoms, but I'm sure it's a pale shadow of what could have been!
All around the yard, the leaves are bursting out! It's so wonderful to see them!
Especially the fresh new leaves of the aspen! Those little round leaves with their red stems are such happy things!
How grateful I am on this beautiful Mother's Day morning to have such a wonderful family of children to be a mother to! What a gift it is!
And in looking back at my own mother, it seems fitting to have started off this Mother's Day watching the birds, which was her favorite thing in all the world to do. How she would have loved to have been out there with me!
02 May 2013
May Day arrived with snow flowers rather than baskets of spring blooms.
Even the squirrels seemed a bit bewildered that we had yet more snow this spring.
But snow in May is not unheard of in Colorado. This photo of me shoveling snow is from 1978 when we had 19" of snow in the middle of May! I was much younger and skinnier in those days!
How glad I was to see that bright Colorado blue sky this morning! Just gorgeous!
The owlet in the neighbor's tree is growing and starting to get some new facial feathers!
And the first leaves of spring have officially arrived! The aspen trees in my yard seem to have appreciated this latest bit of snow as they have all opened their fresh new leaves this morning!
As it is National Day of Prayer today, I wanted to leave you with these prayers from "Celtic Prayers of Iona" by J. Philip Newell. They seemed appropriate to me with all the strife we have experienced within this past year in our nation and around the world.
O Christ of the poor and the yearning
Kindle in my heart within
A flame of love for my neighbor,
For my foe, for my friend,
for my kindred all.
From the humblest thing that lives
To the Name that is highest of all
Kindle in my heart within
A flame of love.
Watch now O Christ
With those who are weary
or weeping this night.
guide them to a house
of your peace
And lead me to be caring
for their tears.
29 April 2013
Between the patio and the terrace is a flower bed in sad need of renewal. Because it gets much shade during the summer from the maple tree planted in the middle of the terrace, it needs plants that can cope with the shade. Among the plants I picked up to plant there is this sweet columbine called 'Songbird Dove'. I love the ever so slight blush of pink. The blooms are large and so graceful!
Love these violas, a paler version of the ubiquitous Johnny Jump Up. I hope they reseed as easily!
I'll use this sweet woodruff as a ground cover around the plants and around the base of the maple tree. It should fill in nicely!
I also picked up a couple of these 'Alpine Blue' columbine to add in as well.
Along the sunnier end of the bed, I'll plant a David Austin 'Crocus Rose' in pale creamy tones similar to the Songbird Dove columbine! Hope it will do well in this mostly shady spot. It will get lots of early morning sunshine, but will miss the heat of the late day sun.
Inside I've been neatening things up as well. With the onset of warmer weather, I find I want things simplified and less cluttered.
For spring and summer, I removed the sheepskin throws from the back of the chairs and replaced the woolen throws with a lighter aqua one. You'll notice that we have new curtains hung as well!
The mantle is freshened up with aqua candles to go with the seascape painting. The painting belonged to my mother and was a gift to her from her painting instructor when we moved to Colorado many, many years ago. I've always loved it and am so happy to give it a home in my living room!
The sofa still has it's wintry dark green cushions, which I hope to change out for some aqua ones in the near future. I am loving the softness that the new curtains add to the room. So much nicer than just the metal blinds that were here before.