Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Notes From The Country - Behind The Scenes

We have had yet more rain. Although this recent downpour was much shorter in duration, much less rain, much more commotion. Violent, earsplitting thunder, and bright flashes of lightening disrupted an otherwise quiet evening, and sent the dog crawling into the corner of the bathroom, and me nearly giving into the urge to run down to the basement and join the girls in movie time - with the volume turned on high. Apparently mother nature is still showing her might around here.

Speaking of which, I thought this was priceless....
In Estes Park, here in Colorado, there was a good amount of flooding, although the town itself, at the mouth of Rocky Mountain National Park, was not nearly as devastated as the highway and other structures that run alongside of the Big Thompson river all the way up to Estes Park, effectively cutting off the main access route between us and them. There have also been no flush zones up there in certain areas, due to - well - the flooding - and we'll leave it at that. The point is porto-potties have been distributed, warnings have gone out to anchor them due to recent high winds (associated with the storm described above) - no seriously! There were 911 calls and people had to be rescued from overturned outhouses...awkward. Anyway!!! They're having a contest now for best decorated porto-potty. Colorado mountain people are resilient is what I'm saying. But I digress. Bigtime.

With all the recent rains, these little guys have been popping up all over our forest area. They're so amazing and delicate, however, much to my frustration, I am not a wild mushroom afficionado, and as I don't want to get sick or worse, I will leave them be. More digressing.

The moral here so far is not to blog when you're sick. Cold season has officially commenced here. Mine is not full blown as my husband's and daughter. My favorite comfort tea above is - well technically a tisane, because it is made with fresh herbs. I made it with fresh chamomile flowers, lemon verbena leaves, thyme, honey, fresh ginger and fresh lemon juice from my home grown meyer lemons. All of these have healing medicinal properties and just taste good! I have managed to make progress on a few items for my shop throughout - with the help of  my daughter

What do you get when you cross a black and white chicken ...

with a black and white apron??

A wacky photoshoot and some fun Etsy shop photos. Here are some behind the scenes silliness when you put together a sick photographer with an even sicker model. This was her third missed day of school due to an achy, feverish cold and sinus infection. What a great Mom I am making her do this...

Here is one of the Halloween aprons. The mask was made for one of our previous Halloween parties, but I thought this a little too creepy for Etsy.

I was playing around a lot on Photoshop afterwards.

Here's another Halloween apron and a coughing fit.

Of course, we can't make it through all this picture taking sans cell phone.

One of my new fall City aprons. She's having too much fun with the props.

No the chicken didn't poop on the new Country apron.

And yes, all aprons are washed and free of germs and feathers before they are shipped out. 

My latest Indian apron with Hannah trying to manipulate my Rajasthani puppet doll.
This was the best photo taken by my other daughter who was distracted by me bringing a chicken into the house and had to see what was up. 
Here's where they'll be in their selling form...My Etsy Shop

 Now it's time for some caffeine and kleenex and I shall get back to work. Hmmm.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Sweet Dreams

Here's a little ditty for your bedtime listening...Shine On Harvest Moon...Look for it in the sky tomorrow. Sweet Dreams.

Afternoon Pick Me Up

Ok. For me this is a pick me up. The holidays are coming!! I love this time of year. First up, Halloween! Boo. I made these two aprons to celebrate the occasion. They're an Edgar Allan Poe - "Quoth the Raven Nevermore" theme. For a Halloween party or an October book club party I think they would be fun. They'll be in my shop this week...unless I decide to keep them.

Lunch Break

The first major colds of the season have hit here, and that calls for homemade chicken noodle soup, with abundant fresh vegetables, herbs, garlic and ginger, in a rich chicken broth. 

Morning Wake Up Call

Scrambled eggs anyone?

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Notes From The Country - When it Rains...

Here's a bit of what I've been up to lately , but first, yes, much rain, much flooding, much devastation around Northern Colorado. Many places we frequent from Denver north have been damaged and shut off for several days. The thing is we have numerous rivers and creeks running down from the nearby Rocky Mountains through the towns in the foothills continuing down to the bigger towns and cities near the foothills and on out East to the plains of Eastern Colorado. This is true throughout the whole Front Range which extends from South of Denver to North of us here in Fort Collins. We see an average yearly rainfall of about 15 to 20 inches along the Front Range and when you get a freak stalled storm that dumps 6 inches to a foot of water in a few days, well it's not pretty. We had one of those 500 year storms here in Fort Collins in 1997 and for us that was worse than this one. It was more localized and dumped a foot of water in two days here. Back to the present. Just to give you a brief idea. 

This was the bridge on our walking path by the Poudre River on Father's day this past June.

 This was it two days ago. Yesterday they showed it on the news and it had risen to just below the little white sign on the top that says clearance 7 feet. And our Poudre River hung in there really well compared to the other major rivers.

 Another view of our walking path.

I LOVE this photo (from Durango news) "...through rain, snow, sleet, or hail..." Well our mail was delivered about four hours late yesterday, and I think I can safely assume there were many people - and towns in general - that did not get their mail delivered. That saying didn't include flooding.

Especially if roads into your town looked like this... which some did.
Wild, rushing, debris filled water is powerful, destructive, and deadly.

We were fortunate here at home. The worst flooding was in the chicken yard. I let them out to wander so they wouldn't be stuck in muddy water all day.

Some soaked and muddy alpacas.

And some drowned pine cones.

In more typical Colorado fashion we had a break in the afternoon with some sunshine and the cats were happy to be out after a soggy few days. (My cat thinking, "I know we're the same color but that's where the similarity ends.")
 Feeling grateful and sending my hopeful thoughts to everyone around us who has been affected by this ruinous event.

Moving on to the minor happenings in my past week...
The advice I've been getting is to fill my Etsy shop with more more more. So that's my goal. I've spent this past week cutting, sewing

making yards of binding...

and creating more choices of all my apron lines. I'm also working on some new accessories and other apron styles. 

I bought this lamp so I can have some overhead light for the ever - shortening days ahead. It's a chicken wire lamp. I thought it was fitting.

Ambiance matters. I always have candles lit. 

We went for a walk down the road. The dairy farmer's field is doing well - although all summer was struggling because of lack of water - go figure. And although the corn is not as lush and abundant as some seasons it is growing, and so are the sugar beets. Sugar beets are big around here. As in of the current world production of more than 130 million metric tons of sugar, about 35% comes from sugar beet and 65 % from sugar cane. It's all in the root.

 We watched the sun set over the neighboring pastures. 

We've had really pretty sunsets lately. This is one over the garden. Speaking of the garden I've been harvesting some things here and there. We picked some beans, cucumbers, zucchini, and of late tomatoes, carrots, some baby beets and corn. Being gone for 5 weeks in the middle of the growing season does not contribute to success.

I did make some potato corn chowder on one of our rainy, cool evenings 

I like to make this Moroccan salad every summer because it is so fresh. It is made of chopped fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, onion, mint and olive oil, lemon juice and salt and  pepper. I added some feta cheese on the top - just doing my part to blend cultures. ;)

I planted a grape vine last year by the pergola on our back patio and it not only survived the winter but it has grown up the side and produced 5 clusters of little Himrod grapes. So fun! And they were so crisp and sweet. 

The chickens have started laying. I always think of this as miraculous. This was the first one.

And now they're up to 7 a day. No I can't possibly use 7 to 10 eggs a day. I have some new friends who seem to be excited about them though. 

I also sampled some delicious snacks from my favorite establishment downtown. I told my bartender I was feeling like something carb-y and this appeared. Some kind of divine smoky, spicy potatoes and garlicky asiago stacked french fries. Yup. I'm spoiled. And I like it that way. 

We also happened upon one of our last summer concerts in the town square. It was a boisterous good time for all.

 I'll leave you with this - until next time...