busy june

June has been quite busy so far. I keep thinking I must write a post for the blog, but then I get carried off again to put out another (metaphorical) fire, or tend to something that needs tending.

We have traveled a bit recently, to Santa Fe for vacation. I do love the high desert, and all those juniper trees. We did a lot of yummy eating (they have amazing restaurants there, tons of them!), some hiking and adventuring and sight-seeing, but boy, after a week, I was ready to come home to my quiet prairie, chickens, garden, and long, thinking walks through the countryside.

I did not grow all those roma tomatoes. My tomato plants are only just starting to flower. I belong to a food co-op and was able to get a 25 lb box of tomatoes for some canning. I actually put up a lot more cans than the picture shows – that seems to be the only pic I took of the fruit of my labors – silly me! I canned about a dozen jars of pizza sauce, and about a dozen of salsa. Both came out deliciously. My family raved and we are almost out of the salsa already. I plan to get two boxes next time, unless my garden is producing enough, and get ahead of the salsa addiction my people seem to have. Would any of you like those recipes?

The garden is fully planted, and now I am engaged in a daily battle against insects, rodents, deer, and wind. It does not rain much here. I am told that it hails quite mercilessly. We have had one good drenching so far, and a few sprinklings. That is something I miss about gardening in Florida: the daily summer rain storms. I took it for granted. Here on the high prairie in Colorado, rain is precious. I find myself praying for it, asking for it, daily.

The wildflowers here are beautiful. That orange one is Indian Paintbrush. It is so vibrant. I often stop on my long walks, and get down on the ground to take pictures of insects and flowers. I just cannot seem to get used to the beauty of all the tiny, lovely, living things. Maybe that is a good thing.

A couple of recent Colorado family day-adventures: we drove to the top of Pikes Peak on a foggy, rainy day. Driving up through the fog and aspens was eerie, wintry, cold. Then, suddenly, we were above it, and the sun was shining again. Up on the Peak, you could look all around at the valley enshrouded in a thick layer of fog, with the sun shining down above it, unable to penetrate. There was snow up there too! In late May. I suppose it is not that unusual. But I am a Florida girl, so snow still seems like a miracle, always.

And the other adventure was an afternoon hike at Castlewood Canyon State Park, which is gorgeous. We saw rattlesnakes! This was a pair of Western Rattlesnakes, entwined round each other, right on the trail, mating, I think. We decided to leave them alone and call it a day, as we’d already hiked a few miles by this time. But I would like to go back there and explore some more. There is an old, crumbling dam, some waterfalls, and of course, the canyon is lovely.

P.S. That is an airsoft gun that my son is holding. Our boys like to shoot at targets and such with them, around the property, but we are careful to teach respect for any sort of weapon, and also, for life. The best hunters are those who deeply revere life. Killing is not a sport. Just to clarify.

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