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West of Eden

The Garden of Eden is placed somewhere in the area of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers by those using the Bible as a source; however, current archeological evidence points towards Africa as the birthplace of humans.  We've spread out a bit since then.

Still, it seems to me that there are many places where the real Garden of Eden - the natural world in which we evolved - can be enjoyed.  During the seasons when the weather is well above freezing, I'm good for the day with a bottle of water and a snack.

This place might be pretty far west of Eden, but it sustains abundant life, and has its own rugged beauty.  And - - - no talking snakes or power-tripping deities.

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A Northern Harrier [ Circus cyaneus , female] glides by.

A Northern Harrier [Circus cyaneus, female] glides by.

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Broad-tailed Hummingbird  [Selasphorus platycercus] .

Broad-tailed Hummingbird [Selasphorus platycercus].

Returning home, I find some deer resting in the shade in the yard, and the bird feeders busy.

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A Black-billed Magpie offers pest removal services.

A Black-billed Magpie offers pest removal services.

I am pretty sure this is the first time I have ever seen the spectacular Lazuli Bunting [Passerina amoeba].   Wow.

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Herbs

According to the National Resources Conservation Service of the USDA, the first freeze ought to be hitting this area near the end of this month.  That doesn't give my tomatoes, which endured two vicious attacks by ravenous deer, much time.

First tomatoes, and only a few weeks left before first frost.  From left to right, hyssop [outside the dish], then rosemary, curry above the tomatoes, purple basil below the tomatoes, and another variety of hyssop.

First tomatoes, and only a few weeks left before first frost.  From left to right, hyssop [outside the dish], then rosemary, curry above the tomatoes, purple basil below the tomatoes, and another variety of hyssop.

Deer netting around my herb patch.  Tough enough, and hard for the deer to see.

Deer netting around my herb patch.  Tough enough, and hard for the deer to see.

But, I harvested my first two yesterday, and it looks like from here until that cold weather arrives, I will have a steady crop ripening on my three plants.

The deer were just being opportunistic herbivores, and I have learned pretty well what they like and don't like around the yard.  But when they cropped three of my tomato plans almost to the ground, and pull the fourth out entirely, I upped my game.

I replaced the five-foot high mesh fencing with deer netting - black plastic mesh that they can't really see very well, and is quite tough - strung between and over seven-foot metal poles.

I tied the netting together at the top, and weighted down the bottom with rocks.  Since then, not a nibble.  Hell, I can hardly get in there.

Herbs, too

I am also starting to bring in cuttings of the herbs I've been growing: sage, rosemary, mint, thyme, tarragon, dill, hyssop, and basil.

I planted some small hyssop plants as ornamentals out front.  They took off, and several weeks later when I was out there weeding, I was knocked out - in a good way - by the amazing smell - like freshly-made root beer.

Dill is still my favorite, though - I put the stuff in everything.  Have to plant more of it next Spring!

Counter-clockwise from 6 o'clock: dill, hyssop, stevia, thyme, dill on the stick, sage, and mint.  In the dish from left to right: rosemary, curry, tomatoes, and purple basil, and a second variety of hyssop.

Counter-clockwise from 6 o'clock: dill, hyssop, stevia, thyme, dill on the stick, sage, and mint.  In the dish from left to right: rosemary, curry, tomatoes, and purple basil, and a second variety of hyssop.

Milner Pass towards Mount Ida

A hike along the Continental Divide. 

This route starts at Milner Pass on the Continental Divide.  It climbs from about 10,500 ft. MSL to well above the tree line, towards the summit of Mt. Ida, at 12,280 ft. 

Starting point - Poudre Lake at dawn.

Starting point - Poudre Lake at dawn.

The route.

The route.

Ptarmigan in summer colors.

Ptarmigan in summer colors.

Elk graze at dawn.  "Nice rack!"  "Thanks - you, too."

Elk graze at dawn.

"Nice rack!"

"Thanks - you, too."

Yellow-Bellied Marmot.

Yellow-Bellied Marmot.

Front porch with a view.

Front porch with a view.

Many paths in addition to the human trail.

Chipmunks at play.

Chipmunks at play.

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"Small Apollo" butterfly.

"Small Apollo" butterfly.

Looking from the Continental Divide over a few unnamed lakes towards Forest Canyon, with Trail Ridge and Trail Ridge Road in the distance.

Looking from the Continental Divide over a few unnamed lakes towards Forest Canyon, with Trail Ridge and Trail Ridge Road in the distance.

Rocky Mountain panorama.

Rocky Mountain panorama.

A rock rabbit, or Pica.

A rock rabbit, or Pica.

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Storing up for the winter?

Storing up for the winter?

Mule deer.

Mule deer.

A mushroom bursts forth.

A mushroom bursts forth.

Many mushrooms burst forth.

Many mushrooms burst forth.

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