Thursday, November 11, 2010

Fall Colors 2010

The fall colors in 2010 lasted for parts of September, through October, and into November. Many of the trees turned colors in a variegated fashion a branch at a time. Sometimes the trees had color, green, and bare branches at the same time. I think the long warm and dry fall season confused the trees.

This tree on east Valmont was the first color I saw.

The color of this Oak on north 17th lasted a long time and provided a brilliant show as I turned off Forest Street on the way to my mother's house.

The Tandy family lived in this house when it was built but moved on a few decades ago before the house became a rental property.

We had a big spring snow fall that caught some trees with early leaves. Several trees had to be removed and these are the replacements.

For a picture of this tree from '07 see one of my previous posts. Unfortunately the angle doesn't show the growth very well. This picture is from across the street.

Comparison photos are always fun and this one of Norlin Quad and the Library can be compared to a picture in the official program for the 1957 football game between Utah and Colorado.

The university has tree walks in the spring and fall hosted by knowledgable staff. A handy guide pamphlet is handed out for future reference and self guided walks.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Where Are the Wild Asparagus?

In Euell Gibbons book Stalking the Wild Asparagus he writes, "Wild food is clean because it has never been dirty." All of the asparagus shown in this essay grow along the roadside where heavy traffic leaves its own toxins behind. That fact should not deter you from either reading Mr. Gibbons' book or stalking asparagus on you own, by the roadside or not.

Wild asparagus spears rise from the tuberous root stock and become ferns collecting the energy of the sun to sustain growth. If all spears are harvested the plant will not survive and produce in future years. Enough spears must be left behind or there will be no spears the following year.

Finding wild asparagus in the springtime is easier if you know where the tender spears are. In the early spring, middle April to middle May here in the Boulder Valley, grasses hide the emerging asparagus. By observing where asparagus are during their life cycle it is easier to find them when they are edible.

The ferns are a distinctive green and can be spotted with ease while traveling around the Boulder Valley. Knowing that the seeds are spread by bird droppings will also give you an idea of where to look. Fence, telephone, power lines, and trees present the perfect resting spot for birds. All of the pictures presented are in those obvious locations.

The asparagus ferns become laden with seeds that turn red in the fall. These are a great food source for birds and should not be harvested for personal use as they are poisonous to humans. This particular clump of asparagus is one of the larger ones I've seen. The person that mows the grasses surrounding this stand takes care each year to allow the asparagus to prosper. Though this asparagus grows on public land it should be left on its own to grow to an even greater size.

The berries become a brilliant red asking the birds to spread the seed.

About a month after the Aspen start to turn in the mountains the asparagus turn a beautiful yellow throughout the Boulder Valley. Just as the green of summer stands out as distinctive the yellow of fall is like a signal flag. These asparagus grow in the ditch outside of and all along the fence of Bob Munson's pumpkin field.

Directly across the street from Bob are more asparagus in the fence line of Cure Farm. The fence denotes private land and these asparagus would be off limits for those stalking wild asparagus.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Fall Trip in the Colorado Rockies

A fall road trip to Buena Vista and Cottonwood Hot Springs brought out the best of Colorado

Just outside of Fairplay the call of "tree service" spoke to the Aspens in full color.

Having spent the night at Cottonwood Hot Springs soaking in the evening and the morning, their Lithium and other mineral infused waters had me loose and relaxed for the first hole of a wonderful nine hole course on the east side of Buena Vista. Check the course web site linked below the next picture to see the first hole from #10 tee box.

A few years ago I had played Collegiate Peaks Golf Course when the cottonwoods were in full color. This year I was a little early for total color but the course was in excellent shape.

With Mt Princeton in the background the pace of play of the group of five in front of me did not upset me too much. With all the trees one might expect leaf fall would make finding balls difficult but as in the past and when I played this year the course was in excellent playing condition. I highly recommend this course for an eighteen hole experience, they have different tee box placements for the turn around.

After playing golf I ventured into Buena Vista and enjoyed a dinner at Eddyline Restaurant and Brew Pub in the new urbanism development along the Arkansas River on East Main. Across the street and into the River Park was a climbing rock, well used from the look of chalk on most of the holds.

Overlooking the Arkansas River in the River Park was a set of ceramic tiled furniture. The didn't look comfortable and I didn't test that theory.

My good friend Rose has a thing about drive-in theaters and I couldn't avoid including a picture of this abandoned theater in Buena Vista.

What fishing, golfing, hot springing trip in the Colorado Rockies during the fall wouldn't include Aspens at their height of splendor.

Above Cottonwood Lake.

Just a little tease of fishing water on the Blue River below Silverthorne.

Borlotti Bean Patch

Borlotti Beans, or as the seed packet spells it Borlotto, originated in Columbia and are called Cargamanto, in the USA they are known as Cranberry Beans. In Italy they are bred to have a thicker skin and are the favorite bean for Pasta Fagioli. Most of the Cranberry Beans sold in Italy come from the USA.

Just getting started in early summer all the seeds from the packet shared the space with the Italian herb Scuplit, a pole variety of Borlotti, and some unknown Black Beans harvested from Mike's plot last year.

I planted them closer than advised but they seemed to do just fine.

The beans hid well under the leaves but a good soaking from the garden hose exposed the beans.
So gorgeous with their variegated red splashed over the creamy skin. The bumps indicated the size and ripeness of the fruit inside.

After harvest and ready for their trip to Frasca Food and Wine. Not to worry I kept a large amount for myself.

Each bean pod had a little collection of brilliant beans. They felt lighter in weight than I would expect for a large bean.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Arborwood Flower Pot, A Story of How Plants Get Along

The Flower Pot located at the entrance to Arborwood. Converted from a leaking water fountain it sat languishing as a container for evergreen shrubs. Several years ago someone had the idea to remove the shrubs and make a Flower Pot. The first year being empty Mike and I planted Marigolds, Petunia, Columbine, Echinacia, Torpedo Onion, and Strawberries. There were some other flowers but I don't remember their names. Then in 2009 in the dark of night a new gardener pulled up and transplanted or destroyed all but the Strawberries and planted a wonderful garden of flowers too numerous to comprehend.

Ground Zero in the conflict between edible Strawberries which I planted, the dreaded Ice Plants which had been there for years, and the invasive decorative Strawberries. They all fight for space and need a little convincing so as not to encroach into the other plants space. I did the convincing and received verbal punishment for being the "decider" from Sarah the authorized gardener of the Flower Pot. I have recently removed the edible Strawberries and replanted them at Karen's house way out in the country. They will be far happier there with direct sunlight which they lacked under the Silver Maple tree. I filled the empty space with a multitude of Black Eyed Susan plants which will grow and mature into a spectacular display.

After a couple of years of growing Torpedo Onions in the "Flower Pot" these volunteers came on their own and produced another wonderful set of flowers. Last year they weren't as strong nor were there as many. Not everyone in the condo complex admired these flowers but being back from the road they took their place high above most every other flower.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Fall Aspens at Bison Reservoir

Brian's Park Ice Skating Rink
Located downhill from the downtown of Victor, Colorado they have curtains that shield the winter ice from the sun. The rink is about a half block from my friend's house. To go to Bison Reservoir you have to be a resident of Victor or be taken as a guest. Bison Reservoir is part of the town water supply system and is located on the backside or west side of Pike's Peak.

Driving in the mountains of Colorado usually the third week of September will provide you with numerous views of the changing Aspen leaves. This year the leaves are about a week to two weeks late. The amount of pictures one could take and feel justified is amazing. It's just amazing to drive around and look at the beauty. This hillside is right at the turn off to Bison Reservoir.

Looking west from the same spot.

Notice the dirt road heading up the valley towards the lake. That's where we were heading.

It's like this almost everywhere as we approach the promised land.

There's a little stream that runs down past the Douglas Fir trees that is loaded with little Brookies.

Getting closer.

The fishing club stocks the lake and charges members and their guests. That's Dave in the Jamaica hat, our member friend and sponsor. Jimi my fishing buddy and the guy with the cash is also Jim, the caretaker and money collector. Jim has a great job, yeah he gets paid, keeping everyone in line and making sure it is a wonderful place for family and friends. He'll also guide you for big game hunting in the surrounding mountains. The local forest rangers use him when they want to make population counts, he knows where all the game animals hang out.

There are rules and one of them is no swimming, as the sign says but you can't see. Also no boats so only fishing from shore or with waders.

All the silver and gold is concentrated in the caldera of the mountain back where Victor is located. On this mountain it appears to have a vent from the volcanic activity in years, many years, past. One might think this is a connected vent to the main volcano caldera and would also have mineral deposits of value.

Every lake has an inlet and Bison is fed by a small stream that runs between those trees.

If you click on this picture you should be able to see the road up Pike's Peak on the mountain on the far left. The summit is not visible but is to the right.

Two fly fishermen can be seen in front of the three gigantic rock ridges that provide a dramatic back drop to the lake's east side. These rock ridges continue through and under the lake and provide cover and excellent fishing on the west side of the lake.

Lakes also have outlets and this lake's outlet is at the right edge of the picture.

These little fluffy clouds become gigantic thunder heads by the time they reach the Kansas border. Be sure to follow the link to the Orb's Little Fluffy Clouds.

The dam neck from the vantage point of the afore mentioned rock ridges. Also note the trailer that is Jim the caretakers headquarters and shelter. He has exposed nails on the bottom step to prevent the bears from standing on the step to get inside his door.

The north shore of the lake. Jim's trailer is visible near the left edge of the picture.

A road passes along the north shore to a couple of cabins that are open for overnight stays. The meadow at the cabins is a grazing area for mountain sheep. They are there almost every morning. We didn't stay there this year as the flues need cleaning and it hasn't been done.

Same road, it's nice and long.

A few shore side leaves.

Aspen leaves decorate a pine tree and it becomes a Christmas tree.

Jimi likes his place on the dam neck for fishing. Not only does he catch lots of fish there the dam works provide protection from the usual winds out of the west.

The weather didn't allow the lake to be very still but I was able to catch some reflection in the calm before the storm.

A usual occurrence in the mountains in the afternoon is the build up of storm clouds and a resultant shower or more.

The storm clouds run up against Pike's Peak and push south and sort of swirl around the lake once or twice before gaining strength and pushing over to the plains.

The hillside to the south of the entrance as we leave. It almost looks like the weather is clearing, but don't be fooled.

Pike's Peak socked in and Jimi has locked the gate. The end of a wonderful fishing trip.
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