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.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Onion Harvest

I planted about 50 Italian Torpedo Onions in a small plot in our community gardens. They take about 110 days to mature, some sooner some a little more time. This is the first batch fresh out of the ground.

I use the garden hose to wash off the dirt and first layer of skin, the parchment like layer.

They are then ready for market. I actually take them to the local restaurants and do a trade. This batch went to Frasca Food and Wine where they made a succotash.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Knee High by the Fourth of July

I thought it was time for an up-date on my summer gardening activity. It is our national holiday and corn should be knee high at this time. Not that I have anyone standing in the corn to verify visually BUT this corn is more than knee high. It's up to my waist.

The corn on the east end are not quite knee high but almost.

After clearing and pulling the stalks of corn from last year I used them as ground cover to protect the soil. They only covered the middle third of the plot and I think that is the reason for better growth by the corn in the middle.

I was thinking of adding some Strawberry plants in the "flower pot" and when I read Ray's story on preparing strawberries on his blog it became a done deal.

There are only five plants but I choose the starters with runners already there in hopes of these five little plants taking over the space in a few short years.

I also planted a few Petunias to be with my Italian Torpedo Onions.

The onions in the "flower pot" are starting to look good despite my fear of lack of sunlight.

My big plot of Italian Torpedo Onions in the common garden plots are not progressing as fast as I had hoped for. I'm thinking they spent too much time in the delivery box waiting for the plot to be prepared for planting. We'll see sometime in September if they are going to be ready for harvest. If not this year I will winter them over and they will likely be great in the spring.

Compare this picture with the one I took on planting day.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Gardening at Colterra Food and Wine

I am a member of the staff at Colterra Food and Wine. Visit the web site to learn why this garden is important to everyone that becomes involved with the restaurant.

The garden is an on going project with plantings trying to keep up with consumption.

Starter plants are everywhere waiting to be grounded.

These Rhubarb plants look a little spare because over the last weekend the kitchen made a wonderful Strawberry and Rhubarb Galette. We sold every one.

Someone's been trimming the Chives.

Greens used in our salads.

One should be so lucky to be seated on this table for six on the outdoor patio next to the garden under the shaded protection of hundred year old trees.

This house is called the "Gables" and is used for larger private parties. It is one of two historic houses that are occupied by the restaurant.

Behind the Gables is an area that will be covered this winter to allow greens to be grown year round.

These beds were just planted with tomatoes. Nothing like August tomatoes in Colorado.

Steven preparing an alfresco table for evening service.

Home Gardening

Inspired by a Pete Wells blog in the New York Times Diner's Journal.
To take pictures and post them with stories.

I used to plant in the local Boulder Community Gardens
a number of years ago. The Candy Corn never seemed to make it out of the garden as I ate it raw.

Originally my homeowners association wouldn't let us have gardens on the grounds because of what would happen when the gardeners left, who would take card of the tilled ground.

Well now we have numerous plots located around the grounds.

The following pictures were taken June 5th 2008.

This plot was abandoned by a resident that moved to another part of town. I got in late last year and planted Candy Corn on the 15th of June. When I prepared the soil for planting it was hard and appeared sterile, there were no worms. Catherine must have had some results the year before as some volunteers came back. I ended up getting seven ears of corn.

Just a close up of my little babies.

So this is a little close up of a planting of Italian Torpedo Onions in the "Flower Pot" at the entrance to our condo circle.

Last year I planted some Italian Red Torpedo Onions in some small plots at my mother's house across town. I had heard about them in the restaurant business and researched them enough to want to plant some. The classic presentation is to slice them length ways and grill them. Even a little heat made them almost too mild to appreciate. What I didn't sell to the local restaurants went raw into salads or other yummy items.

It just seemed like a perfect place to plant some of the onions. I'm not sure about the amount of sunshine in this plot but it keeps the cats out.

A close up of my "official" garden plot. It's all onions and the other gardeners are curious about my intentions. I sell them to the local restaurants. Actually I take trade at the restaurants, barter is good for both sides.

Look for a lonely Petunia in the future.

The plot right next to mine was used by Ian last year but he moved. This lettuce is a volunteer from last year and will soon be requisitioned for Colterra Food and Wine, the restaurant where I work for a living.

Some more of Ian's volunteers.

Mike, one of the residents that likes to help others keep an eye on their plots.

Here's Mike overlooking his plot. Those radishes are getting big.

I printed this picture and titled it "Garden Gnome" and hung it on the back yard fence.

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