Tuesday, June 26, 2012

And Now It's Summer

Lovely blue skies, lots of green trees, plenty of sunshine.....summer is here. Today it's predicted that our high temperature in the region will be about 108 (F) or so. It probably won't be that high up here in the mountains, but it's around 87 inside my home this afternoon. I have open windows with shades down and 3 ceiling fans going. It's not too bad, but for sure it is warm inside.

I'm miserable. I hate hot weather. Summer is my least favorite season. My only comfort is knowing that we have passed the solstice, so that means the days are gradually growing shorter, and we are heading towards autumn. And still it is chilling off at night. I hope that will continue because it means that mornings inside my place are still ok, and I can sleep easily.

This hot spell is happening a bit earlier than I think is right. I think it should not get over 100 until about mid-July or so. Global climate change in action? (So far we have had only small-ish forest fires in the region, but the fire danger is high, and that could change at any minute. As I write Colorado is where most of the action is right now, but there are fires all around the region, including Utah.) The experts are pretty well agreed that the region is in another year of drought.

I'm coping by getting up  and going out for my trail walk earlier & earlier every day. I wear skirts and sleeveless shirts a lot. I drink a lot of water. I take baths in cool water, more than once a day if needed. I don't cook. I've ordered a tabletop fan from Target.

The good news is that I'm eating a lot of salads and fresh fruit because I can't stand the idea of cooking. I am  happy that nowadays I can buy those small round watermelons. Those plus frozen grapes are my favorite foods right now.

Smokey Rose is coping by spending a lot of time stretched out on the wood floor in dark places. She doesn't like petting and snuggling very much at the moment.

People ask me, what do I do up here all summer? Well, I keep with with my work over the computer. This summer I'm co-teaching a new class for me in human growth and development which is proving to be interesting and kind of fun even. I'm working on our writing project. Work involves a lot of sitting. I do it every afternoon and into the evening as needed.

I do go out for a morning walk. In the afternoons, when I make myself get up and move around, I've taken to doing housecleaning. I have to do everything by hand here, and sweeping is a satisfying activity. Yesterday I really did a good job in the bedroom...moved the whole bed and everything and was appalled, of course, at what I found under there. Today was bathroom day.

Other than that, I have very little energy.

I have however read three mystery novels and several other books on my trusty iPad.

I have knit several small things...so far 2 1/2 pair of socks, one scarf, one little shawl with a second scarf in progress and another little shawl to be started as soon as these rainbow socks are finished. Everything is small, easy and fast.

I practice drumming using our practice videos. I have learned one song pretty well so far and am about to start on another.

And then there are always naps on my nice comfy bed!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Mickelson Trail

The George Mickelson Rail Trail has several trail head quite close to where I live. I have walked and biked on different sections of the trail in the past, but I had this thing in my mind that I should not have to drive the car in order to go for a walk. So for years I contented myself with taking walks in town, which is no small feat because of how hilly this town is.
I had a challenge when I first got my place ... to walk every street in the town. I accomplished that a couple of years ago. It was fun to discover all the little neighborhoods and to see the interesting buildings and other stuff like cemeteries. But this summer I knew I wanted to walk the trail. I got over my idea that driving in order to go walking is a bad thing. I mean, I could walk to the various trail heads, and if I were training for a marathon or something, that would probably be a good idea. But I'm not (marathon training, that is). So I drive ... saves tons of time.

I started doing my walks in the evenings, but that interfered with how I wanted to eat supper, plus around here nearly every evening there is either a real or threatened thunder & lightning storm. It's that time of year. So I switched to mornings instead.

I drive to different trail heads on different days. So far I have not yet made it from a given trail head to the next one and back again, but that's my overall goal for the summer.... to do that for at least one trail head,  maybe a couple. I think I can manage that.

I always begin by walking uphill, which means I will not begin at certain trail heads, like the one in Lead town. I just walk uphill until I decide to stop and then turn around and go back downhill. The grade is pretty easy, but uphill is still uphill. So much easier to do that part first.

Some nice people have sponsored benches along the trail here and there. My routine is that when I find a bench, I stop and do a bit of standing up yoga which always makes me feel good. You can see my fine new Norwegian walking poles. Love those fellow Scandinavians. They make such good things. I do apologize for the disposable plastic water bottle. Someone gave it to me, and I see no reason to waste it now that I have it. But once these bottles are used up, I'll go back to refilling a bottle.

I don't have a picture, but when I see a picnic table, I stop and do some strength and flexibility stuff with the poles, like doing air kayaking, or holding the poles up over my head. And when I find a bridge, I speed walk across it. There are a fair amount of bridges up here because the trails generally follow streams or creeks.

I have never taken to exercising in gyms. I much prefer to do real kinds of things like walking. I think I might could get addicted to this.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Smokey Rose settles into our Black Hills Home

Smokey Rose turned out to be good little traveler. She was pretty upset right away on the first day in the car, and she had a little accident early on (bless her heart, she made an effort to deposit the stuff into the plastic water cup instead on onto the blanket, and she was mostly successful). I cleaned things up, and then we were all right the rest of the day.

She was fine in the hotel. She did her usual exploring around all the drawers and cupboards.
And eventually she settled down on the nice comfy bed for the duration.
The second day of driving, she was just fine, but glad to be released out of the box into her new place. I always bring in the kitty first and then go back and forth unloading the rest of the car. While I was getting the other stuff I heard this crash that didn't register with me at first. But I found the evidence..she had gotten into a kitchen cupboard right away and managed to break a small piece of depression glass that was there. My other cats all ignored the cupboards, so they were not "cat proof." Now she can still get inside the cupboards, but I have re-arranged things so that breakage is less likely. Every morning I wake up to find things like this:
But so far no more broken things.

Smokey Rose likes this place just fine. She should. There are nice cat beds all around the place.

She can sit safely in open windows and keep an eye on what's going on outside.

She appropriated the bag that I use to carry my laptop in for herself.
There is a nice big arm chair.
And high places she can explore.
And a bench that is often sunny.
She really loves to hide deep in the clothes closet, but I can't get a picture of that. At night she chases balls and stuffed mice around on the shiny wooden floor which makes things move fast.

And, of course, most of all she likes the bed, same as Lily and Poppy used to do.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Red Butte Garden - end of May 2012

I have left Salt Lake City in order to spend the summer in the Black Hills, but before I left, I put in a lot of hours doing gardening at Red Butte. I will miss going there, but I'll be able to return in August. Meanwhile here are some pictures of how things looked during the last couple of weeks in May.

Daffodils were gone. We had spent a lot of time deadheading the spent flowers, and when I left, we were beginning to cut back the foliage which was starting to look crummy. Instead of daffodils we had irises.

White irises.

The always classic purple ones.

All yellow ones.

Bi-color yellow ones.

Orange ones.

Bronze-red ones

And my very favorite pink ones.

The fragrance garden was looking filled in and lovely.

But I know it will look quite different when I return, because we did a lot of planting in here, and I know that much of what you see is destined to be torn up pretty soon (most of what you see here that's yellow may already be gone, for example.)

We also got the herb garden all planted, but it still had some growing up to do to fill in the spaces.

Roses were beginning to show up.

These are in the amphitheater where the concerts are held. Concerts began last weekend.

I was surprised to find this beauty.

But these are just the best because they are an old fashioned variety that still has the most beautiful fragrance. It's named 'Souvenir de Philemon Crochet'. When it emerges, it has a pink blush to it that eventually fades so the bloom ends up being all white.

I can't have too many photos of it. I hope it will remain in bloom a long time. My friend Layne will see that all the roses get deadheaded while I'm gone so that they will continue to bloom all summer.

But I have to say that my latest favorites that were doing well just as I was leaving were the columbines.
There were lots of lovely yellow ones.

And finally the classic blue ones, that state flower of Colorado...one of my favorite places to have lived in.

That's it for now. Next time around I imagine you will see lots of rose photos. Don't forget to go visit the garden this summer and see what I will miss in June and July.