Sunday, August 9, 2020

Happy Trails

"Some trails are happy ones,
Others are blue.
It's the way you ride the trail that counts,
Here's a happy one for you..."

~ Dale Evans

You can watch Dale Evans and her husband Roy Rogers sing the entire song on YouTube on this link.

I remember hearing Dale and Roy sing that song during my childhood. It made me imagine riding a horse up into the mountains along a dusty trail.  I'm walking on those trails these days, and glad to have over forty-five miles of them, almost in my backyard!

It has been a wonderful outlet to be able to go out and walk in different directions in the cool mornings and see and hear nature while staying socially distanced from others during this pandemic.

My husband plows ahead at a quick pace and I lag behind stopping to take a photo of this or that--a wildflower, or rock formation, or clouds in the sky...

...their combinations are too beautiful not to admire!

I do take a lot of photos!  They make me happy!

With so many trails to chose from our views are varied. In the photo above we are hiking west up towards the foothills with a view of our community in the foreground and then the hogback formations to the east.

The foothills loom over our valley and look so close, but we have to hike far to reach towards their top.  Most of our neighbors like to mountain bike on these trails. 

Wild Yucca

The Colorado foothills climate is considered high desert, with hot days in summer followed by cool evenings and nights,  We have had a very hot summer this year with temperatures in the 90's F (32 C) and it has been unusually dry so that our entire state in drought.

Even with the drought, we've seen many beautiful wildflowers on our trail walks.

The silvery lupines were prolific in July!

The Prickly Poppies were also plentiful.

More wildflowers along the trails

"Who cares about the clouds when we're together?...

...Just sing a song and bring the sunny weather..."

One morning we were entertained by watching a young girl train her horse ...

...and it is always fun to pass some friendly wildlife on our walks.

"Happy trails to you, until we meet again

Happy trails to you, keep smilin' until then."

Thanks for coming along on some of our Colorado trails with me. 

Stay happy, safe, and healthy!

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Monday, August 3, 2020

Summertime and the Living is Quiet

So far the summer of 2020 has been a very quiet one. June and July blended into one, and most likely so will the month of August.  My husband and I have basically stayed home except for a very occasional shopping trip for groceries or a doctor visit. We sadly canceled all our social engagements if they can't be done by computer Zoom video conference.  We are being extra precautious, as we both feel this coronavirus would hit us hard and we don't want to take any risks. I worked as an RN in medical and surgical intensive care before retiring and I took care of many ventilator patients. It is not an experience I would want to go through if I can avoid it.  So we've enjoyed "Home Sweet Home." Our favorite spot outside at home is the patio we have in front of our house as it has a wonderful shade tree and there always seems to be a pleasant breeze.

As you can see in the photo above, our community is located in a valley at 6,000 plus (1828.8) feet elevation right up against the Colorado foothills.  They rise up about 1,000 feet above us and beyond them are the Rocky Mountains.  Our county has the nickname "Gateway to the Rockies" and you can see why on this prior blog post--click here. 

It really is a beautiful location as we are only about 25 minutes away from the city of Denver, but where we live feels so rural and bucolic.  We love it here!

Someone else also loves our foothills....lots of wildlife...and occasional elk, mule deer, bobcats, mountain lions, rattlesnakes, fox, coyotes, and yes, bears!  All the bear photos above were posted by neighbors on our community Facebook page. The one standing in the street was seen very early one morning up the hill from where I live. I've only seen bears here once--click here--to read that post.   Bears have a great sense of smell--I've read that they can smell food five miles away, so living near suburbs is a hazard for them as there are too many enticing smells.  We are told to keep our garbage cans in our garage until the morning of pick up, to take down our bird feeders and hummingbird feeders until November, to clean our grills well, keep our garages closed and leave no food inside our cars, not feed pets outside and remove the fruit from trees and bushes to help keep the bears wild.  Sadly, sometimes people don't comply or forget. We are supposed to make a lot of noise to scare the bear away if we do see one--they should remain afraid of people. If they become too at ease coming into a community or associate people with food, Colorado Parks and Wildlife will come, sedate them, tag them, and relocate them.  They tell us that bears usually will come back and if it keeps happening they sadly have to be euthanized.  It's sad--we are the ones who should know better!

My husband and I have enjoyed our gardens this summer...

...and the cute local wildlife and butterflies and birds, etc that visit us.

I've realized during this pandemic that slowing down to enjoy all the little pleasures and moments in life has not been such a bad thing. It can be very peaceful.  We love to travel and see new places--last year we were in Alaska and we had planned a trip to Italy, Greece and other cities along the Adriatic Sea in Europe which we obviously canceled, but I'm content that life will one day go back to normal and we will be able to travel again. 

One experiment I tried this summer was growing zucchini! I planted them in flower pots primarily for the blossoms.  We often ate zucchini blossoms when we lived in Brooklyn, NY, as they were easy to find in markets.  They are so uniquely delicious!  

What does one make with zucchini blossoms? So many recipes! Only the male blossoms are used--the female blossoms produce the squash.

I battered and fried them, stuffed them with mozzarella and anchovy and fried them, made them stuffed with a ricotta and mozzarella cheese mixture and cooked them in sauce, made them in risotto, added them to scrambled eggs, made them into fritters, made a  frittata with them and the fresh basil I grew.  I also put them into a lemony sauce for macaroni.  I really, really, enjoyed these blossoms!  We have not ventured out to restaurants as yet so I've done all the cooking since March. It's fine as I love to cook and my husband helps and washes the pots and pans.

Life is good!  We've also walked some of the 45 miles of trails in our neighborhood, which we are very fortunate to have.   I'll show you them and the wildflowers we've seen along the way in my next post. Meanwhile, stay healthy and safe!

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