Monday, September 26, 2022

Fall Harvest Time!

Happy Fall! It is my favorite time of the year!  

It has been an excellent year for my little patio container garden and fall means it is time to harvest all that remains as our first frost will be soon on its way. I have gathered many juicy plum tomatoes and Hatch style and Calabrian style Red Chili Peppers throughout September. The photo above shows a small portion of them.

I started the vegetables as seeds in March in little flower pots that I placed by a sunny window.  Every seed was collected from vegetables that we had eaten that I dried and saved.  I had more plants than I had room to plant on my patio, so I also gave some to my son and some to neighbors.

I planted the tomatoes and peppers outside when the danger of frost was over--here in Colorado that was early June. At that time I also planted seeds for zucchini, basil, and dill in various outdoor containers and took out the perennial herbs that I overwinter in pots in my garage. The perennial herbs I grow are two types of thyme, rosemary, spearmint, oregano, sage, and lemon balm, as well as a fig tree. The perennials go dormant in fall/winter but "wake up" and grow again in summer. 

 I love watching everything grow!  

I also plant many flowers in my garden, and all are also from seeds that I saved in the fall.  As you can see from the photo collage above the local deer also admire all the annual flowers---smile.  My daughter and oldest granddaughter gave me the pretty plaque for my garden that is in the upper right corner of the photo collage above.

As you can see in the photos above, we often see deer right outside our windows!  I saw a doe with twin fawns come by from time to time and I believe they may have been the fawns that were born in my backyard in spring-- click here to see that post. They are getting big!

When my sunflowers began to wilt and dry up I cut off some of the heads and left them for the birds to eat. The squirrels and bunnies also had a very good time eating the seeds.

I also started the seed harvesting process all over again as well as drying or freezing herbs for use all winter, in the top, left photo, are marigold flowers that I deadheaded. I dry them and save them to plant next spring. Next to them are drying dill seeds. At the bottom left is basil that I wash, dry, and puree in my food processor and freeze in ice cube trays.  I use the cubes to flavor tomato sauce and sauces and soups all winter long. on the right is spearmint leaves which I dry and save for mint tea.

What have I been doing with all this summer produce?  Cooking!  In addition to the previous zucchini recipes, I posted--click here- I have also been making ricotta zucchini blossom fritters from a recipe that I found on this blog, and also making many zucchini walnut loaf cakes.

I enjoyed using ripe garden tomatoes all summer long in salads and soups and other recipes and I've made batches of tomato sauce to freeze.

I made stir fries, and taco casseroles, and other recipes that called for peppers with the Hatch style and Calabrian style peppers I grew, and also some were roasted, steamed, and then frozen for further use.

My Colorado Green Pork Chili recipe is so good and we look forward to having it every fall.

The deer rut is happening in our area and the bucks are all very actively searching for a female doe.  It is another sign of fall in Colorado!  As you can see in the photo above, we must drive carefully as they have "right of way" on our local roads.

Autumn colors are beginning to bloom all around Colorado!  I think it is the best time of the year--do you also love fall the best of all?

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Sunday, September 18, 2022

Historic Littleton Colorado Tour


It seems the end of summer became very busy for us! Our oldest granddaughter stayed with us a few days as her parents were traveling for work and we had school routine and homework duty to oversee which made us feel nostalgic.  Friends visited from their home in Virginia and we spent a nice time with them, and a community group we volunteer for had a fun potluck get-together for all its members. One of the volunteers told us that we should go on the last tour offered this summer of Historic Littleton, as she knew we enjoy learning local history.  

The tour is run during the summer months by Historic LittletonOn the centennial of Littleton, Colorado, in 1990 the Historic Littleton organization was formed to provide low-cost loans to property owners and businesses on Main Street.  This nonprofit Second Century Fund helps restore and preserve Littleton’s historic buildings for the next 100 years. The organization’s board consisted of local businesspeople who believed that Downtown Littleton gave the City its unique identity and character and was an asset for the entire community.

Part of Historic Littleton's mission is to educate the public about historic preservation through programs and tours.  We met the well-attended free tour in front of the. historic Littleton Municipal Courthouse--see above.  It was late afternoon on a very hot day, but all in attendance were eager to learn more from the two tour guide volunteers.

The city of Littleton's history dates back to the 1859 Pike's Peak Gold Rush, which brought not only gold seekers but merchants and farmers to the community. Richard Sullivan Little was an engineer from New Hampshire who made his way out West to work on irrigation systems. Little soon decided to settle in the area at present-day Littleton and brought his wife Angeline out from the East in 1862. The Littles, along with many neighbors, built the Rough and Ready Flour Mill in 1867, which provided a solid economic base in the community. By 1890, the community had grown to 245 people and the residents voted to incorporate the Town of Littleton.  The 13-square-mile city is now home to more than 44,000 people. Littleton has top-ranked schools, higher education, and more than 2,000 diverse businesses.  Littleton grew significantly throughout the 1950s and 1960s due to its proximity to the then Martin Marrieta facilities, which produced the Titan rocket and other aerospace products, and is now Lockheed Martin Corporation. You can read more about Littleton's history at this link.

As we followed the tour guide she told us about both the railroad system and also the irrigation canals that were of importance to the early days of agriculture in Littleton.  As Littleton grew major engineering feats moved the railroad tracks below street level into a tunnel to free up traffic and the flow of the South Platte River was moved! Littleton now also has two light rail stations that offer easy access to Downtown Denver.

We continued walking towards Littleton's Main Street which is now on the National Register of Historic Places.  

Littleton has an active trail system and more than 59 parks and open spaces. In 1961 Littleton, Colorado, and Bega, Australia, joined as sister cities with the motto "Firm and Lasting Friendship." You can read about how they became sister cities on this link.

The former Rio Grande Park just west of the railroad right-of-way on Main Street has been renamed Bega Park, redeveloped, and landscaped. Its centerpiece is a James Mann fountain which shows a map of the United States, the Pacific Ocean, and Australia, with the two sister cities marked by bronze stars. 

We then walked down Littleton's charming Main Street as the guide told us the history of many of the buildings.  It is very mainstream Americana of assorted stores and businesses on both sides of the wide tree-lined street,  Most of the buildings date back to the late 1800s and early 1900s.  You can see photos of some of the historic buildings as they first appeared on this link.  I liked that there were placards at each intersection showing where businesses were located as well as maps of the downtown.

Many of the Main Street Buildings have undergone renovations and changes. The Town Hall building in the upper left of the collage above is now the Town Hall Arts Center and Theater.  The building in the two upper right photos is one of the earliest buildings in Littleton -- the J. D. Hill General Store. It was built in 1872 and was Littleton's first general store and post office, with Hill serving as postmaster. Today the building is used for retail stores and offices. On July 30, 2022, the 150th anniversary of the J.D. Hill General Store building was celebrated by the community.
In the lower left of the collage is the Franzen House which is significant as a representative of the Victorian Queen Anne style houses built in Littleton during the late 19th century. The style is reflected in the house’s steeply pitched roof, porch with spindle supports, and walls clad with wood lap siding and shingles. The red brick Ned Kelly's Irish Pub was once a grocery store owned by the Franzens at that time. I always chuckle over the name when we drive over nearby Jackass Hill and I enjoyed learning its long history and seeing the Jackass Brewery named after it in the lower right. 

The Historic Littleton tour lasted one and a half hours and by the time it was ending I saw this magnificent, breathtaking sunset at the end of Main Street! We enjoyed learning more about Littleton and saw many stores, restaurants, and other establishments that we hope to return to for longer visits and shopping in the future.  We thanked the tour guide and gave a donation towards Historic Littleton's cause. 

Now hungry, my husband and I went to dinner at a favorite Littleton restaurant, Angelo's TavernaAlthough I live in a landlocked state I still crave east coast seafood, so we indulged in oysters on the half shell and I had a "Frutti di Mare" mixed seafood entree while my husband had a chicken parmesan stuffed with Proscuitto. 
Because of covid precautions, we have not been eating out frequently for the past two years, so this was a very special treat for us! Neither of us has had covid --knock wood--and we feel very fortunate, and hope with all our vaccinations and boosters our luck will hold out.

I have written many blog posts--21 in all before this one-- about places we have visited in Littleton, Colorado, since moving here which you can read under the label "Littleton."  It is a wonderful town!

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