Saturday, July 31, 2021

My Deer Friends







One morning I raised the shade on a side window of my home to see two deer relaxing in the shade--a  yearling buck and a yearling doe.  I thought it was unusual to see them together, even if they were birth mates, as by their second year of life they usually separate and follow their own sex.




They came to the same spot almost every morning!  
Some days the doe hid under a pine tree to sleep.



The first velvety antlers were growing for the buck...he will rub off the velvet when they are fully grown.




 

The doe looks a little thin but she is always chewing her cud when I see her so she was obviously finding enough food in the wild, including some of my flowers!



She also enjoys drinking from my birdbath and enjoying the shade in my yard every morning. 

The Denver area has been breaking 145-year-old heat records this summer with some days over 100 degrees, so I think the heat has been stressful to them.



The buck has also been enjoying napping in the shade every morning.  

I love their visits but make sure to just observe them from my window.  


I was told by a friend on Facebook that since they are becoming frequent 

visitors I should give them names...do you have any suggestions?


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Sunday, July 25, 2021

The Georgetown Loop Railroad





Nestled in the Colorado mountains, near the upper end of Clear Creek Valley, at an elevation of 8,530 feet (2,600 m) is the narrow gauge Georgetown Loop RailroadThis spectacular stretch of 3 ft (914 mm) narrow gauge railroad, built by the Georgetown, Breckenridge, and Leadville Railway was completed in 1884 and considered an engineering marvel for its time. The thriving mining towns of Georgetown and Silver Plume lie 2 miles (3.2 km) apart in the steep, narrow canyon in the Rocky Mountains west of Denver. Engineers designed a corkscrew route that traveled nearly twice that distance to connect them, slowly gaining more than 600 feet (183 m) in elevation. The route included horseshoe curves, grades of up to 4%, and four bridges that cross Clear Creek, including the massive 95-foot (29 m) high Devil's Gate High Bridge, seen in the upper right portion of the photo collage above.




Originally part of the larger line of the Colorado Central Railroad constructed in the 1870s and 1880s, in the wake of the Colorado Gold Rush, this line was also used extensively during the silver boom of the 1880s to haul silver ore from the mines at Silver Plume. In 1893, the Colorado and Southern Railway took over the line and operated it for passengers and freight until 1938.  Ridership declined with the use of automobiles and the train line was closed and dismantled in 1939. Fortunately, the Colorado Historical Society gained ownership of the land and rebuilt and restored the railway in the 1980s to operate during summer months as a tourist railroad, carrying passengers.


Please click on to enlarge

More of the history of the railroad can be read on the placard above.

This was our third time riding the railroad. We first rode it in the fall of 2015 and that blog post can be read on this link.  We took our grandsons on the Georgetown Loop two years ago, and this weekend we took our two granddaughters.  All children seem to enjoy train rides and I think I enjoy it even more than they do!  My husband and I decided the next time we ride the Georgetown Loop Railroad we are going to add on a tour of the Lebanon Silver Minewhich can be accessed by a stop midway on the train line.



As you can see on the video above the train moves slowly and carefully when it is crossing the high Devil's Gate trestle.   The video link is here to watch it on YouTube if you are unable to view it above.



The train ride is about an hour and a half long...



...and passes such beautiful Colorado scenery! 

Our granddaughters enjoyed the ride very much and we loved spending this special time with them. As you can see in the photo collage above Clear Creek was running full. If you'd like to see two videos of the water flow in the creek click here to go to my Mille Fiori Favoriti Facebook page where I posted the videos. Make sure to have the video sound turned on in the videos to hear the rushing water! It was so refreshing. The weather in Georgetown was cooler than where we live on the front range and we enjoyed the break from the excessive 90 temperatures we've been having this summer.


I hope everyone is having a good summer and staying healthy and happy! Please remember that my e-mail blog notification will be going away soon if you have signed up to be notified on new blog posts that way.  The Feedburner free email service is discontinuing soon and I have not decided on a new email blog notification service.  You can follow me on Bloglovin as an alternative, or follow my blog's Facebook page as I post new blog posts there. Thanks so much!


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Sunday, July 18, 2021

A Wildflower Walk Along the Red Rocks






I am fortunate to live in a beautiful area in Colorado located along the Front Range that still has open space parks nearby in which to walk. Although I blogged about trails in this park herehere, and hereevery season brings new views and this summer has been a particularly good wildflower season.



South Valley Park is 995 acres and contains 8 miles of trails, all of which wind around beautiful ancient red rock formations.



The park has excellent examples of both the Lyons and Fountain rock formations.  Hard to believe these formations were formed 250 million years ago! More than 7 millennia before Egypt's pyramids were built, human hunter-gatherers lived in this area as 10,000-year-old flecks of charcoal and a Folsom-style spear point have been found in the park during archeological digs.



The rocks are large and impressive...



...and the pastoral foothill scenery makes one feel far from civilization.


The plentiful rain we received during June brought a prolific amount of wildflowers this year!



So many different varieties!


So many different colors...



 
Colorado Wildflowers is an excellent database of wildflower photos and descriptions listed by color, family, size, or keyword.



I am so fortunate to have this park just a mile away from my house! It brings us endless pleasure to be able to walk its paths and enjoy nature. 

I hope you are also having an enjoyable summer!


PS: A reminder to My Email Subscribers: beginning sometime during July 2021, the Blogger e-mail Feedburner subscription service will be turned off. Therefore, you will no longer receive emails when a new post is published at Mille Fiori Favoriti. I offer you the alternative of joining Bloglovin and subscribing to follow Mille Fiori Favoriti there. You will then receive emails when I publish a new post. Alternatively, you can also make a note of my blog's URL: https://millefiorifavoriti.blogspot.com
and then check weekly, usually on Mondays, for a new blog post. I hope you will use one of these alternatives. Thank you for reading my blog, published since 2007! I look forward to seeing all of you here at Mille Fiori Favoriti.


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Sunday, July 11, 2021

Wings Over the Rockies Air and Space Museum


 At the end of June, my husband and I, and a few friends, visited the The Wings Over the Rockies Air and Space Museum which is located on the former Lowry Air Force Base in Denver, Colorado. 


Transferred from the United States Air Force to a group of volunteers in 1994, Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum is located in Hangar #1 of the former Lowry Air Force Base in eastern Denver, Colorado. Today, the museum boasts more than 182,000 square feet of hangar space full of iconic aircraft, space vehicles, artifacts, military uniforms, and much more. Visitors can also experience flight simulators, discover various educational programs and participate in dozens of exciting museum-sponsored events.   This was the second time my husband and I visited the museum--see my first post about it on this link.




It's such an interesting museum, filled with both permanent and temporary exhibits, and over 50 aircraft and space vehicles.


  

We all wanted to see the 45-minute National Geographic movie that plays every hour in the museum theater called "Living In the Age of Airplanes," narrated by Harrison Ford.  The movie trailer is above, or at this link.  It really is amazing to see how humankind's ability to fly has impacted the world in such a short time!  



This example of a Kitty Hawk Multicopter looks almost like a drone, but it was able to fly one person like a helicopter and was so light it did not require a pilot's license to fly! The company no longer makes them and now wants to focus on more powerful VTOL aircraft that can travel faster and farther and with more occupants. The company already has a new design in the works called the Heaviside.  The era of "flying cars" may soon become a reality!  How much more will that change our world?



There was also a special exhibit at the museum called "All the Cosmos a Canvas--Hubble Reveals Our Beautiful Universe," comprised of these amazing Hubble telescope photos...



...including this signed photo by Loren J. Shriver, the commander of the Space Shuttle Discovery (STS-31) which lifted off from the Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral Florida, on a mission to place the Hubble Space Telescope in Earth Orbit in April 1990.



Actual Star Wars movie aircraft memorabilia is a big hit at the museum, especially for children.  R2D2 actually whistled at me--the rascal!




Do you remember hearing about "The Miracle on the Hudson" years ago? A commercial passenger jet lost all its engines to bird strikes when flying out of New York's LaGuardia Airport in 2009, and the pilot was able to glide the plane down and land in the Hudson River, saving 155 passengers' lives.  Fortunately, the pilot had learned to fly a glider at the US Air Force base when he was a cadet!



Before we left the museum we stopped a moment to reflect on this stirring sculpture called "Least We Forget The Mission" which honors the more than 88,000 US airmen who died in WWII.
 
Each year, Wings Over the Rockies welcomes roughly 160,000 visitors representing all 50 U.S. states and 28-countries around the world. We certainly enjoyed our visit!

What's new around here...

Thank you to everyone who commented on the book review in my last post. It was an interesting book that made me think quite a bit about my own collections and possessions.  I think we all agree that keeping things that bring us joy in our lives is not a problem, it is only a problem when we find they lead to stress or debt, or become an obsession that we focus on more than life experiences.

We had a very Happy 4th of July...


Our son's community has an annual mini-parade each 4th of July where the residents follow emergency vehicles around the neighborhood. They then host a buffet lunch in the park, have a water splash slide, and face painting for the children, and at night there are some firework displays. Thankfully we had beautiful weather that day and enjoyed it all.

I hope you are also having an enjoyable summer!


PS: A reminder to My Email Subscribers: beginning sometime in July 2021, the Blogger e-mail Feedburner subscription service will be turned off. Therefore, you will no longer receive emails when a new post is published at Mille Fiori Favoriti. I offer you the alternative of joining Bloglovin and subscribing to follow Mille Fiori Favoriti there. You will then receive emails when I publish a new post. Alternatively, you can also make a note of my blog's URL: https://millefiorifavoriti.blogspot.com
and then check weekly, usually on Mondays, for a new blog post. I hope you will use one of these alternatives. Thank you for reading my blog, published since 2007! I look forward to seeing all of you here at Mille Fiori Favoriti.



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Sunday, June 27, 2021

Book Review: Love People Use Things



I received an advance reader copy of this non-fiction, self-help category book entitled Love People, Use Things: Because the Opposite Never Works by Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus due for publication release July 13th, 2021 by Celadon Books. The authors are best known as The Minimalists and have shared their philosophy of living with less to millions through documentaries. podcasts, newsletters, and prior books.

In this new book, Love People, Use Things, Joshua and Ryan go into more depth beyond simply teaching one how to declutter to show how minimalism makes room to reevaluate and heal the seven essential relationships in our lives: Stuff, truth, self, money, values, creativity, and people. They use their own experiences along with those of other people who they have met along their journey to provide a template on how to live a fuller, more meaningful life.


While I heard of The Minimalists and may have read a few Facebook posts they wrote or saw them interviewed on TV, I never really paid much attention to them or their books before. Now, after reading Love People, Use Things, I have to admit I am intrigued by their premise that once we have fewer things in our lives we can make room for the right kind of more. That personal relationships and our creativity often suffer when we succumb to the idea that having bigger, better, more up-to-date, more status symbol-type things in our lives.  Part memoir, part confessional, part collection of rules and guidelines this book gave me quite a bit to ponder.  I was shocked to read in their book how many possessions the average person owns, the amount of debt many people occur, and the lack of savings many have toward retirement. In the constant quest to acquire things many actually only add stress and unhappiness to their lives. That often overflowing collections are relegated to storage units--a growing and almost uniquely American phenomenon.

One of the exercises The Minimalists use is to advise someone very dedicated to removing clutter from their lives to pack up all their belongings as if they were going to move and then to unpack only the essentials that one needs in daily life progresses.  This extreme exercise teaches what possessions we have are really important, as often much never needs to be unpacked. That made me reflect on when my husband and I moved from our house in Brooklyn, New York to a house in the Denver suburbs almost nine years ago. We had lived in our Brooklyn house 36 years, just a few years after we were married.  When packing to move I was surprised by the amount of stuff we had accumulated over the years. It was all organized and much of it was hidden away in closets, basement and garage storage, and in drawers and cabinets. I discarded, donated, sold, and recycled much, but as you can see from the photos above a lot also moved West with us. Upon reflection, after reading this book, I would have pared down these boxes even more. The Minimalists made me realize that it is better not to keep things "just in case," or "maybe I'll need it someday." More often than not that never occurs or the object will have become outdated or out of style. An example of this is the much  smaller size clothes most of us keep in the back of our closets "just in case we lose weight." Even if we do lose that weight we often find we don't reach for the old or even remember that we saved it!



Other exercises and suggestions in this book are how to get out of debt, the best investments to make, how to withdraw from constant use of electronics and smartphones, how to increase our creativity and utilize our time, how to improve our relationships with both ourselves and others.  

When you read Love People Use Things you will most likely find, much as I did, much to think about beyond decluttering the possessions we have. It is a self-help primer to ridding ourselves of emotional baggage, of being driven to acquire more material things, and encouragement to instead enjoy our relationships, experiences, and have a life with fewer distractions.

If you'd like to learn more about The Minimalists go to their "Start Here" page on their blog to learn most about them and their social media sites and prior publications. 

Disclaimer: I was provided with an advanced copy ( ARC) of the book Love People Use Things: Because the Opposite Never Works by Celadon Books in exchange for my honest review. No other compensation was provided

#LovePeopleUseThingsBook  #CeladonReads  @CelandonBooks  #partner. 

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Sunday, June 20, 2021

The Cottonwood Tree, "Pioneer of the Prairie"



To My Email Subscribers: Beginning July 1, 2021, the Blogger e-mail Feedburner subscription service will be turned off. Therefore, you will no longer receive emails when a new post is published at Mille Fiori Favoriti. I offer you the alternative of joining Bloglovin and subscribing to follow Mille Fiori Favoriti there. You will then receive emails when I publish a new post.
Alternatively, you can also make a note of my blog's URL: https://millefiorifavoriti.blogspot.com
and then check weekly, usually on Mondays, for a new blog post.
I hope you will use one of these alternatives. Thank you for reading my blog, published since 2007! I look forward to seeing all of you here at Mille Fiori Favoriti




A lovely Cottonwood tree in a local park gives beauty and shade. There’s a type of Cottonwood tree for nearly any region, with different hardy types in Zones 2 through 9. The Kansas Legislature designated Cottonwood as the State Tree in 1937, calling it the "pioneer tree of the prairie." Here in Colorado they are one of the largest native broadleaf trees found along the front range

What else do Cottonwood trees give us this time of the year?



They give us lots and lots of cotton-like seed fluff, flying in the air like downy snow!


Perhaps because we had a lot of rain this spring or the weather became very warm all at once, there seems to be more Cottonwood fluff than ever this season. It has been coating the ground in many areas and...



Covering my clothes as I sit in the parks watching my grandson play Little League baseball.




Like willows, cottonwoods have separate male and female trees. In late winter, the cottonwood’s reproductive season begins. The male and female trees each produce dangling catkins. Pollen from the male trees is transferred to the female pistillate catkins by wind.

Leaf buds appear on cottonwood trees in the late winter or early spring. The air becomes redolent with the scent of bud scale resin. Leaves appear, then later in the spring, the seeds ripen and capsules split on the female trees to release a snowfall of cotton-coated seeds.



Members of the Poplar family, cottonwoods were important to Native Americans who used all parts of the tree. The bark provided forage for horses and a bitter, medicinal tea for their owners. Sweet sprouts and inner bark were a food source for both humans and animals. The Cottonwood tree trunks became canoes.
Many parts of the cottonwood tree are medicinal. A compound called salacin, which is found in the leaves, buds and bark of cottonwood, has been proven to lower fevers and reduce inflammation and pain. The resin has been used to waterproof boxes and baskets, and the bark has been used to make buckets for storing and carrying food. Cottonwood wood was important in the 1800s and 1900s for making paper, boxes and crates, packing material, sugar barrels and kitchen utensils.




A cottonwood tree can grow 6 feet (2m) in one year! It can grow to be more than 100 feet tall and almost as wide. In the wild, cottonwood grows along rivers, ponds and other bodies of water. It also thrives in floodplains and dry riverbeds, where infrequent rains transform dry land into waterways. 




Their rapid growth  is also a negative, because the wood is brittle, leading to breaking branches.  As you can see in the photo above this Cottonwood tree was rotting from within and had to be cut or else it may have eventually collapsed and caused damage. 

An eagle pair was nurturing an eaglet this spring in Colorado's Standley Lake, and the eagles nest was on a web cam, attracting thousands of viewers. One day the nest, indeed the tree, was gone! It turns out the Cottonwood tree supporting the nest split in half and the tree and nest fell. Sadly, the eaglet did not survive, but happily the Eagle pair made a new nest on another tree and there is hope new eaglets will hatch.


The Cottonwood tree is an asset in wildlife areas where their hollow trunk serves as shelter while the twigs and bark provide food. Beavers use cottonwood for food and building material. Deer eat leaves and twigs. Native butterflies, including the larvae of western tiger swallowtail, Lorquin’s admiral, Persius duskywing and many kinds of moths, feed on cottonwood. Cottonwood resin is called “bee glue” because bees gather it to seal up their hives to protect them from invading insects and microbes. It is an ingredient in propolis.  Roosting turkeys and eagles and other birds live in them.



In autumn the Cottonwood tree's leaves turn golden yellow and add beauty to the fall.


One of the most amazing Cottonwood tres I've come across since moving to Colorado was at the Royal  Gorge Route Railroad! Look at the size of its trunk! We could not get the entire tree in the camera lens it was so very tall.  If you like to read about this very scenic train ride click here.

Wishing everyone a Happy First Day of Summer and Happy Fathers' Day!




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