Monday, May 23, 2022

Snow Surprised!


We had a spring surprise this weekend--snow! It was 89 degrees (31.6 C) on Thursday, and then on Friday a cold front and rain came in from the west.  As the temperature dropped the rain turned to snow and it snowed throughout the night.



We woke up Saturday morning to this!





Our area had about 10 inches (25.4 CM) in total and some areas had up to two feet (60.9 CM) of snow!




What happened to Spring? Even the deer was confused!

This sweet yearling buck is growing his first set of antlers.

 


The snow melted very quickly on Sunday as it was sunny and temperatures rose. The snow brought much-needed moisture to much of the state which is a blessing. Sadly, though, many tree limbs fell during the storm as the trees were fully leafed out and the snow was wet and heavy. Many people lost electrical power as a result, but the community I live in has underground electrical lines so we were fine.




I was so glad I held off on planting outside the tomatoes and peppers that I had started growing from seed in March. I had given some to our son, and a neighbor, that they planted, but experience told me I could not trust that we had our last frost as yet.  I will wait until June to put them out and hope for the best.





Our oldest grandson's Lacrosse team was able to play their championship game today!  As you can see the snow had all melted with just a bit left in the foothills.





Our oldest granddaughter's class went on a field trip to Denver, last week and I had to share this cute photo of her hugging the 40-foot-high (12.2 meters))  Big Blue Bear sculpture that is outside the convention center.  The sculpture is by Lawrence Argent and its official name is "I See What You Mean."  

This is the last week of school for the grandchildren and we are all looking forward to a wonderful summer. Do you have any special summer plans?

Have a wonderful week! 

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Monday, May 16, 2022

In the Merry Month of May



This was the view we had today at our oldest grandson's Lacrosse first playoff game.  It was a wonderful view of a large section of the Colorado foothills with the snow-capped Rocky Mountains in the distance behind them. His team won the game so they were all excited.  The beautiful field was artificial grass astroturf, I'm sure it is a good solution to have fields like this in a recent drought plagued state.



 
Another large beautiful cloud hung over the Little League baseball field where our middle grandson played in the middle of the week.  It always looks like it could rain but it never does. 




We attended our last Opera Colorado production for this season--the always magnificent Georges Bizet opera "Carmen,"  It was a lavish production in four acts.  The orchestra performed the music exceptionally well, led by conductor Ari Pelto. Soprano Kate Aldrich was magnificent as Carmen, and baritone Nmon Ford brought the house to their feet with his dramatic regal portrayal as the flashy toreador Escamillo, with tenor Bruce Sledge singing the emotional role as Don Jose. Another standout was soprano Susannah Biller in the poignant role of Michaela.

We wore our N95 masks during our entire time in the opera house. just to make sure we'd be safe from any covid exposure, even though masks were now optional to attend the performance. We were surprised by how few in the audience chose to wear them! I'd rather not take the risk, but I guess many do not care any longer.




May is the lilac season here and the air is perfumed by many throughout our neighborhood.




The weather is lovely so we can do much more outside...




...and soon beautiful wildflowers will be blooming along our local trails.



I'll close with this sweet photo. 

 I opened my side shade early one morning to see two deer resting in my yard. Next to the lower deer, in the lower right of the photo, was a young sleeping rabbit. They were so content and very close to each other. It was a vision reminiscent of the "peaceable kingdom" to me. Do you agree?

Have a wonderful week! 

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Monday, May 9, 2022

It's Finally Spring!


 

I hope all Mothers had a very Happy Mother's Day today! My husband gave me these beautiful roses. We all celebrated last weekend so our daughter and daughter-in-law could celebrate with their families today.




The high Colorado Rocky Mountains still have some snow on them...



...but here on the Colorado Front Range Spring has finally arrived and even brought us a blessed couple of days of rain.   



Some of the flowers now blooming in my gardens.




On one of the rainy mornings, I had some visitors.





They seemed to really enjoy all the freshly growing leaves and flowers too!





Spring has also brought new baby bunnies!



This one is growing fast and also enjoyed eating the fallen tree blossoms.




My husband and I were watching our oldest grandson play Lacrosse this weekend and I noticed we were right next to a few foothills that remind us of something.  Can you see it?




The foothills formation in the distance is called the "Sleeping Indian" of West Arvada, as seen from Ralston Valley.  Steamboat Springs, Colorado,  has the "Sleeping Giant"--click here--to see that post but I think this Sleeping Indian is much more pronounced and easier to "see"-- what do you think?



This view reminded me of this quote by Edward Abby:
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Sunday, May 1, 2022

Archaeological Findings After a Wildfire






An archeologist who is a member of our historical society asked for volunteers among the other members to meet this spring to do an important archaeological survey of an area where there was a wildfire in an open space on the east side of a local hogback last December.

An archaeological survey is collect information about the location, distribution, and organization of past human cultures across a large area. Several published archaeological documents indicate that just after a fire is a more productive time to search for surface artifacts before vegetation begins to regrow.  This area in Colorado has shown many past archaeological finds from people. The Ken-Caryl South Valley Archaeological District contains rock shelters that were used by prehistoric peoples from at least the Late Paleo-Indian Period (before 6000 BCE) through the Early Ceramic period (150–1150 CE)




As you can see from this photo, the grass is already growing back...





... among the burned scrub oak remains.



When this 150-acre wildfire occurred last December our community was very fortunate that the winds became milder as time passed and that a single-engine air tanker from Fort Collins was able to drop water on the fire to help emergency crews battle the spread.   We were evacuated from our home for a short time during this fire and I learned a few valuable lessons from that experience, which I blogged about in this post.

Sadly, just a few days later, Colorado experienced the devastating Marshall Fire, in which two lives were lost and over 1,000 homes were burned to the ground. There were "Red Flag" conditions that day with drought conditions and high winds and that wildfire moved very quickly for many miles. It even crossed a six-lane concrete highway!   The cause of that fire is still under investigation.




On a chilly windy day in early April our community archaeologist, three colleagues from the Colorado Archaeological Society--CAS, an Open Space ranger, and eleven community volunteers arrived to do the archaeological survey, one of the volunteers was my husband.  Each volunteer was given a grid area to cover by foot, a GPS, and pin flags to place into the ground if they saw anything of interest so a trained eye of an archaeologist would be able to do a more thorough examination.  They slowly walked an area rectangle about 2 miles long and 300 yards wide, looking down for artifacts for around 2 1/2 hours.




The photo collage above is of some of the interesting items found during this survey. The descriptions are from the report our archaeologist sent to all the participants:

#1 (left photo in the collage) A prehistoric stone tool that appears to be a pointed hammer stone.

#2 (middle photo) A prehistoric grinding stone, often called a "mano" in archaeological circles. Parallel scars on the tool caused by grinding are on several surfaces. These manos were used along with a flat stone surface, often called a "metate" to process food and
sometimes paint.
 
#3 (right photo) A prehistoric stone tool with signs of human manufacture.

All the GPS locations of these artifacts were also recorded in the official report.




A probable fire ring. These are made by people of all past eras.



Some other interesting geological samples were collected by a resident geologist for further study.

The report concluded that the density of artifacts found in this survey was low. It appeared that the prehistoric and historic people did not use the eastern hogback slope to a high degree as they used the west hogback slope and valley where hundreds of artifacts have been found in past surveys and digs. 

A couple of years ago my husband and I assisted in an archeological dig on a foothill in our neighborhood. which you can see in this post. A burn pit and stone tools were found in that dig that was carbon-dated to the Early Ceramic Period 150–1150 CE. It is always so fascinating to think that people lived and thrived in our area so long ago! They may even have had interesting visitors, which you can read about in this post about the possibility of Celtic Ogham writings found nearby.

I wanted to be one of the volunteers on this survey, but I had a scheduling conflict this time.  A group of friends I've kept in touch with since high school, who all live in different states, were having a Zoom birthday celebration for a friend in the group, and I did not want to miss that. We lost one of our close high school friends last year in a tragic car accident, and we now find that we treasure our Zoom times together even more than ever.  

Meanwhile, "Red Flag Fire Warnings" are becoming a common occurrence here. As much as we enjoy assisting with archaeological surveys, I'm hoping that there won't be the need for another burn scar survey in our area anytime soon! We hope May will bring the rains that April forgot in our area.

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Sunday, April 24, 2022

A Normal and Unnormal April!



I wish I was on this plane flying off to somewhere exotic or even just somewhere fairly local, but instead, I snapped this photo of a plane flying overhead when we picked up our daughter at Denver International Airport when she was returning home from a business trip a few weeks ago.



Denver International Airport was the third busiest airport in the United States in 2020, and the third-busiest airport in the world in 2021. Denver was one of only four airports worldwide to serve more than 50 million passengers in 2021.  It is located in the eastern Colorado plains and I always enjoy the "big sky" views I see from its locale.



We have been joyfully busy the past few weeks. Happily, most of our grandchildren's school and extracurricular activities have returned after an almost two-year absence during the peak of the pandemic. We attended a "Kids Stage" play, Lacrosse games, Little League baseball games, a middle school orchestra production, and a Daisy Girl Scout Earth Day Celebration where our youngest granddaughter's troop had a display about Ireland and shared Irish food and danced to an Irish folk song.  
We've missed being able to enjoy these fun times with our grandchildren and hope life can continue to stay on a good health trend. 



We all had a beautiful Easter Sunday last week. We celebrated this year by attending a brunch at a restaurant, but I also made a small Easter dinner of baked honey ham, roasted sweet potatoes, cornbread pudding, and a broccoli cheese pie. I will have to share that broccoli pie recipe one day as it was really tasty! For dessert, I made a lemon ricotta cheesecake and Easter bunny cookies for all the grandchildren.



We have had the most unusual weather this past week.  If you look at the collage above both photos were taken looking at the Jefferson County Government Center with Lookout Mountian in the background at different times of the year. The top photo was taken on a regular weather day, the bottom photo was taken last Friday when we had a wind storm with wind gusts up to 70mph! There was so much dust blown up into the atmosphere from the constant wind that the foothills were obscured! It was very eery.  In the nine-plus years we've lived here we've never seen anything like it.  
We've also had serious Red Flag Warnings--extreme wildfire danger--almost every day.  We are all praying for a good rainfall or snow to occur soon as most of April we have had no precipitation and below-normal precipitation in March.  In fact, Colorado's snowpack has not been enough to counteract a two-year drought and the Colorado River is now considered endangered. 40 million people in many Western states depend on the river's water so it is very worrisome.


Columbine Flower


Even without April showers, I am hoping May will still bring us some beautiful wildflowers!  

I hope your month of April has brought you good times and good health...

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