Sunday, April 1, 2012

Quaking Aspen

Quaking Aspens

A real Rocky Mountain High.  Golden Quaking Aspen shimmer and rustle in the wind. 
Quaking AspensPopulus tremuloides is a deciduous tree native to cooler areas of North America, one of several species referred to by the common name Aspen. It is commonly called “quaking aspen”, trembling aspen, American aspen, Quakies, mountain or golden aspen, embling poplar, white poplar, popple, and even more names. The trees have tall trunks, up to 25 m (82 ft) tall, with smooth pale bark, scarred with black. The glossy green leaves, dull beneath, become golden to yellow, rarely red, in autumn. The species often propagates through its roots to form large groves.

The widespread distribution of quaking aspen (Populus tremuloides) forests on the region’s high plateaus and mountain ranges and their importance to many wildlife species make these forests a significant biotic community on the Colorado Plateau. Large, nearly pure stands of aspen can be seen on the Markagunt, Aquarius, Pansaugunt, and Wasatch Plateaus of central and southern Utah and in the La Sal Mountains on the eastern border of the state. Grand Mesa and the Uncompaghre Plateau in far western Colorado also support extensive aspen forests. Further south, aspen is abundant in the White Mountains, on the Kaibab Plateau, and on the San Francisco Peaks in Arizona. Aspen is most commonly found between 7500 and about 10,500 feet on the Colorado Plateau, particularly on well-watered south-facing slopes.

Aspen is a common name for certain tree species, some, but not all, of those that are classified by botanists in the section Populus, of the poplar genusThe English name Waverly, meaning "quaking aspen," is both a surname and a unisex given name.

Monday, June 27, 2011


Are you a visual person?  Are you a scrapbooker or collector? 
I love to collect things.  However, what do you do with that item after you have brought it home?  I love knic-knacs but I have more than enough in my curio cabinet.  Have you ever been attracted to a piece of fabric because of its pattern or color-but you don't sew?  Spy that awesome piece of furniture you want but. . . Since I am a visual collector (scrapbooker and cardmaker), I have found a great new way to save and display your collectibles.  PINTEREST. 

Pinterest lets you organize and share all the beautiful things you find on the web.  Some people use pinboards to plan their weddings, inspiration for crafts, decorate their homes, and organize their favorite recipes or just enjoy the view.  Best of all, you can browse pinboards created by other people.  Browsing pinboards is a fun way to discover new things and get inspiration from people who share your interests. To get started, request an invite at

Here are some of my current favorites. 

Don't you want these tea cups?  I love them.

Room planning ideas or just to imagine!

Great photographs
Cool visual!!  Very clever star decorations!!

Secret Garden   or  Chocolate Flower Pots???


Friday, May 27, 2011

O is for Owl

Owls.  What beautiful creatures. 
The Northern Saw Whet Owl (photo).  We had a couple of small Owls similar to these that lived in the woods next to my house when I was growing up.  It was always fun to see them flying around at night.  However, when recently reading up on the Owl on Wikipedia, it sparked my interest to keep reading on.  It was surprising to learn some interesting facts that I was not aware of before.  Some Owls have such silly expressions on their faces.  However, if I was a small creature, I would not be so quick to laugh in an Owl's face.  Remember-they are raptors, birds of prey.
 Owls belong to the order of Strigiformes.  Depending upon your source, there are over 200 species of Owls and they are divided into two families: approximately 198 Owl species belong to the Typical Owl family or Strigidae and 18 different Owl species belong to the the Barn Owl family or Tytonidae.   
So, how do you tell them apart?
Barn Owls:  The area around the Barn Owls eyes, beak and face is heart-shaped, mostly white, long legs, dark eyes and they lack ear tufts.   Once you see a Barn Owl, you will almost always be able to tell them apart from the Typical Owls. 

A barn owl is about the size of a small cat, but only weighs a pound. His huge 42" wingspan accommodates slow silent flight - silent due to soft fringe-edged feathers that don't "swoosh" as they move. Silent flight means curtains for an unsuspecting rodent.

The barn owl is a raptor, a nocturnal bird of prey.  Eagles, falcons and hawks are also raptors, but they live by day. Barn owls like to live in barns; that's how they got their name. They've always adapted to man-made structures like attics, silos, steeples, and, of course, man-made nesting boxes.
Typical Owls have round-shaped facial discs and often have shorter skull, beak, legs and wings than the Barn Owls.  They include the Screech Owls, Snowy Owl,  Spotted Owl, Horned Owl, Burrowing Owl, Great Grey, and many more.  Below are photos of a pair of Burrowing Owls, a Screech Owl, and a pair of Horned Owls.  They too are raptors. 

Although Owls have binocular vision, their large eyes are fixed in their sockets — as are those of other birds — so they must turn their entire head to change views. Instead of moving their eyes, Owls swivel their head to visualize their surroundings. The swiveling radius of the Owl’s head is around 270˚, easily enabling them to see behind them without relocating the torso.  Owl eyes can move independently of each other and that is why they sometimes look funny.  But beware, they are watching you.
As Owls are farsighted, they are unable to see clearly anything within a few centimeters of their eyes. Caught prey can be felt by owls with the use of filoplumes — small hair-like feathers on the beak and feet that act as "feelers."  Their far vision, particularly in low light, is exceptionally good. 
Hearing— Did you know that an owl can hear a mouse stepping on a twig from 75 feet (23 meters) away? This is because they have two huge holes in their skulls for their ears, along with facial discs that channel sound into the ear openings. They don’t look like our ears but they are incredibly good at picking up sounds.  (So much for being as quite as a mouse)

True Love.  Owls mate for life.  They will stay together until one dies.  Only once the babies are raised, they will seek out a new mate.

Much of the Owls' hunting strategy depends on stealth and surprise. Owls have at least two adaptations that aid them in achieving stealth. First, the dull coloration of their' feathers can render them almost invisible under certain conditions. Secondly, serrated edges on the leading edge of Owls'  remiges (feathers) muffle an owl's wing beats, allowing an Owl's flight to be practically silent.  Check out the two photos of Owls in flight (the second one reminds me of bullet). 

Eating: Most owls are active year-round and most species eat every day. Owls have a low percentage of body fat during the warm months of the year. However, during the cold months, the percentage of body fat does increase in some owl species such as the Snowy Owl. These fat reserves provide energy when food is scarce.  Owls are excellent rodent controllers.  Placing a new box for owls on a property can help control rodent populations (one family of hungry barn owls can consume more than 3,000 rodents in a nesting season) while maintaining the naturally balanced food chain. 

Snowy White Owls (babies) grow into beautiful Adults.


In Arab mythology, Owls are seen as bad omens.   The modern Western culture generally associates Owls with wisdom.  Stories go back at least as far as  Ancient Greece, noted for art and scholarship, and Athena, Athens' patron goddess and the goddess of wisdom, had the Owl as a symbol. Owls were considered funerary birds among the Romans.

The Harry Potter Series has made Owls popular again.

Errol, one of the Weasley Family Owls, is a Great Grey Owl.   Great Grey Owls are magnificent, but in the movie, Errol was a tad bit careless.  Harry owned a beautiful Snowy White Owl.  During the filming of the movie, 7 different Owls played Hedwig.

Wise old Owls.  Beautiful, calm, still. 
Mr. Owl
I saw an owl up in a tree
I looked at him and he looked at me.
I couldn't tell you about his size
For all I saw were two big eyes.

The Wise Owl
The wise old owl
Sat in an oak.
The more he saw,
The less he spoke.
The less he spoke,
The more he heard.
Why can't we be like
That wise old bird?

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

N is for Narcissus

Gardening and Flowers.  A new passion of mine.  So how appropriate is it for me to choose the word Narcissus. Egotism; formality; stay as sweet as you are; you love yourself too well; self-esteem.  Narcissus sounds fancy but one of the flowers in this species is the Daffodil.  I needed a word that started with N to continue my alphabetical blog postings.  Narcissus.

How does your garden grow? 

The magic date for planting in Golden, Colorado is Mother’s Day.  Not this year as the weather has been very rainy and continues to be chilly at night.  In Colorado, there is always a fear of frost and hail (even in mid-July).  I haven’t spent a lot of time planting in the garden, yet.  Memorial Day Weekend is my kick-off.  In the meanwhile, because of the unusual amounts of rain, my planters in the front yard are bursting in lush greenery, lots of flower buds and spring flowers from last year.  What a nice surprise.  However, everything is PURPLE. 

My planters are full of purple Spanish Alliums, Globe Thistles, Deep purple Salvia, Russian Sage, Clematis, and various types of mint (spearmint, peppermint, lemon mint, catnip). 

Spanish Alliums.  There are over two-dozen purple Alliums in full bloom in the front yard alone.  These towering beauties, with their purple starburst heads stand tall. They remind me of sparklers exploding with dozens of tiny purple stars.  Even after Alliums die, they look marvelous in the garden.  They continue to stand erect and tall as they turn a straw color with their heads full of black peppery seeds.  They add texture to the garden and remain through the winter snow. 

Globe Thistles.  Sounds nasty but these are not the weed-like thistles that invade our gardens. Right now the Globes have attained about half their height and show signs of flower buds.  A very unique flower and leaf.  A very spiky, globe flower in lilac color.  Kind of a punk-modern flower.  They are also very prolific and have spread throughout my entire flowerbed.  These can be dried and  should hang them upside down while they are still fresh. 

Deep Purple Salvia. I love these flowers for their colors as well as for their strength and hardiness in the garden.  They do not require a lot of care but give you a lot of bang for the buck.  The leaves are a beautiful sage green and the tall spires of flowers are a gorgeous deep, almost an iridescent purple.  Salvia comes in a large array of colors but not in my garden.

Lavender Russian Sage.  These are beautiful as they have a lavender color and a light lavender scent that doesn't overpower you.  With its tall wispy wands of lavender or blue flowers and silvery foliage which last all summer, Russian sage is an important player in summer and fall gardens. It shows off well against most flowers and provides an elegant look to flower borders.  This is another of my favorites.  Looks and smells wonderful. 

Clematis.  I have a couple varieties in my garden.  Deep purple, lavender, and fuchsia clematis climb my white fence in the front yard.   These are just starting to climb and the flowers are not showing yet.  However, soon the star bursts will appear. 

Strange.  I didn't even realize how many purple flowers I had in the garden until I started posting this on my blog.  I am not going to cover my Pansies, Snapdragons (even though these are some of my most favorite) and many more.   

Morning Glories.  I just planted the seeds this past week.  Blues, lavenders, white, and pink flowers will compete with the Clematis for fence space in the front yard.  I have grown these for years and allow the seeds to fall to the grown each fall.  I replenish the garden with a few packs of fresh seeds each year to keep the crop strong. 

Mint.  I love the smell of the mint garden.  Late spring they have tiny soft white and lavender flowers which give way to the strong, sturdy, almost impossible to kill mint.  Peppermint, lemon mint, spearmint and catnip intertwine my middle planter in the front door.  The walkway to my front door passes this flower bed and everyone stops to pull a few leaves to take home or add to their iced tea.  One of my dogs (who has passed away) used to love to lay in the mint bed. 

So how does your garden grow?  I still have Yarrow, Lupines, Daisies and Bell Flowers.  My roses were cut way back this year but will return with a vengeance next season.  Never mind the Tulips, Daffodils (Narcissus) and other spring bulbs that have already passed by, regenerating for next year.   Later in the year the sunflowers and grasses will immerge bringing flocks of birds to feed upon them.    
"The LORD will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden,like a spring whose waters never fail." Isaiah 58:11 NIV

Friday, May 20, 2011

M is for Moongazing

Full Moon - I love looking into the sky at night and seeing the universe unfold before me.  For many years, I am one of those people who check the night sky for shooting stars, planets, UFOs, Milky Way, and of course, checking out the moon.  I should have been a vampire because I really do not like being out in the sun.  The night sky has so much more to offer.  There are many names for the different full moons but I will use my heritage as a source since one branch of my family tree traces back to the Algonquin Native American Indians.

Moon names date back to early northern and eastern Native Americans.  The tribes kept track of the seasons by giving distinctive names to each recurring Full Moon.  Their names were applied to the entire month in which each occurred.  There was some variation in the Moon names, but in general, the same ones were current throughout the Algonquin tribes from New England to Lake Superior.  European settlers followed that custom and created some of their own names.  Since the lunar month is only 29 days long on the average, the full Moon dates shift from year to year.
(Information gathered from Farmer’s Almanac and McDonald’s Observatory)

January – Wolf Moon:  Amid the cold and deep snows of midwinter, the wolf packs howled hungrily outside Indian villages.  Thus, the name for January’s full Moon.  Sometimes it was also referred to as the Old Moon, or the Moon After Yule. 

February-Full Hunger or Snow Moon:  Since the heaviest snow usually falls during this month, native tribes of the north and east most often called February’s full Moon the Full Snow Moon.  Some tribes also referred to this Moon as the Full Hunger Moon, since harsh weather conditions in their areas made hunting very difficult.

March- Full Crow or Maple Sugar Moon:  As the temperature begins to warm and the ground begins to thaw, earthworm casts appear, heralding the return of the robins.  The more northern tribes knew this Moon as the Full Crow Moon, when the cawing of crows signaled the end of winter. The Full Sap Moon, marking the time of  tapping maple trees, is another variation.  .

April –  Full Pink Moon:  This name came from the herb moss pink, or wild ground phlox, which is one of the earliest widespread flowers of the spring. 

May - Full Flower, Corn or Planting Moon:  In most areas, flowers are abundant everywhere during this time.  Other names include the Full Corn Planting Moon, or the Milk Moon.

June – Honey Moon or Full Strawberry Moon: This name was universal to every Algonquin tribe.  However, in Europe they called it the Rose Moon.  Also because the relatively short season for harvesting strawberries comes each year during the month of June.

July – Thunder or The Full Buck Moon:  July is normally the month when the new antlers of buck deer push out of their foreheads in coatings of velvety fur. It was also often called the Full Thunder Moon, for the reason that thunderstorms are most frequent during this time.

August – Green Corn or Full Sturgeon Moon:  The fishing tribes are given credit for the naming of this Moon, since sturgeon, a large fish of the Great Lakes and other major bodies of water, were most readily caught during this month.  It was also called the Green Corn Moon or Grain Moon.

September – Harvest or Full Corn Moon:  This full moon’s name is attributed to Native Americans because it marked when corn was supposed to be harvested. Most often, the September full moon is actually the Harvest Moon.

Shine on Harvest Moon

The full Moon that occurs closest to the autumnal equinox is commonly referred to as the "Harvest Moon," the beginning of autumn in the northern hemisphere.  Its bright presence in the night sky allows farmers to work longer into the fall night, reaping the rewards of their spring and summer labors.   This occurs usually in September. 

October - Full Harvest Moon or Hunter’s Moon:  This is the full Moon that occurs closest to the autumn equinox. In two years out of three, the Harvest Moon comes in September, but in some years it occurs in October.  At the peak of harvest, farmers can work late into the night by the light of this Moon.  Corn, pumpkins, squash, beans, and wild rice the chief Indian staples are now ready for gathering.

November – Frosty or Full Beaver Moon:  This was the time to set beaver traps before the swamps froze, to ensure a supply of warm winter furs.  Another interpretation suggests that the name Full Beaver Moon comes from the fact that the beavers are now actively preparing for winter. It is sometimes also referred to as the Frosty Moon.

December - The Full Cold Moon or the Full Long Nights Moon: During this month the winter cold fastens its grip, and nights are at their longest and darkest.  It is also sometimes called the Moon before Yule.  The term Long Night Moon is a doubly appropriate name because the midwinter night is indeed long, and because the Moon is above the horizon for a long time.  The midwinter full Moon has a high trajectory across the sky because it is opposite a low Sun.

Oh, we cannot forget the Blue Moon.  What is a Blue Moon?  Where did the phrase "Once in a Blue Moon" start?   The next Blue Moon will be August 2012.

Because the time between two full Moons doesn't quite equal a whole month, about every three years there are two full Moons in one calendar month.  Over the past few decades, the second full Moon has come to be known as a "blue Moon."  The term "blue Moon" has not always been used this way.  While the exact origin of the phrase remains unclear, it does in fact refer to a rare blue coloring of the Moon caused by high-altitude dust particles. Most sources credit this unusual event, occurring only "once in a blue moon," as the true progenitor of the colorful phrase.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

L is for LOLCATS-I can has cheezburger website

How does one build an empire on pictures of cats with silly, misspelled captions? 

As most fans of the Internet now know, I Can Has Cheezburger has become one of the most popular sites online. A daily collection of LOLCats is the source of endless humor, and you can be pretty sure that someone in your office is reading the site and chuckling to themselves (or out loud) right now. 

Several years ago the original founders of I Can Has Cheezburger found a LOLCat with a now-famous grey fluffy cat meowing over the words, "I Can Has Cheezburger?" (See photo at end of post).

For whatever reason, it struck a chord, and immediately, the two registered the tradename and started the website . 
You can build your own LOLCAT or edit a photo that has already been submitted. There are many other tools to allow you to play around and have fun. Use your own imagination.

Ben Huh (really) purchased the rights in 2007 and has taken the site to infinity and beyond.  At that time the site was getting between 50 and 100 submissions per day.  In March 2008 that number had risen to 5,000 per day and had to hire full-time moderators to do nothing but review LOLCat submissions and choose which ones become the six or eight that are put on the site each day.  In 2011 there are about 1,500,000 hits a day on the site.

Huh should win awards for this site and the related sister-sites he has created.   From videos to motivational posters to just fun photos.   Huh allows people to insert their own creativity and provide them an avenue to publish their creations.  Smart man.

I laugh at almost all the submissions.  There seems to be a picture or situation that applies to something going on in my life.  Something for everyone.  I subscribe to the newsletters (Cheezburger and Hotdog editions) daily.  When I get to work, it is almost always the first email I open.  Great way to start the day.

From Cute

To Bizarre

Get to meet regulars such as Ceiling Cat, Lazer Cat, Monorail Cat and Basement Cat.

Thousands of photos and videos to watch.  There are around 12 other related websites including I has a hotdog featuring dogs (including Corgis) - fail blog - making fun of celebrities and many many more.  So much fun ... so little time. 

Another favorite of mine is the dog-site

When you have a few moments, check it out. 


The original lolcat.