Friday, February 24, 2017

Strangers on a Winter Day

The Crows visited this morning.  Only two of them, hopping along the railing on top of the deck. Apprehensive, one flew off to a nearby tree while his partner pecked at peanuts in the feeding tray on the rail. It snowed most of yesterday and this morning, covering the ground, stacked in piles on the tree branches. They must be hungry and the peanuts were easy pickings.
I had many winged visitors today. Little winter birds crowded the feeding tray, scampering and scrabbling for food. The temperature is hovering at 22 degrees and more snow is expected in the afternoon. A flock of Pine Siskins flew in and out only to perch together high up in the naked Cottonwood. Dark-eyed Juncos, House Finches, Chickadees, and even an occasional Lesser Goldfinch hung close to the rail on this chilly Winter day.  The Flicker, and the Hairy Woodpecker and the Blue Jay swooped in for a morsel, then off they go to cash away what they've pilfered.










Surprise! Surprise!  The magpie's have arrived, they gulped down three to five peanuts at one time and then fly off down into the canyon to some place only they know about.  They've visited several times today, which is unusual. Must be a hard day to find food.  Although brassy, I'm surprised to see them so near to the house. They're smart and exploitive, guess that's why they've survived so well.  To learn more about the resourceful Magpie go to this page on the Audubon website.  You'll be amazed to find out how intelligent they really are.

Incredible diversity today. Some of them may stay all year, but others are just moving through to find the right place to set up housekeeping for the Spring. Nevertheless, I've brought out several servings of raw peanuts and sunflower seeds, even brought out a suet cake to keep them warm and cozy.



Sunday, June 21, 2015

How Green is My Valley…..

Very green indeed!  May and June have brought unbelievable amounts of rain, flooding and very unhappy Coloradans - they don't know how to deal with this kind of weather.  They know how to deal with the sudden afternoon shower, but the relentless downpour, day after day, is another story. With the umbrella being a relatively unused tool on the Front Range, most folks rarely use it and would be hard put to find it if they needed it.

But for now we are green, we are beautiful, and we are Middle-earth.


Of course this is all going to end and soon.  Already seed heads are forming on the wildflowers and wild grasses, soon to be turning yellow and brown.  It was a brief but glorious Spring.


Having said this, the rain hasn’t deterred the hoards of Broad-tail Hummingbirds which inhabit the foothills of the Rockies.  Astonishing numbers of these feisty little critters migrate here in the Spring and then it’s back to Mexico by late Summer - an amazing journey for one so small.  

While here though, they often dive-bomb you to either get them some food or to get out of their way - probably both. The male appears to be in constant courtship mode, whirling around the female, any female they can find, to contribute their genes for the next generation.  Apparently that is the only contribution they make to insure a future for their species, albeit a necessary one.

If they weren’t so darn cute I classify them as an invasive species, constantly depleting my sugar supply and confounding my dog.  

You know I’ve often wondered about the reported annual sugar consumption here in the US.  Are we as Americans getting a bum rap? Is our enormous consumption of sugar possibly the fault of the humble but ravenous hummingbird? This is something consider.

Cheers for now - E 

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Oh Give Me a Home Where the Buffalo Roam.........


It’s been exactly two weeks since I took possession of my new home in Larkspur - you know, that place out in the middle of nowhere. Two weeks spent not doing much else but moving boxes, unpacking boxes, and breaking down boxes. No writing, taking pics, playing the ukulele, or yoga, just moving things from one place to another and back again. Also, thanks to my impeccable planning, no internet, TV, or radio (until I found one packed away in a box). Buddy the dog is completely stupefied - wondering what’s happening to his life.

Of course, there’s still plenty to do, but now, after a couple of weeks, things are starting to look up. After wrangling with my internet provider for weeks, I finally have wifi. This will explain why I haven’t posted anything about Larkspur/Perry Park since my initial announcement that I’m back on my blog and hope to share some pretty interesting things about Colorado.

But feeling confident that the essential stuff was accomplished at home, I took a trip into Castle Rock for various and sundry supplies, On my way back I drove by this small, but magnificent herd of American Bison just outside of Castle Rock near Dawson Butt. 

It’s been an incredible Spring in Colorado, with copious amounts of snow, rain and hail.  The most obvious and beneficial result of all this precipitation is a landscape that looks more like the Pacific Northwest that the Colorado Front Range. And the bison, cattle, and other prairie dwellers are no doubt enjoying the benefits of fresh green grass and a mild climate.

I recently heard that a couple of people up in Yellowstone National Park were attacked by bison this spring. Now attack is a pretty harsh word and I'll bet those people were probably not using much common sense when they approached the herd to get that perfect Facebook pic. Remembering the article about the "attack" I kept my distance, despite a pretty serious fence, and the fact that this herd has probably been domesticated down to the level of dairy cattle.
Still it was really cool driving down the road and seeing them - and feeling a little remorseful about their history on the Great American Plains.

Back at the house I've begun to attract masses of hummingbirds, due of course to an enticement of sugar water.  A story for another day, but this little greenback is, I think, a broadtail hummer, and the only picture I could get of the little gem worth posting. They move quite a bit faster than the bison.




Cheers for now - 

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Hello and welcome to my world and to my blog, "living the good life in Perry Park, Larkspur and beyond".

Last year, in order to live closer to family, I moved with all my belongings from the State of Oregon to Denver, Colorado. It took a while, but after many months of searching, I found a home in the small rural municipality of Larkspur and more specifically the even smaller enclave of Perry Park.

Located out in the middle of, well basically, nowhere, this place can hardly be called a "small town" with only a gas station, pizza parlor, bar and grill, volunteer fire department and a few other small businesses I've yet to discover.  I should also mention that the spectacular Perry Park Country Club is tucked away in the foothills.  As you drive down this quite country road and  turn the corner - bam! - there it is in all it's glory.


Small town or not, the Larkspur/Perry Park area is a rural gem hidden away from the vastly developed I-25 corridor stretching from Fort Collins to Colorado Springs.  Close to several golf clubs, hiking trails, big city life (Denver and Colorado Springs), small town life (Castle Rock), the US Air Force Academy, and Pikes National Forest, Larkspur and Perry Park are a country retreat with instant accessibility.  I understand there's even a goat farm in the area and buffalo - I guess I should say American Bison.

Most incredibly, this place in the middle of nowhere hosts the Colorado Renaissance Festival, a medieval fair which takes you on a magical tour through time and legend (their words). The festival runs from mid-June through the first of August, Saturdays and Sundays only, rain or shine.  Among other things (see below), the festival is most famous for their delectable turkey legs.



Having said all the above, here I am - moving into my new home in less than 5 days and feeling wonderfully fortunate to have found this marvelous gem.  There's more to this place than meets the eye and I intend to explore, discover and share the good life.

Please join me and feel free to become part of the conversation.