Sunday, July 27, 2008

Photo Challenge #9 - "Hangin' Out in the Hood"

Hmmmm! How to portray my little town of Olathe, CO?? While we were coming off the Grand Mesa today, Dusty suggested that we try a panorama shot of "our" valley! Well, it IS our home!!

This is the canon that sits in the small park right in town. The thing that frustrates me, is that there is no plaque or markings telling of it's history. One can assume it's from WWI or WWII, but I'm not sure. When I go into Town Hall (to pay my water bill....LOL) this week, I shall finally make a point of asking about it! But as my Mother said several years ago while she was visiting, "Doesn't every small town need an old canon in their park??!!!"
I've always liked the look of this old, rundown "feed elevator" that belongs to our West Slope Ag-Center!
And this is the river that is only about two blocks from our house. Yes, we have to have flood insurance because of this river, though I don't think it's gone over it's banks in anyone's memory! We often take walks in the evening and James enjoys throwing rocks into the river. It's called the Uncompahgre River and we live in the Uncompahgre Valley!!

I've chosen not to include any corn this week, but wait until next week, as we're gearing up for our big corn festival!! Stay tuned!! They'll be A LOT of corn posted here next weekend!!

Hangin' Out in the Hood - Part 2

Just a few more pictures of our little, tiny agricultural town. I took the pictures, I figure I might as well share them!

Here is our True Value hardware store. It's one of the main businesses in town! Dusty worked there for a few years and the place is a real trip! It's like stepping back in time....with warped wooden floors and aisles so narrow you have to walk very carefully as not to knock things off the shelves!! Nextdoor is an old time variety store, with everything from appliances to candles and note cards!
This is the small grocery where I work part-time! (On the far left of this picture, with the silver van parked in front!)
And our Producers Co-op.....very important in a farm town!!!
Right across the street is the Ag-Center with the Olathe Volunteer Fire Department next door. I keep trying to tell you this is a small town......ya believe me yet??

Time for Fishing!

After a lovely walk along a wooded path that parralleled many of the lakes up on Grand Mesa, Dusty and James chose a spot to fish for awhile. It was so nice to sit in the shade of the big pine trees and enjoy the smells and sounds of the forest and lake.

James is still learning how to fish from his Dad, and it seems as if each summer we start all over again! Now he's old enough though, I think, to start remembering more from summer to summer. One thing is for sure....he seems to have inherited the love of fishing from his Dad, and I'm so glad for that! It's something that they'll always be able to share!
This was the catch of the day! And you can tell from the look on James' face that he was quite excited!! It was served as one of the courses of tonight's dinner in the Ryan house!
Here's James with Lacey and his fish!
I loved this shot! Going back to the car after fishing, I caught James and Lacey walking along the trail!

Cooling Off in the Mountains.....

Today we headed "up" in an effort to escape the heat. It's been very hot (near 100 degrees daily) and much more humid than we're used to, as a result of Hurricane Dolly. We are a long way from the Mexican Gulf, but we ended up with a lot of humidity caused by the hurricane. Usually the western slope of Colorado is very dry, as we are part of a "high mountain desert", so we really feel that humidity when it goes up!

Today we went up on The Grand Mesa. It's one of our favorite places as it's only about an hour's drive from our house and is easy to get to. It's call to fame is that it is the largest flat- topped mountain in the world. We like it because it's often many degrees cooler up there than it is at home. Once up there, we were driving around looking for a place for the boys to stop and fish and we came upon this beautiful stream with wildflowers surrounding it. I, of course, had to stop and take pictures!!

I think that this is mountain beauty at it's best!!
And this is a Colorado Columbine! It's the state flower and something we Coloradoans are quite proud of!! We teach our children that our beautiful wildflowers are there to have pictures taken of and to be admired, but never picked!!!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Photo Challenge #8 - NEGATIVE SPACE

This challenge was so hard for me! I just couldn't wrap my mind around the concept, I guess. I took the camera with us on our trip out into the corn hoping to get the perfect shot. No such luck! All of the pictures I took just seemed to have "too much subject". Guess I really need to take more time to master this one, and time is just something that is very limited for me right now.

Anyway, here are a few of the shots that I've taken in the last couple of days that I think (and hope!) are acceptable for this week's challenge. My favorite is of James, lying on and enjoying our new flooring!

An old, dead tree that I captured against an evening sky.
This is the tree in the yard next door to our house. I've always thought it was pretty in the summer, with it's green leaves and yellow "flowers", especially against a blue sky!

Well, that's it for this week. This is something I will work on some more, as I don't think I did a very good job. But, once again, thanks to Wendy and Helen for making me "think outside the box!!"

Hooked on Corn and Sunsets.....

Another hot evening chased us out of our house for a ride through the cooler corn fields! It was a delightful way to spend an hour, just out driving slowly and stopping every now and then to take pictures.

The Olathe Sweet Corn Festival is only two weeks off now. The highlight of our year, our one day festival celebrating the beginning of the corn harvest brings people to our little town from far and wide! It's a fun day, small town style.....all the corn you can eat, craft vendors, music, games for the kids and lots of festival foods. The day is capped off with an evening concert and a fireworks show. A few years ago, the planners of this event realized that they could draw a bigger crowd by having big country stars perform. In the last few years, we've had Randy Travis, Lonestar and Leann Rhimes! This year Travis Tritt will be performing! I always giggle about it, saying I'd love to be a fly on the wall during the conversation between the star and his/her booking agent......"You've booked me in concert WHERE?? Olathe, Colorado?? Where the @#$% is THAT!!!???" I don't think that any of them have ever been disappointed in the crowds that have shown up to appreciate their performance! I'm sure this year will be no exception!

Showing how big the corn has gotten in a short amount of time, here's James getting a closer look!
Our magnificent sunset last night! WOW! This one took my breath away!!
When we got home, James and Lacey were playing on our new floor and I captured this picture of the two of them, which I love!!

A Wonderful Visit with Old Friends.....

We were so excited when we got an email from Kerri about a month ago saying that they were going to be in our area this weekend! We have missed them so much since they left us 4 years ago, to move to Michigan. We met because Kerri worked for a plumber in Montrose and I worked at the plumbing wholesaler (where I've now been for more than 10 years!). She and I became fast friends and once we introduced our husbands, the two families became friendly. Tom and Kerri have a son, Cody who is a year and a half older than our James, and a daughter, Sarah, who is a year and a half younger than James! I guess we miss the Hubbards the most during the holidays, especially the 4th of July! We always made an effort to get together and celebrate together and always had fun.
Today, we met at a local park so that the children could play. We couldn't get over the kids. Cody was 5 and Sarah was 2 when they moved away! Boy, are they all grow up now! James didn't really remember Cody, even though he was James' first friend! James and Cody were once put on the same blanket on the floor to play, before James could sit on his own!!

Here is Kerri and her daughter, Sarah, who will be starting 1st grade in a few weeks.
The three kids, with James in the middle, right where he belongs in this group!

The old, good friends! James and Cody had a lot of fun playing today and it was great to see. They still can be friends, even with the distance between them!!

Thank you Tom and Kerri for saving an afternoon out of your busy trip to spend with us!! We loved every minute and hope we'll be able to do it again, next time sooner than 4 years from now!!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Photo Challenge #7 - FILL THE FRAME

This week's challenge WAS a challenge for me, and I didn't really think it would be! Nothing jumped out at me as I wandered around with my camera. I did manage to come up with a few decent ones to post.

Here's Lacey, in one of her calmer moments. This was taken before she discovered that water play could be so much fun, because after that a shot like this would have been impossible!!
This one of James was the best of the day! He's going through a stage and has become very difficult to photograph! He absolutely hates it when I appear with the camera and all I get is funny faces! (Not that that is altogether bad, but it does have it's place! I have gotten very few good pictures of him recently, mostly because he's become very self-conscience about his two front teeth that are coming in. He absolutely will not give me his wonderful smile for the camera.....all I get now is a goofy grin. He promises to do better after the teeth are both in! We'll see!!)
And here are some pretty flowers. I have no idea what kind they are, do you Wendy??

A Weekend of Pictures....

It seems that everywhere we go now, I make it a point to have my camera with me! These pictures where taken yesterday evening, on our way home from town. Taken just a few minutes from our house on "the back road" as we call it.....a nice alternative to driving the highway!!

This picture is of a flowering alfalfa field, which is a big summertime crop around here!

I've just always thought that this little farm looks "quaint" in it's surroundings. I loved the evening lighting in this picture.

Today, we headed to the mountains for a few hours, to escape the heat in the valley. We went up the "Little Cimarron", which is one of our favorite places. It's so peaceful and beautiful there. We have a particular spot that we discovered several years ago, that we enjoy. It's got a secondary, slower moving branch of the river which is a good place for James the play and wade.
Today's Lacey's 7 month birthday! We brought her home when she was 6 weeks old and it's been a lot of fun to watch her grow up! She is a golden retriever/border collie mix........she looks just like a golden retriever except for the fact that she's jet black!! James calls her his "black retriever"!! She is a very sweet dog and eager to please. She's fit well into our family and is a constant source of entertainment!

Today was Lacey's first trip to the mountains and her first experience playing in a creek. She was pretty funny! Once she got used to the cold water, she was all over the place trying to catch the water! Silly pup! Occasionally, she'd reach down into the water and come up with a rock which she'd proudly deposit at our feet! Such a gift!! It was definitely a successful day for her as she continues to experience new things!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Photo Challenge #6 - TEXTURE

A bucket lid of screws that's also become a catch-all for leaves and elm seeds! I thought it was interesting anyway!
Looking up into the cottonless cottonwood tree on our front yard.
An unused trellis against the painted siding of our house.
Our nextdoor neighbor's wood pile.
The Russian Sage plant on our front yard.

Here are my contributions for this week! Seeing as how we've been housebound this long weekend with the flooring project going on, I just decided to take a walk around our house and see what I could find. I'm pretty pleased with the outcome! It's amazing how these challenges are helping me see things in a different way!!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Happy 4th of July!!

We drove up to the town of Delta (10 miles to our north) to enjoy their fireworks display. It was a wonderfully warm evening (after a very hot day!) and was perfect for this outdoor activity! Delta has a lovely lake in Confluence Park and they launch their fireworks off over the lake. It's just a perfect setting.

We had packed a picnic dinner and enjoyed the beautiful sunset as we ate.
James enjoyed wading in the water, looking for crawdads! He brought home a very little one, but unfortunately it made it less than 24 hours. The lesson learned here, hopefully, was that it's better to enjoy that kind of thing in their natural environment! We had been successful bringing one home a few years back, but I'm afraid that this one was just too small to make it out of the lake.

James loves all creatures and wants to bring home everything he catches. That's why we have a snake now! Several weeks back we were out looking for asparagus (welcome to rural Colorado!! We go out and search the irrigation ditches for the wild asapargus that grows there!) and James found the snake (of non-poisionous variety!!) in the dry irrigation ditch! Well, of course he HAD to come home with us! What's a mother to do??!!! As long as he stays in his tank, I'm OK with it all.

Anyway, back to last was a great show and an enjoyable evening! It's hard to believe that it's already the middle holiday of our summer season! It always goes so fast!! We hope that you all had a happy and safe holiday weekend!!

The 3rd of July is family time!!

Every year Dusty's sister, Vonnie, hosts a neighborhood and family ice cream social/fireworks extravaganza at her house. Her youngest son, Devon, is in charge of the fireworks show which he does out in the street, a safe distance from everyone. We all enjoy the time together! This year Dusty's son, Joe, and his family (wife Jen, six year old daughter Juliana and three year old son JT) joined us from Grand Junction, an hour to our north.

Here is Juliana, climbing one of Aunt Vonnie's trees!
Papa Dusty really enjoys his grandchildren and is looking forward to the arrival of #3 early next year!! We're rooting for you Jen, and hope before long that yucky morning sickness will be a thing of the past!!

JT and Dusty were patiently waiting for Devon to start the fireworks!!
Our "multilevel family'!! With Dusty having a 31 year old son and a 7 year old son, things have gotten interesting. James became an uncle at 19 months old, when Juliana was born. I still giggle when the three kids play together and I hear Juliana or JT refer to James as "Uncle James"!!! The other thing that makes us all laugh is to realize that Jen is James' sister-in-law!! We do know that families like ours are less and less unusual as time goes by, but it still seems weird!!
James gave JT a piggyback ride much of that evening! They really seem to enjoy each other, which does this mother's/Nana's heart good!!!

A Sneak Peek at a Home Facelift!!

After several years on our existing carpeting, we've decided to replace what there was in the living room and hallway (what is lived on the most!) with Pergo laminate flooring!! After much searching, discussing and debating we found one that we really like and decided to go for it!

The problem with a project like this in our house is two-fold. Our home is VERY small. The living room is really our only living space. So as this project is going on we have no place to "be", except in the midst of it all! The second problem is that we have no real place to put all of our living room furniture while it's going on. So we just keep moving things around as we go!! Here is a picture of the work team......Dusty and James!!

The first unexpected "issue" we ran into was when we pulled up the first 4 foot section of carpeting, Dusty discovered that our sub-floor isn't level......more work!!! Yuck!! Dusty showed James how to use the level and planer and he has been such a big help prepping the floor! It's so great to see his enthusiasm to help his Dad and be a part of it all!! It's proven to be more work than we anticipated to begin with, adding a lot more time to this project.
James has been a trooper as he helps. Even as I sit here, typing this I hear Dusty muttering and mumbling from the other room......something about "this board is challenged and so am I! Between the two of us, neither of us are too bright!!" I think it's time for a break, what do you think?? LOL Actually, Dusty has done a great job so far. He tries to anticipates anything that might come up and still has to keep in mind length of the boards, the patterning in the boards, etc. Even though it's a small area....only 320 square feet total, there's a lot to think about. I'm proud of both my boys for taking this on!!

Here is a picture of the first several rows of boards that went down under our front window. We chose a light color board mostly because the room is so small and because we already have several pieces of wood furniture. So far we're very pleased with the look of it and get more excited as more is completed. We will have the living room done by the end of the weekend, leaving the hallway to do.

Stay tuned!! I'll posts some more pictures once it's all done!!