Friday, October 26, 2012

Friday Five: Local Haunts

I freely admit that I am a total wimp and have no desire to take one of my local ghost tours at Halloween or any other time of year. But if I wanted to test my courage in a few allegedly haunted places, these five would make the list:

The Northern Hotel
Ghost: A mother searching for her five-year old daughter who died in the Spanish Flu epidemic of 1918.

Old Firehouse
Ghost: Old West Gambler Jack Cassidy, who died in solitary confinement after being locked up for cheating at cards.

Linden Hotel
Ghost: Longtime area resident Frank Miller, a colorful artist, photographer, and marksman who traveled with Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show.

Trimble Court
Ghost: Businessman Ed Trimble, who built the Opera Galleria building in 1881 to house various cultural and civic events.

Old Railroad Station
Multiple ghosts include Annie, the mixed-breed dog adopted by the railroad employees, who greeted passengers from 1934-1948.

I’ve been to all these places, but not after dark…with ghost hunters…in shivery late October.

Hope you’re enjoying your local spirits of the season, if that’s your thing! Have a great weekend.

Interior of Northern Hotel

Old Firehouse

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Not Quite Indian Summer

Though today’s weather is forecast to be cooler, we’ve had some nice warm temperatures around here lately. I always thought that any stretch of summery days this time of year could be called Indian Summer. But according to the Old Farmer’s Almanac (“Useful, with a pleasant degree of humor”), a true Indian Summer must meet several criteria:

Temperatures are warm, but the atmosphere must also be “hazy or smoky,” with high barometric pressure, no wind, and cool nights, all of it caused by a “stagnant anticyclone high pressure weather system;”

The warm days must be preceded by a cold snap or hard frost; and

Indian Summer must occur between St. Martin’s Day (November 11) and November 20. As the old saying goes, “If All Saints (November 1) brings out winter, St. Martin’s brings out Indian Summer.” 

What, you’ve never heard that one? Me, neither. And how about St. Swithin’s Day—which I always thought was made up because I heard it on The Simpsons. (Bart: “Kippers for breakfast Aunt Helga? Is it St. Swithin’s Day already?”) Apparently, it’s a real saint’s day that occurs on July 15. I better mark my calendar for next year.

Anyway, even though we’ve had the hard frost and the unseasonably warm temps, it’s too early to call this Indian Summer. Makes me wonder how something that happens in November can be a ‘summer’ anything. But there you have it. Those Old Farmers wouldn’t lie.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Friday Five: Pumpkin Facts

When I was growing up, pumpkin was used for two things: carving at Halloween (and smashing, if you were one of those kids) and pies at Thanksgiving. Now, pumpkin has found its way into everything from lattes to ravioli to body scrub. It might be a bit of seasonal overkill, but I love it. I've yet to find a pumpkin product I don't like, and I'd much rather bake with pumpkin than slimy mashed banana. 

Without further ado, pumpkin facts as promised:

Pumpkins are grown on every continent except Antarctica;

The word pumpkin comes from the Greek pepon, meaning a large melon;

Illinois grows the most pumpkins in the U.S., and Morton, Illinois, home of Libby, is considered the Pumpkin Capital;

Pumpkin world records include the largest (1,810.5 pounds) and the fastest time carving a face into one (20.1 seconds);

A pumpkin is 90% water, which makes it low in calories and sodium. But it is high in fiber and beta carotene.

And a bonus fact, which I learned about a minute ago: if you type 'pumpkin' more than three or four times, it starts to look like a very silly word.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Them Bones

To those of you who may have noticed that my posts have been rather cursory lame over the past few weeks, well, you’re right. I have a reason, though, and this time it doesn’t involve international espionage. (But, wait…I’ve said too much.) Anyhoo, my 77-year-old mother tripped in her living room and broke her leg. It was a fracture of her tibial plateau, for anyone who cares about these things, and earned her the full Black and Decker treatment—screws and a steel plate—and six weeks of non-weight-bearing status. That’s right, she can’t use her broken leg for anything more than filling out her slacks for six weeks. (This is not her x-ray, but it's the same area in question.)

Her house, built in that carefree era of the 70s when no one apparently anticipated getting old and breaking bones, has no main-floor bedroom or bathroom. (I can’t blame all this lack of foresight on the baby boomers, because my house, built 12 years ago, is really no better.) My mother’s two modes of doctor-approved locomotion are 1) wheelchair and 2) hopping on one foot using a walker, which can only be done successfully on stairs by Cirque du Soleil acrobats. So she had to go to rehab. The place is clean and generally pleasant and everyone is nice, but…yeah. William Shatner isn’t exactly deluged with PriceLine booking requests.   

For years, my mother’s been a firm believer in good nutrition (though she seems to have conveniently forgotten that my childhood was full of KFC and sugary breakfast cereals) and sort of obsessive about vitamins and supplements. She has never smoked, maintains a healthy weight, and doesn’t really have any chronic conditions of her age group, such as diabetes or a Wheel of Fortune addiction. But thanks to this little incident, she has learned that she has significant osteoporosis.  

It's is a game-changer, folks, and not in a good way like winning the lottery or having a forehead tattoo removed. So, at this skeleton-y time of year, my skinny friend above and I have a reminder: take care of your bones! Learn the risk factors for osteoporosis and what you can do to help prevent it, because I’m pretty sure Wolverine’s adamantium skeleton is one-of-a-kind. (But my mom would be a total bad-a** grammy with these things, right?)

Friday, October 12, 2012

Photos of the Week

How these guys

were brave enough to forage with this guy

a mere ten feet overhead, I'll never know. Safety in numbers, maybe.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Garden Clean-Up Time

Last weekend, we had our first hard freeze in Northern Colorado. So, even though the temperature today is forecast to reach the 70s, my morning glories, which started out looking like this:

Now look like this:

Likewise, my squash:

Is completely squashed:

Because my husband kindly put the pots from the porch in the garage for a couple of days, it wasn't a total loss. But pretty soon it will be time to put those away, too.

I still like this time of year, though, when all the growing things are getting ready to rest for a while. January, though, is a whole other story.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Happy October!

No post to speak of for today, just a wish that you all have a wonderful October. It's a fun month around here. I hope the same is true where you live, too!

The farm down the street from my neighborhood has their pumpkins ready!