Friday, June 29, 2012

The Bee Tree

This is the linden tree in my front yard:

When it blooms in the spring, it attracts bees by the dozen--so many that the tree buzzes. The first time it happened, I was surprised because I thought that only fruit trees bloomed so profusely. 

Linden blossoms are very fragrant and have long been dried and used to make healing tea. Linden wood is strong, light, and resists warping. Lindens appear in many legends, most notably Slavic, and represent love, prophecy, and justice.  

The tree is strongly associated with female energy. Look into the branches of a linden tree, and you may spy Aphrodite, the Virgin Mary, or Lady Gaga. Okay, so I'm joking about that last one. I think.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Blogathon Fail

Well, there are no two ways about it: my first attempt at the Biannual Blogathon Bash was a fail. I only put in a fraction of the blog time I had hoped to, and I was one-for-two in my mini-challenges. (I got the photo collage to work but not the favicon.) I did have a family circumstance that dramatically shifted my focus, but even without, I still don't think I would have made it.

My Top Three Takeaways:
1. Life intervenes. Always.
2. 24 hours of blogging in one weekend is a lot. (I know...statement of the obvious.)
3. I have heaps of respect for all participating bloggers, especially the ones who did better than I did. Which probably means everyone.

I might try it again sometime. Maybe during the winter. With better advance planning. And more chocolate.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Photo Collage Mini Challenge

Success! I learned to make a photo collage using Pic Monkey, thanks to this challenge post from American Mom in England. I call my masterpiece "Four Seasons in Northern Colorado."

Biannual Blogathon Bash

Biannual Blogathon BashHappy Friday! I'm trying something new this weekend: The Biannual Blogathon Bash. The goal is to work on a blog as much as is reasonably possible in the 72 hours from June 22-25. The organizers suggest shooting for 24 hours total (not consecutive, thank goodness; my days of all-nighters are well behind me). I'm a little intimidated, but it helps to think of it as an opportunity to clean out my blog closet, which honestly could use a little work (but is not as bad as some of my real closets).

Of course, this weekend is crazy-busy, but I'm going to try to hit that 24 hour mark. My blogging goals include updating information on my blog, getting on board the A-Z Road Trip, and perhaps investigating other social media platforms.

Good luck to everyone participating, and I hope your weekend is a productive one!

And, by the way, it's not too late to join the bash!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

WOW Bubbles

At a recent festival, my boys had a chance to try WOW (Walk On Water) Bubbles--big inflated plastic bubbles floating in a shallow pool of water. 

It took a few minutes to get the hang of it:

But after that, it was game on...

They had a blast and, given a choice, probably would have kept at it until they grew woozy from lack of oxygen.

WOW Bubbles aren't just for kids, but, given my natural clumsiness, I didn't want to pay $7 for the privilege of falling down repeatedly, so I sat this one out. 

Friday, June 15, 2012

Friday Five: Flag Facts

Yesterday was Flag Day, and here are five facts for those of us who don't know as much as we should about Old Glory:

The flag has been modified 26 times since it was officially adopted on June 14, 1777. The current 50-star version (created in 1960) has been in use the longest.

After 1818, the star for each new state was added on July 4th after the state's admission to the Union. 

Until President Taft's executive order in 1912, flagmakers could choose their own proportions of the flag and placement of the stars. (I would have made a smiley face flag.)

It takes thirteen folds to produce the ceremonial triangular-shaped folded flag.

Flag Day is an observance, not an official federal holiday.

We still have quite a fire burning, and we're desperately hoping for rain this weekend. I'm so grateful for every one of the 1,200+ firefighters battling this blaze, and I hope they will continue to do the job safely! 

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Virginia Dale Stage Station

During the Civil War, the Overland Trail (aka Overland Stage Line) was a vital route for transporting mail and gold. The Virginia Dale Stage Station, north and west of Fort Collins, is believed to be the only station on the Overland Trail that is still standing in its original location. In 1985, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places. 

Established in 1862 by the infamous frontiersman Jack Slade, the 150 -year-old building is in need of some serious restoration.  Last weekend, the Virginia Dale Community Club held a celebration to kick off their fundraising campaign. 

Tucked back off the beaten path, the station doesn’t appear to be a stop on the way to anywhere these days, but it was once a place where passengers could get a meal and stay overnight if necessary. Heading up the dusty unpaved road toward the station, with the air conditioner keeping the 90 degree heat at bay, I couldn’t imagine making that trip in a stagecoach, especially while dressed in the layers of heavy garments women wore back then. (Seriously, ladies, aren’t you so glad to be able to slip on a pair of shorts?)

The visit to the station had personal significance for me, as my dad's master’s thesis was entitled Early Stage Lines in Colorado, 1859-1865. He died many years ago, but I like to think he was there in spirit on Saturday, trading stories with the ghost of Jack Slade.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Sunday Extra: High Park Fire

For those of you who aren't from these parts, there's a fire burning west of Fort Collins. Last evening, the smoke looked like this:

This afternoon, it looks like this:

In just over a day, the fire has grown from 2 to 14,000 acres...and is still going, with 0% containment. The winds and dry conditions are causing it to burn in an "aggressive" and "unpredictable" fashion. The smoke plume now reaches for 80 miles. My home is not in imminent danger, but hundreds of others aren't so lucky. 

Pretty intense stuff, and I'm hoping all firefighters, reporters, and evacuees stay safe and sound! 

Friday, June 8, 2012

Friday Flower

This beautiful flower caught my eye yesterday morning as I was walking my dog. I think it's a kind of peony, but I don't know the official name. I love how the middle part looks so festive, like confetti or fireworks.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Venus Transit

I visited a viewing event at a local observatory yesterday afternoon in the hopes of seeing the transit of Venus. But because the sky looked like this

the sun was not visible. I got to peek at the cool telescopes, though, and see the progress of the transit on a laptop. Though a bit disappointing, the event was made livelier by the presence of a vocal (is there any other kind?) conspiracy theorist of the moon-landing-was-a-hoax variety.

I went home, and an hour or so later the sun came out and stayed out long enough that I decided it would be worth another try. This time, success. I was able to see the transit through both telescope and eclipse glasses. 

Mercury and Venus are the only planets that are able to pass between Earth and the sun. Mercury does it every 13 years or so. Venus won’t do it again until 2117. If I figure out a way to stick around for that one, I'll let you know.

Friday, June 1, 2012

First and Last

It's the first day of June and the last day of school for kids in my local district. It's also the last time I'll have a child in elementary school. It doesn't seem possible. Just yesterday--in 'mom' years, of course--he looked like this:


Congratulations, darling boy!