Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Meet Walter

Walter is a 12(?) week old terrier mutt-puppy who was found running loose in Kansas and was rescued by an organization here in Colorado, surviving parvo along the way. He is adorable and crazy and on Friday will be the newest member of our family. Wish us luck! I think we're gonna need it :-)

Enjoy this last day of July, before the back-to-school season gets into full swing. Tomorrow is Colorado Day, and I'd like to wish my native state a happy 137th birthday! Admission to the History Colorado Center in Denver will be free from 10-5, and Monday, August 5, is a free day at all 42 state parks.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Paddler's Pub

Prepare to be super-mucho impressed everyone, because I know someone who plays in a non-school band. He's a not-too-geeky computer guy by day and a funky trumpet player in the band Futaba by...well, in this case it was early evening. (They play at night, too, if I ever want to stay up later than the 9:00 news.) 

Hearing the band perform at a reasonable hour was a great reason to get us out to Paddler's Pub for the first time. The pub is part of the Mountain Whitewater Descents rafting company and is described as "the first true outdoor pub in Fort Collins." 

The atmosphere is genuine Colorado casual. There's no kitchen, the floor is gravel, and the bar serves only local beers and wines. The eats come from pizza delivery or one of the food trucks that frequent the parking lot. If you remember the B-52's song "Love Shack," this is indeed a funky little shack.

Even though we hadn't spent the day paddling down the Poudre, we didn't feel at all out of place at Paddler's Pub. The place is all about friendly and fun, with a sand volleyball court, horseshoe pits, a nature trail, stuff for kids to climb on, and great views of the foothills. And the music, of course, which wraps up by 9:00--just right for semi-geezers like me. (Click here for the Paddler's Pub music schedule)

And If you ever get the chance to hear Futaba play, please do, unless you are allergic to great music that makes you want to shake your booty and/or groove-thing.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Photo of the Week

Beauty is an ecstasy; it is as simple as hunger. There is really nothing to be said about it. It is like the perfume of a rose: you can smell it and that is all.
W. Somerset Maugham

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

McMurry and Salyer Natural Areas

The boys and I were overdue for a natural areas visit, and when the weather is hot like it was last week, the cool waters of the Cache la Poudre River are pretty inviting. The McMurry and Salyer Natural Areas lie adjacent to one another alongside the river and are two of the 17 natural areas included in the city's river management plan.

McMurry's two ponds make it a popular spot for fishers and canoers. We weren't outfitted for either, so we walked around them and looked for interesting critters--which, during the heat of the day, weren't out and about in abundance. (Smarter than we were, I guess.) Swimming is not allowed in the ponds, but it's just a short detour to the river, where my boys waded in and cooled off.

Salyer is an easy-access area with a short stretch of trail perfect for watching the birds. The meadow at Salyer is under restoration, which includes the removal of the native iris for future reintroduction. I would like to come back and see it when that is completed.

We also found a shady stream and a great tree for climbing. All in all, not a bad way to spend a couple of hours of a summer day.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Friday Fun: Little Free Library

Hey, everyone. If it's hot where you live--like it is here--I hope you'll have a chance to find some shade or a swimming pool this weekend!

Some neighbors a few blocks down have put up a Little Free Library--kind of a combination mailbox/birdhouse-looking enclosure where readers of all ages can exchange books. I'd never heard of this before, but apparently they are popping up all over the world. (Find the U.S. map here.)

We have a very good library system in Fort Collins, but there is something so charming and neighborly about having an exchange box right down the street. I dropped off a couple of kids books and chose a novel for myself.

Happy reading! If you have a Little Free Library in your town, I'd love to hear about it.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Bombers Away

I'm feeling exceptionally unmotivated on this hot summer day, but I do want to share a few pictures of our recent family activity involving enormous military aircraft. Over the Fourth of July holiday, the Ft. Collins/Loveland airport hosted a '40s Forever weekend to remember and honor the men and women who served in WWII. 

Along with other air and ground vehicles from the period, three bombers were on site--one offering flights (for $500) and two on the tarmac for tours (a mere $12 in comparison). We went with the less-expensive option and got to walk through the B-17 and B-24 bombers. 

It was an eye-opening and humbling trip back in time. Though the bombers look huge from the outside, maneuvering inside them was cramped and difficult (that's my husband squeezing through). It felt like being in a giant steel can, and I can only imagine how harrowing it must have been during wartime. 

As this important era of American history slips farther away, I'm glad there are still people who work so hard to keep it alive so my kids, and hopefully their kids, can learn from the past.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Making Peace With My Lawn

Last summer, I was in a bit of a snit because my lawn wasn't green enough. That's right, even with the smoke from forest fires hanging heavy over the town, and the reservoir being steadily depleted to fight those fires, I still wanted a green lawn. The kind everyone had when I was a kid: a plush, green rectangle with a sidewalk down the middle (like this one, which is SO not my lawn).

The problem (according to me) is that my husband, in his endearing stubbornness, has refused since day one to put in a sprinkler system, and that means schlepping garden hoses around. Garden hoses are my nemesis. I hate them. (And before you try to convert me, I refuse to fall for the marketing ploy that is the "as-seen-on-TV-pocket-hose," because I know even that Muppety-sea worm-looking thing will try ruin my life.)

So the perfect lawn eluded me.

This summer, I'm a changed woman. The tragic losses of life and property we've seen across the region have made it extremely clear that fire (too much of it) and water (not enough of it) are going to shape life here in the west for many years to come. The vanity of perfectly green lawns in a climate like ours has become ridiculous.

Instead of envying the neighbors' lawns that are Land-of-Oz-green, I wonder why they bother. Back yards, okay, for kids and dogs. Front yards, however...with the exception of mowing, my neighbors never spend any time on them. And I can imagine what their water bills are like. The lawns I now envy are the ones that are shrinking, with grass being steadily replaced by rock and drought-loving xeriscape plants.

As for our front lawn, I have plans for downsizing it someday soon. For now, we're maintaining it in a state of near-death by watering just enough to keep things greenish-brown and moderately crunchy. It's not great for bare feet, but that's what flip-flops are for, right?