Me Monday: My Favorite Pictures

Last year I decided I wanted to start taking pictures: you know, something other than just the phone kind?
Now, not knowing ANYTHING about Digital cameras, I sort of did some research on the different ones and decided I like the Nikon Coolpix l340. I wanted a point and shoot, this would do it. Once I started taking pictures, I wanted to take more of the sky, the moon and the stars, my little camera wouldn’t work for that. For my birthday, my son took me to the store and we “upgraded”, wanting just a bit more, but still within budget, I stayed with the Coolpix and choose the D500, in purple. Now, the kiddo wasn’t happy with the color choice, but I reminded him, it was my camera. So off we went.
Still isn’t exactly what I want; would love to have a DSLR, I really want to take pictures of the stars! For now, I totally love my little purple camera and it suits me just fine. I love it’s so compact, easy to use, not too heavy and takes great pictures.
I have found there are times I want to take pictures and I don’t have my camera with me. What to do, what to do? I use my camera on my phone; takes GREAT pictures (for a phone), always with me and compact.
Here are some of my very favorite pictures.
Moon Shots
 Moon shots are my favorite. It’s a mystery, it’s a force, it stays the same, but is always different.  The moon has been accused of causing craziness on a full moon; but did you also know it’s been blamed to increase ER visits (humans, cats and dogs), sexual activity, auto accidents, murder and suicide. While those may be myth or fact, I love the moon! It’s a calming force within me.

Sunsets and sunrises are the most beautiful time of the day. I see way more sunsets than sunrises, nothing like the sky saying Good Morning or Good Night!

Storm Clouds

These are all taken with my phone camera. The dark black one with the extreme white ones are my most funniest (and probably not such a smart idea). The black is like two seconds before the WHITE of the lightening. I could feel the electricity, see the lightening bolt and where it hit, just across the street to the left of the frame. I jumped and ran back into the house and into my hubby’s arms, where we both just laughed. It was AWESOME!

Flowers and Travel

I love taking photos of flowers, just as much as I do of the moon. This year I didn’t get as many rose photos as I usually do.

“Taking an image, freezing a moment, reveals how rich reality truly is.” …
— Ansel Adams

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Where in the World Wednesday: Cedaredge, CO

If you haven’t figured it out by now (as it’s taken me like 20 years to figure it all out), the western slope of Colorado, also known as the Grand Valley, is chock full of agriculture and recreation opportunities.
Olathe, CO: 
 Just an hour drive from Grand Junction on Hwy 50
 Named after Olathe, KS, the town is just outside the Grand Valley, still on the western slope.
 Home to the Olathe Sweet Sweet Corn
    Each August there is a HUGE festival honoring the veggie. The Olathe Sweet Corn Festival. Let me tell you, this corn is worth the wait, the drive and for some of us, the pain  of the eat (many conditions such as Crohn’s, Colitis, Gastroparesis shouldn’t partake in this wonderful veggie). I have yet to go to this festival, from what I hear, it’s a big fun time!
 Home to the Olathe BMX
Palisade, CO:
  A short hop of 20 minutes from Grand Junction, gets you to the home of The Peach Capitol of Colorado and many vineyards and wineries
  Apples, cherries and pears are also in grand supply!
    Another August festival started in the late 1880’s; is the Palisade Peach Festival
       Lots of vendors, wines, peaches, rides for kiddos and food is spread out over three days.
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The junction where the Gunnison and the Colorado Rivers meet
  great for rafting, fishing, kayaking and stand up paddle boarding
crops of apples, peaches, cherries and honey are in great supply
Home to the Colorado National Monument and the Book Cliffs
Country Jam is four days of live country music, held just outside of Grand Junction in Mack
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Fruita, CO:
Just 21 minutes from Grand Junction on Hwy 50
Originally a farming community, it has since become known for its outdoor recreation
   mountain biking, hiking and rafting
Late September brings the three day Fruita Fall Festival
  As with all festivals, it includes: vendors, food and a carnival.
  It also includes; a parade, a talent show, a golf tournament, cooking contests, and even a night street dance
Cedaredge is one of the entrances to the Grand Mesa on CO – 65
a small agricultural town producing, of course, apples, peaches, and beef from cattle.
Home of the Little Britches Rodeo and Parade (the Western Slope chapter)
Don’t miss the Pioneer Town museum and village. Travel back in time to the early 20th century and visit the saloon, the marshall’s office, a bank, jail and much more! You can even hold your wedding there or see a summer concert there.
Out of the Grand Valley and just an hour down Hwy 50 is a great time in Cedaredge where we spent last weekend and their Apple Fest. I have been to the Canon City Apple Blossom festival, Old Colorado City’s Territory Days, Palisade Peach Festival and the Fruita Fall Festival and I have to say, the only thing that comes close to the Apple Fest is Territory Days and Apple Blossom.  The Apple Fest is a four day fest filled with such things as a chili cook off (my aunt says this is a huge event! They always run out of chili and all donations go to the fire department), pancake breakfasts, 5K run, music, arts and tons more! There were so many people, vendors, food and apples, it was impossible to see everything. We HAD to get some apples, one just doesn’t go to a fruit festival and not get the fruit. We started with an apple fritter…YUMMO! at the same booth were apples: I had heard someone in the crowd say, “we need to go to Red Mountain Ranch for our apples.” I looked at the sign on the tent and that’s exactly where we were. The people working the tent were (according to my intel/aunt) were 2-3 generations apple growers. They were very pleasant, friendly and the tent was very clean! I had a taste of the Honey Crisp and it was aMAZING, so we purchased just three.
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I don’t like big crowds and this was one of those, but we were able to look around at the vendor booths and saw so many creative people showing off their arts! Even got to see what happens when something gets stuck in a power line. Crowds at the festival are about 15,000,  I have to say, I think there were 15,000 just on the day we were there (although the pictures don’t really reflect that). There were cars parked in every parkable place for miles! I was very impressed with the whole experience and the best thing about it was, it’s FREE; unlike the Palisade Peach Festival or the Olathe Corn Festival!!
Thank you for traveling the Western Slope with me this past summer, we have a long list of ideas for next summer. Let’s see where winter takes us.
It is only the farmer who faithfully plants seeds in the Spring, who reaps a harvest in the Autumn. B. C. Forbes
DK

Where in the World Wednesday: The Grand Mesa: Fall Colors

Hoping you remember the previous edition of The Grand Mesa of Colorado: this time we take in the fall colors; B, Max and I took our drive up there to capture the colors. Fall is one of my favorite seasons, I love the turning of the colors. The cooler weather. The rustle of the leaves and when I get to get out and take pictures of them, smell the fresh mountain air, I love it even more! It was a perfect(ly windy cold) fall day, but we grabbed our jackets, loaded the camera, the dog and our drinks in the car and headed east, once again. We had lots to ground to cover and we were burning daylight.
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The Grand Mesa is the largest flat-topped mountain in the WORLD...right here in our own back yard! Literally! There are about 500 square miles and has an 11,000 foot elevation. As we discussed in the earlier post, there are over 300 lakes, so with the elevation so high and it bringing cooler temps, I knew we would be getting a good show, but also had a feeling, one more weekend would be the best timing.
This time, we were able to go to Lands End: known as Veterans Road, 200 World War 1 veterans were brought up to the camp, during the Great Depression to complete the last nine miles, making $1 per day and living in Army tents. The veterans were a remarkable group of men, skilled in almost every trade; taking just over a year to complete the whole road (1933 – 1934); they worked with machine operators and just a handful of civilians, and did so without any injuries!
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The wind at the observatory was incredibly cold and strong, B had to put his cap on backwards. Max had to stay in the car, I do believe there was a small animal advisory up there, time them puppies down!! I had my cap on with my sweatshirt hood on over and still froze! Who’s idea was this anyway?
I found one of the lookouts and was greeted by a small army of chipmunks. Evidently, they love it there and they know they can get food from people. I had at least eight little guys skittering here and there! I DID get a photo this time! In fact, I think two or three even posed for me. I didn’t get any pictures of the “wild” cows, also known as free range! Not because I don’t like cows, but because the dirt road was a washboard and keeping the camera steady.
The views from up top were simply breath taking! Not sure if it was the view, the height or the wind; either way, I was breathless. You could see unbelievable views of the Grand Valley, the Book Cliffs (including the back side of Mt Garfield and the Book Cliffs), the Colorado National Monument and way over to Utah, which is a mere 80 miles away.
Back on the road and heading south again we found several areas where the colors were just popping; from reds to orange to green to yellow. It was a peaceful drive until we got close to town and Max decided being car sick was the way to end the adventure. I think he was just worried we were going to leave city dog to fend for himself in the wilderness because he has never gotten car sick.
We may decide on another fall color trip next week, I’m hoping to go to Telluride. Depending on time and weather, I really hope we make it. I’ve never been.
Want more fall photos? Visit my facebook page . 

Autumn Leaves

© Edel T. Copeland

Published: November 1, 2016

Golden, crisp leaves falling softly from almost bare trees,
Lifting and falling in a hushed gentle breeze,
Slowly dropping to the soft cushioned ground,
Whispering and rustling a soothing sound.

Coppers, golds, and rusted tones,
Mother Nature’s way of letting go.
They fall and gather one by one,
Autumn is here, summer has gone.

Crunching as I walk through their warm fiery glow,
Nature’s carpet rich and pure that again shall grow,
To protect and shield its majestic tree,
Standing tall and strong for the world to see.

They rise and fall in the cool, crisp air.
It’s a time of change in this world we share,
Nature’s importance reflecting our own lives,
Letting go of our fears and again, too, we shall thrive.

Source: https://www.familyfriendpoems.com/poem/autumn-leaves-5

DK

Where in the World Wednesday: Colorado National Monument

As the summer is coming to an end, I look back at where we have been. We visited the Black Canyon of the Gunnison, Rifle Falls, The Grand Mesa and finally Colorado National Monument. We visited it last year and it was HOT!! I don’t remember much of anything else than it was HOT, so when we went back this year, it was like it was all new! B and I went this time, after he and his brother went earlier in the week. The brother had never been here, so it was a great time for B to show him the sights.
The National Monument includes geological formations ranging from 1.5 billion years old, of the Precambrian area to Lower Cretaceous at 140 million years old (that’s OLD). So you know the sights would be amazing. With 31 miles of paved roads and plenty of pull offs, you can experience awesome views of the deep canyons and the sandstone towers with the Colorado River below. Activities in the park include: biking, hiking (in fact there are 13 backcounty trails ranging from 4,700 to 7,000+ feet), camping. Bird and animal watching along with some great geology and flowers to study. B and his brother were lucky when they went up there. The brother told B it would be awesome to see some sheep and around the next corner there were several big horn sheep munching on some goodies. Animals include; coyotes, mountain lions and lizards. I did get to see a chipmunk and once again, I wasn’t able to take a photo of him, they are quick little guys. Birds include: golden eagles, red-tailed hawks and turkey vultures along with some swifts, swallows and blue jays!

Cold Shivers Point look out is NOT for the faint of heart, one of the Monument’s most dramatic and spectacular overlooks, is just a mere 300 ft down. The viewing place on Wingate Sandstone Cliff is located above the Columbus Canyon. It does have wheel chair accessibility and does have a safety fence. However, just to the north of it, the landing is not fenced in and does have loose rocks, making a slip very easy for anyone.

It seems many folks don’t have respect for Mother Nature. There is a saying for the outdoors “Take nothing but pictures. Leave nothing but footprints.  Which means, no tree carving, no rock graffiti, no rock carving etc. This is NOT OK
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John Otto, the expert trail builder and first caretaker of Colorado National Monument,  scrambled up Independence Monument on July 4, 1911, which started the tradition the park still honors. Each July 4th, the Mesa County Search & Rescue team, climb the tower and plant a flag on top, honoring Mr Otto.
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Independence Monument
Ute Canyon is a small trip to the edge of the canyon, it is fenced and also straight down. The history of the water forming the canyon is placed on an information board so you can see the beauty of how nature works.
After this walk to and from the rim, this old lady was done in. I didn’t have enough water, which is a HUGE mistake (note to self, even if you are just doing a daily road trip, take plenty of water), with the lack of water and the heat a small migraine ended our day.
Now, I’m going to go out on a limb and say this is probably not the best idea to do.
 (oh the wildlife you see)
A perfect day would be to get into the car, drive out to Yosemite and go camping. Michael Steger
DK

Try it Thursday: Lazy Peach Pie

In case you have missed it, Peaches are a pretty big deal around these parts. I mean, Palisade is known as the Peach Capitol of Colorado. I would say the world, but I don’t know that I’ve had fresh Georgia Peaches.

 

One of my most favorite desserts EVER!!! Is Lazy Peach Pie. I got this recipe from a friend back in the early 90’s (1990’s not, 1890) as it was so darn delicious, the recipe is so stinking easy, there really is no reason not to have it every day of the week. I love it best when it comes out of the oven, but WARNING! It’s HOT! And I have such a time waiting for it to cool enough, 90% of the time, I burn my tongue and it doesn’t even upset me. It makes for great left overs too! However, most times, there are no left overs. I may have to start making them in secret! 
Lazy Peach Pie
Ingredients:
1 stick of butter (can use margarine, but why?)
1 cup of sugar
1 cup of All Purpose flour
3/4 cup milk
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 quart peaches or other fruit, undrained
***I used my freshly picked peaches from the trip to Palisade the day before. 
I used 5 large peaches, skinned and sliced
1/8 – 1/4 cup sugar (brown or white, I used brown this time)
2 Tablespoons lemon juice 
Mix all together and let set for at least 2 hours. 
(should have taken a photo of these, but I didn’t..whoops)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Chop up butter stick into smaller cubes and put in 9″ x 13″ baking dish, then into the oven. (**This will melt while the oven is heating up. If you forget to throw it in the oven, no worries, just melt it in the microwave.)
Mix sugar, flour, baking powder, salt and milk in a bowl, until everything is blended.
Remove baking dish from oven and pour the batter into the pan.
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Place peaches on top (I like to arrange them nicely) of batter
Pour juice from the fruit on top of the peaches.
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Bake 1 hour or until golden brown.
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Let cool at least 30 minutes before digging in otherwise, blow on it!! It’s HOT!!!
Serve with ice cream, whipped cream or by itself
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August brings into sharp focus and a furious boil everything I’ve been listening to in the late spring and summer.
Henry Rollins
DK

Where in the World Wednesday: Palisade, CO

I’m not a farmer, don’t know I would ever want to be one. However, I have found one of the most peaceful places is Palisade, CO. and I love driving through, stopping at the produce stands, walking through the weekly farmer’s market and driving past the local orchards. We were on another mission for Peaches. Tomatoes. Zucchini. Anything good looking. When you stop at the stands you may be faced with several dilemmas: will you purchase local honey and jams? Will you find the right looking fruit and veggies you are looking for? What else will you find?
Driving to Palisade, just a mere 8ish miles from the house, we decided we should take some pictures of the fruit trees lining the road. We found lots of peaches, some pears, some apples and lots of grape vines for the many wineries here. We will take a tour of the wine country another day, but it’s hard one to take when you don’t drink at all, let alone wine.
One stop we found dried beans and peas, bunches and bunches of them. Pinto, green and yellow split peas, chickpeas, navy beans, kidney beans, you know what this means, right? Have to go back and get some for soups! We also found cucumbers, tomatoes, beets and lots lots more! Which makes going to farmer’s markets during the week more fun! I’m like a kid in a candy store! Oh wait, that’s down on Main St! A good old fashioned candy store!
Back to the Peaches and Palisade 
Palisade was named for the cliffs near the town and is known for its peach orchards and wine vineyards. With a 182-day growing season and 78 % sunshine, Palisade has been named “The Peach Capital of Colorado”
Located just off of Interstate 70, Palisade, has a friendly, small-town atmosphere and is within minutes from world-class medical services, shopping, dining and entertainment. It is also just a short drive from the Grand Mesa, where you can find year round activities. Palisade is situated along the Colorado River and sets in between the mountains and vistas where you can enjoy the views from every direction.
We were in search of  Indian Blood Cling peaches, only we called them blood peaches, not very appetizing sounding for sure. However, it is beautiful!
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Photo from Willis Orchard Company https://www.willisorchards.com/
We found the people who ran the little stops don’t know a whole lot about what varieties are in the store, which was a little disheartening, but we also found out there are a TON of peach varieties! So, we just did our best to find which ones we wanted to try out. We found a new variety called, Content, brand new this year and it was darling! We had to get some of those. I fell in love with the Red Globe peaches purely on the size of these bad boys! Mom found her tomatoes and we were off, there’s only so much fresh smelling veggies and fruits one can handle, it’s kind of a pleasing foreign scent, but nothing like this city slicker is used to.
With our fruit in hand we decided to call it a day and head back to the ole homestead. We will be back, Sunday’s for farmer’s market and August 17- 20, 2017 for the Palisade Peach Festival, maybe then we can find the ever elusive Indian Blood Cling peaches.
“Life is better than death, I believe, if only because it is less boring, and because it has fresh peaches in it.”
― Alice Walker, Home Girls: A Black Feminist Anthology

Colorado Scenic Byway: Grand Mesa

Part 1: Driving the Loop
I first experienced the Grand Mesa Loop a few years ago when mom and I had gone on a drive to check out the fall leaves. The colors on the Mesa are simply amazing, so I wanted to go back to see what the summer had in store for us. We wanted to make it up there before the snow flies and the road closes, this is Colorado though and there is still some snow on the tops of the mountains. B and I jumped in the ride with Max and headed east.  This trip through the Grand Mesa National Forest will be, what is called “the loop.” Starting in Grand Junction we head east on I70 to State Highway 65, over the mesa and through Cedaredge and Delta,  then to US Highway 50 west, back to Grand Junction. Of course, you can take the loop either way.
Fall on the Mesa
October 2014
Let’s start with what the Grand Mesa is:
It is a National Forest
It is 11,000 ft above sea level, which makes it the largest mesa in the world!
It is home to Powder Horn Ski Resort
It has over 300 lakes, many trails for hiking, fishing, climbing, hunting and more
It also have cabins, lodging and camping areas
Cooler packed, sunscreen and bug spray applied, dog in harness and away we go! Once you get off of I70, you will be able to turn off your AC as the temperature cools as you climb. One of the most wonderful things about Colorado is the greatest summer sport out there, seems no matter where you go, you will be able to watch teams of men and women baking in the sun on the hot asphalt while waving the magical sign, STOP/SLOW. Welcome to road construction season. Our first wait at the STOP sign was about 20 minutes long, while the sport may contain many hard moves or daring feats, this one happened to be boring.  There was, however,  a nice stream I could have gotten out of the ride to see and take pictures of, but I chose to stay in the car and work on my window suntan. Once the pilot vehicle drops off its parade of following traffic we get the go ahead to take our turn following him. I have to say, if I HAD to choose a job in road construction, that would be the one I choose, being a pilot vehicle.
The road wasn’t crowded at all, but the campgrounds and trail heads looked like they had quite a few people in them. It was a nice cool, drizzly drive up the north side of the Mesa. There are many pull offs along the way to grab pictures of the awesome views! If only we knew what the mountain ranges are in the picture, something we are working on. We found lots of flowers, a few chipmunks, a hawk with dinner mid air and the Forest Service out looking for some kind of wild life (truck and trailer), but no Moose, Cattle or Snow Mobiles.
We didn’t get to go down to the Land’s End Observatory, but it is for sure on the next trip.  The road to the observatory is about 12 miles of dirt. Along the way, you will see the historic Raber Cow Camp, which is an example of camps used when the ranchers moved cattle up the mesa in the summer. The observatory is the original visitor center built in 1936-1937 and the access road was primarily built by 200 WW1 veterans between 1933-1934. Once you reach the observatory, you will be able to see Utah’s La Sal Mountains, the edge of the Grand Mesa, beautiful wildflowers and over the Gunnison Canyon. The views of the sunset from here are said to be exquisite, so pack your blanket and camera and head up there for some amazing photos, that’s what I plan on doing. Want more fun? Just past the observatory is a nail biting hairpin – turn road which makes a 6,000 foot decent into the valley below. Pretty sure you shouldn’t drive and take photos while on the way down, unless you have a copilot.
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Heading down the other side of the mesa, you will find more lakes and trails, lots of wildflowers and the visitor center. Something to remember, whether a day trip, a drive through the loop or camping, there are no waste bins so you must pack out your trash and such. That’s a friendly reminder from Max. The visitor center was small, but growing and this Saturday (July 29th, 2017) there is a moose walk, should you find yourself in the area! I finally found the pocket guides I had been looking for. I only purchased five, but it was like I had found the Holy Grail! I will be back for more, unless I find them on another trip.
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You will pass Island Lake, can’t miss it, it’s HUGE! While we were there, just catching some sun and pictures of wildflowers, we also spotted a lot of fish jumping. Seems the lake is stocked with trout, and also has a fish known as a splake. Splake? Looking it up now. One of the pocket guides I didn’t get…fish.
Splake:  a hybrid of two fish species; a male brook trout and a female lake trout. And you didn’t think you would learn anything.
Continuing down the mesa, you will notice the temperature rise. It was a difference of 20* from the top of the mesa to the entrance to Cedaredge, that’s when the AC came back on. A nice drive through Cedaredge also known as the Gateway to the Grand Mesa and is a Historic Pioneer Town. Guess what’s on the to do list now? We jumped on State Highway 50 and headed west towards home. It was a beautiful drive, however, going back to tackle the outdoor recreation will be a process of more than six months and with the snow coming, it may take longer. Don’t worry though, we will share the experiences along the way.
We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.
T. S. Eliot

DK