July 2012

On a recent Sunday afternoon, we opted to escape the heat of Denver for our neighboring higher altitudes.  Nicolas had recalled that the road to Mt. Evans (one of Colorado’s 14ers) had become free to the public (so long as you don’t use their facilities).  Using this as an opportunity to continue ‘playing’ with the new camera lens, we stopped for a picnic lunch at the picturesque Echo Lake, which is near the entry for Mt. Evans road.

After enjoying a couple of hours around the lake, we then made the trek up Mt. Evans, stopping at various points along the way.  We have only done the drive a few times in our lives, but one thing for certain is there are always crowds of people, stellar views, and even groupings of mountain goats.  It was a nice 6-hour trip that is MUCH better than having air conditioning!!


This past weekend we had Nick’s family in town and I was able to share the garden with Grandma and the twins.  It was a lot of fun.

Yesterday I brought home this bounty of yummy fresh vegetables.






Here’s other pictures of what’s growing:

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I was able this year to get a 20 by 20 foot plot in a local community garden.  They provide water for a small annual fee.  I love it as it is only a few blocks from the house so I can walk up, water and tend and walk back in about an hour. This is the first time I’ve done a garden all by myself so it is exciting, but I feel that my bounty is definitely not my doing but God’s.  I tried to grow seedlings but they didn’t work out, however due to a very warm spring I planted the first round mid April. Some of those came up, some did not.  The peas from April have done great and I’ve enjoyed tons of snow peas.  The first pea harvest consisted of 4, the middle of June. I was so excited, I ate two there and brought two home to show Nick.

A few days later, I had a handful of peas and they kept coming for the past 4 weeks, but sadly they are dying out for other things.  Towards the end of June I picked my first zucchini.  My zucchini plants (2) have been very prolific and given us tons to eat and share.  My yellow squash is producing and we’ve enjoyed some and shared some.  We are starting to get some very yummy green beans as well.  I’m starting to get a ton of green tomatoes and mini melons.

I love to go and see the bees, ladybugs and birds that feast as well around the plants. I haven’t had any major issues with bugs yet, there was what looked like a potato bug eating my bean leaves, but they are doing better, so that’s good, I didn’t even puree guts and pour that on.  😉  I water about every other day and pray for lots of rain as well.  I have used my vermi-compost and worm juice to fertilize.  It is so much fun to get to play in the dirt and eat from it as well.

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On July 4 we were blessed to have Kara’s Sister-in-law and nephew come to Denver to hang out on their way to Seattle.  My brother, Josh, was supposed to come to, but last minute work denied his request off, crazy comcast.  Oh well, We missed him, but we had a great time play with Silas and showing Teresa around Denver and the mountains.  We started off by getting them breakfast since they’d gotten up at 4am MI time, then we headed to the Butterfly Pavilion.  I’ve always been curious so it was a good excuse.  There were tons of bugs/spiders/beetles other than the butterflies.  Teresa was brave enough to hold the tarantula, Rosie. We then headed home and to the pool and splash park nearby our house. Silas and Nick had a great time playing together.  Due to the dryness of our summer, all fireworks were cancelled, so we headed to some friends for a barbecue and yard games, then crashed in bed pretty early.

Thursday, Nick had to go to work, so Silas and Teresa and I decided to escape the heat and go to the Denver Aquarium. Of course we took the train downtown and walked over to the aquarium and ended up with a picnic lunch outside between run through’s of the aquarium.  It was pretty cool, but I don’t think worth the price.  There is a bunch of tigers who live there, which was thoroughly UN-expected.  Silas then found a water squirt thing that he had a blast getting wet and getting others wet.  We then headed over to REI and he played on the “bear cave” while we took turns shopping and just talking enjoying the AC.  We then left and found a self-serve frozen yogurt treat to get us through the walking before we got back on the train to come meet Nick for dinner. We enjoyed pizza at our new favorite place Mod Market. Home for more swimming and homemade Popsicles.

Friday we decided to try to find Silas some snow in the mountains and once again escape the Denver heat. Though our first stop on our way up had to be Red Rocks, so we walked around on the stairs and through the museum area. Then we headed up to St. Mary’s  Glacier and it started raining.  We sat in the car for a bit, till it kind of slowed down then with rain coats on, we headed up the 3/4 mile hike to the base of the lake and glacier.  Silas wasn’t up for the walk around the Lake as it continued thundering so we headed down to the car and the rain became heavier.  It was an adventure and we were at least prepared with additional layers which were warm and dry in the car.  We stopped for a picnic lunch, which also got rained out so finished eating in the car. Java Mountain Roasters has the best coffee in Idaho Springs, so we warmed up with some coffee and hot chocolate.  We headed back to Denver in downpour and made it home to grill with Nick and chill out with books and blocks while it rained. Nick also had to wear out Silas with some playing: hog tying and capturing him under the laundry basket.  They had a great time playing together.

The rain disrupted plans a bit, but here in CO we were very glad to see it come and stay a few days.  It was enough to give firefighters an edge to contain most of the wildfires across the state and give moisture to needed areas. Though there was also major flash floods and mud slides all over as well.

Saturday we made breakfast and Teresa and Silas packed up, then we headed to Cherry Creek Arts Festival for some fun and to find Teresa free sunglasses.  😉  It was pretty toasty so we all enjoyed the spray tents to get misted.  We got some yummy lunch and then headed to REI in hopes that Teresa could do the climbing wall, but it was closed, so after some shopping and Silas playing again on the bear park we left in more downpour to see where we wanted to spend the last few hours we had together.  Alas, we found a thrift store on the way to the airport, so we stopped and shopped and I think found something for everyone.  Fun way to chill out in safety from the crazy storm outside.  It did lift enough for them to fly to Seattle.  We had a great time and look forward to more adventures especially as Silas gets older, then we can take him camping!

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Breckenridge is one of our favorite mountain towns and we were able to go back this summer for an extended weekend again.

Saturday morning we headed up there and after an highway drive over Loveland Pass and around Lake Dillon.  Eventually, we landed at our destination for lunch along the river.  It is fun to sit and watch the kids playing in the river.  We shopped around a bit and found a “local” winery that does tastings for D’Vine Wine in Denver. Although in Breck the manager has labeled his bottles with “Wild Women Wine”.


We then headed to check in at the place we were staying, which near the top of the mountain.  Then we took the Gondola into town for drinks and food at one of the Irish Pubs, Napper Tandy’s.  We went for there based upon the options for happy hour, but in the end, we wouldn’t really recommend it and probably won’t go again.  Finally, we caught transportation back to the Lodge  wherewe enjoyed the “grotto” (salted/non-chlorinated 21 and over hot tub with a waterfall that’s a great back massage).


Sunday we hiked down the mountain from the Lodge to town and then got some lunch at Kenosha Steakhouse. WOW, very much recommended, especially if it is a beautiful day and you can sit on the patio.  Rather than hiking up the hill on full tummy, we rode the Gondola up and took a nap and read and spent some time back at the Grotto.

Monday morning we enjoyed fresh croissants by the river from La Francaise French Bakery. Eventually we found ourselves at Breckenridge Brewery for an early dinner and beer during happy hour and then meandered around town again until we took the Gondola back up to read/nap and get in the hot tub.


That night a friend of Nick’s from college came and stayed with us so they could meet up with another friend and Nick’s uncle to hike up Mt. Quandary. The trailhead is only 8 miles from Breck so that makes it the perfect mountain to hike while there.  I stayed at the Lodge and enjoyed reading by the pool all morning.

Once they were finished, Nick he came back, showered and got some coffee.  We went back to Breckenridge Brewery for some drinks while we waited for some friends to come for dinner.  We then took our friends to pizza at Windy City Pizza, another very recommended basic pizza shop.

Many of our vacations surround food and drinks…and that’s how we love about them!

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I recently bit the bullet and purchased a professional Canon L-series lens.  Just a few times that I’ve shot with it, I’m convinced it was a great choice.  The clarity of the images, ability to focus in dim light, and ease of taking sharper images without a tripod, will not make me want to return.

Anyhow, here are some fun shot that I’ve produced over the last couple of days – some from around our home, the others around Denver’s 16th street in twilight and dark.



So this summer is my time to relax as well as save us some money by DIY around the house.  Yesterday I tackled the plumbing under our bathroom sink, the one in our bedroom.  It’s been draining very slowly for a few months now and has been on the To Do list since the fall.  Yikes. In the mean time I’ve tried various home remedy (not super chemically see other posts on my philosophy of chemicals) products to try to clean it out, it’s not been great and cleaning is really annoying when it doesn’t drain right away, so it was the day to take it apart and truly clean it out.

I began by removing the drain stopper and cleaned that out. I then pushed a wire brush down the sink hole and into the plumbing only to pull it up and have it spray black gunk all over the sink/mirror/wall/floor and me. At which time the brush went away and I started taking it apart.

I unscrewed the “pea trap” I think, the uneven U shaped piece off.  I do know enough to have a bucket under the sink at this point, which was good as the piece was full of gunk.  This doesn’t show how gross it was or how gunky, but I proceeded to wash it, yes even with soap to clean it up.  I then unscrewed the next piece which wasn’t U but had a bend in it and also through the gagging cleaned that out.

Now this was what my pipes looked like and I continued to smell something nasty, so I briefly put my finger into the pipe on the left.  BIG MISTAKE.  All I felt was gunk, no hole or anything.  So I started trying to unscrew that pipe which is attached to the pipe sticking out of the wall.  I couldn’t do it, so after a while I sent a picture text to my dad with a note to call me when he could.  In the mean time I started looking for a wire hanger I could use to dig out the gunk. I even took a picture to confirm the gunk inside the pipe.  Here you can see where it comes from our wall through the half painted cabinet (I didn’t do that) to connect to the sink.

He finally called and confirmed that I couldn’t take it apart due to being glued together so after hanging up, I started digging with the hanger.  I pulled out so much gunk it was really grossing me out. Here’s the hanger in most of the way working on getting the black gunk out of the pipes.

Finally I got what I could get out and put it all back together.  I must have loosened the pipe from the sink because then it started leaking a bit, so I waited till Nick came home to see if he could tighten everything further to prevent the leaking.  I will still probably put some Lye (I have for soap making) down the drain to fully clean it. Anyway, that was the adventure in plumbing for yesterday.

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