Category Archives: Events

Tom Watson Trail and Maruca Sale — Running and Fun Shopping!

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After so many years of trying to stay in shape while juggling a family and many other demands, I finally figured out what really motivates me to get out the door.   Its not an inviting sunny day, a directive on my workout plan or the threat of a race.   Its most definitely getting together with friends and doing something fun after the workout — coffee, breakfast, beer or in today’s case, shopping at a popular biannual factory sale of fabulous, incredibly discounted handbags.   Dangle something fun in front of my nose and I’ll hit the trail for an hour in anticipation of my reward!!!

https://bouldercolorado.gov/parks-rec/tom-watson-park

Today’s carrot was shopping at Maruca’s biannual factory sale following our workout.   Our eager group of runners assembled at a home in Littleton to carpool up to Boulder for an hour run on the Tom Watson Trail.   The views of the Flatirons and Boulder reservoir were spectacular and we enjoyed lovely cool weather.   After a little bagel picnic in the park, we headed over to the Maruca headquarters to take our place in line.   Twice a year, this manufacturer of really cute handbags, totes and zipper cases holds a factory sale.   The rock bottom prices attract a long line of customers.   This was the first time I was able to go and was so excited to see all the goodies!

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Being a resourceful shopper, I dipped into the box of remnants and came home with a bag full of scraps and cording   So far, I’ve sown together some coordinating pieces and drafted some patterns to make my own pocketed zipper bags.   Tune in later for some photos of my creations!

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http://marucadesign.com/

 

Running on the East West Trail

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Sweeping Views of the Snow-capped Front Range and Pike’s Peak

I am always amazed when I have the opportunity to try a new running trail  and today was such a day.    Shari Zimmerman, a member of my running club, knew about the East West Trail in Highlands Ranch from her son who lives nearby.   And several weeks ago, when she described the beautiful mountain views and the lovely hilly trail, our group was eager to check it out.   And today was the day!

The East West Trail is tucked in the stunning Back Country neighborhood just past Mountain Vista High School on Wild Cat Reserve Parkway.   It is a soft surface trail approximately 19.5 miles long stretching from Red Stone Park to Ridgegate Parkway with future connections to Lone Tree and Parker.   We carpooled the 20-30 minutes from our homes in Littleton and Lakewood and parked at Red Tail Park just off  2674 Pemberly Avenue.   When we arrived, the park full of school children and the sun was shining.   A another warm blue-sky Spring Colorado day!    By 8:05 am, the 10 of us had hit the trail.

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http://www.douglas.co.us/documents/east-west-regional-trail-info-and-map.pdf

We knew from Shari’s description that the trail was an uphill climb for almost a mile.   And she’s wasn’t kidding!   With a pounding heart, I jogged and walked up the steep grade in about 12 minutes and at the top, was greeted with a sweeping view of the snow capped Front Range and clear views of both Pike’s Peak to the south and Mount Evans to the West.   Wow!   Vistas like this just make me love Colorado and appreciate my good fortune to live here.   After catching my breath and reading some of the trail signs, my companions and I continued on the public trail for another 20 minutes and turned around.

Along the way, there were narrow dirt paths shooting off the main trail with signs warning nonresidents to stay off  the private property.   I wondered if my sister Pam’s ls.jpg residence in Highlands Ranch would qualify her (and her guests) to use these trails?   For today, we enjoyed the wide, well maintained public trail.    On the way back, most of us were able to run a bit faster. – a real treat!   After an hour on the trail, we met back at the parking lot and all headed to Pierre Michel French Bakery  for breakfast.   What a delight to enjoy French pastries, omelets, quiches and coffee at this lovely local restaurant!

http://www.pierremichelbakery.com/

After I got home and did a little more research, I was happy to find that there is a East-West Trail Half Marathon and 10k on June 10.   I will  have spend some more time training on that big hill before I register!

https://raceroster.com/events/2017/10512/east-west-trail-half-marathon-and-10k

 

 

Falling Head First Into The Garden — The Usual Early Season Psychosis

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April is a heady time of year for me.   Passionate discussions about all aspects of gardening (in-person, on the phone, via text message), frequent visits to local nurseries, intersecting projects and conversations, early morning inspirations and a parade of dirty shoes, gloves and digging clothes littering my floors are all signs that my brain and energy are focused on one subject – THE GARDEN.   Fortunately, the days are getting longer, I have time to work on a myriad of projects and garden geeks eager to talk and share surround me at every turn.

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  • Contacted John Swain, the horticulturalist for the Denver Golf Courses and designer/planter/co-manager of the donation garden at Harvard Gulch Golf Course and passionate home gardener.   A winter has come between our last fact filled gardener conversation so we had a lot to talk about.   As always, he is a fountain of enthusiasm and information and turned me on to two important sources as well as the benefit of using lacto bacillus serum in the garden (labs for short):
  • The Unconventional Farmer:   http://theunconventionalfarmer.com/
  • Build a Soil:  https://buildasoil.com/blogs/news/8634877-gil-carandang-lactobacillus-serum-recipe
  • Labs are a workhorse of beneficial bacteria (which is edible) and has multiple applications including — speeding decomposition in the compost pile, unclogging drains, treating powdery mildew on squash plants, eliminating odor in animal bedding and most importantly,  “Improves growth of plants when applied as foliar spray and soil drench. Improves their efficiency in uptaking nutrients so naturally, growth is enhanced. With the use of these microorganisms, the nutrients you spray or drench to feed your plants become more bio-available and easily absorbable by the plants. Technically, you can say that plants do not use organic nutrients directly. Microorganisms convert organic nutrients to their inorganic constituents which the plants utilize. Utilizing microbes, you will notice better plant growth and health.”   -The Unconvential Farmer.
  • Labs recipe:  I mixed myself up a batch and its still incubating.   Its easy to make and the recipe can be viewed on the link about from the Build a Soil website.   Basically, you wash rice and take the water and fill a Ball jar about 75% full and cover with a paper towel — make sure air can get in.   Store it on top of the refrigerator and after a few days, the liquid will separate.   Siphon off the center layer adding 1 part serum to 10 parts milk and put in another container, cover tightly and let sit for another few days.   Once curds appear, you can strain the liquid with a cheesecloth (the curds can be fried up and eaten).    You add 1 part serum to 20 parts water to spray in the garden.   Store in the frig or add molasses to store at room temperature.  Stable for about a year.

Garden Hacks

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  • Strawberries and asparagus grow happily together; plan to add strawberries to my new planted asparagus patch
  • Used my mole cages to sift compost into my cold frames
  • Sprinkle carrot and beet seeds together every few weeks to have a continuous crop
  • Marijuana growers have to dispose of growing mix are harvesting the plants; the vermiculate and soil less mix is great mixed into raised beds and helps lighten the soil
  • Dryer lint can be put in the compost pile
  • I used paint stirrers for marking seeds and plants.   Pick them up for free every time I stop at Home Depot or Lowe’s.

Progress at Rosedale Garden – my 19th year in this community garden!IMG_9438

  • Planted purple and green asparagus in two 8 inch deep trenches this week; once sprouted will cover with 3 inches of dirt
  • Peas planted on March 15 finally sprouted, planted a third row on April 7
  • Prepped more beds and mapped out where everything is going
  • Seeded pumpkin bed with winter wheat; won’t be planting there for two months
  • Garlic planted in frozen soil in late December is up and growing; looks like its going to make it!
  • Susan has been making videos of me at the garden and I am learning how to edit them!

Opening up the St. Philip Donation Garden

  • Scheduled a work day for this Sunday to get started prepping the beds at St. Philip.
  • One volunteer came and we cleaned up two beds, added fresh compost and planted peas, onions and a variety of cold crops.   Watered and talked about plans.
  • Three plots are spoken for with another two gals potentially interested in volunteering in the donation beds.
  • This is our third year and I’m sorry that I’ve lost my partner of the first two years, Lerae Schnickel to another church ministry.   She was great to work with and its hard to move forward without her support.

Helping at a Jovial Gardens Neighborhood ProjectIMG_9480

  • Jovial Gardens is a really cool Denver-based organization that helps build gardens in neighborhoods.   One of their goals is to decrease food scarcity in the urban environment and  grow food for local food banks.  The group originally started in Edgewater, a suburb on Denver, and organized gardens in more than 40 yards in the neighborhood.   https://jovialconcepts.org/about-us/
  • My friend and master gardener, Teri Connelly is working with Jovial to install gardens in the yards of a number of her neighbors in Arvada.   Today, I had the chance to visit on a work day and saw work in progress in at least 6 yards.   The enthusiasm and excitement of the neighbors and volunteers was awesome.   Teri shared that in one front yard garden they harvested almost a 1000 pounds of organic produce last year.   I would love to start such a program in my neighborhood (Trailmark)  in Littleton.

Seedling Update on the Home Front

  • My experiment of seeding tomatoes and peppers for the first time has had mixed results.   All but one of the 12 varieties of tomatoes I planted has sprouted.   It took less than a week.   I learned that they need a heat mat and lights!IMG_9484.JPG
  • 8 of 11 peppers sprouted this week.   More time needed?
  • The tomatoes are very leggy but John Swain told me that they need grow lights and that its not too late for them to stabilize.
  • I only have one grow light so I’ve set it up for 14 hours alternatively above the trays of peppers, then the tomatoes.   Ordered a 4 foot rack with light from Amazon yesterday so hope it arrives this week.
  • Nothing has sprouted in the milk jugs I planted last week.  Time will tell

 

 

 

 

 

DUG Talk: Starting a Produce Donation Garden

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DUG Talk:  Starting a Produce Donation Garden

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Today, Teri Connelly and I had the honor of presenting at the 2016 Denver Urban Garden Leader Symposium.   We discussed the initiatives in our communities to grow extra produce for donation to local charities including Project Angel Heart, Jovial Gardens, the Edgewater Elementary School and the Secret Community Donation Garden for Arvada Food Bank.   You can read more about my work starting the St. Philip Community Donation last year in an article I wrote last summer.   Attached is the Power Point Presentation from our talk today.

Donation Talk to DUG Leadership 2 27 2016

It was especially exciting to have the opportunity to connect with other garden leaders about their projects and discuss how we might work together.   As always, it was wonderful to see our friends at Denver Urban Gardens and enjoy the news about their new logo, the addition of more gardens, more programming and plans for the future.   I feel incredibly fortunate to be a member of one of the oldest community gardens in Denver (Rosedale) and to have benefited from the wonderful opportunities offered by Denver Urban Gardens — most notably, the Master Community Gardener Program.

After nearly 20 years as a community gardener, I have learned much about gardening in our arid state of Colorado and can finally count on an ample harvest each summer.  I am committed to growing healthy organic food for my family and to sharing this wealth with others less fortunate.   I hope that you will consider sharing the extra produce in your garden with local food pantries and others who need access to good food.

 

 

Crafting with Birdhouse Gourds

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Last year’s dried gourd next to the newly harvested one.

Inspired by our garden neighbor Marilynn who grows birdhouse gourds for Earthlinks, my garden partners and I started growing them several years ago.   We found that these gourds are easy to grow with prolific vines that produce close to a dozen study green fruits every September.   After harvesting the crop each autumn, we divide the haul and suspend them with twine to dry from a kitchen pot rack or the ends of curtain rods.   This drying process takes at least six months, sometimes more.   Fast forward several years and we’ve amassed quite a collection of hollow brown gourds.   So this year, we finally got a date on the calendar to turn these garden treasures into art.   We were especially fortunate that our newest partner on the garden team, Suzanne Buntrock, took the time to do some research about paint, design and construction before our long anticipated get together.

Susan, Suzanne and her daughter Clare and I gathered at the kitchen table with the pile of dried gourds and various paints, tempera and acrylic.   After my husband Dave graciously agreed to drill out the holes – a 1 inch round one in the side and a small one for drainage on the bottom, we proceeded to remove the seeds and dried membrane from the gourds and saved most of the seeds.    We wondered if these seeds would produce the same gourd next season or had they cross pollinated with another species — something to research this winter.

After laying down newspaper, setting up paints and brushes and checking design ideas on Pinterest, we embarked on our artistic adventure.   Suzanne and my son Dylan tried various tempera paints but found after it dried a bit that the paint starting flaking off.   Susan and I worked with acrylic paints and found that the paint seemed to stay on better.   We had read that the final step should be a layer of polyurethane to protect the gourd from the elements.   Unfortunately, even the addition of this layer did not prevent the tempera paint from flaking off.   In the end, we got the project rolling and although some of us still need to add detail to the solid first coat on our gourds, we made some pretty cool birdhouses.   Here are some highlights of our creative afternoon.

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Images of the 2015 Annual Rosedale Community Garden Sale

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Images of the 2015 Annual Rosedale Community Garden Sale
Susan MacNicholas is the Sale Coordinator

Susan MacNicholas is the Sale Coordinator

Each summer, Rosedale Community Garden hosts a big harvest and yard sale in late August which is often followed by another harvest sale in late September.   This summer, the two sales were consolidated into one big event on September 19.   The event brings together Rosedale’s large community of gardeners and showcases what we do best — organic vegetables, fresh cut flowers, heirloom garlic, children’s activities, yard sale treasures, bakery, jams and booths featuring jewelry, Earthlinks and local crafts.   Kudos go to this year’s organizer, Susan MacNicholas, for successfully bringing together many diverse elements and people.    What a great day!   The photos I share capture the essence of this beloved community event.

Friday Night Tagging Party

This event enables gardeners to drop off their yard sale items the afternoon/evening before the sale and brings together a team to sort and tag in preparation for the next day.  Having the opportunity to sort through the merchandise, enjoy good company and pizza and beer on a pleasant night in the garden is incentive for many to turn up to help.

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Sale Day

On this brisk sunny autumn morning, the crews started to assemble at 7 and by 9 am, the tables, tents, merchandise and volunteers were all set up and ready for business.   The day was perfect with sunshine and steadily warming temps and a steady stream of neighborhood customers.   By 2 pm, the ARC truck arrived to pick up the spare yard sale items and the the break down crew was busy putting everything away.

Dave Conant, Emeritus leader of Rosedale Garden and founder of our Project Angel Heart donation program.

Dave Conant, Emeritus leader of Rosedale Garden and founder of our Project Angel Heart donation program.

Dave posing next to a hoop house for sale.

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Kayak Swim Patrol at the Boulder Ironman 2015

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Kayak Swim Patrol at the Boulder Ironman 2015
Getting ready to push off for the race start.

Ready to push off for the race start.

At this point in my life, the closest I will ever get to doing an Ironman is by volunteering at one. Having done triathlons on a smaller scale for almost 20 years and even participating on several triathlons teams, I can relate to the euphoria of crossing the finish line after months of hard training.   That feeling of accomplishment is something I love and at times, tempts me into actually considering putting the Ironman on my bucket list.   But, after a few minutes of dreaming about it, I come to my senses and realize that its a crazy thought.   When I think about the necessary year of intense training, the potentail injuries, the family support and missed obligations, the expense and the actual task of covering 140.1 miles in the water, on the bike and on foot, it all seems like too much.   On the other hand, watching my friends and others  complete this goal  gives me that  euphoric feeling — especially when I watch athletes cross the finish line close to the 17 hour deadline.

Megan and I suiting up with life jackets for the kayak swim patrol.

Megan and I suiting up for the kayak swim patrol.

Eager to experience  the adrenaline rush of seeing thousands of determined athletes attempt to reach the extraordinary goal of finshing an Ironman, I decided to add my name to the list of volunteers.   Inspired by my daughter who told me about the openings on the kayak swim patrol (a role I filled twice at the Ironman Wisconsin), I signed on too.    As a member of the swim patrol, our job is to patrol the swim course as the athletes embark on the first portion of the race — a 2.4 mile swim.

The Boulder Reservoir at 5:30 am. We are waiting for our orientation before we head out for the 6:25 am race start.

The Boulder Reservoir at 5:30 am. We are waiting for our orientation before we head out for the 6:25 am race start.

In preparation for the race, those of us with boats were asked to bring them up to Boulder Reservoir two days early for inspection and drop off.    On Friday afternoon, I made the 45 minute drive up with two kayaks — one for me and one for Megan — and to pick up the coveted parking pass which would give us early morning access to the Rez parking lot.    Even the athletes would have to bus to the start line of the swim so I was happy to be able to drive right up to water’s edge and leave once my job was completed.    With our shifts starting at 5 am, Megan and I headed up to Boulder the night before the race to stay with my friend Patty.    Up by 4:15 am, our lack of sleep was rewarded with fewer miles to drive, little traffic and an early arrival to our pre-sunrise shift.

Megan paddling to her station on the swim course.

Megan paddling to her station on the swim course.

We assembled with dozens of other volunteers near the lifeguard headquarters on the beach and scrambled in the dark for our volunteer t-shirts, snacks and water bottles.    Rows of kayaks, paddle boards, jet skiis,  piles of paddles, life jackets and more lined the quiet beach.   As the glimmer of the new day began to appear on the horizon, an official Ironman captain greeted the group for a brief orientaiton.   He underscored the importance of our role in helping athletes in trouble and identifying any potential problems.    We lined up for whisltes, extra flotation devices, warning flags and jerseys with the number of our locations on the swim course.    Megan and I dragged our boats from the secure storage area and prepared to embark on our mission.

Working the "hot zone" at buoy #2, I had a perfect view of the Boulder Flatirons.

Working the “hot zone” at buoy #2, I had a perfect view of the Boulder Flatirons.

Having experienced the thrill of working in the “hot zone” at the Ironman Wisconsin — the beginning and the end of the race — I picked the yellow jersey for Zone 2; an area just 500 yards from race start.   Once in the water, I realized that the race start was clear across the reservoir and started the mile long paddle to my position.    When I could hear the inspirational tunes blaring at race start, I knew I was close.   After positioning myself with a view of majestic Flatirons in the distance, I paused to take a few photos and waited for the race to start. Once the horn sounded and the splash of hundreds competitors hitting the water commenced,  I knew the water would soon vibrate with the movement of thousands of athletes.

Within minutes the fastest swimmers reached my zone and the calm waters turned into a frenzy. Fortunately, the weather conditions were close to perfect with few clouds in the sky, warm water and air and almost no wind.   But even with perfect conditions, there are inevitably problems with so many swimmers getting in the water at once —   shoving, kicking, gasping for air, panic as tight wetsuits choke precious breaths and also, the glare of the sun rising in the East — the direction of the first leg of the swim. Within 10 minutes, the first swimmers started to pass buoy #2.   As the cluster of swimmers thickened, panicked ahtletes started to signal to me for help and some even grabbed onto the boat.   For the most part, I was able to communicate to the swimmers that I wanted them to grab the bow of the kayak.  Several times, however, desperate swimmers tried to climb on top of my boat and nearly tipped me and my kayak into the churning waters.   I was less worried about getting dunked  than how I’d get myself back into  the kayak.   Fortunately, I was never had to face with this dilemna. In an effort to  reassure stranded swimmers I said things like ” How are you?  You’re doing to be fine.   Relax, hold on, catch your breath.  You’ve got this!”  Sometimes, they stopped because of a tight wetsuit restricting their breath, other times because they’d gotten the wind knocked out them from a kick or a shove.   Of the 20 or so swimmers who grabbed ahold of my kayak, all of them were men and all were able to get their wits about them to continue.

After the majority of swimmers had passed the 500 meter mark, I was directed to head to a new position on the race course.   IMG_9455Paddling a mile across the reservoir to another leg of the swim course, I enjoyed the sweeping views of the front range and the perfectly calm waters.    Once I reached my destination, I found  myself lined up with a fleet of extra kayaks and paddleboarders.   The frenzy of the “hot zone” was over and I was able to sit back and cheer the swimmers on.    I saw several friends swim by and started to calculate how much time was left, the distance to the finish line and whether the stragglers would  make it.   I also spotted a strong swimmer pulling a little boat carrying a young handicapped man.   I wondered if this was the father son duo made famous in the news.    If it so, I was honored to witness this endearing testiment of fatherly devotion in person.    With 20 minutes left in the race, a boat captain signaled that I could head to shore if I wished.   But, as I made my move, I was lured by he roar of the music at the swim finish and by the joyous congratulations broadcast to swimmers as they completed this leg of the race.   I couldn’t help but linger on the sidelines to vicariously experience one  euphoric moment after another.   And as so many of we Ironman addicts can attest, the most exciting moments happen in the last few minutes  of each stage of the race.    When the last few competitors  are collectively cheered, conjoled and willed by a fleet of enthusiastic volunteers, often with seconds to spare, to victoriously cross the finish line and keep their spot in the race.   Woohoo!!  Woohoo!! Woohoo!!

IMG_9471 By 9 am, Megan and I had pulled our boats ashore and were ready to pack up.  Playing a key role in the pivotal journey of so many was as awesome as was having the opportunity to be on the water at sunrise.   Can’t wait to do it again!!

Garden Treats for the Coffee Cart

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Garden Treats for the Coffee Cart

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Ana and Lerae serving up garden treats at the Sunday Coffee Cart.

Having recently started a donation garden to support the Sheridan Food Bank, Lerae and I have been working at promoting our garden project as often as possible.   To this end, I signed up to prepare treats for the Sunday Coffee Cart for the coffee hour between services at St.Philip’s Church on July 26, 2015.   I figured that by the end of July, we would have some items in the garden that could be incorporated into tasty bakery items to share with church members and garner some attention for the vegetables growing in the back lot.

After discussing the possibilities of how we could incorporate our harvest (both at home and from the donation garden, Lerae and I settled on some delicious options.   She rustled up some  rhubarb crisp and coffee cake as well as some strawberry rhubarb jam.   I made Lemon Rosemary Shortbread Cookies, Cheddar Chive Biscuits and Zucchini Bread.   My plan to bring pesto to serve with herb cream cheese on crackers failed when I ran out of oive oil.   Added to the mix were pretzel crackers, gluten free brownies and rice rolls.

For a first try, our garden theme was a hit.   The home baked goods also inspried many conversations about our bountiful community donation garden.    And, more than a few decided to go out back to check out the garden.   Feeling successful, we decided to sign up to host  again in September  but this time, we will feature more savory treats — parmesan zucchni and yellow squash rounds, pesto on crackers, tomato tart, pickled cukes and more!!!

IMG_9380[3]Recipe:    Lemon Rosemary Shortbread Cookies

1 cup butter, softened

1/2 cup sugar

3 tbs lemon juice

1 tsp grated lemon peel

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

2 cups all purpose flour

4 1/2 tsps minced fresh rosemary

1/4 tsp salt

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until ight and fluffy.   Beat in the lemon juice, peel and vanilla.   Combine the flour, rosemary and salt, gradually add to creamed mixtue and mix well.   Shape into two 12-in rolls, wrap each in plastic wrap.   Freeze for 20 minutes or until firm.   Cut into 1/4 in. slices.   Place 2 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets.   Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes or until edges begin to brown.   cool for 2 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks.   Store in airtight container.

 

Earth Day 2015 Trek to Allegro Coffee for Beans, Compost, Seeds and More!

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Earth Day 2015 Trek to Allegro Coffee for Beans, Compost, Seeds and More!

 

IMG_0148In the last few years, Earth Day has become a bigger deal than ever with many businesses and nonprofits hosting special events.    One event which tempted visitors with fresh compost, coffee beans, free seeds and burlap sacks caught my attention.  I recruited a friend and we made the journey north to pick up some garden loot.   Upon arrival, we ran into two other Rosedale gardeners — Nick and Loma — loading up their goodies too.   It was a beautiful day to visit Allegro Coffee and see where the beans that supply Whole Foods Coffee Shops are roasted.   Tents were set up at the edge of the parking lot with Allegro staff members and we set to work filling four burlap sacks with compost, accepted packets of bee pollinator flower seeds and filled bags with coffee beans for our compost pile.   Additionally, we were able to load up as many burlap sacks as we wanted to use on the paths in our garden.   After loading the car, we headed to the onsite coffee shop with our coupons and enjoyed an hour imagining what it would be like to worki in such a earth friendly place.   A good day!

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Working for Free Heirloom Seedlings? Sign Me Up!

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Working for Free Heirloom Seedlings?   Sign Me Up!
The Heirloom Gardens booth is at the Cherry Farmer's Market for the next six weeks.

The Heirloom Gardens booth is at the Cherry Farmer’s Market for the next six weeks.

When I posted on Facebook that I was psyched to get a volunteer shift at the Heirloom Gardens booth at the Cherry Creek Farmer’s Market, my friend said I was easy.   Really?   The currency for working is two heirloom plants for every hour worked.    With very ambitious garden plans and a limited budget, this gig seemed worth it to me and even better when one of my gardening partners also got a shift.    After four hours of pretty hard work on a very comfortable, sunny Saturday, Natalie and I took home 16 plants, mostly tomatoes and peppers,  for our community garden.    Score!!!

This adventure started about a month ago when I received an email from Heirloom Gardens looking for volunteers to staff their plant booth at the Farmer’s Market.   I figured that I must have gotten on the list when I joined their meet up group.   The free plants offered for work hours sounded great so I emailed them back right away.   But, not soon enough.    The shifts had filled up immediately and I was wait listed.   A volunteer wait list?   Who knew?    When an opening popped up this week, I jumped right in and motivated Natalie to join in.

Carving out four plus hours in the middle of a Spring Saturday required some negotiation.    Two of my children had back to back sports events straddling mid-day and my husband had to agree to release me from my family obligations.    Check.   And the first work day of the season was happening at my community garden with an added bonus:   free homegrown tomato plants were being shared by a gardener in the morning.    I knew I didn’t have to do the work day but I swung by early to say “hello” and snag a tomato on my way to the farmer’s market.   Check.

I love farmer’s markets so it was cool to check out a new one.   The market at Cherry Creek seemed to have much more variety than my local one at Aspen Grove.   More upscale food booths, fun products and lots of bakery.    When I was released for a 15 minute lunch break, I sought out the food vendors and was excited to find a Filipino food stand.   The booth featured  foods I’d grown up with — adobo, pansit, lumpia — and having lost my Filipino father, a gourmet cook, years ago — I haven’t often had the chance to eat these dishes.    With tears in my eyes, I ordered some tasty eggs rolls and pansit.   For a mere $5, the tastes of my youth flooded back as I wolfed the tasty noodles and crispy rolls down.

The steady stream of customers at the booth included a few of my friends and  my eldest daughter who stopped by to say hello.    The variety of plants was astonishing — over 100? — and quite a challenge to keep the tables stocked.    It was exciting to work the other side of plant sales and see it from the selling perspective.    I enjoyed talking to Sundari, the owner, grower and author of “The Idiots Guide to Urban Homesteading” and tap into her knowledge of heirloom vegetables and producing plants for sale.   By the time  we loaded hundreds of left over seedlings in labeled crates, broke down the tables and tents, the sun was hot and I was ready for a cold drink and a rest.    I am happy with my load of plants and looking forward to one more shift.    Until then,   I’ll be thinking about the plants I’ll select next time.

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My daughter, Madelaine, came by the booth for a visit.

My daughter, Madelaine, came by the booth for a visit.

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Natalie, my gardening partner, worked the booth with me.

Natalie, my gardening partner, worked the booth with me.

Triathlon pal Deb Norris showed up with her doggie to buy plants.

Triathlon pal Deb Norris showed up with her doggie to buy plants.

So many tomato varieties to choose from!

So many tomato varieties to choose from!

So many tomato varieties to choose from!

So many tomato varieties to choose from!

The owner of the booth authored the book.

The owner of the booth authored the book.

My triathlon pal, Karen Hall and her husband, came by to get their tomato plants.

My triathlon pal, Karen Hall and her husband, came by to get their tomato plants.

Filipino food for sale!

Filipino food for sale!

Pansit and lumpia.   $5.

Pansit and lumpia. $5.