Sunday, 19 July 2015: Scheduling problems

Written 19 July 2015

Starting right off with some of my first wildflower photos, as otherwise, they won't all fit! Left, yarrow. Right, a penstemon, probably "one-sided" or "beardless."

Today, Jan and I are scheduled for the Lily Lake wildflower walk (an hour and a half to cover 1.5 miles, with only a couple hundred feet of relief). It conflicts with our 1:04 p.m. tee time at the Estes Park municipal golf course, so David will go play golf by himself. We found a couple of other easy walks on other days that work around our tee times, and while David and I are playing golf, Jan will go on longer, more challenging hikes. Jack will mostly hang around the cabin and go with us while we check out the shopping and strolling in downtown Estes Park—he's still recovering from his catastrophic fall at the Houston Rodeo back in March, which shattered one of his knees. (No, he wasn't riding the bulls or broncs, just walking down the ramp to the parking lot.) He's out of the cast and the wheelchair but still uses a cane to get around and can't walk too far at a time.

locoweed mariposa As usual, I'm up first, so I had breakfast (bacon, eggs, toast, tea), emptied the dishwasher, took these flower pictures (just in the dooryard, where we parked the cars), watched a few birds, and am now catching up on this diary. Also downloading a Gutenberg book for David (on the Battle of the Somme) that we failed to get at the Atlanta airport because of a flaky wifi connection.

The photo at the left is locoweed (yes, the one we all heard about in the westerns of our youth, a member of the bean family harboring some nasty alkaloids). The one to the right is mariposa lily (aka sago lily); "mariposa" is Spanish for "butterfly."

Indian blanket flower Finally, here's Indian blanket flower, one of the innumerable yellow composites that litter the landscape here. This one is definitely showier than most and is maybe four inches across.

Later the same day The Lily Lake walk was a bust. It was at 9 a.m., and we were signed up for it weeks in advance, but the idiots at headquarters told us it had been changed to 1 p.m. In midmorning, Jan called, just to make sure we were signed up for the 1 p.m. We weren't. Only one space was left, and we needed to come down to headquarters to sign up for it and be waitlisted for a second spot. By the time we got there (a mile by car), it was full, but because of the change of time the young volunteer at the desk said she was sure they could fit us in. So we showed up at 1 p.m. to find that it had gone at 9 a.m. after all and that we had missed it! Drat. I had cancelled out of golf with David at 1 p.m. in favor of the walk, so after a long hooferaw at headquarters about making sure we were signed up for walks later in the week and when they actually were, Jan dropped me and my handful of clubs at the golf course and went off to complete our grocery shopping. I joined David at the turn. Started out double-par-par, but then melted down a couple of times for two over double bogey overall. At one point I managed to drop my ball vertically into a water hazard that was less than a foot across (I was able to fish it out, though the stream was almost strong enough to wash it away.) Then I landed one on a sand bar in the middle of the local river. Dry and plainly visible but inaccessible. Very, very fast greens. Then I managed to forget to pick up my purse where I had left it at the pro-shop desk, so David had to drop me back at the cabin to start dinner and go back for it.

fire extinguisher mushrooms While David and Jack were off picking up my purse, Jan was lounging on the deck, and I was working in the kitchen, I heard chirping behind me and thought, "Wow, that's close!" I turned around to find a female broad-tailed hummingbird zooming around the living room. The door was standing open so that Zorro could come and go, and the bird had spotted the bright red fire extinguisher on the kitchen wall, right in line with the door. While I watched, she flew up to the extinguisher, hovered, and inserted her bill into the little beige-ringed round hole in its blue instruction label, just below the round red gauge! Disappointed to encounter only red metal, she resumed whizzing around the living room. I waited until she was near the front windows, beside the open door (I didn't want to spook her into flying off the wrong way down the hallway to the bedrooms), got behind her, and tried to herd her toward the door. She resisted, insisting on remaining in the picture-window casement where she found herself and refusing to pull back by the two inches it would have taken to fly sideways toward the door. I closed in closer and closer, and then closer and closer still, until I actually enclosed her in my cupped hands! She stopped flapping, her wings spread against my fingers but motionless, and I was able to take her outside. "Want to see what came into the house, before I let it go?" I asked Jan. She recoiled in dismay, asking, "How many legs does it have?!" I assured her it had very few legs, gave her a peek through my fingers, and released the bird to zoom away back into the pine trees! Cool and a half!

The other photo here is a clump of mushrooms I spotted on the back nine. I have no clue what they are.

Swallows were everywhere, especially on the golf course, where they constantly skimmed the greens, I suppose looking for small insects. They flew just a couple of inches off the ground, right in among our feet while we were putting! I saw at last two kinds—barn swallows, with russet throats, and a kind with white breasts, maybe tree swallows. I also saw some with mostly white rumps, which were probably violet-green swallows, so I don't know whether the ones with white breasts but without white rumps were tree swallows or just female violet-greens.

Because we got back so late from golf, the chicken was so large, and we were at such high altitude, Sunday night's dinner ran late—that chicken and its accompanying potatoes, carrots, and onions took forever to roast. In the end, the legs were still a little pink (I thought they were great), but David, Jan, and Jack all raved about the juicy breast. Jan raved even louder about the nicely caramelized roasted onions. Zap-in-the-bag green beans on the side and a small, not-half-bad Safeway cherry pie for dessert.

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