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Tempting Fate (Colorado High Country #4) —
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Barely Breathing (A Colorado High Country Novel) — The first book in my new Colorado High Country series is now only 99 cents at all ebook retailers! This new contemporary series is set in the small mountain community of Scarlet Springs and focuses on the lives and loves of members of an alpine search and rescue team.


About Me

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I grew up in Colorado at the foot of the Rocky Mountains, then lived in Denmark and traveled throughout Europe before coming back to Colorado. I have two adult sons, whom I cherish. I started my writing career as a columnist and investigative reporter and eventually became the first woman editor of two different papers. Along the way, my team and I won numerous state and several national awards, including the National Journalism Award for Public Service. In 2011, I was awarded the Keeper of the Flame Lifetime Achievement Award for Journalism. Now I write historical romance and contemporary romantic suspense.

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Seductive Musings

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

A quick tour of the urban farm at Casa Clare





The more we do for ourselves, the more power we have over our own lives. With the world and the country in the state they’re in, it is super important to build security for ourselves and our neighborhoods however we can. Food security is vital.

I have always believed this. It’s in my DNA. My grandparents on both sides grew most their own food, and my parents always had a big vegetable garden. I can’t seem to shake the urge to grow things.

Before I had spinal surgery in 2010, we were growing most of the vegetables we ate through the summer in a patch of amended soil on the south side of our home. Everything was organic and fresh and so delicious that it ruined store-bought veggies for us. But spinal surgery changed what I was capable of doing, and the urban farm was let go.

Now it’s 2017, and the urban farm is back. In fact, it’s better than before. We’re planting everything in hand-mixed soil in raised beds so that I can garden again. In addition, we planted an orchard — eight dwarf fruit trees — in hopes of having a big store of fruit each fall once the trees mature. We also wanted to add to the urban forest canopy to decrease our carbon footprint.

We implemented Phase I this spring. For some ridiculous reason, most of the work of this transformation was listed under Phase I, so this phase felt eternal. It started in march with covering a big percentage of our lawn with weed cloth and 16 cubic feet of mulch and then transplanting seven rose bushes and one giant delphinium from the old rose bed to new beds.

I thought you might want to see what it looks like these days.

We planted two apple trees — Fireside (at top) and Honeycrisp (below). We weren’t expecting fruit this year, but both trees are producing so well that we’ve had to stake most of the branches to protect them, even after culling less desireable fruit from the trees.


You can see the rasberry beds behind Honeycrisp. The plants are thriving and producing a small amount of fruit, which is what one would expect for their first year.




We also planted two cherry trees — Sweet Cherry Pie and Evans Bali — and got precisely five cherries this year. That’s about 500 percent more than we were anticipating. 


Next to the rasperry beds, we have the first of four strawberry beds. We installed a sprinkler system to make it easy for me to water everything. Behind the strawberry bed are our two blackberry bushes and some pretty yard art — a fleur de lis. The raspberry bushes are at right in the photo below.



The photo below shows much of the backyard, with all of the fruit trees, the berry beds, and a glimpse of our transplanted roses. 



You can see how much of the grass we eliminted with mulch. This strip (below) is going to become a row of raised vegetable beds. After everything else, we managed only one raised veggie bed, and that went to tomatoes. Hey, we have our priorities straight. 



We’re doing what we can with whisky barrels. We have herbs and potatoes planted in large containers and whisky barrels on one side of the yard. We also have three blueberry bushes planted in whisky barrels along the fence in the photo above. We will probably add to that number.

We're looking forward to harvesting the potatoes soon.




Our first ripe tomatoes will be coming this week. These are black cherry tomatoes (below). You really can’t have too many tomatoes.



This shows the raised tomato bed, some volunteer sunflowers, and the three whisky barrels with blueberry bushes growing in them. (There are very few ways to grow blueberries in Colorado because our soil is too alkaline to support them even with amendments.)




Our peach tree has precisely 21 small fuzzy peaches on it. Boy, are we looking forward to those! We planted the peach tree, two pear trees and a plum on the south side of our house in the most sheltered area. Peach trees aren’t guaranteed to produce every year on Colorado’s Front Range. We get too many late-spring cold snaps and have such crazy changing temperatures that the blossoms tend to get frozen. We are hoping for the best.


Of course, among the edibles one must have sniffables. These are our transplanted roses and the bed that contains sunflowers (planted by squirrels), hollyhocks, and clematis. The roses all survived, which is a huge relief to us. They’re small this year, but they all blossomed, as you can see below.



Below is a closer shot of Europeana, one of my favorites. It’s such a brilliant shade of red.


Pink poppies are just starting to bloom. I planted these this year, also.



We also planted two pines — one in front and one in back. They do well in our climate and soil, and they give us something to decorate at Christmastime. 



I hope you enjoyed this quick tour of the backyard orchard at Casa Clare and the glimpse of that we’ve planted this spring. It’s a building process, and this is just a start. I hope one day to be canning and setting aside large amounts of food from the garden, adding to our food security and independence. 

If I have my way, I will one day be able to move forward with a local organization that helps people grow their own food and creates community gardens for those who don't have suitable space for growing. Food security is about independence. It’s about saving money. It’s about community and helping to make sure our neighborhoods and cities have some control over where our food is grown and what’s on it. 

Also, it’s about YUMMY. We can’t wait for those peaches and the apples to ripen. 

Speaking of Christmas — okay, I mentioned it — I need to stop posting and get back to Joe and Rain’ story. Rain is about to have a very bad night.

Have a good week, everyone! 

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"I am an artist. I am here to live out loud."
—Emile Zola

"I am tomorrow, or some future day, what I establish today. I am today what I established yesterday or some previous day."
—James Joyce

"Let other pens dwell on guilt and misery."
—Jane Austen

"Writers are those for whom writing is more difficult that it is for others."
—Ernest Hemingway

"When I write, I feel like an armless, legless man with a crayon in his mouth."
—Kurt Vonnegut

"The ability of writers to imagine what is not the self, to familiarize the strange and mystify the familiar is the test of their power."
—Toni Morrison

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—Robert Frost.

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—the character of Chaucer in
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