Saturday, August 4, 2012

What We Came Home To

25 July 2012: Caryl waits in front of her house in northern Colorado
while Ed and Dylan finish hitching the trailer to the truck so we can head home.

By now, I'm sure everyone has figured out that we've returned home.  I really wanted to blog our whole New York trip along the way, but finding reliable wi-fi turned out to be a nightmare. 

Usually when Ed asks what I want for my birthday or Christmas, I tell him to just get me something that makes him think of me (which he finds frustrating).  This year I know exactly what I want for my birthday: a hotspot device for my laptop so I can have Internet access almost anywhere, the same way my cell phone does!

We closed our trip with a 4-day stay at Ed's mom's house in northern Colorado, 6 miles south of the border of Wyoming.  On Sunday we attended church at Ed's old ward in Cheyenne and enjoyed seeing many of his old friends. 

On Monday we drove into Fort Collins, where Ed and Dylan visited with Lance, Ed's best friend from high school, while I sat in a restaurant in downtown Fort Collins and posted my last blog (they had the best wi-fi of the entire trip).

On Tuesday we went to eat at R&B Breakfast Club, Ed's all-time favorite place to eat breakfast.  Everyone there knows him, although they didn't recognize him at first with facial hair and no glasses (he wears contacts now).  It was hilarious when the waitress suddenly realized Ed was someone she'd known for ages.

Ed and Dylan mowed Caryl's property and took care of other things around the house as well as some business in town.  We enjoyed relaxing and getting good nights of sleep in real beds.  Still, we couldn't wait to get home to Arizona.

It happened that we had arrived there the day after the start of Frontier Days, Cheyenne's annual week-long celebration of rodeos, concerts, carnivals, cook-outs, and so forth.  On Wednesday morning we went to a breakfast celebrating the pioneers.  Then we went back and started packing for our trip home.

We headed out around 12:30 pm on July 25 and arrived home at 1:30 am on July 26.  Believe me, after 24 days on the road with a fifth-wheel trailer, we are THRILLED to be home!  It was a great experience (mostly), but we've all agreed that we will never attempt such a trip again.  I've learned that I am a resort kind of gal after all.

While we were gone, one thing we wondered about was how our garden was faring.  A young man Dylan's age was caring for our garden and chickens and we hoped all was well.

What a wonderful surprise to find our garden had gone from this...

19 June 2012 this!
4 Aug 2012

We knew the garden would do well once the monsoon rains began, which they finally did about 2 weeks before we got home.  We've had lots of rain since then, and the plants are loving it.

Here's a photographic tour of our garden with pictures taken just this morning:

All 6 cabbages had gotten huge, but 5 of them were totally chewed up by aphids.
Ed pulled them all out and fed them to the chickens.
Now I have this lone cabbage to enjoy in my homemade coleslaw.

The zucchini plants exploded in size!

Zucchini blossoms

Zucchinis on the vine

Peppers on the left and cucumbers on the right;
they all filled out nicely!

Cucumber blossoms

Another cucumber on the vine; we already have more than we can eat!

Bell peppers on the bush...

...and hot peppers on the bush.

All the tomato plants also went wild with growth.
They are covered with hundreds of tomatoes.
The large ones are still green, but the cherry tomatoes are ripening fast.

Regular-size tomatoes, still green...

...and cherry tomatoes, ripening.

The strawberry patch is looking more vibrant.

I never knew where broccoli came from before now.
I never imagined them on such tall plants.

Not only lovely, but delicious, too!

We haven't pulled any carrots yet, but they are pretty!
They remind me of the carrots Bunny Rabbit used to steal from Captain Kangaroo!

We haven't tried any potatoes yet, either, though I've tried to convince Ed
that some early potatoes would be tasty.  They are growing gangbusters!

The lettuce that used to be so pathetic looking has thrived.
We had chef salads for dinner last night.  Yummy!

There were some disappointments, as well.  Thanks to those fluffy cottontail bunnies, we don't get to enjoy any spinach, peas, beans, or cauliflower.  Ed even replanted the pole beans, and we can see where they sprouted while we were gone, but the bunnies stripped those, too.  The radishes should have been harvested while we were gone, so they'd gone mushy by the time we pulled them.  And we're still waiting on the carrots, which Ed says aren't ready yet.

A bountiful harvest of broccoli and hot peppers...

Nonetheless, we are already enjoying the fruits of our (Ed's) labors, putting fresh vegetables on the table.  Who could have thought that broccoli fresh from the garden would taste so much tastier than store-bought broccoli? cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, and zucchini.
(We'd eaten about three-quarters of the tomatoes before I took the picture.)

By the way, I haven't given up on blogging our vacation.  My summer vacation is over.  All teachers report on Monday and the students start school on Wednesday.  Nonetheless, I pledge to finish sharing the stories and pictures of the final week of our New York trip.  Stay tuned!

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