I walked the dog around the Rogers Park neighborhood yesterday morning. For those of you who have never been to Rogers Park, I'm referring to the neighborhood that's bounded by Mulberry to the north, Ponderosa (or maybe Taft?) to the east, Overland Trail to the west, and Elizabeth to the south. Most of the houses were built in the late 60's / early 70's, with occasional notable exceptions around the edges (of much older homes, primarily from the early 1900's, or much newer condos on the west side). Though the area was dominated by rentals (and therefore students and loud parties) as recently as a decade ago, it seems to be undergoing a bit of a transformation as the population matures.
There are a few notable mailboxes that I passed as we walked and I began to wonder if you could define a neighborhood by it's mailboxes. If so, then I'd say that the Rogers Park area is filled with spirited, adventure and nature loving folks. Granted, most of the mailboxes were rather run-of-the-mill. So maybe "filled" isn't quite the right word. But I think there's other evidence that would still pull the neighborhood toward the spirited and nature loving side.
The kayak (is that what it is? I'm not real knowledgable about water vehicle terminology.) mailbox has been around for awhile, but the bench in the background is new since I was last down this street. (Either that or I had just completely spaced seeing it before.) When I think of creative mailboxes, this is often the first box that pops into my mind. For me, it's a Fort Collins classic.
The snow board mailbox, on the other hand, is a lively new entry into the creative mailbox scene. Added within the past couple of years, I love how the colors on the board mix and match with the beautiful garden around it.
There are also a couple of different tree/mailbox combinations. It looks like this one is attached to the stump of a cut down tree that's still rooted in the ground. I also saw a box atop a pretty thick aspen pole.
We walked past Happy Heart Farm which appears to have a new hops growing section. The scaffolding for the hops plants is impressively ginormous. This is really going to be a thing to behold once the hops really gets going. Most of the plants are only 4 or 5 feet tall at this point. They must not have been started at the beginning of the season. (I planted hops in our yard this spring and the plant has covered half of the trellis/bench that it's next to. They're pretty vigorous growers apparently.)
It's hard to see the hops plants in the photo with the green on green, but if you start at the lettuce (the lighter green row) and look for lines of darker green that head straight up, that's the hops. Once the hops has filled in the scaffolding, this will be a prime place to plant things like lettuce, chard, spinach and so on that prefer being out of the direct sunlight. Since these hops are grown at Happy Heart Farm, does that make them Happy Hops?
While walking by the water catchment (Is that what it's called?) area, I noticed some wild asparagus along the water ditch. If you don't know what asparagus plants look like, you might not be sure which plant in the photo to be looking at, but it's directly in the center with the yellowish looking stalk (It's really green, but stands out in the photo as yellowish.) and the leaves are the billowy, wispy fronds all around it.
On our walk we saw lots of other dogs, a cat, some horses and a cow. In the past we've also seen llamas and goats.
The Rogers Park neighborhood has an unassuming air, but it also has several little treasures hidden within it: the park itself; Happy Heart Farm; the horse paddocks in the middle(ish) and the horse properties around the edges; and the easy going, adventure loving spirit of the folks who live there.
Yesterday was the 3rd annual Bark & Bluegrass fundraiser event for the Larimer Humane Society. Rob and I hung out for a bit in the afternoon while Bluegrass Delta Force played and that's when I took these photos. We went home for dinner (ratatouille on noodles with zucchini, tomatoes and basil from our garden - onion and eggplant via Green Buffalo) then I returned to serve beer as a Larimer Humane Volunteer.
I had never served beer before and I was hoping to take orders so that I wouldn't end up serving cups full of foam to people. But I ended up in charge of the 5 Barrel tap and I got the hang of it rather quickly. Most of my beers ended up with at most a 1/4 inch of foam, but I did serve two beers that I would call perfect pours. Woot! I was very proud of myself. There were 9 or 10 of us working together at the Odell's tent. I'd never met any of the folks before, but I think we worked together really well.
The last two bands of the day, Turn 4 and the Emmitt-Nershi Band, were playing during my shift. (I think I caught at least one of the Turn 4 band members in the photos below. Watch for the beard with a man attached.) It's hard to pour beer and dance at the same time, but I managed. I also learned what a 95 is. The beers we had on tap were Easy Street (a light wheat beer. Very tasty. Great in the summer.), 90 Shilling (a classic. Always drinkable.), and 5 Barrel (a pale ale. I usually avoid pale ales. Though we have hops growing in the back yard and I think the plant is lovely, as are the little flowery hops all over the vine, I'm just not a big fan of too much hops in my beer. Rob, on the other hand, likes a nice IPA.). I was the 5 Barrel gal. At one point some folks came up asking for two 95's. If I was the kind of person that scratched their head when they're puzzled, I would have been scratching mine. Turns out a 95 is half 90 Shilling and half 5 Barrel. I ended up trying one later (not during my shift because that would be naughty) and it was actually pretty good.
So the upshot of the day for me was that I learned how to pour a good beer, I now know what a 95 is, I heard loads of great music, I snapped lots of photos, I ran into several people I know and I enjoyed the interactions of bunches of dogs as they spilled beers, snuck tasty bits of food from their people's plates, sniffed each other's rear ends, and lounged around enjoying the music. Hopefully the photos I took will give you a little flavor of what the day was like.
I just saw the Google Maps car parked on Oak across from the Pottery building in City Park. I suspect that if you want to preserve something captured by Google Maps' last pass through, now is the time. (I just snagged some images of the two houses on Whitcomb that have been scraped and rebuilt.)
I'm guessing that the overhead view has been done within the past 6 months. (It shows the work on the irrigation ditch done at Whitcomb and Laporte.) But the street view seems a couple years old right now. I wonder how long it takes to capture new images and upload them?
A couple weeks ago I did a road trip from Newark, New Jersey to Fort Collins. I was moving some stuff for a friend in a truck about the size of a house. OK, so it was a 26 footer, but including the cab, that put the darn thing around 34 feet. It felt pretty jinormous to me. (I have so much more respect for truckers now.) When I finally got the thing unloaded and ready to turn in, I drove it over to Kings Auto Center on Mulberry (just before you hit Link Lane). I had thrown my bike into the back of the truck with the idea that I'd bike home once I was rid of Giganticus. I walked around to the back of the truck to grab my bike when I noticed this funky little fella holding the mailbox in front of Kings.
As it turns out, Kings Auto Center didn't have room for Giganticus Enormicus, so they sent me to Wellington Toy Storage. I threw my bike back into the truck and headed out to Timbuktu, and then some, where I was finally able to ditch the beast. Whew! Was that ever a good feeling.
I hopped on my bike and, though I didn't really know my way home, I just kept heading west, then south, till I hit civilization again. On my way down Terry Lake Road, I saw a rather fishy mailbox, so I stopped and grabbed a shot of that as well.
I've never lived anywhere where there are as many creative mailboxes as I've seen in Fort Collins. Maybe it's a growing trend nationwide and places where I used to live now have them. But I suspect that even if that's the case, Fort Collins still ranks high on the list for creativity in snail mail storage.
Woot! Let's hear it for Bohemian Nights this year! Yet again I was wowed by all sorts of amazing music, entertaining performances, and that whole community feel thing you get when you keep seeing people you know everywhere you turn. Bohemian Nights is amazing (not just during New West Fest but the Thursday Night Live shows as well). And it's all entirely free thanks to Pat Stryker and her Bohemian Foundation. I'm not the kind of person that talks about this or that being "a blessing" but I really don't know any other way to describe what Stryker does for Fort Collins. She blesses us in many ways (music in the schools pops immediately to mind) but the fact that anyone can come to the Bohemian Nights shows, whether they live in Fort Collins or not, without paying a penny, feels like a cup runneth over sort of blessing on our little town.
I saw too many bands to recount in one blog post, but I thought I'd share some of my photos and highlights. If you want to see more you can skim through the Google+ posts I made after each day's entertainment: Friday, Saturday, Sunday.
As we walked down Oak Street towards the Library Park Stage, we ran in to two Bohemian Nights volunteers who handed us schedules for the music as well as some schwag. I don't even know how to describe this thing except to say that it's a tubey sort of thing that you can use a jillion different ways. My friend, Marty, tried it on his head a couple of different ways. First he tied one end into a knot and wore it as a top knot hat. In the photo to the left he folded have of the tube in on itself and pulled that over on his head for a smoother look. I ended up using mine both as a pony tie for my hair and as a head band. (Head band worked better when I was biking with a helmet on. Pony tie worked better when I was sitting in the hot sun watching a band perform.) One of the gals that gave them out to us was using hers as a purse cover.
On Friday I saw: Patti Fiasco, Muskateer Gripweed, Fierce Bad Rabbit, Eurforquestra, and Michael Franti & Spearhead.
On Saturday I saw: the Lincoln Jam Band, Steve Eulberg, the Hollyfelds, the Haunted Windchimes, Sarah Louise Pieplow, The Holler!, and a wee bit of Alison Krauss.
On Sunday I saw: Danielle Ate the Sandwich, Widows Bane, and DeVotchka.
I love being barefoot, so it was with great pleasure that I noticed one of the Haunted Windchimes played music sans shoes.
These girls were dancing while the Haunted Windchimes played.
We watched Euforquestra on the big screen.
Danielle threw t-shirts instead of eating sandwiches at the concert.
Widows Bane - Love, love, love these guys!
This guy was a member of DeVotchka. He played several different instruments and was probably the pest part of their performance. (Not that the rest wasn't good, but he was amazing.)