Wednesday, March 28, 2007
Monday, March 26, 2007
Well then. Laden with Chocolate (for home), Beer (for my Uncle), and a very fine cake from Goossens (for sharing), I made my way to visit some family members in Holland :) Of course, they had been following along on my blog (hello! J & M!) and had noted that I have a fascination with all things colorful and had expressed some interest in seeing the Tulip Fields. My wonderful Aunt greeted me at the train station with a gigantic bouquet of Tulips - incidentally, they matched my Spring is Here colorway perfectly (though I didn't take a photo of the bouquet - you'll just have to trust me).
Keukenhof is touted as the most beautiful spring garden in the world. I find it hard to disagree. The park is covered in beautifully landscaped arrangements and also has several indoor pavilions that feature even more flowers (and gorgeous and unique flower arrangements as well). Incidentally the park is only open for a very limited time - during the peak of the blooming season - apparently after the blooms have finished, and the park is closed, the planning for the next year begins anew, with the grounds undergoing a massive overhaul. All the bulbs are replanted each year - something on the order of 7 million bulbs are hand planted on the grounds between September and December!
I have to admit, I had never know that there was such a huge variety of tulips - nor had I any idea that there were double and even triple petaled tulips! Variety was found in every aspect from size of the blooms, stem height, and the color combinations (of both the flowers and the foliage!) - I definitely learned a whole lot! While the flowers photographed below aren't an exact match (I still say the bouquet was pretty darned close!), I think I could have a whole series of colorways named after the stunning array of flowers I had a chance to see on this trip!
Thursday, March 22, 2007
While Raquel reminds me that being in Europe sans camera is just plain wrong, I have to admit I simply wasn't thinking about it while packing my bags as I really didn't anticipate having much time for site seeing...
...and I haven't. Though I have had some time to check out some lovely bakeries and chocolatiers. Of course I had to taste the wine, beer and cheese while I was at it.
If ever you make your way to Antwerp, I say forget the diamonds and pay a visit to gaze at the chocolate creations of Mr. Burie - the window of his shop is chock full of Easter bunnies and decadent chocolate eggs right now. And just down the street, queue yourself in the line at Bakkerij Goossens, the oldest bakery in town. As for beer, there are plenty of microbrews over here, and entire shops dedicated to the stuff....it really is too bad about the 3 oz liquid restrictions on plane flights!
Wednesday, March 21, 2007
I'm kicking myself for not bringing my camera...it seems I'm actually able to see the Tulip Bloom this year (and judging by the train ride south, the fields are indeed bursting!).
It's a welcome break from the drought stricken desert southwest - it seems in Europe the Daffodils are blooming in crazy disarray it seems, bringing bright splotches of yellow to the landscape.
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
Though there are some pretty awesome rock formations that do a pretty good job at mimicing Toadstools!
These fanciful formations are made by differential erosion - leaving a hard capstone on the top and weathering the softer sandstone beneath into these pillars that resemble toadstools and goblins.
The Toadstools come in a variety of colors, size and geology - and can be found in several locations around the Utah Arizona Border, with some of them only a mile or so hike (one way) to reach!
Friday, March 16, 2007
First day of Spring is not until next week, yet Spring has Sprung and then some...(record breaking temps down here in the Southwest - with it forecast to actually break 100F eeek!)
It seems I'm getting a head start on Project Spectrum's April and May colors (Green, Yellow - sorry, no pink here). I didn't look in the backyard a couple days - and the next thing I know it, the Hopbush looks like this:
(Sadly, this hopbush is no good for brewing.) Seriously. Green and boring one moment, and bursting and fully loaded with flowers the next. It's like some magical timer went off and suddenly the whole thing is in bloom.
Not only that, but the Acacia is joining in on the fun:
Unfortunately, the Mesquite looks a bit ratty and has gone and dropped a goodly portion of its leaves, but it should leaf out again soon - if it would only rain a little.
Another favorite Green & Yellow combo is the Palo Verde when they bloom - but that's not due to happen for a little bit yet...
If you'd like to get a jump on some Project Spectrum Knitting, there are several nice green yarns in the Shop - and specifically there are a couple skeins of Palo Verde available :D
Thursday, March 15, 2007
While watching the Collared Peccary browse on the shrubs in their enclosure, I spotted a brilliant red cardinal - even when I lived in the north, I don't think I ever saw a cardinal quite so brilliantly colored! Sadly, he wouldn't sit still for a photograph - but once we got into the aviary, I managed to get a pretty good one of a female cardinal.
In the same aviary, I managed to sneak up on a Dove and snap its photo...
There were plenty of other animal sightings, though it seemed this visit had me entranced with birds - I had an opportunity to watch a cactus wren in the process of building a nest (sadly, no photos as I didn't have the camera in hand at the time) and a tiny hummingbird nesting - I had never seen a hummingbird nest before! No photos of that as the camera refused to cooperate and kept focusing on things other than the bird in question.
If you ever find yourself in Arizona and are looking to learn a bit more about the Sonoran Desert, I recommend a visit!
Wednesday, March 14, 2007
Wednesday, March 07, 2007
Sorry for the rather sporadic posts - March is shaping up to be quite the hectic month...while I haven't had much time for blogging, and work (the day job, not the wool job) had a sudden burst of issues (thus the tendinitis, which has sadly put a halt to my knitting).
Anyhow, I had a few moments to do some baking this weekend :) Interested in the recipe? Click here for more info!
In other news, I was cleared to start interval running again while also being directed to work on my balance (lets just say that it is arguable if I would pass a field sobriety test given how awful my balance is and how weak my muscles are in my feet and ankles). So I'll be doing something along the lines of Couch to 5k again to ease back into running....at least, that's the plan. Now if I can just get my hands and forearms to be happy again!
Monday, March 05, 2007
Incidentally, other rather amazing crunch and snap noises are made when you hit a flying tumbleweed on the freeway....