Festival of Lights Parade and other free downtown Colorado Springs events

The Festival Of Lights Parade is a super cheezy small town affair. But it’s fun to sit wrapped in a blanket on a lawn chair in the cold drinking spiked hot chocolate out of a thermos (bring your own supplies). The parade starts at 5:50 on Saturday December 3rd at Tejon and St. Vrain.

The Festival Of Lights Parade, downtown Colorado Springs, December 3rd 5:50PM

The Festival Of Lights Parade, downtown Colorado Springs, December 3rd 5:50PM

Before the parade there’s a kind of neat concert called Tuba Christmas which is a band made up of tuba players! They’ll be in Acacia Park at 4:00.

In the afternoon on Saturday, you can go to The Pioneer’s Museum at 215 S. Tejon St. for Children’s Holiday Magic — There’s music and entertainment, including the Springs Singers, a magician, crafts, activities for kids and more, 10 a.m.-3:30 p.m.

And don’t forget, there’s free parking every Saturday and Sunday downtown at all the meters during the month of December. Shop local!

Cat Pictures!

My little cat Luna, who had been living with Eddie in San Jose for the past 4 years had sudden renal failure and had to be put to sleep. I went out there to try and get her healthy enough to bring here because I thought maybe she’d be like PJ, who has managed to live with chronic renal failure for awhile now. But she didn’t respond to the treatments like PJ has so…She was 17

Luna rallied a couple of days, even jumping on the bed once, but didn't make it in the end.

Luna rallied a couple of days, even jumping on the bed once, but didn't make it in the end.

PJ is also 17 and now takes about 8 different medications and treatments each day, but he responds really well to all of them (and they only take about half an hour in total to do) and still enjoys being a cat and doing cat things like eating tuna, rolling around in catnip, sleeping under our covers, and getting onto the desk to hang out with me. He’s gotten a little hesitant to jump up on high things, but that’s probably more from arthritis/old age than from the renal failure. He was diagnosed three years ago with the chronic renal failure so we’re happy for every day he gets to stay with us.

PJ hanging in there

PJ hanging in there

Winter in the cat house- spoiled kitties have their own heating pads

Winter in the cat house- spoiled kitties have their own heating pads

PJ begging to go outside so he can eat plants

PJ begging to go outside so he can eat plants

Getting ready to try and eat a forbidden plant

Getting ready to try and eat a forbidden plant

Cookie Puss recently caught a mouse in the kitchen. We caught him and he dropped it and it scurried away. We tried to catch it in a humane trap so we could set it free someplace else but it just wouldn’t be caught that way. So…Cookie Puss finally caught him again, and this time he killed him straight away. Then played with him for about 15 minutes, batting him around and tossing him in the air. I’ve never seen Cookie Puss get so much exercise in my life.

Cookie Puss and the dead mouse

Cookie Puss and the dead mouse

Cookie Puss and the dead mouse

Cookie Puss and the dead mouse

Cookie Puss and the dead mouse

Cookie Puss and the dead mouse

Cookie Puss and the dead mouse

Cookie Puss and the dead mouse

Finally, here is a basket of kittens. There are always kittens at the vet that are available for adoption. Too cute.

A basket of kittens

A basket of kittens

Arkansas Headwaters-Rincon Campground, Colorado

I love camping now that we have the trailer. It’s really easy because just about everything is already packed up and ready to go. I also like not having to put up a tent or be cooped up in the tent, or have to take down the tent in a huff when it rains.

Much better than a tent.

Much better than a tent.

Much better than sleeping on the ground.

Much better than sleeping on the ground.

I finally gave in to the sleeping bags instead of regular bedding- after the one time we used regular bedding and practically froze to death. These sleeping bags are super warm and cozy.

I finally gave in to the sleeping bags instead of regular bedding- after the one time we used regular bedding and practically froze to death. These sleeping bags are super warm and cozy.

I can cook all sorts of things on our fancy camper stove.

I can cook all sorts of things on our fancy camper stove.

But I still have a few other requirements.

I like to be by the water. Like right by the water.  I want a campsite right on the water, ok?

So looking around online I found Rincon Campground, on the Arkansas River. Sure, it was by a road, but it’s probably a small campground type road, right?

Rincon Campground is RIGHT ON THE ROAD- a big, busy road!

Rincon Campground is RIGHT ON THE ROAD- a big, busy road!

Wrong, Highway 50 is a big, busy road! And this campground is like 30 feet from the actual road. Not good.

When we got there, I needed to make a phone call and there was no cell service. I was also cranky about the road sitch, so I drove up to Salida, just a few miles away to a cafe I like, Cafe Dawn and had a cafe mocha and made my phone call. No whipped cream, but whatever. Also, all the locals, who looked like the belonged in The Highwaymen, kept giving me weird looks. Still, it’s a cute little place and the service is very friendly.

Cafe Mocha from Cafe Dawn, Salida, Colorado

Cafe Mocha from Cafe Dawn, Salida, Colorado

When I got back, Mike had gotten us all situated and was doing some fishing.

Camping at Rincon Campground, Colorado

Camping at Rincon Campground, Colorado

Mike fishing in The Arkansas River at Rincon Campground, Colorado

Mike fishing in The Arkansas River at Rincon Campground, Colorado

It's very pretty up there and would be awesome if not for the stupid road. Couldn't they have put the campground on the other side of the river at least?

It's very pretty up there and would be awesome if not for the stupid road. Couldn't they have put the campground on the other side of the river at least?

The other side of the river would make a fine spot for a campground.

The other side of the river would make a fine spot for a campground.

Anyhow, since I was majorly vexed by the road, I decided to start Happy Hour early.

Anyhow, since I was majorly vexed by the road, I decided to start Happy Hour early.

And since Mike wasn't catching anything, he decided to join me.

And since Mike wasn't catching anything, he decided to join me.

There's not much better than a campfire, a bottle of wine, and some snacks.

There's not much better than a campfire, a bottle of wine, and some snacks.

Nighty Night!

Nighty Night!

Have I mentioned that a trailer is way better than a tent?

Have I mentioned that a trailer is way better than a tent?

In the morning Mike decided to try his luck at fishing again.

In the morning Mike decided to try his luck at fishing again.

While I had some coffee by the river.

While I had some coffee by the river.

Morning on The Arkansas River at Rincon Campground, Colorado

Morning on The Arkansas River at Rincon Campground, Colorado

Later we went into Salida and had breakfast.

Ahhhhh, pancakes.

Ahhhhh, pancakes.

On our way home we saw this funny truck.

Many LOLs.

Many LOLs.

I will leave you with this video that reminds me of Rincon Campground.

 

 

My Colorado Garden- herbs and veggies

Tomatoes always steal the spotlight when talking about gardening. I grew things in my garden this summer besides just tomatoes, tho.

Salad greens and arugula do really well here. In fact, I’m still growing them on the front porch! They don’t seem to mind the cold. They do need to be watered as much as in the summer, which surprised me. I tried bok choy during the summer but it grew too fast and flowered and got all ruined. I’m growing it again now and it seems ok so far. Since it’s not hot, it shouldn’t bolt (flower and get ruined).

Arugula, mixed greens, bok choy, and basil.

Arugula, mixed greens, bok choy, and basil.

We had salad every day for three months, just from three of these box planters.

We had salad every day for three months, just from three of these box planters.

 

I always grow various herbs in pots outside and bring them in when the weather gets cold. They never do well in the house. This year they seem to be ok, tho. I have them in a very sunny window this time.

Oregano, thyme, and mint.

Oregano, thyme, and mint.

This huge basil plant did well up on the porch as it got colder, but even tho I covered it during the last really cold snap, it didn't make it.

This huge basil plant did well up on the porch as it got colder, but even tho I covered it during the last really cold snap, it didn't make it.

I grew these basil plants from seed which was pretty remarkable. Usually I grow my herbs from plants. They're still alive, in the house, but have gotten very leggy.

I grew these basil plants from seed which was pretty remarkable. Usually I grow my herbs from plants. They're still alive, in the house, but have gotten very leggy.

The sunny window. This was a month or so ago. They're doing better now.

The sunny window. This was a month or so ago. They're doing better now.

I also planted a few other vegetables. I planted two cucumber plants and got 10 or 15 cucumbers. I planted 4 bean plants and only got a couple handfuls of beans, and I planted what I thought was a zucchini plant but turned out to be some freaky squash.

Cucumber, purple beans, tomatoes, and weird squash

Cucumber, purple beans, tomatoes, and weird squash

Definitely NOT a zucchini

Definitely NOT a zucchini

The cucumbers did surprisingly well considering I grew them in pots.

The cucumbers did surprisingly well considering I grew them in pots.

I was also surprised by this pepper plant. I got it as a small plant in June and it’s still got peppers on it. I brought it inside and altho there are some little white bugs on the plant, the peppers aren’t affected- they’re really yummy, too!

Pepper plant with nasturtiums

Pepper plant with nasturtiums

I love to eat salads with lots of different greens and I love bok choy so I;ll grow them again next year. Cucumbers are ok but I was sick of them by the end of the summer. I’ll try to grow actual zucchini next year but probably not too many other veggies. I like to concentrate on the tomatoes and the herbs.

How did your garden do?

Green Tomato Salsa

I had tons of tomatoes all summer. I even managed to save tons more from frost by bringing them inside to finish ripening. But I also had tons of unripe ones that stayed green.

Green tomatoes from my garden. Some of them were too frost bitten to use, but others were just a little frost bitten and they worked great in this recipe

Green tomatoes from my garden. Some of them were too frost bitten to use, but others were just a little frost bitten and they worked great in this recipe

I couldn’t just throw them away and I don’t like “fried green tomatoes”. So I looked around online and found this fab recipe for green tomato salsa. I adapted it to use ingredients I had on hand and it was delicious!

Here’s how I did it:

  • 9 green tomatoes, cored and quartered

  • 1/2 medium-sized yellow onion, peeled and coarsely chopped

  • 1 heaping tsp Sambal Oelek chili paste

  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and coarsely chopped

  • 1 teaspoon sea salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • 3 tablespoons water

  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

  • 1 teaspoon sugar

  • 1/3 cup cilantro, coarsely chopped

  • Ingredients for Green Tomato Salsa

    Ingredients for Green Tomato Salsa

Combine the green tomatoes, onion, chili paste, garlic, salt, cumin, olive oil, and water in a medium pot. Bring to a boil and then turn the heat down and cook covered on a medium-low  twenty minutes, stirring occasionally.

Stir in and simmer for five or ten minutes the lemon juice, sugar, and cilantro. Season to taste.

Cooking the Green Tomato Salsa

Cooking the Green Tomato Salsa

Let it cool off a little then puree it in a food processor to the consistency you like. You’ll need to let it cool all the way down before you eat it, it’s not that great warm.

We had it with fresh tortilla chips. Then later in the week I added ithe rest of it to some tortilla soup for some extra kick.

I don’t have any more green tomatoes, but if I did, I’d for sure make more of this salsa.

Green Tomato Salsa and fresh tortilla chips. Yum!

Green Tomato Salsa and fresh tortilla chips. Yum!