Every year, sometime close to the Fourth of July, there is an car and motorcycle race to the top of the mountain. This is for the seriously crazy racing enthusiast. Like many events, this started off with a bunch of guys getting together to indulge their shared passion. Now of course it is a corporate event, so people from all over the world come to participate. Some money is involved, but a lot of the prize is in the bragging rights. We were on our way to the farmer’s market this morning, and stopped to chat with some members of the Honda racing team. They had come from LA, Ohio and Japan just to give it a go. (We love tourists who come here, spend lots of money, then leave). They had come by three weeks earlier to practice, but there was too much snow and the road to the top was not yet open, so they were going to practice today.
We wished them good luck, then it was on to the market and the first peas of the season. And lunch and a mimosa.
From the name of my city, one might assume that it was loaded with natural springs. But that is not the case, it was just a real estate come on. Manitou Springs is a town just to the west and in the distant past it was a popular health resort famed for it’s mineral springs. (This was apparently based on the idea that if water tasted bad it was good for you.) The mineral water was even bottled and sold once upon a time. It is mainly a tourist destination now, with people wandering aimlessly about it’s many shops. But the springs are still there, and if one is so inclined, the mineral water is free for the taking.
This spring was recently redone and is very attractive.
This spring is on the back wall of a very popular candy store. This is probably a mistake as candy tastes much better than mineral water. It faces the arcade, which has loads of vintage and modern pinball machines and games.
This is another spring that is set into a wall and it is in it’s original state. Some homeless guys washed off in it, but I noticed that they did not drink it.
In this picture you can see the spring house, and the rather plain spring outlet in front of it. Because there is a spring house it may be that the springs are actually being pumped out and don’t just flow.
This is the spring of Colorado Springs, located in a park by a creek. It was capped off some years ago. A group was looking into restoring it, but it will cost a lot of money to fix, so for now at least we are spring-less.
‘Oh give me a home, where the buffalo roam,
Where the deer and the antelope play’
In this beloved western song, several false stereotypes are being perpetuated. Buffalo like to graze, perhaps on buffalo grass (such as what we planted on the lawn to replace Kentucky bluegrass). Buffalo liked living on the prairie before they were nearly exterminated. I don’t think that there are any wild buffalo left, they are just raised for meat, so they are unlikely to roam, although I am sure that they would like to.
Antelope also like the prairie, and can often be spotted as you drive along east of town.
This gang was hanging out just east of the dream home, and pretty soon houses will be built where they stand. Antelope are very fast runners so they don’t mind living in the open. They’re God’s cattle and pretty much go where they please. No fence can hold them, they’re great at jumping.
Deer on the other hand, like to have some cover. They both nibble on the trees and bushes, and hide in them. So at least in Colorado they live in the mountains, or foothills, or my yard. They are also a little bit cranky and sometimes like to fight. So they are unlikely to ‘play’ with the antelope, although they might kick some antelope butt. The song is just plain wrong. 😉 But,
‘Bury me not,
on the lone prairie,
Where the coyotes howl,
and the wind blows free’
This is a much more fitting song.
This coyote was over by the library, stalking a rabbit.
I confess that when I am driving around I am always happy to see hawks, Canada geese, or Great Blue Herons (Oh curse you blue herons, I have often tried and never been able to get a good picture of one of you) flying around. But there are also lots of static images of birds around town.
This guardian spirit looks as though it has been protecting this building since the 1920’s.
There is a hole conveniently left in this building for a bird to swoop through.
This perch on the front of this store is a great place to take off from and soar to the skies.
Some birds are just there to be gorgeous.
Like this one too.
This one is a school mascot, ready to inspire the students (not much chance of that happening).
This totem pole carved from a dead tree obviously protects this house and perhaps the entire block.
There is currently an exhibit of bird painting inspired by Audubon and surrealism that is absolutely wonderful. So these posters hang downtown from the light posts.
The newest members of the flock are parrots. These birds hang across an alleyway downtown and are part of the downtown art project.
I was inspired (by GA) to look at the herbs which are growing wild in my yard, mostly after escaping the planted areas, a few are actually wild plants.
Dandelions are impossible to kill or eradicate. My husband spent a lot of time trying to achieve their destruction, then new seeds would blow in from the neighbors. I just hope for bunnies to eat them.
Chives escaped from the whiskey barrel planter on the deck and have moved out into the yard.
Oregano spreads by flinging about it’s seed and has taken up residence in my lawn.
Parsley growing in the steps.
Thistle is obviously wild. As soon as I find my gardening gloves it will be gone.
Anise is an unstoppable plant. I planted a single plant once and it grew to enormous proportions. I pulled it up, but it scattered lots of tiny seeds, so now it continues to flourish. I wish the deer would eat it.
Mint is another unstoppable plant that has taken over the front planter box. It sends out runners and starts growing everywhere, even in the front steps.
At least I now have a use and an appreciation for these plants.
A recent post on Spitalfields Life about the herbalist Nicholas Culpeper piqued my interest, about both the man and his writings on the uses of herbs in medicine. Of course the claims as to the uses and values of herbs varies widely, depending on the writer. But here are a few:
Anise. In 1305 Edward I declared this a taxable drug. Some of the revenues from the tax was used to repair London Bridge (it was falling down, falling down). A great use of this herb is to keep away nightmares, an admirable goal.
Chives. Good as a cure for melancholy and is believed to drive away evil spirits.
Dandelion. Should be used by “liverish” people who are resentful, irritable or prone to dark moods. Dandelion is absolutely adorable when the flowers are eaten by bunnies.
Mint. Said to be symbolic of success, motivation, money and healing (we all need one or the other of these, so it’s great that I grow so much of it). It relaxes the nerves, stimulates the brain and protects from evil forces.
Oregano. Ruled by Venus. When worn on the head during sleep it promotes psychic dreams.
Parsley. Doesn’t really have any funny uses, it’s mostly an attractive garnish.
Thistle. Culpeper included lots of astrology in his description of useful herbs, such as thistle is the herb of Mars under the sign of Aries. And he recommends thistle in wine because “being drank expells superfluous melancholy out of the body and makes a man as merry as a cricket.” I have always wanted to be as merry as a cricket, so perhaps I shall have to try this.
This area has had humans living in it for centuries, but my neighborhood has not. My house was built 35 years ago, before this only cows and wildlife lived in the area. But we can see traces of things that once were here and now are gone.
The train once ran on this side of the creek. It was moved to the other side of the stream when they put in the freeway (motorway). They made these railroad culverts to last, and they have.
Barbed wire kept cattle off the tracks.
US Highway 85 ran along beside the tracks. This bridge was built for the highway. This bridge over a nearby creek was built as a WPA project during the depression of the 1930’s. (My grandfather worked for the WPA in another state and said that he made a dollar a day and was glad to get it.) I presume this project had a similar pay scale, but the workers did a great job and it was in use until very recently.
US Highway 85 was an important north/south route. It ran for over 1400 miles, from the Mexican border to the Canadian. Before it was replaced by the freeway it went through every little town along the way, it was the main road along the length of the Rocky Mountains.
In her great book of fears and phobias, What I Hate from A to Z, artist Roz Chast has this wonderful drawing for the fear of being lost.
By strange coincidence it is in fact quite similar to the map of Augusta. I had a map from Mr. Google that showed me how to reach my hotel.
However, the helpful young man at the car rental agency gave me a different route, which he swore was much easier. For some unfathomable reason I decided to take his advice, which is how I ended up hopelessly lost in nearby South Carolina. I did stop at a gas station to try and purchase a map and of course they no longer sell such things. I am old enough to remember when gas stations gave away free maps, but in those days gas stations only sold gas and oil, with perhaps a vending machine out front.
Then I come back to the ideas held by the medieval mapmakers, if you don’t know what is actually in a location, put in either a snake or a sea monster. So here are my maps of the area. First up in honor of getting totally lost is South Carolina.
A kindly policeman showed me how to reach the freeway, otherwise I would be wandering still along nearly identical roads. Then there is Georgia.
You have to navigate by memory, because the roads change names when they cross another road, and it apparently illegal for a road to go in only one direction. For example Gibbs Road becomes Cox Rd. , then turns into Owens Rd. What fun. But now the way is imprinted in my brain for the next visit.