Loveland Garden Tour 2014

20140628 Loveland Garden Tour-67_WEBWhat a fun time we had this morning at the Loveland Garden Tour, held to benefit the local group Loveland Youth Gardeners.

If you’re apt to feel garden envy, this may not be the tour for you; but if you enjoy gathering ideas for beautifying your own slice of heaven then this is the place to be on a gorgeous Colorado morning!

The Loveland Garden Tour is an annual event which allows folks to visit a handful of impressive private-residence gardens that have been dotted with local artists’ work. You may not be able to bottle up the gorgeous gardens and take them home, but you are welcomed to purchase any of the artist pieces you fancy. In fact, I couldn’t help myself and bought a beautiful antique brass porch light in which the glass covers have been replaced by works of art, curated and assembled by Loveland artist Olivia Lowe. When the lantern is off, you see delicate, French seed packet designs and when the lantern is on you can see comical vintage American seed packets (Mr. Cabbage Head and other hand-drawn veggie characters) superimposed underneath. I am mad about it! I’ll have to post a photo once I have it in my hot little hands.

If You Can’t Beat ‘Em, Eat ‘Em

I’ve returned home from Iceland with an even stronger commitment to shrink my carbon footprint as well as our household’s overall consumption in general. I’ve been lucky enough to see some of the most stunning environments this globe has to offer and I was impressed by how the folks of Iceland are such amazing caretakers of their environment. I’ve decided the least I can do is take a few steps, albeit some will probably be uncomfortable steps, in my neck of the woods to lessen my impact on the world.

Last summer when we first moved into Brake Manor – which we jokingly named our little downtown brick cottage on a half acre of land – I had to work hard to learn which plants in the yard were weeds and which were keepers. During my research I learned that a good portion of the weeds we are plagued with are edible and considered highly nutritious. We run a no-nasty-chemicals household so I felt safe taste-testing the different kinds of weeds in the yard, to the chagrin of some of my surprisingly conformist friends.

Today, after working our arses off in the yard, I realized our fridge was pretty empty and found myself wishing I had planted a garden I could go pull from. That’s when I remembered the edible weeds in the yard and decided to try to use what we have before going to the store to buy food. So, I managed to prepare a lunch for my hubby and myself made up of about 70% yard goodies (not from a planted garden, mind you, but just wild weeds that had sprung up in the yard while we were out of the country). We dined on grape hyacinth bulbs flavored with lime, poppy seeds and chive; and on purslane greens with a tahini, Sriracha and balsamic dressing. It was all quite delicious, though I don’t know if I’ll ever go through the preparation process of cleaning and boiling the hyacinth bulbs ever again since they weren’t nearly as tasty as the prep was long.

To compliment our yard grub we each enjoyed a thick buttered slice of rosemary bread from a local bakery and a small glass of Saison microbrew from Loveland Aleworks. I love when I can make a simple weekend meal feel like we’ve been to a fancy fine-dining restaurant. After lunch we gluttonously gobbled up power naps in the shade of the patio for dessert. It felt satisfying to be a little more self-sufficient than normal (and for it to actually taste yummy too!).

Cheers!

Grape Hyacinth bulbs. Boiled to remove bitterness and seasoned with lime, poppy seeds and chives for a fresh dish

Grape Hyacinth bulbs. Boiled to remove bitterness and seasoned with lime, chives from the yard and poppy seeds. Zesty!

Purslane is a succulent-type weed that grows prolifically in our yard. It's high in Omega 3 fatty acid, has six times more vitamin E than spinach and seven times more beta carotene than carrots. It’s also rich in vitamin C, magnesium, riboflavin, potassium and phosphorus. The flavor is a subtle sweet and salty citrus.

Purslane is a succulent-type weed that grows prolifically in our yard. It’s high in Omega 3 fatty acid, has six times more vitamin E than spinach and seven times more beta carotene than carrots. It’s also rich in vitamin C, magnesium, riboflavin, potassium and phosphorus. The flavor is a pleasant salty-citrus.

I used Sesame oil, Tahini, Sriracha hot sauce and a fig balsamic for the Purslane sauce. It was scrumptious!

I used stirfry oil, Tahini, Sriracha hot sauce and a fig balsamic for the Purslane sauce. It was scrumptious!

I was in such a hurry to taste my creation that I didn't even check to see if my photos were in proper focus. haha, oops.

I was in such a hurry to taste my creation that I didn’t even check to see if my photos were in proper focus. ooops… and I call myself a photographer?! Tsk, tsk. 😉 (PS – the roses are from the yard too. I love it!)

 

 

Documenting History

This one’s a bit belated, but back in March I was asked to help document the Feed & Grain building machinery for a piece in the opening of the Meantime Gallery and now that I’ve had a little time wandering around in that beautiful, cavernous factory I’m convinced that I have to go back and do a series of images featuring the building as a backdrop. That place is inspiring with a capital “I”.

Healthy Habits

The vibrant wellness coach, Erin Statter, was looking to get a new set of head shots for her website and upcoming ebook.  We had a fun and whirlwind 30 minute session in downtown Loveland last week and  got a few shots that made her smile that radiant smile of hers.

Check out Well Rebellion for more info on Erin’s services: http://www.wellrebellion.com/

 

Glass Blowing

The amazing glass blower Jacqueline McKinny, creating a marble from start to finish. Makes me want to learn how to do it! (if only I weren’t so afraid of fire, haha!)
Jackie is often a featured artist at the ArtSpace Feed & Grain building in Loveland. Check out Jackie’s website for more of her awesome work:http://www.rowansgallery.com/

 

Loveland Weekend Binge Film Fest

While we’re talking about videography and films there’s a fun fledgeling film fest that has been launched in Loveland called the Weekend Binge Film Fest. Mass FX Media, a Loveland film company, has created this 48-hour fest for those who want to keep their already rockin’ skills up to par, as well as those who have little to no experience but are interested in film. You can join as an individual or as an entire film crew team – everyone of all ages and fortes from prop-masters to actors, directors to make-up artists are encouraged to join in for the fun.

Check out the very first short created in June’s Weekend Binge Film Fest, where yours truly even joined in and tried her hand at acting… I guess it’s a good thing I have photography to fall back on 😉  If you or anyone you know would be interested in participating in the next leg of the fest in August, contact Shawna Schultz at shawna@massfxmedia.com 

Phase Trakker

I love meeting people who are passionate about what they do and have a great sense of how they would like to show off their products to the world! Meet my new friends, EDM, from Fort Collins Colorado. The first product EDM wanted to show off to the world is the Phase Trakker – a revolutionary high-tech tool used by the rugged linemen who maintain our electrical grids. The good folks over at EDM hired me to shoot and edit their Phase Trakker advert that they will use to stand apart from the crowd. I had an amazing time with these wonderful folks, learned so much, and can’t wait for the next product project. Check it out! (those of you who are High Plains Drifter fans will appreciate the opening scene):

 

PhaseTrakker Final (Web Version) from Alanna Brake on Vimeo.