Where In The World Is The Tomato Lady? Air Force Academy (In The Afternoon)

I never cease to amaze me. The things that I think are going to be boring, really aren’t. Like the Fight Museum in Seattle. Or the Custer Battlefield. After Pike’s Peak, we went to the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. It was beautiful. It sits on 18,000 acres at the base of the mountains and was established in 1954.



One of the coolest things I learned was that they still teach falconry there. I guess you could call them the originals drones!Image


The Chapel is what I really came ot see. Everyone said it was stunning inside. Unfortunately, they were having a wedding so we weren’t allowed on the top floor. It is a most unusual looking building with 17 spires.

chapel-large chapel-1

We were allowed to see the downstairs portion where they have a Catholic, Jewish and Buddhist worship center. This picture is of the floor by the Synagogue which is composed of real stones from Jerusalem.


This next picture is of the a Holocaust Torah


Here’s a shot of some new cadets, 2 days off the boat learning to march.af-incoming-students

This is picture of the 911 Memorial. It is a piece of the girder from one of the towers. It was very moving.



This for all of you who know jets. Can you name what kind these are what they were used for?

jet-3 jet-2



Where In The World Is The Tomato Lady? Pike’s Peak (In The Morning)

This morning we went to Pike’s Peak. That vast gray thing in the background. I was absolutely incredulous that we could drive all the way to the top. But we did. We drove up and up and up…you get the picture. I was ok until we left the treeline (I guess the trees made me feel like they would cushion our fall if we rolled off the edge, however erroneous the thought may be.) Then the road got narrower and the shoulders, if you could call them that, even narrower!


We switch backed the rest ot the way until we reached the top. The views were amazing. My vertigo kicked in in a big way and there were times when I had to face the side away from the cliff. The day was clear and beautiful when we started out. The grather up we went the colder it got and there a stiff wind blowing. Good thing my brother told me to bring a jacket.Image

The views were amazing


It is a long way down there. This picture doesn’t do it justice.ImageImage

You could see forever.



The next day, this race was being run…in cars…up the mountain,,,and then back down. I was told that the shortest time was 10 minutes and 1 second. I wonder how many cars have gone off the edge? After having taken the trip, I think these guys must be crazy. It is so steep that the rangers have a mandatory brake check half way down. Your brakes can’t be hotter than  300 degrees. and they tell you to gear down.


Here I am at the top of what felt like, the world. 14,400 feet. The clouds were rolling in and there were patches of showers all around us. While at the top, I indulged in the Pike Peak donut. They are an example of high altitude cooking, the only donut made at over 14,000 feet. They don’t use yeast (at least that was what I was told) in them and they were warm and tasty.


This is a plaque at the top that shows the lyrics for “America the Beautiful” It was written by Katharine Lee Bates after a trip to Pike’s Peak inspired her deeply. The neat thing was, there were a group of people standing in front of this singing it. I love our country.


This is a view of part of the switchbacks that I captured on the way down. It started to snow on us for a short while.


Some alpine flowers I stopped to take pictures of. Very pretty. It amazes me how plants can adapt to extreme climates. These plants were no more than 3 inches tall.



Sasquatch really does live! I didn’t realize he was so svelte! Must have stopped noshing on the tourists!





Last but not least, let me introduce Dayne and Pancho. He is a park ranger and his mini donkey sidekick. Both of them dress in costume and entertain the public. We saw them at the Crystal Reservoir stop.


Tomorrow I will show you the Air force Academy which we saw in the late afternoon.

Where In The World Is The Tomato Lady? Colorado Springs

I got into Denver Wednesday night, 45 minutes late. I remember being so excited about getting such a cheap flight, $98 dollars! Then I read the fine print: everything was ala carte! You had to pay to check a bag ($20), to bring a carry-on ($35), if you wanted water or peanuts (several bucks each) or if you wanted to choose your own seat ($5). Suddenly it wasn’t so cheap anymore. My husband asked me if I had asked for a deluxe milk crate next to the chickens (think South American buses.) Consequently, my free personal item weighed at least thirty pounds since I had my heavy camera, my laptop, my purse, 4 magazines, pretty much everything I would have put into my carry-on that I don’t want the airlines to handle. As soon as I got into Denver, which by the way is HUGE, I found my suitcase, unpacked it right there, took out my carry-on case and loaded it up. What a relief! My return flight is on an airline that allows two free checked bags, a carry-on and a personal item.

It was good to see my brother and his wife and daughter. He lives in Colorado Springs which is 70 miles away. We got back to his lovely home at around 10 pm. We were all exhausted. Since it was dark, I didn’t actually get to see any part of Colorado.

Couple of things I did notice was that the speed limit is 75 which makes everyone go 80. And they have no compunction against cutting right in front of you. Coming out of the airport, there was still enough light to see that is was really flat which surprised me. For some reason I thought it was mountainous. My brother reminded me that east of here is plains and south is desert. Where was I in geography class? Don’t laugh but my tired brain forgot where in the states Colorado was. Go figure.

This morning came bright and not so early for me, still being on Pacific time. We went to McDonalds for breakfast (see my facebook post about that) and headed out to Garden of the Gods. Wow. Here are some pictures of the Red Rocks. They reminded me of a spine jutting sharply from the earth or a Stegosaurus back. I know that it is to due erosion and harder and softer rocks but it was simply amazing!


the entrance


A selfi at the entrance. My husband loves these kinds of pictures.


These are the “Three Graces” and others which I can’t remember the names of.


This is a picture of Balancing Rock. It somehow manages to stay upright even though there a hundreds of people climbing all over it. If you look in the next picture,you will see columns that have been placed under the edge of that shelf to keep it from collapsing.


We saw horses and their riders. There is a stable where you can rent from but it is pretty expensive. Still, I’d love to bring my horse here. She probably wouldn’t like the drive all that much though.


Even though I know that the first Star Trek was filmed in California, these rocks remind me of when Captain Kirk was fighting the Gorn. It also would make a great place to film the Flintstones movie. Yabba Dabba Do!


This is a living history museum called Rock Ledge Ranch. For $8 dollars you can enter the houses and stables and see how people lived back then. You can also walk around for free and just admire the buildings.


This is beehive oven of some sortImageImage

This is picture of an old cabin with a lovely stone fireplace. I can’t imagine living in something that small for an entire winter. Especially with no electricity, running water (although my husband says they did have running water, you ran to get it).


Or flush toilets. Gives new meaning to “cabin fever”.


the ranch garden


Here is their orchard backed by a portion to the Garden of the Gods.


This is a picture of what is called Incline. According to my brother, there used to be a trolley type car that ran up the mountains. When they took it out, the tracks were left behind for people to use to climb to the top. I think I’d just stay at the bottom and have my heat stroke and heart attack right there. Makes it easier for them to collect and remove my remains.Image

Pike’s Peak, we will be going up there tomorrow


This is Cheyenne Mountain where NORAD lives.


My brother and his daughter

The Tomato Lady Goes On Vacation


Last year I went to Florida for two weeks and I posted my trip on my blog. Rather than starting a new blog, I figured you needed to see how The Tomato Lady relaxes (at least one of the ways).

This year  I am going to start out in Colorado Springs and stay with my brother for three days. He will pick me up at the Denver airport. I hope to see Pike’s Peak.

Then my compadre in crime, Deb, will drop her husband off there (they live in Florida) to take a motorcyle trip with his buddies and she will pick me up. We will be going to Moab, Utah, then Zion National Park and then on the fourth of July, I will fly out of Salt Lake City and get home just in time to go to Couer d/Alene, Idaho for the fireworks, our yearly tradition.

I am bringing my camera{s}, their manuals,m tripods and we will be taking lots and lots of pictures. I wish I could take my horse so we could ride where they have filmed some westerns. Yee hah. 


I hope you enjoy my trip as much as I am going to.

Check out last year’s vacation to the Biltmore, Georgia, N and S Carolina by searching for any of those terms or vacation. There are some great pictures.

The Moat Popular Tomato Searches On The Web

This is a list fo the most popular searches on tomato varieties.

Most Popular Hybrid Tomato Varieties:

Better Boy Tomato
Indeterminate, red, beefsteak

Big Beef Tomato
Indeterminate, red, beefsteak 

Big Boy Tomato
Indeterminate, 78 days, red, beefsteak

Celebrity Tomato
Determinate, red, globe

Early Girl Tomato  
Indeterminate, red, globe 

Grape Tomato
Indeterminate, brilliant red, elongated cherry

Fourth of July Tomato
Indeterminate, red, small

Jersey Tomato (Rutgers Tomato)
Determinate, bright red, globe

Juliet Tomato
Indeterminate, red, elongated cherry

Sunsugar Tomato
Indeterminate, orange, cherry

Most Popular Heirlooms Varieties: 

Amish Paste Tomato
Indeterminate, red, paste tomato

Black Krim Tomato
Indeterminate,red/brown, beefsteak

Brandywine Tomatoes
Indeterminate, pink, beefsteak

Cherokee Purple Tomato
Indeterminate, purple/brown/black, beefsteak 

Green Zebra Tomato
Determinate, green

Mortgage Lifter Tomato
Indeterminate, pink, beefsteak 

San Marzano Tomato
Indeterminate, red/pink, plum

Yellow Pear Tomato
Indeterminate, bright yellow, pear-shaped cherry

How I Keep Track Of My Tomatoes In My Garden

This year I only wanted 10 tomato plants in my garden. Not so much, the belt laid plans of mice and men, right? So I have more than that. When I plant, I try to mix up the colors and the shapes and the sizes so that I can keep the varieties straight. Let’s face it, a medium red looks like a medium red, except for taste. Even to The Tomato Lady.

Another thing I do is to make a map. There is now way I can rely on the markers: they fade, fall out or, and I am pretty sure this happens, at least to me, the squirrels think it’s funny to switch out the markers. Probably because I pull out all the walnut trees they try to plant in my yard. Sigh.

Below is a picture of my original map as I walked through the garden making notes.


This what it looks like once I transfer it to my computer. I include frames of reference such as raspeberries, arbor, greenhouse so that I can orient myself. Works like a charm and I have records from years past. Works for anything you want to keep track of.