i’m still here!!
it’s just that we’re experiencing a weather delay–
the good kind!
after weeks of late spring snowstorms followed by monsoon rains,
we’ve been having sudden summer!
all those projects that had been repeatedly put on hold are getting done:
WE HAVE AN ARENA!!
that will get its own blog post very soon.
we also have a lush, emerald green lawn that needs mowing twice a week,
window boxes and pots full of flowers,
a vegetable garden, and clean horse pens!
the chicks have moved from my bathtub to their own
little condo in the barn
(including the two light brahmas we added:
doris and ethel)
(need one more– edith. i’ll explain later.)
life is so full and rich right now that i’m breaking my own rules,
including the one about horses in the yard.
also, i think i’m due for another post on miracles,
because we just experienced a big one.
thanks to all of you who expressed concern for my dad.
who knew that at 91 a stroke could be a blessing?!
my dad is the one who taught me to be positive.
i may not always be the best student,
but i’ve learned from the master!
more news from wonderland coming soon!
welcome to the almost-weekend!
this week i edited the photos from the first week of our 2010 europe trip,
the week we spent in great britain.
the lovely part about returning to a place that you have been before
is that you go deeper each time,
discover more details.
on our last visit there we were unable to get tickets to see war horse,
so that was the first item on our agenda.
i can not say enough good things about this play.
theater has an effect on me that is hard to describe.
if you already love theater, i don’t need to.
we were staying in the bloomsbury district again,
so we walked over to charles dickens’ house.
bookshelves loaded with the many editions of books he’d penned
lined the walls of one entire room.
i’m always fascinated to see where great authors and artists created their works.
we took the tube to hampstead to see both the heath
and the home (now a museum) where john keats and fanny brawne lived.
the film bright star romanticized the home considerably…
the sun was shining when we walked hampstead heath,
but the breeze was chilly.
we came upon some lovely inhabitants:
and their brood:
we enjoyed a lovely midday repast at a corner cafe.
meals are such a delight during travel, don’t you agree?
in our perambulations we came upon a charming residential area
where each entryway was adorned with tile work.
i am a sucker for beautiful tile.
that night we went to see oliver on stage.
and of course we took the train down to sussex to indulge our bloomsbury passion once again.
this time we met up with some friends to visit both charleston farmhouse and monk’s house.
we had a grand time, so grand that i took no photos at charleston.
(it was overcast anyway…).
monk’s house, home of virginia and leonard woolf,
is quite cozy and intimate.
these steps lead from the kitchen up to the backyard garden.
this is the doorway into virginia’s bedroom.
speaking of gardens, another delight of travel to such lush places as the uk
is the opportunity to visit gardens.
we spend hours walking through parks and gardens.
on this visit we took a boat ride down the thames,
getting a different perspective on some of the local attractions:
the eye of london,
and the tower of london.
we also passed a boat named after my firstborn:
that was a surprise! (even if they misspelled her first name with an ‘h’)
on our last day there we visited the victoria and albert museum.
this place is utterly amazing.
their dining hall offers every selection imaginable
along with all manner of seating arrangements.
some like to take advantage of the lovely adjoining courtyard.
on our walk back we stopped by 22 hyde park gate,
because it’s what we DO.
in case that’s too small, here’s a close-up:
thanks for being here.
please join me next friday for a sojourn to paris.
i felt a little bad about yesterday’s whiny post.
i try to come to my computer feeling positive when i blog.
you choose to come here and read these posts
and i take that very seriously.
i feel like i owe you something either beautiful or funny,
and certainly uplifting if possible.
quite simply, i wasn’t feeling it yesterday.
perhaps this post can put that in perspective a bit.
today i woke up on the right side of the bed,
eagerly anticipating the arrival of our arena panels!
woo hoo, right?
and right on time (8:00 AM) the driver pulled in.
there was just one little problem…
was turning into today’s mud.
we hoped that the semi could make it down the driveway and out to the pasture
where the panels needed to be placed.
oh, he tried.
five times, each time getting a faster run at it.
he thought we’d have a forklift.
nobody told him that he was delivering this to a family farm
that happens to be without a forklift
(or any other heavy machinery, for that matter).
thanks to a wonderful neighbor’s help,
the driver, my son-in-law, and the neighbor managed to unload
the 43 150-lb. panels and the 42 posts
and stack them at the opposite end of our property
from where the arena will be built.
(little additional labor, anyone? anyone?)
good moods prevailed all around.
we thanked him for his help and shook hands good-bye.
i came in and got busy, only to find out a bit later
that there was a teeny little problem outside:
that tractor on the back was to be his next delivery…
and yes, those back trailer wheels are in the ditch and the left front wheel is in fact up to its axle in mud.
this rig ain’t goin’ nowhere.
unfortunately, right after this i walked back and looked at my dream horse, rose.
eeek. look away, look away.
the next two hours were spent trying to find a neighbor who might have a tractor big enough to pull the semi out.
last resort: reliable towing (who gets a two-thumbs-up approval rating, btw).
the sheriff got here just before the tow truck…
because you see that little red pipe thingy by the trailer?
yeah. that’s a gas line. turns out we were ok,
based on a sniff test.
(even after the pipe thingy got stuck and dragged a bit by the trailer when it was pulled out.
i love living in the country.)
but the sheriff was cool and stayed to block traffic during the towing process.
all’s well that ends well, and this ended well.
i can tell you that roberto (the driver) never lost his positive outlook
and even grabbed a shovel to fill in all the deep ruts before departing at 2:00 PM.
this was not lost on me,
making me even more mindful of the importance of attitude.
so i went back to clean pens and love my horses in a better frame of mind.
which was not easy, as you will see…
warning: some of the following images are graphic:
don’t you worry–
she’ll be back to this in no time:
those shots above are just bad tabloid material about celebrities caught without their makeup.
she’s the real deal.
for the fourth week in a row we are experiencing significant snowfall.
this, on top of the rain that we started with last night.
i know we need this moisture.
but please, mother nature,
don’t continue to make me force spring indoors…
let’s move the party outdoors, shall we?
my solar-powered self needs a recharge.
this is giving me an emotional flat.
well, at least a slow leak…
on a much lighter note,
this is what happens if you dare to sit down out with the herd:
no sooner had sara sat down
than meadbh climbed into the tire.
for a minute i thought cormac would, too!
i think we have lap horses…
p.s. happy first birthday, cormac mac airt!!
that’s all i got a chance to edit this week, but it was still satisfying.
474 images, of which i deleted 151.
this is called progress in my book.
and since i’m writing this book,
progress it is!!
before i show you my selected images for this week,
i’d like to point out two very important things:
1. my selections were strongly influenced by the fact
that in the past two weeks we have had TWO FEET of snow,
making me long for light and color.
2. in spite of how wordpress labels this post,
it was in fact written on FRIDAY evening in my time zone.
let us proceed.
the first couple of photos were taken of my old house on days at home
when i simply grabbed the camera because something caught my eye:
this was either because of the europe photos i printed out large scale OR
that i noticed the fact that there was no place to sit.
my stairway had the neatest narrow shelf along the wall for display.
jill, i hope that you are enjoying that feature.
the next several are part of a photo documentary that i am working on about the agricultural history of boulder county.
so much of our land has been lost to development, and since it was agriculture that brought me to this place,
i am keenly aware of how “progress” is truly a matter of perspective,
and i feel a deep sense of responsibility now to advocate for those who have devoted their lives to the land.
may the family farm continue to be a mainstay of the american economy.
the numbers on those mailboxes are crafted from bottle caps.
i love that.
a few shots from a bike ride out to sandstone ranch:
now… about that light and color:
how about BLOSSOMS????
and just for fun, some rust,
a robin who fell asleep in someone’s driveway,
some pelicans at golden ponds,
and a fence post.
because i am nothing if not diverse.
the reason i stopped editing photos at the end of may is because there is another europe trip coming in june!!!!
up next week– armchair travel, my friends!!
and just to keep you up to date on the current happenings around here,
these french chicks are what currently reside in my bathtub:
clockwise, from top left:
* aubree, an araucana bantam
* aurelie, an araucana
* coco, a cuckoo maran
* blanche, a porcelaine bantam
(you people who worked with me at school over the past many years
stop that hysterical laughter right now!!)
this is my real life as it was meant to be lived,
and just to prove it, i’m going to ride my unicorn tomorrow…
i may need glass slippers and a tiara, though.
life is beautiful.
thanks for sharing it with me.
believe it or not, i managed to edit only two weeks worth of photos this past week.
there is actually a reason for this, however.
in april of 2010 i purchased my nikon,
and thereafter followed a flurry of photo taking.
up to this point it has been fairly easy to edit old photos
and i managed to go through months of them rather quickly.
(well, unless we were traveling…)
this month (april 2010) was the tipping point in my photo career,
the point at which a camera became another appendage.
i did end up deleting about a hundred images from that two-week period,
so progress is being made.
am i the only one who wonders why people keep bad pictures?
you know the ones– eyes closed, out of focus, motion blur.
perhaps it’s that those of us over a “certain age”
remember very well the days of film photography
(i mean before it was ‘retro’ or ‘vintage’),
the days when you had no idea what you had actually captured
until you picked up your prints from the store where you had them developed.
and then, since you had paid for them to be printed,
you tended not to throw them away.
now, in the digital age,
it’s much more simple.
i have kept an awful lot of bad images on this poor machine,
a situation i am slowly rectifying.
and de-rectifying, as the case may be.
like last night when i took rose out for a photo shoot with her new accessory
and came back in and downloaded another 52 images.
to be fair, i did delete three of them–
she had her eyes closed!
but that is for another blog post…
here are the photos of late april, 2010:
i took an evening spring walk with the new camera,
just to see what i would find.
the shadowy layers of the rocky mountain front range
was one of my first attempts, and it made me love my nikon!
the moon had risen early enough to be fully illuminated by the setting sun
against the still-blue sky.
did i ever mention that i was in florida visiting my grandparents and SAW
apollo 11 streak through the morning sky,
sending neil armstrong up to become the first person to walk on that beautiful celestial body?
what an enormous risk they took…
that, back in the day when space capsules returned to earth by falling into oceans.
oopsie. birdwalked a bit there.
which is fitting, considering the next series of photos.
i LOVE working in a series, something that i intend to do much more of.
(like my ice crystal series here: http://sassysistersink.wordpress.com/2012/12/29/crystallizing/)
anyway, longmont is home to flocks of turkey vultures,
birds that make an absolute stinky MESS of the ground below where they nest
and are not exactly loved by those in the neighborhood.
however, that night i discovered a flock of them flitting around
the top of an enormous evergreen, and it was the first time
that i noticed how graceful and beautiful they are in flight.
they may have a face only a mother could love,
but in flight they are a sight to behold:
pretty amazing, huh?
this is a small crop of a house photo i shot from a distance.
the light in the window was just so pretty.
then, of course, there are the iPhone apps of which i am so fond.
i captured a lot of spring beauty in late april, 2010.
i say this to mark the strong contrast between april, 2010,
and what it looked like here this week,
but that was wednesday, and today is friday.
this is what i see outside my window now:
things are slowly returning to normal.
guess i’d better head outside and grab the manure rake.
i’ve got plenty of lost time to make up for!
have a lovely weekend,
and please stop by next week for the latest archive update.
thanks for being here!
this is the blog post that i started one week ago today, just hours before things began to go awry…
I wake to the screeching of bluejays in the uppermost branches of the evergreens, having drifted back to sleep after turning off the alarm. For the first time ever, at least as far back as I can remember, I now get enough sleep, consistently eight hours per night. It is delicious to wake up in the morning well rested, to make it through an active day without collapsing in a tired heap at some point for a less than restful nap. For the first time in almost two weeks I am home alone, my routine returning to normal after an extremely busy spring break that included company for a week along with the flurry of activity associated with the arrival of Rose to our farm. It’s bittersweet. As much as I need time alone to feel productive and creative, I fall completely into the rhythm of activity when the rest of the family has time off and we work together to get things done. I feel their absence already.
I look into the mirror and find a tanned face gazing back at me, evidence of time spent outside working on the farm. It’s a bit of a surprise, actually, to see a noticeable difference that has occurred so unintentionally. I head outside to feed the horses who are waiting patiently along the fence. They seem surprised to find me coming out alone this morning, having grown accustomed to the joint efforts of the past ten days. We’re starting to notice the hay stack diminish now, due to both months of feeding and now the loss of hay that got wet and has molded. I sort through the end of a bale, discarding most of what’s left, and then start a new bale that is thankfully clean and dry. Coming back I pick wisps of hay out of my hair along with some pine needles from ducking between the trees to reach the feeders on the far side.
Robins are hopping around the yard looking for worms, and I notice bunches of tulips and jonquils popping up everywhere around the gardens, joined by ones we planted along the garage last fall. Nothing has bloomed yet except for a couple of yellow crocus, and the tree buds remain tight as well. I’m learning to take cues from nature, that these living things innately know what we humans only discover later– harsh weather is coming. After a string of teasingly springlike 60 degree days, tomorrow’s high is predicted to be only 21. Snow will begin tonight, blanketing our newly rototilled garden and hiding it from sight once again. It’s hard to think about such a radical change, despite the fact that we need moisture so badly. I long to be outdoors in warm sunshine working with the horses and planting the garden.
The dogs are happily snoozing together late into the morning, and I marvel at the peace and quiet. I put a load of sheets into the washing machine and make a pot of strong coffee, thinking about how to use my time on this day. I postpone the indoor activities, knowing that I need to make the most of today’s fair weather while I can. There are pens to clean, horses, donkeys and chickens to turn out, some one-on-one time with Rose to enjoy, cushions from the deck furniture to put back into the garage, and hopefully the weather will hold long enough to ride Si Gaoithe after Sara gets home. I check email, making a hopeful promise to myself that I will not get snagged into wasting time on the computer instead of using it productively. Time will tell. The dogs begin to stir and I let them out, then go to transfer wet sheets into the dryer where I leave them softly tumbling. Otis and Sam begin to bray loudly, reminding me that others await. My morning of quiet reverie is coming to a close.
that last sentence is called an understatement.
these are the photos that would have accompanied text of that idyllic afternoon:
just hours later began a series of events that have made today– one week later–
my first day home alone with any semblance of normalcy…
if one can overlook the heavy snowfall accumulating outside as i type this.
the blizzard began that night, canceling school and plunging temperatures well below freezing,
necessitating the reinstallation of tank heaters in the water troughs
after thinking we had put them away for the season.
this is the sole survivor of the bulb garden for this spring.
everything else froze.
then there was the plumbing fiasco.
long story short, i now know how to access the crawl space
where the plumber had to cut the pipe to remove the clog
and then clamp the two sections back together.
that created a little, ahem, MESS.
fast forward to the weekend.
biting, constant, unrelenting, agitating.
pretty sure the folks west of us are left gasping for breath
since all of their air rushed in here.
rain ahead of predicted snow left the baby horse pen
a puddle of mud and poop soup,
so we had to make a couple of runs for sand to fill in.
over two tons of sand.
suddenly the pen looked a little bit like barbados,
if you squinted hard.
not any more.
it is snowing.
the remainder of this post is my attempt to find
photographic beauty in this snow
to make up for all of the outdoor activities
that are once again put on hold.
brief intermission of indoor color:
finally got all six of the horse canvases up–
needed help with meadbh up on top!
and back to snow…
we need this moisture.
colorado was just put on a list of the
five most drought-stricken states in the nation.
moisture means hay this summer.
we like hay.
we love hay.
we need hay.
let it snow.
spring will get here.
until then, here’s a little color for your world: