Friday, May 30, 2008
If you go to this link, you can read more about the history of Decoration Day. It was started after the Civil War, in 1868. It was in 1971 that our government decided that the people needed a 3-day weekend every year!
I can remember Memorial Day so well. It was a time of peace, quiet, lilacs and honoring “our glorious dead.” Children at school had a day or 2 left before the end of school. It was hot and muggy, mostly, and everyone was hanging out the windows, smelling the lilacs and wishing for a cool breeze. May 30th was a time to celebrate not having to go to school. There was the visiting of the graveyard. Not only fallen soldiers, but also anyone who had departed the family was honored. Flags were for the soldiers; flowers were for everyone. Someone would have a parade or speeches and then there would be a picnic.
Most stores closed for the day to honor the day and allow the workers to spend time with their families. It was an HONORABLE day!
The next day was back to normal, but we knew that summer had started. Swimming pools opened on June 1st, school was out and a blissful summer vacation was ahead.
No one seems to look forward to the 4th Monday of May as much as we used to look forward to Memorial Day on May 30th. We always knew when it was .. there was no looking at the calendar and counting to figure out when the celebration was. There were no sales advertisements blaring on the TV, no stores open from daylight to dark to lure customers in to spend, spend, spend.
Very few people, in the general gist of things, even think about what Memorial Day stands for. Very few people, on the whole, even take time out of their day to attend some kind of celebration (and I will admit, there ARE celebrations) or visit a cemetery to take flowers to a loved one.
I will admit that I don’t attend celebrations any more; I have usually been too far away from any to attend. And my loved ones are buried hither and thither around the country so there is really no grave to visit. But I DO stop and think of the day and think of my loved ones and think of the soldiers who have sacrificed their lives in order for us to celebrate (or not) any way and any time we please.
I just wish we could go back to the “good ol’ days” and celebrate like we used to.
Happy, blessed Memorial Day!
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
Not a whole lot has been going on since we got home. Norm has gotten the raised beds in garden ready for planting and has planted most of the seeds. The Roma tomatoes are planted and fighting to survive in our strong east winds.
Friend Jody had put 12 hen eggs and about 24 guinea eggs in an incubator, but it’s an old one and nothing made it – they all hard-boiled. So I put 12 guinea eggs under a clucky hen here at my house, hoping to get some guineas to hatch. Jody has a male and female guinea but the female has been laying like crazy! We’re hoping that we will get more guineas so that eventually I can get some from her while she has a large flock, as well.
Our work on the barn is going slowly, but Norm has had to finish a table for a friend at Murphy’s Landing (it’s going there this weekend) as well as regular maintenance around here – mowing and planting.
I’ve been spending most of this time on the computer and on the phone. Norm has agreed that we need a newer van so I have started looking. The choice is closing in on one or two models and I will know soon if we can go look at some of them this weekend. We will trade our Dodge Caravan and Norm’s Ford Ranger in so that we will be down to two cars again. Hopefully we will soon have a newer, larger van!!! The Dodge just isn’t big enough for everything we carry when we go to events and the Ranger is actually smaller!
Candy is heading back out to South Dakota for another month of work. T’an’t fair! She’s gone a whole month; when she comes home, I’m gone for 2 weeks. Now she’ll be gone again for another month! I really miss her when she’s gone! But, it’s good money and she enjoys the work, so I guess I can’t complain too much.
On another note, Joy has posted some pictures of a day trip they made this weekend that I would have loved to go on. Guess I would just have to live down there with them in order to see all that lovely country. But then I couldn't be HERE where I love to be (sigh). Can I cut myself into two or three pieces???It was a beautiful day today – the sun was shining for most of the time and it wasn’t too windy. You have a beautiful day.
Sunday, May 25, 2008
We found that Kansas was not hospitable to us. For those of you who live in Kansas, I humbly apologize, but it WAS a tough trip! The south west corner had very few towns but started to show more as we got up closer to Dodge City.
However, it was about suppertime and there were NO restaurants, cafes, fast food places to be found on the highway! We finally stopped at a gas station to grab a deli sandwich and something to drink. I took Peanut for a short walk but Norm came out and hollered, “Come quick, they are closing!” They stayed open long enough for us to visit the facilities (thank goodness … sage brush is NOT conducive to emergency stops!) and find something to eat. There were no sandwiches so I grabbed some pretzels and some beef jerky; Norm grabbed some chips. This was at 8:00!! Admittedly it was a Sunday night, but jeeeze-louise, it was a shock!
We made it to Dodge City at about 9:30, where there WERE fast-food places open, so we got Sonic burgers then went looking for a place to stay. We found an Economy Inn that looked nice, so I went in to get a room.
It was $34 a night – right up Norm’s alley. BUT – there was no Internet and we weren’t close enough to be able to “sneak” wireless from another motel. The ice machine was broken, so we couldn’t get ice. I had good hot water at night but Norm had cold water for a shower in the morning. I told him – NEXT TIME, Super 8 or Motel 6 – no more “economy” places!!
Breakfast was another ‘fun” time. We went to a pancake house, but not THE Pancake House, to our dismay. I had the buffet – the French toast was mushy, the meat was cold, there was no fruit, the orange juice was watery. Norm ordered from the menu and finally, after 3 other tables had come in, ordered and got their food, Norm got HIS food, but not what he ordered. So he ate it anyway. I went out to the car to walk Peanut while Norm paid – they couldn’t find his ticket and he had to wait for someone to come to the register.
However! However! We went to the Boot Hill Museum and had a very good time, with lots of nice things to look at. The storekeeper in the General Store (Deanna, that store is to DIE for!!) was very pleasant. Not only were there antique store-thingies but there were also a lot of things for sale. I got Jill and Eric a gift (sorry, kids, you will have to wait to know what it is) and did NOT get a delightful egg cup / salt shaker combination – which I think was very good of me, since I collect egg cups!!
We spent way too much time there – when Norm growled about the time spent, I reminded him that HE was the one taking the time to look at everything – not me. And the length of time I was in the store, purchasing, was because of customers in front of me.
But we headed out, hitting Iowa and getting home 12 hours after we left Dodge City. OOOOFTA!!!
It was a great trip, all-in-all, and we totally enjoyed it. So now we are home, doing home things and being glad we are home. Norm picked some lilacs this morning to make my kitchen table so pretty! It was a beautiful, HOT day today – Norm is out mowing the 7-foot grass and I’m frying chicken. You have a beautiful day.
Since I had seen the cliff dwellings, I wanted to see the next step in the Pueblo story. The Taos Pueblo is considered the oldest continuously inhabited community in North America. The main parts of the present buildings were constructed about 1,000 and 1,450 AD. About 150 people live full time in the Pueblo. Other families own homes in the North or South buildings but live elsewhere, near the farmlands. There are over 1,900 Taos Indians living on the Taos Pueblo lands.
The Navajo call the ancient ones “Anasazi,” which means “Ancient Enemy” – the Pueblos, themselves, call them ”Ancient Pueblos.” If you have heard of Anasazi beans, you will probably know that they were developed by the Ancients, either when living in the cliffs or living in the pueblos.
There seems to be not much difference in age between the cliff dwellings and some of the pueblos – from what I understand, some lived in the cliffs and some built the buildings. And some had buildings added onto the cliff homes.
Anyway, after seeing the cliff dwellings, I knew I had to continue my “voyage” into the past and see a Pueblo. Norm was very accommodating; we found a shady spot for Peanut, then found out that we could take her into the pueblo with us. There was a young man directing traffic into the parking lot; he was also keeping cars from going into the pueblo. People lined up to pay to go in – it took us 15 minutes to get to the “pay” window. They charged $5 per camera to allow you to take pictures. They were very explicit about not taking pictures of people unless you asked permission. The villagers were dressed in modern clothing, but they did all their craftwork by hand (at least in the public eye – I had one man tell me that he DID use power tools when he was away from the pueblo, in his own studio); there was one young lady who had a cell phone that kept beeping at her!
As we walked into the pueblo itself, there were villagers driving around, mostly in pickups – almost all of them had BIG shepherd-type dogs in the backs of the pickups. Most of them stayed out of the main area and just drove around the perimeter. There were also big dogs running around and I was a little nervous about them meeting Peanut, but they ignored most of the dogs that came in and they all stayed away from Peanut.
There were shops in homes, there were shops under shaded areas, there were shops everywhere. We saw awesome jewelry, beautiful pottery, lovely handcrafts everywhere!
I purchased a prayer bundle, made of sage, juniper berries and stasis that were harvested from the area. Norm got a blueberry pie (well, PART of a pie) that was baked in an outdoor oven. We got a pretty pot made with mica clay from the mountains.
Everyone was very pleasant and very happy to answer any questions I asked – except one man who was pretty grumpy, but maybe he hadn’t had his morning coffee yet!
After Norm dragged me out – I could have gone to more shops, seen more people – we headed “home.” We went through the Kit Carson National Forest, saw the Boy Scout area that my dad and brother had been to about 50 years ago, and saw more cool, awesome scenery.
After getting out of New Mexico and into Oklahoma, the scenery changed and we had flat dry country! And HOT!!! In one town we saw the thermometer at the bank read 99º!!! Not comfortable riding when there is no air conditioning in the car.
Which reminds me – do YOU know how to keep cool if you have no air conditioning in your car on a 99º day? I could write another post on that!
We drove through the top west corner of Oklahoma, into Kansas and stopped at Dodge City.
And THAT’s another story. Have a beautiful day!
Friday, May 23, 2008
Saturday we went BACK to the Bandelier National Monument again. This time it was to go the opposite direction, down to the falls. This is a five-mile, round trip over very steep and very rough terrain. It’s called a “back-pack” trail. I lasted a very short time, then turned back and stayed with the dogs in the car. I napped and took short walks and read while the others saw scenery that was unbelievable and awesome (I think I’ve over-used that word, but what else is there?). Norm took the camera and ended up with about one hundred pictures.
I am very proud of both girls – five miles is a very long way to go in rough terrain like that. It took them a total of five and a half hours to do the trip. They had taken their lunch but had run out of water so were very thirsty when they got back. The first thing that Bubba said when she got back was “you missed SOOO much! Sore feet, sore legs, tired body and being very thirsty!”
On Sunday, Norm and I headed home, but I will post that on a different post so that there are fewer pictures for you to download and see on each post.
Being home is so wonderful; we have green and lush growing things. My flowering almond is flowering; the trees are full of leaves and just about ready to pop flowers on the flowering trees! You have a beautiful day!
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
I will post what has been going on since Friday sometime today (or tomorrow, depending on how busy or tired I am today). I just wanted to let you know where I was.
Here is a lovely picture to hold you until the million and one pictures I will post next.
It's beautiful here at home - the trees have leaves, the grass is seven feet tall and I THINK (haven't been outside, yet) that I might have lilacs blooming - or close to.
Have a beautiful day!
Thursday, May 15, 2008
Yesterday morning was spent in the apartment, taking it easy. Joy finished a miniature knitted monkey, who we named “Monkey Bean.” The girls miss their Auntie Bean so they decided that “Monkey Bean” would represent Auntie Bean on our trips.
After lunch we went on the trolley again, to the Art Museum; we met a local artist and had a wonderful time talking to her. Jessica, especially, enjoyed talking to her, as she (Jessica) wants to be an artist. There were some awesome artwork there – woven tapestries, baskets, watercolors and oils.
We then headed to the Science Museum. Fortunately we had gotten umbrellas out of the car before we left, as it started to POUR while we walked between the Art Museum and the Science Museum. The Science Museum has the history of the bomb as well as a lot of hands on projects for children.
It was still raining when we went out and walked for a few blocks to catch the trolley home.
Since it was such a quiet day, I’m going to include today’s trip, as well. It was raining again, so we bundled up and headed down to Española for lunch at Long John Silver’s, then followed a path to some special places listed on the tourist maps.
Before heading to lunch, we stopped at a pottery studio and talked to the artist, Toni Roller. I would have taken pictures, but I felt it would have been an intrusion. Her pots are selling for $600 for a smallish one up to over $3,000 for a complicated one. She learned from her grandmother. Her mother is in her 90s and is still doing some pots. The whole family is involved! They do the traditional Pueblo pottery in the traditional way. Toni goes out and digs her clay, digs the volcanic ash that she puts with the clay, strains and mixes it herself. The mixing is done on the floor with a tarp and she uses her feet. She makes pots with rolls, she does not “throw” the pots. The glaze is also made from local sources. Toni was very informative and the girls really enjoyed listening. I just wish I could afford one of her pots!!
After lunch we hit a gift shop called the “The Organic Peddler” in the Ojo Caliente area. This is where there are hot springs; they have hotels, motels, cabins and people come from everywhere to enjoy the pleasures of the springs. They had CRYSTALS!!! I got a piece of amber – very affordable, considering what amber normally goes for. The owner offered chocolates to the girls and also let them each pick a 75¢ crystal, which took FOREVER!! Norm got a few pieces, too. Joy found the jewelry set of her dreams – coral, pearl and onyx. She will have to save her pennies for a very long time – it was $400!!
We were looking for weaving and woodworking but the places mentioned did not have any. We DID find a building that had closed down, with no signs – we figured that was what we were looking for.
Back again to Española for shopping at Wal-mart; Joy found a little store that was selling many things, including hot peppers! Norm also got a lovely pot!
We had to turn the heat back on because it was so cold in the apartment!
Now for chicken dumpling soup for supper. It was a beautiful day, despite the cold and rain. You have a beautiful day!
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Then we headed to White Rock and found an overlook that allowed us to see the Rio Grande – bigger than in Española and more impressive.
And then, and THEN! Be still, my beating heart! We went BACK to the cliffs! I had felt sorry for myself that I could not go to the “Alcove House” on Saturday, so Joy took us back. I was “fresh” enough and we walked slowly to the foot of the first ladder.
As I said, it is a magic place! I saw a Scarlet Tanager, an Abert Squirrel (long eared), several deer and more cave houses than can be imagined!
We WERE going to walk down the opposite way to the falls, but we ran out of time (again). So we plan on going back on Friday so that Ken can join us – he is working long hours during the week to be able to take Friday afternoon off.
We were going to go to the gift shop but my knee popped out on the way, so I hobbled back to the car and sat with Peanut. However, I didn’t miss much, as Joy picked out a thimble for me and Norm got me a glass “stone” with a turtle carved on it. Turtles, in the Pueblo tradition, mean Earth and Nature. Fitting for what I am trying to make happen in my life.
On the way home, we stopped to take pictures of some of the cave homes along the road. Some are so close that you can see the smoke stains with your naked eye, sitting in the car! Once you know what you are looking for, you can see these everywhere.
The mountains are full of holes, but the ones that had been carved out for storage or living are more definite in shape – mostly flat bottoms and oval tops. I read somewhere that there are thousands of sites all over the area and I believe it. We have seen probably 50 or more along the road as we have traveled.
It was a beautifully magic day – you have a beautiful day!
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
The Fuller Lodge was a Boys’ Ranch and School until the Government took it over to house and feed the scientists and engineers that developed the A bomb, during World War II.
The museum was a sweet little one that had the history of the volcanic explosions that ‘built’ all the mountains around here; it had some of the history of the Cliff Dwellers – they had been called the Anasazi but prefer to be called Pueblo, The museum also had a lot of history about the Secret that was to develop the bomb. Scientists and engineers and their families were brought to Los Alamos without knowing where they were going or why. Their letters were censored so that no one would know where they were or what they were doing. Their mail was directed to a post office box in Santa Fe.
While I enjoyed the museum, I learned more about the Secret time from Ashley and Jessica. They have (and are) reading about that time in history and have become very knowledgeable in the short time they have been here.
We went home for lunch (on the trolley, again) and then headed out to Española. We went, first, to the Española Valley Fiber Arts Center. This is an AWESOME place! Wool, yarn, knitting, weaving, spinning!!!! There was a loom set up for guests to weave on. We lost Bubba right off, and she stood there weaving until she ran out of wool on the shuttle. We lost Bitty when she discovered yarn for four dollars a pound – Grandpa promised a pound of yarn! I looked at the antique Wool wheels and several antique looms. There was a whole room of looms for weaving classes and another room for projects by members.
After Norm dragged us out of the store, we hit Wal-Mart (not fun but necessary), stopped at a Trading Post that was on the Federal National Registry, stopped at Sonic and headed home. Ooofta! What a day!
Home for late supper and early bed. It was a beautiful day – you have a beautiful day!
Monday, May 12, 2008
We left Los Alamos in the late morning to head to Santa Fe for some fun and excitement. We found a really nice Mexican place, the “Blue Corn,” then headed out to the “agenda” that Ken had mentioned. We drove to the Santa Fe Railroad Station, which I had assumed was a tourist place.
Well, it IS, in a way – there was a Mother’s Day special trip up into the mountains for an hour, then an hour back. Half way there, the train stopped, the mothers were served champagne. There were refreshments for anyone, but those were for sale.
Our guide gave us a brief history of the tracks and the cars we were in. The tracks were laid by townspeople of Santa Fe. The railroad said it was too steep to get to Santa Fe, so it passed by. However, it was only eighteen miles from Santa Fe, so they worked for a year to get connected. Otherwise, Santa Fe would lose its place as capitol of the state and probably fade away.
After our trip, we headed back to Los Alamos. I need to mention this town … the town is one of the highest elevations in the state (probably in the US, as it is higher than Denver); the road from Santa Fe and / or Espanola is extremely steep. On both sides of the road there is a view that is nearly Grand Canyon in awesome-ness! In fact, I have given up the desire to see the Grand Canyon (at least THIS trip) so that I can see more awesome-ness sights in this area.
As you notice, Peanut is in some of the pictures. We did not want to leave her at home because she becomes very agitated while in a new place when I’m gone. She manages to make enough noise that Ken worried about her disturbing neighbors in the apartment building. Tasha is fine – being raised from puppy hood to be left for hours at a time in the house, she has no problem (except being unhappy for a while). But Peanut, being a kennel dog, was not trained to be crated and is not securely housebroken to leave alone in a house. So we took her with us and found shade in most places that we parked. We left her in the car and got our tickets. As I was talking with the ticket lady, I asked if we could take dogs – “Certainly, up to fifty pounds, if they are quiet and don’t run around!” Ken commented that Peanut is DEFINITELY a lap dog! So Norm went out to get her while I paid a ten-dollar fee to have the ability to take her with. She was very comfortable and behaved very well (naturally); I, then, didn’t have to worry about her being in the car in case the shade moved and it got hot.
So, yesterday was a wonderfully warm and sunny day with lots of good scenery and lots of fun. Sometimes it’s MORE than wonderful to be a mother! You have a beautiful day!
So the dogs and I waited below while the rest went on the 1.5-mile hike. It took them 2 hours!!!
Here are the awesome pictures of their hike and climb. Joy said that, knee aside, I probably would not have made it. There are caution notices around and in the guidebook about health issues. The elevation is about 7,000 feet (give or take) and the climb itself is very wearing. Norm and Joy both admitted it was very hard for them. Ken, of course, would not admit it – he’s in the prime of his health and thrives on physical stress.
When they came back, Bitty and Bubba were totally exhausted. In fact, Bubba was so worn out that she was unable to eat much supper and went to bed in a pretty bad state. We forced her to eat some chicken so that she had some food in her stomach and she WAS better on Sunday morning.
So, now you know the rest of the story – it was a beautiful day yesterday (Mother’s Day) and Ken had a surprise for us all. I will post that later.
You have a beautiful day.
Sunday, May 11, 2008
Well, children, yesterday was THE DAY!!!!
I had been trying to convince Ken that we needed to travel six hours (one way) to go to Mesa Verde to see the cliff dwellings there. He kept dragging his feet and not sounding very excited. I kept bribing him and he still kept being not interested.
Yesterday we went “west” as the choice of interest. Lo! and behold! Thirty minutes from home, we went into this park…..
Yes, my friends, cliff dwellings! Totally awesome!
Here are a few pictures, and I’m going to put the rest (well, SOME of the rest – we took over three hundred pictures). These are from Joy’s camera, mostly taken by Ken. My camera decided to have battery problems. Even with brand new batteries, it said I needed new ones. So I put it in the backpack (along with my epipen, Candy!) and just pointed for pictures that I needed from Ken. And he took mega, as I said!
We had two trips. We went on the main one, first – nearly two hours long, climbing steep stairs and also climbing steep ladders. I even went into one, myself! The doorway was big enough so, with Norm’s help, I could get off the ladder and into the home.
After a lunch in the park, with the dogs (who had to stay in the car for the walks), everyone but me went on the other walk, to the other ‘lodge’ area. I was told by a park ranger to not go. It wasn’t my heart; it wasn’t my energy (well, not all) but my knee. There is one hundred forty feet of climbing practically straight up! So the dogs and I stayed in the car and snoozed for the two hours they were gone. I am hoping that this week we will be able to go back and I can at least see the base of the site, but not do the climbing. Even Joy was exhausted from that climb!
I am putting the slideshow on for the first part of the trip. and will put the part I missed on another post.
This is a beautiful day – a wonderful Mother’s Day. You have a happy, beautiful day!
Saturday, May 10, 2008
We saw some awesome scenery as we traveled. We had rain partway through Nebraska (that’s a WIDE state!) and through the northwest corner of Kansas; northeast Colorado had just finished the rain but it was muddy (well, wet sand) with puddles everywhere.
We slept in Limon, Colorado then headed through Colorado Springs, down through Pueblo and over through the Rockies and down to New Mexico.
Today I am threatened with a minimum of a 4-mile walk in some National Forest!!
Joy has promised to show me how to put a slide show on, so I can show you some of the 115 pictures I took in the last 2 days. Until then, here are a few!
It will be a beautiful day in Los Alamos; you have a beautiful day!
Wednesday, May 07, 2008
The kittens are happily ensconced in Jody’s house with two lovely momma-wanna-bees watching over them. They are eating, pooping and sleeping and even purring!
Sasha says ' I'm Mommy'
Today was the second day of the museum tour. The area third graders visit the county museum, the county courthouse and the county jail, among other places. There are six people who talk or demonstrate at the museum and I was one (Norm found out that friend Wally would be doing the fur trade department, so he stayed home and worked at the Farm).
So, now we are packing and getting ready to go. I am taking my computer along so I will be able to post pictures as we travel. Joy promises a walking tour “to the west” on Saturday. I am taking a walking stick and good walking shoes and, of course, my camera.
It is a beautiful day out – with LITTLE wind!! And it is SPRING at Ash Lane Farm. You have a beautiful day!