Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Woods, owls, coyote, and flowers

I'm like a child walking through the woods. It's all wonderment to me,no matter how many times I've strolled there, even if I don't see the big 4 footed creatures (deer and elk). There's the swish of the aspen leaves, the magic musty tree smell, bird songs, and the tiny 4 footed creatures.

first wood sunflowers
tiger swallowtails are everywhere in the woods
So we have a dilemma with our farm. For two years we've been getting their eggs and also receiving their "mixed meat" share once a month. It's the meat share that is causing an issue. We've tried, I promise we've tried hard, to utilize the odd cuts of meat, the small cuts of meat, and I think we're at a crossroads here. We do use the ground hamburger, and the occasional prime cut, but the rest has mostly been a disappointment. Tougher and tastes different - perhaps our taste buds are too jaded from the grocery "regular" beef? I'm going to see if they have an alternative plan - all prime or all ground perhaps... We love everything they're about, apparently only in theory where meat is concerned...

This is an ode to our chopping block. I realized the other day we have moved it 4 times, actually changed a kitchen design plan in a previous house to accommodate it, and it's older than our children. It will definitely outlast us and the girls will have to decide who wants it - draw straws perhaps? Made by ecumenical monks(do such people exist now?) outside San Antonio, we spent a fortune at the time ($250.00) to buy it when there was little spare money to throw around - in 1979. The label underneath, while aged and discolored is still legible with the friar's signature and this message:, "May you enjoy this prayerful and loving extension of our lives". Sweet...

The wildflower season looks to be early and short. The wild iris came and went in just a few days. Barely found any to take photos of. And the dreaded larkspur have not appeared as I predicted, we can't find one blooming anywhere - have to think it's part of this low snowpack/ dry season going on. Rain would be a good thing, but this is an arid part of the country - not an automatic. I'm crossing fingers for a weather shift.

After identifying our owls we hear in the night (Great Horned Owl) through a great app my mother has on her Ipad - all bird songs -( I think I need this also), they've gone silent. We did have a second swoop at dusk up on top of our roof we could see through our living room windows, but no Whooo hooo. Why? And coyote are around in mass - we are seeing them in the daytime, hearing those in the night with their kids joining in. Not city noises that's for sure.
Finished another book - Giving Up the Ghost by Hilary Mantel. If the name seems familiar, she has just released the sequel to Wolf Hall to much praise - (Wolf Hall is a magnificently written book of historical fiction in Henry VIII's time with a concentration on Thomas Cromwell).  My recent read is a memoir of her life published before Wolf Hall. It's a dark memoir with many demons and physical illness to overcome, but uplifting in the end. Liked it a lot and even more impressed now, knowing she is a brilliant writer in spite of all her obstacles (or because of?)

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Snowy peaks, colt, Flap, and rolling with the weather

Our Memorial Day weekend so far has consisted of having to scratch plan A, B, and half of C. A was camping (oh, yes, I hesitate to even mention it, since we bought equipment last summer and never went one time) which was cancelled due to weather - its been massively windy and now quite chilly,(snowflakes were in the air as we got home). B was projects, so just as well that was cancelled (cleaning and staining the deck and planting herbs - same reasons too windy and chilly. And C was only half-way cancelled - we took the jeep to Pitkin to go over Cumberland Pass - got to the top and couldn't go any further, big snow bank on the other side. Beautiful drive though, and then a detour up Gold Creek just to see. An interesting combination of new and old homes, with old abandoned mines and apparently one newly active.

Couldn't resist taking this - new or old?
 We saw endless beaver dams on the way too. Mark regretted not having a rod. Busy little creatures tons of downed aspen were clearly their handiwork. Are they helpful or destructive?

classic chewing
Isn't this a darling new colt? Two days old (seriously, we saw the mama the day before the big event.) There's always something to see on Ohio Creek Rd.

Finished with the reshuffling of the boxes, etc. to our new storage areas in the newly done basement. Both the cars fit back in their spaces in the garage for the first time in two months. Smoothest construction project we've ever had.
Flap is back! Lots of deer everywhere and they've started coming inside our fence. We're on the lookout for her twins, but they'll be harder to identify - she's easy with that flappy piece of ear.

For those who didn't know, Alaskan Copper River salmon is in stores now. Our lovely seafood manager at the local grocery here actually called me to let me know. I missed this brief window (two weeks) last year, so stocked up. Mark grilled some for dinner and it was terrific. I think it's only available on the Pacific/Western side of the U.S. though...
Update on recent books read: The Dark Enquiry by Deanna Raybourn -the most recent in her series - light, frothy English Victorian era murder mystery, and the second memoir by Alexandra Fuller set in South Africa: Cocktail Hour under the Tree of Forgetfulness. Loved both of them.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Hummers, elk, green, and joy to spring

photo courtesy Mark
Okay, big delay in posting - sorry. Time just got away from me after I got back from CO Springs. Successful trip - Mom's second eye procedure went well. What terrific things can be done these days! She has dramatic improvement in sight - I highly recommend this procedure to those older folks who might be in need (cataract removal + lens implant). And Dad continues to do well - happy at home with wonderful hospice people checking in.

The blooming and greening up of everything is more by the day.  Snow, rain, sleet, sun - you just don't know what's next around here... This truly is the weatherman's dream - good reason for being wrong all the time!

Now this is an amazing shot that Mark took. The elk was just outside our fence early, early morning. It's the first time I could tell it's a pregnant soon to be mama. They're so skittish, you can't get close enough to see anything. Not many around Star Mt. right now, but if the pattern holds, a pile of mamas to be will show up in the next couple of weeks to have their babies in our woods.

Mark again
Hummingbirds here in mass. No Rufus yet (the wild-tempered orange ones) but should be soon. Better stockpile sugar soon...

Mark again - early glacier lily
Made it back to CB. Still quiet but restaurants have started opening at least for dinner. Holiday weekend coming up. Hope everyone has fun plans.  The news really is Ohio Pass is open - early!  Makes up for last years 10 days late. Still snow of course on the pass, but beautiful.

And the larkspur are popping out... so no cows til the bloom is done.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Family visit, wildlife, and sweet baby green trees

Very nice quick visit with Lisa and Charles. It's a hop, skip, and a jump from Santa Fe to Star Mt. so we are thrilled to have them visit anytime.

Went into CB for lunch -of course most places are still shut, but Brick Oven was open with happy staff. Haven't been there in years, but we all agreed the pizza was great. Secret Stash, watch your back!

On the way back home discovered a fox den right by the road on Ohio Creek. This mother is tired, kits maybe big enough to venture out to hunt on their own?

The start of the wildflowers is here, way early of course. The first lupine.

Deer out and about. I was the intruder on my woods walk. Lots of elk too for days and days, but suddenly no sightings. They have their own mysterious schedule - they leave about now and then come back(or a different group?) to have their babies in June. As for the deer they just gather here in good numbers, have their babies and stay until late fall. We'll be looking out for Flap and her twins to return.

Green, green emerging everywhere - the aspen are mostly out now. Some of the passes are opening, but not Ohio Pass yet. Not sure why really, the snow is gone, gone except on the highest peaks.

future milk producers
We visited the farm to pick up eggs with Lisa and Charles. Animals out and about - combo beef cattle and the dairy herd pastured together
Mark is back to Detroit this week-we'll meet up on Friday. Still with our crazy schedule...
I leave tomorrow for CO Springs to visit my parents for a few days, and help out after Mom has her second (and final) eye procedure. Truly a miracle of our modern world - removal of a cataract and implanting a lens that restores vision. Amazing time to be living! And Dad is happy to be home and doing well, even gained some weight - that's wonderful home cooking I think.