Saturday, December 29, 2012

It's My Turn For A Giveaway

Hear ye! Hear ye!

I've made some beaded adornments for you little nuthatches. Strands of friendly colored beads and silver birds swinging side by side. I like to wear them in one long gypsy strand or wrapped around twice. If you want, it can even be wound around your wrist for a funky look while you stroll a beach, or hike among the Saguaros. While riding your single speed bicycle around town, you can admire the colorful beads or if you're skiing through lodge pole pines, the silver birds will sway back and forth against your puffy down vest. They also look nice if you're just hanging out by the fire, reading travel books or checking out maps of places you've never been.

Could you see yourself wearing these boho beads? I certainly can!

Just leave me a comment. Say hello. Through random selection, I'll post the names of the new owners of these bird strands when I return from my trip to the Florida Keys. In the meantime, I'm hoping I'll get to share with you some tropical scenes and happenings in Hemingway country.

Peace and Happy New Year!


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Handmade Snowshoes

Desert rat that I am, I still enjoy a good snow storm. Living here, where its suppose to snow a lot, I figure I should try to enjoy it somehow, other than sitting at my window, admiring the soft crystal like, shimmering, glistening diamond dust falling from the sky.


The mile-high mountain just above our town has some of the best cross country ski trails in the state. I enjoy skiing. The forest is beautiful, the trails winding through the ponderosa pines, an occasional deer, a turkey, a fox.

I decided in the fall that I wanted to snowshoe this winter. To venture off the beaten path, or rather, the groomed trail, and peacefully hike through fresh snow, in between red tree trunks and evergreen pine boughs, follow some animal tracks, to be a little closer to the land and nature, alone.

Through Craigslist, I found a pair of handmade wooden snowshoes for sale. They were made in the 70's. The gal who had them lived in Portland, OR. The transaction was made, after numerous email correspondence, and we became friends through the whole process. In fact, we may meet up with her and her husband, to canoe next summer. Our letters went from talking about snowshoes to handmade canoe paddles to camping/canoe trips in British Columbia. An adventurous couple, just the kind we like.

The snowshoes arrived. These are not just any snowshoes. They have a history behind them that would only mean something to me. Why? Because these particular snowshoes were made and laced by my very own father in law! I know! Isn't that a crazy coincidence? They are a beautiful piece of work and craftsmanship. See for yourself. He is lacing a pair of snowshoes here.


C's father was a 'back to the land' type of guy. They lived in a log cabin that he built himself. They had a dog mushing team. He trained hawks. They lived on a river and traveled by canoe if they wanted to. And he made and sold classic wooden snowshoes.


I strapped them on the other morning and took them for a spin. I've snowshoed just one other time before. It felt unfamiliar but I liked it, and I eventually got the hang of it, finding my own rhythm. Now, if only it would SNOW. I mean really snow. Up here on the mountain I'm standing in two inches when normally it should be two feet. Just when I get into the spirit of winter, Mother Nature (and global warming) seem to have made other plans. Oh, I know it will snow eventually. But, we won't be having a white Christmas in town this year. Snowmen won't be made. Sledding is out of the question. My husband bought a kite.


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Ma'am, Did You Order A Tabby?

Free overnight shipping. No batteries or assembly required.

Just love and food.

Make that two deliveries.



Wednesday, November 28, 2012

A Sense Of Place

Sometimes I wonder if I'm where I should be. If this is a place that sustains me, brings me joy, and if it is, then I have to ask myself why.
Is it the land, majestic and mountainous, prairie grass and sage as far as the eye can see with trout laden rivers winding through it all? Are the wild animals the reason why I'm here? Is it the birds that sing and greet me in the morning? The squirrels that dance around the trees? I think about our wild animals and their welfare every day because Wyoming is full of endangered creatures that desperately need our protection. Do I like it here because it's sunny almost every day, even in winter? Am I attracted to the fact that this is an "empty" state, where there are more antelope than people. Maybe I like it here because of all those reasons. The truth is, I've never felt more alive than I do here.
I suppose those are the reasons why I stay here, but the other day I was driving down Main Street and the car in front of me had a bumper sticker that read: TREE HUGGERS SUCK. I thought, Whaaat? Why???
This state is not known for its environmentalists, thats a fact. My husband shared with me his latest bumper sticker shocker. He was behind a truck bearing this slogan: EARTH FIRST! WE'LL DRILL THE OTHER PLANETS LATER.
No matter where a person lives, there will always be something that disappoints, disturbs or is just plain puzzling. This is a quirky town, but it's my quirky town and we've got a network of friends who share our views and ideas on life and why we're all here. We stick together and fight for what we believe in, for the children, for the animals, for the environment, for the future! We gather together at parties and share meals and stories and music and laughter.
So, do I still wonder if I'm where I should be? I'll probably always ask myself that question, only because I'm constantly searching and questioning and wondering.
One thing I'm sure of is this. All of my friends are TREE HUGGERS.





Saturday, November 24, 2012

A Family Of Bighorn Sheep

We had hoped to do some snowshoeing over Thanksgiving break.
But, there was no snow.
So instead, we took a drive through the mountains, in between the Medicine Bows and The Never Summer Range.
And look what we saw.
More than two dozen Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep...
... and the sun going down on the Crags.




Sunday, November 18, 2012

Skye And Sherpa Shenanigans

Up high, in between a basket and a ukulele. One of Skye's favorite hang outs.
Skye is a very sweet, relaxed and trusting little creature. And the smartest cat I've ever known.
Sherpa thinks she's getting away with something in the chiminea.
Hair ties in the food dish. Ever since Skye was a baby, she has had a thing for my hair ties. When she finds one, after playing with it for awhile, she will put it in her food. She likes to dunk them in her water bowl, then bring one to me, like a gift. C and I are forever flinging them to her from afar, watching as she runs after it, sliding along the hardwood floors. She then retrieves it and promptly brings it back to us. We've got a name for her beloved hair tie. "Snakey". She loves that word and the whole routine of playing fetch with them. There are approximately three hundred snakey's in our house.


Cat on the back burner. It's warm here!

Love bugs on the cozy bed in winter.

Hey, that's not a cat!


Friday, November 9, 2012

Black Capped Chickadee Block Print

This looks like one of those popular DIY posts we see so often now.

Carving linoleum blocks is one of my favorite art projects to do. I've got a thing for the black capped chickadee, so I eagerly printed off six of these. As I paint them, the colors keep getting more bright and their little black caps more blue!

My next block will be of a wild mustang. (Surprise surprise).

It's the weekend! Yay!

Go outside and have some fun, you chickadees and galloping wild thangs.


Tuesday, November 6, 2012

No Squirrels Allowed

I love birds. Who doesn't? But lately, my bird feeder has been bombarded with mourning doves. I mean, I go through a fifty pound bag of bird seed in a week, because apparently I'm feeding all the doves in the state. I enjoy the sound of a dove. A year ago, we only had three sitting on the wire, and I enjoyed hearing them in the morning. We live in a neighborhood abundant with trees. And lots of birds. For a few years, our bird feeder attracted all kinds of species of birds. Once a week I could be surprised at yet another new bird pecking at the mixed variety of seed dangling from our tree.

But not any more. The doves have taken over. No longer do I get to spy on and admire the finches, sparrows, jays and wrens. What I have on my hands is a mess of seed flying through the air, piles of it on the ground and ninety nine doves sitting on the fence and swinging from the feeder like trapeze artists.

I decided to switch to a bird feeder that attracts only birds that can cling. I discovered a suet feeder that holds four cakes of suet feed, which is meat protein and peanuts and berries packed into these square cakes, that fit nicely inside a wire cage.

I took down the old feeder, replaced it with my new one and waited. And waited. For five days I had no birds in my courtyard tree. I've not seen a dove around either. I kept waiting for my clinging birds! Finally, there was some action at the feeder. Squirrels! (There are ninety nine of them as well). I like my squirrels but they have their own secret stash of peanuts that I provide them with. I won't have them hopping and hanging on for dear life on my new suet feeder! So, I've been running out there when they attempt to get their grubby little hands inside the cage. It appears to be working. I've not had any trouble with them for a few days now.

And yes, finally, my fine feathered friends showed up. First to appear is my favorite, the black capped chickadee, along with sparrows and a finch. It's fantastic! I watch them cling and twirl and peck to their hearts desire. The only fellas that haven't discovered this new cage filled with goodies is the flicker woodpecker. They are often spotted near our house, and you can hear their beaks tapping on trunks, echoing through the trees, but I've not had the pleasure of seeing one at the feeder. Yet. I just have to be patient, observant and...w a i t . Like the others, eventually, the flicker will fly by and take notice of what I've left him. What kinds of birds do you see in your neck of the woods?



Thursday, November 1, 2012

In Honor Of A Cat Named Thai

This morning, the sky looks as though it's honoring the sweet soul of Umber Dove's beloved cat, Thailand.

Also known as Thai. Also known as Fuzzy Love For You.

Many, many of you know so well, what it's like to be owned by a furry feline. How your life is richer and full because of it. Their knowing eyes, their sensitivity to your moods, whether good or bad, and acknowledging how you're feeling and then comforting you through it. The Cat knows. The Cat will always be there for you.

I'm pretty sure Thai and Umber had many laughs together. I will bet he sat on her table and watched her paint pictures of birds and trees and owls. I bet he nudged her paintbrush in her hand while she was carefully putting the finishing touches on a calendar piece.

I imagine Thailand being the quiet one in that household. The observer, the purrer, the patient one. The one with the cute furry ears. He was held and stroked eight million times, and made The Dove smile eight million smiles.

I hope her pain will subside and her broken heart will mend.

Have a peaceful day everyone.


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Thoughts On Winter

I awoke today and found the frost perched on the town

It hovered in a frozen sky then it gobbled summer down

When the sun turns traitor cold

And all the trees are shivering in a naked row

I get the urge for going but I never seem to go

I get the urge for going

When the meadow grass is turning brown

Summertime is falling down and winter is closing in

Now the warriors of winter they gave a cold triumphant shout

And all that stays is dying and all that lives is gettin' out

See the geese in chevron flight

Flapping and racing on before the snow

They got the urge for going

And they got the wings so they can go

They get the urge for going

When the meadow grass is turning brown

Summertime is falling down and winter is closing in

I'll ply the fire with kindling now

I'll pull the blankets up to my chin

I'll lock the vagrant winter out and

I'll fold my wandering in

I'd like to call back summertime

Have her stay for just another month or so

But she's got the urge for going

So I guess she'll have to go she gets the urge for going

When the meadow grass is turning brown

All her empire's falling down and winter's closing in

And I get the urge for going

When the meadow grass is turning brown

And summertime is falling down

~ Urge For Going by Joni Mitchell

Every winter this is my theme song. Every winter I long for summer. My restlessness sets in and my fingers turn white. In winter, I think about the past and the things i didn't do.

When winter comes, I know I won't see the sun every day, but he will greet me on occasion, after a snow. I'll sit at the window and watch snow crystals collect on the sill and feel the warmth of the fire.

Every winter I want to spend time with my family and California calls me back.

Every winter I find myself in thrift stores searching for cashmere sweaters. My hands desperately find their way inside pockets and mittens and I wear stocking caps to bed. I've got more than enough pairs of UGG boots, the sheepskin wool doing its job. Just today, I received another pair of woolen socks, hand knit by my mother.

Every winter, scorching hot baths await me, and jojoba oil is my friend.

Every winter the crockpot stays on the counter, split pea soup is always the favorite and baking becomes a way of life.

When winter comes, Hot Yoga never felt so good and my intention for the day is kinder, calmer and the world seems more peaceful.

Every winter the cats want out. So, I let them go, and then much to their surprise, that cold and icy white stuff again! With their little paw prints in the snow, they promptly look back up at me, and I know they've changed their minds. Back inside, they tear around the warm house, yowling with joyous relief!

In wintertime, talk about the weather is relentless. On days when we get a good amount of snow, the Old Timers will remind me of the winter back in '49.


Every winter, I experience change and my thoughts are heavy and I paint more cactus scenes with turquoise skies. I look at the picture above, I shiver and shake my head.

When winter comes, the Nordic center opens up, the fire inside is always raging and the cross country trails are groomed impeccably.

Every winter, I pull on my wool long johns, layer up, grab my skis, and head for the mountain. In fifteen minutes I'm striding and kicking through powder, the sun is shining through the ponderosa pines, and I can't seem to wipe this smile off my face!!

What are your thoughts on winter, all you snowy owls and ski bunnies?


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

A Weekend With The Locals

Some moose drool...

In Moose, Wyoming

Hunkering down in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming

The Grand Teton Mountains

A group of bighorn sheep in the Pryor Mountain National Wild Horse Range, Montana

Sacajawea, a wild and pretty mare.

Seattle, who I named Big Blackie back in June, before I knew his real name.

This wild bachelor is Kemmerer. You can't see them here but his legs have that distinct Spanish "zebra" stripe that so many of the wild Pryors have.

Saying good bye to Kemmerer and the land that's just as wild.