Monday, December 16, 2013

Finds in the week: Chromation by Donald Jensen

Take a moment and watch this beautiful black and white time lapse of the Pacific Northwest created by Donald Jensen. Donald said this about his inspiration and wonder for what he creates, "There is something truly beautiful about the Northwest, and part of that beauty is shaped by the weather. While I love clear skies for shooting stars, I am more and more drawn to the variety of weather phenomenon in the Northwest. I have spent many mornings in awe of splendid bank of Alto Cumulous clouds. Watching lenticulars come and go has become a new favorite pass time. And, seeing a cloud bank seem to continuously pour out of (or disappear into) a void spot in the sky has been the source of many hours of wonder."
Chromation from donald jensen on Vimeo.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Happy St. Lucia Day!

Growing up my father's side of my family celebrated a version of the Scandinavian tradition of St. Lucia Day.  Ours took place on Christmas Eve because this was the time when we were all together and a way to incorporate our Swedish heritage into our gathering.  One of the girls in our family would dress up in the white gown with a red sash and wear the crown of evergreen and candles.  We would listen to the folk song about St. Lucia in Swedish as one of my cousins, or even myself, served cookies.  I love this tradition and the story of St. Lucy (check it out here).  In 1627 John Donne wrote a poem titled "A Nocturnal upon St. Lucy's Day", my favorite part of the poem below.  Read the full poem here.

Since she enjoys her long night's festival,
Let me prepare towards her, and let me call
This hour her vigil, and her eve, since this
Both the year's, and the day's deep midnight is. 

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Words in the Week...

An ample thought for the season...

"When I say it's you I like, I'm talking about that part of you that knows that life is far more than anything you can ever see or hear or touch. That deep part of you that allows you to stand for those things without which humankind cannot survive. Love that conquers hate, peace that rises triumphant over war, and justice that proves more powerful than greed."  ~ Fred Rogers

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Small Stone #34

Christmas music plays and she reads out loud while I make lunch.
There is peace among the simple things we do.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

In my notebook...

I wrote this after having spent a couple of days hunting with my husband close to Laramie Peak.  We hiked for miles and, on more than one occasion, I was able to gaze upon the panoramic views surrounding us.  It's just a small portion of our time out.

The land we move across is so different than other stretches of the western plains.  Rocks and boulders create the hills we move across.  Miles of golden grass stretch out in all four directions and a person can see all the way to Elk Mountain; a slight shift in view over to the Seminoe Mountains; 100 miles or more away.  I thought I could be looking down a map.  Only a map cannot compensate for the way the sun casts shadows and makes one hill much more prevalent or a stretch of a depression in the landscape that much more distinct.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Words in the Week...

"There is no medicine like hope, no incentive so great, and no tonic so powerful as the expectation of something better tomorrow."  ~Orison S. Marden

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Small Stone #33

Snow to the Earth,
       flurries of words to grasp
       if only they would
       gather in my hand.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

And here are a few words from Kid President to think on today...It's pretty cute...and makes a lot of simple sense!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Words in the week...

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” - John F. Kennedy

Monday, November 25, 2013

Finds in the week...

  • Today, November 25th, is International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.  This day was created by the United Nations General Assembly to raise awareness of violence against women and girls on a global level. Around the world up to 7 in 10 women experience physical and/or sexual violence at some point in their lifetime.  Violence against women and children is not a country specific problem, and many places do not yet consider it a crime.

  • Are the Earth's poles about to flip? an article on PBS's website informing readers about the three European satellites launched to study the weakening of the magnetic field that surrounds the Earth.  The article is interesting with lots of great links, but some of my favorite comments are: "The Aussies and Kiwi's can't wait for this to happen. Finally on TOP SIDE of the map! lol." "So this is more than just hippies with their planet X conspiracy?

  • Advice to Little Girls was a children's book written by Mark Twain in 1865.  The article at shows photos of the long ago book along with quotes from the hilarious and quite dry sense of humor that is classic of Twain. My favorite bit of advice: "If at any time you find it necessary to correct your brother, do not correct him with mud — never, on any account, throw mud at him, because it will spoil his clothes. It is better to scald him a little, for then you obtain desirable results. You secure his immediate attention to the lessons you are inculcating, and at the same time your hot water will have a tendency to move impurities from his person, and possibly the skin, in spots." I could see my daughter doing that...

Friday, November 22, 2013

When I see this photo I think of freedom, that which comes from a soul that finds no hindrances.  The phrase, "To be a kid again", comes to mind, and I've said it plenty with a longing to run and play until the sun goes down.  To be a kid with no bills to worry about, no responsibilities other than growing and what to play next.  I'm glad my kids can find this freedom, because there are those in this world who don't get to grow up in this environment.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

"I cannot remember the books I've read any more than the meals I have eaten; even so, they have made me."   
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Small Stone #32

Homemade lanterns in the park
for celebration of St. Martins day.
My son holds his out like a star
and sings the German songs so well.
His little voice I find among the others,
and the tradition of the story
wanders along the trail as we do.

Friday, November 15, 2013

I would like to follow this road all day long.  In my mind I am right there gathering in all I see, especially the sky.  The sky has much to say.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

"If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales.  If you want them to be more intelligent, read them fairy tales." ~Albert Einstein

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Recipe: Cinnamon Biscuits

Cinnamon Biscuits

I love the smell of cinnamon, especially this time of year when the chilly air makes me want to be inside.  My mom made wonderful biscuits and on certain occasions she made these cinnamon biscuits.  They are her take on cinnamon rolls, only flaky in texture and they don't take quite as long to make.  There is no waiting for dough to rise in this recipe.  Cinnamon biscuits are especially tasty right out of the oven on a Sunday morning with a warm mug in hand.  Enjoy!

Cinnamon Biscuits

2 cups flour
3 tsp baking powder
1/3 cup butter
3/4 cup cream

Butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon, to taste, for the middle.  I generally start with 1/4 cup of melted butter and one cup of brown sugar and then sprinkle on cinnamon until it smells just right.  Add more or less as desired for gooey, cinnamon goodness on the inside of the biscuits.

Mix flour and baking powder in a bowl.  Cut in the butter until the mixture is course crumbles.  Make a small depression in the mixture (a "well" in baking terms) and add the cream.  Stir until moistened.  Knead the dough to finish mixing.

Roll out the dough onto a floured surface.  A paper towel helps to ease the clean-up.

Spread melted butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon across the top of the dough.
Roll up the dough.

Cut the dough and place on a baking pan.  Bake at 475 degrees F for 11 to 15 min.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Friday, November 1, 2013

 Here is a photo of my husband on our 2013 Antelope hunt. The action is about to begin.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Before you go out for Halloween...

Since I was a kid my idea of Halloween celebrations would not be complete, or could not fully get started, until the record player came out and "Monster Mash" was being played.  (No, I'm not that old; and yes, it was a record player!)

Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Snow on the trees this morning, and I love it when my tea has a quote to go with it.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Words in the Week: Quote from an interview with writer Doris Lessing

Here is a quote on writing that I enjoyed finding this week.  The quote is one Doris Lessing said during an interview that was originally published in The Paris Review.

"... I think a writer’s job is to provoke questions. I like to think that if someone’s read a book of mine, they’ve had—I don’t know what—the literary equivalent of a shower. Something that would start them thinking in a slightly different way perhaps. That’s what I think writers are for. This is what our function is. We spend all our time thinking about how things work, why things happen, which means that we are more sensitive to what’s going on."

~Doris Lessing, The Art of Fiction No. 102, The Paris Review

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Words in the Week: Oct. 9, 2013

The following quote is from Mark Edmondson's essay The Ideal English Major:
"Language, a great poem in and of itself, is all around us. We live in the lap of enormous wonder, but how rarely do most of us look up and smile in gratitude and pleasure?" ~Mark Edmundson

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

An evening with Chris Thile, Bach...and my husband...

Recently my husband and I went to see Chris Thile when he performed at the University of Wyoming.


In a way I could say three roads converged on that evening. Follow my line of thinking here for a moment.. In college I listened to Chris Thile (although the bluegrass side), I listened to Bach (even the crazy organ music which my sister will attest to), and I met my husband and fell in love. So there we were at the University of Wyoming, married, watching and listening as Chris Thile performed Bach. What was even more astounding than my ironic association of the evening, was the performance by Chris Thile.

I love music from the Baroque period, I love the mandolin, I love my husband, but listening and watching Chris Thile play Bach on the mandolin is something you must do yourself... Enjoy!

Chris Thile: Bach: 'Sonata No. 1 in G minor - II. Fuge Allegro,'

Friday, October 4, 2013

Because Halloween is so much fun....

An old-fashioned witch flies past modern witches traveling in a speedier fashion

CREDIT: Berryman, Clifford Kennedy, artist. “Halloween -- ancient and modern,” ca. 1909-1910. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress. Reproduction Number LC-USZ62-130251

Friday, September 27, 2013

This lonely tree seems to fit in with the cold, gray and wet day we are having...

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Words in the Week: "You can't always get what you want..."

Words to get through the week and this song speaks of truth this Wednesday afternoon. "You can't always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you just might find you get what you need." -Rolling Stones

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Rose hips

One of my favorite things to do during the fall season is to gather rose hips.  My husband, kids, and I were out in the woods in search of blue grouse when we came upon several patches of rose hips, red and ready to be picked.
Rose hips with a few Oregon grapes mixed in.
People make a variety of things with rose hips: jellies and jams, syrup, wines, and I even read that they can be dried and powdered and then fed to horses to improved coat condition.  I typically dry them and then during the winter make tea with them.

Rose hips are high in vitamin C, contain vitamin A and B and antioxidant properties, and have anti-inflammatory effects among other nutritional values.

It takes close to two weeks for the hips to dry.

Rose hips can also be purchased at herbal stores, but when the snow flakes fall, the experience and the memories of the time spent gathering them go right along with a fresh brewed cup of rose hip tea.

Rose hips washed and ready to be dried.

Dried rose hips ready to be made into tea.
To make tea, steep 1-2 tablespoons of rose hips in 1 cup of boiling water.  Strain the hips before drinking.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Cheap Labor

Back in June on a trip across the state, and at 340,000+ miles, the Camry we have been driving "unexpectedly" broke down.  As liquid poured and steamed out of the car my husband spoke the words which we did not want to hear, "That's not good."  Since he is an optimistic and positive person, when he says something is not good, it really means the worst. But even at 340,000+ miles the little purple car really only had one major problem- a dead engine.

With some research and time on the internet my husband soon found an engine for us to buy.  Originally from Japan and taken out of a car there with only 50,000 miles, our solution rested in Canada and my husbands words, "I think I can put it in myself."

After we imported the engine from Canada we embarked on a Labor Day adventure down to my dad's place- who graciously let us work there and use his Skid steer- with a Chilton Manual for a '98 Camry and a lot of hopeful thoughts towards getting the engine put in over the long weekend.

Once my husband dived into the whole process of the engine replacement we began to ask ourselves questions like: What if this engine doesn't work? What if we don't get it replaced in the amount of time we have?  Are we crazy for thinking we could even do this?

Ease that engine out of there!
My husband has never replaced an engine before.  But he does things that he has never done before quite often with a high success rate.  After many, many laborious hours on his part and help from my dad, the engine miraculously turned upon the first crank of the key. The car even moved down the road. We were thrilled!  And I was amazed, once again, at all the talents my husband possesses.  Our scheme of cheap labor certainly paid off!

Sorry, but an adult has to drive!
Just a little higher...



                                                           And it's out of there!
 Bring in the new one...

Not everybody has to work so hard!

Easy does it...
 Just a little more...
It's in!

Time for a test drive!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Small Stone #31

I need to be out in the open
moving and exploring
to know that I am alive...

Monday, September 9, 2013

Finds in the Week: Sign of peace

Alongside one of my favorite places I like to go to walk this post stands just off the trail.  Each side has the words "May peace prevail on Earth" written in several different languages, including the pictograph of sign language.  It's a good reminder- even for someone like myself who lives in the peaceful state of Wyoming, and generally peaceful world country.  When I see the sign I think of the Christmas song that Vince Gill sings and the line that goes, "Let there be peace on Earth, and let it begin with me."  And so perhaps from now on when I walk by the sign I'll add my own additional part to it..."May peace prevail on Earth, and may it prevail in me."

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Words in the Week: from Margaret Atwood's- The Handmaid's Tale

One of my favorite lines from Margaret Atwood's book, The Handmaid's Tale...

"It's impossible to say a thing exactly the way it was because what you say can never be exact, you always have to leave something out, there are too many parts, sides, cross currents, nuances; too many gestures, which could mean this or that, too many shapes which can never be fully described, too many flavors, in the air or on the tongue, half colors, too many."

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Small Stone #30

Words, words, words,
        at some point they become too much.
Words should be like leaves
        falling softly in the sunlight.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Words in the Week: August 21

"Have patience for all things, but, first of all with yourself."  ~ Saint Francis de Sales

Monday, August 12, 2013

Finds in the week: Chokecherries

Chokecherries in the area- along with Oregon grape, currants, rose hips, and lots of other berries- are ripe and ready to be picked.

I found several of the said berries this weekend as we were out exploring, but focused on picking the chokecherries as they were much more prolific.  While my husband fly-fished my kids and I tried to pick chokecherries where we could at least reach them along the trail we walked, as so many more were down steep embankments.  Mr. Bear and the birds had already beat us, and thankfully weren't trying to compete with us at the same time.  Plenty of the chokecherries still had time to ripen, leaving more picking for another weekend.

Next step, chokecherry syrup.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Foto Friday: Natural Love

This photo was taken in one of the canyons on our trip to Lake Powell in the spring of this year.  As we motored along in our boat exploring and fishing, there we found this natural heart right in the sandstone of the canyon wall.

An illusion, a reflection- look in the right hand corner of the photo at the water drops for proof!- this photo makes me think that perhaps the natural phenomenon we stumbled upon is a little like love itself.  Love is usually referred to or regarded as an emotion, not a visual or tangible thing.  Yet it is a reflection, like this photo, given out by the people we love and by those who love us.  Love is real, and in the case of this natural heart, at times even visible.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Words in the Week: Change and where it takes us, July # 3

"Let the great world spin forever down the ringing grooves of change."  ~Alfred Lord Tennyson

Friday, July 26, 2013

Small Stone #29

              you send me down old paths,
              old forms of habits.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Recent Reads: Wade Davis- River Notes: A Natural and Human History of the Colorado

The book River Notes:A Natural and Human History of the Colorado by Wade Davis takes the reader on as a companion while Davis explores the Colorado River. Along with telling his own personal account of his experience of exploring the life giving river of the American Southwest, Davis also interweaves the political debate, scientific background, ecological prevalence, and historical perspectives that have followed the course of the river for years.  He touches on the natural beauty that surrounds the river, and provides detailed information on how and when man's relationship with the Colorado River began to become complicated and how it continues on to this day.

River Notes is an interesting, fascinating, and quick read.  Davis provides vivid descriptions of the landscape and touches on the relationships he develops with his guides.  In each detail of the book he conveys his appreciation of the river itself, along with his cconcern for the future and the existence of the Colorado River.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Small Stone #28

Ruby-throated Hummingbird-
       Oh, what I would accomplish if I had your speed.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Words in the Week: Change and where it takes us, July #2

"We must be willing to get rid of the life we've planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.  The old skin has to be shed before the new one can come."
~ Joseph Campbell

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Small Stone #27

Like a fan the sun casts down glorious rays between the clouds,
and I am there to catch each one that I can.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Words in the Week: Change and where it takes us, July #1

July is filled with many changes for myself and my family- we'll move to the southeast end of Wyoming, settle into a new/old house, say goodbye to friends, and begin again, in a way, into life.  So for Words in the Week in July I'll focus on change and the positive life aspects that come with it.

"The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance."  ~Alan Watts

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Small Stone #26

Baby antelope run across the sage
Choke cherry blossoms scent the air
Frogs at night
Sandhill Cranes call in the morning
Walks along the Green River
                   we crave being outdoors

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Words in the Week: Cowboy songs in June #3

The perfect song for a road trip, however I would insert the word Wyoming to personalize that need to find open space...

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Words in the week: Cowboy songs in June #2

When I listen to the song "Across the Great Divide" by Kate Wolf, I think of the many miles I have driven over the plains, on up into the mountains, only to come down again into the prairie lands to view the very mountains I just drove over in my rear view that now drift away into the distance.

The lyrics of this song lament on how quickly life moves from today into yesterday, just as a drive across the state of Wyoming causes my mind to see the visible changes of the landscape taking place as I go along. The song has several meanings: finding oneself at a crossroads, realizing life's changes from who you once were to who you are today, and several others you're sure to pick up on as you listen along to the beautiful voices of Emmylou Harris and Naci Griffith. The whole song is worth reading, but my favorite lines come at the very end of the song:

"The finest hour that I have seen
Is the one that comes between
The edge of night and the break of day
It's when the darkness rolls away"


Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Small Stone #25

Soon my family and I will be moving to Laramie, Wyoming, and this is what Small Stone #25 is in regards to.

I'm going to spend every last
morning that I have here
up at dawn
enjoying the birds, the soft light,
and the very day that breaks
over the Wind River Mountains.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Words in the week: Cowboy songs in June #1

I love Pandora radio and have a very eclectic list of radio stations.  One I've been listening to a lot lately is Ian Tyson- which primarily plays not only his music but old cowboy songs from a variety of artists.  Maybe my recent drive to listen to these old songs is my own nostalgic wish to have been able to live as free on the range as the cowboys in days gone by did.  No cell phone. No demands from the outside world. It's also the time of the year when ranchers begin moving their cattle up to the forest on horseback. We'll drive alongside them and hear the clop of a horses hooves on the pavement, the swish of the grass as the cattle move along, and the low voices of the cowboys, or girls, as they talk to the cattle encouraging them along.

Any cowboy will tell you it's not an easy life, and they have demands of a different nature, but very few would choose any other way of life.  I like the song "Night Riders Lament" because it expresses the very reasons a cowboy chooses this particular way of life, even when the world views them as being crazy. Their choice lies not in monetary income or worldly gain, but instead follows a desire to be close to the land and have a life full of freedoms most people only dream about.

Performed by Nanci Griffith and Don Edwards.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Small Stone #24

Dinner for two
A walk around the square
Expensive shops and only a
window shopping budget
Ice cream, quiet
Two people, usually four
For a moment life combines to one again

Monday, June 3, 2013

Finds in the week: Summer reading

Browsing through my local thrift shop I always find exciting things, especially books.  I'm glad someone nearby likes to read what I do. Even after taking this photo my summer reading stack continues to build.  A cool drink in my hand, a river nearby, and a place in the sun- let the summer begin!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Recipe: Cowboy Coffe Cake Muffins

My mom used to make this recipe in the form of a true coffee cake on Sunday mornings. I like the muffins just as well, and have always loved the streusel topping the best.

Streusel Topping

In a bowl add:
3 TBL flour
3 TBL brown sugar
1/4 tsp. cinnamon

Stir ingredients together.  Cut in 2 TBL of butter until the mixture looks like crumbs.

Stir in 3 TBL chopped nuts of choice (I used walnuts).

Set aside.

In another bowl combine:
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt

Cut in 1/4 cup butter until mixture looks like crumbs.

Combine 1 beaten egg to 1/2 cup of buttermilk and add to the dry mixture, stirring until the batter is well mixed.  It may still be lumpy.

Spoon the batter into prepared muffin cups, but do not overfill. Top with the streusel topping. Bake in the oven at 400° F for 15 minutes or until done. Cool on a baking rack. Serve warm.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Words in the week: Nature in May #5

"Just living is not enough... one must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower." 
-Hans Christian Anderson

"I decided that if I could paint that flower in a huge scale, you could not ignore its beauty." 
- Georgia O`Keeffe

Friday, May 24, 2013

Foto Friday: Back in the saddle

Our little girl has been overjoyed that she can now ride her horse.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Words in the week: Nature in May #4

"Love all the earth.  Every ray of God's light, every grain of sand or blade of grass.  Every living thing." 
~Leo Tolstoy

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Small Stone #23

Rescued this weekend by a friend
and my husband.
And still I receive- as if rescue is not enough- :
a grateful heart,
a peaceful mind,
and a feeling of being
          caught in mid-air.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

In my notebook: Fresh rain and the weather changes

A gentle rain has been falling since last evening. 

We need it, as always.  It's been so warm lately, even for our side of the state, that the land has started to dry out.  I have even watered a couple of times- already!  The surrounding landscape is still very green though, and oh so pretty looking around at what winter has left for us.  All that snow piled high was worth the endless days of waiting for it to melt.

Warm weather equals early run-off, and the streams and the rivers are beginning to bulge from the extra water.  Even our ditch has water, here again, very early.

I think about the quote: "Don't knock the weather; nine-tenths of the people couldn't start a conversation if it didn't change once in a while." ~Kin Hubbard

And here I am writing about the weather and unconsciously stating how much it means to our life, our surroundings.  Maybe it's because the changes the weather brings pulls me into the moment, and I can be present and at ease, at least for a while, amongst change.  Maybe that's why we all talk about the weather so much, we all know what it is at each moment through messages sent by all of our senses.  Weather is somewhat tangible, it's something we can grasp.  Although unpredictable, it's generally safe and comfortable.  If you're in the west everyone says- give it five minutes and it will change.  Even my kids say, "We better play outside while we can before the weather changes."

Perhaps I'll leave my thoughts with it's best to enjoy the weather, enjoy the change, enjoy the moment within it all.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Words in the Week: Nature in May #3

Since the grass is now green and the changes of spring are so apparent, I enjoy just gazing at the beauty all around...
"This curious world we inhabit is more wonderful than convenient; more beautiful than it is useful; it is more to be admired and enjoyed than used." ~Henry David Thoreau

"Are not the mountains, waves and skies a part of me and of my soul, as I of them?"   ~Lord Byron


Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Small Stone #22

May 4, 2013- First day of thunder

Thunder, there you are
You and your many voices

Friday, May 10, 2013

Foto Friday: Surprise in the hay

The other day my husband lifted a bale of hay and there were seven baby rabbits sleeping in a nest their mamma made for them.  My kids were very excited to see them, and their presence in the hay has been the subject of several conversations in our house.  Seven all at once, my goodness.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Small Stone #21

Under a blue sky
and the song of a Meadowlark on my roof,
I work while I can;
a few hours in the soil,
my patch of earth.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Words in the week: Nature in May #2

Because the rain across Wyoming is so very refreshing...

"Let the rain kiss you.  Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops.  Let the rain sing you a lullaby."  ~Langston Hughes

"Birds sing after a storm; why shouldn't people feel as free to delight in whatever remains to them?"  ~ Rose Kennedy 

 "It is not light that we need, but fire; it is not the gentle shower, but thunder.  We need the storm, the whirlwind and the earthquake." ~Fredrick Douglas

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Words in the Week: Nature in May

The calendar says it is May, and yet large flakes of snow keep falling out my window.  On days like today I begin to get that itch to be in the outdoors for a hike on an unknown-at least to me-trail, a drive down a rocky mountain road exploring the landscape, or day floating down a river in anticipation of what I might see around the river bend.  In these instances I enjoy reading about nature- whether it be in the mountains, the desert, the ocean or the plains- and the insights and experiences that others have while being there. 

Since it may be awhile yet before I can get to some of the places I love due to snow pack and quick changing weather, the month of May Words in the Week will focus on nature- the beauty of it and our relationship with it.

"Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up, snow is exhilarating; there is really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather.        ~John Ruskin

"He is richest who is content with the least, for content is the wealth of nature.  ~Socrates 

"I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order.  ~John Burroughs 

Monday, April 29, 2013

Finds in the week: Artist Cai Guo-Qiang

In the April 2013 edition of Smithsonian Magazine, Ron Rosenbaum wrote about his interview with the artist Cai Guo-Qiang in his article entitled "Burning Man".

Born in China, Cai Guo-Qiang now lives in the US and displays his art around the world.  His medium: explosives.  Some of his art that may be familiar to most people is the display of explosions he created for the opening of the Beijing Olympics in 2008.

The interview with Cai Guo-Qiang is fascinating as Rosenbaum discovers the deeper meaning for the artists  choice in medium and his art by learning about his childhood, his father's life, and his own hope for eyes, beyond just the Earth, to view his art.  Rosenbaum describes Cia Quo-Qiang's art as: "Violence transformed into ethereal beauty."

Visit Cai Guo-Qiang's website for photos of his fascinating projects and read the article "Burning Man" by clicking on the links.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Words in the week: April Dreams #4

Sometimes it becomes difficult to keep following your dreams, goals, and aspirations in life... With this quote in mind, hopefully you will be inspired to keep going.

"It seems to me we can never give up longing and wishing while we are alive.  There are certain things we feel to be beautiful and good, and we must hunger for them."   ~George Eliot

Click here for more Words in the week: April Dreams, April Dreams #2, April Dreams #3.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Small Stone #20

I hear the song of the Sandhill Cranes in the distance
Look to the sky to see their flight, their song so distinct
A present, but all I get is to wonder
When will I see them?
Days later, along a waterway
I see them take to the sky
Song and sight synchronize

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Recent Reads: Ted Kooser's poems, The Blizzard Voices

In the midst of the recent spring storms that have sent the landscape back to winter, I read TedKooser’s book of poems entitled The Blizzard Voices.

The poems portray what happened to the people who lived on the Great Plains when the blizzard of January 12, 1888 blew full force across the land.  Although the harrowing blizzard took place over one-hundred and twenty years ago, reading about their experiences in relation to the devastating storm made my own love/hate relationship with Wyoming springs seem quite trivial.  One man froze in between his horses, children were trapped in rural school houses with little food or heat bringing death to some, other people risked their own lives by going out in the storm to find food and blankets to keep others alive, and many froze to death within feet of their own homes.

Kooser reveals in his introduction that the voices of the poem are his, gathered over many years from conversations with family members, and listening to people when he was a boy as they remembered how they survived the 1888 blizzard.

Authentic and powerful in their telling, the poems express stories of individual lives and target the essence of human nature amongst a natural disaster: survival.  As I listen to the wind and watch the snow blow, I can almost hear the survivor’s voices- somewhat sad and reminiscent- but heard and remembered as their memory, once again, is stirred into the present.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Words in the Week: April Dreams #3

 These quotes are ones that help to keep the inspiration of following your dreams alive.

All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds, wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act on their dreams with open eyes, to make them possible.

~T.E. Lawrence

 If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with success unexpected in common hours.

~Henry David Thoreau

More Words in the Week of the April themed month on following your dreams: Dreams; Dreams #2.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Foto Friday: Colors of Yellowstone

I enjoy being in Yellowstone Natonal Park for several reasons, the colors found there are at the top of the list.  This one I took while waiting for Old Faithful to go off.  It was worth the wait, perhaps the best part.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Words in the week: April Dreams #2

"Reach high, for stars lie hidden in your soul.  Dream deep, for every dream precedes the goal." 
                                       ~Pamela Vaull Starr
"I was not looking for my dreams to interpret my life, but rather for my life to interpret my dreams."
                                           ~ Susan Sontag


Tuesday, April 9, 2013

In my notebook: Feel of Spring

In the mornings at the bus stop the air now feels of spring.  There is a dampness to it, and the certain warmth that has not been present for quite some time.  When I step outside to send my daughter off, I wonder if the chill that is there comes from the wind as it blows over what's left of our snow and pushes it up into the air and onto my face.

We began to feel and see these changes in March, far too early in our part of the world.  But anyone who lives in Wyoming knows the spring storms can be just as cantankerous as a mid-winter storm and dump just as much snow to make one think they are right back to winter.

In many ways I'm glad to see the snow go- most years it doesn't leave until May- and I feel selfish because I'm happy I won't have to deal with the snow by keeping our road open so we can get out, or trudge through it to feed the horses.

The ranchers and the wildlife people see this as much more of a detrimental situation, and I know it is even though many of my own burdens are significantly less when the weather behaves.  Less snow means less grass and less water, and thus lots of hungry wildlife and domestic animals with little grass to feed them.

Our friend says he will be selling his steers, trying to hold onto his cows, and others will be doing much the same.  I can't imagine what hay prices will be.

So we wait for the spring rains and the springs snows, even me...

Friday, April 5, 2013

Foto Friday: Illusions

On a recent trip we launched our boat at Bullfrog Marina located on the tip of Lake Powell in Bullfrog, UT.

I had never been to Lake Powell before and was amazed, to say the very least. 

We set up our camp on the shore of the lake and then went exploring. Gorgeous canyons and landscapes were what we found, along with this section of quiet water and illusions of where the sky really began.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Words in the Week: April's theme is dreams...

For the month of April I'll post "Words in  the Week" that are focused on dreams.  Not necessarily the ones we find in our sleep, but the ones we hold in our hearts.  My dreams are what keep me going and cause me to strive to make them reality.  As I get older I sometimes think it might be easier for me to let some of my dreams slip away; I sometimes loose the innocence I once had of the simplicity it would take to make my innermost dreams for my life come true. Why not let that innocence back in?  Why not let inspiration take flight?  We are our dreams, I once believed.  Why not believe it again.

I hope these "Words in the Week" for April will help to keep you dreaming...

Make-believe colors the past with innocent distortion, and it swirls ahead of us in a thousand ways - in science, in politics, in every bold intention.  It is part of our collective lives, entwining our past and our future...a particularly rewarding aspect of life itself.  ~Shirley Temple Black
The dream was always running ahead of one.  To catch up, to live for a moment in unison with it, that was the miracle.  ~Anais Nin 

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Finds in the week: Innovative Gardeners

In another place, somewhere in my dreams, I can garden for longer than the 28 frost free days that time allows for plants to grow in our little haven located in Sublette County, Wyoming.  Yes, 28 days, that is all.  It is not impossible for certain plants and veggies to grow, starting inside is a big key, but there are many that just won’t survive in our USDA Plant Hardiness Zone 2-3. 
So I was very intrigued to read the article “The New Generation” in April/May 2013 issue of Organic Gardening, about four individuals whose passion is gardening and who have been identified as professionals who will likely make profound impacts on gardening in the future.  The reason for some attention to be shown their way is for their exploration of plants, the varieties they have collected, the propagation of plants, and the use of hybridization.

Here is a list of the four mentioned gardeners found in the print version of the article, on the web there are six, with links to most of their websites.  A glance at their photos provides a visual for their individual passions for gardening and the beauty of innovation in which they have created with plants. 

·         Joseph Tychonievich

·         Brienne Gluvna Arthur

·         Riz Reyes

·         Kelly Norris
Click here to read the full article at Organic Gardening.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Words in the Week: March 26, 2013

"Life is both giving and receiving."


Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Recent Reads: "Behind the Beautiful Forevers"

When you open the pages of the book that won the National Book Award for nonfiction “Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in aMumbai Undercity” by Katherine Boo, you are directly taken to the slum of Mumbi named Annawadi.

The author follows the lives of particular Anawadians where corruption and unfortunate cycles of ill events happen to them as they try to work their way out of the slum.

Boo explains in her own words, “As every slumdweller knew, there were three main ways out of poverty: finding an entrepreneurial niche…politics and corruption, and education.”

Nowhere in the book are the author’s personal influences or thoughts or emotions on the situation of Annawadi influenced as the stories of these people’s lives are told.

The book reads, in some ways, like fiction; as the author writes in third person, not first which is very common, with close interpretations of the perspectives of situations and life in Annawadi.  As Boo says in the notes at the end of the book, she followed them very closely.  The following quote speaks not only of how the author interoperates the thoughts of the people in whom she is telling about, but also a glimpse at life in a slum.

“The forces of justice had finally come to Annawadi.  That the beneficiaries were horses was a source of bemusement to Sunil and the road boys.

They weren’t thinking about the uninvestigated deaths of Kalu and Sanjay. Annawadi boys broadly accepted the basic truths: that in a modernizing, increasingly prosperous city, their lives were embarrassments best confined to smalls spaces, and their deaths would matter not at all.  The boys were simply puzzled by the fuss, since they considered Robert’s horse the luckiest and most lovingly tended creatures in the slum.”

The book is an eye opening perspective on life in the slum, the sad and unfortunate circumstances for those who live there, and a look at how the corruption of the government is stuck in a very vicious cycle where only the wealthy capitalize and the poor stay very poor.  Being a part of the slumdwellers lives through the book it becomes clear how the corruption is just as prevalent in the lives of the poor, and one unfortunate decision can be twisted to a varying list of outcomes. 

From Boo’s notes:

“It is easy, from a safe distance, to overlook the fact that in under-cities governed by corruption, where exhausted people vie on scant terrain for very little, it is blisteringly hard to be good.  The astonishment is that some people are good and that many people try to be-all those invisible individuals who every day find themselves faced with dilemmas not unlike the one Abdul confronted, stone slab in hand, one July afternoon when his life exploded.  If the house is crooked and crumbling, and the land on which it sits uneven, is it possible to make anything lie straight?”

Many questions run through the readers mind as they learn about the Annawadians:  Will they ever be able to change their lives and get out of Annawadi? Will the corruption of the government ever be overturned?  Will there be self-destruction for those who sell out to politics?  Will these people ever have opportunities outside of the slum?

                The book ends for the reader, but the people of Annawadi carry on.  Hopefully perspectives of life in another part of the world will be enlightened and the stories of their existence not forgotten.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Foto Friday: Convenience

Although a couple of years have passed since I have been in Mexico, my heart longs to go back each year.

I took this photo while sitting with my cousin on a quiet beach listening to the Sea of Cortez as it moved in and out.  This man was well stocked with supplies of convenience.  There weren't many people out that day, so he had a long walk between potential buyers. 

Today, as I look out at the snow, I wish I was back at that beach and I could say to him, "Yes, I'll buy that hat on top."

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Words in the week: Flogging Molly, "If I Ever Leave This World Alive"

The irony in the lyrics is what I like most about this song.  That and the mixture of music from the mandolin, fiddle and accordian with the distinct Irish and yet modern sound of Flogging Molly

We know we won't make it out of this world alive- the irony- but through all of the twists life sends us we will be all right, even on our own- part of the message.

But read the lyrics for yourself, and let them say what they will.....

If you prefer the live version...

Friday, March 15, 2013

Foto Friday: Under the slanted rock

Driving the back roads around Moab, UT is an adventure, especially when you are in a Dodge Ram 2500 truck.  Somehow we made it under this rock.  Talk about a "tight squeeze."