Thursday, February 26, 2009

Hard-to-follow instructions

Don't want to make any regional or cultural inferences, but I was amazed at a handwritten note taped to the wall beside the "throne" in a dingy restroom somewhere in Texas: "Please do not put tiolet paper or paper towels in the tiolet. Thank you." ??? tv

Out There, Somewhere. . .

I know kids shouldn't play on the railroad track but when I saw the great shot that Tom took from this angle I couldn't fuss at him too much!  The old Baptist Church in the distance was a great photo subject which we climbed over the tracks, through the barbed wire fence and bountiful cactus plants to thoroughly explore.  Somewhere in New Mexico, between Mancos and Fort Worth , it proved to be a great place to stretch our legs.   And fortunately, no one saw Tom on the ground and stopped to give him CPR! sf

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Our new "tent"

Much as we enjoy the photo safaris we do take, there's often the nagging frustration that the best times are at dawn and dusk and we have to travel too far to get there at those times. Or, that we can't really slow down and stop long enough to "smell the rose" as we'd like to. 

We've looked at Casita travel trailers owned by friends and thought they were pretty neat. Sandy's been watching them on-line for some months and found the ones offered for sale at reasonable prices were usually in some place like South Carolina, way too far away to go get. So, when one came up in the Fort Worth area on eBay, she successfully bid on it and we went down Monday, picked it up Tuesday and now we're in Amarillo on the way back to Mancos. Pretty neat little rig; we chatted over supper about the places we can take it to do photo trips, getaways, winter relief, etc. !!!! tv

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Where the heck is Childress, TX

Don't know; haven't seen it in daytime yet. Got in here way after dark on our way to Alvarado to pick up a 17' Casita travel trailer. We've been lusting after one for some time. Sandy found a good buy on eBay, got it, and now we're on our way to pick it up. 

What with parking the doxie and all, we weren't able to get an early start yesterday and so we drove into the night to get as close to DFW as we can. Groan! 

Actually, I got a good night's rest and feel ready to tackle the metropolitan beltway on our way to see the new toy. tv

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Another beautiful morning

We had a busy evening, first going to a meeting of alternative medicine practitioners in Cortez. I think we were the only people there who were just potential patients and we left early, but it was interesting to meet and remeet people in that field and to learn they have problems similar to those of the arts community ... how to know about and support each other and how to market their services.

Then we went to the Renaissance Ball at the Lewis-Arriola Community Center. This was sponsored as a fundraiser by the Generation Impact group at SW Open School ... an El Pomar-funded philanthropic group within the student body. This is the third year the group has existed; the first two years they won honors in the region for their fundraising (last year, this chapter raised the most of any chapter in Colorado!). El Pomar is backing out of this program, but SWOS is going ahead because the students have been so supportive and it's so good for the school. This year they're donating service hours as well as money.

Last night there was a fortune-teller as well as tattoing with henna (shown). Quite a number of the kids (girls especially) got with the program and dressed up in period (or Gypsy) apparel to one degree or another.

And, of course, there was a DJ, with music and dancing! I took out my hearing aids when the music started, but it was great to see the kids letting loose and having a good time! It was also nice to see a number of parents and siblings there, all having a good time. Good fun, without keeping us old folks out too late! tv

Friday, February 20, 2009


Long, interesting day! My sweetheart is flexible and adventurous enough that when the old guy looked out at the sunny morning and said, "Let's go to Crownpoint!" she was willing to go!

We went down by way of Shiprock, Naaschitti and Tohatchi on US 491, then across on Navajo 9 to Crownpoint, not exactly the fastest way, but pretty in the morning sun. Coming back we shot up NM 371 to Farmington and home, at least a half-hour faster.

I haven't been in Crownpoint in at least a dozen years and haven't been to Kin Ya'a, one of four Chacoan outliers administered by Chaco Culture NHP, in 20 years. We went to Kin Ya'a first.

The two-story remnant of the tower kiva is shown from inside in the bottom picture. The next picture up shows that it rises out of a huge rubble mound, indicating the original tower kiva probably four stories above the surrounding countryside!

There's a story from the Chaco Project, late 1970s and 1980s, that someone on top of a ladder extending above the tower kiva to its probable height in the AD 1100s was able to see a railroad flare ignited from a point on the edge of South Mesa in Chaco Culture NHP, about 30 miles away. And that the reason the sites were intervisible was because a Pueblo road between the two locations cut through a knoll at exactly the right place to make it possible. Those folks did landscape architecture on a grand scale!

We had a good $5 lunch at the Navajo Technical College cafeteria in Crownpoint. The other places to eat that we saw were mainly a collection of pickup- and trailer-lunchstands on a corner in "downtown" Crownpoint (earlier I had noticed "Spam and eggs" advertised at a pickup-stand in Shiprock). One of the lunchstands advertised Chinese food!

Anyway, it was nice to revisit the college, formerly Crownpoint Institute of Technology. Most of the buildings are new, not fancy but serviceable. They're one of the 35 or so tribal colleges in the United States and have plans for expansion to sites in Shiprock and Chinle. They emphasize vocations, and have a culinary arts program that is frequently a prize-winner in competitions. I was interested in possible links with SW Open Schools, especially for post-secondary opportunities for our Navajo students.

Tribal college students tend to be older than the students in other colleges, and frequently have families. The day care center is shown, with its playgrounds, and there is also a childcare center on campus, for younger kids.

When I proofread the latest issue of Tribal College Journal, published right here in Mancos, I was impressed to see that NTC has a rodeo team, from its veterinary department. Didn't get to see any rodeo activity on Feb. 19, though!

In the evening, we went across the highway to the Scotts' Sundance Bear B&B for a Mancos meeting of the Culture Café. Nice attendance; Mancos calligrapher Beth Wheeler (an Artisans of Mancos member) is shown toward the end of her illustrated history of calligraphy presentation. tv


Yesterday's post wouldn't come up without a new one to prod it along??  Good morning all!. . . .   Darn computer gremlins! sf

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Testing the Zoom!

It's kind of a mix of pictures today.   I've been playing with my new toy!  I am trying the zoom and macro and super macro etc etc.  Fun!  The top picture is a collection of pottery shards from and outlying and rarely visited Chaco site.  Unlike the frequently visited ruins , the pieces of ancient pottery were everywhere.   You are not suppose to take them or move them, but someone had assembled the group in the picture.It was quite a drive out there but well worth it!  
Many of you will recognize "Her Highness", Miss Sophie.  She's a ham for the camera and has the most human eyes I have ever seen on a cat.  When I have eye contact with Sophie I really feel there is a soul of sorts in there.  Maybe a kitty soul, but it's there! 
 And also I tried a real close up on some cut flowers. The center of a flower can be such a work of nature's art! I can hardly wait for the Colorado wildflowers to bloom . Guess the snow will have to melt first. :)   
The last shot really surprised me.  I have had little success at moon shots.  This one was taken with the zoom plus the telephoto which took it to 80 X  !   It had me checking out the craters and looking for the little green men!   sf

Monday, February 16, 2009

A Day At the Races

Yipping Dogs, Eager Mushers, Lots of Snow and Colorado Blue Skies . . . The perfect combination for a day of fun at the La Plata Paw Dog Sled Races in Mancos this past weekend. It was also a test run for my new camera.  I think I'll read the manual again!  I worked completely on automatic, with little use of the 20X zoom and it was evident I needed some other settings.  But it was great fun!   sf

Sunday, February 15, 2009

A sunny Sunday morning

Beautiful morning! Nine degrees when I walked the dog before dawn, and still pretty darn cold when the La Plata Paw events started! But the sun was warm, the snow was crisp, the dogs were eager ... and it was just a beautiful, wonderful morning to be in SW Colorado! tv

Lotsa doggie fun in the snow!

The La Plata Paw folks sure had their snow mojo working this weekend! We've had quite a bit of snow in the last week or so, overcoming the warm, rainy, snow-deficit conditions the San Juan Stage Race experienced in mid-January. Yesterday morning the snow was quietly, gently, THICKLY falling ... it was coming down in buckets!!! By the end of the morning, the sun was peeking through occasionally.

This morning, when Scooby Doo and I went for our morning walk at about 5 a.m., it was 9 degrees outside, with bright stars and a half-moon! Right now, the sun is brightly shining on the valley and it looks like the mushers, ski-jorers and all the other snow-bunnies will have a beautiful morning up on the course. 

Above the portraits of some of the principals in yesterday's events are a gaggle of snowsuited kids, for whom deep snow is all the more fun to get down in and roll around, etc., while waiting for the next dog team to come by.

I like the way one of the musher's dogs squatted down to dig in as their began to pull him and his sled over the start line, then he squatted down to break wind resistance as they pulled him back over the finish line.

Of the three ski-jorers I saw, the dog shown was the only one who really knew what it was all about. That one took off like a shot, towing the skier strongly.

The top picture is of a perfectly mismatched  team of two crossing the finish line ahead of their owner, sculptor Veryl Goodnight. Notice it's the little one, the Jack Russell terrier, that's doing the work! tv

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Good day

Long day ... but good. We got baklava and sopaipilla cheesecake made for the Friends of the Library bake sale tomorrow, then did a shift at Artisans in the afternoon, followed by SWOS board for me and KSJD programming committee for Sandy. And, on the way to Cortez a little after 5 p.m., this was the view in the rear view mirror. Grand and dramatic! tv

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Great Day!! Big Snow! Fun for the Kids!

Just wanted to add a couple of my favorite shots from this mornings dog sledding demonstration at the Mancos  Elementary School this morning.   The relationship between the dogs and their handlers is so special as shown in the picture of Sandy Schwartz taking the dog out of his traveling kennel.  It was so much fun watching the children and their excitement when meeting the sled dogs. Mark and Sandy Schwartz did a great job in their presentation.  sf

Snowy dogs

What a snowy morning! By the time it got done, we must have had 10 inches of fresh snow. 

At 8:30 a.m., Mark and Sandy Schwartz gave a mushing program to the Mancos elementary students. Snow, snow, snow. But the kids loved it ... and they loved the dogs, too. 

Mark introduced each of the dogs to the kids, and you can see how they mobbed the dogs! After explaining the sled and the harnesses, the dogs were hitched up and taken for a ride around the practice field by Sandy.  And it snowed hard all the while! tv

Sunday, February 8, 2009

And More Dogs!

These dogs are all potential contenders in amateur events of the La Plata Paw in Mancos next weekend.   They were up at the trailhead yesterday ,getting used to harnesses and checking out each other!  My anti-social doxie,Scooby-Doo, has been opted out.  Short legs don't work well in deep snow! It is snowing today so should have the trails in good shape for the races. There's also a Chili Cook-Off and a Musher's reception  at Artisans on Saturday. It's going to  be a fun weekend in Mancos!   sf   

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Dogs, again

There was an opportunity this morning for people and their dogs to get introduced to ski-joring (dog pulling person on skis), so we went up past Jackson Lake to watch and maybe get some pics. There were three people there for the class, and there were also two couples at the trailhead who were taking tours with Durango Dog Ranch.  

It was fun watching the dogs getting harnessed and waiting to go. Above are some of the happy faces and one of the mushers giving a dog a hug before they set off on the run. It's fun to hear the canine cacophony build up as the dogs come out of their cages and get lined up ... and then to hear the sudden silence - a sound vaccuum - when the last team starts to pull. tv

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Spring fooler

Slow day at Artisans of Mancos ... warm outside, snow's rapidly disappearing ... hard to think of the four feet of snow we probably still have coming. Gotta get some snow for the La Plata Paw sled dog events on the 14th and 15th. S'posed to snow this weekend and maybe some in the early part of next week, which should take care of it.

This is the Dead Zone as far as walk-in visitors. The Paw will help ... Artisans is doing a chili cook-off one of the days. Then we have the Presidents Day holiday and things will gradually begin to pick up through spring break and Easter. tv

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Dog-type critters

Funny thing happened on our bedtime walk last night. Just as Scooby Doo and I were exiting the house by the east door at about 10 p.m., we heard a hellacious commotion just west of the house. There were at least three, maybe four coyotes at the west end of our 3-acre property (not far!) that were having a noisy, animated conversation with two other coyotes at different points maybe a quarter-mile east. I didn't see them, but they were close enough that, when I shined the flashlight in their direction, they shut up, to resume again as we went down the drive to the east. 

I realized later that the dachsigator, who threatens mayhem at anything and anyone outside the house, made not a sound the whole time we were out there, tending to her business. Maybe she understood instinctively that a juicy, plump little weiner-dog shouldn't do anything to draw the attention of a pack of carnivores! tv

Let's go to Farmington!

It sure is nice to have a sweetheart who is amenable to spur-of-the-moment photo jaunts!

We needed to go to Durango yesterday to pick up a picture after an exhibit at the Durango Arts Center. I also wanted to get some stuff from Sam's Club in Farmington. So, we went from Durango to Farmington, stopping at Aztec Ruins National Monument on the way.

'Twas a beautiful sunny day, so we took a quick tour of the site. The pictures are of various locations in the ruins.

We had a filling lunch at Red Lobster, thanks to a Christmas gift card from relatives in Michigan! After a mall-crawl at Animas Mall, we did Sam's and came on home, coming up through Cherry Creek (first time I've done that from the south without getting lost!).

Then we took our cards to the Friends of the Library meeting, went on to the school's strategic planning session and came home. And collapsed! Not really, but we were both aware it had been a big day! tv