Thursday, December 31, 2009

... and then it stopped, and the sun came out!

It's not uncommon for folks around here to get grumpy when they don't see the sun for a couple of days. The last two days were snow, snow, snow!

But this morning, before dawn, there was a full moon so bright it blanked out the stars and the reflection from the fresh snow was brilliant. What a beautiful sight, even at 11 degrees!

So, I prevailed upon my Sweetheart to join me on a photo safari in the early morning (she didn't need much arm-twisting). We went up above the Jackson Gulch Dam, where the picture across the Mancos Valley, looking at Mesa Verde, was shot.

It was at least 10 degrees colder in Thompson Park, east of Mancos Hill, and we were taking pictures in minus 1 degree sunshine. The horses would really have liked apples or carrots, but we didn't have any with us.

Beyond Sandy and the horses is Cherry Creek and the next picture was taken a couple of miles down Cherry Creek. One of the beauties of such a morning in the Southwest is the red rocks exposed below bright blue sky, in a setting of evergreens and fresh, fluffy white snow. It's just breathtaking!

And then we woke up a little flock of turkeys, ones that apparently didn't know they could go over to Tom and Sandy's for breakfast. Anyway, they started to spread out from under the tree where they had weathered the night, breaking trail through seven inches of fresh snow.

What a way to end the year! We're partying with some friends here in the Mancos Valley tonight, and none of us are likely to still be up at midnight. tv

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

And the Snow Came Down. . . ..

It has been snowing all day and the only pictures I have are of this one little snow bunny that was looking for something to eat around the bird feeder. Such a cute little guy but ended up with a snowy face after poking his head under the snow. He even sat up on his hind legs before he scampered off. Of course that is the picture that was not in focus! I took some lettuce out and left it where he had been so hope to see him return. We don't see many rabbits and they, like other wildlife, are a treat when they come visit. It is a beautiful fluffy snow and tomorrow I hope to do the scenery more photographic justice! sf

Sunday, December 27, 2009

And there's more!

I did manage to get a picture of the three of us, putting the camera on the hood of Drayton's Jeep and using the self-timer ... and then staring at the camera to see if it's going to go off, rather than smiling. Jeez, Tom!

I echo Sandy's earlier post ... it really was a wonderful Christmas, with things going pretty much as they were planned to go. It was quiet, with little joys together. tv

Plus ...

I'm glad Sandy took pictures of Drayton and me before he left today, but I was shocked at this picture. I have pictures of myself with my Dad, taken 25-30 years ago, and I look like him! Same stance, hands in pocket, unsmiling look ... what a reminder of how we become our parents!

Onward to the New Year

The weather was sunny and cold but it was a warm,wonderful Christmas here. It was so good to have Tom's son Drayton with us for the holiday. We all ate too much and enjoyed quiet days full of the spirit of Christmas. Sophie was glad to see packages cleared from under the tree so that she could once again find a comfy spot to bask in the warmth of the lights. As 2010 approaches, I wonder where the year went! They say time goes faster as you get older and also how time flies when you're having fun. I think, perhaps, both statements are correct. . or at least points to ponder. . .sf

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Sunday Afternoon at The Nutcracker

I love the fact that Fort Lewis College brings the Nutcracker Ballet to Durango every year. I enjoy this show so much. It is a good way to mellow out during the hectic holidays. The Sunday afternoon performance has an extra perk- little children in their holiday finery coming to see this beautiful annual performance. Delightful! Our pictures were taken from the balcony and the low light did not give me the best but still fun to photograph and you know I love to share! sf

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Cold and Crisp, Beautiful Winter Morning

The morning is dawning, much to do today but what a great way to start the day- just catching the sun rising over the horizon and lighting the mountains with color and a beautiful glow. It is somewhere below 10 degrees but the little fluffed up snow birds are already gathering around the feeder to select their seed of choice for breakfast. I have seen a lone turkey visiting the bird feeder area for the past few days, which usually expands rapidly to a flock feeding frenzy in the near future. I am posting a couple of shots taken on our last drive up to Mesa Verde. The Shiprock picture is a bit strange. . but it is such an intriguing landmark of the area, thought you might enjoy. sf

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


Ok, so Mrs. Santa is losing it! I posted the sleeping Tom Santa twice. . . It happens. . More often after you turn 65! :) sf

Rolling Through the Holidays!

Our blog has been neglected. It's the holidays! Gifts to wrap, shopping to do, cards to address, community events. . . . We are rolling through the season, trying to keep our wits about us and get everything accomplished. The good news is that we have much behind us at this point and can maybe see the light of day. . or light of Christmas. . . or something like that! Thought I would share a few favorite photos from the first part of the month. If you notice a sleeping Santa .. that
is Santa Tom, resting up for the Santa and photos event. I did the photos of little people with Santa. That was the fun part!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

That woman!

Is NOTHING sacred? Posting a picture of a tired old Santa getting a little rest before meeting the onslaught of his eager young fans! That woman!

On the other hand, we had such a good snow day yesterday! A little trip into Mancos to run some errands and get some supplies, then staying inside at home, watching it snow outside as Sandy put up her beautiful Christmas village and I attacked the annual peppernut production process. With Christmas music on the stereo and the aroma of a wonderful pot of soup coming from the stove, it was a great day together at home ... love that woman!

The peppernuts (pfeffernusse) are a two-step process ... first is making about 15 pounds of dough and converting it to ropes/sausages/whatever image you wish to use. Then, usually after freezing them, the ropes are sliced into little discs and baked, resulting in hard little cookies that are dangerous to dentition. They're to be sucked on, not chewed. The old Germans, when I was growing up, would put one in the mouth and suck coffee through it, like they sometimes did with a sugar cube. Not much difference, either; peppernuts are basically flour and sweetness in the form of Karo syrup, molasses and brown sugar! I had to test this batch, so cut up two ropes and baked them last night. They'll do!

Though we were busy with downtown holiday stuff Friday night, we really enjoyed our visit with the McKims, Servas visitors from Oxford, England. The kids, 10 and 8, enjoyed the tree-lighting in town and our tour of the shops; Kai got to try on a cowboy hat at Nate's and they both loved the cats in the hat shop. I realized later how thoroughly enjoyable the children were (the parents were fun and interesting, too!) ... they were not lost in their earbuds, Game Boys or cell phones. They read, drew pictures, created dramas with toy animals and sat with us and intelligently discussed what they'd seen on their round-the-world trip and asked intelligent questions about what they were seeing here. Neat!

The picture of the Mancos Valley Visitor Center was taken Friday. I'll take another one this morning, after I get the walk shoveled. It will look a LOT different!

The top picture was taken on our Friday night gallery tour. It's in the Goodnight Trail Gallery and that's Veryl Goodnight on the left in the foreground, talking with one of the Camp's Town Ladies who dressed up in Victorian finery and came to Mancos for the Friday night events. Veryl's husband, Roger Brooks, goes by on an errand in the background.

Okay, it's light. Can't put it off any longer. Got to bundle up and move snow. tv

Monday, December 7, 2009


It was going to be a busy day taking toy orders from little people so Santa Tom just needed to rest up for the job! sf

Ye Olde Christmas Village

I told myself it is for the children. But now there are no children in the house or close by. I finally have to admit it is really for me. This year I unwrapped the Christmas Village that had been part of my holiday decorations for many years. It brought back memories of Grandmothers parlor and the little lit houses and victorian figurines that I loved to see there every Christmas. They are aglow and although it is only 4 PM, I am anxiously awaiting the darkness of evening when to see this enchanted village take on a whole new beauty. I don't know why. Maybe ghosts of Christmases past. But it is a special joy to me. It just is. And as the snow gently falls, I sit quietly and enjoy. Merry Christmas to all. Now I can feel it! sf

Thursday, December 3, 2009

This is not about Bambi

On our way back from Ouray, we went on through Ridgway, Placerville, Sawpit, Telluride, Mountain Village, Rico and Dolores. Between Ridgway and Placerville, we drove up the road alongside Alder Creek. There's a very pretty ranch in that canyon near the highway and then, several miles up the canyon, where the road gets up on the mesas, there are a number of new, very large houses.

Less than a quarter-mile from where one of those new homes is being constructed, on the opposite (west) side of the canyon, Sandy saw a coyote in an open area on the slope of a ridge. We stopped to photograph it (below). Suddenly three more coyotes burst out of the brush at the lower edge of the open area, in hot pursuit of a doe. They all, but for the one shown, disappeared over the crest of the ridge.

Soon, however, the doe came racing back around the shoulder of the range with the coyotes close behind her. She angled down below the lone coyote and tried to escape down the steep, wooded hillside above Alder Creek on the west. About two-thirds of the way down, the coyotes caught up with the doe. They confronted in a shadowy open spot among the trees. From our distant viewpoint, it looked like she was holding them at bay. Then she broke free, disappearing down through the brush to the iced-over stream. I couldn't see them, but I could hear the ice breaking as she thrashed around in the streambed. There was a single squeal from the doe, then silence. No further sign was seen or heard.

I assumed the coyotes had run down and killed the doe; I was convinced of it when I saw my pictures from the standoff. They, in fact, show that the deer was down and at least one coyote was biting her throat.

Through it all, the lone coyote above ran back and forth as the action traveled below, but stayed up on top. A sentinel? Too young to hunt? Too old or injured to hunt?

I've never seen a chase and takedown like this before. Even though I know the carnivores were just doing what carnivores have to do, I would have probably tried to shout or otherwise intervene if I'd been closer. Kinda disturbing to watch. tv

Waking up in Ouray, again

I haven't looked out yet, but says it's -13 F in Ouray this morning, with a 9-mph wind producing a temperature that feels like -31 degrees. It gets cold in Ouray!

We saw they were preparing the ice-climbing cliffs; what a wild sport! And I gotta admire the Chicks with Picks ... female ice-climbers who are offering ice-climbing clinics in January and February.

Anyway, the pics above are, from the bottom, the serpentine curves coming down (northward) from Red Mountain Pass at the Idarado Mine area. Then there's the light beckoning me around the corner on a mountain road past the ice-climbing area ... a beckon I should have ignored. The old fool realized further up that the road ahead looked questionable, at which point there was ice ahead, ice underneath and ice behind on a one-lane road with no guardrails and a 100-foot dropoff. There's no fool like an old fool! We got out okay, but I haven't been so scared in a long time.

The upper picture is the main reason why, though I'm coming to like Ouray, I couldn't live there. It was about 3 p.m. when I took this picture of the town, already starting to be covered by evening shadows.

Wednesday nights in early December are not the swingiest time to be in Ouray ... business after business was closed and there were only a few places to eat. However, we did enjoy a soak in the hot tub at the Box Canyon Motel, which may be why I was out like a light early in the evening. tv

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Driving the Skyway

We are halfway through our San Juan Skyway jaunt to distribute the new issues of the Arts Perspective Magazine. We like the overnight in Ouray and this time even enjoyed the natural hot springs hot tubs offered here.Its a trip we always look forward to and I think tomorrow is going to be fresh snow as we cover the Telluride area! I am sharing a few shots from todays travels. We are hoping to catch the morning light on the ice climbing park in the morning. sf