Sunday, May 30, 2010

Memorial Day eve, 2010sa

Well, golly gee ... a quiet evening at home. The sun is quietly setting, there's no wind and there's a lovely golden hue spreading across the valley below us.

We've been busy with season changes. SW Open School had a musical concert Wednesday noon, graduation Thursday evening and a school picnic in Dolores midday Friday. Poet Art Goodtimes, - a Green Party member, a poet and a San Miguel County Commissioner - was the commencement speaker.

One of the neat parts of the picnic was when Colin's class tested the bridges they built in his class. The student scooped sand into a bucket suspended from the bridge till it broke. I think the most weight a bridge would stand went to at least 37 pounds!

Friday night we enjoyed a concert at the Distillery by Beth Wheeler, Chris Massingill and Marilyn Kroeker ... "Vixen." Good musicians, it was not too crowded and they played some nice oldies.

Saturday morning we took in the Mesa Verde Arts and Crafts Festival, where the girl shown was dancing in the old Chapin Mesa campfire circle on Chapin Mesa. She if part of the Oak Canyon band of dancers from Jemez Pueblo.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Rites of Spring

Lots of things happen at this time of year. Besides persistent, incessant dust storms and snow on the 24th of May, I mean!

Yesterday afternoon was the occasion of the graduation of the 100th high school since the Mancos High School was built in 1909; it is the oldest continuously operating high school in the State of Colorado. Two of the 22 members of the graduating class were the fourth generation in their respective families to graduate from Mancos. One of the special honorees was Harry Halls, who dropped out of school to help his family during the Great Depression. Now about 95, Harry received an honorary diploma from Mancos School Board President Chris Kloster. He was joined on the stage by Bob Beers, the oldest living graduate of MHS.

This Thursday night is the SW Open School graduation. I'm looking forward to being able to attend this one!

Last Tuesday, as a concessioner tour guide, I sat in on training for NPS seasonals. the second picture from the bottom shows our group in Cliff Palace. Above that is a few members of the group going to the cliff-edge of Soda Canyon to see the hand-and-toe-hold trail used to get in and out of Balcony House prehistorically. Kinda scary just to be looking at the trail on the side of a 700-foot deep canyon; hard to imagine what it would have been like to actually climb it!

For some, the climb up the ladder to get into Balcony House today is bad enough. Lots better than the original trail!

Balcony House is just neat! It's small, intimate and you get to go in the back of it. At Cliff Palace and Spruce Tree House, you only walk across the front of the cliff dwelling.

Wednesday's talks about Navajo and Pueblo culture were much more interesting. Especially Rina Swentzell, the lady shown at top. Rina is a Santa Clara Pueblo (a Tewa-speaking pueblo) who is trained as an architect. Her insights into both Pueblo and Western cultures are wonderful! I've met and heard her before, but it's been more than 20 years.

Participating in the training was interesting for me. I was a seasonal ranger at Mesa Verde in 1966. The story and the working environment was much different then. One of the big differences was that the tour sizes were unlimited. One day I had 140 people on my tour of Cliff Palace, there were 112 in the group ahead of me and more than 100 in the group behind. Instead of the 60 or so people you see in the picture above, imagine looking at about 2oo more people, plus another 100 around you that you don't see. It's good that they limit the tours now. tv

Friday, May 21, 2010

Look What I Found!

In a quick walk around the house I found lots of wildflowers already blooming and the promise of more still in the bud. That only builds the anticipation of what is to come in the higher grounds around Mancos! The days have turned gloriously warm and sunny and the beauty of Colorado this time of year is what gets you through the winter! We are doing our quarterly loop through the San Juan skyway soon- and that should be spectacular. Spring and Summer when it comes here , comes in a flood of activities, want to dos, not enough time to do it alls, but is a real joy to be a participant in. Our blog sometimes gets left out as we try to keep up with everything, including our facebook and flickr pages. You can usually find something current from Tom or/and I in one of our on line hangouts! We are hooked on the electronic age. Not always getting it to do what we want it to(or me anyway), but hooked! We enjoy, and still try to find time to get outside and enjoy the wildflowers. . . sf

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Birds of Spring

Tom and I usually feed the birds all winter and then just the hummingbirds during the summer. I decided to put out a little seed the other day and oh what we have been missing! There has been a wonderful array of birds at the front yard feeder and in the surrounding oak brush ever since. What a treat they are! It is the first time I have seen any doves here in over a year and many other colorful feathered friends have stopped by to feed. The hummingbirds yesterday did and imitation of stunt plane nose diving which I have been told is part of their mating ritual.I had given up trying to find last years hummingbird feeder and purchased a new one after days of having the cute little birds glare at me through the window. I am not a birder. . but I am a bird "enjoyer". . Tom and I both have photography in the birding show at the Cortez Cultural Center. We always enjoy trying to get that special picture.
I do think spring is here,although I haven't seen any robins the last few days. They may have headed back south in a state of confusion over the freezing temperatures and periodic snow showers. Smart birds,those robins. sf

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Ah, spring!

It hasn't snowed for several days. Do you think that means Spring is really here? I'm not betting on it.

There's a beaver pond beside the highway on the east end of Mancos. The other day I saw a snowy egret there for the first time. His form on departure is a study in aerodynamics.

Another hint that Spring is really here is the sinus infection I think I've got. It got me up at 1:30 a.m. a few mornings ago and last night I had a sneezing/dripping fit, even after taking some OTC sinus pills. Yuck!

We've been in a flurry of activity lately. Today I need to pick up the Casita in Durango, where it's had some repairs done, and take it up to Bauer Lake. That will get it out from in front of the house and maybe we can enjoy it a few times up there.

I also need to get a cartridge for our new, big printer, which ran out of ink last night while we were working on bird prints for the Ute Mountain birding event, prints that have to be entered today! On the way back from submitting the prints this afternoon, we want to stop by the fairgrounds, where 600 bikers are competing in the "12 Hours of Mesa Verde" cross-country run. And then there's the spring concert of the Mancos Valley Chorus at 3:30 in Mancos. And an opening of a friend's show in Cortez after that.

I think we'll probably just collapse into bowls of ice cream at the end of the day and go to bed!

Wednesday evening I was honored and proud to be asked to make remarks at the Generation Impact awards event. A group of students at SW Open School, a publicly chartered alternative high school I'm on the board of, raises money every year to give as grants to nonprofits of their choice. This adventure in philanthropy was started by the El Pomar Foundation, which has also, through this year, supplemented the funds raised locally.

I can't begin to describe how impressive it is to see these young people, all of whom are considered "at risk," successfully operate as a philanthropy, setting their mission, raising money in the community and then deciding which of the many groups that apply will receive the money (AND service hours) that they have available to donate!

While I was at the awards event, I got a call from my ARAMARK-Mesa Verde Company supervisor, telling me one of the regular tour drivers was sick and asking if I could do tours of Mesa Verde the next day and again on Friday. So, I'm back in harness again!

The tours were fun, as always, but they had consequences, too. For one thing, this is not the first time I've had the onset of a sinus infection after spending a morning or two out in the pollinating plants of Mesa Verde! Second, it cut into the workday Sandy and I had planned to get the house and yard ready for showing.

Sandy worked hard all day Thursday and I joined her in the afternoon and evening and we got a lot done, but we were tired teenagers! We did a little more Friday morning before I left for Mesa Verde and she went to work our shift at Artisans, and I think the place looked pretty good for the showing at 11 that morning. However, we still have lots to do, much of which will be helpful in terms of culling and preparing for our move to Silver City.

At least the activity is trimming my waistline without having to go to the Rec Center! TV

Monday, May 3, 2010

New Life!

When you live in an area of farms and ranches,one of the wonders of spring is seeing all of the new life that comes in the way of colts, calves, ducklings and other adorable little creatures. Despite the snow on the ground this picture was taken yesterday, May 2nd, close by home. This newborn was still on shaky legs and it a a real treat to witness some of it's first steps. sf

It's May already, and still winter here

Yesterday we drove to meeting in Durango through snow and slush ... on May 2! It was almost a reprise of the Sunday we drove to meeting in late February, and the next day went south for four days.

Some things have changed since then.

The weather is still abominable, but there's green grass underneath the snow.

We visited Silver City, NM, on that February trip and fell in love with it. Have since revisited it for a few days and plan to sample summer there at the end of June; planning to move there, or at least winter there before the snow returns here ... if it ever goes away.

Put the house on the market Friday, part of the process of unencumbering us to move. If you know someone interested in a 3-bedroom house with a rental/mother-in-law apartment and great views (there's two deer outside the house right now), contact Ellen Paquin at Re-Max Realty in Mancos.

Attended a very satisfying SW Open School board retreat and got approval to launch a fund-raising campaign through the summer to create an endowment fund, the proceeds from which would support the expeditionary costs associated with the experiential learning program at SWOS.

Attended the "Teenage Time Out" play, based on "The Breakfast Club" in Cortez. The bottom pic is of the cast. The play was put on by Players' Posse at Whirligig Art House ... a mini-cultural center started as a non-profit by five mothers who volunteered to organize art, drama and other cultural programs for community kids. Partly this was in response to the Cortez School District's decision to switch to a four-day school week, leaving kids loose one day a week, mostly Fridays. The play was good fun and it's another example of how wonderful it is when people work together to accomplish something.

Saturday morning looked bright and beautiful (it snowed later in the day), so my Sweetheart and I did a little photo safari to Sand Canyon Pueblo. It was a beautiful morning to be out in the pinyon-juniper forest on the edge of Sand Canyon, way out in the western end of the county, almost on the Utah line.

The last time I visited the site, probably 15 years ago, excavations were going on. It was much easier to understand the place with walls exposed and rooms excavated than it is now, when it's been backfilled. The picture of the perimeter wall isn't really very self-explanatory.

However, it was a great morning to look across the canyons and the Great Sage Plain to the Abajos, behind Monticello in Utah, and down Sand Canyon toward the Chorrizo Mountains in northeastern Arizona.

And then there was one lone aspen leaf lying on the surface of one of the rooms, catching the early morning light. TV