It's cooled off and wetted up around here, which makes it lots greener and more comfortable, especially at night when the temps are getting down into the low 60s and high 50s. Our monsoon season has arrived.
Some time ago I offered to be part of a weekend package the library raffled off at a state library convention, so I got to tour Mesa Verde with a librarian from east of Denver and her college sophomore daughter. 'Twas hot ... the monsoons hadn't quite got here yet ... and I discovered the Jeep's air conditioning was kaput. I think the young lady was also disappointed to discover that cell phone reception at Mesa Verde is nonexistent. Nonetheless, we had a good tour, including a tour of Balcony House with old friend Clyde Benally, who's always a hoot.
The hummingbirds are voracious; we're at two feeder fillings a day now. A fox was outside the window the other night; we didn't know he was there until Scooby Doo loudly alerted us. No pictures of that, but I did get some of the little tan praying mantis that was on the portico. Too small to be a danger to the hummingbirds.
And then it was Mancos Days! I basically spent 2 1/2 days working the booth for the SW Open School's Minds in Motion fundraising campaign, with able help some days from SWOS staff and students.
Next door was the Mancos Valley Arts Council booth, where they were silk-screening custom T-shirts. I love the picture of my Sweetheart enjoying the process; she got us each one.
Mancos Days is when the distinctive flavor of Mancos comes out, like when the two ladies who own Zuma Natural Foods rode their mules to the mobile pizza stand on their way to the Saturday morning parade!
Our new canopy worked quite well to cover the SWOS MIM booth, but every afternoon there was a question of when to lower it and call it quits and keep everything from getting soaked or blown away. It IS monsoon season now! One of the joys was hearing the two xylophone fixtures in the nearby playground getting played by kids every now and then.
Sunday afternoon we got free to go up to ranch rodeo Scotty Cox put on at Echo Basin. I've come to really enjoy the challenge of rodeo events, figuring out where the critter, horse and rider are going to be next and being in focus when they get there. It's all good fun, as you can see by the grin on Jamie's face as she holds the calf by the tail while Scotty's daughter brings the "branding iron" over (they paint 'em, not burn 'em).
And now to the Montezuma County Fair! We'll have an MIM booth there for four days, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Gonna be long days! Fortunately, other members of the MIM Team will be able to help out on Friday and Saturday, but Wednesday and Thursday will be long. And on Saturday we have to split our forces to also have a presence at the Cortez Farmers Market! I'll be glad when Sunday arrives.
I think our fund drive to build an endowment to underwrite the travel costs of SWOS students doing experiential and expeditionary learning is building up speed. We have gotten a good story about the campaign in the Cortez Journal (www.cortezjournal.com/main.asp?Search=1&ArticleID=11687&SectionID=1&SubSectionID=1&S=1) and that also ran in the Mancos Times. We've been to numerous farmers' markets and other events, contacting more than 500 people and picking up about $1,000 in donations. I did some "streetwalking" yesterday and have promises of donations from three banks and a couple of large local corporations, plus an invitation to make a presentation to the board of Empire Electric, which could net a larger donation. I'll do some more perambulating today and see if I can scrounge up some more contributions. We can't quite do an every-member visitation to all the doctors, lawyers, professionals, ranchers and small businesses in the area, so I'm hoping to get a letter to the editor printed that will urge THEM to come to US at the fair.
The rewarding thing for me is "talking SWOS" with people. We did a survey two years ago and reached the resounding conclusion that nobody knew about our school. The response is different this year! We've had good press coverage of our trips and service projects. We have about 160 students from Cortez, Dove Creek, Dolores, Mancos, Towaoc and points west. And, people seem to be more receptive to the fact that some kids don't do well in the traditional classroom mode of instruction; hands-on experience is sometimes a better teacher. We're becoming a school of choice for kids who are being bullied, kids who are bored to tears in classrooms and kids who need a safe, supportive learning community where self-respect and respect for other go hand in hand. Our booth is most magnetic when it's augmented by the personal stories of staff, students or parents (or grandparents) ... they really tell it like it is, and with enthusiasm!
Okay, enough about SWOS. Time to get on with the day. Hope all's well with those of you who tune in on our occasional blog posts. TV