Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Hot down here!

Actually, it's not really too bad here, but it is getting up into the mid-90s during the day. Fortunately, it cools down 20-30 degrees at night. And it's not Phoenix or Tucson! I went to a relative's memorial service that was held in Tucson Friday morning. It was 108 there when I left midday Friday, 104 in Lordsburg mid-afternoon and 95 when I got home. So, I'm pretty happy to be living in the town of "four gentle seasons," as they say in promotions. We are starting to get some afternoon clouds, which help cool temperatures down. Waiting/praying for the monsoons to arrive!

We've done our first two weekends of tending the gallery at Piños Altos, which tends to be five degrees cooler because it's seven miles north, up over the Continental Divide at 7,000 feet. Not much action yet, but it's nice to be sitting the gallery and seeing a few shoppers. We've even sold a few cards.

Otherwise, we've been watching the house crocs, watching Congressman Steve Pearce in a public meeting and being watched by the curve-billed thrasher sitting the nest in the cholla behind the house. Every time I go out there, s/he is on the nest, giving me the evil eye. I'm expecting to see a new clutch of eggs, since I think they lost all of the first three.

Sandy found a bird-seed dispenser, which I've hung right outside the dining nook window. We get to watch black-chinned hummingbirds at their feeder and grosbeaks, jays and finches at their feeder ... and occasionally the yard-crew deer or a jackrabbit.

As you may know, we're on edge about actual and possible fires ... it's a tinderbox. It was nice, therefore, to see that citizens spontaneously picketed two big fireworks tents at Walmart and Food Basket. It apparently grew out of Facebook discussions, got attention from the media (and law enforcement) and quite a bit of support in the community. Albertson's was contemplating a similar outlet, decided against it. And, we hear this afternoon, the vendors being protested have decided that this is probably not the year to be peddling sparks in this community. Of course, there's many other sources of fireworks and it will still be a law enforcement challenge to suppress fireworks activity and a fire protection challenge to suppress any small fires that get started over the holiday weekend. tv

Monday, June 20, 2011

It's been a while ...

Sorry for being tardy in tending to this blog ... can I blame it on the heat?

Well, it actually hasn't been that hot. We've had the AC on some days, but it hasn't gotten above the low 90s. Today was about 85 max and there was a little breeze, so it hasn't been too bad. Now YESTERDAY was wild ... not so hot but wind gusts in the 40=50 mph range!

Maybe it's the smoke from the fires; that's my excuse.

Noooo ... we've had some days with ruddy sunsets and a few days when we had an inversion that concentrated smoke from the Miller (nearby, just over the Continental Divide a few miles in the Gila drainage), Wallow (humongous, ca. 100 miles to the northwest and moving NE) and the Horseshoe Fire (further away in SE Arizona, pretty directly upwind from us) into our little basin.

So, I've just been lazy.

But we haven't.

We went to Ghost Ranch for the annual meeting of Quakers from the Four Corners states. Our keynote speaker was Niyonu Spann, addressing in words and song "Discernment: A Practice of Religious Truthfulness." We gathered in song ... with a little impromptu acting out of the words. The setting at Ghost Ranch is inspiring for us, as it was for Georgia O'Keeffe. I don't know the name of the little blonde girl, but I loved the fact that she's singing joyfully, even though both microphones are 6-12 inches above her head!

On the way home, we stopped to change drivers on I-25 south of Albuquerque and found a roadside memorial to Sofia Milovidova, who died there in 2006. First non-cross roadside memorial I've seen.

A life-and-death saga we've been watching from our breakfast table is a curve-billed thrasher nest in a cholla about 40 feet away. We've watched Ma and Pa Thrasher build the nest (they're indistinguishable) and then deposit three speckled blue eggs in it. After some days of sitting, there were little hatchlings (can't prove there were ever three). And then there was one ... and we noticed a strange cat starting to hang around. Thrashers have orange eyes, so they always look fierce and ferocious, and the nest is pretty well protected in the middle of the very spiny cholla. But, now Ma and Pa are sitting on any empty nest. I'm guessing the verdammte katze got the nestlings. Now to see if there will be a new clutch of eggs.

Saturday was our first day tending the art gallery in the historic Hearst Church in Piños Altos. William Randolph Hearst's dad, George Hearst, made some of his money in the mines there and his wife, Phoebe Hearst, supported the Methodist-Episcopal Church in that community. Anyway, it was a long day ... after "work," Sandy took me over to the Buckhorn Saloon for a wonderful Father's Day dinner of prime rib and then we went next door to the Opera House. The opener was an a capella group called GleeMaiden, four local moms who sing for (and sometimes with) their kids, followed by the Dixie Bee-Liners. This group out of Bristol, TN/VA, kept our toes constantly tapping! tv

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Getting ready for Ghost Ranch

Tomorrow we pack up and head off for Ghost Ranch, returning Sunday. So, lots to do today ... the usual packing and preparing the house for our absence, finishing up the FeVa Fotos material we're going to take with to display (and hopefully sell) at Ghost Ranch and loading it, plus some work I still have to do for the FCNL (Friends Committee on National Legislation) activities I'll be involved with at Yearly Meeting.

We're still impacted by ... and fearful of ... the fires raging to the west of us in Arizona; everything is tinder dry here. Night before last we got 20 drops of rain ... and along with it lightning that set off a number of small, local fires that were easily suppressed. It may be another month before the monsoons arrive.

In the meantime, life goes on. The "house croc" clambers over the walls and Mr. and Mrs. Curve-Billed Thrasher serve their nestlings ... all looking for bugs. Be well, all! tv

Saturday, June 4, 2011

It's gettin' hotter ... and smokey!

We're east and south of the Wallow Fire in eastern Arizona, but that's close enough to be getting a lot of smoke from it; some say they've seen ash falling in Silver City and there's bad air alerts in Albuquerque, 200 miles from the fire. The bottom picture shows the eerie sunset we had last night.

We always try to make the First Friday celebration downtown. This week that included Wally Lawder singing folk songs in the Silver City Museum yard, plus the young director of the MainStreet program on a mechanical bull downtown (the Silver City MainStreet program is 25 years old and just received national recognition).

We've been watching a pair of curve-billed thrashers build a nest in the cholla behind the house. The picture shows one egg and two hatchlings; today they're all hatched. Fun to watch this little family drama from our dining table!

This is the weekend of the Wild West Pro Rodeo, so we went out to the arena Thursday night. It was fun, pleasant temperature though a little dusty and windy. The light levels were low enough that we didn't get much in the way of photos, but we got a taste of another major area event.

Monday, we went out to the Memorial Day ceremonies at Fort Bayard National Cemetery ... very moving.

Sunday we finished up the Blues Festival ... very laid back, as you can see.

We've both noticed that Silver City is a very diverse community ... in public settings, like Walmart, the Blues Festival, the rodeo, etc. At the same time, organizations - clubs, churches, etc. - seem to be more self-segregated ... all-Hispanic or all non-Hispanic. There was a time, in the 50s and 60s, when local schools and some other facilities were segregated, so there's some remnant of those times, I guess.

We're looking forward to going up to Ghost Ranch Wednesday through Sunday morning for our annual Quaker retreat. Such a beautiful place to spend a few days with Friends young and old! TV