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Living with Bears
18 Oct 2021

In this verdant valley, down the road a bit stands an orchard, where it's windfall apple time. Several of us have encountered a yearling roly-poly crossing the road. I just stopped the car and admired his passing, as he looked over his shoulder, and hustled up the mountainside. Bears roll forward, on one massive foreleg, then the other, a little like skunks.

A young woman happened to be strolling up the road, and spotted the bear. Bear stood his ground and watched what she'd do, not budging. Bears are chancy, though this one had just stuffed himself with fallen apples and might or might not be mellow. 

Don't turn and run, silly. They're faster. Don't try to climb a tree, their natural habitat. She stood there, immobilized. Finally a truck approached; she squeaked out a cry for help. The driver opened the passenger door. She leaped in and hitched a 1/4 mile ride, beyond the roadblock bear!

Stars grow more brilliant, hint of piñon wood smoke, and down by the river the neighborhood tabby cats are doing clown routines, rolling in wild catnip. We watch for bears along the river banks, when the cats, who go for walks, join in.

I've been out with loppers starting on garden cleanup, cutting back lily stalks and such in the golden Indian Summer light. The lopper tool was stout enough to manage some diameter, so I cut back an aspen branch apparently which gave way under a larger bear. The monster male, I'm guessing, who also wallowed his way through a large Rugosa rose bush. This year he fancied the big rose hips. Who knew?

Wildlife have feasted on bounty this year, not lean pickings at all. So what's up with robbing my rose hip jam makings? We wonder, we do. Old Man Winter is on many minds, and it may be critters know way before we two-footeds. When I lived in the Blue Ridge Mountains, old timers would ponder heavy acorn set and squirrels packing away stashes. From time out of mind, it presaged a hard winter.

As to global warming, Antarctica has been the coldest  since 1957, when recording first began in the Geophysical Year. Big increase in ice as well. Meanwhile volcanoes are popping off, and in the cycles which span centuries, not sound bites, am reminded of flamboyant sunsets and cold after Krakatoa, and the Year without Summer, when Mt.Tambora blew.

As we head into lower sunlight and overcast of winter, our traditional flu season, recall that Vitamin-D Insufficiency seems to be the keystone to immune system resiliency. This was noted early on in the pandemic. Ample plasma Vit-D levels never checked into hospital; those with meager Vit-D were unlikely to ever depart on their own two feet.

Loved Ones & Lemmings
15 Oct. 2021

In my teens we lived in divided Germany. Some of my classmates were E. German Refugees who spoke Russian amongst themselves, and at our Christmas Pageant, performed Slavic dances, the squat and kick sort.

I found them intriguing. Their families had fled, after lives under Swastika and the USSR's Hammer and Sickle. Courage in evidence, my goodness yes, but the kids gave off frissons of terror they'd known. They seemed to have adapted by becoming obedient and colorless, almost cement-gray.

In this time frame my Naval Officer dad, that's USN, took me on a jaunt, or so I'd imagined. He surprised me by arriving for the drive in full dress uniform. I'd figured on a hike, maybe lunch at an inn? Well, not exactly.

He took me to the East German border, to a scene out of a 1930's noir film. It was snowy, overcast and cold. Organizing me to stand to the side and slightly behind him, away from the machine gun goon in the watchtower, he settled in.

Pater stood at ease but very much with full attention on the soldier manning the gun, pointed in our direction. About all I could manage was my breathing... I stopped hyperventilating.

Then Popilein spoke to me, though not looking at me, and morphed the dismal setting to gold. He taught me about the Founding Fathers and the Revolutionary War. By hardscrabble grit and guerilla warfare, they defeated the Superpower of the era. But at monstrous hazard to themselves, their families and all they held dear.

They risked everything for freedom, as had my classmates' families.
With regret, I have been reminded of the Stasi since the onslaught of global lockdowns, fear-induction and now, mandate violations of the Nuremberg Code.

Initially I woke in the night grieving as friends and family acquiesced to those profiteering from vaccine patents, meanwhile blocking access to inexpensive meds of short effective protocol.
People I hold in high esteem, and know to be intelligent let themselves be herded by pathological liars. It's still going on. 

No need to belabor the toxins in the shots; we're living them. As immune systems go auto-immune, some will enter the rite of passage of dying, by stroke, cardiac arrest, organ failure, paralysis, cancers and whatnot.

Godspeed to us all and good journey as we learn, by doing.

Pet Food, New 
& Skill Sets, Old
4 October 2021

Walking down the supermarket miles of food industry inedibles, I reach a gourmet aisle.
Honest to God: For the family pussycat and Golden Doodle... Wild salmon, wild elk, and buffalo!
For years this has had unsustainable stamped all over it, and at some point, becomes too costly.

Or unobtainable: Salmon fishing has been banned on the Yukon River, including fishing and alderwood-smoking, by the salmon-reliant Native Americans.
Salmon stocks are so low, spawning is in doubt.

Thinking back, the poor and elderly got by, eating cheap dog food, in the Great Depression, but will we, if things get dicey?

Ingredients have changed, to feed lot offal with Glyphosate, hormones & antibiotics, downer cattle, euthanized pets... 
All attractively presented to pet Daddies and Mommies in cute little cans, and feed sacks of dyed crunchettes and fishies.

Homeless signs include requests for pet food for the rescue guard-dog.
Some food banks cater to feeding the pet companions of those in need.

When cost of pet foods hyper-inflate, however, we enter a societal s**tstorm.
Pets have become family to the isolated.
A segment of populations may grieve death of pets more than of humans.
We're a bit turned around, texting.
And what's in store, if not in groceries?

We may not know it yet, that we are embarked on a journey away from trust in Big Brother, as ultimate truth and provider.
We may not acknowledge it yet, that our country has gone from delusional, to broke.

Many of us are about the business of rediscovering a stolid, not glamorous, but abiding resource.
Folks you can count on--Farmers, wood-cutters, handymen and women, those who work round the clock and the seasons, to keep things running.

Let's hear it for Flyover Country, for America's still beating heart, and its people.
Our Atlantic and Pacific mega-cities give one pause.
Much of the populace has grown out-of-touch, bizarre, and may not weather coming events.

Kids will hopefully land on their feet, and begin learning useful/marketable skill sets, as gender studies fail to deliver.
We can prepare simple foods again at home.
Beans and rice, mighty nice, and still affordable.
Take-out and trucker deliveries may soon be, so then.

Who knows? We gutted shop and domestic arts from woke schools.
We might yet find our way to the very old working system of Master, Journeyman, (Journey-person, if you will) and Apprentice.

We're about the business of America--to rebuild competence, health, and our country.

Weather Incoming,
Country Chores
30 September 2021

My old-timer Hispanic neighbor is a better change of seasons, weather-master than I. 
If he bothers to tell me anything, I try to pay attention.
His family has been farming and ranching in this fertile valley for hundreds of years.
And, ahem, it's still fertile; AgBiz eat your heart out.

I had just read about the Flash Flood alert and was pulling on heavy socks and garden clogs, when he knocked on the window.
"Where do you want it?"
His grandson stood behind him, a big box of seasoned kindling in his arms.
"Oooh, the sunroom?"

The boy brought in four boxes, a cold morning treasure.
Then my neighbor wanted to see the firewood that had been delivered.
He nodded, and was silent...

"He brought you a woman's cord, and he overcharged you.
Figured, a woman wouldn't know, and wouldn't want to complain."

Dad blast it; he had that nailed. 
Had looked scant to me, but it's hard to get wood this year.

"Tonight we'll get snow on the peaks," he continued, "and rain here.
You better cover that pile."

I was still deflating about the wood and said, "Okay," vaguely.
Good country man that he is, he rooted on the spot and gave me the beady eye.
His wife watches me puttering in the upper flower garden from their front porch. 

He has my number.
"Do it now."
"What?...Oh, you mean, before collecting nasturtium seed."
He kind of snorted.
Mama didn't raise no stupid child.
"Yes, Sir."

After tarping the piles, I potted up rosemary, noshed on everbearing raspberries, picked 2nd crop lavender, tidied up prunings, and realized I was not imagining berries and herbs from a fluorescent-lit cubicle. 
Soon I'll be gathering high-flavor apples, in this hidden valley full of life.

Cedar Chests & Evening Fires
16 September 2021

With nights decidedly nippy, we begin thinking, warm woollies and fixings for wintertime soups.

As to cozy fires, firewood became an angst-source this summer with demand exceeding supply. I call it an unnatural event. Never underestimate bureaucratic stoopidity in the greater scheme of things. 

During last year's Lockdown absolutes, the state's goobernor also blocked access to national forest woodcutting permits, creating shortfall now. Pretty good local family businesses in harvesting deadwood, reducing wildfire risk, and providing living wage and public service. 

Lots of folks here heat with wood. We're watching the price per cord hyper-inflating. Some friends are settling for later delivery of green wood, which won't burn, for a little context. 

Beginning to see some leaf color at higher elevations. At this elevation, hummingbirds are mobbing the nectar feeders, tanking up before their migration south. The bronze-colored Rufous hummers seem to have already headed out. Bossy critters, it's quieter among the flowers without dive-bomber Rufous-Ruffians driving away competition.

The wild sunflowers, brawny and tall with good summer rains, now tilt downward, the heads heavy with seed... and upside-down chickadees pecking out bounty! A speckled ground squirrel is trying to re-establish a winter burrow up against the house. I tap on the window and roar. Squirrel scuttles; I pile on more rock to block the new opening. Not suburban sort of pastimes, but am richly entertained.

Bears oh my are still dropping seasonal scat-alerts to fruit ripening--Apricots, cherries, chokecherries, elderberries, alpine currants, and windfall apples. The valley is hosting a Mama bear with two cubs, and a huge galumphing male. Never forgetting, when out and about, that they were here first.

At Farmers' Market, where small is outrageously beautiful, it's the golden time of year. Welcome to cornucopia--pumpkins and winter squash, heirloom varieties of spuds, cream, purple and yellow, heavy bouquets of ornamental sunflowers, charantais and watermelons, dried beans from the Spanish Land Grant era, pozole, roasting green chiles, kale, collards and chokecherry jam. 

Leashed dogs of all descriptions snuffle and tangle us in their leashes--chihuahua, greyhound, mastiff, King Charles Spaniel, a Great Dane, Bernese mountain dogs, Australian blue-heelers, and Rescue mutts with big grins and lolling tongues. Little children ride on their daddy's shoulders. Next month, the vendors, families and kids will arrive in Halloween face paint and costumes... 
Good harvest to us all.

Skeptics & True-Believers
21 August 2021

"Do you trust the CDC?"
I laughed.
"Well, I do. I trust our government to look after us."
I blinked... "God love ya."
She turned on her heel.

She's bright and funny, and we used to be friends.
Those of us who trusted in govt. experts may be feeling unease & testiness.
The shot, which is not a vaccine, which protects no one, is generating "adverse events."

Those countries with the highest vaxx rates have ER's and ICU's of fully-vaxxed & gravely ill.
Someone, but who?... has got some 'splainin' to do.

Some now call it, the "clot-shot."
We acted on good faith.
How many of us knew that BigPharma is protected from liability, in the event of Murphy's Law?

Nectar & Tropical Perfume
9 August 2021

Bright golden orioles kept coming to the hummingbird feeders.
Keen on the syrup, but stifled, their beaks not slender enough.
So, as an experiment, I snapped off one of the plastic "flowers."
Took them a day or so to get a clue, and now they've found the larger entry and are  nectar-happy.

As to a magical, horticultural gift from a friend...
I was 4 or 5 when I first met a Night Blooming Cereus.
My parents were visiting friends with a conservatory full of winter-time flowers.
I saw and barely heard anything else, a gravitational field for moi.

Wife seemed to realize she could trust me and tucked me into the space with a plate of treats.
Said: Be patient; watch the flower buds.
I settled in, silent, not moving, not wanting to startle the buds!
Dusk came on, buds unfurled.
Huge white tropical blossoms opened and spilled the most exquisite fragrance. 

Haven't been near a Cereus since.
But I have had a luminous wish list, 70 years in the waiting!

A dear friend decided to move and I went into grief.
While still shocked and trying to put a bright face on her going, she bequeathed her Cereus to me.
I all but threw myself at her feet.

It's huge and growing, with other hefty plants, a west windows forest primeval.
Liking it here, she's sending out improbable shoots/leaves, a Dr. Zeuss visitation!
Have already promised gardener friends: 
I'll have them over hopefully, some autumnal twilight, when she's poised to open a bloom.

​Under the Apricot Trees
28 July 2021

Two huge trees out back, planted generations ago. Their branches are bigger than many tree trunks, reminiscent of old Southern live oaks, but without the Spanish Moss.
I had made peace with the late, wet snow on trees full of blossom. We're in high mountains after all, the Sangre de Cristo.

The branches, however, have surprised me with fruit. Trees which live to fruit again after snow and frost, hardy trees, don't lavish all their bloom at once. It would be like a gambler, titillated by risk, blowing his wad on one spin of the roulette wheel.

Random blossoms appeared after the snow. No great shakes, I thought, but the trees cheer me with abundance. At first light, I gather windfalls in my harvest basket, leaving bruised, cracked and squished ones for the local wildlife, who'll tidy up overnight--mule deer, bear, skunk and raccoon. Maybe a fox. Haven't seen one yet this year, but I'll bet the neighbor, with the new chicken coop, has!

Over winter, field mice crack open their stash of apricot pits for the kernels. Not all mice remain confined to their cold weather quarters.They try to slip indoors. I found an empty drawer in the sun room lined with cracked apricot kernels, and was not amused.

Sweet Hunza Apricot Kernels are considered a premier food in Tibet, and can be found in health food stores. Some consider them helpful with oncology challenges.

Many of the trees in this area are wildings, sprouted in bear scat. But long, long ago, hundreds of years ago, Franciscan Friars brought seed and orchard cuttings to the New Wold. They sailed in the old wooden ships with high prows and sterns, like the Niña, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria of Columbus' voyage. The Friars cradled their orchard treasures, traveling on foot or burro-back. Those first trees they tended, fed two-footeds and eventually wildlife, which did Johnny Appleseed droppings into the back of the beyond.

We are living a bountiful year, rain aplenty, and we know it's a blessing. Wild sunflowers stand eye-level-tall and will soon feed chickadees in the time of aspen gold. Am already noting the sun's angle, slanting toward autumn. 

24 July 2021

Yesterday we had a second Flash Flood alert.
It rained buckets, bathtubs, with wild thunder and lightning..
One boom, seemingly right overhead, lifted me all but airborne.

For parts of it, I listened to unhinged nature, reading in the sun room.
Downpour pounded the tin roof. 
I hunkered down, grateful to be sheltered
Still enough light to read, with random flashes of lightning.
Began delving, One Second After, oops EMP, to honor Ride of the Valkyrie sound effects,

Haven't been down to the river yet; the ground being squishy, water-logged.
Too soon to summon the winter's firewood delivery

Very strange these last weeks of 100% humidity in the high country of NM.
I do acknowledge the blessing of rain, relative to desert, fires and wells going dry.
Wildflowers in beautiful bloom; aspen gold will likely blaze up the mountains, come fall.

As to the angst of transformation, it may not be tidy.
Despite the rupture of control-freaks, through the world's social fabric.
An awkward time, for those who read history.

Rockets and Sat's, 
Oh My, the Thrill
20 July 2021

Some wits in the UK have suggested Bezos, the retail Leviathan, not be granted earth re-entry as a planetary act of mercy. His phallic rocket is launching from wild Texas country I used to know. Great night skies, back-of-the-beyond.

I used to go on field botany trips, camping in that wild arid country, collecting seed, etc. Rattle snakes, road runners, sunburn, oh my. We had to pack in lots of water. It was so bloody hot. I remember riding shotgun in my prof's truck, getting ditzy from the heat and pouring a liter of water over my head and down my front. Which soon dried.

I was the only traveler of the fair sex who wore a sun bonnet, to much mockery. And am the only one without leather-skin into later life. Can't imagine doing those adventures now, but I don't regret them. One pre-dawn I got up to snoop around, and standing still, a roadrunner, beep beep, knee-high, stopped two feet form me. I went still.

The wildly improbable bird suddenly went into a blur and attacked a coiled rattler by the old coral fence. As my Texas kin might say, tongue-in-cheek, "Lord gawd almighty, I seed a thang."

​Have had rockets and satellites on the brain this last year. Elon Musk has gone all but berzerker with his sat-launches, 5G whether or not, if us mere earthlings agree. There's the EMF-angle with reports reaching Dr. Firstenberg from all over the world of human health disturbances. Birds are falling dead out of the sky, en masse, in a year of co-inky-dinks

Last year, a neighbor and I were out at dusk doing last minute chores when she shouted, LOOK. To the south, a bright light traveled westward ho. Holy cowflop, soon followed by dozens in a line. Neighbor went into geek-ecstasy. Satellites! 
Hi ho, hi ho. It's off to work we go...
I went into Luddite silence, and premonition of unintended consequences.

Those of us in the boonies are glad to be out of the light pollution of urban centers. At dark of the moon and new moon, we all but swoon into the vastness of the Milky Way. Turns out, the hundreds and thousands of satellites are actually affecting, not just earth's energy field, but the equanimity of astronomers.

I have friends at similar elevation, but high desert. Their airBnB, off-grid yurt had become a mecca for astronomers, who booked way ahead of time, bringing telescopes to the awesome night skies... Quoth the raven, nevermore...

Satellite light-pollution rules. 
And beneath the ocean, blasts of sonar disorient cetaceans who beach and die. 
As above, so below, and we've barely a clue.

In praise of night skies, firelight and stillness. 
I may not live to see it, but there's hope for us yet.

Sun Looked over the Mountain's Rim
11 July 2021​

A Robert Browning line of poetry, but also, that's my "Mountain Time" morning clock. To the east, mountains delay the blazing sun and its high UV Index. 

At barely light I roll out of bed and start garden chores--pick dewy salad greens for the day, deadhead flowers, schlepp watering cans to a couple gardens... 

And breathe in Regale lily, lavender and evening-scented stock perfume. Rub a tabby tum and get the kitties out from underfoot. Listen to water music of acequia and river.

Then the fiery-white sun all but screams over the mountain rim, and I scuttle indoors. I try not to venture out till the golden hour toward evening.

Meanwhile, what a marvelous show. Hummingbirds visit the nectar spur flowers: columbine, nasturtium and larkspur. Hummers are also partial to, and territorially protective of their nectar feeders. I no longer fret about when to refill them. If I go outside the hummers click and buzz around me. If inside at my desk, they hover just outside the window glass in a blur of wings, and stare, till I make more nectar! Am trainable.

Pollinators seem diminished in the last year or two. I wonder about earth's Schumann Resonance, and our fascination with ever more EMF. And the flashing joy of goldfinches... lost, fallen? Where are they?

In any case, I plant for the bees and butterflies, both nectar sources and the daisy family pollen producers. I look out on wild cut flowers, great splashes of soft English flower garden and flamboyant south-of-the-border color.

There's a scene in the film, "A Man for all Seasons"... Imprisoned in the Tower of London, for refusing to bow to Henry the VIII's will, Sir Thomas More pushes a stool over to the small un-glazed window. Seasons change.. A tree by the River Thames flows from spring flowers to summer leaves, autumn russet, and a bare tree on snowy ground.

Flower pots on a windowsill have encompassed nature for me in the past. What a glory dances now, of crimson. gold, regal purple, orange, fluffy white, lilac and rose-pink, with jewel-winged butterflies and hummers flitting about.

Parting at Morning
By Robert Browning

Round the cape of a sudden came the sea,
And the sun looked over the mountain's rim:
And straight was a path of gold for him,
And the need of a world of men for me.

Let's Pretend
​18 June 2021

​An aunt, our Texas family Matriarch, spent her career as Head Nurse in ER and Nursing Home settings.
She was a spitfire about medical malpractice, and liars, including everyone.

"Up and dressed for breakfast," became a family saying

My aunt reported in to the NH at the crack of dawn, and read reports of the night shift and the early staff who oversaw breakfast and tidying of the incontinent, etc  
She checked in on each patient, and found that the lady in Room xxx had been dead for hours.

"Up and dressed for breakfast,." a  negligent staff member had noted, in writing.
The staffer was blow-torched and fired on the spot.
Aunt was married to a Marine

Our beady-eyed Matriarch, oh I can just hear her... scathingly vocal about...

57 Genders.:
Normality of surgical removal of adolescent balls and breasts.

Fear-induction to make us avid for an experimental injection..
Hiding of adverse events.

A Nursing Home candidate as Commander-in-Chief...
Lord, I miss her.