Thanks for Exploring the Wayfaring Traveler Books
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?"
"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.
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
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...
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.