Sunday, April 22, 2012

"So you say it's your birthday...."

My husband and I went to the beautiful mountain town of Ouray, Colorado for a couple of days over my birthday. ("Well it's my birthday, too-oo!") I did a tiny bit of sketching, but no real painting. Ouray is nicknamed 'the Switzerland of America.' I always wonder if Switzerland returns the favor, calling itself 'the Ouray of Europe.' I somehow doubt it.

We saw a lot of beautiful mountains, including snow-capped peaks. We saw high mountain ranches worth a literal fortune. We saw nesting herons: 18 nests all in a row with about a third of them visibly occupied; and nearby, a nesting eagle with at least one eaglet. We saw long-horn cattle and yaks (yes, yaks.) We saw lots of elk, and that certain kind of people that can only be seen in high mountain Colorado towns, where stocking caps reign supreme year-round.

A lovely birthday trip. I feel as if I have been living out of a suitcase for some time now. I have emptied it of our Ouray things, done the laundry, and am repacking to go back to California for a week with my parents. Then I will be home for a week, to unpack and repack again for a trip with my oldest son to Paris. I will finally get to see the Unicorn Tapestries, and I can hardly wait!

Posted from my iPad

Monday, April 16, 2012

Life happens...

After 30 years of going to our mountain cabin, we are pretty good at predicting conditions there. But we were WAY off when we went up last week! At this time of year, there can be 3 or more feet of snow, or the melting can have begun, starting a month or so of 'mud season.' We have seen the lake still frozen over on Memorial Day, though that is not common. When we went the last time, there was waist-high snow on the ground, and there were ice-fishers in the middle of the frozen lake. While it had been warm and very dry down here in the valley (a record breaking dry March) we still expected there to be some snow on the mountain. We went up with long-johns, snow boots and our snowshoes.

We got up there to find NO snow (except small patches in the shade), and NO MUD!!!! The lake is completely thawed and the ground was as dry as July. The snow must have melted so fast that it evaporated, rather that soaking into the ground.


I spent a great deal of my time there using the back of the pick-up as a covered porch, sitting in the warm almost 70 degree sun, trying to not get sunburned, reading and knitting. Booker tried to catch chipmunks, unsuccessfully (fortunately.) And I kept an eye out for our bear, who has clearly come out of hibernation to tear more bark from our aspen trees.

I am trying to figure out how to get evening and night photos, so took the photo of the cabin at dusk. I need to do a bit more research and practice!

The day after we came back home, my father suffered from a stroke. So I will be going back to California next week for a bit to see if I can help out some as he recuperates. The garden will wait. The tapestry will wait. Life's seasons and rhythms are not always predictable. There is not always snow when we expect it; there is not always a mud season. Our days and our activities are not always regulated by our orderly To Do lists. The good and the bad (and the scary) things happen with and without our permission. It is a lovely thing to have moments to sit and let our toes soak up the sun when we don't expect it; to have moments to store up some energy to be used when it is needed.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

*"Little Lamb, who made thee...?"

I have the sheep woven, now. I am halfway done with both pieces, and just keep going at them. I will post about the significance of the sheep and the fox in my Grace and Wonder blog when I get a chance. But for now, I must go get some garden work done. Then I will scoot back over to weave on the left-side tapestry for a bit.

*I couldn't help but used that phrase from William Blake, as I had to learn both that poem and "Tiger, Tiger burning bright..." at one point in my life. Amazing what crops up from the depths of memory!

Monday, April 2, 2012

La, la, la, la, Life goes on....

I am the little girl with wide eyes on the right
The month of April has arrived. I spent the past three weeks enjoying all generations of my family; from spending 10 days in California to celebrate my Mom's 90th birthday with parents and siblings and nieces and nephews, to spending the last week with two of my grandchildren here for their spring break.

But now I am back to my regular routine for the month of April, with a looooong ToDo list, to make up for all my time off. I will be heading to the loom shortly. And I am also thinking about an April calendar tapestry. April is my birthday month, and the birth month for the owlets we watch. April is when the world, and my yard, is in bloom, including my old fragrant lilacs, the quince bushes, and usually the apricot trees (though they bloomed early this year and are finished blooming already.) It is when the flowering crab bursts into bloom, the irises become showy, and the peonies put out their heavy buds.

Our whole valley is in bloom in April; all the fruit orchards turn the valley floor pink and white.

So I have a lot of possibilities for an April image to weave. Perhaps too many choices, in fact. So this is what I will be pondering while I weave for the next days:  what most says "April" to me, and what will I want to weave to represent this beautiful month in my Calendar series?