Archive | November 2012




A day set aside for all I ever want to do anyway! Practice gratitude.

All the weeds have died or been pulled, all the seed heads saved and stored. Little velvet sage-colored plants come into their own in the early winter garden. Penstemon palmeri, lambs’ ears, blue fescue, lavendar, silver-leaf horehound, partridge feather all sport soft, blue-green foliage. Against the pink gravel path or brick edging or flagstones, against the deep brown soil, the fallen leaves of autumn, this display soothes the soul.

Stellar the Stardog stands by the winter pond. I give thanks for golden grasses.

How many fish? I am grateful for Amy-the-Fish and her cohorts, 28-cent feeder fish from the pet store four years ago, now scions of many generations.



I give thanks for red, the “color of passion” my mother craved in her dying, my father’s favorite color, the color that makes the mug special, that makes it easy to find the clippers.

When I look around at all I have and haven’t done, I can weigh in fairness the undone less: I’ve tipped the balance, done more in this yard than I haven’t. This is the ultimate thing I give thanks for, change: nothing stays the same. Nor would I want it to; too often things feel bad enough without getting stuck there, in the musical chairs of time. Whose spinning wheel stops when in what state of flux?

Find the bee. There IS a bee in this photo, I promise.

Waiting for the signal sound of a single bee approaching from the south. The bees still drink water in the curly rushes in the pond, one bee at a time, five minutes apart. My gratitude knows no bounds. I am so grateful for this gorgeous holiday morning, for the time to look around, to sit and wait for a single bee; for the ability to work and play with a camera, for eyes to see and ears to hear the flutter of finches in trees overhead. I give thanks for my small place in this ferocious world, for all I love and for all who love me. It is all I can do.



Cynthia’s pumpkin pie for the Broncos game Sunday.

Full of gratitude this morning, eating the best pumpkin pie leftovers for breakfast on the morning before Thanksgiving, sitting by the pond, enjoying the tiny goldfish in the water and bird song in the air; enjoying most of all the ground of silence behind the sounds of nature. Once again our world is threatened. I knew this summer was one of savoring what may be the last clean, quiet summer for decades. BLM has re-opened the leasing process for 20,000+ acres of land within our agricultural valley, and a local land grabber has gotten preliminary approval from the county to open a gravel mine on a ridge along the road to town. Bye-bye sounds of silence if either of these industrial assaults comes to the neighborhood. And losing peace and quiet will be the least of our worries with silica dust from the open pit blowing in our breezes, and air- and water-borne contaminants poisoning our essential elements. Work is underway again to mount another massive community resistance to the drilling/fracking leases, and plenty of people are up in arms about the gravel pit, too. “We’ll know more later.”


Meanwhile, I continue to uncover treasures in the garden. Katrina helped get all the beds ready for winter with lovely rich compost we made here, and straw mulch; I pulled the last of the kaleidoscope carrots, and we planted garlic.

So mild this morning that I brought Biko out for a deep drink and a wander around the yard.

A guest at the gate the other day stood fearless as the dogs slept between him and me.

… but when Stellar smelled him he leapt up and the big buck rather calmly followed his herd back into the trees.

Tomorrow brings feasting with 20 friends at the Bad Dog Ranch, and much love and camaraderie. I wish everyone a happy Thanksgiving, though I know all too many won’t have one. I pray for an end of suffering for all sentient beings.



Veteran’s Day, Week in Review

Arugula et. al. thriving in the caterpillar a few days ago.

and the caterpillar yesterday during the first snowstorm of the season.

We’ll see tomorrow how the little greenhouse caterpillar has weathered the cold: the high is expected to be 27, the low tonight 7, our first single digit forecast of the season. Yesterday in stinging cold, I cut back all the arugula, grown big again, rinsed and drained it, packed it in the fridge, in the absence of olive oil. Today I’ll drive up the road and pick up olive oil from my almost-nextdoor neighbor, who will get fresh arugula in exchange. I won’t open the greenhouse today. A thin coating of ice and snow is melting in spartan sun; the winter garden’s first test with inclement weather.

Thursday, when it still felt like early September, I found a tiny scarlet gilia in bloom along the forest path. In the garden as well, spring bulbs had sprung foliage and lilacs begun to bud.

The morning-glories continue to delight in an unexpected way. The temperature dropped so precipitously yesterday as rain turned to show and drops froze dripping off of dead leaves.


The mountains kept disappearing and emerging from fog and snows with brilliant interplay of light and shadow.

I moved here, to this remote colorado plateau, this neighborly mesa, for one reason only: to cultivate peace of mind. I followed my instinct, I trusted my intuition, I moved here in order to cultivate peace of mind. I knew that here, I might find the space and time to follow one thought through to the end. And what thought is that? Who am I? Why am I here?

This is how much rain and snow we got in the first 24 hours of the storm: enough to make a heavy dog slide in mud. I walked in flipflops and a sweatshirt to the rim with them pretty early in the morning. By the time I harvested arugula in the afternoon my fingers hurt from cold before I finished snipping.

Junipers in first snow and morning light.

Meanwhile, inside in the sunroom, patio plants thrive: crown of thorns glows like a holy relic, while the agave stalk continues to play coy. Will it open this year, or is its blooming a biennial phenomenon? It grew like the magic beanstalk for a few weeks this summer, then just stopped. What is it doing inside itself?

Cherry pie by Mary made it feel like summer.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

The last little core of the tiniest ripe apple ever, the tenth and last from my Fuji tree this year. Apple production at Mirador went up more than 100% from any previous year!

Yet apples appear to come of their own volition from friends with bigger trees than mine.

The apricot tree just keeps on giving. After a full fruit crop enjoyed by birds, chipmunks, and me, she gave golden color for weeks last month.

I marvel at the things I’ve planted and nurtured and what they have done this autumn. I haven’t seen a mature fall here in my yard for a long long time. All these shrubs and trees I’ve planted, Nanking cherry, chokecherry, aspen, birch, maple, apricot, honeysuckle, lilac, snowberry, sumac, plum, roses, and more, their leaves turning all kinds of colors all fall long, then dropping to color carpet the garden ground, they’ll mulch and then break down to feed the soil. Such a rich gift. All the grasses going blonde and orange and shades between yellow and green, swaying in the breeze and popping off seeds. I have been visually wallowing in this waxing embrace of autumn.

“May I be a bride forever married to amazement,” Janis quoted Mary Oliver, and yes, may I. We have cold now, the trees in a day lost their leaves. Until just this last week, even as rifle shots reverberate from just up north along the canyon, honeybees still found nectar and pollen in the reproducing salvias, each multi-headed stem holding one, two, a few single tiny blue blossoms. Nepeta reblooms a third or fourth time. There’s an art to cutting back, knowing what to cut back how far and when.

The bees are put to bed, their hive surrounded by straw in a configuration that I hope will insulate the hive and prevent snow from blowing in their front door, now well fortified with a propolis barrier lined with a few bee-sized holes. I wish I could see a cross-section of this cold-barricade, it looks as though some of the holes go straight in, and others curve or angle with yet more protection behind. On warm days they continue to come and go a few at a time; but often when I stop to check on them there is not a bee to be seen, or just one, looking slow and cold, guarding the threshold.

Meanwhile, the last fresh tomato sandwich of the season has been eaten, on Halloween.

And the first spinach of winter harvested this morning! Just a few thinnings from the spinach, cilantro, and mustard greens thriving in the caterpillar. Such a treat to harvest fresh greens in November, and it looks like the setup will provide well into winter.

A cottonwood leaf falls into the scene at Crawford State Park, where the reservoir is the lowest I’ve ever seen. The apparent sandbar just under the leaf is actually the bed of the old highway from before the dam.