Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Road Tripping

I've been having too much fun riding across wide western states and visiting friends and family. I've seen so much and have gotten to catch up with so many friends. We traveled through Arkansas, Oklahoma and Texas and stopped in Albuquerque to visit a number of friends.

But first we had to have authentic Mexican food. We were starving and truly enjoyed the chile relleno. This was once a 1960's roadstop, so we were a bit surprised (and delighted) that we walked into a Mexican cafe.

The desert always amazes me. It's really not my type of landscape. I prefer the lushness of the trees and the softer mountains of the east. Growing up in South Dakota, I've had my share of arid landscape. But the desert really is beautiful, even in the winter.

Nancy is my childhood friend, both of us growing up in Dakota and even going away to college together. She now lives in Albuquerque along the foothills of the Sandia Mountains. We hiked a bit along the extensive trail system that meanders immediately behind the new homes in the foothills.

I met Dagmar when she came for studio tours to buy wool. She moved to New Mexico 2 years ago and we've kept in touch. Now she is participating in a studio tour in Albuquerque, selling her handspun and handknit items.

We left the sun behind and again traveled into snow.

We spent the night near Flagstaff at Vicki and Jay's place, friends of Ann's. Oh, and the Great Dane.

It's good we had the Subaru. Cars were spinning out, but the Sube did just great.

Still snowing. It's hard to believe we could go from feet of snow, not nearly 70 degrees in just a few hours.

Ann and Boomer on Route 66.

Saligman is a kitchy little town right on Route 66. It's a bit past its prime but you can tell it was popular during the 60's. We had a nice lunch at Roadkill Cafe.

Our longest stay on the trip was at Chez Darlene in Lake Havasu, Arizona. My mom has lived here for about 15 years now.

It's really too bad that we live so far apart. We only see each other once or twice a year. She is such a sweetie and I'd love to spend more time with her. But she doesn't like the cold and I'm not about to move to Arizona. We'll just have to use those airplanes more.

It was a thrill to pick fresh oranges right from her tree. This one looks like a 'pear-orange'.

My favorite thing to do here is to hike in this slot canyon right outside of town. The trail goes all the way to the Colorado River but that's a long hike and we didn't have the time. We did have to go down this 10' drop which luckily had this sort of ladder to use. Ann's dog, Boomer, did NOT want to go down the rocks but we got him down by pushing him over the edge and me catching him below. But.... we hiked just a bit further and came upon a pool of water that was 2' deep. Boomer was not amused and we really didn't want to get so wet. So we had to turn around and go UP the slippery rock wall. To say getting a large dog up these rocks was a challenge is an understatement. I got up first and Ann tried to lift Boomer up but he was so scared and just shivering. Ann held him with her head for a bit while I tried to reach down to him, but that didn't work. Luckily there were some other folks in the slot who didn't feel like going through the water so with 4 more people, we were able to lift Boomer up and all was good.

We decided to walk up to the view of the river and were rewarded with seeing the mountain goats who live on the peaks.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

On the Road

Rice Arkansas...who knew?! Miles and miles of rice fields on the flattest land I've ever seen.

Stopping in for an overnight at Ann's friends in Pine Bluff, AK. Ann and George were very gracious southern hosts, plying us with great southern cooking, including cheese grits and tomato aspic.

We heart Love's gas, especially when the empty light comes on.

Still in the snow in Tennessee.

We drove down this gravel road to Bucksnort Trout Ranch, mostly because of its name but also from a tip from Ann's nephew who said it was a great chance to catch trout and have the 'ranch hands' filet it and wrap it up for you. But alas, they were trout this time of year.

We had to stop at any yarn shop that just happened to be on the way, not too far off our route.

This happens to be one in Virginia (Fibersmyth) that carries Dancing Leaf Farm yarn. It's a great little shop, colorful and well stocked and for an added bonus it has a tea and scone place (Tea and Crumpet) in the next room over.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


Garrett was snowed in for a couple days here on the farm and took these shots with his wide angle lens. (more) This is our stand of pines behind our house that used to act as a wind break but the wind broke most of the lower branches and now the drifts just pile up beyond them.

The big dig out.

The sheep were smart and stayed hunkered down in the barn throughout most of the storm. The venture out just a few feet from the barn. With their pointy, skinny legs, it's not easy walking in the 3' - 4' banks of snow.

I've been letting the chickens out of their coop as their chicken run is totally snowed over. They visit the sheep in the barn and I've even seen them lying between 2 sheep. They sneak out to the hay, make a cute little round nest and lay their eggs. The smartest thing I did the day before the storm was to have Jay, the hay guy deliver 75 bales of hay, hauled and stacked. He just made it into the field as the flurries started. I felt so secure having all that hay in the barn (like getting milk and bread in the house!)

As the snow starts melting, this is what is coming off the back barn roof. It's a metal roof and you can see the ridges from the roof in the snow. It's really windy here and this massive 'snow roof' is blowing towards the barn.

But inside, we're all warm and cozy.

Garrett took these pix up in Cumberland when he was snowed in there during the first storm.

Looking down our street.

...and our snow covered home in Cumberland

Sunday, February 14, 2010

A Sweet Valentine

This bakery in Cumberland always has over-the-top cakes and confections in their window.

A little nod to the Olympics.

I don't think anyone could actually eat one of these cakes, they look sickenly sweet.

Remember those little valentine's we would stuff into our classmates' decorated boxes when we were in elementary school?! Hoep you all have a great V-Day!

Thursday, February 11, 2010


While we were in the big dig out of 2010 today, Casey enjoyed rolling in the snow. I'm sorta loving all this blizzard stuff . I really haven't been off the property for 6 days (except to pick up my son 5 miles away and that took some mad driving skills!).

Happy, happy dog!

I made a real rookie mistake though. After digging the path (again!) to the chickens last night, I left the snow shovel out by the barn, which is the opposite of my back door to the house where I really needed it. After all the wind and snow, we had 5' drifts exactly in the path to the barn.

This was yesterday, just a mere 20" on top of our previous 32" that pummeled us Saturday. This was looking out my sunroom window. It was kick ass blowing all day and night. It reminded me of my South Dakota, growing-up-on-the-prairie days when the wind blew and blew and blew. We had snow from October to April (the official day to get the ice houses off the river was April 15th!). We would make snow forts that we could that had different rooms that we could stand up in. We hauled our sleds up on to the roof of our house and careened down, which was really easy as the snow drifts buried our house. So this little storm is just like the olden days.

And then I read in the paper where 20" of snow on the roof is like having an African elephant hanging out on the rooftop. I grabbed my shovel, crawled out the window and shoveled that elephant right off the roof!

What makes this storm so easy to bear is that we have had electricity throughout the entire snowmegeddon. I LOVE electricity! I don't take it for granted and I love it when I flip a switch and a light comes on or when my food stays cold in the fridge, or that I can take a shower and do a load of laundry (although our dryer is broken, but no worries as we have our laundry hanging all over the house). You folks out there who have been without power for a week will not take your electricity for granted either. Life is just so much easier with power.

The day after snow-lamity. Looking out my sunroom window brought clear skies and white drifts.

Good-bye to another winter day. Just make the wind stop so I can sleep.