I will be the gladdest thing under the sun!
I will touch a hundred flowers and not pick one.
~Edna St. Vincent Millay, "Afternoon on a Hill"

Friday, June 8, 2012

Look who came for dinner...

The Prospector had a birthday today.
Yesterday he brought "The Other Woman" home to live here permanently. I will forgive him this one indiscretion in all our years together, because I know that if I say, "It's me or that CAR." I may not like the answer I get.
We have had it in storage since last year, but decided we didn't want to pay the monthly fee anymore. This would save us some money and he could be closer to her. With a "body built by Fisher" I guess I should worry about her, but  what can I really do. She's ours now. I need to embrace her and accept her for what she is. The "Other Woman" is not leaving here again accept for a facelift or a makeover.
She will live here under a tarp, even through The Prospector would prefer her to be tucked away in the garage... but then my car would have to be outside. That isn't going to happen.
She is a beauty. I know this.
Someday he will be able to restore this lovely object of his desire. I hope it's not too far down the road. Maybe on his next birthday.
Can you believe that we put the battery back in and the old car started right up after a few turn overs. She must have really wanted to come home with us. It was fun to follow behind her on the way home. She goes with the old road we live on. I secretly want to drive her down town and show her off some day. She turns heads you know. I actually love this car. She's a survivor. She was built in 1948. She's younger than us and in very good shape.

The Prospector's Birthday was a quiet one... just the two of us. He had to go down to the valley for a meeting all day, so when he got home we had a nice dinner and I made Boston Creme Cupcakes for dessert. Our sons called to wish him a happy day. He liked that.
And... look who came back to visit us for his birthday.
The little screech owl, flew in around lunchtime. What a surprise! The hummer's were not happy about his arrival. One of them kept buzzing around the little owl.
 But he just stared them down. He watched me taking pictures of him and even though he had cobwebs all over his face, he didn't move.
It's been months since his last visit. I love the cobwebs on the face. Makes his fierce little stare kind of cute and funny, like big foot wearing a fake beard.
The Prospector was delighted to see that the little owl had returned on his birthday. I think it's kind of a good luck sign. I hope he sticks around.
Happy Birthday, my love. May all the years ahead be happy and healthy ones.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

French Pressing Coffee With Touch and Go Landings.

It was Saturday morning.  Time for my cup of coffee. But first... I had to make it.
Never having used a French Press to make coffee, especially in the morning when I'm kind of handicapped anyway, the whole process seemed daunting. Our hostess had explained how to use it on Friday night before we went to bed. It sounded simple. Kind of like my grandmother use to make it. You throw the grounds in the bottom of the glass container, pour the water in and let it sit for three minutes, then you press the top down slowly and "Voila.", you have coffee.
When I asked her how she got the coffee hot, she started laughing and said that she forgot the "boil the water, first" part. Simple mistake.
I thought that I would have to heat it up in the microwave after I made it. Either that or the French must drink their coffee cold... which I doubted.
I had seen a french press before but I honestly had never used one. I'm embarrassed to admit this. I like to think of myself as rather cosmopolitan, but I really had not, in my lifetime, learned or attempted this way of making coffee.  "J" was up early. She was waiting for me in the kitchen. She even boiled the water for me.
I think she was concerned that she didn't have enough insurance to cover my lack of french press skills so she kept an eye on me until the coffee was finished. She knew I loved coffee. She knew that I would drive clear into Carson City to get a STARBUCKS if I didn't figure this whole thing out. She was very patient and understanding with me.
I'm here to say, proudly, that you really can teach an old dog a new trick. But, I could have used an instant pre-cup of coffee before I started doing the French Press that morning (Sounds like exercise doesn't it?). Coffee would have made my brain a bit sharper.
The other coffee drinker, Jan, said it was OK. She didn't get all excited about it... but she was polite... and she drank it.
 Finally I poured and drank my first cup of coffee which, by the way, must not have settled properly in the french press maker, (another faux pas?) because it had some grounds in it.
 Is this the way the French really do this? I don't get it. Why not just use a filter? Or, like my grandmother use to do... throw some egg shells into the coffee and they make the grounds settle at the bottom.
Maybe I poured it too fast. I don't know. It's all a mystery to me. Like smart phones and having to use three different remotes to play a DVD movie on my TV.
The coffee was really good... strong... and hot. As I got to the bottom of the cup, I was careful not to drink the sediment. They say you can read fortunes in the bottom of a cup of coffee. Mine would probably have read...'She will always be confused by new skills.' or  'Farmlady is not French.'

********************************
Yes, I promised to tell you about the back side of the houses in this area. Didn't I?
I walked out the backdoor of "J"s house and "Wait!"
There was another garage... and another road. These beautiful homes had more to them than met the eye from the front.
The sun was coming up and I walked out across the blacktop and into the sagebrush. It was so beautiful out there. But the back of these homes looked like an unfinished version of the fronts... and the garages were twice as big as the front garages.  This garage, below, is "J"s garage... only it's not for cars. 
IT'S FOR AIRPLANES!
And the whole street of homes has its own AIRPORT. Imagine that! You can commute from anywhere, fly home and park your airplane in your own hanger. WOW!
"J" and her husband made an airplane from a kit. She showed us a picture of it. It's beautiful. It's not a little glider type, light weight plane. It's a two seat beauty that they have flown clear to Alaska... and back. The plane wasn't in its hanger this weekend because it was in California with "J"s husband, so we didn't get to see it in person.
Last year, they met some friends at a plane show and decided to buy a house here. Now they can fly from Jackson, CA. to Dayton, NV. in no time. They are in a community of people who love planes and because of the down real estate market they bought this place for a song.  I didn't know about places like this. I guess I've been in the mountains too long.
They taxi out onto the runway and off they go.

 It seems really exciting to me. No customs, no baggage checks, and you are in complete control. You are an eagle in the wind.
So I, being bound to the earth, walked though the sage brush taking pictures and thinking about what it would be like to fly. How I had written a poem, once, about flying. I will have to find it and read it to all of you.
Many years ago, in high school, I worked at an airport and the instructors would take us up after work. There was nothing like the exhilarating feeling of taking off in a small plane and flying over our world. We would fly out to the San Francisco Bay and the sun would be setting into the Pacific Ocean. It was breathtaking. We did Parabolic curves and watched a pencil in my hand lift up and come back down again as we did this maneuver.
I think I understand this love of flying. I don't like flying in a commercial airplane, but the concept of flight and being in that small plane was a delightful experience and I appreciate these folks that live here because they have followed their dream and learned to fly. They have learned to make coffee in a french press and they know which clouds they can fly through and which ones they can't. That's pretty cool.
I will leave you with some photos of the high desert and the early morning sunlight.
Watch out for Jack Rabbits and Rattlesnakes.


Tomorrow I will round up the story of my get away with a trip to Genoa, a small town west of Minden.
It was so good to get away from a week filled with sorrow over losing Murphy, our goat. I was able to look at his leaving from a different perspective and laugh a little with friends. It was a good trip.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The Smell of Sagebrush after the Rain

Can you guess where I've been?
I left with a friend on Friday morning, picked up our hostess in Pioneer and met up with the other car that would follow us over the Sierra Nevada Mountains to Dayton, Nevada. There were five of us. We were invited to a girl, gourd and wine weekend by a friend who owns a second home in the sagebrush country of northwestern Nevada.
This is the land of jackrabbits and wild horses. Do you see those bunnies with the long ears (below)? They were all over the place.
Dayton, Nevada is east of Carson City and was once called "Ponderer's Rest" when first settled. Gold was discovered in "gold creek" in 1849 and in 1861 the town was renamed Dayton after a local surveyor named John Day.
This is also where they filmed John Huston's movie THE MISFITS in 1961, with Marilyn Monroe and Clark Gable.
Wild horses still  range on the slopes of this long group of mountains called the Virginia Range, southeast of Dayton.
We drove over Carson Pass (highway 88) and down into Nevada, stopping for lunch in Minden. It was warm and muggy. There was a storm to the east of us and we could see rain falling.
After lunch we drove into Carson City to a wonderful fabric store.
I had no idea where I was going but I had, JILL, my friend's GPS device. JILL had a voice and she had attitude. With her power adapter that fit into my "never been used" cigarette lighter and a portable mount that let her sit comfortably on my dashboard while I was driving, she could find a rattlesnake under a rock. You just gave her the address, or area, and she laid it all out there on the screen.
 JILL (and I swear this is the name that she came with.) would tell you, in a sweet and clear voice, where you needed to turn and got us to our destinations in no time at all. When you choose a different route (which happened a few times) she would say, "Please make a u-turn."  If you didn't do what JILL said, she would say, "Recalculating" and give you a new way of getting there. If she couldn't find another way, there was a noticeable change in her voice. She seemed annoyed. Maybe it was just my imagination, but I was reminded of Hal in 2001: A Space Odyssey. It's kind of scary when you annoy a talking computer program... with a brain.
We had some good laughs at JILL'S expense. I almost expected her to tell us that she would never ride with us again because we didn't follow all of her directions. Actually, she did make a few mistakes of her own. She told us to go seven tenths of a mile further one time and we were at our destination already. Even a computerized and gifted program can have a bad day. I guess.
 I'm going to get one of these amazing machines though and then I will never get lost again. It knows where you are and where you want to be. If you're traveling in a strange land... this is HUGE.

So we arrived at our first destination, with JILL'S help.
  This was Fabric Chicks Creative Oasis. It's in Minden, NV. Here is their website. If you are anywhere close to this location and you love fabric, you have to see this place.
Stay focused on what you came in for because, if you don't, you will leave with half the store in a bag.
This store is filled with everything (...and I mean everything) for sewing, quilting, fiber art and all the accessories.
Even the bathroom was charming. Check out the pink bra at the top of the ladder and the roll of toilet paper on the bottom rung. What a great use of an old ladder.
We bought our fabric and headed for The Bead Store in Carson City. One of the reasons for the weekend was to add beading to our gourds. Our hostess was going to help those of us who hadn't done too much beading and this store was an oasis for all the beading supplies we would need. The folks who own this store were really helpful and very nice.
We pulled ourselves away from the wonderful stores and headed to our weekend home on the range. We drove back to Dayton, followed the Carson River east on highway 50 and ran right into the storm that we had seem in Minden.
This is a lovely golfing community that has beautiful homes and ,coming from California, prices that are unbelievable. Homes are very inexpensive and the economy has left housing available and affordable here. I was ready to move to northern Nevada.
The storm was in full swing when we arrived. We waited until the rain passed... which didn't take long. Then we unpacked our cars and settled into our lovely home away from home.
The fragrance of this area was wonderful after the rain. It smelled of sagebrush and high desert... nature's gift in this beautiful wild place. Man is encroaching and populations are growing fast here, but it's still a desert  and any step outside of the towns, in any direction, brings you into the wild.
It is still, in places, the last frontier. Roads end in the sagebrush and you can still see old dirt trails everywhere.

Later we went to dinner, came back and settled in for the night. I slept in here.....
A den off of the living room.
Very nice accommodations for the price of making desserts for the weekend.
The food was ready.
The plans were made.
We looked forward to a wonderful weekend.
 We talked for a while and then each of us went into a different room... and crashed.
 This street looks very normal from the front side, but tomorrow I will show you what is behind them. Stay tuned...

(Click on any photos to enlarge.)