I prefer winter and Fall, when you feel the bone structure of the landscape — the loneliness of it, the dead feeling of winter. Something waits beneath it, the whole story doesn’t show. ~Andrew Wyeth

Thursday, March 20, 2014

"... so many kinds of yes."

"...sweet spring is your
time is my time is our
time for springtime is love time
and viva sweet love"

 ~e.e. Cummings~ 
All the creatures are busy with thoughts of the ancient and instinctive need to procreate. Some are busy looking for safe places to build nests and others have already been busy... and now, have something to show for their efforts. While blocking my one lane country road, taking pictures of this squirrel, a friend stopped to talk.
He said that there were calves in the field. He had taken some photos of them and I should stop and do the same. 
It was one of those wonderful, warm Spring days when Nature (ours anyway) was trying to show the world how beautiful it could be. Like a little girl, in her Easter dress and patent leather shoes, the day was shiny and perfect. 
As I said goodbye to my friend and continued up the road... there it was. 
Sweetness, perfection and too much cuteness...
This little guy almost made me want to hop the fence and play. But its mom gave me that " Don't even think about it." look, so I told her I only wanted to take a picture... and then ,I walked along the fence line looking for other photo opportunities. 
That's when I heard a very loud cow mooing. Not a very large cow... a very loud and noisy cow... and she was coming right toward me... almost running. Yes, a cow can run. This one was.
I realized that I was standing where they all usually get fed and I was pretty sure that she thought I had food.
Then she stopped... and looked at me.
She stared for quite a while, took a few steps toward me, then backed away.
"You're not Farmer Fred and you are not the lady who comes and feeds us either. You are an impostor!"
Don't tell me that animals don't convey their lack of language in a very clear way. This one knew that I was not the person in charge.
She bellowed again to the other cows ( "She's just another deadbeat photographer."), turned around...
And walked away. 
She knew that I didn't have vegetables, goodies or anything that she could eat. I wasn't worth her time.
***********************************

This afternoon I went for a hike. It's so beautiful out there that it seems like a insult to nature if you stay in the house.
I walked up the dirt road.
It was raining shooting stars.
And the buttercups were everywhere. Hiding in the dry winter grasses and...
reaching for the warm afternoon sunshine.
This is an amazing and beautiful Spring.

I will go find the poppies soon. I've been told that this weekend will be prime time to photograph the tulips and daffodils of Daffodil Hill.
I know the poppies are coming up all over the hills from here to the river.
Last weekend, we built a planter... a Topsy turvy pot planter.
My neighbor found this idea and she built one the week before last. I finally got the pots and, with the Prospector's help, we constructed the whole thing in a few hours.
The little frog said, "This is it? Where are the flowers, so I can hide from Carl and Cutter?"
So, yesterday I drove to Lowe's and bought some flowers. Now it's really done and we love it.
Frog is happy too.
He really didn't have to hide from the Corgi boys because they are more interested in lizards and gophers right now than a little concrete frog.
Hopefully, this project will save water and it surely will confused the gophers.
Carl and Cutter are on their lizard quest out here, so I need to put the little wire fence back up. I don't want them to mess around in the garden and tromp on everything. I think I have one answer that doesn't need any preparing. The turkey are back. We hear them echoing from hill to hill. They are being really crazy out there and come to the driveway looking for water and lady turkey to flirt with.
Carl starts barking at them and, then he comes up on the porch.
He acts very cool about it all, but when I get up to go into the house, he looks at me , as if to say, "Hey, mom, where are you going? You need to protect us from those crazy birds."
Cutter, on the other hand, just wants to go in the house and hide.
"Just let me in. I don't like those big birds at all."

So, Spring is here... and it's so achingly beautiful that I want to stay outside all the time, taking a camera and a sleeping bag with me and live off the land... stay out there all night and "wake with the morning light". 
"Oh, you can't do that, Farmlady. You're too old?" 
Who said that? Where does it say that  an old lady can't hike around BLM land and live under a bridge? She just needs some food, a change of clothes, a portable toilet, bottled water, her toothbrush and her pillow, her meds and a gun... Just a few simple necessities.
OK, I'm getting carried away. I'm not really thinking about sleeping out in the bush. I have a nice safe home to live in... and a husband to protect me and two BRAVE dogs to ward off wild turkeys. Besides, I would come home with embedded  ticks and a good case of poison oak... not to mention the mountain lions that might want to eat me for dinner. Around here you need to be aware of all the things that might make 'living under the bridge' a really lame idea.
But.... it's fun to think about.

“It's spring fever. That is what the name of it is. And when you've got it, you want—oh, you don't quite know what it is you do want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so!”
  ~Mark Twain~



Monday, March 17, 2014

Ponies and Prostitutes

On the last day of our felting retreat, we washed all the sheets, cleaned up the kitchen and packed up all of our roving and equipment for felting.
We cleared the tables, folded them and carried them to the garage.
Then we put our flowers and hats out on the counter for a photo shoot.
Aren't they just the most wonderful bunch of flowery, felted hats ever? We all "felt" a sense of accomplishment.
We packed up our two cars, and headed toward Carson City. On highway 50, just outside of the Carson City city limits, there are two things that you need to see. One is the Wild Mustangs, the beautiful wild horses of the Nevada Range... and the others are the  "Ranches", with names like "Mustang", "Chicken" and "Bunny".  The thing is that these "ranches" aren't raising any horses, chickens or bunnies. It's a different kind of ranch.
We drove up one road and I spotted the wild mustangs right away. There they were. A herd of them, on the hillside... beautiful, free and looking like they have no cares in the world.
Some of them had babies.

One (on the right below) had the most gorgeous mane and forelock. It looked pale and silky.
 This one was a huge horse that looks strong and seems like it was a leader.

And then there were the colts. Oh, my... the sweet little colts. Most stayed right next to their moms, but this little one was by itself, even though it was still within range of the whole herd. A little adventurer...charming and so cute.
I had a hard time getting clear images of these animals because they were quite a distance away. 
 Everyone was waiting for me to "get the shot" with my Nikon, so we could continue on to Carson City. I got back into my car and we traveled back to the highway. The next road we turned off of was called Kit Kat Rd.
Our hostess said that she would show us one of these "ranches", but that we would not be going inside one. As we drove up this road, she pulled over and pointed to the sign on the side of the road.
We didn't see any bunnies hoping around, so we continued up the road.
The next sign had my age on it... no wait... it was a speed limit sign. How odd. Then I realized that no one in their right mind would go 69 miles an hour on this road anyway. When we drove closer I saw the small letters and numbers below the speed limit. This must be "Nevada" humor.
Then we saw the last sign and realized just what kind of "ranch" this was. (I have covered this sign with an X rated sign of my own as to not offend any of my readers.)
This is the famous Moonlite Bunny Ranch, just a normal looking building at the end of the road, except for the pink neon signs...

and the strange red flag and stop light on a pole. I guess the flag is kind of like, "This is the place."

  Clean, cute and rather "western" looking isn't it? Well guess what goes on here?
This is one of the 19 licensed Brothels, in Nevada. Yep! This is a LEGAL establishment.
The state of Nevada is the only jurisdiction in the US where prostitution is permitted. Strictly regulated brothels operate in isolated rural areas, away from the majority of Nevada's population. Prostitution is illegal in the following counties: Clark (which contains Las Vegas), Washoe (which contains Reno), Douglas, and Lincoln. Prostitution is also illegal in Nevada's capital, Carson City, an independent city. The rest of Nevada's counties are permitted by state law to license brothels, but only 8 counties have done so.
(information source from Wikipedia)
So we drove though the parking lot, stopped for a minute so I could take a few more photos and then drove on down the road. Didn't want them to think they might have some "business" coming in. Didn't want to make trouble. It didn't look very busy. But I read, as I "researched" this topic, that there is a gate and another parking area in the back for the discriminating client. I also learned that they accept credit cards and the transaction doesn't show up on your bill as Bunny Ranch, but rather "Lake Tahoe Cash Advance".
So off we drove, feeling that we had rubbed elbows  the "real" Nevada.
We did see more wild horses up another road. I got so excited that I drove up over an embankment and onto a dirt road . I was going to follow the road alongside an old railroad track and drive right up to the horses. MJ, who was riding shotgun for me, said that I might not want to get into the dirt or drive off the road this way. She was calm but firm... "You might scare the horses off."
 I realized, right away, that I had over reacted to the whole wild horse experience and was probably going to get stuck. The other car with our travel buddies in it, was parked on the road and they were all looking at me like I was crazy. I turned the car around and drove back to the main road, but not before I stopped, got out and took a couple of shots of these beautiful creatures.
This group above have three or four colts with them. These horses are not in danger of being an extinct species but they are endangered.  This is a dilemma beyond proportion and out of control. There are too many of them and there is no place for them to go. Civilization is closing in and some of the so called "solutions" to the wild horse problem are unacceptable. Please read this and learn about the problem these animals face. Again, we have caused great harm to another species. The Government and the Animal Rights activists are waging war with each other over yet another human caused crisis.
I took one last look at these peaceful animals on the hillside and that's when I saw this.
Some guy was walking up to the horses, with his little girl, what appeared to be a baby in a carrier on his chest and a dog tagging along. That was when I realized that trying to be one with the wild horses was crazy. Did this man know what he was doing? Even if the "baby" was camera equipment (I couldn't tell at that distance), this was an insane thing to do. I know I got carried away and wanted to get closer to the mustangs. I understood the feelings involved, the emotional responses... but walking up to the horses with a child and a loose dog? What was he thinking?
These horses are wild animals. Maybe he had done this before. Maybe he knew something I didn't, but this just seemed kind of crazy to me.

We went to JoAnn's and then Tuesday Morning in Carson City... and finally stopped for lunch at Shat's Bakery.
Oh my gosh. This is a wonderful bakery/ restaurant that you could follow the scent to. The wonderful aroma wafts out into the street. The food was delicious and the service slow... but it was a Saturday afternoon and very busy. If you are ever in Carson City, NV. check it out. They give you free cookies. When we asked about our lunch order, they gave us more cookies. Just a heads up. Complain and they compensate with cookies. Not bad!
We got into our cars filled to the brim and refreshed... then headed on down highway 395. We made one more stop at Fabric Chicks in Minden. Do you remember the post I did on this place?... the one with the really amazing bathroom?
Yes... this is part of their bathroom!
And all the amazing fabric and kits for making dolls?
And quilting supplies?
These photos are two years old. I swear, there is twice as much in the store now.
This store is eye candy for the fabric obsessed person who can't get enough of sewing, quilting and making dolls. They have everything. Some fabric and misc. items were bought. There was talk about taking a doll class from Elinor Peace Bailey again. Two of the group had taken classes from her last year and the dolls were wonderful.
 It was time to leave our wonderful retreat and go home.We said our goodbyes to each other and parted ways. MJ and I drove up over Carson Pass and down into California, winding our way back over the Sierras and into Amador County.
We got home in the late afternoon. MJ got in her truck and left for her home in Calaveras County. I took a nap... and the next day too. All that driving took its toll.
It was a wonderful retreat and every time I look at my felted slippers and my beautiful flower on its hat, I get a smile on my face.
It's not so much the accomplishment as it is the memories of a wonderful time with friends, new and old. It's about  laughing and having a good time, getting to know someone new and learning how to create.
It's a good feeling.
I still want a ranch in Nevada ,with some wild mustangs in the barn... but I may have to wait until my next life. I'm a little old for bucking broncos and being a horse whisperer. But I'm going to find a place where I can see these horses up close and personal. I'm sure there's a ranch (a real one) that makes this possible. Until I find out, I will just enjoy my life with my chickens and the Corgi Boys here on the mountain. The Prospector says I'm a dreamer... a "romantic". Maybe so. I have too many things I want to do in this lifetime. It's a beautiful blessing... this life. I think it's OK to always have a "I want to ..." in your head. It keeps you going in good directions and life doesn't get boring. It gives you something to look forward to.

Thanks Janice. You are a wonderful hostess and a generous person.We all had a great time.

Oh... and Happy Saint Patrick's Day to everyone.