Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Concerts on the San Juan River

The San Juan River is lovely in October.   Very cold at night, but in the high sixties in the day time. The trees are turning and the skies are a brilliant blue.  
 Spending time with friends on the river is always wonderful, but on this most recent of my river adventures, we had a group of musicians with us...
Richard on the left, Al in the middle and Mike on the left

 Almost everyone (not me) on the trip had beautiful voices and the campfire concerts were truly wonderful.  Although the coyotes....
 did not choose to join us, they apparently felt raising their voices in song at 2:00 a.m. would be a joyful reprise.

Which woke up the geese who joined into the cacophany, and if it had not been too cold, I would have added my ululation to the group, but instead snuggled back under my two sleeping bags and gave thanks for this opportunity to be so close to God's creation.
And for my friend Steve over at An Urban Cottage, a little reminder of his childhood visits to Monument Valley...

Sadly, there were no small Navajo children herding sheep as it was a school day when we took off the river.  

The food was not too shabby either!
Appetizer of salmon salad, french bread, nuts, and homegrown zucchini
Grilled Salmon & Vegetable kabobs accompanied by homegrown tomatoes made into a Caprese salad...all flown in with the permit holders from their home in Alaska.

Thursday, October 24, 2013


Did you read comic books as a child?  My parents banned comics except for road trips.  Since we took a lot of road trips, I, fortunately, read a lot of comics!  My favorites were super hero themed although I also like the Archie comics.  Since I loved comics, it was with delight, years ago that I met Nathan Butler, a comic book illustrator.

Nathan spent many years drawing for Disney, and many of the comic book publishers, but when he married my friend, Susan, he became active in Christian ministry, singing in the choir, teaching Sunday School and sharing his artistic gift in Bible story telling  while drawing them.  At some point Nathan felt the Lord was calling him share the Word of God with the wider world. At first, he looked for publishers to help him print and disseminate comic books based on the Bible.  It quickly became apparent, however, that cultural norms were preventing the most effective message from being shared, so Nathan began to train artists in various countries to write and draw the comics themselves.

On Saturday evening, Nathan will be sharing stories of his ministry.  If you are in Albuquerque your presence and possible financial support would be a blessing to this highly effective evangelism effort.

Nathan is hoping to be able to expand the ministry into several new areas...

Mini skeletons for Halloween

I love Autumn with its cool crisp air, and many celebrations.  First comes the state fair in September and all the outdoor farmers' markets are roasting chiles. 

Then late in September the sky is filled with hot air balloons as the pilots practice for the Balloon Fiesta held in early October.  This year it was estimated that over 700,000 people flocked to Albuquerque to see the 550 colorful shapes highlighted against the state's stunning blue skies.  As you might imagine, the folks who live here are just a little smug about so many days of high spirits...for who can see a sky full of balloons without breaking out in a silly grin?

Then a three day holiday for Columbus Day and finally the much anticipated orgy of candy and costumes.

I adored Halloween as a child.  Loved the dressing up, loved the candy, even loved (just a little) being scared.  I have been madly pinning great decorations on Pinterest, but I honestly don't think I will get around to doing most of them.  We live in an isolated location with several miles of challenging dirt roads before you arrive at my house, so it has to be an occasion for my friends to visit.

So I sublimate my desire to go all out with holiday decorations by creating miniatures...

Miniature Vignette made for Honedukes last year.

 and by decorating the tables for our ministry to our older congregants at St. Mark's, called "Celebrities."  Here are the tables (for some reason I just hate that new word, "tablescape" used by all the professional decorators...kind of reminds me of the paper mache' mountains I made for geography class) that I decorated for the October gathering.
I picked up these little skeletons from the Dollar Store.  If you heat them a bit, you can bend them into the shapes you want.  For a tutorial, click here.

Or you can dress them...
Image and  tutorial via
Image and tutorial via
Or turn then into little trophies if you are holding a costume contest.

This year I played around with creating a miniature vignette for the Dia De Los Muertos ofrenda that we construct every year at St. Mark's for All Saints Day.
This photo box that I purchased from Michael's will be the backdrop for the scene. 

 In the Dia De Los Muertos tradition, families take a picnic to the graveyard to spend the day with their departed loved ones, so I found some spooky images of graveyards online to line the box.  Next up was posing the little skeletons.  I decided on a mariachi band and began.

To be honest, I had a little trouble with the bending part.  Thinking it would be easier to dress her, I cut the arms off of the female figure and had to re-glue them onto the body.  I do not recommend this technique!  Since I had already dressed the body, I had to keep trying different glues to re-attach the arms.  Finally resorted to a hot glue gun which is holding.

Like many of my projects, I  wondered "WHAT WAS I THINKING!" several times before I finished this one.  But complete it I did and here are some photos...
Calavera Fiesta

Tiny sugar skull and bone cookies on the piano

Taking a break
The guitar player is wearing tiny leather pants that I sewed from some scraps that my friend and fellow artist, Vicki Nowark, shared with me.  Just had to add the clock to reinforce the "Time Theme."
Blowing his horn made from a tiny little decorative pin that was my grandmothers.  I left the pin back on it so that it can be removed and worn someday by granddaughters.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

River Gear

Packing for a river trip is my least favorite of activities.  There are piles of fleece clothing to be stuffed into dry bags.  The meat needs to be cooked and frozen, the rest of the ingredients packed by meal so that everything can be found in a dry box.  The lists of equipment are stored in the computer, but everything changes by trip as group gear is assigned.  We are usually asked to take the kitchen box which holds plates, bowls, cups, and silverware for sixteen, pots and pans, knives, potholders, paper towels, Ziplock bags, trash bags, oil, flour, sugar, and the spices.   Even though we usuallly wash and put everything back in the box at the end of the last trip, my husband is always sure it needs to be re-done before we leave again.

But the really important other stuff must find a place in a dry bag or dry box as well.  Things like yarn and knitting needles...

Teaching the next generation to knit.

Joanne's summer project.
Brittany and Sarah learning by looking.
 Things like cameras...
Vicki digging for her knitting, Peter with camera safely hanging at the ready on his chair.

Things like books...

And journals...

Things like water color supplies...

IPods,  IPads, Digital gaming devices rarely show up.  While some of our techie folks carry solar chargers for their camera batteries, river time is considered too sacred to spend with a device.  It may be the one place where no ones' phone rings during dinner!

 So here is my question for you.  "Would  you be happy to leave behind your technology for a few days, for a week, or for (gasp!) a month?  And what would you consider important enough to pack and carry for a trip?

Friday, October 11, 2013

Emergency Harvest

My middle daughter laughingly calls her home outside of Clark, CO, the "Clarktic Circle."  On a recent visit, we drove home from our afternoon of self-indulgence at the Rocky Mountain Day Spa and snow began to fall. No snow tires on the car, the garden in full glory, and the hanging baskets too heavy to move!  Hustling around, we picked all the ripe tomatoes, the cucumbers and the basil.
 The garlic had been harvested a few day before and was ready to be peeled after soaking in water.  The next day we woke up to a fairy land snow scene...
 Deck Time Curtailed!

Fortunately, the carrots, beets, and greens survived the night under their caps of snow, snuggled in their hot houses.  

Even the petunias seem ready to recover from their brief flirtation with freezing.
While my daughter was at work, I finished peeling the garlic and made many batches of pesto to freeze for the winter. Not sure I would like to live in a place where winter comes the third week of September!