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Out the window Thursday night...

We live in the upper desert, and we get the wildest sunsets.  I noticed this out my dining room window and grabbed the camera and ran outside.  The weirdness of these shots are just stunning.  The line radiating upwards to the top left is actually a shadow of the rocky outcropping. 

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Minutes later

Just beautiful.  I had never seen this shadow before, so it was a treat for sure.

Last burst of color

 

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Last shot

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Just in from the writer’s conference in Surrey BC.  What a MAGNIFICENT opportunity this was !  Well run, excellent presenters,  good food.   Best of all, I learned so much there, it was just wonderful.   I had nice comments on the pages I brought, and I am ready to roll up my sleeves and get back to work .  While there, I came up with the best twist for my story, and I am very happy with it.  I shared it with a couple of friends and they were good with it.  I can see how a writers group is helpful for giving suggestions, pointers or whatever. 

Need to go unpack and get back into the swing of things here – wind blowing a bit too strongly.  When I feed in wind like this the horses have to chase their dinner down before it blows away.   I always feel sorry for them when the weather is crummy.

Time to go put another log on the fire ! Enjoy the rest of the day !

The writer’s conference is coming up.  In BC.  The last time I was in BC, my carry on was a 1969 VW camper bus.  No weight or size limitations.  Good way to travel (the best in my opinion !)  So, now I am flying up, and I have to take essentials.  Great.  Now we deal with things like size, can it be stowed under the seat in front of you ? My purse/bag/computer shoulder killer will – but what to use as the carry on bag………hmmmm.   I have a suitcase that fits the dimensions actually, and I know of no reason I can’t take it as my carry-on.  Do you ? 

A friend posted this link to this YouTube video.  Love it !  http://bit.ly/VnHZH   It reminds me of the road they “grooved” to play music as people traveled along.  Wonder what happened to that stretch of highway ?  Oh well, lots of questions, and not enough time or coffee to think on now.

Enjoy the day !

I understand spin class.  It is like using the TurboTrainer.  Bolt on your training bike and ride in place.  Usually with music plugged into your ears……but today, I find a “new to me” class.  Not that I am anywhere nearby, but I “follow” Bob Harper on Twitter.  Bob is one of the trainers on Biggest Loser.  He tweeted that he is teaching a spin class at a gym called Crunch.  In looking up Crunch, I not only find it is in the “big” cities, it has it’s share of …….well, interesting classes noted.  In looking through the “action sports” class list for Bob’s class, I see this:

Spectrum Ride  “Spectral Journeys takes you through a meditative Ride class in a room illuminated with a rainbow of colors to enhance your focus on each of the seven chakras.”

Really ?  Oh my I have been away from Los Angeles for tooooo long apparently !  And I thought it was all about just riding for fitness ! What do I know ??

Never did figure out exactly what Bob is teaching………not that it matters.

Ok, on that note, back outside to work on – well everything !

Indian summer day it seems, enjoy !

Do not spill espresso on the stovetop.

Do NOT spill espresso on the stovetop !!

Got that ???

I am now known for drinking my coffee black and admittedly strong.  I love my Bialetti stovetop espresso maker.  It is now several years old, and I have gone through a few gaskets for it.  I chanced upon an aluminum knock off of my Bialetti at the Albertson’s in Port Orchard on our vacation.  It cost ten bucks, and I could NOT pass that up.  It has interchangeable gasket and filter with my older one.  The older one gets pissy sometimes, and clogs it’s steam valve on occasion……at least that is what I believe is up with it.  I had stuck the new pot’s gasket and filter in and been using it.  I chanced upon a bag of Starbucks Espresso coffee…….already ground, not too fine, just perfect.  Ah !  Wonderful coffee.  So, this am, I put it together and went and got on the phone with my sister, who btw is doing very well at her brain rehab place.   Folks, never, and I mean NEVER take anything for granted where life, breathing and function are concerned.  This has been hair raising at times (like for 13 days until her brain began to function more normally).  It can happen to you !  It can happen to your loved ones ! Everyone, please be careful out there, especially in moving vehicles.  Ok, end of PSA – back to the coffee.  So, the steam valve didn’t function, and I began to smell the aroma of toasting coffee ………oh great.  I disassembled it when I was on the phone, with my oven mitts.  THOUGHT I got it sliding again, and put it back together and on the flame.   A bit of time later, toasting coffee aroma again.  So, I was off the phone by then, and took it apart and gracefully dumped the top over, spilling  half an inch of coffee over the stove and the top of my baking center to the side…………….aghhh.  I took off the mitts, got into my boots and left the mess until I had fed the horses and checked on mom.  Once I returned I made the most bothersome discovery – spilled, dried espresso is roughly the same as wood stain.  Talk about hard to remove !  So, half an hour later, kitchen is clean once again, coffee gasket and filter were switched.  Coffee done to perfection and now  it is approaching eleven o’clock and I am finally drinking my coffee instead of working on making it or cleaning it up ! Oh yes, and eating breakfast. At almost eleven. Ugh.

So much to do before I go to the conference.  I do take time to breathe and relax……..and enjoy the turning colors of the leaves on the trees.  The neighbors trees are bright yellow now, the tree down the road is yellow and showing red as well.  Just beautiful. 

Enjoy the day !

The wind is blowing – and since this is the high desert, we have dust.

And sand.

Blowing dirt.

LOTS of blowing dirt.

So, if it is blowing, stay inside !!!!!

But I can’t, I have to go retrieve a tarp for my woodpile.  That is on the list of things to get done before the monsoon hits later today.  I got lost on the internet here, and it is warm inside.  Well, no doubt it is warm outside as well, but oh bother, I guess I just have to get going.  An old friend of mine, a retired jockey Tom Chapman is a top rate painter.  Now he is painting birds.  Here is a link to his site, check it out. 

http://www.chapman-arts.com   Look at the song birds 🙂

Racehorses, humor and now birds.  He is a great guy and I am so glad that he is doing so well with his art.  Very gifted. 

Stay dry and inside if the wind is blowing ! I can’t so someone should be able to !

Been working hard on getting things done here – I am going to be gone for a few days to the writers conference soon.  Plus, winter is fast approaching.  Since I grew up in Southern California…..this has been a learning experience in every sense.  Animal care is different.  House maintenance is different.  Yard care is different.  We actually do a lot of things to get ready for the winter…….the snows…….and the freezes………Even after seven years, I learn something new each time the seasons come to an abrupt change.

Anyway… moving right along……….this is funny now, and it really wasn’t dangerous, so keep that in mind.  Earlier in the evening, I got the fire going. That was fine. Then I decided I would put in wood for the night. Once again, fine. Except for the fact that both pieces of wood were tinder dry……… and created a fire the likes that I have NEVER seen before – not in our fireplace at least 🙂  It was ok, just a bit alarming. I could see flashes of flame in the stove pipe where the flap for the flue is inset… as high as my head……..OMG.  Into my boots once again and out of the house like a shot.  Got the hose on because as I feared,  there were embers escaping for a short time and so I stood watch with the hose after I watered down the roof.  The broken top part of the chimney on the roof created a monster draft it seems.   None of the embers lit anywhere, and the house is still intact this am, but what an eye opener ! And I had gotten into bed so nicely tucked in……then thought, that is some noise…..and OOPS !   I called my son, he  came out and watched with me, by the time he scooted into his shoes and outside, there were no more embers. I did however get to see a shooting star while I was watching the chimney and roof 🙂  Needless to say, I won’t do THAT again !  Having a pile of dry wood is a novelty to me, I usually have to really work to get something going and keep it going.  The chimney sweep will return this week with a cap for the chimney.  He told me to go ahead and use the stove – and while I am fairly sure this has happened in the past, we always had a tall terra cotta top…….so, disaster averted, and I was off to bed again.

As I sit here, I hear the sandhill cranes flying over.  They make such an interesting noise, kind of a bubbling quacking sound.  I can hear them coming from over by the lake as they go do whatever cranes do at this time of year.  The small finches outside are busy, there are scores of white crown sparrows now.  I saw a hummingbird not long ago.  Refreshes my soul, I love the birds and seeing them during their migration is always so interesting.

Have a fun Saturday all !

The chimney sweep came to work on our stove late yesterday.  Only here in the middle of nowhere would this be an event 🙂  It was much anticipated, especially since the temps have been dipping below freezing already.  This sweep fellow is interesting.  No, he does not wear black clothing or a top hat.  He wears a pale grey snap on oversuit and a baseball hat.  And ski glasses (he is a now retired ski patrol expert person).  He had back surgery last year and I heard all about that.  He is a bit talkative, but more importantly, he does good work, and fixed several things on my stove.  Being a stove novice, I had no idea about this front grate being adjustable.  Which it is.  Which now means I can put the cool wire grate on top of it and leave the door open if I would like so we can see the fire.  Nice.  Very handy fellow.  On the not so good aspect of the visit, last year he repaired the terra cotta extension on the roof with a heat resistant glue of some sort.  While it looked good still, there was a new crack in it.  Once he started to ease the chimney brush into it, POOF !  It fell into about six pieces,  slid off the roof and crashed on the ground at my feet.   Which means I need another type of cap.  He will get it and bring it by one day soon. He will install it so the weather won’t bother the rest of the remaining terra cotta……. and I can pay him next month.  He said he would rather get it done now and just have me pay him later.  Much appreciated, I am already sweating this month’s money – especially with travel on the horizon.

Since we no longer have many goats, I have a number of panels that I used for fencing that I am going to sell.  I hope it is going to work out so I can get some pocket cash for my trip in TWO WEEKS !  OMG.  Carol, I hope you are ready for this ! 

Best get busy, hope you all are staying warm !

Now here we have a 14″  Starbucks neon light.  I absolutely love this.  I love neon, but never had seen something that I would actually put up.  I would hang this in my kitchen.  My kitchen is so small it would light up  the whole room. Ha !  It is currently selling on eBay, here is the link 

http://tiny.cc/lkJr2

Silly, yes, but hey, we have had a rough time of it lately !  In only a few weeks, I will hop a plane to BC and go to the Surrey writers conference.  I have to get organized for that too……..but life is fun.  Much better now that my sister in on the improve 🙂

Little Girl November 2008

Little Girl November 2008

No, I don’t mean the cat – but she does have a lot of meaning and does have some useful qualities.  I put her photo up because 1. she is my favorite cat and 2. I found this photo when I was looking for photos of fallen lilac leaves from two years ago…..oh, guess that answers that – my cat is only a year and  a half old….wrong year !  Oh well.  Today has been interesting – I had packed a number of boxes in anticipation of moving several years ago.  Now, since the bottom of the housing market fell out, we are still here.  That is another whole blog, which you are likely not to read anytime soon.  Back to the boxes.  I had bought a pair of tall UGG like boots and put them away.  Well, I wanted to find them (and **gasp** WEAR them) this winter.  Bingo, in the first box I opened.  Next box ? Two miniature horse blankets that I knew I had…………somewhere……….why not think they have been in the corner of the living room next to the propane stove ?  Ah ha !  Sadly packed away the shells my son and I collected in Port Orchard a couple of years ago……..this is a tiny house, and we just don’t have the space to display anything really.  That’s ok, we will get moved sooner than later and will have them out then.  Sounds good.

I have 3 tons of grass hay, which currently is blocking my view out the back window over by the barn in back.  It is good hay, it won’t kill my horses who have been having a time of it with supposedly not hot alfalfa.  Just a bit of colic, just enough to know they are off, and not enough to grab the phone for the vet.  I have Banamine on hand, and use it when they need it, but mostly we have dodged the bullet on THAT nightmare.  Colic.  Don’t even think about it. 

I like feeding grass hay better anyway.  Messy, and once the horses get over giving me the “you want me to eat THIS ???” look, it is quite low key.  Much appreciated.  I guess I should get back to work.  I talked to my sister this morning, and while still talking a blue streak, she was asking on target questions.  Much improved over such a short period of time.  Good thing.  Been difficult this last two weeks.  Very glad to get her to neuro rehab and starting to get back on her feet – literally and figuratively.

Fall in the air – love it !