Saturday, July 31, 2010


I know for most in the Northern Hemisphere the word, August, is synonymous with sultry and hot.  But in the northern Rockies, August is the one month when we may need a.c. and is the only month I've not seen snow fall. It is the time when the fields are lush, the skies are blue and the dark cold of winter seems far away.  I wrote this poem long ago, but it still is true.


Before we reach December
When the ground is heaped with snow,
Before the wind blows daily
And it’s ten degrees below,

I want to capture August
In the middle of a dawn;
Press it fast between two pages,
Now, before the charm is gone.

Like a giant cardboard backdrop
Stand the mountains in the east.
Cattle cast long-legged shadows

As they nibble at a feast.

On the wide and churning river
Deep waves sparkle ridge on ridge.
One can almost hear Vivaldi
As they roll beneath the bridge.

Fields of wheat, lime colored,
Sway in rhythm, hand in hand.
All the birds sing in the choir.
Summer breeze plays in the band.

A spider shakes the dew drops
From her tiny trampoline.
Meadows, trees and cattails
And the grass and leaves glow green.

When I’m thawing by a fire,
When my toes are frozen numb,
I’ll recall this August morning;
Taste the air and feel the sun.

Spider web photo borrowed from Public Domain Images

And that makes Blog Post number 300!

Thursday, July 29, 2010


According to The Hummingbird Site the ancient Aztec Gods of Sun and War were called the "Hummingbird Wizards".   These were the patron gods of the Aztecs.   The Aztec warriors believed when they were killed in battle, they would return as hummingbirds.   Aztec royalty and religious leaders were the only ones allowed to wear hummingbird feathers.   They would adorn their kings with capes made from hummingbird skins.  

This leads one to wonder how the capes were made.  How were the mystical birds captured?  How many thousands were killed just to make a king feel superior? And—if the birds were reincarnated warriors--the poor guys had to die twice for their leaders.  But I digress.

Hummingbirds truly are magic.  They are probably the source of stories of pixies and wood sprites.

When I saw them visiting the feeder at my daughter’s house I spent an hour or so stalking the little creatures with my camera.  I came home with photos like this:

and promptly went home and hung up a feeder at my house.  No takers. None.  I saw a few flit through my flower garden, but the eatery was shunned.

The other day I was up to my neck in my rose garden ripping out the wild morning glory that was strangling my beauties.  I was sweating and grimy and generally ticked off with weeds.  I heard the chirp even before I heard the zoom-zoom.  A little female hummer danced around me as I watched her methodically sip from every blossom on a stalk of larkspur.  For several minutes I stood still in the hot sun and absorbed her enchantment before she disappeared.

Yesterday morning I was in my pajamas looking out my kitchen window when I again saw a hummingbird visiting my larkspurs.  I nearly choked on my OJ.  Then I grabbed my camera and aimed it through the window as I tried to follow her about the flower garden.  Thank heavens for my Nikor 70-300 autofocus lens with vibration reduction.  Without my glasses I had no idea of anything was in focus. 

In the end I came up with these.  MAGIC.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


On the way to Logan, Utah last Saturday

we took the scenic route through the Cache Valley.  Farmers there were finishing up their first cutting of hay.  It was a beautiful sight for a transplanted farm girl--

who got her tan on an old ford tractor without a cab. It pulled a hay rake all day across wonderfully scented, fresh cut alfalfa.  A person could sing as loud as they wanted and would only scare a few birds and mice. 

At that time, decades ago, most hay was harvested into fifty to eighty pound bales--just the right size to be handled by young men working to build up muscles for the football season.

Like most farmers now, the Cache Valley growers were packing their hay into much larger bales meant to be moved about by fork lifts.

We saw lots of round bales--

and plenty of the big block bales all ready to be gathered in; either for sale or to be stored for cattle feed.

In a few places the bales were cleared.  There the shaved fields were getting a shower from sprinkler irrigation.  This area doesn't receive enough rain to keep crops alive.  It would be a desert without the help of irrigation from canals and wells.

Sunday, July 25, 2010


The twenty-fourth of July is a state holiday in Utah.  It is the commemoration of the day in 1847 when pioneers reached the Salt Lake Valley after two years of travel by covered wagon from the banks of the Mississippi River.

Salt Lake City celebrates big time.  Thousands line the streets to watch The Days of Forty Seven Parade as people march by dressed in everything from frontier garb to kilts.  There are elaborate floats, beautiful girls, dignitaries, politicians, marching bands, posses of tricked out horses with riders in full gear, plus more and then some.  It is one of the largest and oldest parades in the United States.

Instead of joining the throngs in the hot city we drove two and a half hours to Logan, Utah to celebrate the day with family there.

Logan's parade was an excellent one.
Descendants of frontier stock gathered along the route with their families.

The color guard was made up of the local volunteer fire department.

Members of the community band




And the marching band from Napoleon Dynamite's alma mater.

Perhaps--Napoleon and Pedro's younger brothers?

After the parade we followed the crowd to the shady park for more fun.

The Fuller Boys were there to entertain us with a full show of cowboy music.

Everyone was invited to join them in a  yeehaw rendition of  "Boot Scootin' Boogie."

The air was filled with the smokin' flavor of barbecue.

...and hot dogs.

Don't forget the funnel cakes.

Her Majesty requested cotton candy.

She wasn't about to share.

Even if it WAS a little overwhelming.

Nap time.

To make a long story--
which would include the part about me winning at Bingo, and coming in second in a bubble gum bubble contest--
short (sort of) we had a terrific time.  The day ended with more food
 and fireworks.