Friday, November 15, 2013

Nice try Tate.

Two snowfalls are forecast for this weekend, sent down here by our friends up in Western Canada.
Yes, you.
You know who you are!
(Good thing I like snow, right?)
I am thinking the last of the fall colors will be done for in our garden after these storms. 

Surprisingly to me, our coral bark Japanese maple is still pumping out bold colors out in the north facing front of our house.

We only have one coral bark out front despite my oft stated request that we have at least three, and preferably five out there.
They tend to be rather spindly trees and so Bernie keeps putting me off saying he is waiting to until he can find robust specimens for us.
Me...I just want them for their red bark which looks so great in snow, and the vibrancy of the foliage, and I want them NOW.
(Good thing one of us is patient...)

My front window view includes our across the street's neighbors tree, where birds perching at sunset becomes a silhouette art form.

Snow has already fallen five times here.
The chrysanthmuns are none the worse for wear for being trimmed in the white fluff.

Kind of a pretty alternate look, yes?

Last snowfall left about two inches on our deck for the day.
Silly old Tate went out and raced up the ash tree, then when he stopped, he was apparently baffled by the snow.
Acted like he had never seen the stuff before.
(He's our one cat who routinely goes out to race around in the stuff when it is up to his shoulders.)

He mewed pitifully for help, easing a white socked paw down a few inches then backing back up again.

It was a total performance on his part.
I've seen him leap down from there without a blink many a time.
This time...oh the sad story of snow and cold and so scared.

This went on for quite awhile.

There was absolutely no way we were going to get out a ladder out on the snowy deck to "rescue" him, regardless of how sad he mewed.
Bernie and I watched for awhile then went inside for coffee.
Deprived of his audience, Tate scrambled down the tree and came inside too.

That last pictured above.
The two coming ones could drop a lot more snow according to the "special" weather statement for here.
Now this is a fine howdy doo.
Bernie is golfing in Charleston with his work buddies this weekend (and if it wasn't a "work" related weekend I would have gone to Charleston with him!)
I told him I was up to shoveling the driveway three times, and after that I plan to fire up our new snow blower.
He gave me directions on how to start it, directions that included references mechanical parts that I have never heard of before.
Oh oh.
Well, maybe I can plead to my son for assistance, using that "your old dear mother needs help" routine if need be.
(Tate isn't the only one who can do drama around here.)
Jeff's never used our new blower either. 
This could get really interesting!

So how does your weekend look?
Is Canada sending anything "special" your way?

PS:  This morning I was listening to a talk radio show where the hosts were quizzing folks about general topics.   When asked to name a country that began with the letter "C", one fellow named Syria.  
The other three people really struggled to come up with a country too.
 I think Croatia got named. 
I think Canada needs to do some more advertising in America?
Or is this snow a way to remind everyone about the big "C" country to our north?

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Four Hour Vacation

How long does a vacation have to be?
For Bernie and me, even a four hour get-away can be a perfect vacation jewel.
Scenes like this one does wonders for my mental and physical restoration.
Last Saturday, after a (currently rare) full week at home, Bernie and I jumped in our car and drove about 45 minutes away to this lovely state park.
We had the entire park to ourselves.
Even the ranger station booth was unattended.
The afternoon air was warm and still.
I walked along the shoreline in the slanting autumn light, enjoying the red glow created by the low sunlight on spearing withering grasses.

Bernie fished.
He knew it was unlikely that any fish would be caught; by November the fish are almost done feeding and are hunkered in deep for the upcoming winter season.
The exercise and practice of casting a line in such a sublime setting is its own reward.
The fish could slumber undisturbed.

As he moved between the running waters I explored the nearby meadows.

Monochromatic scenes, the browns of November, offer a patchwork of unique beauty.

There was a time when I would have entered the fields and harvested a handful of grasses and pods to create a dried grasses arrangement for my home.
This time I just harvested the grasses with my mind and camera.
The pictures will be added to my autumn digital photo frame slide show and will flash up randomly again to stir up the day's pleasant memories.

It is (mostly) easier to stay on the wooden pathways.
A fallen must have fallen fairly recently since the rangers are careful to keep the pathways cleared.

Shattered bark, now fallen away, reveals cryptic messages scrawled by hidden insects.

I wonder if my camera will capture the gilded edges of the grasses.
Each blade sparkles as it shivers.

Spent flowers appear gilded in silver and gold.
A trio of thin ladies with feathery hats observe me as I kneel to capture their pose?
Flower fairies always wear hats!

I squint at one tree.
The willowy branches sport q-tip sized cottony buds.
Has our snow/warmth/snow/warmth October weather pattern fooled them into believing spring is near?

Passing an open field I see that we are not alone.

White rumped mule deer have come out to feed with their young.

The rump, tail tip and ear tip whites glow against the shadowy thickets.

The waning Hunter moon above us may warn the deer to be wary.
They eye me repeatedly as they feed, then slip away from view silently.

Looking skyward, I scan tree tops for nests.
Feather trim and mossy bits still festoon the abandoned avian home.
It still looks cozy to me...

In a neighboring tree a different kind of bird once busily wove this nest.
Sling like, it hangs beneath the branches, unlike its neighbor's architecture, which sat firmly above within a branch joining.
I feel a jolt of a happiness whenever I spy a bird's nest, a thrill akin to finding a coin on the pavement or a first flower in bloom.

The sun lowered and as it sank the temperatures fell.
I pushed my hands into my pockets and headed back to our car.

The birds were heading home.
Bernie returned to our car moments later, commenting that it was indeed getting colder.
The seat warmer would feel good in our car.
(I laughed when he pulled off his waders and realized he had donned them over thermal silks.
Apparently he got ready to go fishing so fast he forgot to toss in a pair of regular pants too.
We won't be stopping at our favorite local restaurant for dinner this time!)

How fast the sky colors in autumn!

Car headlights form lighted strings around us as we head home.
Our short fulfilling holiday ended at home, with us sitting before the fire, cozy, reading books and being very glad for the hours when we can be together.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Native Elder Weaving Show

Navajo Grandmas, even in their nineties, still produce income for their families via their weaving skills.
These grandmas (are they sweet looking?) were sisters and I got to see some of their work last Sunday at the Adopt a Native Elder weaving show up in Deer Valley.
I drove up to the Deer Valley ski resort where the show was held after dropping Bernie off at the airport (again...he's been gone more than at home a lot lately.)

It felt like a Native American version of a quilt show.
The weaving were hung on the knotty pine walls of the Deer Valley Lodge, or stacked on tables.
The weavers often were seated at the table or below the weaving.
I really liked this bird themed weaving.

Each year the Native Elders are given a theme to tackle in a weaving.
This year it was "Winter".
The show began on Friday and the wall where the Winter themed weaving were hung was already pretty thinned out.
That was great news; the sale of a weaving can make a huge difference to an Elder Native and her family.

An over view of one room.
The Christmas tree had "adoptable" elders with their needs list and their photo.

It took me a bit to get acclimated as there was so much to see.
The Native Elders wore their native garb and jewelry, so I was looking at that (and trying not to just gawk and stare...some of their jewelry was amazing.)

The weavings ranged from around $200 and up to $6,000.
Naturally I fell in love with a lot of them.
A lot of resorts and businesses buy the weaving and install them with proper lighting and display.
I can't think of a better way to decorate: helping Native people while also displaying their work where many people can enjoy the work.

This was a whimsical surprise.
I do know that there is reason for symbols in weavings so I wondered why one of these weavings had feathers while the other had a different motif.

The one with the three figures appealed to me color wise, while the four women together appealed to me thematically.

I wish now I had been more bold and had asked the weavers to explain their weavings.
There must be something special going on with this line of people.

This weaving was the star of the show as far as I was concerned.
The lady showing it is not the weaver, but she explained that it is the story about a wedding between two tribes.
The wedding takes place in a V shaped area, while the edges flow with images of sea, sky, forests and plant life.
It would look awesome above my couch downstairs.
(If I had $6000 plus dollars for decorating that space.)
Actually it would be so wrong to not have this elegant piece in public display somewhere.
I hope some business buys it at over the stated priced.

Everyone loves a wedding...
I asked if the weaver had been inspired by a wedding in her own family.
The lady didn't know.

Hogans/cars/modern life mixed with Native life in this colorful weaving.
Any toddler would be fascinated at all the images.
(And this 59 year old was fascinated too...)

There was a weaving demonstration and children were invited to give weaving a try.
Happily more and more Native people are taking up traditional weaving; the original "grandmas" are now teaching their sons and daughters and their grandchildren as well.

It was fun seeing the velvet skirts and tops on the ladies.
When I was about five years old my family took a vacation to Arizona and visited "Navajo" country.
I saw women dressed in the velvet skirts and tops back then.
Fifty years later...the same style, same fabric, same outfits are still being worn.
I have to wonder what they wear around the Hogan though.
The native garment looks comfortable...but perhaps jeans or sweats work better for weaving and sheep tending and gardening and such.

Any time someone purchased a weaving a picture with the weaver was in order.
Don't you love her proud smile?

I loved this piece too.
There is so much animation in the figures I found myself kind of bouncing along as I looked at it.

A nice little display explaining the natural dye sources that the weavers use.
There are a lot of sheep herds around Utah so wool is plentiful.
Going from sheep to rug is a big process though.
There were huge yarn balls for sale to be given to a Native Elder to weave during the winter, as not all weavers can afford the cost of the yarn themselves.
There were also other charitable could donate food packs, blanket packs, shoes for kids and so on.
I hope their 2014 show was a huge success!
They do have an on-line store HERE where you can see more of their weaving.
Buying on line is fine, but buying from a weaver who hands the weaving over to you in person...not sure electronic purchase can match that experience.
No wonder folks love going to the Native Elder weaving show to purchase the Navajo weaving from the weavers in person.