Yes, Virginia, Snow Falls Sometimes in Taos

About a week ago it snowed six inches in my neck of the woods, Talpa. I took an early morning loop around the property and enjoyed the sugar coated frosting effect on the familiar landscape. It was soft and pretty and quietly peaceful. Wasn’t enough to cause trouble and hardly required the use of a snow shovel, although I had my Idaho mountain shovel handy by the door just in case. The neighbor just to the east of us keeps llamas. I think there are three there now. They like to have their pictures taken, so I oblige.

This is a pear tree on the property growing next to the driveway to my house. The house you can see here is in front of mine, closer to the road. I have photographed this tree in different seasons but this one in snow is a first and I love how the snow on the branches makes their angled shapes even more dramatic. When I came to Taos to look for a house early last spring there were no leaves on any trees. Coming from evergreen country I fell into a swoon over all the bare deciduous tree branches. They seemed to be telling a story about bridging from earth to the big sky with their expressive reaching.

Beautiful in any season, we have the old orchard with the road through it. Oddly that morning no cars had marked the road to the landlord’s house at the end. Perhaps they were out of town. This increased my sense of pleasure in the walk, the illusion that I was uniquely alone in my appreciation of this magically transformed scene. I had on my Sorel snow boots so felt free to roam around freely among the trees looking for camera stories.

I’m guessing red apples still clinging to the tree branches. Eight months ago each apple was a small flower. Interesting how we call them apple blossoms, same as “cherry blossoms.” Nice old fashioned word, blossom. These fruits were not so high they couldn’t be reached. By the end of the season the amount of fruit, especially apples, becomes overwhelming and it can’t all be picked. A couple of times toward the end of the season I picked apples and peeled and chopped them up to make a chunky applesauce, which I enjoyed for weeks out of a jar kept in the refrigerator. I guess canning would be the way to go if you wanted to get serious. I played with it, I made something good and enjoyed it while it lasted.

This I took the next day in Santa Fe around noon. I was meeting a friend of a friend at The Teahouse on Canyon Road for an astrology reading. I parked a block or so away and took photos as I walked along. As most people know Canyon Road in Santa Fe is a long and charming narrow street of old adobe homes converted long ago to art galleries.

My first experience of it was many years ago looking for the Artisan Art store. Not a great location for parking as I recall, but the finest art store I had ever laid eyes on. It’s now relocated to a less charming location with lots of parking. I bought some pastels and appropriate paper and traveled to Ghost Ranch. I stayed there on retreat for several days playing with my art supplies. I tried to see the landscape through the eyes of Georgia O’Keefe.

It was my first time going to The Teahouse. They, by the way, have a nice little website which you can easily find using Google. I watched their introductory video the night before and the owner, whom I recognized from it, was right there near the counter when I walked in. She says she really enjoys experimenting with combining ingredients for the various teas she offers. I went with “regular chai latte” and was deeply rewarded. We sat near a corner kiva fireplace that was burning appropriately for the “snow day.” Amen to all that and happy holidays, snow or no.

Taos La Nina Landscape

When I anticipated the winter here in Taos I pictured, well, let’s face it, snow. This photo was taken last week, on my way to town via Maestas Road. Lately the weather has been warm and dry. The answer my friend is “La Nina.” I was talking to a shopkeeper in Taos a couple of days ago who was raised in the ranch life here. She stated it as a fact and a lightbulb went off in my head. I found a nice website that shows projected maps and such: La Nina Drought Tracker.

This lovely scene is the reservoir along Maestas Road just east of the cemetery. I learned about it from a woman I met who used to walk her dog there regularly. She said she had to stop because the water got so low she didn’t want her dog getting in it. Maybe it was murky mud by then? This was my first look at it and a fine illustration for this blog about an expected drought this winter.

For those of you not sure where the heck Maestas Road is…it connects between the far end of Talpa on 518 (the High Road) east over to the hospital and ultimately to Canyon. I live near the 518 end of it and usually take it up to Hwy. 68 and on into Taos. But if I’m in a mood for some slower driving and better scenery I head across Maestas. The photo above I took as a bow to the last vestiges of the yellow Chimasa that bloomed so brightly this year along the road. Notice little, if any, snow on the Sangre de Christo Mountains in the distance.

And this mysterious photo shows the remaining stems and leaves of last summer’s morning glories. I arranged for the ones in the foreground to climb up some small trees in the backyard. The ones in the left lower corner were grown in a more conventional tipi of sticks. I was tempted to remove the “dead” remains of both but have discovered I am enjoying looking out the back window and watching to see how they will break down through the winter. A little snow would hasten the process no doubt.

That bell was an existing part of the yard decor when I moved in and it rings whenever there’s a good breeze. I have become very fond of it’s simple but effective design and placement, not to mention the sound it makes. The horizontal pole behind it was just too tempting not to hang somewhere dramatic. It connects two groups of small trees that lean toward one another over it, with the bell at the center. Yard art.

As I write this tonight we are getting some sparse snow down in the Taos valley. Maybe I’ll leave the window open a crack and not run the humidifier. Moisture is a good thing.

Taos Folk. @ Stables Gallery

Once again the Stables Gallery marches into the spotlight of my Taos blog with another compelling art event, a holiday market of local crafts. It claims that everything is made by Taos “hands and hearts.” They even have a website! www.taosfolk.com. The story is that four women got together and conceived the idea and this is their first attempt at such a project. There is talk about doing it again next year.

I apologize for not identifying the artists who made the objects I photographed. I just wanted to share my enthusiasm for the quality and the diversity I found there. You’ll have to go there to figure it out. Also I might add that the arrangement of the space, including the craft objects, was the work of a woman in the interior design profession. It really shows.

After the strenuous adventure of having a booth for three days at the Taos Yuletide fair over the Thanksgiving weekend I was looking around town for a place to sell my own holiday crafts. The owner of Moxie, Katie Thomas, recommended I go over to the Stables Gallery and show the organizers of Taos Folk what I had. This meeting went very well and I am now part of it. I’m selling mostly encaustic tree ornaments and cards. So all the more reason to visit this lively holiday market.

Now I’ve never had a buckwheat neck pillow but these beauties in silk made it look like a very attractive idea.

The woman who seems to be taking the role of leader among the organizers is Georgia Page. She can be reached at 613-3697. I found all the women working there to be very upbeat and dedicated to their inspired project. They offer to gift wrap and also had gift baskets and/or stockings available for stuffing. And what better way to both enjoy local products and know you were supporting local crafts people? On a couple of occasions I was there for over an hour, attaching price stickers and adding my own product tags. Both times I heard praise from shoppers for the aesthetics of the space and the high quality of the crafts. Very positive energy. It’s really a celebration of the creativity inspired by the season.

And so, you might ask, what’s the big deal here? Yes, I’m devoting an entire blog to one art event. For me it has been very emotionally nurturing to both see this high quality show and to be accepted into the unofficial association of Taos craft-makers.

Taos Folk is not designed for tourists! According to Georgia they will likely never find this venue as they seem to have problems locating Stables Gallery. Thus this is more of a locals event. And I hope that helps as a description without insulting anyone reading this blog. Tourists would certainly be welcome and appreciated!

One of my offerings, a Corn Mother tree ornament. There are also ornaments designed as hearts, a “true heart” angel and a spiral hand.