Trip to Ketchum, Idaho

I used to live in this house in Ketchum. Looking back I realize it marked an important time for me in two ways. I was very happy there and at the time I was “working” as a “granny nanny” to my granddaughter and we share many happy memories of our times together there. Secondly it was there I began the process of becoming a fine artist. I started out exploring oil painting (which I still love) and ended up doing mixed media art (and oils) on wood panels.

I took the photo from Ananda’s yard, looking up the hill. He is an old friend and when I lived there we were also neighbors. He admired my gardening efforts and would  walk through my back yard on his way to work at the nearby juice bar he owned. Now the tables are turned and in his retirement he has focused on gardening with amazing results.

Here’s a photo of one of his garden areas. It speaks for its self. There were lots of the wild raspberries that do so well in Ketchum here and there and ripe for the picking. He’s built himself a tower of sorts, he calls his “tree house,” used for sleeping outdoors. When I lived in the green house above none of this existed. It’s such a great example of how a person can transform his environment to mirror his values and desires.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t share this photo of the Ganesha shrine he has in his front yard. In his younger days Ananda was a Hindu monk and he continues to practice his unique spiritual path according to his inner promptings. He loves the concept of a temple. That’s one thing I know for sure.

But I digress…the point of traveling to Ketchum was the birthday of my granddaughter, Emma, who was turning 13, that mystical moment when you transform from a child to a TEENAGER. Emma was taking this seriously and I wanted to help her celebrate this milestone. She was also a visitor to Ketchum, where her dad has a second home. She lives in New Hampshire with her mom, stepdad and new sister, a year old. Her mom ordered this great cake for the birthday party from the queen of pastry in Ketchum, Mary Jones. Inside was Mary’s famous chocolate cake. Yum!

This was taken during the birthday party. I don’t usually publish photos of myself or even my friends and family on this blog but I can’t stop myself here. The urge must reveal how important Emma is to me in spite of the geographic distance now between us. To say that I am proud of her hardly coveys my feelings but would also be true. I know I felt that also about my daughter, her mother, so it’s partly a “mother” thing. They both give my life a depth of feeling, of connection, that is mysterious and compelling.

I love this photo taken a couple of days after the birthday. Emma was discovering that she could cantor with a comfort that she had never experienced. Could have been the magic of her instructor, Kelly, who worked with her off and on over the years when Emma was younger? I know Emma had some horse riding experiences also in New Hampshire when she first moved there a couple of years ago. In any case she was please with herself at the moment this was taken.

You can see from the trees where the Wood River runs along the bottom of those mountains in the background.

As I was driving home toward Taos on Hwy 64 from Tres Peidres I stopped at the Earthship Center and caught this moment of rainfall in the distance. I was happy to see the monsoon season continues on in the region. My garden watering angels had been  reporting lots of rain while I was away and the garden reflected that extra dose of nitrogen.

I’ll wrap it up with this parting shot of an earthship under construction, a celebration of our unique place here.

Marching into Spring

Hello! yes, thats a tiny pile of snow on the left and a flowering spring crocus next to it. I can always count on the Hanuman Temple to provide these early signs of spring. They have flower beds next to a south-facing adobe wall–a perfect situation for the earliest blooms I know of here in Taos. Here in my own garden areas there are also signs of green emerging, notably bachelor buttons and the blue flax that grows so well here. It will be time before long to plant those delicious peas I like to grow. They don’t mind a degree of cold.

While at the temple I walked around to the back of the building and took this photo of the snow melting off the roof. Just to my left along the path is the dry acequia ditch. I expect the flow will be returning soon.

About a week ago I noticed this young aspen tree starting to bud out. We don’t see many aspens in Talpa. I presume this one was planted as landscaping for the house in front of my casita. It seems to be finding what it needs to thrive.

Here’s a closeup of the aspen buds opening. It reminds me of Ketchum, Idaho, where there were so many aspens, both in the wild and planted for landscaping.

Moving to Taos from Ketchum has made for some interesting comparisons, so much alike and yet so different. Skiers can really appreciate the similarities I’d guess. Up on the ski slopes things probably seems pretty much alike. But here in Taos the ski area is not accessible directly from town (free shuttles), like in Ketchum, nor is it visible from anyplace I’ve been. So Taos does not appear to be a ski town, though it might have that identity to those who frequent the slopes.

This is a recent sunset photo taken from the drive in front of my house. I don’t have the best view for sunset photos as there are trees and bushes or telephone lines just about everywhere you try to point a camera. Still some evenings the light is so compelling you just have to grab your camera and rush outside just to see what you can see.

That same evening I took this. I had fun positioning the moon just so among the branches of this apple tree near my house. There’s always an opportunity for a photo like this a couple of days before the actual full moon, as the moon rises in early evening to the east of my house.

Speaking of east of my house, I took this photo a couple of weeks ago at the same time of day, toward dusk. Now that’s a strange cloud. For me it kind of epitomizes what you’d expect to see here in Taos, but perhaps after you live here awhile you start to think our skies are uniquely mysterious.

Last summer’s dried marigolds and zinnias.