A Cow & Magpie Morning


Beautiful spring morning here in Talpa as I head in a northerly direction on the property to investigate the loud and mournful sound of cows. They’re obviously new to the neighborhood and are expressing their dismay for all to hear. I think it started around dusk yesterday and sadly continued through the night.

Along the way I connected with this charming magpie who let me get pretty close before flying off. I have an eye on a possible magpie nest with the theory that there will soon be some baby magpies joining the numerous birds who seem to make their home around my house.

Yes, I know those are llama, not cows, but if you look closely beyond the second fence you can see a couple of cows. They appear to be brown cows, for what that tells you. There are three llamas living here, next door, but they are quiet and content. They do seem to like to have me take photos of them, as I have several times in the past. So, the mystery of the crying cows is solved. Perhaps they’ll settle in to their new home and be good neighbors like the llamas?

Looking back to the south you can almost see my house, just to the left of the middle of the photo, the taller and smaller of the two structures. In the foreground, the alfalfa field, and to its left, one of the acequia ditches that crisscross the property. Those houses in the distance on the upper right would be part of Llano Quemado I believe. They have great views back toward the Sangre de Christo Mountains that frame Taos proper.

Speaking of acequia ditches, this one is pretty close to the main ditch. When open it sends water east along the back of the alfalfa field and feeds into the south ditch along the fence I showed before. This snapshot in time shows the mix of new grass and old you see everywhere now. I looked for buds on bushes and trees that I could photograph as signs of spring but so far not much to see in my neck of the woods.

Lots of trees in the orchard. This shot takes advantage of the strong shadows on this garage that’s facing the morning sun. I believe this is an apple tree. Just to the east of this tree is a clump of purple plum bushes that produced the most incredible fruit in my memory of last summer and fall eats from the orchard. It’s kind of a secret location and I’m grateful to the landlord for turning me on to it last fall when there were more plums than he could keep up with. Seems like a dream to me now.

Another magpie letting me get close enough for a recognizable photo. This is an old but strong pear tree that has been properly pruned somewhat recently. Just now as I’m typing at 11 AM the wind is starting to pick up and will likely blow the rest of the day, reaching speeds of 25 mph. That’s how it was yesterday and most days last week. Glad I got out this morning early. Guess I have the cows to thank for that?

Couldn’t resist sharing this macro shot with you. Wish I could give you the name of the plant. It’s something that came up among my flowers in the sunny, south-facing bed next to the house. I’ve just applied to get in to the SEED3 show next October here in Taos so I have seeds on my mind. This is the third year for this popular art and educational event and it will be difficult to get in. Speaking of “getting in,” I CAN report I’ll be one of the local craftspeople showing their work at the Taos Folk crafts show next holiday season. I consider that an honor as it was generally lauded for its high-quality and affordable crafts last year.

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.