Freezing temperatures were predicted for that Saturday night which meant slick roads and hoarfrost.
I had loaded up my truck with all the fruits of my labor of the past week and all I needed now were the few things I had in the cabin. I had to wait for the my windscreen to defrost before I could leave–and that took a good half hour of running that diesel engine and patiently scraping away at the ice. The sun helped some and while I was waiting I managed to get a few photos of the hoarfrost on the vegetation.
Slowly I drove past the Art Studio, careful not to come to a full stop at the stop sign at the bottom of hill lest I slide into the Cuchara River. I made it through town without incident and had planned to take a photo of the mountains on the road to Walsenberg. But the turnoff was slick and after sliding a bit, decided the image would have to remain in my memory and not as a digital image.
A large herd of pronghorn was on the hillside and again I wanted a photo but with that ice and now a vehicle following me, it too had to remain in my memory. People here are much more polite driving than in many parts of Texas—slick roads for me meant slick roads for the vehicles following me and we slowly drove at about 35 miles an hour into Walsenberg. No-one was tail-gating, no-one roared past me at the stop light in town.
Once on Interstate 25, I spied a large semi lying on its side just outside Walsenberg and was not pleased to see a flurry of snowy fog/ice mist ahead of me.
Once through the pass, the sun shone and roads were clear and I was on my way home.
After getting stuck in the snow, requiring a pull-out by a neighbor, I managed to drive VERY slowly down the road and unload my baskets of fabric, sewing machine, and accoutrements. Two fellow students were already there–sewing away. The other students were all staying at the Inn next door and I almost wished I had done the same as it was a two minute walk from their door to the Studio.
Two Fox Cabins was very cozy and it allowed a nice walk to and from and not too far away from Alys’ restaurant where we had our evening meal.
Everyone worked really hard, two on Rhapsody variations–I was jealous of their work, and two worked on individual pieces they had designed in large part prior to arrival.
I had planned on doing a series of dawn images but changed to using some images from my father’s tools and bits and bobs. Initially I put them all on the same background but decided I liked them better separated.
One of the daily events was spying the mule deer that wandered about town like regular citizens. And everyday a trip to Charlies was needed to pick up a fresh cinnamon roll or other breakfast treat. Charlie’s is a general store with notices regarding lost dogs, upcoming events, sales of various sorts and any sort of announcement that is needed to make things work in a small town.
This is a long awaited week. I’ve had a hard year and this was to be my present to myself for surviving it although my pocketbook is considerably slimmer.
I like to sight-see as I go places–whether work, pleasure, or family. Road construction always makes things a bit more iffy and so I plan extra time. This trip I had allotted two days for travel, a day and a half to sight-see and get accustomed to the altitude.
Yesterday I wrote about the cotton—
I arrived mid Saturday afternoon and was immediately warned about the impending bad weather. There were still small piles of snow heaped around trees and in ditches from the last snow.
I have been ensconced in a cute little cabin in LaVeta watching the snow fall. It is still falling; I do have hiking boots but they are in my truck a hundred yards away. I’ve spent the day pruning my email lists and folders. While all of that is good–I would have preferred a trip to the Sand Dunes but I was not going to chance not getting back with all that snow.
I am hoping I do have a workshop that starts tomorrow night–but travel for the host with all of this snow is a bit iffy—–and so—perhaps I’ll tackle pruning and organizing my smugmug photos.
this is my cabin–note the coffee pot and coffee cup along with the extra blankets.
The first time I saw cotton fields was in Guelph Georgia. I was volunteering at a public health project involving checking blood pressures and weights of a small community—a town composed of a post office, a cotton gin, and a house. I thought those fields were white roses.
Later I learned that the first perfect cotton bale occupied a position of honor in Augusta Georgia for one year until the next year’s harvest. People told me about picking cotton and how heavy the bags were and how rough the bolls were.
Then I moved to Texas and decided to grow cotton one year in my front yard–not nearly enough to make enough a handkerchief. I was amazed at how lovely the blossom was—and later learned it was in the same family as okra and hollyhocks. I learned about prison grown cotton and how wonderful it was.
On my way to Del Rio I encountered what I thought initially was rain–but it was bits of cotton stalks being blown across the road. The cotton was being put into large round bales–just like hay.
And two days ago I just had to stop and take pictures of more cotton. I was too shy to ask for a tour of the cotton gin in action–but there were those round bales of cotton and then there was this immense stack of cotton easily thirty feet high and several hundred feet long. Cotton was on the sides of the road—looking like bits of snow.
And tomorrow—snow in Colorado!
While work is satisfying in its own way, driving through parts of this country has its own appeal.
Del Rio is located on the Rio Grande not as far west as El Paso but still a long drive from the most eastern part of Texas. The town is a border town with Spanish being spoken, many are bilingual but many still depend upon an interpreter–usually a younger member of the family.
My work there is always on a Saturday and frequently leaves me large parts of Saturday afternoon to explore the area. I’ve visited Amistad Resevoir, Seminole Canyon State park, Whitehead Museum featuring Judge Roy Bean the Hanging Judge, and driven past the Brinkley mansion–home of the famous goat testicle implant doctor.
Agriculture seems to consist of large fields of cotton. Last month I watched them harvest the cotton, with flurries of cotton plants blowing around like dirty brown snowflakes. The cotton was put into bales, many of which are still on the edge of the fields. Now some of them are numbered. I tried to get a good photo of them, but the best opportunity was near a sign warning me not to pick up hitchhikers as they may be escaping inmates.
There are three bladed windmills absorbing power and windmills pumping water.
There is a border patrol station complete with a K-9 and cameras to look under vehicles.
And yesterday there was one of the most spectacular sunrises I have seen in a long time. If I hadn’t been so concerned regarding driving through San Antonio (traffic was very light) and then Houston (traffic very heavy) I would have stopped just to enjoy.
A familiar fall task in Southwestern Wisconsin is picking up walnuts. The lime green husks are easy to spot; not so easy are the ones fallen a few days earlier with the husks now a dark brownish-black. Although gloves might be used to pick them up, fingers are always stained a luscious brown for more than a few hand-washings.
One tree stands behind the garage on my farm–it wasn’t there when I grew up there–but squirrels conveniently planted it and it has survived. It now provides shade and an abundance of walnuts.
I could leave them for the squirrels and one year my husband picked them all up and put them in the bath-tub that lives in the garage. The squirrels thought this quite convenient as when he returned in the spring thinking he could spend evenings shelling walnuts, the bath-tub was empty.
My father used to lay them all out on a tarp to dry; then would husk them, let them dry again and then shell them in the evenings. He cracked several pie platefuls on an anvil in the basement; sometimes used a vise, turning the handle being a bit easy than whacking them with a hammer.
Before dogs arrived I would spend twenty minutes or so on my front porch cracking and shelling walnuts—until the mosquitoes descended upon me. Whacking away at an inanimate object was a great stress reliever.
Picking up all those walnuts–I stopped at two dog food bags full was a pleasurable reminder of past days and memories.
Thinking back upon my experiments with indigo dye–the first color appearing is a wonderful lime green—the same as the walnut husk.
Last night I turned into my driveway….home from a week in Wisconsin.
I drove through rain several times, the worst being in Arkansas with cold rain hitting hot pavement, sending up waves of fog amidst the downpour. No-one was driving very fast, including the semis. I stopped in Pocahontas for the night; I felt quite safe that night as I was surrounded by Sheriff Deputy marked cars—there must have been a convention/meeting/gathering…they were all out chatting and talking–no SWAT rifles or helmets or shields evident–just a lot of laughing and chatting.
Google sent me down 49 in Louisiana and through some really rough two lane roads; not to my liking. The small town of Keach established in 1888 struck my eye but I cannot find anything about it on the internet. Google must have heard me grousing about the quality of the roads and the lack of rest-stops and availability of auto-diesel as it then sent me around Toledo Bend Reservoir.
Rain again in Beaumont with steaming roadways and a deluge. People were driving slowly but fortunately I was heading south and they were mostly heading north.
I managed to catch half hour of no rain to unload the inside contents of my truck—a large box of produce===MacIntosh apples from my Auntie Hazel’s yard, pears from a high school friend’s yard, and tomatoes from our garden on the farm.
Today is a day to catch up with all the things that need doing—retrieving the dogs from the kennel–they had a wonderful time as I signed them up for extra play-time, dealing with email and work issues, reviewing photos and contemplating the events of the week.
I’ll be commenting on them as the next week goes by—but the primary reason for the trip was to attend the wedding of one of my nieces and to deliver the quilt my mother–her grandmother had pieced for her and I had finished.
This was the hardest of all the quilt tops she had left for me to quilt–I finished all those edges with a facing—and Tami–my niece—had a huge smile on her face as she peeked at the edges of her new quilts.
Sometimes there are signs that must make perfect sense to people who see them every day but then there is the occasional tourist type–such as I was this past weekend and spotted this sign.
I’m not sure what was at the end of that road; it was tempting to drive down it just to see–of course the Mission was there–but then the road must have ended at the bank of the Rio Grande.
And for those who might be curious–the Val Verde Winery–the oldest continually producing winery is just to the right of this sign. Their vineyards are also here along the right side of the road.
One of my job assignments takes me to Del Rio Texas. It is an all day drive for me–through Houston and then the southern border of San Antonio and on to the Rio Grande. I’ve been there several times and try to explore the area a bit each time I go.
Seminole Canyon with the pictographs and the Amistad Reservoir were easy first choices and I have been to both several times. Sometimes the weather is not cooperative for outdoor exploration and my day ends too late to do much exploring.
Last time I visited the Whitehead Memorial Museum featuring Judge Roy Bean. This time I wanted to find the Brinkley Mansion.
Brinkley was known as the goat gland doctor; implanting goat glands into men for impotence. He did not have a formal medical degree; his diploma was from a mail order place. His mansion was opulent and showy–at one time painted apple green with his cars in a matching color. Light shows against the fountains were entertaining for the general public; he had a 4 inch water pipe installed in this area of irrigation–just for his fountains.
While it seems silly to us to think of someone implanting goat glands (testicles) into people, at that time, Banting and Best were working on an exogenous source of insulin–grinding up beef pancreas to extract the insulin for diabetics. There are a lot of goats in this area—and provide one of the main meat sources for many here—-I had never heard someone list goat after beef as a meat they didn’t eat.
I didn’t visit the mansion itself–rainy mist made for an unpleasant day–spent better in my hotel room with a good movie and a hand-sewing project.
The end of summer is here with school buses stopping awkwardly in the streets, students standing eagerly dressed in new clothes and shoes next to their parents in designated bus stops and I am cleaning.
After digging through boxes and bags for a project–more on that later, I set myself the project of consolidating and tossing–glue bottles with solid glue, paintbrushes that no longer brushed, and pens that no longer wrote.
And now I am tackling one of my SD cards.
Sorting photos several weeks or months afterwards tends to take away the preciousness of each image–making it far easy to delete those duplicates. I do have a fair number of works in progress photos for that day when I am famous and everyone will want to know how I worked through creating a piece.
For now here is San Antonio on an early Sunday morning when the streets were empty and a few people gathered at the church in the square.