Monday Morning Inspos


…slipped back to some tiny New Mexico details this morning for a little color and texture inspiration.

I write from the new studio space at the farm which is brimming with light as though it holds an indelible, inner glow that cannot be dimmed!  Our new home is shaping up nicely.  Naturally, I have a creative itch to scratch so I’ve set aside some organization work to fiddle around at my studio bench instead — mostly finishing up some small scale production work I failed to complete before packing up the house for the move to the farm…but my unexercised mind is racing and I have not be able to resist laying out arrangements of stones and other doodads, firing up the studio and doing some soldering and tinkering…mostly I’m laying out studies in color.  The landscape here is fat on snowmelt and rain but it’s thin on chroma and I suppose gemstones have become a way I can quench my craving for color.

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Already it occurs to me how much I will miss living at the strawbale house on the steep slant of the South bank of the Snake River.  Being able to watch the sunrise over the water and steam, witnessing the waking of the world, one bird at a time.

Did I tell you that in December, from the kitchen sink at the stawbale house, I watched a pair of coyotes stalk a group of ducks that were in a floatilla near shore in a wide eddy on the far bank?  The stalk culminated in a terrific splash attack and the coyotes missed their mark and thereby their breakfast but I think they had a fun time, regardless.  The duo proceeded to make their way upriver, hunting voles in the snow as they went, leaping and pouncing, tossing their live, velvety food into thin air before snapping it in the steel trap of their jaws.  I watched the whole thing while wearing a pair of rubber gloves and pressing binoculars to my eyes — dishwashing was stalled for a good fifteen minutes.

I’m going to miss seeing the herons landing on the island below that house, surprising the muskrats on morning strolls, the flight of the bald eagle and osprey.  I’ll miss being a part of all that magnificent, teeming life.

As I let go of one place, I turn to embrace this new home with great joy in my heart.  I counted the trees in the immediate yard at the farm and there are 34, all mature (this number does not include the fruit or nut orchards, the wind rows or any of the trees in the far hay pasture) ranging from elm to locust to ponderosa pine to Austrian pine, to blue spruce to a single, young,  bristlecone pine!!!  I pet the bristlecone every single day, it’s such a sensory experience.  I don’t know who planted it but thank you, whoever you are!  Thank you!  You’ve made a perfect stranger so glad.

In these yard trees is a heavenly host of birds, even though it’s winter.  I look forward to seeing new nests appear this spring.  We also have barn, great horned and shorteared owls on the premises and walking the lawn is made difficult by the mountains of owl pellets piled beneath the trees — I see rodent bones and the motley, partly decayed faces of doves, small skulls and shards of hide in those pellets.  As always, it’s an impromptu biology class for me, just strolling around this place!  I learn so much just by looking, engaging my logical thought processing and employing my deduction skills.  I feel like the Cinderella of this place, with all my little critter friends, and I sing to myself as I go about my way, dressed in rubber boots and rags (…not really dressed in rags but I couldn’t resist writing that…).

I can’t wait for the tree canopy to burst away into wild greens this spring and the row of almond trees in bloom and buzzing with fuzzy bees.

We’re settling in, puzzle piece by puzzle piece, painting and dealing with finishing details as we go and let me tell you, our space is so lovely.  So lovely.  But let me tell you the most important thing — we arrived home from our southwest trip at 2AM and I stepped into our new house exhausted and hungry.  I navigated through the maze of unpacked boxes and stacked pieces of furniture, brushed my teeth with a broken bathroom faucet and fell into bed to sleep the best, deepest sleep I’ve had in a long while.  If I could choose a word to describe the past year of my life it would be: CHAOS.

If I were to choose two words they would be: UTTER CHAOS.

 With the completion of our move to the farm, all things feel relatively calm and orderly…everything is in the right place (even if it’s still being unpacked).  I think I fell into a kind of hibernation survival mode leading up to this big move and now, my energy has been unleashed fully and I’m humming and buzzing from blossom to blossom in a kind of kinetic, hyperactive quest for nectar.  It’s beautiful.  It’s beautiful to be myself again.

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I look forward to sharing some photos of our new home with you but my camera is broken and in California undergoing a $800 repair so in the meanwhile, here’s the final few pictures I have of the New Mexico portion of our southwest trip.

XX
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http://www.thenoisyplume.com/blog/2017/02/23/12601/

New Mexico Uplanders

It just occurred to me this afternoon that I never put together a photo essay of our New Mexico hunting trip from last February.  Some of you will know that the upland season ends on February 1st here in Idaho.  We decided to extend our season by two full weeks by heading down to New Mexico for scaled quail, bobwhite quail and Mearn’s quail.  We truck camped on BLM land or Forest Service land — woke up early, went to sleep early, slept in the bed of the truck with the dogs, ate out of the cooler and fresh from the field, schlepped through sand dunes, crept the truck over hard country to watch the stars over Texas and we harvested a lot of birds.  I really found my shooting rhythm and the dogs were bone thin, tired and in utter rapture.

It’s brutal, vicious hunting down there.  The vegetation is prickly and serrated — cutting and poking at you with every step you take.  The sunlight is harsh, even in the heart of February, so harsh that it seems to come from every direction.  We’re used to ankle breaking basalt lava flows, brutal and frozen gale force winds and near vertical hiking here in Idaho.  It was interesting to test our mettle in a new place, in a new way.

Rob and I were reminiscing about this trip last week and talking about our plans to head down again this winter to scout out more territory for ourselves and to simply enjoy the company of each other.

We hunt for food, but hunting also gives me such a strong sense of family.  We’re together out there — just him, me and our dogs.  A unit.  Working together (kinda like a wolf pack would) to bring home dinner.  The wolves got it right.

Without further adieu:

New Mexico

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Badlands Birthday

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I had a lonesome birthday this year.  I dropped Robert off at the Santa Fe airport on the 12th and he flew out to Arkansas for early season work leaving me with a big truck full of dogs, guns and harvested quail (on dry ice) to drive home alone.  I wish I could have lingered longer in the desert, camped, climbed out of the cold bed of the truck for more glowing sunsets, wandered, sketched, photographed and daydreamed…but work commitments had me busting my own butt to get home in time for everything that is coming my way in the month of March and April.

On the 13th, I drove the meager distance between Santa Fe and Durango.  I stopped to wander a lovely patch of badlands with the dogs, feel the wind on my soulbones and move my body a bit while the pups got their poops out.

I met up with friends in Durango and shyly admitted, during the course of the evening, that it was my birthday (probably out of self-pity, most of all) and we had good food and laughed a lot and the company had wonderful warmth to it and I made a nest on the living room floor and slept well and deep before striking out on the highway again, on Valentine’s day.

How I drove that day, crossing Colorado, Utah and then Idaho.  I drove like a wild pack of flying hammers zooming end over end on an unpredictable wind and made it home to the strawbale house on the river at nearly midnight.  I was exhausted and hungry and like any time I’m away for two weeks, everything in the fridge had gone to rot so I drank a glass of water and carried Farley up the ladder to the loft and fell asleep with my arm around him.

New Mexico seems like a far away dream now and I already miss Robert terribly.  What a beautiful winter we had!  I’m just starting to comb through my images from the trip and look forward to telling you all about it.

I wish I had some kind of romantic and whimsical goals for this next year of my life but to be honest, I’m simply hoping to keep hanging on tight to the things I value most and love dearly. The people.  The places.  The honesty of earnest, hard work.  The beauty of creating with my hands and heart.  Appreciation for and full-seeing of the gifts that are continuously raining down on me every moment of every day.

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Not Afraid of the Dark

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Honestly, I can hardly believe this photograph turned out so well.  It is magic.  Rob and I had been hunting all day and when we arrived back at camp, I looked out at the moonrise and the delicate palate of the sunset in the sky and I had a vision.   I set up my camera and remote and literally galloped out across the sand dunes to get this photograph.

The moon.  My friend.  I have no reason to fear the dark.

We have been in New Mexico for nearly two weeks, hunting quail and being a family and camping and living rough and working our beautiful, steadfast dogs in incredible country.  It is the joy of my heart to be here.  The joy of my heart.  I think it’s because it is the joy of my heart, truly, that I was able to make a photograph like this (and many more that I look forward to sharing with you).  I believe in creating from the light, from joy, from emotions that are rooted in beauty.  It is from those places I experience a true welling up of originality.

More soon.

X

PS

I just had a hot shower for the first time in nine days and it was SUBLIME.