7i9a2118 7i9a2126 7i9a2129 7i9a2130 7i9a2137 7i9a2149These early autumn days when the sky sits upon the earth like a bluebird on the back of a buckskin horse.

 

http://www.thenoisyplume.com/blog/2016/09/19/12143/

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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The Chukar Eternal (and a brief service announcement)

7I9A3770 7I9A3772 7I9A3774  I’ve wanted to make a necklace like this since I began upland hunting, years ago.  The wishbone you see here is actually a wishbone from a chukar that our dogs hunted by scent, pointed, Rob or I flushed and shot on the wing so we could eat it — most of you know we consume mostly (like 90%) wild meat here, meat we have gone out and worked hard for the chance to harvest from our public lands in Idaho (and also in New Mexico this year).

Anyway, if you ever wanted a simple yet elegant piece of jewelry that is truly of the West, this is it.

The spirit of the chukar is one of resilience, strength and endurance but he also has a heck of a sense of humor.  My own spirit I attach to all the work I craft is one of independence, joy, curiosity, persistence, intensity, sensibility, whimsy and perhaps a pinch of “devil may care”.  I can feel all of these things in this little sterling bone.  It’s simply beautiful.

I’ve been calling this necklace the Chukar Eternal but I suppose it’s a part of the series of jewelry I have been working on for years that I have always called Honoring Remains.  I have been wearing this necklace and while it’s beautiful on (the curves of this sterling wishbone echo the curves of my own wishbone, also known as the clavicle in the human body), it truly does hold a sense of the holy and echos the Voice that I hear when I am out on the land here — it is the wind, the sage, the spring creeks, the lava flow, the river, the snow, the lichen on the canyon walls, the clear blue sky, the squall, the very heartbeat of Idaho and my own heartbeat too, since this is as much my habitat as it is the habitat of the elk, mountain lion or chukar.

In short, it’s special.

I have run out of studio time and must help Rob haul the Airstream up to McCall to get settled for the summer but I will be offering these necklaces in the shop in the next couple of weeks.  Stay tuned for them.  I am also chipping away at getting a big batch of bison skull rings made for you.  Things are coming, time is tight at the moment, I appreciate your patiences so much.  I guess I just want you to know I am working hard for you and that these coming pieces are going to serve your beautiful souls so well!

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I wanted to also let you know, in brief, what this summer is going to look like for us:

The move to McCall for the fire season is a little move.  We have been jimmy-rigging the Airstream this week with a kitchen set up, a wall table and we’ve been tearing our hair out when it comes to a bathroom plan.  I don’t think I’ll have a place to shower this summer but I’ve lived in a few spots with Robert where I had to do my bathing and shampooing in rivers and lakes so I’m not stressed about it.  I’m an old hand at this kind of stuff and being a little grubby never seems to hinder my twinkle.

I will be in McCall when Robert is in McCall — when he is not deployed on long-term fires or boosting other smokejumper bases.  I will also be in McCall when the weather is very hot because the high elevation will be a lovely respite from the heat of the high desert.

I am NOT moving my studio this summer.  Yay!!!

My studio will remain at the strawbale house here on the river.  I will work in the studio when I am here at the strawbale house.  I’m going to be coming and going all summer so I can tend my veggie garden here, make jewelry, pick up mail from the PO Box here and make sure the cat has kibbles in his auto-feeder.

When I am in McCall, I will not have WIFI service unless I am in a coffee shop.  This means my ability to answer emails will grind to a bit of a halt this summer.  Forgive me for that.  When I do get a chance to do computer work, I will be taking a triage approach to my inboxes as I did last summer wherein I answer what is absolutely urgent and necessary.  Once those emails are taken care of, I will carry on to less urgent emails.  I am sorry, in advance, if you write and I fail to get back to you in a timely manner or if I fail to respond at all!  I always feel awful about my inability to keep up with the email inbox which gets especially backed up in the summer months.

I do hope to do at least one shop update a month over the course of the fire season.  I have many beautiful ideas in my heart right now that I cannot wait to work on!

If you pass through Boise or McCall on your travels this summer please give me a holler!  I’d love to go swimming or fishing or iced tea sipping with you!

Ok.  I think that’s it.  Oh, I’m going to post a giveaway here and another on my Instagram account tomorrow so stay tuned for that!

XX

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.

IMG_2141 IMG_2143 IMG_2179 IMG_2085 IMG_2121 IMG_2173Do not dwell on the shots you missed, do not fret about the shots to come.  Work hard, have faith in your dog and cross the creeks as they come to you.

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I’m already missing those foggy, muddy days out on the land, chasing tailfeathers with my favorite men.  I keep putting my nose into the wind when we go out hiking and running here, but it’s not the same.  Everything feels edged with tameness, gently corralled by barbed wire and fenceposts.  Even though I turn my back to it, I am aware of town, stretched out thin and humming in the valley below.  I need a bigger horizon.  I need more space.  I need longer sunsets.  I need the stars for a blanket.  I need to feel the cold again, eating at the sparking and electric ends of my spirit, causing me to quicken my pace in a quest for heat.

Sometimes I think I know exactly how the mustangs feel, or the wolf that has been made a pet, or the falcon that is only set free to hunt.

I fret I won’t ever find a way to balance who I really am with basic, human civilities.  But I think we all struggle with this, to a certain degree.  Even the cities are wild jungles, in their own way, demanding a certain set of survival skills.

http://www.thenoisyplume.com/blog/2015/02/11/9902/