inlay 9 underway

It has been raining intermittently, yet steadily, for almost 4 days now, a very good thing in the desert. It is always so amazing how quickly things can change here... for the last 2 days, the temps have not made it out of the 50s, yet just before Thanksgiving we had some days near 90. The birds outside seem to enjoy wet weather so much, increasing their usual cacophony of birdsong while they are feeding at the feeders. The studio windows have been continually streaked with rain & because of the flat roof I can hear the rain if it is coming down hard enough. The clay canales that drain the studio & garage rooftops have been continually trickling & at times gushing water. The surrounding mountains are either lost from sight when the clouds engulf them, or they are strikingly illuminated when the sun manages to peak briefly through the thick cotton of rain clouds. The Catalinas have also had brief dustings of snow on their peaks which melts quickly if the sun stays out for long.

On the Shannock frame loom, inlay 9 is finally in progress, after a bit of tweaking of the design. Inspired by Tommye's latest post, I'm including images of my designing as it progressed. I don't sketch very much for most of my tapestries because I use images that I take with my digital camera & then trace the main shapes & outlines onto vellum to use behind the warp. But, this tapestry is geometric, so I had to head for the graph paper & then to my CorelDraw.

Here, my first conception while I was still in the process of choosing the palette. I had originally envisioned it as a horizontal design...

Which I then transferred into CorelDraw & modified to come up with the final design & palette, with some of the shapes changed & the alignment now vertical...
Here the final design has been transferred to graph paper with yarns attached to their respective color areas. I can keep it near the loom to track of each shape's dimensions; since the overall size is 9" x 22" & it is such a simple design, I didn't want to waste paper & ink printing a cartoon out from my printer.
With each new tapestry, I tend to try to incorporate a tapestry technique that I have not used much before so I can push my envelope a bit & become more proficient in my weaving skills. In earth & sky, it was pick and pick-- in this tapestry it happens to be interlocking joins, which I felt it was necessary to use because of the precision of the shapes & the size of the slits that would make it difficult for me to control draw in or "bulge out". Two of the shapes are using a wool yarn that is much larger than the other wools, bamboos, & cottons, so I am weaving those in basket weave (over 2, under 2) to compensate. Although the overall design is simple, I find that the preciseness of it requires that I am very mindful of all of my joins & selvedges.


busier than a one-legged woman in a butt kickin' contest!

If you didn't know that I pretty much grew up in the South, the above phrase should be a good clue, although I have "genderized" it & cleaned it up for public consumption... I have other phrases that aren't really printable here. Let's just say I have to assess who is within earshot before those phrases are uttered.

So, what have I been doing???....
Doing my volunteer bit for ATA (I help do the excerpts for the online version of Tapestry Topics).

Gave a fabulous presentation to my guild, Sources of Inspiration, to share the experience & how I benefitted from attending a Sources of Inspiration workshop at the Desert Weaving Workshop back in January taught by DY Begay, Madeleine Darling-Tung, & Barabara Heller. The guild awarded me some CE funding to help with tuition & the presentation was how I was to "pay them back". I say it was fabulous because I learned to use Power Point for the first time & because everyone seemed to love the presentation... at least I didn't see anyone "pecking corn" (the jerking movement one's head does when one is nodding off while sitting upright). Thank yous to DY, Madeleine, & Barbara for sending me images to use!

Volunteered for an entire day at the Tucson Museum of Art Holiday Market in our guild's booth. The first half of the day I was a sales person & the second half I demonstrated tapestry weaving on my little Mirrix. So much fun to be around people ALL day & I picked up a few trinkets as well while Dennis stayed home to tend Roux.

Had a peaceful, happy, Thanksgiving with just myself, man, & dog. We thought we would be euthanizing our little old Roux instead of enjoying turkey... it has been 16 months since she was diagnosed with bladder cancer & now according to her recent bloodwork she is going into kidney failure. She is 14... we decided to fore go the horrible treatments, which would be torture for her, just to eke out a few more weeks of life & instead we are letting her enjoy a normal dog life for whatever time she has left. We thought she was headed downhill after the lab reports, so I made a call to the vet to discuss options for at home euthanasia... that evening we walked into the bedroom to discover her "paddles up", rolling around, wrestling with toys & pillow, just having a merry old time. Entirely living up to Dennis' description of her as a "tough old bird". I think she knew there was a big, juicy bird awaiting roasting in the fridge! As of now, she is still hanging in there & enjoying life.

Went to Vail to visit my friend Bengt Erikson & help him out by taking some digital images of a couple tapestries he didn't have images for. He & Bill will be moving away soon, to Santa Fe, since they discovered they are not happy here in the heat & in the isolated area in which they live after relocating from the Pacific Northwest. And, I bought his 2 ft. Shannock collapsible frame loom from him when I discovered he was interested in selling it! He primarily weaves on his 6ft. Shannock now. To see more of his work, visit the online ATA exhibit, Tapestry On The Edge.

Above, a detail of Bengt's Rincons.

Made the decision NOT to torture myself trying to crank out opuntia for submission to ATB 7. I decided instead to torture myself by cranking out a small tapestry for another upcoming Tohono Chul exhibit, Earth, Air, Fire, Water. This newest tapestry, earth & sky, is from a digital image I took when Dennis, Roux, & I were hiking along the base of the Vermillion cliffs during a trip there in '06. Bengt is also submitting his Rincons for this exhibit, so I am hoping to have his tapestry there to keep mine company! For more on tapestry & torture, please visit Kathy Spoering's blog to learn more about this fiber-related affliction. Remember, Kathy, we love to weave!!!

Was offered & accepted my first teaching job by the Bisbee Fiber Arts Guild! I will teach beginning tapestry weaving, & my first workshop will be in March of '08. I am in the planning stages now...

And, finally, I have started a new tapestry for yet another Tohono Chul exhibit with yet another looming deadline, one I just couldn't pass up, Turquoise. I will be weaving it on Bengt's old Shannock, since opuntia is languishing away on the Tissart. The header is started & my palette & design are ready. It is a geometric design, inlay 9, rectangular in shape & composed of 9 geometrically dynamic squares & rectangles based on a 9 inch square in 9 different shades of turquoise . I love turquoise jewelry of all kinds & this design makes me think of inlaid rings & bracelets. The "9" denotes the number of letters in the word "turquoise" & I chose the shades based on pieces of turquoise I own. I will post images of it once I have woven more!
The desert has finally settled into winter... after weeks of temps near 90, just at Thanksgiving the weather turned & since then it has been very pleasant 60s & 70s during the days & 40s at night. We had a giant storm roll through a few days ago, rain all day & all night, the most we've received in over a year and hopefully more on the way with the upcoming front on its way here from Alaska!

After this flurry of activity frenzy passes, I hope to be able to return to work on opuntia in a more leisurely manner, since it is the biggest tapestry I've woven so far. I plan to submit it in the Juror's Choice exhibit that accompanies Arizona Federation of Weavers & Spinners Fibers Through Time conference being held in Tucson this coming April. I should have plenty of time, right, Kathy?


give peace a chance

Please consider creating your own 4" x 4" work to submit for this collaboration... they are still accepting entries and are in need of more than 1600 to help them on their way towards completion of this project!

Inspired by collaborative projects like the Aids Memorial Quilt and Sonya Clark’s Beaded Prayers Project, we invite you to help create the “Countdown to PEACE.” Presented in calendar format, the project will begin with March 19, 2003 (the day the war in Iraq began) and will end when the war ends. At this point we are into the fifth year of the war; the calendar format allows us a way to measure the full extent of the war and gives us a visual sense of its continuing scope.

Each calendar month will be its own presentation board made up of 4-inch squares, 7 across and 5-6 rows down. Each entry will represent one day of this war. We are inviting artists to send us entries that are no larger than 4-inches square and no deeper than 1 inch. Limiting size will make display feasible. Work that is included in this project will become the property of the project. The entries will be permanently attached to the “calendar” pages for ease of transporting.

Any media is acceptable. Remember that since only one side of the work will be seen, 2-D approaches are preferred, however clay or metal works done in relief (for example) will also be accepted.

We intend for the project to be POSITIVE in nature. We are mainly interested in your personal VISION OF PEACE. Please do not use imagery and/or text that is specific to any government officials or policies. Please keep the focus on PROMOTING PEACE rather than on decrying war.

Entries that do not meet the criteria in terms of size or content will be returned to the sender.

Send your work, along with $10. PER ENTRY; the entry fee is non-refundable. Make checks payable to “Countdown to Peace.” Mail your entry and check to:

Countdown to Peace
PO Box 145
Ayden, NC 28513

Email questions to:
Jodi Hollnagel-Jubran at jodijubran@yahoo.com
Catherine Billingsley at mailto:billingsleyca@ecu.edu

For complete prospectus & entry form, click here.

Money collected from the entry fees will be used STRICTLY to defray the costs of display materials, promotional information, shipping, and insurance.

Our website, COUNTDOWN TO PEACE, is under construction, but it will provide information on current developments and will also give participating artists a link to their websites. Our first exhibit is scheduled for the month of November at the Mendenhall Gallery on the campus of East Carolina University. As part of the exhibit, there will be a book that will include:
1. an alphabetical listing of all contributors with the day, month, and year where each entry is displayed
2. a chronological listing of entries along with artist’s name.



dyeing, weaving, and peace

So, what did I really do first thing after we returned from our mountain trip? Even before blogging about it? Of course, what any sane weaver would do, I did a little bit of dyeing because I couldn't let my fresh dyestuffs ruin! Even though it was a small dye run, nonetheless, it was the first for the new studio. And I could further rationalize dyeing instead of cleaning up & putting away things from the trip because I pulled out several bags of sunflower heads that had been in my freezer, so it created more space in there for actual food. (We won't mention the fact that other frozen dyestuffs are currently still occupying 9o% of the bottom shelf space, & we also won't mention that there are only two shelves in my freezer.)

I used the mullein, dock, & sunflowers, obtaining a very muted but beautiful palette. As luck would have it, the dock provided the exact shades that were missing from my opuntia palette, which are the two skeins already wound into balls. Most of the colors for opuntia will be from my natural dyed wools-- pomegranate, ponderosa pine, chaparral sage, peach, marigold-madder. As I weave, I will remember where & when each of those dyestuffs were gathered: the pomegranate & sage from our property here in Tucson; the ponderosa pine during a stop outside Show Low during our Marble Canyon trip; the peach leaves & tender branches from our NM neighbor's orchard; the marigold-madder from a post dye workshop mini dye session when I was assisting Janie Hoffman.

has been started, & it is already glowing. It is being woven on its side; when it is finished & displayed, the pollen head area will be in the lower right hand corner. I have spent the last couple of days not really weaving, but mostly weaving & reweaving the first pollen head because I wasn't getting the effect I was seeking & I wasn't feeling very well. Today, as I have started feeling better, I have also figured out how to weave the pollen heads. I wanted a raised texture, but didn't want to use a technique that would take eons to weave. So what I have come up with is to intersperse single picks of basket weave within passes of regular weave, using a double strand weft of two different, but similar colors. Now, with two pollen heads woven, I like the effect I see, & I have also decided that the pollen heads that are deeper within the flower will be woven as the rest of the tapestry, with a 1 strand weft to help them appear deeper than the textured heads.

Over the last few weeks, some wonderful things have been happening, like little unexpected gifts out of the blue...

I've been visited in my studio by two good weaver friends-- DY Begay, a Navajo weaver who lives in nearby Mesa, & Olga Neuts, another tapestry weaver here in Tucson. What wonderful visits we had! It is like a good cool drink of water that quenches your thirst when you are able to spend time visiting & talking with other weavers who share your passion!

While a friend & I were attending the Bisbee Fiber Festival, I was approached by members of their guild to come teach a beginning tapestry class next year. Of course, I said yes... what a great opportunity! One of my favorite things I did as a nurse was teaching my patients. Since I retired to pursue my weaving I always hoped that some day I would be able to teach others again. It has come much sooner that I dreamt it would!

I have solved a dilemma that had been pestering me since the last time we had cool weather. I like to weave barefoot, & when it's cold, my feet get cold. I just cannot weave with shoes on & socks slide around on the treadles. So what's a poor, barefoot weaver girl going to do? Get some toe socks! And not just any toe socks, yoga toe socks with tread! They are very sticky, & yes, they obviously pick up dog hair, but my feet will be warm when I am weaving this winter-- heaven! Feets don't fail me now....

And, like an extra dollop of hot fudge on the sundae (forget the cherry-- give me more chocolate!), I just found out this week that the Countdown to Peace Project is planning on using my peace dove on the postcard announcing their first exhibit. They now have a website & some of the artists' work has already been posted. My piece was assigned the date of 3-30-03, kind of cool! They are still accepting submissions, so if you are reading this & you are an artist, think about creating a 4" x 4" work to send!


a mountain journal

9.22.07 travel day

Yesterday was a day of travel & we weren't sure how things would turn out. This area of NM, in the Sacramento Mountains just east of Alamogordo had received much rain over the
summer. It's been over a year since we've been able to come to our property, the last visit happening last July with our friend Stacey & her son Mikey. I had emailed our neighbors who live here permanently just below our property & they reported their road had washed out. It seems to have been a tradition in the 4 years we've owned the property that each trip has been marked by some unforgettable event... our very first trip when our dog Bear died right after we arrived; Stacey & Mikey's first trip with us when the maple syrup exploded on the way up the 4 wheel drive road & Mikey fell & broke his arm on our last evening here, just to recount a few of the more memorable ones. On arrival in Cloudcroft, a wonderfully fragrant drive down the canyon, marveling at the greenness & the smell of balsam fir, like we do with each trip, being the desert dwellers that we are. We started up the mountainside on our road to find that the grass had grown almost to shoulder height on the road; our neighbor's cows were no longer around to free range & keep things under control with their grazing since he had to get rid of them due to his health problems. The road was a bit rutted in places, but my Land Rover on its maiden voyage here pulled the trailer up quite easily, more so than my Chevy 4x4 used to. The big surprise that awaited us was the large evergreen that had fallen right across our normal camp spot during our absence-- our first thoughts were that maybe it had been a good thing we hadn't been able to come over during the summer! Mullein was growing almost in thickets, some at least 2 ft taller than we were, the wild yarrow was the tallest I've ever seen it, & there were some late blooming wildflowers all about. After a cold beer & popcorn, we retired to the camper & fell asleep with temps in the mid 40s. Quite a change from the low 70s or so we've been having in the desert!

This morning we awoke early, enjoyed our coffee & breakfast al fresco, & did our hike down & back up our rocky road. The wind is blowing through the tall evergreens, clouds are scudding across the sky, & I am lying in my hammock writing this, about to have a wonderful nap & then lunch.
In the afternoon, Dennis was a man on a mission. Determined to regain our regular camping spot with its wonderful view of the natural meadow (in the middle of which we had to set up camp on arrival), he broke out his chainsaw to cut up the fallen red fir. Quite a job, as it had been about 80' tall. While he was cutting away, Roux & I wandered around the meadow's perimeter, gathering lichens & tree moss from fallen logs. I had noticed on the fallen fir that it was very plentiful & I plan to try dyeing some of my wool with it. Afterwards, I helped Dennis clear the limbs & branches & together we rolled the large log sections aside. Some of the limbs were rather difficult to remove as the force of the tree's fall had driven them a foot or more into the ground. As soon as he made his last cut, the chainsaw stopped working! We would be able to move camp, but if another tree falls in an inconvenient spot we will have another adventure on our hands. After enjoying cold beer, wine, & another good meal, we watched the sun sink below the tree line. The eerie yet beautiful sounds of elk bugling echoed through the canyon as large dark clouds rolled in. We spent a snug night inside our camper listening to the intermittent sound of rain on the roof.
A day of high winds & fast moving clouds. Big cloud shadows kept sweeping over us & we enjoyed listening to the wonderful noise the wind made as it rushed through the evergreens & oaks while they swayed & rocked. The sound reminds me of how it was to spend the day at the beach windsurfing & the sound of waves when we lived near the Gulf of Mexico or the sound of a rushing river in the Smoky Mountains where we used to backpack.

Yesterday I had the horrible realization that I had forgotten to bring my dye plant identification books, paper sacks & my cutting shears... how could I? Well, I am already planning on how to collect & bring dyestuffs home without having them mold or turn to mush. I am drying out my lichen/tree moss collection from yesterday & will collect more tomorrow since it should be a dry, clear day. I have seen some dry dark red stalks that I think are dock & I will ask our neighbor Loveta tomorrow when we go over to visit her & her husband LeRoy. I will harvest the thick felt-like mullein leaves on our last day here & let them ride home in the camper's refrigerator. I have even realized that I already have some premordanted wool on hand leftover from my last dye run, so I can fire up my dyepots when I get home & use everything I collect while it is still fresh.

Today we did just a little hiking about, down an old dim logging road on our property & over to see an old shack cabin on an adjacent property. Dennis was sore from his tree cutting episode & Roux was stiff from forgetting she's not the young maniac dog that she used to be. Dennis napped in the hammock in the afternoon while I started warping my small loom for the Skin tapestry I have planned. The linen I ordered to use for it from Star Loom Room arrived just in time for our trip.

This evening, the wind suddenly stopped just as if someone had turned off a big wind machine, it became very cool & the skies very clear. We could here choruses of coyotes echoing from all over the canyon & elk song continued all night long in the bright light from the full moon.

After a leisurely breakfast, we took a short hike with Roux down the dim logging road again, then went over & had a nice 3 hour visit with our neighbors, LeRoy & Loveta, who live on the slope below us. In their 70s, they are very cool people & live here full time. They built their home here in the 1970s after he retired from the military using passive solar techniques & local lava rock. LeRoy even walked the woods until he found just the right curved piece of wood to use for the spiral staircase banister. Before they even began building their home, they lived at the bottom of the mountain in a trailer while they planted their orchard of cherry, apple, peach, & pear trees, hauling water to them by hand. They received permission from a local family who had a natural spring on a nearby property to tie into it & run it down the mountain to water the few cows they wanted to raise for help keeping the grasses in the natural meadows in check. LeRoy ran & buried over a mile of piping through the woods over unforgiving, rocky terrain. They have been a font of information about the area, gave us an easement to run electric from their property to ours, & helped us learn what it takes to get & maintain a well in this area. Last year they gave me all of the prunings that I wanted from their orchard to use for dyeing & they almost always give us something delectable from their garden as well-- one year it was mixed greens, another rhubarb, another apples, & this visit we left with a bag of pears. They honor & cherish their land, only using natural methods to maintain what they grow, such as bees for pollination, turkeys & chickens for bug control, & at season's end allowing their cows in to eat the leftovers. We feel so lucky to have them as neighbors.

Loveta confirmed that the plant I had found was dock, so after returning to camp & having lunch, I set about collecting more lichens & tree moss from the trees accompanied by Roux while Dennis logged more hammock time. Later, he found some beautiful flowers to sketch-- Roux was very glad to lend her assistance by napping nearby in the tall, cool grass. I continued plant collecting, as Dennis terms it "in a weed frenzy" clipping dried dock flower stalks with a pair of wire cutters from Dennis' tool kit.

For dinner we decided to give the cook a break & drove the 12 miles into Cloudcroft to order a pepperoni pizza from the little pizza joint & brought it back to camp to enjoy. I had fun driving my Land Rover down our 4x4 road, putting it through its paces. Just before reaching town, we always enjoy the sudden view of Sierra Blanca, a 12,000' peak that makes our 8100' look like small potatoes in comparison. Roux enjoyed the ride there & back, hanging out the window huffing mountain smells (including a stinky skunk spot) & gawking at cows in the pastures & near the road. After dark, before retiring, I got my loom out in the camper & attached the heddles, hoping to get into actual weaving tomorrow.

Ah, roughing it in the wilderness with nothing but piñon nut banana bread toast smothered in natural macadamia cashew nut butter & New Mexico piñon coffee for breakfast! Afterwards, we enjoyed a slow 1 mile hike down our road & up a little of LeRoy & Loveta's, then back up to camp. I had a specific purpose for going up their road, I was looking for roots. Mountain mahogany roots. Their road is deeply cut into the mountainside, leaving many roots to grow out into the roadway. The roots need to be cut back to allow their vehicle to pass without getting all scratched up. One year, Dennis cut the roots back for them & I took a bagful of roots home to share in one of Janie Hoffman's dye workshops. Now, I want more, & although they grow all over the mountain, I don't kill plants when I harvest; getting exposed roots from the banks doesn't kill the plant & more roots grow out over time. I was able to get a few roots & then on the way back up Dennis spotted a small sapling mahogany that was dying with its root center halfway out of the ground. He easily pulled it out. Its root center was larger than a softball, so with the other roots I collected, there will be plenty for a couple of dyeruns at least. I always freeze my woody dyestuffs after a dyerun so that I can reuse them later. Along the hike, I also took some photos of a few wildflowers & the mountainside view of the opposite side of the canyon, where the sun was creating wonderful patterns of shadow & light in the wall to wall evergreens... perhaps the subject of a future tapestry!

Now back in camp, the day promises to be a bit cool, with lots of puffy clouds drifting overhead. Dennis has taken his drawing kit & headed back down the road to sketch some more wildflowers. I also took macro shots of them with my digital camera for him. This way, he can start several sketches & then finish them in the studio at home. He uses primarily pencil, pen & ink, & watercolor pencil. His style reminds me of colorful botanicals, which I like very much. I am readying to set up my table & loom, hopefully to get Skin started today.

I am in the town of High Rolls at the local (& only) general store which functions as the market/fast food joint/laundromat/video rental. High Rolls is the second town down the mountain from Cloudcroft, which doesn't have a laundromat. Not washing our clothes, but rather laundering the washable chux pads I use for Roux. She was diagnosed last year with suspected bladder cancer & has a problem with leakage when she sleeps. We were about to run out of clean pads, so here I am, in a laundromat for the first time in years, leaving dog & man behind in camp.

Yesterday I was able to finish the header on Skin & start the actual weaving, but I am not happy with the one scale I have started & will rip it out to start over if I get to weave today. We are supposed to go over for another visit with LeRoy & Loveta this afternoon; we usually visit them just after we arrive & just before we leave.

Last evening just before starting dinner, a lovely eau de skunk drifted rather strongly through camp. Although we didn't see Mr. (or maybe Ms.) Stinky waddling around, we know it was near because, besides the wonderful odor, I had seen a skunk our first day here digging around in our neighbors cow pen. We kept a close eye on Roux, who was enjoying the smell but didn't budge from her spot in the grass. This morning during our hike before I came into town, I spotted Mr. /Ms. Stinky's footprints in the dusty dirt of our road, so at some point the skunk had passed through there, thank goodness not when we were also walking! Just before we reached camp, I heard a hen turkey calling, & she sounded very close. About 15 minutes later as I was preparing to leave for town & Dennis was enjoying a little cold air basin bath, we were treated to the sight of several adult hen turkeys & about 23 young turkeys running & flying from our neighbor's cow pasture through the edge of our clearing & into the woods. In all the years I've spent outside in the woods & hiking, I don't think I've ever seen that many at once. It was such a beautiful sight.

No weaving today-- by the time I was able to return from town & we had lunch, it was time to go over to LeRoy & Loveta's for a last visit. As always, the visit was wonderful, lasting over 3 hours as we talked about many things. It ended with a wonderful invitation for us to go over tomorrow & pick as many apples as we wanted to take home with us. They will not be home, having to go into Las Cruces for the day, but we will go & get just enough to have to enjoy at home.

A quiet dinner & then into the camper for the night after watching the sun set & seeing the first stars come out. I climbed into bed with Roux for a long bedtime reading session. One light in the camper works from our electricity here, but everything else runs from the battery which we keep charged with a solar panel. During the first two years of coming here, before we had our electric, we ran entirely off the solar panel. We did put in a well the year before last, but had it capped since we aren't able to be here enough to keep it maintained, so we still must haul all the water we will need for the trip with us.

On our last day here, the morning started out with a wonderful experience after breakfast... Dennis had just finished washing the breakfast dishes & I was in the camper taking a basin bath when the campsite was invaded by turkeys, the same flock we had seen the day before yesterday. When we come here, we always bring some wild birdseed to put out for the birds so we can enjoy seeing them—Steller’s jays, dark-eyed juncoes, mountain chickadees, nuthatches. The turkeys had discovered the bonanza & moved in to feast, much to the displeasure of the other birds. We didn't even twitch a muscle so as not to scare them away & enjoyed the sight & sound of the hens & mostly grown poults for 15 minutes or so until an older, wiser hen showed up to warn them away. It is after all, getting pretty close to Thanksgiving! They filed off through our meadow & out of sight down our road in an orderly fashion, probably going off to their roost for the day. We enjoyed seeing their splayed tracks on our dusty road when we took our morning hike a short time later.

After returning from our hike, we headed over to our neighbors' orchard to pick apples. We only took what we felt we could consume back at home-- a dozen eating apples & a little more than a dozen cooking apples which Loveta had told me freeze & keep very well once they've been cored & sliced. Dennis is hoping for one of my "tarts for two" soon after we return home & I am also thinking of a nice apple pie for Thanksgiving, my favorite holiday of the year & one of the only ones we actually celebrate. As Dennis & Roux headed back to camp with the apples, I meandered slowly back & collected the big fuzzy mullein leaves. I ended up with two gallon ziplocs completely stuffed full which are now resting safely in the camper fridge. The day has so far been quite warm, so after getting heated up with all of that gathering, I am now enjoying the mountain breezes in the shade of the hammock with a cool glass of tea while Dennis sketches nearby, Roux is stretched out in the grass napping, & ravens fly high overhead squawking & calling to one another. I may break my loom out later on & we are contemplating taking a late afternoon drive up the canyon towards Cloudcroft so I can get some photos of the gold aspens on the other side of the canyon.

I do get my loom out, but heavy eyelids from warm temps (mid 70s) combined with cool breezes and the realization that my unhappiness with the weaving's start is due to not having a certain color, cause me to abandon the loom for the hammock. Dennis has set up his sketching nearby & Roux joins us. I am covered with my sheepskin & slightly rocking in the breeze and just as I have that delicious feeling of sinking into a nice nap, it suddenly begins to rain. We have a mad dash to rescue sketching materials, my loom & weaving stuff, the hammock & dog to get it all back up to the camper to dry safety. We continue to have showers, hail, thunder & lightening the rest of the afternoon, evening, & part of the night. No ride through the canyon to see aspen & "emergency soup" inside the camper for dinner, but, nonetheless, we enjoy seeing the rain come sweeping through the canyon, watching the sudden drop in temperature to the 50s, and hearing the rolling, echoing booms of thunder. Just before dark, our hummingbird feeder receives a very brief & ethereal visit from the magnificent hummingbird! One look at this sparrow sized bird lets one know how it received its name. We play cards, crazy 8s, into the early night before retiring. Dennis is very gleeful that he has won almost every hand during this whole trip since it is usually the other way around.

9.29.07 going home
During the night the rain subsided & winds began. We awoke early to a damp, cool morning to enjoy our last cup of coffee under the camper's awning. Always at this time, the day we travel back to our desert home, we have mixed feelings-- ready to go home for real baths & a very comfortable bed, but knowing we will miss the quiet solitude of our mountain paradise when we are back in the business of city life in the Old Pueblo. It has been over a year since we have visited this property. The events of our lives this year kept us from visiting as often as we normally do. But it was here waiting for us, even though it lay half forgotten in the back of our minds. Now, we have refreshed ourselves by disconnecting from the routine of our normal lives & we have also refreshed our connection to this little piece of the mountain that we feel so lucky to own. We are already looking forward to next year's visits. With camper in tow, gear stowed, & rover ensconced safely in the Rover, we head down the mountain back home to the desert with dreams of cabin building in our heads.