breaking a trail

Posted on May 24th, 2015 by mountain girl  |  1 Comment »

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We have a beautiful little woods just above our house, and we’ve been working up there for the past couple of days.  It is north-facing, so it’s more of a lush forest than a crackly dry one.  Our trees are mostly young aspens and young-to-middle-aged ponderosa pines.  Bright green moss and delicate lichen cover rocks, fallen logs, and areas of the ground.  Last year’s flattened puffball fungus lie everywhere under the leaves, and the juniper berries are turning blue.  There are no snakes here, and I’ve heard that only one species of frog can survive at this altitude.  I haven’t seen it yet.

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We are making a trail.  It’s a small half-acre area we’re working in (the fenced part of our 1 1/3 acres) but the trail winds around and covers a good area of ground. It’s so much fun–and the kids and I are building little “houses” along the way, while David and Caleb cut dead and fallen trees and drag them out for firewood.  The goats come too, and look like little Swiss goats, leaping from rock to rock and nibbling at pine sprigs.

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It’s been raining for the last several days, and yesterday while we were having lunch it turned to thunder, lightning, and hail, followed by–you guessed it–snow.  The rain is pretty unusual for this time of year (or any time of year, here) so we’re watching in wonder.  The forecast for this whole week is rain, rain, rain–even down in the lower lands like Boulder and Lakewood.

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It feels incredible to finally be out in our woods, working.  The kids run free through the woods and the quiet is broken only by Cash’s little voice when he loses sight of Zia in the trees.  Life is springing up again–as much in us as in our woods–after a long, long winter.  The air is light and fresh, the pungent smell of pines and moss and earth tingles in our nostrils, our hands get filled with dirt and our hair with leaves and needles. This is why we live here, in this wild place of sun and wind and snow–and we love it, with everything in us.

{this moment}

Posted on May 22nd, 2015 by mountain girl  |  5 Comments »

Linking up with SouleMama…a moment from our week.

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a (maybe) final wintry blast

Posted on May 21st, 2015 by mountain girl  |  6 Comments »

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WINTERRRRRRRBRRRRR!!!!!  Here are our last couple of days in photos–not so much to mourn them as to record them–since today it’s warming up!  If I even dare say it.

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A very old neighbor once told me that the year-round climate of our neighborhood here is identical to that of Anchorage, where he and his wife spent a lot of time.  I tried hard not to believe that, but I might be buckling.

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The hummingbirds have been thoroughly confused (this one is shaking so hard he can barely sit still), and so have the goats.  As for us, we’re trying to be happy for the “moisture” that will hopefully keep the forest fires at bay, and at the same time waiting for our preciously short summer–since spring seems to be a lost cause.

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The other day I jokingly told David we could move to our old house in Kansas City and be warm right now, and have a garden this summer, and a strawberry patch and a little herb garden and a compost bin, and ohhhh, yeah…..mosquitoes and chiggers and humidity and cicadas screaming in the trees all down our street.

And people, David added.  So nope, we wouldn’t trade it.  (Not that we don’t like people or anything.  It’s just nice to have a choice when you see them.)

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But just for old times’ sake, here are a few pics of our backyard in KC.  It was in May just about now, five years ago.

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(Notice the houses, windows, and probably EYES looking right over our fence.)

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Whoa–who is that man? Such lovely form to that throw.

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I’d go back if we could find this little girl again….

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But she has gone the way of all two-and-a-half year olds…up.  Wasn’t she cute?  (She still is.)

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Anyway, we’re SO ready for spring–and we’ll just keep plodding on till it comes.  Is it warm where you are?

in the news

Posted on May 20th, 2015 by mountain girl  |  3 Comments »

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I’m in the NEWS! Yahooooooooooo!

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Actually, I could care less about being in the paper…but Zia was shocked when she happened to spot me!

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Last Thursday morning the local mountain papers carried a press release on my artist’s residency.  It got a half page in the Mountain-Ear, complete with a giant photo, hehe…

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and a half page in the back of the Weekly Register Call–Colorado’s oldest newspaper.  They gave me a lovely spot right above a marijuana dispensary ad. ;)

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The Gilpin County Library also published my outline/schedule of classes in its newsletter.  Here’s the outline, in case you’re curious about what kind of jewelry we’ll be making:

Celtic Designs: Bending silver, copper, and brass wire into trinity knots and other Celtic symbols to create pendants and earrings.

Leather Necklace and Earrings: Cutting and layering leather pieces to create a unique necklace design; making embellishments, jump rings, and fasteners; adding cording or chain.  Creating dangle or post earrings by cutting and painting leather shapes and adding findings.

Kids Create: Beaded Creature Necklace/Keychain: Wiring seed beads together to create figures; adding findings.

Copper, Rock, and River Glass Bohemian Necklace Set: Basic design elements are employed to create a set of three long layered necklaces. Hammering wire, wrapping forms, making fasteners, and adding cording.

Delicate Beaded Brass Link Necklace: Forming simple wire loops and making links, adding beads, and making a toggle clasp.

Tree of Life Pendant: Sculpting a tiny tree with wire and beads; crafting it into a circular pendant.

Kids Create: Leather Working–Belt Pouch or Necklace Pouch & Cuff Bracelet: Working with soft and hard leather: punching holes, stamping and painting, joining pieces with cording, inserting snaps and rivets.

Multi-Metal Spiral Charm Bracelet and Earrings: Bending wire into geometric spirals, hammering and texturing, forming simple loops, adding chain, making a hook & eye clasp. Making a pair of spiral earrings with bead dangles.

Hammered Copper Earrings and Copper Swirl Rings: Hammering copper, filing edges, drilling holes, and making ear wires.  Bending copper wire to create swirl and heart design rings.

Leather Wrap Bracelet: Constructing a wrap bracelet with leather rope, cording, and semiprecious gemstones: making a button or knot clasp.

Geometric Wire Charm Choker: Producing an antiqued finish on copper wire, forming into wire-wrapped shapes, incorporating beads, making and attaching a choker element.

It’s pretty much every kind of jewelry I could dream up, without having some kind of metal-working operation and forge. I do have an eensy-weensy little anvil, which my blacksmith papa would probably laugh right into the Rocky Mountains. (Oh, wait–it’s already in the Rockies.)

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I begin teaching June 6–the day Mimi flies in from NY to spend a week with us–and I’ve been working to define and redefine the projects.  I’ll post some pics of the pieces I’ve made soon!

oh, brother

Posted on May 19th, 2015 by mountain girl  |  3 Comments »

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Noooooooooooooooo!!!!! Not again! Now we understand why the locals leave their Christmas lights up all year round…

It just ain’t worth it to take ‘em down, Hezekiah. 

You’re right, Mabel.  The snowman will barely have time to melt before summer’s over. Let’s just leave the tree up this year, too.