Tuesday, July 31, 2018

After finishing up Empire of the Summer Moon yesterday, I started watching The Crown (restarted from beginning of Season 1, but have now moved into "new" episodes.)

This morning I shuttled the kids down to the ranch for Science Camp, and stayed for the session on raptors.  There's a chance that Marla will be doing a presentation up at the Pavilion on Thursday evening for adults, but "just in case" that doesn't happen, I'm really glad I attended today.  I learned a lot - and took copious notes!

For example, a barn owl has offset ears to aid in finding prey at night.

Adaptations in the edges of their feathers 
are what allow owls to fly to silently.

Owls' eyes don't move in their sockets, though owls can rotate their heads 350 degrees!  Here's Elijah with the owl skull.

Big eye sockets!

Marla showed excellent seen-from-below silhouettes of the eight types of raptors (eagles, hawks, falcons, owls, ospreys, vultures, harriers, and kites) with helpful hints on how to identify them.  After the class session we only had to exit from under the tent to be rewarded with a red-tailed hawk trio (Mom and Dad teaching junior the ropes) and a couple of kestrels. I'd brought my binoculars with me, though I did better finding (and thus watching) the flying birds without them.

The kids really enjoyed the raptor game out on the lawn.

Cynthia (and Olive) gave me a tour of the ranch house.  (It's nice - but talk about a steep flight of stairs!)  Cynthia and Scott will be moving out once their new house in Crestone is built (that target date is December) and Michael and Loretta would like to rent the vacated ranch house.  However OLT has not yet decided if they will rent it out again, or keep it for use by staff, or turn it into a B&B, etc.  

Here are Cynthia and Olive outside the kitchen/bathroom building (for use by folks working at the ranch or attending workshops.)

A few more pix of buildings from the ranch:

And here's the garden:

(Did you spot the guy working in the garden?)

Since I had cell reception down at the ranch, I made a few phone calls.  Spoke with Mom, who sounds more chipper - though she said she can't really tell if the inhaler is working yet.  Wanda had said it could take a few weeks, so I'm guessing it's a slow process.  However from my vantage point it seems to be working, though Mom will have to wait for official confirmation at her next visit with the doctor.

Then I spoke with Tom.  I'd gotten an e-mail that irrigation had been cancelled, and people on FB had a been posting about the winds yesterday, so I guessed (correctly) that we'd had another monsoon. 

Sure enough, Tom said everything was a mess; the pool looks as bad, or worse, than after the last storm, and some of the cottonwood limbs came down.  Joy & Dick, across the street, have lived there "forever", and said they have never seen a storm that bad.  Needless to say Tom, who'd been out in the yard dealing with the aftermath since 6:00, was not a happy camper.

This afternoon I spent an hour or so up at the pool. Chatted with Leslie, who is reading a book about Nellie Bly that she recommends.  When she headed to the sauna I read the first few pages, which I enjoyed, so I will add it to my To Read list.

Monday, July 30, 2018

Another full house for dinner last evening (everyone needed to be here for the Science Camp orientation last night) still Terry took it all in stride, putting out yet another delicious feast.  By the time the gang returned, her peach cobbler was coming out of the oven - but (for a change) I was too full from dinner to indulge in dessert.  Deanna did manage to keep James from polishing it off last night, and I had some for breakfast this morning.

We had a truly spectacular sunset last night (smoke in the air does that) with the setting sun an incredibly intense blazing red.  The reports and videos of the devastation from the Californa fire are of course appalling, so the reason for the beauty is far beyond sad. I didn't think to grab my camera, so this stock photo will have to do, though ours was monumentally much more impressive.  (We still smoky skies again this morning, so I may get another chance this evening.)

Haven’t mentioned the hummers lately.  I meant to note we went through the last 25 lb. bag of sugar in just 6 days, a day faster than the previous bag.  (Terry uses a separate canister of sugar for her baking needs, so all from these large sacks are going to the hummers!)

I had moved the previous sack into place, and opened it without mishap, but that was not the case a few days ago.  Terry had set the new bag on the stepstool in the pantry and was patiently working on the heavy string that held it closed.  Somehow, just as she had finished doing that, the bag got tipped over on to the floor and spilled.

Terry swept up most of it (which went back in the bag for the hummers - they likely won't mind/notice a bit of dirt), vaccumed up the rest - and then for good measure I mopped.  It seems we got it all since (happily!) there has been no parade of ants.

I had a terrible nightmare last night, possibly not all that surprising given the atrocities, committed by both sides, that are being related in the book I 'read' each night before bed.

This morning I was awake by 6:00, so I'd already had my shower and freed up the bathroom long before Deanna had to get all the kids up and moving for camp. (Elijah was also awake early, more than an hour ahead of schedule, so Terry and I did have time to whip him up his usual egg breakfast.)

Last night at orientation the kids got all sorts of goodies (water bottles, flashlights, tote bags, etc.) as well as t-shirts, so they are all set this morning.

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Yesterday was a lazy afternoon, 
mostly spent relaxing while listening to more of my book.  

I continue to be quite captivated by it, 
and am certainly glad the folks at the pool recommended it! 

After dinner last night, several people commented that I looked tired.  Guess I was, because after I went upstairs at 9:00 I didn't read long.  Not only did I sleep through the night without getting up (highly unusual!) but I really slept in this morning.  No idea why I was so tired - but obviously I must have needed the sleep!  

James was sporting a t-shirt this morning 
that made clear how he was feeling!

The sky looked smoky this morning, though it didn't smell like smoke.  Terry did a search to see if there were any new fires (which thankfully there weren't) and folks up at the pool later suggested that it might have been from the California fire.

At the Apple Pool this morning I chatted with Scott, who is the official photographer for Science Camp.  He's spotted what he thinks is a raptor's nest, and is hoping that Marla (who will be doing the raptor sessions for the kids) will be able to identify who built it.

At the Party Pool, finally got to chat a little with Craig (first time this summer) and also with Greg, who does land reclamation after fires and who had some interesting stories.

When a family with three girls showed up, Craig was wondering how long it would be before one of them was in tears.  (Yesterday, there had been a group celebrating a birthday, and a some point the 6-year-old birthday girl was in tears... he thought because no one was paying enough attention to her.)  Craig had nailed it; it didn't take long for the middle girl to dissolve into tears because her older sister had splashed her.  

So I decided it was a good time to head down to the swimming pool.  Saw this adorable mermaid fin on the deck - which turned out to have been a gift for Hazel, yesterday's birthday girl.  Mom said it came with a whole outfit.

Visited with Jess, whose tent sadly had not fared well during the rain last night.  We again shared my coconut oil, slathering each other's backs where we can't reach (definitely a "design flaw"!) She is heading back to NC today, and gifted me the book she was just finishing up.  

I had skimmed a good part of it the other day while she was doing something else, and decided it would be a perfect read for Tom (assuming I could find a copy somewhere.)  Ruess left home at 16 and tramped around the southwest, including many places in Arizona quite familiar to Tom and me. 

Everett Ruess, bold adventurer, artist, writer.  He traded prints with Ansel Adams.  He studied and lived with Edward Weston, Maynard Dixon and Dorothea Lange.  He tramped around the Sierra Nevada, the California coast, and desert wilderness of the Southwest, pursuing his dream of ultimate beauty and oneness with Nature.  
Then in November of 1934, at the age of 20, he mysteriously vanished into the barren Utah desert.
This search for ultimate beauty and adventure is chronicled in this remarkable collection of letters to friends and family.  The collection covers the period from 1930 until he vanished without a tracer in 1934.
This message every poet and vagabond seeker like Ruess leaves behind is simple: Life on this earth is very precious and very beautiful.  We must learn to heed the pure and delicate voices of those who cherish  it.  
He was one of the earth's oddlings - one of the wandering few who deny restraint and scorn inhibition.  His life was a quest for the new and the fresh. Beauty was a dream.  He pursued his dream into desert solitudes - there with the singing wind to chant his final song.

Eva has wanted to introduce me to her friend Leslie, another retired teacher.  I knew that Leslie lived in Maryland, on the Eastern Shore, but when we finally got to meet today and started talking, it turns out that she grew up right near me, in Montgomery County, graduated from a nearby high school, Peary, a year after I did, and then taught at another nearby high school, Wheaton.  Small world!

I saw Warren heading up to the Party Pool for a soak, and chastised him <g> for not having constructed his usual rock wonders this summer.  He "apologized" - said he has been working hard! -but promised to do better.

Talked to Rosie over at the office today, and got official permission to sit in on one of Marla's raptor sessions during science camp.  She did hint that if/when I showed up, I might end up having to help with the kids.

All 30 available slots for this year's Science Camp were filled within the first 24 hours after registration opened this past winter!

Yesterday Terry started putting up the case of peaches she got in town the other day, parboiling them for easy peeling before slicing. This morning the first batch of slices was frozen and ready for bagging, and then she was going to start on the next batch.  

We didn't get any peaches from our tree this year (as expected, the serious pruning made it quite unhappy) but next year, when they all come ripe on the same day, I hope to be motivated to freeze some of them.

This afternoon, using Tatum as a model, I taught Deanna how to French braid.  She did pretty well for her first attempt.

Friday, July 27, 2018

Enjoyed an early morning chat with James and Terry at the house this morning while everyone else was still abed.  Then I popped up to the Apple Pool for a pleasant soak, where I listened to an interesting conversation between two men who had worked with comedian George Carlin.  

Next on my agenda was relaxing, with Marna and Eva, on the deck by the swimming pool.  Surprisingly the pool was completely empty.  Eva and I agreed that meant there was absolutely no impediment to swimming laps - though neither of us got in!

  It was nice to be able to score lounge chairs (always at a premium up there) and chat.  I'm glad that OLT now provides some - but this many would be nice!

Marna and I have known each other for years; when our daughters were tweens they hung out together at Valley View, and also at the Renaissance Faire where Marna works in February and March.  Although we've never managed to get together otherwise, we really are going to try this winter.

Both Eva and Marna had told me the other day that I should sell my mesh bags, though I'm not at all  inclined to go into business.  However I did let them know this morning that I would be willing to sell the one I had brought with me - and Marna took me up on my offer. 

On the way back down to the house I came across a fun set-up across the creek, and stopped and asked if I could take pix.  What fun!

Here's 4-year-old Dao navigating his way across the creek.

Next, 3-year-old Jack took a turn.

I had asked for the dads' names (Paulo, in checked pants, is Dao's dad, and Tommy is Jack's dad.)  The boys then proceeded to tell me their moms' names, and when I said that "they weren't here" (meaning in the creekside pix, and thus not needing to be identified for their 15 seconds of fame <g> on my blog) the boys were quick to let me know that I was wrong.