Saturday, September 29, 2007

More Fall Weather

I know I keep repeating myself, but I just love the fall weather. We're having highs in the 70s and lows in the 30s, a few times as low as 30 or 31. It's great sleeping weather. We're at that perfect time of year when we don't run the swamp cooler OR the furnace. In the mornings, I open the shades on the front windows to let the morning sunshine warm up the house (except yesterday, when it was cloudy gray all day).

I found a really great local website that's a webcam showing a live picture of Taos Mountain (also known as Pueblo Peak); it updates every 15 seconds, but of course it's shut down at night when it's too dark to see. The website is . I've added it to the list of links on the right, so you can look at it anytime. This is the same mountain I can see from the house, but at a slightly different angle. It's fascinating to see how it changes -- the light and shadows on the mountain and the clouds all around it, sometimes in front of it. Soon there will be snow on the upper part of the mountain, probably in a couple of weeks.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Finally Fall

Fall has arrived, right on schedule. Yesterday was the first day of fall and it was cool and cloudy. It even rained a little bit. Actually it rained in several little "spurts" throughout the day, giving us a grand total of 0.28 of an inch of rain (I love the weather station we have at our house; it's very accurate and very precise.). Today the sky is blue and the air is crisp.

Some of the trees in the arroyo across the road are starting to get spots of yellow among the green leaves. It's so beautiful when the aspens and cottonwoods are golden. When the sunlight hits them just right, they shine with an indescribable brilliance. But I do miss the red maples of back east. There are scrub oaks nearby, like oak trees, but miniaturized down to shrub size. They turn red, but it's a darker red, even at their best. There's nothing like the red maples in the neighborhood where I grew up.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Late Summer, Early Fall

Almost all the hummingbirds are gone now. There are still a few hangers-on, but I'm trying to wean them off the feeders and send them on their way. I took down the big one and the little one, leaving only the medium one. I filled it Saturday and there's still quite a bit left. I won't fill it anymore. I'm afraid the birds won't leave if there's an endless supply of food here and it's really time for them to head south. In just another week or two, we'll get our first frost. Every year we have a few who stay longer than the others, but they always leave in time.

I love September and October. It's definitely my favorite time of year. Clear, crisp days that are warm but not hot and nights that are refreshingly chilly.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Labor Day Weekend

Yes, I'm still alive. It's just been crazy-busy around here.

We spent the long Labor Day weekend out at Scott Valley Ranch. We went out there Friday evening. Ron went first, in the RV. I followed about 45 minutes later in the Jeep. By the time I got out there, he had the campsite almost completely set up. I helped with the finishing touches while Ron started the charcoal grill.

Then we sat back and relaxed, drinking wine and watching the sky change colors. It was so beautiful, one of the most beautiful sunsets we'd ever seen out there (and we've seen plenty of beautiful ones). The clouds were a color that's the perfect fusion of orange and pink. They slowly turned gray as the evening storm approached. We had a spectacular 360-degree view of the sky, mountains, and trees. One small vacant house is the only "man-made" thing in view. It's sheer heaven out there.

We ate outside, enjoying the grilled steaks, baked beans, and Greek salad in the fresh air. Ron also grilled a bunch of Bratwursts so we could eat them in the next couple of days.

As the sun sank lower in the sky, it grew so chilly I had to put on a sweatshirt. After such a long, hot summer, it felt wonderful to be so chilly I needed a sweatshirt!

Eventually we went inside the RV to settle in for the night. Soon afterward, it started to rain. There's nothing like being inside a small RV during a rainstorm. The pounding rain makes a thunderous noise. Of course, so does thunder, and we had that, too, but at least it wasn't very close.

Saturday and Sunday were wonderful, relaxed days. The mornings and evenings were pleasantly cool and the days were warm, but not hot. Both days we went home for a couple of hours, driving the Jeep and leaving the RV and campsite set up. It's about an hour's drive each way, but it's worth it to go home and take a shower (we've never fired up the RV's hot water) and feed the dogs and cats.

Sunday afternoon when we went back to the ranch, we took Wolfie and Brutus with us. They love to run free there and they've been vaccinated against rattlesnake bites. Snakes are everywhere out there; I wish they had a rattlesnake vaccine for humans. The dogs had a great time. Their very presence got the local coyotes riled up. When it got dark, we could hear the coyotes yipping on three sides of us, trying to entice the dogs to "come out and play." But we put Wolfie on a long tether and Brutus stayed close by, not wanting to leave Wolfie.

Monday in the late morning, we packed up and went home to enjoy the rest of the long weekend. It's so beautiful and peaceful out at Scott Valley Ranch, but it's also comfortable and relaxing at home.