Started snowing sometime last night and it’s noon and still coming down. Winter wonderland.
The sky at first light this morning around 6 AM looking toward the southeast. First clouds we’ve had in I can’t remember how many days. From the huge storm that has swept into California.
Getting my woodworking machines up and running. I love the amount of space I have and how everything is laid out. Began work on my first project today; a wood storage bin for cutoff pieces. Amos has completed the steps and is putting in a railing tomorrow.
Pilgrims from Europe visiting the Murshid Moineddin Dargah , guided by Murshid Saadi, Murshida Gita and Murshid Tansen.
The new dam for this year’s swimming hole.
Yesterday a person I met at SWNM Audubon came out and together we birded the feeders in the backyard of Adobe Noor, the ranch house, the swimming hole, the Dargah area and outer gardens and the area around the irrigation dam and dance dome. Here’s the list of what we saw:
Black Chinned Hummingbird Broad Tailed Hummingbird Black Headed Grosbeak House Finch
White Winged Dove Morning Dove Gambel’s Quail Common Raven
Says Phoebe Ash Throated Flycatcher Lark Sparrow Red Tailed Hawk
Black Phoebe Brown Headed Cowbird Canyon Towhee Hooded Oriole
Turkey Vulture Violet Green Swallow Western Scrub Jay Northern Mockingbird
We got the first rain in over a month. A steady rain throughout the early morning hours. Had my bedroom window open; the air smelled so sweet. We got .32” which is a lot. The rain barrel got full again. Scattered thunderstorms were predicted for the afternoon & evening, but didn’t materialize. Any rain in the desert is a Big Deal.
Preparing to watch the total lunar eclipse beginning around midnight MDT. It’s the first of a tetrad (4 total eclipses about 6 months apart in 2014 & 2015. The skies will be clear all night here; my hammock is all set up and ready; binoculars and camera at the ready. During the eclipse, the moon will appear a very reddish color; hence the term, “blood moon”. The eclipses are all visible in the northern hemisphere….weather permitting. So join me in the early morning hours for this celestial event. Oh yes, you can also watch it online at space.com
It has been raining steadily since about noon today. It’s from the same storm that has hit CA and is moving east. Much needed in the desert especially in our current drought conditions. This rain will help to fill up the 3 cisterns outside the house. We use that rain water for dishes, showering and teeth brushing, and get our drinking water from the artesian well. So we have learned to conserve water by such methods as turning off the shower while soaping up, using only what we need for dishes, etc.
Pulled up my bedroom shade at a little after 5 this morning to see the Serpent Holder and Northern Crown rising in the east. Got dressed and headed up to the switchback. Big dipper almost overhead, Scorpio rising in the Southeast, the Great Arc off to the west. No sound to be heard until I got up there. A Great Horned Owl called in the distance, maybe the one that lives at the end of the box canyon. Briefly heard coyotes far away. No wind. Great way to start the day.
I’ve been waking up around 5:30 and getting up by 6. Just need that much sleep now as I am getting older. Love watching it get light out and waiting for the sun to come up over the mountain around 7:30. Open up the window shades to get the warmth coming into the house. Go down for morning meditation at 8:15, come home and eat breakfast about 9:30 and then get on with my day. Sue cooked the second turkey she bought at Thanksgiving today with all the trimmings. After dishes, went for a walk down to the retreat center to greet others who had just returned from being away. So warm and sunny today that I did my afternoon meditation outside.
Went for a night hike around 8pm. When we got far enough away from our house, no lights were visible anywhere. The dark outline of the mountains all around. The clouds blocked the stars, the moon itself was not visible, but moonlight could be seen through some of the thinner clouds. We could see the lights in the southeast from Silver City. There was no wind; the only sound was the crickets. A mild evening and an awesome wonder in the silence and lack of light.
In our garden just a couple of weeks ago…the Hollyhock was a volunteer and sprung up in the gravel just off the patio. The rose is still doing real well in November and likes the cold.
It’s been almost exactly a month now since the rainy season ended. Many cloudless days with temps in the upper 60’s now. Lots of insects during the day especially grasshoppers. Heard coyotes last night for the first time in a long time. The grasses have all dried up and the wildflowers are gone. Been sleeping on the futon on the porch since my down sleeping bag arrived. So very quiet here and beautiful.
Today took Norbu and Honey hiking in Holman Canyon. Hiked down to the creek, crossed under the first barbed wire fence, then the creek and found the gate on the fence to go back the other way toward the canyon. Took a tributary of the wash and climbed up a ridge. Norbu & I watched a white tailed deer crossing another ridge. The only sounds were the wind and the dogs panting as they were close to me. I thought of Native Americans riding this land, or perhaps the Mogollon people much before them. Next hike I think I’ll bring my compass, walking stick and camera and leave a note as to where I went. I kept the wash in my sights so that I wouldn’t get lost, but I can see how it would be possible to get lost in these canyons.
I love watching the shadows the sun casts on the mountains in the mornings and evenings
This afternoon the dogs wouldn’t let me nap! One was clawing at the door to get out and the other one thought she could join me in my bed (a big “no,no”) So we headed off on a hike into Singing Canyon. Found the cow trail down into it. On the way back up we shared the cow trail with a longhorn and a mama and calf. Everybody got up to the top without incident.
“Rick and Sue’s house is off the grid! Aside from its aesthetic appeal and surreal surroundings, one of the most amazing things about the house is the solar power system. The solar panel and battery bank is something to be admired by “preppers” everywhere. The insulative properties of the home’s mud-brick construction allow for passive cooling in the desert heat. With enough solar power to run a small air conditioner, such technology is not needed. The house then takes it to the next level by using the sun to directly heat water. Off grid does not mean no hot showers.” Chris Lambert’s comments after his visit to us in July
Why did I choose to retire to southwest New Mexico? 3 million acres of national forest and wilderness area crisscrossed by 1500 miles of trails. 333 different bird species identified here. The night sky is visible over 300 days/year. Silver City has a friendly, small town atmosphere with a historic business district, Victorian homes, lots of great restaurants, art galleries and 2 highly inform…ative museums. There is a university and the city has lots of activities and festivals throughout the year including my favorite; Blues Fest. There is a diversity people; old hippies, cowboys, young people, retirees. And they refer to the climate here as having “four gentle seasons”. It’s also a great place to visit; hint, hint.
Hiked in Holman Canyon this morning with the two dogs, Honey and Norbu. This evening there was a rainbow (huge) that started in the southeast and went all the way to the mountain in the northeast. The sun lit up the mountain where the rainbow could be seen.
A dog without tags or a collar wandered into our community the other day. Sue & I have taken her in. She and the other 2 dogs are getting along really well. We have named her Honey. The nice thing is that when we travel, others in our community will take care of her while we are gone. We are the accidental parents of this sweet and gentle dog.
AMAZING ADOBE. Open up the house in the evening. Close it up and pull down the shades when I get up in the morning. It’s about 60 by morning, but during the day it only gets to the low 70’s in the house while the temps outside are 18 or 19 degrees hotter. We don’t need the swamp cooler or fans. And there’s no sound of an air conditioner making noise. I love it. I’ve been painting and moving adobe blocks that a friend/neighbor has given us. I feel energized and physically good.
It is so very quiet here. At night the wind usually dies down and is totally still. The birds are all hunkered down and it’s still too cool for insects. The only sound I hear sleeping on the porch is the occasional sound of the water pump for about 30 seconds. No road noise from cars or sirens from emergency vehicles. There are several solar lights in the garden. No street lights or any other lights with the exception of a neighbors house a hundred yards away and a slight glow in the southeast from Silver City. And of course, the stars and the moon when it is out.
The installation of the new solar panels for our adobe is coming along. The charge controller, combiner box and circuit breaker box are mounted. Will bring an additional 1400 watts of electricity. Weather today was 74 and sunny.
Had Big Fun today. Hiked with 2 other members of our community in a box canyon on the SSC land where we live. Had lunch when we got to the end of the canyon, then hiked up a cow trail to the top and back to our house.
Winter birds are coming back to New Mexico. We have Red-Naped Sapsuckers in the trees around the ranch house. Also Northern Flickers are here
After doing some cleaning down at the ranch house, Sue and I went for a swim in Bear Creek, a year round cool mountain stream on the land, as we celebrate our 18th wedding anniversary today.