Friday, May 4, 2012

Homes of the Ancients

I love camping.  With the great Spring weather we've been having here in Flyover Country, my husband and I decided to take a quick little camping trip.  My sister, Sharon (who manages the Moab Information Center), has had wonderful things to say about the ruins at Hovenweep National Monument; so we decided to take a little road trip to see what they were all about.  I'm so glad we did!!!

Hovenweep is a lesser-known (and lesser-visited) site where the "Ancient Puebloans" (also known as the Anazasi) lived, built, and flourished about 700 years ago.  Unlike nearby Mesa Verde, where their homes were built into cliffs in the canyon walls, the Ancient Puebloans who lived at Hovenweep built towers on the canyon rims and on top of boulders.  The tower ruins are amazing! 

Some of the structures have "basements" under the canyon rim or on the bedrock.

 Some of the structures are built right on top of boulders (or "in" the boulder). 
 Some of structures are found in the canyon bottom.  It is amazing to see what those "Ancients" could do with stone and mortar!  If you ever visit the Four Corners area of Colorado, Utah, New Mexico and Arizona....a trip to Hovenweep is worth the "off the beaten path" travel. 

After camping at Hovenweep, we took a 41-mile back road that sorta went toward home.  We took a county road that started at the historic Hatch Trading Post and went North into beautiful Montezuma Canyon.  (Local legend has it that the last Aztec King, Montezuma, escaped his Spanish captors and fled North into this area, where he was pursued and recaptures.  Who knows the real story???)  Anyway, Montezuma Canyon was also home to the Ancients.  There is a mix of public and private lands along the Canyon, and the public lands are managed by the BLM....so again, these sites are little known and little visited; but there are a lot of them!  We saw a lot of really cool petroglyphs along the route, as well as numerous granaries built into the cliffs surrounding the Canyon.  (The Ancients built granaries to store the grain and other foodstuffs they harvested from the Canyon floor.)
Some of the petroglyphs were actually above the granaries. 


I thought this one was pretty interesting.  It was chipped into the cliff right above what appeared to be a small cliff house or a big granary.  Right next to it was a small hand. 

I thought this one looked like a whale....but my husband didn't agree.  Maybe it was a map.  Maybe it was just a way to say "Joe was here."  Who knows? 
Some of the Granaries were really in great shape. Some were in ruins.  All were hard to see, because they are high on the cliffside and, of course, made of the same color stone as the surrounding cliffs.  Can't you just imagine someone getting ready to fill the granary with corn, or beans, or whatever??? 






Along the route is also the ruins of the "Three Kiva Pueblo."  This group of Ancients actually built their home in the middle of the Canyon, next to the creek.  I guess they felt safe there.  The BLM has restored one of the Kivas and allow visitors to go inside.  (The rest of the site is in ruins, but you can see how big the Pueblo was from the mounds and scattered sandstone building rock.)  It was very interesting to see the Kiva from the inside out.    




Just past the Kiva is a cliff-dwelling site.  The ruins are protected with a fence, so people can't easily climb up and disturb the ruins.  The dwellings are as big as some at Mesa Verde, although (of course) they haven't been restored.  Nevertheless, some of the ruins are in pretty good shape, considering their age.  If you look closely, and if you consider the fallen rock, you can see that this settlement used just about every available crack and crevice in the cliff to build their homes.  You can also see how they used the cracks in the cliff to go from one level to another.  It was pretty awesome to see, and guess at, the adaptability of these "Ancients."

All in all, this short, quick, camping trip turned out to be a blast.  Extremely relaxing, extremely educational, and extremely fun! 

But then, that's Flyover Country for ya!
 

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Good Friends; Good Times!

So this last week, my husband and I took a couple of friends to Moab to celebrate their Wedding Anniversary.  My sister, who works at the Moab Information Center, was able to hook us up with a great deal at the Red Cliffs Adventure Lodge in Moab.  WOW, what a place!!!!  Many thanks to Sharon and to the folks at Red Cliffs; the cabin was wonderful, the scenery was beautiful, the food was fantastic, and the hospitality was gracious! 
Here's a picture of the view from the deck of our cabin.  The deck opened up to the Colorado River running at the base of a beautiful red cliff (I guess that's the reason for the name of the Lodge...grin....) 
After we checked in, we took our friends out to an area North of Moab and went Razr Riding.  Total abandoned fun!  The area's beautiful.  Sandstone, sage, and sun!  Since it was the middle of the week, we were pretty much the only people out riding....well except for the young man who was riding a motorcycle alone and had broken down at the bottom of a hill called "Wipe-out Hill."  The last time we were there, we watched a large group of folks winch  Razrs and 4-wheelers up the hill.  Here's a picture of the hill....notice the motorcycle at the bottom...
Apparently, the young man had been waiting there for a while; waiting for someone to come along and help.  I let him use my cell phone, and my husband took him "a-ways" up the hill to get better cell service, and he was able to call his Dad and leave a message.  We left him with some water (he didn't have any) and told him we'd be back in about an hour to check on him.  So we went and played on the slickrock for a bit; and when we came back, both he and the motorcycle were gone.  He either got it started or his "people" found him. 

So, while we were "playing," I wanted to take a video of the Razr coming down a hill...I thought it would be cool....until....well, take a look what my husband and friends thought was funny.....
video

So, after we went riding; and I had my wits scared out of me (multiple times);' we went back to Red Cliffs for dinner.  The Lodge is surrounded by beautiful red cliffs, and we got to the Restaurant as the sun was setting.  This was the view from the Restaurant's deck....pretty, isn't it! 
We had a really great dinner, with good food, good friends, and good conversation....although the jokes about my screaming did get a little "old."  LOL! 

The next day, we connected with my sister and her partner for more Razr riding.  They rented a Razr and joined us on a trip up over Hurrah pass and into Chicken Corners (there's a reason they're called Chicken Corners....).  It was a wonderful trip and I thanks our friends, and my sister, for making it so special.  Truly.....good friends make good times!

 

Friday, March 9, 2012

Zoe

Our new house is out "a-ways" (which is both a direction and a measurement of distance here in Flyover Country) from town.  Unfortunately for my dog, Bella, that means that the town-dogs don't comeover and play like they used to.  Bella is trained to not leave the yard or our property, so she didn't visit around town; but she has lots of doggie-friends who would come over to play (and beg doggie-cookies).  Now that we live out of town "a-ways," they can't come over to play and she's been a bit lonely.....so we got a puppy. 

Zoe is a blue heeler puppy, and she drives Bella crazy with wanting to play.  She likes to try to bite Bella's tail whenever Bella wags it (which is most of the time).  Either that or she trying to get Bella's ears, or her ball, or her squeeky toy....you get the idea.  Zoe drives me crazy with wanting to chew on everything....but that's what puppies do.   She's also still trying to learn what house-training is all about; so I have to watch her very, very, closely when she's in the house. 

This morning, I dropped a piece of chocolate-covered pomegranate on the floor when I was doing breakfast dishes.  Now Bella's a chocolate-loving doggie and she would have gobbled it right up without a second thought, but Zoe's a bit different.  She had a blast for about 15-20 minutes, playing with it.  Then she ate it. 



video

Monday, March 5, 2012

S*&t Civilians say to Veterans

Kate (a.k.a. GI Kate) has produced a great video on the "S**t Civilians say to Veterans."  Love it!  Had to post it here:

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Skinnytaste Scones

Like just about everyone, I'm trying to live a healthy life.  Lately, I've been watching my weight (like just about everyone).  Well, I've found a wonderful website that gives me great ammunition for my ongoing battle of the bulge/  The website is Skinnytaste, and the author/cook, Gina, posts some fantastic low-fat, healthy recipes.  I've made a couple of her recipes, and I've not been disappointed in anything I've made from her website. 

This morning, I made her "Lemon Cranberry Scones" for breakfast; although I didn't have a lemon to zest, so I used a Cutie (a yummy mandarin orange, and my current addiction).  The scones were so good!  A super, lower fat, way to start the morning with a smile! 

Go over to Gina's website, and check out her stuff!  It's worth the trip!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Charcoal and Cows

It was a beautiful day in Flyover Country....so we went hiking. 

While I was in Virginia helping my daughter with her beautiful twins, our good friend Mr Williams took my husband out to find some missing cows.  Mr Williams is a long-time resident of Flyover Country.  He's lived here all of the over 80 years of his life (except for a stint in the US military).  I love to ride horses with him, and the "excuse" he usually uses to ride is that he has to check on cows, or open gates, or take salt out for them.  Since it's winter, he doesn't ride horses, but still has to go check on his cows.  The best thing about going anywhere with Mr Williams is that he tells stories; about Flyover Country, about the pioneers and people who settled here, and about the Native Americans who were here before.  He knows all the stories, and it's so entertaining (and informative) to listen to him. 

So, about week or so ago, Mr Williams asked my man to go with him.  They rode around in Mr William's pickup, looking for cows and telling stories.  I'm so jealous!  Anyway, Mr Williams showed my husband one of the places where the pioneers, the "old-timers" who settled Flyover Country built a charcoal oven. Since it was so beautiful out today, we hiked up to the site of the oven. 


Although the roof has fallen in, it's really in pretty good shape; it's amazing what those "old-timers" could do.  I'm not certain what they used the oven for, or even if they made charcoal in the oven (although that's what it seemed like it was designed to do and there was some evidence of charcoal on the ground outside).  It was pretty neat to see the oven, and the countryside around it was beautiful. 

Oh yeah....we even found one of Mr William's missing cows.....

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Home

Home.  If you really think about it the concept of "Home" is a powerful concept.  It carries with it all kinds of emotions, all kinds of memories, all kinds of baggage (both good and not-so-good). 

My dad was in the military, so I grew up in a lot of different places.  I had a lot of different "homes," but none of them ever kept a place in my heart...not really.  There were really great things about all the different places I lived as a kid, and my family did things to make most of the places fun, with good memories attached; but none those places was really "home."  That place where your heart yearns to return. 

When I got married and went out on my own, I tried to adopt the place my first husband grew up as "home."  It worked to a degree.  It was the place where my folks lived after my dad retired from the military.  It was where my first husband's heart was, and where his childhood friends and memories were.  I did, and do, love that place and love to visit there.  It's beautiful and the people there are special to me; especially (of course) my parents and siblings who still live there.  But it never, quite, became "home."  Since I was military, we travelled and lived in a lot of different places, and I tried to make a home for my family in each of them; but none of them became that one place where my heart wanted to be. 

For me, there has always only been one place that has touched my soul, where my spirits rise when I arrive, where I feel relaxed and more "me" than anywhere else.  Flyover Country.  When I was a kid, this is the place where we would come for one or two weeks each summer to visit with my grandparents.  I had friends here, with whom I could pick up the prior summer's conversation and friendship without pause.  I loved visiting here.  I loved the beauty of the place, the history, and the people.   I still do.  I've chosen to live here, even though it's rural and remote.  (Maybe, though, that's part of the draw for me.)  I've chosen to live here, even though there are some inconveniences.  I've chosen to live here, because it's home.  I'm so fortunate that my husband loves this place as much as I do.  


I'm so fortunate that he has chosen to adopt my home as his own.  They say that, "home is where the heart is."  For me, on many different levels, my home is here:  in Flyover Country with my man. 

Saturday, January 21, 2012

There's no place like home.....

I've been away from home for 16 days.  I've loved being here with my daughter and her family.  I've loved seeing my other daughter and her husband, at least for a little bit.  I've loved being able to play with Travis, Alyssa and (for a bit) Corie.  I am so happy to have the chance to get acquainted with the two new babies, and to be able to help my daughter adjust to twins in the family.  I'm blessed, and I know it.  But....

I'm ready to go home.  This is the longest I've been away from my husband since we found each other (again).  I have to say that I don't like it.  I miss him.  I used to think that I was very independent.  To my surprise, I've found out that I'm not.  I'm a lot more dependent, on him, that I ever thought I was.  Strange, that.

I've also found out that I love being home; my home.  Where my heart is.  Where my spirits soar when I look outside and see the beauty that is "Flyover Country."  Where I can relax and just "be."  Where I feel joy.  Where my man is....that's home.  I'm ready to put on my ruby slippers, and turn around three times, whispering, "there's no place like home, there's no place like home, there's no place like home....." 

Monday, January 16, 2012

Happy Birthday, Punkin'

On this day in 1981....my second daughter arrived in this world.  From the very start she was beautiful, loving, smart, and stubborn; and she still is all of those things.  I love her with all my heart.  She's a wonderful mother to four great kids....including two just-born infants.  I admire the woman that she's become.  She's my girl and my friend.  Happy Birthday, Punkin'. 

Friday, January 13, 2012

Welcome into the World!

On Tuesday, January 2, 2012, my beautiful daughter gave birth to two sweet little twins, Mr. O and Miss A.  "O" weighed in at 5 pounds 6 ounces, and "A" weighed in at 4 pounds 15 ounces.  Thankfully, both are healthy and thriving.  For the last week, I've been staying at my daughter's house to help her with the twins, and with her two older children.  Although I miss my home and husband, who is back home in Flyover Country taking care of the dog and horses, I feel so blessed to be able to spend this time with my daughter and her family.  It's been wonderful getting to know these two new little souls.  Even though they're only just over a week old, each already has a distinct personality. 
Mr. O is a cuddler.  He likes to be held; but he also has temper and isn't afraid to express it with a loud cry.  He doesn't like being wet or hungry.  He doesn't like it if Grandma has cold hands when she changes his diaper.  When he wants to eat, he wants it NOW!   Even with that temper, he's so sweet.  He likes to hold onto something (like Grandma's fingers) when he eats.  He doesn't like to take a break from eating to burp, but shivers with pleasure when he does let out a big belch.  After he eats, he wants to be held until he falls back into full-tummy-stupor.  When he's awake, he looks at you with those big, slightly-unfocused, baby eyes that feel like he's looking directly into your heart.  He loves to look at the light, and enjoys being rocked.

Miss A is also a cuddler, but she's got a laid-back temperament, compared to her twin.  She wakes up slowly; stretching and squeaking herself awake.  She doesn't cry very loudly, but she will protest if she's cold or if you take too long to feed her once she's decided it's time to eat.  She takes a while to wake up, so don't try to feed her right away....she'll just fall back asleep and then she doesn't get enough to make it to the next scheduled feeding.  When she does decide to eat, she goes about it deliberately, but slowly.  She doesn't like air-bubbles in her tummy, and will squirm until you burp her; and more often than not, she'll take a bit of a snooze until she gets the burp out.  Like Mr. O, she doesn't like cold fingers on her tummy or bottom; nor does she enjoy a baby-wipe that hasn't been warmed up first.  Also like her brother, she likes to cuddle after she eats and loves to look at bright lights.   

Right now, these preemie-twins are so little that their life consists of eating, burping, sleeping, taking care of the natural consequences of eating, and growing.  It's going to be so much fun to watch these two precious beings grow and develop.  They've already got a big place in Grandma's heart.....along with their big brother and big sister and their two cousins. 

Welcome to the world, Mr. O and Miss A!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Blogging (Again)

OK....so it's been a loooong time since I posted in this Blog.  Sorry, again, I'm not sure why.  I still see something, or read something, and think; "that would be good to talk about in the blog...." but somehow it doesn't get done.  I can blame it on being busy....there have been lots of changes in my life recently (including a new home), but if I'm totally honest with myself, my lack of posting is due to ambivalence about blogging coupled with a touch of laziness. 

When I started this blog, it was with a desire to participate in the blogging conversation going on "out there."  I supposed I needed an outlet for some reason.  I had just left the military, after serving for 23 years.  I had a job I loved, but that wasn't really challenging.  I spent a lot of time reading blogs, particularly milblogs, and wanted to add my voice to the issues addressing the military and the country.  Then my life changed....drastically. 

I left my job, my home, and my then-husband.  I went to live in the middle of "Flyover Country."  The phrase "life changes" doesn't describe it.  After all was said and done, it was the absolutely right decision for me.  I guess I could have blogged about my thoughts and feelings during that time; but that's really not me.  I don't "share" my very innermost being easily.  Then there was the attorney-side of me that was wary of posting anything that could have somehow come back and "bite" me.  So I denied myself the blogging outlet that some folks use to express themselves.  Just not really my style. 

As 2012 starts, life has stabilized (a bit).  I still live in the middle of "Flyover Country."  I'm absolutely certain I live in one of the most beautiful spots on earth.  My home is within a 10-minute drive of two different National Forests and a National Park....yet there isn't a single US Highway in the entire County.   Don't get me wrong....we have a great road system (including Highway 12, the first highway designated a "Scenic Byway"); it's just that they're all State highways.  I love where I live.  I'm remarried to a wonderful man, who loves me as much as I love him, and who takes care of me.  I have three horses, a dog, and beautiful home.  (Actually, I have two....a 75 year old home that we remodeled and a wonderful new home we just bought....the remodeled home is for sale....).  I've started a small law practice.  I have great friends.  I love my children, and adore my grandchildren (I now have six).  Life is good. 

So now I'd like to start up this blog again.  Maybe it's the Presidential election....makes me want to discuss politics and I enjoy joining that conversation to give my thoughts and opinions.  Maybe it's because I no longer feel "threatened" that anything I say could come back to hurt me.  Maybe because life is good, and I want to share (again) with friends and family.  My husband tells me that I analyze things too much....that sometimes I should just let things "be."  It could be he's right.  For whatever reason, I want to start writing again.  So here goes.......