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Goodbye to fall and Hello to fall!

As this blog post finds its way to your computer, I am on my way from fall in the mountains of northern New Mexico at 7,000 feet to fall in Oklahoma at 1,200 feet. We have had our first hard freeze and our first snowfall of the season (with no real accumulation). It’s time to transition.

Fall was beautiful this year with lots of blazing yellow. Now I’m hoping to see fall again in Oklahoma. Last year there were beautiful yellows, reds, and oranges, but strong winds blew them away in just a few days’ time.

I am sharing a few pictures from end of summer and fall in a climate that never got hot this year.

  1. Ammo in the middle of New Mexico sunflowers that grow abundantly here.
  2. A tiny berry from a black currant bush that grows wild on our property. It is the first time the bushes have produced fruit in 20 years. Time intensive to collect and remove the ends, but they were fun to eat added into a rhubarb/apple pie.
  3. Worth the walk up the hill to get a good view of the Brazos Cliffs which are the tallest in New Mexico.
  4. New Mexico sunflowers that didn’t get planted in the pot until the first of August, and they bloomed before the frost.
  5. Lovely fall colors.
  6. Lucy is a nosy chiweenie. This was a little scary because these wildflowers attract wasps.
  7. A giant sunflower in another pot on the deck. I held my breath until it bloomed! The last frost of the winter and the first frost of the fall can overlap in this area; that can make for a really short growing season.
  8. Sunrise!

50th Wedding Anniversary in Branson, MO

Showboat Branson Belle

Cabin in the Woods

Silver Dollar City

WonderWorks

Performance of “Jesus” at the Sight and Sound Theater

Dolly Parton Stampede

The Calm after the Storm

In Oklahoma this week we have been having crazy weather with extreme thunderstorms including hail and heavy winds along with hours and hours of tornado watches and warnings. Here are some “after” pictures as we head into some sunny days and unseasonably high temperatures

My favorite shades of my favorite color!

Rains made a pond in a low spot in our backyard bringing in the ducks from a bigger pond to search for earthworms.

Whooshing sounds brought us out into our backyard. Not uncommon in NM, but I hadn’t seen any in OK.

Pianos and Flowers–stories birthed from photos

Pianos and Flowers

by Alexander McCall Smith

It is not uncommon for teachers to present students with a photograph and ask them to write about it. The result is usually nonfiction and descriptive of what is seen in the picture. The Sunday Times asked Alexander McCall Smith, the Scottish writer famous for his No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series set in Botswana, to select photographs from their archives of everyday people in everyday settings. He then created short stories, one for each picture, which fictionalized what was happening to the people in the picture as well as their background. The result is a collection of unrelated stories that bring these people to life. Naturally some appealed to me more than others. “Sphinx” is a gentle romance set in the 1930’s. “Pianos and Flowers” is about Brits working and living in China and how it affected their families. “Architect” had interesting observations about family relationships and culminated in a surprise ending. “Urchins” contained sad stories about the plight of the pictured street urchins and what the future held for them. I smile as I recall “St. John’s Wort,” the story of a retired man who was worried about everything. A friend of the wife gave her some timely advice. As you can see, each story in Pianos and Flowers is unique. There was only one story of the fourteen that I actually noted as not liking.

I read these at the rate of one or two stories a night at bedtime. They were a nice way to end the day on a calm and gentle note.

I would like to extend my thanks to NetGalley and to Knopf Doubleday (Pantheon) for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 5/5

Category: Short Stories

Publication: January 19, 2021— Knopf Doubleday (Pantheon)

Notes: The subtitle is Brief Encounters of the Romantic Kind, but I found that to be a misnomer. The stories are fictionalized snippets of life so there is some romance, but not very much.

Memorable Lines:

Parents are inexplicably embarrassing to sixteen-year-olds—they always have been.

We belittle the things we secretly want ourselves.

“A metaphor must be strange—it must make us sit up and take notice in a way in which a literal expression does not.”

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

This week, as the holiday weeks in the U.S. come to an end, I will be putting away my Christmas decorations. May 2022 be a year of blessings, peace, and good health for you and those you love and pray for. Happy New Year!

Happy 4th of July!

Whether you call it Old Glory, the Stars and Stripes, or the Red, White, and Blue, our flag represents the United States of America. The Declaration of Independence, our founding document, was signed on July 4, 1776.

Here are some patriotic displays I saw this week walking around a subdivision in Oklahoma.

Memorial Day

Memorial Day in the United States is observed on the last Monday in May and honors those in the U.S. military who have paid the ultimate sacrifice for our protection and freedom. In my mind it also honors the families who have lost their loved ones to that cause. Their lives will never be the same.

As I walked around our home in the mountains this weekend, I saw inspiring red, white, and blues in nature and am sharing them in honor of those heroes. Some of the reds have an orangish glow on the camera and the blues tend more toward purple, but we’ll use our imaginations and call it creative license.

Trip North of the Border

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Bienvenido a Casa!

Welcome Home!

This little lady and about 20 more greeted us on our arrival at our cabin in Northern New Mexico last week.20190402_155707_resized

We have returned a little early due to some events north and south of the border.  It is not the pretty scene of midwinter with everything covered in a white snowy dress. The  display is piles of dirty snow, some ponds where there were none, and muddy areas with deer prints. Although it is not pretty, it is a welcome relief from the drought of recent years. As soon as the temps rise, we should see a lot of green as the trees and grass spring to life.

But backtracking a little, we had four long days of travel with 2 dogs in tow to get from the middle of Mexico to Northern New Mexico. We spent 3 hours inching along in our manual transmission pickup at the border crossing into the U.S. Here are a few pictures of the Plaza de las Culturas (Plaza of Cultures) as you exit Mexico at Tres Piedras to cross over into Eagle Pass. We have crossed there before, but I hadn’t really noticed the replicas of ancient temples, because in the past we had zipped right past them.

One highlight of the trip for me was the small Texas town of Eldorado. On our trips from New Mexico to east Texas, we have fun finding the doughnut shops as we pass through little towns. We don’t eat at all of them, but Eden, for example, has delicious fresh doughnuts. On this trip, the doughnut shop in Eldorado appeared to be closed. As my husband turned around to tell me the bad news, a sheriff’s vehicle pulled in. We had a friendly conversation, and he shared that the doughnut shop was now part of the liquor store in town. He not only gave us directions, but when I pulled out to go there, I found he was at the stop light waiting for us and gave us an escort! As in many small towns, for purposes of survival, the shop (called A’s) was not only a doughnut and liquor store but also a short order grill and convenience store with some of the nicest owners you would want to meet. Texas friendliness at its best! 

As we were leaving town, we pulled over for GPS adjustments and I hopped out and snapped some gorgeous 

Bluebonnets!

As my lack of inactivity on my own blog and those I follow demonstrates, the last few weeks have been hectic–preparing for the trip, making the journey, and transitioning into life in the U.S. again. I am so far behind, that I will probably alleviate the stress of unread blogs by deleting most of my email notices. My apologies. The good news is that, perhaps, due to a new tower and Internet provider in my rural area, I may actually have a good connection this summer. I am currently using a loaner device and it is fabulous. Under past “normal” conditions, I would be unable to make this blog post. If my actual connection is only half of what I am currently getting, I will still be happy. I find I have less time in the U.S. for reading and reviewing as I have a different lifestyle here, but the future looks bright!

 

Amazing Auto History in Asheville

This summer I took a short trip to Asheville, NC and while there got a peek at the impressive Grove Park Inn.

After touring some craft shops with beautiful furniture, paintings, and sculptures, we went to the Antique Car Museum behind the Inn. It is housed in a former weaving shop belonging to Biltmore Industries. I’m sure the large windows were essential to the 40 workers making bolts of homespun fabric. Now the long building displays horse drawn carriages, a 1921 fire engine, and vintage autos.IMG_6276

My favorite is this beautiful 1957 Cadillac Eldorado Brougham of which only 400 were produced.

Here’s the displayed information if you want to know more about this magnificent vehicle.IMG_6272

I can’t resist adding a picture of a cute restaurant that looks like it jumped off the pages of a fairy tale.IMG_6278

Happy Easter–from the mountains of Michoacan, Mexico

Today we celebrate new life in a resurrected Jesus Christ!

Photos taken towards the end of February:

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