Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Getting Ready for a Long Winter's Nap...


It is a great comfort that no matter what is going on in our lives, the season move forward. In a time when the clouds, on occasion, dip down lower then the mesa, without us remembering to instruct it, the sun tilts sides way, the wind blows and the grass starts to turn brown. ...


and the evenings turn golden, just barely enough light for the deer to come into the lawn and pick the last of the apples on the almost leafless trees. 

More because the elements remind us, we humans do slip into our autumn activities. First Homecoming, where school is let out early and the students, parents and locals line Central ave for the parade, the cheerleaders riding restored fire trucks from up the mountain. 


Here the Homecoming royalty... 

aren't escorted in the backs of convertibles but pickup trucks and the homecoming dresses might have cowboy boots under them.


The other Fall activities- discussions of the weather, how cold and how much snow the mountains will have this winter and elk hunting. But it stayed too warm for the elk to come down low enough for a successful hunt this year. Warm enough to keep the windows cracked on the drive back down the mountain in Grandpa's old truck that carries the camper shell...







 Another activity that took much time this Fall...

Not riding horse, like you might think, but Daughter #2's involvement with the local high school's production of Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, set in the Wild Wild West. Someone leaving the borrowed boots on our porch yesterday, were so pretty in the tilting sun. 

The wind is still blowing down here on the canyon ridge, and the grass is still showing, though most of the leaves are now off the trees. 

Not so, farther up, where coming home from a weekend away on the other side of the mountains, we had to navigate this...


 and we meet these guys...

 who, looking for the grass, worked their way through a wire fence deciding the brown grass on the side or the road looked yummier. To hear them "churp" go HERE

Sunday, November 02, 2014

As Far as I could reach...


I haven't been active on this blog lately due to some big life changing events, like the ones I talked about HERE, a few weeks ago. The last big event I mentioned in that post has to do with the above picture, well actually book cover and I've been debating how to and in what order to tell everyone about it and the other part of the story. Way to much for one blog post, so first things first and that started over ten years ago, actually I think it could have been more like twelve, when, on Saturday, over in Utah, we hiked in between places like this...


 and along the river beds like  this...


 and along the rim of this...


and there would come a point where bribery would be necessary to get these two...


back to the truck!


 
The bribe would go something like, "Wow! When we get back to the town, what do you want...?" And the "want" usually was something sweet, ice cream or a fancy drink and a book at the old Arches Bookstore in Moab, where we would also indulge in dinner or a late lunch before heading back over the border to Colorado.
Arches is no longer there, consolidating with the bookstore across the street a few years back, but a decade ago, it had the best children's section tucked in the far corner of the tiny store and we would trade, Jon and I, one would get to browse and one would take up post near the girls while they debated with much excitement which book to buy.
It didn't take long, when it was my turn to let Jon browse, to discover that the section next to the children's was that of local history and the local history in Utah, is pretty focused on the land, Edward Abbey, the Uranium boom that supplied some of the atomic bomb and most of the Cold War and  Mormons and polygamy. Who knows what I would be writing about if we lived in Ohio?

But in Utah I picked this book...,

denoted  as used by a red dot on the spin, costing me $6 and the rest is history.

Since little girls are tired after all day hikes and the two hour car drive back home is quiet, I would read my book, look out the window at this....


and wonder about the zealous religious people that had the tenacity to hack out a life in this unforgiving land no one else dared even try in places like this,..


and like this...


And so over the years,  as the girls grew, a story grew in my head and then I started to write it down and  to seek out more history and more places to make it real as possible, a willing husband, who was glad to go  along for the drive with the promise of more hiking, backpacking or mountain biking...


This place, the Four Corners, what was cut by the Colorado River and all its tributaries, is known as the backwash of the country, to wild to be tamed and very much looked over in the rush to the more fertile land on the western edge of the country, has moved me since I laid eyes on it, first around Moab, thanks to friends who had been jeeping there for years and then on our own, hiking and backpacking...


Canyonlands, Arches, and far off places like Zion and  Escalante, many of which I have written about and sketched over the years...



But something else was happen about the same time, people were talking about Uranium and the Atomic age. There was a cost to mining the uranium that supplied the atomic bombs of the Cold War. It polluted the land and the people who live here and the government, about ten years ago decided to start cleaning it up. It was in the news and on our drives back to Colorado, we went past the reclamation, clean up sites.
And I started to talk to my dad, way up in Idaho, who as a boy, during World War 2, had to have a security pass to go to the grocery store because my grandfather worked on the antennas for the the atomic bombs in Oak Ridge Tennessee, a town that did not exist before the war and was created for the soul purpose of the Manhattan Project and reading up on my families history and part in such a monumental event in our country's history, I found Utah again, where a covert operation sent soldiers with geological and mining experiences back to find and mine the uranium for the bombs.
And these interesting bits of history melded in my brain, on the long drives home or while doing art and Moonflower came to be...

"Motherless and her father too busy with his three other wives,
 their children and leading a Fundamentalist religious group, 
young Luna has the freedom to wander around Cathedral Valley, 
Utah in the summer of 1942.With no one paying attention,
 she forges a friendship with Josh McCormick, a geologist secretly sent by
 the Army to find uranium for the atomic bomb. When he returns after the war
 to mine the uranium, Luna is seventeen and their renewed relationship could
 mean freedom from a life she does not want as a second wife
 or it could mean her and her families destruction."


 Getting it down on paper, is a whole other post as is why I picked the wild Utah flower, most consider a weed for the title of not only my story but as you all know the word that connects me to my art as well....oh! And I have a whole new website...still at moonflowerstudio.biz but now also at juliakelly.biz




Monday, October 06, 2014

Up, Over and Back Down Again...


For my birthday, well a few days later, we drove up and over Lizard Head Pass to enjoy the changing colors of the aspens, which were every shade from green to yellow to orange to brown, the weather of rain, cold and snow and warmth, confusing them. You can see, above,  the line of Highway 145 to the left and then below, the old railroad grade to the right, the space in the middle is over 1,000 feet down, if you were wondering.

Right before that we had turned off the highyway to drive up around Trout Lake to get a closer view of part of the San Migels of the San Juans...


 Then at Alta Lake, we took the dirt again and drove up through pine and aspen to get to the high lake just at the edge of timberline, where on the other side of these rocks is the Telluride Ski Resort....



Even finding a fish, impervious to the cold, though he was swimming rather slowly...





 But I would be too if I had to swim at 10,000 ft above sea level, burr!...


Driving back down to the highway, while the sun thought about coming down in the sky...


we got to Telluride for a late afternoon lunch or early dinner, enjoying the last bit of warmth, before the crisp cold comes to southwest Colorado. The moon starting to come up....


as the sun came down, captured through the glass of the gondola that connects Telluride below with Mountain Village above...



Back at the truck there wasn't quite enough light to capture a herd of elk graving as we made our way back out to the highway....


Thankful that on the weekend the dreaded road construction crews were taking a break in their race to get as much of the road work done before the snow and the skiers come...

 As we went back over the pass to our own side of the mountains, the sun no longer illuminated the aspens for us, but  in the growing twilight, they were pretty just the same...




Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Winning Awards and Butchering Meat...


Well, it is finally up and I can declare my illustration for David Sklar's "Sky Fishing" poem which was featured in the May/June 2013 Ladybug has won the Society of Children's Books Writers and Illustrators 2014 award for magazines. Official announcement HERE.
I've known for awhile, but the circumstances of finding out illustrates how everything on this earth is so "relative", because the last few weeks, we, my husband and I have been dealing with the adjustments of taking on more of a caretaker role for one of  our parents, who will be 90 next spring and though amazingly fit up until recently, now has health issues and can not drive.

Just getting off the phone in a string of phone calls taking care of said parent, I did not expect the person calling me would be a SCBWI board member announcing my first place win, which she promised came with a plaque. I think I laughed when I finally got off the phone with her. Not that I was and am not very much honored for the recognition, but because in that moment, with my head pounding for all I had to do, the lack of sleep we were suffering under since settling back into life after the racing to the hospital, two flight for lifes, the surgeries in distant cities, the home care, etc. winning an award felt like a far off thing with all the other things in front of it, the laundry, my dusty house, the lack of planned grocery trips instead of grab and goes, the dogs that were bouncing off the walls and on one occasion eating the wall from lack of attention. Don't ask me when I have changed the sheets on my bed, I couldn't tell you, maybe before the weeks end. I know there is art in my studio, I just have to excavate it, a project started that was just going to have my studio messy for a few days, well now, it is what it is.

Today? Today when everyone now  knows, I forgot about it. Only reminded because I received a gracious congratulatory email from the author of the poem. My today has been three trips to the larger town twenty five minutes away, twice for my kid, the third because I finally decided not to given up yoga...again. Another trip was needed in the opposite direction,  to take said parent to Senior Lunch. I'm averaging  an hour and a half at home to get something done between trips. Got twenty three more minutes to get this done and posted!

What else did I do today? Art? Nope. Write? Nope. Do my laundry? Nope. I butchered a deer....by myself. My daughter's first. The outside shed refrigerator is going out and thought we could keep the quarters in it  until the weekend when someone could get it to the processor, but no such luck and I was the only one with the time to do it. So, yep... trimmed out the the meat, I had cut from the bone last night, with my laptop set to watch "Copper" on Hulu on a plastic tablecloth, surrounded by freezer paper and masking tape.

And that isn't the first thing we have harvested this Fall, we are so isolated we have to travel far for specialized surgeries and such and so along home  with the patient from Albuquerque came a bushel of roasted chilies, that once have steamed in their burlap bag after roasting have to be peeled.  Got those  harvested and four crates of apples from our homestead have steadily been turned into cider by my husband, still plenty on the trees  for the other deer, I was watching out of my window as I was filleting the venison of their cousin in my kitchen. Plum rum, which grows wild on our property and makes a yummy fruity rum for the holidays are steeping in our pantry, with another case of just rum, since making the pear rum from our trees just ain't going to happen this year. Rum won't go bad, right?

What was this post about..... oh yes, I won an award and more exciting things are happening and if I had a week, I could get things situated and tell you about our big announcement... I hope this is the week, but it is Wednesday, isn't it and the week, like the last four has sort of slipped by, with this distant echo in my head that reminds me,
" I am an artist" and now, " I am an awarding artist." The echo says, "I am a writer" then reminds me the words that I wanted to so get out to the world that will have to wait a little longer. Then a louder voice reminds me, " I am a wife and I am a mother by choice, first and the rest will have to wait a little bit longer."

And it will. because I have to spell check this thing, upload it and head back towards town...wonder if the construction is done on the highway or if I should go the back roads again. A real dinner or grab and go- that isn't decided and will probably be weak to my daughter's suggestions.




Sunday, September 21, 2014

It's Not About You...



"It's not about you.
It's not about you getting the love you deserve from someone else,
because I have loved you more than anyone on this earth.
It's not about you demanding justice or forgiveness from anyone else,
because I have shown you more mercy and forgiven you more than anyone on this earth.
It's not about your future or your past.
It's about Mine.
Time is Mine.
The universe is Mine.
The earth is Mine.
The mountains and the sea are Mine.
The air is Mine,
and you are Mine, so.....
it's not about you....
it's about Me."

Jesus

Saturday, July 05, 2014

Since Spring Break...

Happy Anniversary to Me! @moonflowermuse has been tweeting for a year, sending the first tweet out from Taos, New Mexico on  July 5th 2013, waiting in the rain for a table at Orlando's New Mexican Cafe...


If you have never been there, go, the wait  is worth it for their posole alone.  I also realized I haven't put up a post on Moonflower Musing in about two month and only looking back through my photos did I remember why, been kind of busy...
those would be orca whales in British Columbia. 

How did I get up there? Meandering, like I always do and to tell you the tale, I have to start way back at our Spring Break when we went wandering on the  west side of Lake Powell and hugging the Utah/Arizona border, did a little research for a project I'm working on  at Pipe Springs National Monument...

 a waystation, supply depot and polygamy hide out for the Mormon's living in Southern Utah...




Apparently, she acts all nice and sweet until she gets close enough to the wooden fence to whack it hard with her horns and watch the tourists "have a cow"!...
From Pipe Springs we headed to Springdale and explored the backside of Zion National Park, just for fun...





where, in a wash,  we saw desert sheep up close and personal, thanks to loud and obnoxious tourist above us...




Leaving Zion, we kept to the "back of things," leaving the pavement to drive a "seventy five" mile shortcut to Lake Powell and Hite's Crossing, the only bridge either direction for hundreds of miles, the ferry at Bull Frog broken down. Down through Water Pocket Fold we went...


weirdly the few cars that pasted us all from Washington State. When the tiny dirt road started to look more like wagons tracks, I got concerned, glad when we finally came to pavement again, Daughter #2 drove for a bit, in her permit year with literally, nothing to hit except for some sagebrush...

In  three days, we drove in a 900 mile circle and  never hit a interstate, getting about 30 minutes away when we were Springdale.  So what do you do after that, you come home and drop the husband off then take the kids, who are still on Springbreak to see Grandma, nine hours the other direction in Northern Colorado. Then you drive back home and picked up our new puppy...


Cause that is what you do when you have a crazy spring and summer...is get a puppy! Next up, Piper and The Bike Race.