Friday, August 31, 2012

Knitting...on the Road?

Do you take your knitting everywhere?  Do you always carry a project that fits conveniently in your purse? Have sticks...will travel?  Be careful out there!

FREE RANGE by Whitehead

Thursday, August 30, 2012

More Smoke

The Alpine Lake Blaze, having already burned more than 6,000 acres, kicked up a big plume of smoke today, and the winds sent it north/northeast.  These pictures show the varying scenes created in the west as the afternoon progressed.  When the sun set, it was blood red.  I wish my pictures showed more of the intensity of color in the clouds and sun that I witnessed; but these photos somewhat record it.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Watching the skies...

I think autumn has always been one of the best times for sunset pictures.  I'm fortunate to have an unobstructed view, and I had to record last night's sky. If the autumn season keeps producing nice sunsets, I may be adding a few more posts in the next few weeks to record what nature does with her paintbrush. 

This photo was taken, looking toward the sun setting in the west, just ducking behind the Wind River Range.

At the same time, I took this picture, looking to the east, (Riverton is just over the hill) and the clouds were reflecting some of the sunset colors. 

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Retire...or Rewire?

I read a recent editorial (8/26/12) in The Riverton Ranger, written by Randy Tucker, who said some things that rang true for me.  His piece was about having retired from education, and he titled it, “No back-to-school for me.”  I had to chuckle, because I could say the same!  For Randy, it’s the first time in nearly 50 years that he hasn’t “taken part in the annual American rite of autumn.”  I was nodding my head in agreement as I read his words about how school has filled his life, first as a student, and then as a teacher and a coach. 

This is also the first autumn that I have not returned to school.  Am I sad? No.  Am I feeling nostalgic? Not really.  The time was absolutely right for me to move on.  And there are so many things that I can do! Of course my educational background serves as guide, motivation, and perhaps shapes the way I continue the exploration of ideas and connections with people. 

 I like these words from Goldie Hawn which I heard in a TV interview:
“The beauty of getting older is the surprise of what else you can do to make the world a better place with the wisdom you’ve accrued over those years.”

More favorite quotes:

“I’ve come to believe that each of us has a personal calling that’s as unique as a finger-print—and that the best way to succeed is to discover what you love and then find a way to offer it to others in the form of service, working hard, and also allowing the energy of the universe to lead you.”   Oprah Winfrey

 “Education is what survives when what has been learned has been forgotten.”   B.F. Skinner

“Bachelor’s degrees make pretty good placemats if you get ’em laminated.”    J Jacques

Because of my love of piano and music education, I have to add these:

“After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music.”   Aldous Huxley

“Opera is when a guy gets stabbed in the back and, instead of bleeding, he sings.”  Ed Gardner

Monday, August 27, 2012

Smoke Gets In Your Skies

Sunday.  It's becoming routine that every afternoon the smoke from the Idaho fires travels hundreds of miles, spreads out across the valley, and lays down a hazy blanket that obscures the mountains to the north and to the south.  The horizon in every direction looks grayish-white and filters the sunlight.  Today was the same.  I was at the lake and had planned to take some pictures of what may be my last blast on the jet-ski before it turns chilly.  However, the sky was so gray, I wasn't at all inspired to grab the camera.

After I got home, unloaded, washed the jet-ski, and parked it the garage, the evening started to cool a bit.  Ahhh... And, amazingly, the smoke receded, and the mountains and blue skies were revealed.  The cool air did the trick.

Hopefully, a change of weather soon will help douse the many forest fires in the west. Bless those fire-fighters who are battling the hot blazes and smoke day after day!

Although I've noted that the days are getting shorter, I hadn't really paid that much attention to the clock at sunset.  But tonight I did, and the sun was just about to disappear behind the mountain peaks at 7:45 p.m.  I'm going to miss the long summer evenings...

At 7:00 p.m. the sun was already getting lower in the sky.

By 7:40, the sun was back-lighting the smoke sneaking over the mountains.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Wire-wrapping pendants

Here's Natalie's Necklace, a fun, kind of whimsical piece that I made for my niece.  The red heart glass pendant did not have a drilled hole, so the heart had to be wire-wrapped to became a pendant.  I credit Alice Gustin with great instructions for teaching me this method.  Every time I wire-wrap, I'm surprised with the outcome, because the wire and/or stone often dictates what happens.  I may have a plan in mind in the beginning, but it becomes just a guideline in the end.  I saw a similar piece with the clasp on the side, and that was something I decided to try with this piece.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Jewelry Class

I enrolled in another jewelry class with Alice Gustin, titled "Rope Your Ears."  What fun!  I learned to make twisted wire earrings, as well as the earring wires!  On one pair, I learned to use a twisting tool, which makes the twist in the wire even and consistent. There was a bit of a learning curve for me, but I finally got the hang of it.  Making the earring wires was not very hard either, once you learn a few easy tricks.  The pair of twisted wire earrings with the amethyst and moonstone tear-drops were made in class; working with the tiny holes in these stones was a new experience for me too.   I also made the large earring wires in class, but added the stones after I got home.   Now I'm inspired to make more!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Making Jewelry

Another of my hobbies is making jewelry, which I have been doing for ...let's say... 5 years.  That's got to be close...

Anyway, my latest creation is with copper.  I took a class in the spring which instructed me how to take copper blanks (squares, rectangles, ovals, etc.) and roll them through a press which stamps a design into the metal.  It's fast and easy.  Then, I took guilder's paint and put a reddish patina on the metal.  Again, fast and easy.  So, I finally took a few of the pieces and made a necklace and earring set.  I added some turquoise beads,  glass beads, copper beads, brown pearls, and Swarovski crystals. I added a copper chain and toggle closing.  By adding the chain, it makes it less heavy around the neck.  I've got a few more pieces I need to we'll see what happens.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Another Summer Wedding...

The aisle leading to the arch.

Dad escorting the bride down the aisle.

What a treat to be a guest of yet another summer garden wedding!  Saturday’s wedding united two wonderful young adults, Laura and Cody, and I was blessed to have worked with them both in high school.  They love working with horses and are fortunate to be launching into careers that put them in the horse arena!  The song sung at their wedding by the groom’s mother identified the bride and groom as the “Cowboy and the Angel,” which fits them perfectly.

See the picture of the two dogs? One served as flower girl; the other, as ring bearer.  

It was the cutest thing ever when it was time for the rings to be exchanged.  Cody gave a whistle, and the faithful, four-legged “ring bearer” bounded down the aisle and laid at Cody’s feet while he untied the rings from the dog’s collar.

   This sweet companion led the couple back up the aisle after the vows were spoken and the kiss sealed the deal.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Suprising Find...

Another interesting discovery in my travels took place in a cathedral in England.  The picture below comes from visiting Salisbury Cathedral in Wiltshire, England.  The Cathedral itself, one of the finest examples of Early English architecture, is quite beautiful, and its spire (404 feet high) gives it unique distinction. 
The spire of Salisbury Cathedral is so tall, it's impossible to get a picture of the entire building as close range.

The many windows let in considerable light through the stained glass.

 The Cathedral was consecrated on September 30, 1258.  The spire was completed in 1380.  Because this building is so massive, my pictures don’t do it justice!  So, let’s move on to the “surprising find.”
I found the many, many effigies in English Cathedrals to be interesting. 

 The first medieval effigies emerged in the 12th century.  On a tour, I was told that images were drawn of the important people in the Middle Ages while they were still in their prime.  These were later used to create life-sized sculptures of a recumbent effigy, which literally means “likeness lying in repose.”  The figure would be wearing the costume of their station in life, their hands would be pressed together in prayer, and often (surprisingly) an animal, a dog or a lion, would be under the feet, serving as a foot rest.  Some experts say that the image of the dog symbolizes the person’s link to everyday existence.  

Here I have a picture of the effigy of Robert Lord Hungerford (1409-1459) found in Salisbury Cathedral.  He served in the Hundred Years War, and later was asked to serve in Parliament, from 1450-1455, as Baron Hungerford.   He married Margaret, the heiress of William de Botreaux, 3rd Baron, adding a significant addition of land in Cornwall to the family estates.   Because he has a sculpted angel at his shoulder and a fine dog at his feet, I’d like to think he was a really good man.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Quilt Show, continued...

Several quilt designs caught my many beautiful pieces!  I'm including two more pictures of quilts that were unusual and gave me pause to appreciate the talent, precision, attention to detail, and design that inspired the creators/artists who worked on these. Wonderful eye-candy! 

Over the river and through the woods...To grandmother's house we go!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Quilt Show

I attended a Quilt Show in Dubois.  Although I am not a quilter, I certainly admire and appreciate the work that goes into these beautiful creations!  I've included pictures of a couple of my favorites of one type of quilting, a colorful landscape.  Several gals used the same pattern, but chose a different color scheme, and it's amazing how that changes the whole look and/or appeal of the piece. 

These actually give me some ideas for doing some needle-felting we'll see where that leads.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Seven Lakes Trail

Seven Lakes Trail was a ride another friend had told me about, so we wanted to check it out.  It was a very pretty drive through the timber, winding to a ridge just below Union Peak, where we could see Lake of the Woods from above, as well as some other small lakes and ponds. 

A little further down the trail, we had to make a decision about whether to continue or turn around.  After some discussion we decided to go to the next ridge; maybe we would be able to see little more of the Seven Lakes area. 

 To do this, we had to cross the river, and the terrain on either side had some big rocks to navigate through and over.  It was pretty rough, and I wasn’t sure Jo would want to go for it.  But, she wanted to give it a try, so we bounced and twisted through the terrain.  I was thinking, “This better be worth it!”  When we got to the place where we agreed to stop, I said to the gals, “This is far enough for me.”  They agreed. We were riding down into a valley, so the view was getting more limited, and the trail was getting rough.  Ahead we saw a pond; behind it was a mountain with a glacier on the north slope.  Pretty view.  Good spot for a group shot.  Now we had to figure out how to work the timers on our cameras.  It took a few tries.  Mine worked.  Julie’s worked.  Jo’s…not so much.  We propped the cameras on the camouflage pack attached to the back of my 4-wheeler and snapped a few pics.  Just dandy! 
The finger glaciers are on the left side of the picture on the side of the mountain.
Jo, Julie, and me near Union Peak.

We had just started packing up to leave when we saw 5 guys on 4-wheelers coming up the trail toward us.  When they got to the point where they were passing by us, we recognized the guy in the lead, and he recognized us, so he stopped and visited for a few minutes.  He told us that they had just been to Glacier Lake (about 5 miles further, just below the glacier we were admiring) and had caught 3 fish.  He said it was a pretty rough trail getting in there, but it’s a beautiful spot.  

So, now we know what’s up ahead…maybe we’ll explore that another time…

Although it took us a little longer, we followed them out, and returned to the same parking lot to load up and head home.  We stopped in Dubois for dinner.  A big ol’ hamburger and an ice-cold drink at the Cowboy CafĂ© is hard to beat after a hot, dusty, 44 mile ride on Union Pass.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Fish Lake

Arriving at Fish Lake, we decided to choose a picnic site on the banks of the lake.  The water was calm and clear, reflecting the trees and mountains.  We enjoyed our snacks and jovial conversation.  

There was a haze along the horizon from a plume of smoke coming from Idaho forest fires.  Unfortunately, it made the mountain peaks surrounding the entire Union Pass area appear hazy.  That’s a bit of a disappointment, because the scenery is quite spectacular on a clear day.  
Next, it was time for us to ride to the top of the Continental Divide.  A rather rough trail (steep, rocky, and rutted) took us to the top.  I didn’t see it happen, but going down a steep slope, Jo’s machine started to slide because of loose rocks and dirt.  She got tilted by some bigger rocks and nearly tipped over.  Scary moment.  But she handled it well and made it! 

The trail follows the Continental Divide.

Jo got a picture of the hazy mountains to the west.

The trail follows the Continental Divide to the east for quite a while.  From here, on a clear day, you can see the Gros Ventre Mountain Range and the Grand Tetons.  It’s quite a site, but today we couldn’t see the Grand because of the smoke.  I was surprised that it was so warm up on the Divide; usually I’m putting on a sweatshirt or windbreaker to cut the cold wind on this portion of the ride along this barren, windblown ridge.  As we started back down the mountain, we spotted a small herd of Elk, but they were too far away for a good picture.   We eventually came to the gate that let us get back on the Union Pass Road just above Lake of the Woods.   

On to another trail that Julie and I had never explored before…

Monday, August 13, 2012

Union Pass

Another girls’ 4-wheeler excursion!  This time Julie, Jo, and I traveled some trails on Union Pass, near Dubois, WY.

 This high mountain pass (elevation: 9,212 ft.) is rather unique, since it’s a spot on the Continental Divide from which 3 major mountain ranges spiral off: the Wind River Range shoots off to the east, the Gros Ventre Mountains to the west, and the Absaroka Mountains to  the north.  Also, it’s an area of many rivers, and from this point, rain drops, depending upon where they land, may get directed to the Colorado River, the Columbia River, or the Missouri River.  Uniting these mountains and rivers, this crossing was appropriately name “Union” Pass.  The pass was used by Native Americans and early mountain men, and in 1811 the Astor Expedition used it on their journey to the west.   On their return trip, however, they decided to take a more southern route to avoid hostile Indians; that’s when they discovered South Pass.  Later, Jim Bridger, famed mountain man and guide, led the Raynolds Expedition to explore the Yellowstone Region.  It was U.S. Army Captain, William F. Raynolds, who gave the pass its present name in 1860. (Wikipedia: Union Pass)

Time to loosen straps and unload the ATV's.

We unloaded the three machines, and then first headed northwest to Fish Lake.  It was about 15 miles on a very nice dirt road. 

 One of the interesting aspects of the scenery on the way to the lake is the area where a fire burned a sizable amount of acreage a few years ago.  In the spring, the Fireweed blossoms are absolutely gorgeous, and create a very colorful carpet in contrast with the burned timber.   

Fireweed grows well in areas where a fire has ravaged the landscape.

Indian Paintbrush was still in bloom.

These pictures were taken August 9, 2012, so I was actually surprised that we were able to still see  the road lined with Fireweed this late in the season.  Plus, it’s been unusually hot and dry.  What a treat!  

On to Fish Lake…