faunal

Evening stroll

Fern lake

On a quiet evening, a stroll can be so rewarding. The lake was quiet. [Last night we heard a loon.]

Mom n fawn

But not too quiet. Doe and fawn also out for a stroll….

Peony where ants

And the peonies are beginning to open. Just yesterday they were closed buds.

Lupine field

And the lupine field remains gorgeous. Look at the color variation. I think this year my favorites are the dark purple-blue ones and the bicolor variants.

After rains

Egg shell

I have no sense of scale, the Guru said about this shell. It was perhaps just over a centimeter long. And under an apple tree (on the sidewalk). I choose to believe that the wind/rain overnight tipped it out of the nest, leaving the already hatched wee-bird safely behind.

Fern frond over sidewalk

I admit to an outsized attraction to ferniness—not a word, I suppose, but should be! The laciness of ferns is so aesthetically appealing, is it to my reptile brain?

I did not intend to select a pair of sidewalk photos, but that’s what I did. Hmmmm.

Snow; yes, snow

Casita snow view

Darn. You can’t tell it’s snowing in the picture, even if you squint. But it was. Lazy drifting flakes. No accumulation. 😎

New leaves

I nosed around outside after I finished my packing—first of suitcases and similar, and then of the car. I wanted to get pictures of the place, memory pictures we call them. I also found clear evidence that the plants have progressed into spring in this not-quite-a-week that we’ve been here. Poplar?

Rock shop museum

Our first stop was at Cerrillos, a boom town for a bit, and now a grid of unpaved streets. We walked from the visitor center a couple of blocks to this combination rock shop and natural history/history museum. The former was free and the latter $2. We just looked at the rocks.

Petting zoo goat

Outside, we checked out the petting zoo, and this aggressive mama-to-be got plenty of happy pats from Nephew #2.

Lilacs of Cerrillos

Returning to the car I found this just-opening lilac bush and happily shoved my nose into the bee-free blossoms.

Fighting terrorism

Next stop was the Saturday packed-and-busy former ghost town of Madrid. Perhaps the best thing about the town was this bumper sticker. And that the main road was paved.

Frosted Krumholtz tree

Our final sight-seeing stop was for us a return visit to Sandia Crest. Still ice on a few of the trees, but the wind wasn’t so stiff and the temp was much higher. We shared our watermelon (of course!) snack with other folk in the parking lot, then rebounded to descend to the city.

Sandia view

I think the nephews enjoyed the view. Down in ABQ, we said our goodbyes and they headed to the airport while we headed for first-class down time. Sigh. Such good times, with many laughs and a great week of getting reacquainted. Great weather, some fine food…. Lucky us.

On, above, and near the high plains

Two bison

I haven’t mentioned wild critters so far. On day one we saw a beaver crossing the road. Pretty sure on that ID, and definitely on the location. Strange. On day two, we spotted antelopes. Not many, but they were out there in the windswept terrain. Today, we just moseyed along pretty early, and whoops, look in with those cattle…odd shapes…yup, two bison. I don’t think we will do better tomorrow and the coming days…unless…elk?

Two couches

Off in a nearly abandoned part of town, we found this pair of couches perhaps commiserating on the lousy neighborhood…or waiting for a parade?

Tamale lunch

For lunch we found a real Mexican place. I had a red and a green tamale. With a side of beans. I was stuffed. The two sauces provided were both cooked, so a real contrast to yesterday’s salsa offerings.

Baptist church

The Guru made this shot, a real grab of an abandoned ranch with a butte not far distant (I was driving; foot’s doing quite well, thank you). The sign says “Baptist Church.” Life after ranch.

Distant sandias

That line of mountains in the distance, that’s the east side of the Sandia Mountains, which are the east side of the Albuquerque basin. There’s a road to the top, very winding and slow; it passes a ski area and a parking lot signed winter play area. We took that road. It hammered our mileage even worse than the winds and gentle upgrade have over the last two days.

Iced rime

The vegetation at the top was rimed in a snow-ice combo. The wind was fierce. We made a quick walking loop, clicked a few frames, and scuttled back to the quiet of the car. And warmth; the car indicated it was 22°F outside. [Remember, we were in 104 yesterday.]

Iced rime CU

The rime was pretty thick, and one sided. The wind was strong enough to blow pieces off and we could see small white bombs scattered on the blacktop.

Flags horizontal

We headed down, garnering all the battery-energy we could. The battery level went from below zero (zero on the gauge not being empty but false empty that keeps a bit of charge in the battery at all times), to 59%. Now, that’s a downhill!

And in ABQ: yup, still windy. Supposed to slack off in the evening. Can’t wait!

Bittersweet ultimate

Causeway bridge

Today we left causeway-world. But not before we did important things.

Macro shellface

Like playing with the macro lens.

Macro sanddollar

Including looking at an eroded sand dollar, complete with sand grains.

Four pelicans

We watched birds, including the cruising small-packs of pelicans.

There was of course lots of laughing and some tale-telling. We read, we relaxed. Life was darned pleasant.

Partial rainbow

Just as we were organizing ourselves in the parking lot to depart, a rainbow section emerged.

Sigh. And now the salt-water coast is behind us.

Only four photos, so as not to bore

Morning sun beach

We spent the day on and (mostly) near the beach. We got out early to enjoy that low-angle light, and it’s a good thing—already almost HOT by 8:30 am!

Strange dune flowers

Circling in the car behind the dunes traveling from one place to another, we found these large bloom clusters; I have no idea what they are.

Bamboo shadows

Late in the day, we found this lovely juxtaposition of light and shadow, shapes and colors.

Portuguesa

On a late-day beach wander, we found this sea-denizen, or its fading carcass. Such striking, amazing colors!

No moguls here

Dekays brown snake

This story-of-the-day’s-walk is self explanatory and has no plot: Look! A Dekay’s brown snake! Right there!

Decorative kale

The other story takes longer to write although I took it in in about three glances. I have no picture* for it—too scary-sad for my personal taste. We were walking down a side street—no traffic, and the road was smoother than the sidewalks. And I saw up ahead lots of small pieces of broken, rotten branches. I said, oooooh, I’m not walking right there; looks like that tree is shedding! Then I realized that the small black car parked along the curb had four star-breaks in the windshield—thankfully, not broken all the way. But.

* In the kale-substitute photo, I quite how the droplets are lensing the sky above….

Winter tour concludes

17 degrees

We loaded up and when The Guru fired up the beastie (complete with a full electrical charge (yay!)), it gave us this temp. Time to head south, we agreed. It even dropped another degree by the time we crossed the Potomac one last time east of Harpers Ferry. The water sparkled in the sun; we were southbound; life is good, we also agreed.

Rural fancy house

The landscape was mostly open and we saw a few “fancy” houses. I tried not to think about the ugly history of slavery in this former(?) tobacco-farming region. (We saw very few (surviving?) tobacco barns, unlike this latitude on our northbound leg.)

Tractor ahead

It was Sunday and perhaps that is partly why this was the only active farm vehicle we saw….

Horse blankets

All the horses I remember seeing on the many mini-farms had lovely jackets. I don’t think they’re anything like the old-fashioned “horse blankets.” I suspect these are high-tech and perhaps even Goretex.

Last rest area

I loved the low sun angle at this, our last rest area of the journey.

Gaffney peach

Proof that home is not far ahead…the Gaffney peach. And attendant power lines….

Such a great trip; such a diversity of experiences! We especially enjoyed last night’s socializing with our friends from Venezuela* (presently in northern Maryland). Still smiling!

* And, yes, the terrible things you have heard about people starving to death, lack/absence of medicines (including for malaria), and brutality by…well, you get the idea of what’s happening in Venezuela…yes, what you’ve heard: true, true, true. Soooo, so sad. We are glad they are safe. For now….

Trio for Sunday

Gravity vines

We went for a wee walk this morning, and I thought maybe I’d capture a vegetation picture for this space…

Fleur pair

…or maybe autumn fleurs.

Barred owl

Then, in the afternoon, the sharp-eyed Guru noticed a big bird swoop into the back yard…and got out the big lens…and gave me this super barred owl shot that I am passing along. Crappy light, yet lovely feather patterns, ¿no?

Busy, big bumbler

Bumbler

I’m thinking this flower/weed is butterweed/cressleaf groundsel, or a closely related species.

We got out for a short loop, the Guru, me, crutches and The Boot. We decided not to push it and so didn’t go terribly far (no record setting today!), and somehow the Fitbit even deigned to give me a massive nine active minutes.

The bonus on our walk was that when I spotted this bumbler s/he was on a lower flower, and then flew up to this cluster, where I could actually reach down to photograph her/him.

And not drop a crutch.