What season?


Despite all the spring blossoms, I found these juniper berries today. I usually associate fruits/berries with no earlier than mid-summer for woody plants. [Turns out juniper berries are “fleshy cones;” live and learn.]


Sunrise begins

Eastbound for long miles means your body clock gets confused when you cross time zones…and maybe, despite the odds that you’ll run late, it’s easier to get up with the sun. That was this morning for me…and the east-facing window meant I had a good view of the sunrise. Thank me for not offering progressive (aka repetitive) shots of the sunrise…a wee bit higher and a wee bit higher…you get the idea.

Yogurt dispenser

And, down at breakfast, a yogurt dispenser? Don’t recall seeing this before. No info about what kind of yogurt was dispensed…plain? with tons of additives? Greek? So suspicious, I am.

The day was long miles. Some were sunny. Some were rainy. Some were spitty, perfect for the intermittent wiper setting. Some were bright. Later, they became dark. We crossed several state lines, the last bringing us into the ATL time zone. I am posting this as we roll the final miles before we reach the city…the magic of technology, no?

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.

Los Alamos and Bandolier

RioGrande V SIldefonso

From our rural rancho, we headed north, in general up the Río Grande Valley. Then we turned west, and descended to the river. This is looking up the valley before we crossed the river and began our ascent of the eroded flank of a extinct volcano.

Tall trees

As we climbed, we eventually reached elevations where we saw the tall pines I suspect are Ponderosas.

LosAlamos algae

We stopped in Los Alamos. We recommend the Bradbury Museum. It’s not named after Ray. The displays are eye-catching and up-to-date. This is from the section on current research.

Thick gloves display

The nephews tried the thick-gloves and found it not-so-easy to pick up light plastic shapes and put them in large-ish test tubes.


After lunch, we headed over to Bandolier National Monument. Because the winds were kicking up, we headed off on the main train, near the visitor center, which goes to, through, and by kivas, room-block ruins, and cliff dwellings.

Tyuonyi rooms

This is the room-block ruins of Tyuonyi (Qu-weh-nee) village today—I’m left in black.

Tyuonyi 1923 1 pre stablization walls

For comparison: 1923 US government photo of Tyuonyi, before stabilization of walls.

Tyuonyi walls eye level

Stabilized walls of Tyuonyi at eye level.

Petroglyph wall

Here’s a section of wall that has rows of holes that held beams that were roof/floors (low in this shot).

Petroglyphs CU

Here’s a close-up of petroglyphs on the wall (a crop of the photo above).

Canyon wall

Here’s another section of wall. The roof/floor beam holes are even more obvious…. At the base of the canyon wall are the ruins of rooms. Some of these rooms would have been for storing food, rather than for living in.

Alcove house

Farther up the valley is a high-elevation cliff dwelling; it’s in that ovate. Starting from the left in the lowest blob of tree shadow you may be able to pick out a gleam from a handrail. That’s already one ladder up from the valley floor. Visitors continue to the right to three more ladders, eventually reaching that large cave to the upper right. It’s large enough to have a kiva (closed) with ruins along the margins of the space (I’m told).

Frijoles Creek

We also really enjoyed walking in the Frijoles Valley. The wind was kicking up, and we were glad we set off walking just after our arrival in the valley. It’s now several hours after we left Bandolier, and the winds are fierce—as they were last night. This is mildly concerning because the fire warning levels are “extremely high” and we are out in the bush (as it were), and the electricity has already flickered twice. But, it’s on now, so I’m going to get this up! Or at least try to.

Empty birdfeeders

Sunset view

Last night’s sunset. This landscape is dominated by light and shadow and shape. No wonder artists flock here. That is the visual dominance; living here you also notice the wind, dust, and temperature. Also sounds of birds (here), perhaps cattle elsewhere.

Drywash moonscape

We cross a dry wash to our casita. In the solar lights along the path, the footprints in the sand looked like a lunar landscape with the treads of sports shoes not those of space suit boots.

Kitchen still life

Here’s a still life from the counter and wall left of the range in the main house.


This is the handle of the cupboard in the left edge of the photo above. The rest of the knobs are normal.

Rancho breakfast omelette

That’s Green Chili Bread on the left, quite spicy for bread. From the ovens of the restaurant/store we ate at last night. Paired with a normal, simple omelette. Superb breakfast.

Foot in pool

After breakfast, I went out to the pool, took my shoes and socks off, and stood in the shallows. The Foot in the wild!

OKeefe BellaDonna 1939 crop

Our main focused activity today was to visit the historic plaza of Santa Fé, eat lunch, then head for the Georgia O’Keefe Museum. Stunning paintings, of course. Loved the photos of her, as a window into the person through her choice of garments, shoes, accessories, etc. This is a crop of O’Keefe’s 1939 painting Bella Donna.

OKeefe library titles

Here are titles from her library. The display included a few sentences from a 1963 letter in which she observed that she’d taken three-and-a-half months to go around the world, then went across the Pacific to Bangkok and back with island stops. She went on to note that twice she’d been to Egypt and the place that stood out to her always was Peru. I assume the mountains….

Steiglitz photos

Of course, there are few Stieglitz photos. And there were soundless moving images of them together, interesting—he seems to be putting up with being filmed while she seems to be somewhat cajoling him to participate (my hypothesis).

These are considered by some the first abstract photos. These two are from 1930 and 1929. Others in the sextet dated back to 1926. They are lovely dark, ghostly smudges, and not the kind of image I think of when I think of AS photos.

Off to cocktail hour chatting and laughing.

The title refers to my viewscape out the picture window in front of me at the casita, and what I noticed as I tried to formulate a title for this post. Very stream of unconsciousness.

Of wildlife and waiting

RioGrande upstream

Our first scenic stop was a wildlife area on the left bank of the Río Grande. Mile wide (not quite), and all that. Lots of suspended sediments. Also saw a trio of gulls (ring billed?) standing in the water; didn’t expect to see gulls.

Golden currant

This bright yellow flower was labeled as golden currant. We thought it smelled like honey, and the scent even wafted over the blooming rosemary causing confusion in identification.

Turtle posse

These turtles had this section of a backwater/pond totally staked out. Love the one to the left of center with its head down and feet sticking out. Watched it for a while, and it never moved.

Cottonwood buds

The cottonwoods are budding, yet the old leaves remain. The wind in the dry leaves has a different tone than the summer-green leaves. Duh.

Roadrunner posing

Roadrunner. Posing. Like turtles: never moved.

Wedding party

Then we went to Old Town ABQ. This wedding party, as near as we could tell, was waiting to be summoned into the church, which dates to 1793. I ducked inside the church, and the priest was asking people where they’d come from…. Love the dads (?) standing off to the side in the partial shade.

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!



Most of today’s photos were through a bug-marred windshield or a reflection-blotched side window. We walked up to this overlook with a good view of the Arkansas River—which must have been great when the trees were younger, but now they hold more carbon.

Lupitas lunch

We got away from the interstate and went to a tamale place. The menu was on a sign, but didn’t include tamales. Uh oh. But we asked, and indeed got two plates of pork/red sauce tamales. Apparently the local preference is for the homemade hot sauce on top, so we had that, too. The other four salsas were offered in a salsa bar. The salsas were stupendous. The owner is from Michoacán—so the food is not TexMex as it is most places—we were told.


We kept grinding westward. Hot outside; strong AC inside. Look at this: 104° at 4:03pm in western Oklahoma. Yikes. That was the high. There’s a weather system passing through…um, tomorrow?…and temps will drop. This might have been a record-high. It was also super-windy. The big commercial flags were totally horizontal; we heard gusts were expected to be up to 50mph.

Wind plants

Not surprisingly, after we left the trees behind, we saw lots of wind plants…whole forests or plantations of them. We agreed that we were seeing more than a couple of years back.

Blade in motion

We did encounter this one blade traveling down the highway. We wondered if it was defective. Perhaps a half-hour later, we saw two other blades on trucks that had pulled off the interstate. We figured that somehow the two parties and three blades had gotten separated. [We make up stories all the time to fit what we notice as we go down the road.]


Seems like the windmills—the old-fashioned kind like this—are fewer and fewer. Stands to reason. And they are difficult to photo at highway speeds!

Dusk sky

And oh my was the sky pretty as we traversed the final miles of the day. The camera makes it darker and more contrasty than it was. Still: nice god-rays, looking even better against the empty, distant skyline.

Gone pollen

Azalea max

The last two days all these blossoms have been open. I keep catching the white out of the corner of my eye walking through the house, and it is so white and complete, my brain keeps identifying it momentarily as snow.


And now it’s raining, and the blossoms will be all droopy tomorrow. And the car no longer will have a yellow cast from the pine pollen (for about two hours, maybe a bit longer).

Decent proposal?

Dogwood bloom

’Tis dogwood-blooming time. If I were naming the seasons or parts of the year by plant activity, I’d call this Heyday of the Dogwood-Blossoms…something along those lines.