Cars

Cars are a necessity of modern life, except in the largest cities.  Everything is spread out, and a car is the fastest way to get from place to place, as one could wait days for a bus.   So I got in my car, and went downtown to see this car show, miraculously finding a place to park.   At one time cars were made as works of art, rather than the generic sort of styling that passes for design in modern vehicles.

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This is an iconic bit of Western Americana, a non-standard paint job with wooden rails so you can haul more stuff, and the gun rack in the back window.

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Chrome is horrible for the environment and adds a lot of extra cost and weight to a vehicle, but it sure looks purty.

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And at every car show there must be a beer wagon.   I was born quite near this brewery and have always loved this eagle.

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My older brother’s first car was an MG from the late 50’s.   Cars like this used to be quite reasonably priced when I was a young woman, and I had several friends who had these.  You had to wear a tweed jacket and a flat cap to drive these as it is an English car (ascots are optional).  It became almost impossible to get parts and my brother’s car sat for years waiting on some important bit.

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These show cars are beautifully shiny and polished, unlike my cars.   I don’t remember when the last time I polished them was, but I do wash them from time to time.  (Since I wrote this I will have to polish them now).  🙁

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For some the car body is the art, but for others it’s all in the details and paint.   This lowrider is totally tricked out with hydraulics and a rather demure paint job.

The Mound

M’s grandmother and uncle lived in this village at the foot of this landmark along the Santa Fe Trail.  (The directions were: go west until you see the mound, turn left at the mound,  and you’re just 120 miles to Santa Fe).    I love the feeling of coming over the Levy Grade and catching that first view of the mound, it means I’m almost there and I can stop driving soon.

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Much like our local mountain, the aspect changes with the different lighting over the course of the day.

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It looks soft and distant in the morning light.

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You can see the details on a beautiful sunny day.

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Or at least you can see them until they disappear into the shadows.

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A storm is brewing with a mixture of dark and light.

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And after the storm comes a golden sunset.   It’s not hard to see why there are so very many artists living in New Mexico, it’s just so gorgeous.

 

Just Peachy

Colorado peaches are an ephemeral thing, some years we have a late frost, so there are no peaches, or not enough rain or too much rain or whatever disaster is around.  This year I’ve gone slightly mad over the delicious Colorado peaches that are available right now.   The trick of course is to buy any entire box.   That way you know that these delicate fruits have not been manhandled by an uncaring produce clerk.   But then you realize that you have an entire box of peaches to peel!   And need to figure out what to do with their deliciousness.

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This bowl was blanched (dipped in boiling water for 10 seconds before plunging into an ice bath) and awaits peeling.

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Ten jars of brandied peaches,  little bits of summer sunshine to enjoy over cake or ice cream on a cold dark winter night.

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One of the jars of peach jam.   I had some on toast the other day and it was a delicious  treat (okay, I did put a splash of brandy in here too).   I did not photograph the sacks of peaches in the freezer or the peach barbeque sauce.   Hmmm, maybe I need another box 😉

 

Traces

I love northern New Mexico, it is so lonesome an area, full of ghost towns and ghosts.  Before the coming of paved roads and the railroads, pretty much every place was equal, you might as well be in one place as in another.   But the places that offered some geographic advantage grew into cities, like Denver or Albuquerque, connected by main roads and the rest have been left to slowly decay.

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Before there were paved roads there was the Santa Fe Trail,  people would pile as much stuff as they could fit into a wagon like this and set off for a new life in the wild west.   More than 130 years later the wagon ruts are still there, testament to the fragility of the prairie and the number of wagons that made the trek.

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This is the old Colfax County Courthouse.   Built to last, this lovely building has outlived it’s original purpose and now serves as a small museum to the Santa Fe Trail.   They really only started to promote  the existence of the Santa Fe Trail and the history of this area about 10 years ago, so they don’t get a lot of tourists (and there is not much to see and do).  Most people don’t get off the Interstate (motorway) except to get gasoline.   (This is on old highway 85 which ran from Mexico to Canada).

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Why build a livery stable of something as ephemeral as wood?   We will always need horses, of courses.  It’s still here even though the horse is long gone, but they did get rid of the trough.

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It has no sign, but this is the old jail.  There must not have been much call for this with only four cells or perhaps it was very crowded, with the very bad prisoners being sent to the Santa Fe Territorial Prison.

This old hotel is slowly crumbling away.   Part lumber and part adobe, it still exists for now, even though the need for it has passed.   I love these old ruins, as the dinosaur that I am I appreciate those who went before us as I watch their dreams fade away.

State Fair

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I somehow can’t resist the siren call of the fair.  I love pretty much everything about it, it’s a celebration of rural life, sparkly things, carnival rides and contests.

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When you enter through the main gate you see the rodeo arena first thing.  It has these lovely cut outs of cowboys and cows making a frieze across the length of the building.

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And of course there are plenty of colorful booths selling various kinds of fried things.

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This booth had the added attraction of wrapping fried things in bacon, always a winning idea (at least it is if they use good bacon).

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But why was I really taking time out of my busy life to run down to the fair?   Well it was to check out the latest piece I had submitted to Fine Arts.   I didn’t get one of the regular ribbons, I got Juror’s Choice! It was a complete surprise.  I have made very serious pieces the past two years, this one was kind of goofy and very last minute.   But I got a ribbon, so I was very excited and pleased.   It gives me some incentive to do it all again next year.

Extra

So I saw in the newspaper that Netflix was going to make a movie in a nearby town.   Then I saw that they were having an open casting call.  All you had to do was show up with a picture and their form for consideration.   It seemed like it might be an interesting thing to be an extra, so I thought “What the hell?”  The paper said that it started at 11:00, and when I got there at 10:30 this was the line.

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The guy in the orange shirt was acting much as the cowboys did in recent cow parade, he was there to keep the herd in line.

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There was an interesting cross section of people there:  people who wanted a glimpse of movie stars, people who thought they could be movie stars, and people who thought it would be a lark (like me!).   Some people, especially young women, were all dressed up, in makeup and high heels.   I will admit that I put on a clean shirt to come to this ;-).

I started talking to the two young men who were behind me in line.   One had come from Denver and was a film student.   He had been an extra in three movies, but he was rather excited about this one because “you get paid” although he was a bit fuzzy on where it was to be filmed (not Denver).   And of course none of us had read the book it is based on or knew anything about the plot.   (Old people falling in love in a small town).

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This was the other guy, shown here putting on a mic for a TV interview.  The girl reporter went down the line looking for someone to interview and picked him for some unknown reason.   He had a professional head shot (photograph) and I expect that he will be cast for the softball scenes at least.   I had printed off a photo of myself standing in the same spot as Jack Nicholson in “Easy Rider”, a movie made well before this young man’s time.

When we got in the building we got a number (I was #500) and a photographer took another photo of us.   Then we got a briefing on how this might work if we were hired (as I said, they will pay for  us extras!).   As I looked over the paper I’m not sure if I actually want to do this (drive 50 miles away, be there at 6:00 am, and be on call for 14 hours), but it was an interesting way to spend an hour.

A Song of Fire and Ice

This post is not about a bunch of people killing each other for the dubious honor of ruling over a bunch of people worth killing.   It’s about one the more neglected seasons.   Some places have just four season, some have lesser known seasons like tough sledding, road construction, rainy and hot/rainy seasons,  bug season, etc.

In most places summer means hot weather and the sort of common hot weather activities, like picnics, baseball. etc.  But here in Colorado, summer often means fire season.   We had major fires right near this town 4 years ago, when the fire got to within 3 miles of my house and you could see it burning from the front window.  Three years ago the fires were on the northern edge of town, so it was not as terrifying to me.

I took no pictures at all of the giant billowing plumes of smoke because I did not want to remember it.   Smoke blotted out the sun and what sunlight filtered through the black smoke had a strange orange color.   It smelled horrible and bits of burned trees and houses floated through the air for miles.   But the fire doesn’t have to be right here to cause an effect.

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This fire was about 100 miles away.   It had been cause by lightning rather than careless campers, arsonists or park rangers (like the Hayman fire).  The wind was blowing from the south and it filled up the valleys around the mountain.

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In just a few moments it obscured the mountain.   Miss P and I were out to dinner, and by the time we left you couldn’t see the mountain at all.   But by the next day the wind had shifted and everything was fine.   Although the fire is still burning it is considered to be contained.

Summer is also a time of ice, and we can expect lots of hail.   One friend had golf ball sized hail at her house.   It smashed car windows and dented and destroyed everything in the storm’s path.   I didn’t get anything but rain from that storm, but I did get plenty of hail from the next storm.

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We had been to the dog swimming pool, and were surprised by the white streets on the way home.  It looked like there had been a sudden blizzard.   We had about an inch of hail on the deck, so my little tomato plants were toast.

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The good news of this storm was that the hail was tiny so it did not do much damage.   And since it is August the hail quickly melted.  So our seasons are: Spring (or  Blizzard) Summer (or Road Construction, Fire and Hail), Fall (chile roasting) and Winter.   It’s a great place to live.

More cows

I do love cows and before I die I would love to have one as a pet.   I envy Shreve over at “The Daily Coyote” because she has several pet cows, and one pet bull (Sir Baby).   Unfortunately this dream is never going to happen, but I did get to enjoy the spectacle of real cows on parade in the annual “strolling through the streets” of longhorn cattle.   It’s done to promote a rodeo.  While I admire the skill of professional and amateur cowboys, none of the horses, bulls, sheep or goats have volunteered to participate, so I will never attend another one.  But I do love the cow parade, so me and Miss P went down to watch (and someone was rather obnoxiously barking,  it was not me).

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It takes a lot of cowboys to keep these cattle in line and moving.  And the horses have to know their job too.

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Git along little dogie.

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What a lovely set of horns!

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Keep em moving.   This was the last of the group heading down the street, so we jumped in the car and headed down to the final destination, over at the local history museum.

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The lead animal never changed throughout the parade (and no it is not a 6 legged cow).

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Here’s a better shot of him strolling along with an old cowboy.

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The babies are so adorable.

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And the tail end of the parade featured these two pulling the wagon.  Wagons are a really uncomfortable way to travel, so I’m glad they’re obsolete.  I overheard a young cowboy saying that he had to get up early to check on a cow that got snakebit yesterday, such is the real life of a rancher.

It started with cows

The first project of this sort that I am aware of (no doubt there are others) was the Cow Parade.   Someone or some organization had the idea of making fiberglass cows and giving these to artists to decorate as they chose.   They first appeared in Europe, but when they were in Chicago it was a huge boon to the tourist industry to have all these wonderful, brightly colored cows out on the street.  And then I think they raffled or sold off the herd.

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I’m not sure if this rather drably painted cow is from the cow parade, but I can’t imagine why else the local liberal arts (emphasis on liberal) college would have this in front of a building.   Our very own town cow, the only one left in the city limits.

No doubt inspired by the Cow Parade, some local organization sponsors butterflies, which are painted up by local artists and then sold to promote whatever worthy cause they adopted.

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There are a bunch of these located nearby, and Miss P and I spotted these on a walk.

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This one is downtown by some lawyer’s office.

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This one is outside of one of our favorite restaurants.  Miss P loves to go there for the steak and fries or the freshly made sausages.

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This is my absolutely favorite butterfly.

Traces

I love looking at the marks of time passing that are left on buildings.   Things change, but these buildings still bear witness to the past.   Our past has been mostly swept away, but there are a few survivors.   I decided to photograph these bits, and the very first building on my intended list was already gone!   Long ago (1920’s or 30’s, but before 1937) there was a Duesenberg dealer in town and they had proudly painted the side of the building with the price of this fabulous car.   It was a plumbing supply place in recent memory and they kept re-painting the sign as it faded.  But now the entire building was gone, replaced when I wasn’t looking.

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But this lovely building still exists, and it has been recycled and updated.   For actual auto parts one must go to one of the chain stores, which are all located in huge purpose-built modern buildings.

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The building next to it is in the process of renovation, no longer a  moving-garage.  (Which if you think about, is an impossibility).

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Imagine having a dairy downtown.   There were cows in the city limits when I first moved here, which was a feature in the town’s favor to my way of thinking.  Now they are far out of town, out on the prairie beyond the newest subdivisions.

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This is the view of the front of the former auto parts store.  Just a pile of bricks to remind us of the life and times of those who came before us.