A Bit of the Bull…

Hi, dear readers. I’m going to do a very quick post today. It’s been way too long since I posted but I’m headed off tomorrow morning to the Wool Festival at Taos! I’m sooooo excited!!

In the meantime, though, Colorado’s seasonal change is coming along beautifully. The aspens are giving us their annual show of color and the elk have come down from the high places to gather in harems and make new little elk for next spring.

Hubby and I drove up to Rocky Mountain National Park over the weekend to see the show. Well, that and because I start to get twitchy after a while and then I need some mountains to refresh my psyche and bring me back to my calm self. How I managed to live without mountains for nigh on 45 years is beside me, but now that I have it, a little dose now and then keeps me in good stead.

So, here are a few photos from our drive. If you haven’t been to RMNP, you definitely should put it on your bucket list. Fall is a great time to come because there are fewer tourists, the weather is beautiful, and of course, there are elk!

The colors were just beautiful. Unfortunately, it was a bit overcast and I wasn’t quite able to get the color right but hopefully you’ll enjoy the photo anyway.

This group of cows and their bull were hanging out in the woods just above the road. We didn’t realize he was there at first until he started bugling.

Eventually he emerged from the trees. There were other bulls wandering nearby and I think he wanted to make sure his cows stayed together.

Meanwhile, the Westies were looking kind of worried. Because there were so many elk and they were so close to the cars, they had to stay in the Mustang and watch from a safe distance.

This lone bull alternated between grazing and bugling to see if any cows would come. Sadly for him, none did, at least while we were there,
and eventually he wandered off to try his luck elsewhere.

Meanwhile down the road, this bull had 13 cows in his harem, plus a few smaller elk that we think were probably calves. If you look closely, he’s in the upper right surrounding by two cows and a calf.

Here’s a closer view…

This young bull was in a group of young males that was hanging out by the road watching the people and having a snack.

Eventually they got bored of snacking and decided to have a little friendly sparring practice.

This was such a great experience. Even though this is the second year we’ve gone during elk bugling season, I’m still amazed by these gentle giants and the fact that they will come so close to people.

I hope you all get to come experience it yourselves soon. In the meantime, enjoy the photos and look for updates coming from Taos and the Wool Festival soon!

All images (c) Mardee Brosh. All rights reserved. Please send me a note to ask permission before using my photos, mardee.brosh@gmail.com. Thanks.
Edited to Add: This is not my video and it was taken in Grand Teton National Park but in case you are curious about what an elk sounds like when it is bugling, this is a good example: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s78s-FCSUXs&feature=related
Also, here’s a bit from the good folks in Estes Park CO explaining the elk bugling season and what all goes on: http://estes-park.com/elk-bugling-estes

A Virtual Moment of Silence

I have a new spinning wheel that I want to write about but as a Coloradan, I don’t feel that I can let this tragedy pass by without some sort of notice. As a result, I’ve decided to host a virtual moment of silence here on the blog today as we remember the victims of the Aurora Town Center movie shooting.

I believe that probably everyone has heard about this but in case some of my foreign readers did not, a man walked into a crowded movie theater during the premiere of the new Batman movie and opened fire on the crowd, killing 12 people and wounding 58 others.

Our flags are at half-mast and our hearts are in sorrow for the victims of this senseless act, their families, friends and neighbors.

Peace and heartfelt sympathy from the citizens of Parker, CO.

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.

Where there is hatred, let me sow love.

Where there is injury, pardon.

Where there is doubt, faith.

Where there is despair, hope.

Where there is darkness, light.

Where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console, to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love, for it is in giving that we receive. It is in pardoning that we are pardoned, it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

~ St. Francis of Assisi, 1181-1226

Jammin’ It Old School

As I mentioned previously, I’m returning to my early days as a bit of an earth mother / organic gardening type. I just love eating local and enjoying the amazing bounty that Colorado’s truck farms bring us.

So, on Saturday, hubby and I headed for the local berry farm in Brighton to pick raspberries. It was tough picking because it was the first weekend and you had to really dig through the brambles to find the ripe ones, but in the end we came home with 10 pints of raspberries and several pints of end-of-season strawberries. Unfortunately I forgot to take a photo of the raspberries but I did get a beauty shot of the strawberries. Even for end-of-season, they were pretty tasty and literally just picked a couple of hours before.

Fresh-picked strawberries. The taste of summer.

We set up all of the cooking equipment. Making jam is messy and takes a lot of equipment so I tend to make large batches, or at least make several batches in a row so we only have one set of cleanup jobs.

On the left, my trusty hot water bath canner. On the right, soup kettle for cooking the jam and an assortment of tools. Truthfully, you could do this job with a wooden spoon and a soup ladle but some of the other things are kind of handy.

Pretty soon we had some lovely raspberry jam cooking up in that pot.

Raspberry wonderfulness. Need I say more?

It was not long after that we were loading up the canner to give the jars their hot water bath. It was interesting to learn how to can at 6000 feet – instead of water bath for 10 minutes, it requires 25!

Into the bath…

Next came a batch of strawberry jam. This stuff made the house smell A.W.E.S.O.M.E.

Strawberry jam on the way. This made the house smell like a strawberry patch. It was wonderful.

And finally, we had a bounty on the counter, 11 jars of raspberry jam and 5 jars of strawberry. We’ll be making more later this summer but in the meantime, I’m going to leave these on my counter so I can admire them.

Wow. We’re going to eat well this winter. Can’t wait to try these on pancakes or french toast.

Credits: This blog post brought to you by Mother Nature (isn’t she great?!) with a bit of help from the folks at Berry Patch Farms of Brighton CO, Sure-Jell and Kerr canning jars.  

New Mexico Beauty

Today’s post is the final installment of the photo series on Bandelier National Monument near Los Alamos, NM. 

The natural setting in which the Anasazi cliff dwellers lived was absolutely beautiful. While this national park had both fire and flood damage in 2011, it’s still a beautiful natural setting. Today, I’ll close off the series with some of the nature shots we took on our hike.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this series. There were so many lovely photos that it was hard to choose which ones to share with you.

A view down the valley at the start of our hike.

A view of the cliffs from below. I loved the dappled light in this shot.

The cacti were a reminder that while there was a creek nearby, we were still in the desert.

Another view of the cliffs in the dappled light.

A path through the woods near the creek. Again, with the lovely dappled light.

One final look back into the valley. A nice end to a lovely day.

Thanks for sharing this trip with me. Not only was the trip a lot of fun but I enjoyed getting to relive it by sharing it with you.

Alcove House, or a View from the Top

Today’s post is a continuation of the photo series on Bandelier National Monument near Los Alamos, NM. 

Further into the valley in Bandelier National Monument is the alcove house. It’s a large cliff dwelling that is literally 140 feet up in the air and requires climbing a series of steps and pole ladders to get to.

The start of the ascent to Alcove House. They aren’t kidding with the warning, believe me.

The journey begins with a climb. I was grateful that I had worn hiking boots because they gave me a stable surface for the climb.

This is me, climbing. I did fairly well until I got to right about this point, when my fear of heights got the better of me. I ended up spending the rest of the time waiting at the railing while being passed by children and old ladies.

The view from the top. Sadly, I didn’t see it but hubby was kind enough to take the camera so I got to see the photos at least.

And what a lovely view it was…

A view of the Alcove House. They aren’t entirely sure what it was used for but likely it was for worship or defense.

Here I am waiting for hubby to emerge from the top. It was a gorgeous view even if I didn’t make it all the way up.

Tomorrow: While the cliff dwellings are some of the most-visited part of Bandelier National Monument, it’s also just a beautiful natural setting. On the way back from Alcove House, we walked through the woods along the creek. Sadly, there is still quite a lot of flood damage from 2011 but we went through at the Golden Hour, that hour before twilight when the light is just gorgeous. I’ll share some of those photos tomorrow to close out this series.

As usual, all photos (c) 2012 Mardee Brosh. Send me an email at mardee.brosh@gmail.com if you want to use any of the images.

Let’s Play “Spot the Petroglyph”

Today’s post is a continuation of the photo series on Bandelier National Monument near Los Alamos, NM. 

One of the more interesting things (to me at least) about different cultures is their art and crafts. Perhaps it’s because I’m a lover of handmade items, those things that are made with care and passed down through the generations, or perhaps it’s just cool to see the product of someone’s imagination from centuries ago.

The Anasazi made their carvings on top of their buildings, so they were reachable only from the roofs of the second story of the cliff dwellings. While they are weathered, many of the petroglyphs are still there.

Mr. Tom Turkey. The turkeys were actually raised more for their feathers than their meat. The feathers were used in weaving.

This larger area includes several petroglyphs including several turkeys, a spiral and some people.

This section of painting has been preserved behind plexiglass so it won’t be worn off by visitors. (Note next to it, the entry into a ground-level dwelling)

Tomorrow: Alcove House, a very large cliff dwelling (140 feet up).


Anasazi in the Valley

Today’s post is a continuation of the photo series on Bandelier National Monument near Los Alamos, NM. 

One of the other highlights of walking through the Bandelier National Monument was the village that the Anasazi built in the valley below the cliff dwellings.  While they didn’t look that big walking past them, I was surprised at how much larger the village was when seen from above.

First we walked past the ruins on the way through the valley. Given that these are hundreds of years old, it was surprising how much of the buildings remain. I guess the dry climate and lack of rain help since there is less water erosion.

Ruins of the stone buildings in the valley below the cliff dwellings

As we climbed up towards the cliff dwellings, we could look back and see the village. It was larger than it looked from the ground.

Village viewed from up by the cliff buildings. It was bigger than it looked.

Climbing higher you could really see the full setting of the village, which was round and protected by the trees. A small creek runs through the trees behind the trees so the village also had a convenient water source.

Another view of the village from above; this was up at the cliff dwellings themselves.

That’s the photos for today, folks. Tomorrow we’ll play ‘Spot the Petroglyph.’

Meanwhile, here in Parker people were cleaning up hail with snowplows and more storms were predicted. Apparently we also had a black bear wandering through the neighborhood. Life in Colorado sure can get interesting!  Keep us in your thoughts!