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South Again

October 25, 2010
White Sands

White Sands, New Mexico

September marked our fifteenth month living in Belle. We still usually choose it over kind offers from family or friends of a night with big, soft mattresses and indoor plumbing. It is our home.

Our journey away from Montana this year started with good blessings. While camped in southern Montana for some good fishing before leaving the state, a couple of  brothers who spent their summers fishing in Montana kindly covered our camping fees for three nights, right along the Jefferson River. Fishing was great. We met up with our good friend JK on our drive out of the state and he set us off with twenty pounds of fresh antelope meat. The heart, mind and stomach are at ease, and ready to roam, with meat in the freezer.

Montana to New Mexico 108

Antelope Roast in solar oven, yuuummee!

We stopped at Goblin Valley, again, and Moab Utah for some good warm hiking and our red rock fix before heading further south.

Montana to New Mexico 128

Dinner Guest

We spent a week on Abiquiu Resevoir north of Sante Fe while Cam attended the Traditions in Western Herbalism Conference at the Georgia O’Keefe Ghost Ranch. Cooked our first meal in our new solar oven, antelope roast with potatos and onion (thanks JK). Added nothing except some olive oil, salt and pepper to the veggies and it was mouth watering. Cooks so moist that you actually pour off water from the bottom of the oven when done. Cooked rice and kale, cobbler cakes and more. Absolutely no bi-product to solar cooking. That feels cool and powerful. Great school lessons branched from this. Lots of swimming, biking and learning. Saw a tarantula, first ever in the wild. Crazy to see them from a distance, you can actually see between their bodies and the ground as they walk, from twenty feet away – big spider.

White Sands

White Sands, New Mexico

Montana to New Mexico 104

Moab, Utah

….The sun beat down on leathery, almost plastic skin and warmed its cold blood while it ripped and gnawed at the rancid meat. Growling and snapping, protecting its claim from the other oppurtunistic scavengers, feed they would, for now, on the unfortunate. To the north, above the same slitted rock canyon they dined, a black rain cloud came to fruition, dropping sheets of rain on the slick desert floor in mere minutes. Deep, fast, crashing waves of water rushed south, filling the canyon walls, soon to create wonderment and questions for man, millions of years in the future. So goes one likely scenario of how so many dinosaur fossils came to be concentrated, literally stacked atop one another in mass graves, in this area of Northern New Mexico. Possibly a flash flood suprised all the feeding animals and swept them along the canyon and deposited them in the red silt of the valley floor. Paleontologist have actually discovered some dinos, whilst digging through them in route to another below it! We toured with a paleontologist ( someone who studies fossil), a short round man with unkept beard and hair and glasses that looked as though they hadn’t been cleaned since the dinasour age themselves. He spoke through his nose and had some type of dino bone in every pocket, a T-rex toothe in his shirt pocket, a small shoulder bone in his pants, a jaw bone in his back pocket. They discovered dinosaur bones at the Ghost Ranch in the 1880’s but nothing was excavated professionally until 1936, and the area has been an epicenter ever since. These dinasaours are old, much older than more well known dinos like T-rex, Triceratops and Stegasaurus of the Jurassic Period, and much smaller. These apparent ancestors were around 215 million years ago and were only 6′ tall at most, and weighed a mere 160 lbs. Hard to believe, these were fathers to the massive dinos we think of most commonly. The Paleontologist took us through several active digs, some in process for over thirty years, showed us how to preserve finds and the painstakingly slow and exhilerating methods to unearth them. Needless to say, we dug it.

Albuquerque Botanical Gardens

Albuquerque Botanical Gardens and Aquarium

Holt’s skin was red with sweat and heat as he wobbled into Belle after a long stint of play one day last week. After a long pull of water he went to the fridge for some cold chocolate milk. Nothing goes down better after a long day in the heat than chocolate milk, right? It went down well, and came back up just as nice and twice as fast, this time carrying stomach friends, all over the dinnette couch(with removable seat cover, thankfully). After someone throws up in a camper, the people therein kind of resemble a bunch of rocks being shaken in an Altoids can, running and bouncing about. Hopefully, the camper is not parked on an angle at the moment,as we were, because whatever liquid hits the floor, it races downhill, to it’s destiny of the lowest point. Quick, quick, catch that river of puke! After the shock, Mazie Jane recognizes a milestone and says, “well, that was a first, in Belle”. Holt says, “my tummy feel betta.” Google laundry mat.

Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta

Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta

Holt’s imagination and story telling have sure blossomed over the past few months. Since leaving Montana last month I’ve learned what a summer he’d had. Curiously, most all of his stories took place during a long weekend with Grandma Jane & Grandpa Dave, who I’ve yet to colaborate any of these stories with, and, there appears to be no photographic evidence either. Nontheless, these stories were all true, while being told anyways. Apparently they saw a “pack” of barracudas while fishing up the middle fork, witnessed a long-necked prehistoric serpent devour a school of tuna(not sure where that happened), then witnessed a lion eat the serpent, also discovered a colony of silver back gorillas. On another occasion he and his friend Charlie Grant bushwhacked through jungle to find more barracuddas, and they also traveled to another planet, where giant tarantulas live. There was also a trip to California and several to China. Oh, and they saw a Yeti! Who knew, in Columbia Falls MT. I’d have thought Dave and Jane might have mentioned that one, but w/ all the bowling balling and pie making, it must have slipped their memory. Good Times. One night during bedtime as I was scratching Mazie Jane’s back in the back bedroom, Holt was telling Cam more adventerous stories of his visit, when Mazie Jane says to me,”how did he fit in so much stuff on his trip to Grandma’s, it was only a few days.” That broke me up pretty good.

Albuquerque Balloon FiestaWe met George and Pat last year at the strawbale building workshop in southern Arizona, and they now live in Albuquerque, with plans to build a strawbale home on their remote land some sixty miles south of Albuquerque. We had time and they offered a wonderful place to sit for a while so we spent four or five days soaking up the sun, quiet beauty and also helping them get started on their concrete piers for their storage container. They had built a 12′ x 16′ stage for pitching a tent off the ground which with Pat’s inginuity was easily transformed into a stage complete with curtains and backdrops. We were treated to original plays written and choreographed by Mazie Jane & Holt during our picnic lunches and dinners. Their land has a certain peacefulness to it that brings a long exhale as you look around at the juniper and cholla cactus below green hills and bright blue sky. At night we heard nothing but coyotes and an occasional dog or airplane in the distance, and as you might suspect from being so far away from anything, the stars were magnificent and the milky way glowed. Thanks to George and Pat for allowing us to experience this special piece of desert. We hope we can go back and help stack bales when they’re ready.
Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta
Not having any particular town we were ready to settle into long-term, and needing to sit for a while for Cam to build up work, with its abundant healing arts community and progressive flair Albuquerque seemed as good as place as any for a few months, and we love all the kids’ activities and the New Mexico culture. People have been on this land for more than four hundred years and heritage is thick. Luckily for us, our first week in town was the International Balloon Festival. Our first night we camped with the other thousand or so RVers in the Balloon Park north of the city. The next morning was the first mass ascension, when all balloons, all shapes, sizes, colors and designs take off one after another just after sunrise. What a treat, there were balloon witches on brooms, enormous haunted houses, ships, cartoon characters, bumble bees, Carmen Miranda, too many to mention, hundreds took off in an hour and a half. We just kept smiling and pointing. The festival lasts a week, so we positioned ourselves above the city a couple more nights to see them take flight the next morning. If you were lucky, you were down wind, and they’d come right over you, or not.

Albuquerque Botanical Gardens

Pulling a rather large carrot at Albuquerque Botanical Garden

Prickly Pear Fruit

Sweet, tangy Prickly Pear fruit harvested while hiking north of Albuquerque

Holt has changed the name of his beloved blanket, again. Originally it was “bankdy”. That changed this summer to “Nay Nay” after his best friend’s blanky. And if you’ve ever been a fan of The Princess Bride movie of the mid to late 80’s, he’s now changed it “Inconcievable”. Not the most affectionate name, but it is different. “Can somebody get me Inconceible?” Actual pronunciation.

Montana August 022

Two Med, Glacier Park, Montana August

We’re still in and enjoying Albuquerque, there’s so much for the kids to do, and the weather and color of the land is vibrant. Cindy and Jerry, whom Cam befriended a little while at school here years ago have become old friends and the kids adore them and their home, making the city homier.(is that a word) We’ve enjoyed The Natural Science Museum, one of the top two or three we’ve seen in the country, The Botanical Gardens, with an awesome kids section where everythig is enlarged and you feel the size of an ant as you walk through enormous pumpkins, under people size carrots, and bees the size of large dogs buzz ominously above.  There’re many good libraries with kids programs, and even a knitting club for Mazie Jane. It’s odd for us to be in such a big city, jumping around all the time, rather than sitting still for days at a time somewhere quiet and very much out of the way, but we are making the most of it, for sure. The weather has been great and we just got a touch of early winter the past day, not even above 60 with clouds and wind. Cam has worked very hard and is drumming up work, some here in person and some over the phone from referrals and old contacts. What a tough thing to do, basically walk up to people or business and introduce yourself and tell them what you do. My hat goes off to her. For now, we plan on being here through November, then probably on to some place warmer.
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5 Comments leave one →
  1. MomE permalink
    October 25, 2010 12:42 pm

    So fun to hear about your adventures. Feels almost like a visit……almost. And, I thought you had a vivid imagination when you were his age!

  2. Pete and Phyllis Woodhead permalink
    October 25, 2010 10:29 pm

    Trent, So good to read your post. I’m glad the kids are enjoying themselves and I hope Cami finds plenty of work. Our best thoughts and wishes are with all of you always. All continues to go well with us. Still not sure what our plans are for this winter.

  3. D & J permalink
    October 27, 2010 1:17 am

    I didn’t realize how often we look for your posts until you stopped for awhile. Great to catch up this way, enjoy the pictures and marvel at the unusual places you find. If our intentions create our experiences, then Holt’s stories are all true, at least in his mind. And maybe Mazie Jane’s too. Give him a couple years and he can post his own version of your adventures on your blog.

  4. Janet permalink
    October 31, 2010 1:10 pm

    I have occasionally seen groups of scruffy mountain men in Montana that could be mistaken for gorillas. Just sayin’. I miss you all so much and am looking forward to our next reunion. Take care.

  5. Ann Hays permalink
    November 5, 2010 7:00 pm

    Hi Trent, So happy to be reading ya’ll’s blogs again. I love them. Your mom told me that you would be headed to Mexico to housesit for the winter. Hope you’ll do lots of blogs during that time. Hi to Cammie, my sweet little friend Mazie Jane and that precious Holt!! Love, ann

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