Saturday, October 30, 2010

Sixty Five Degrees and Snow

One of the fun parts of Colorado living is in the winter.  It can be sun burn day and short sleeves out on the flatlands and in the mountains the boarders n skiers are celebrating.


This was taken north of Denver and the mountains are about 40 miles west.  The Front Range mountains dominate the metro-plex of Denver.  The snow capped peaks are the Indian Peaks and Long’s Peak is the far right one, over 14,000 feet in elevation.  The Indian Peaks range from 11,000 to 13,000 feet.  It is why so many people travel to the Rocky Mountains.  They are slowly being loved to death.

There was a foot of snow in the mountains the day before and the following day, clear blue sky and mid 60’s temperature.



There were a few red leaves on the vine as it stretched over the arbor.  Behind are the few green leaves of a different vine.  Each cling to their climbing lattice, growing their direction, becoming intertwined.

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Life Line, A Spot of Water

Water Water everywhere, goes the line from an ancient poem, but not a drop to drink.  Without water, life as we know it would perish.  The water in the poem is the home of sea life.  The sea a fascination many have had with the swells of water as they travel the waters of the world.  Water in its many forms carries a love hate relationship.  The torrential rains that flood the land, destroying things in its path and cleaning the debris away.  The snow howls across frozen land taking lives, piling up drifts for tomorrows ponds.

The cycle of water and how the rhythm of life dances with it.  A gentle babble to a deafening roar, walls tumbling over everything in its way, freshening drops caressing cheeks on a moonlit night.

For centuries the muse has given birth to life from water.  Walk along a bubbling brook, hand in hand with lover, riding the high waves in search of prey,  seeking shelter in wind driven rivets, water is a metaphor for life in its many guises.

The small pond nearby, the ocean with no end in sight, each has a magnet that pulls.


Eternity springs forth from the dew drop, its journey to the sea, a timeless passage from somewhere to everywhere.  To exist, I drink in the coolness of moisture as it flows over lips, replenishing.

I marvel at the battles man wages with nature, wanting to control, direct it. Water is always there on the battle front.  It is the carrier of life, the remover of death and ultimate recycler.

Walking beside still waters, a breeze curls by ruffling the calm mirror.  A small man made pond has opened doors for new life, lives that would of not existed without the hand of man.  A small intermittent stream is fed with treated sewage water.  Plants flourish on the edges, fish swim in schools feeding on the insect life that thrives on the waste.  Birds nest in the rushes, animals raise families on the edges, waterfowl float on the current. Turtles coast on the surface, herons wade the shallows and high overhead floats the hunters.

This is man at work with nature, being a conservationist and helping nature thrive.  It is not a preservationist idea of hands off.  It is a hands on helping hand of using leftovers to nourish life where there was none before.  A symbiosis, where man’s byproducts are used to aid wildlife.


Here one can watch the lives change and stay the same in maturation.  From a tepid cesspool is a rose of caring new life.  In this cycle one can learn how nature cares for itself and how it regenerates.  Man but steps back and gives nature a chance and it becomes self healing.

Without man, there would be no ducks floating along on a sunny day.  No fishing hole, a shore line to stroll on, a place to watch wildlife.  Here at this little spot is man at work with nature.  Near by are fields farmers have planted, a feeding place.



Friday, October 22, 2010

Decline of Autumn


One of the markers for Fall is the corn harvest.  :Last year there were late rains and lots of the fields were to wet to get in and harvest.  This year it has been very dry and the harvest is rolling along.  A yellow ski hill of corn on the prairies.  That mound of corn will be covered with a plastic cover and sit until the contract date of delivery. 

Man does that look corny…… yeeee …. hhhhaaaaawwww.

In the morning I set and drink my coffee, out the window is the street.  A block down the way is a small cottonwood.  In the morning it would catch the morning rays and have a warm golden glow.  No longer, it is now brown and there were thunderstorms today.  Can you believe that, thunder and lightening today.  The small cottonwood is surrounded by huge elms that are now starting to show some yellow.  Unlike the cottonwood they don’t have a warm color.  Gently we are traveling into winter and the elm may make it to full yellow.

The scene out my window is changing for morning coffee.  Soon the turkeys will be parading down the street and the deer will be bedding down next door.  The cats will prowl around stalking the birds that flutter to my feeder.  Hopefully they catch more mice then they do birds. 

Yes it is a change of seasons and hopefully the politics will settle down.  I took my ballot to the courthouse today.  I am now an official voter.

What stinks is what the DC creeps are doing to the grey beards.  No Living adjustment for Social Security people.  For many in their 70’s an 80’s that is their only income.  Talk about keeping people poor and it is money that was given to the government in a trust fund.  People on welfare get more then they do.  The policy of the government is slowly creating a class warfare that will erupt unless something is really changed, not just lip service.

Fall is time for me to pause and reflect on my blessings and prepare for the advent season. 

My garden fed the grasshoppers and they are still hopping all over the yard looking for more green stuff to consume.  Gonna have to garden different next year or I will set a buffet for the ravenous little hoppers.  Got some more grass in the courtyard and the flowers were great.  They have enjoyed the gentle autumn and are in their greatest blossoms of the year.  When frost shows up their beauty will be but a memory and next year a spring ritual, plant some more.

VLUU L200  / Samsung L200

I’ll fiddle with pictures at times to see what I can come up with.  I do not have photoshop, so I use what I have.  I used to have a darkroom and B&W is all I did.  Taking the color out of a digital does not have the snap of a good B&W.  It does create a nice effect though.

VLUU L200  / Samsung L200

One of my forth coming projects is to start through my photographs and move them to memory sticks.  A few I will upload to my web sites.  I have one with photobucket and the picasa for railroad pics and blog shots.

I’m surprised by the number of hits I’ve gotten at photobucket,  None of the shots are great, just good snap shots.  Yet there are those who go browsing pictures.  Actually a good way to be an armchair tourist.


Hope this finds all in good spirits and had a good week.  Have a great weekend and may God bless your activities throughout the next days.

Monday, October 18, 2010

A Sand Crick Is……..

On my last post I was asked about a sand crick.  Being from another part of the world that has lots of moisture I can understand.  Sand Creeks and Arroyos are unique to the western US.  Most of the time they are dry streams loaded with sand, hence the name sand creek.  Most of them do carry water but one has to dig into the sand to find it or be able to read where the pot holes of water are.


This is the sand creek that I live next to, it is lined with trees but no water.  A broad avenue of sand going off to the horizon.  The cottonwoods that line the creek consume lots of water.  I believe as much as 200 gallons of water per day.  being next to the crick they have a ready supply of water.  Most of the sand cricks do not have an abundance of trees for they carry little water plus the tillage and wells for water today have changed the water flow off the plains.


There are places along the crick where there are springs and small ponds have been carved out.  Follow this stream a few yards down the hill and it is dry.  The moisture has sunk into the sand and has the appearance of being dry.

Pools like this were keys to the early explorers crossing the great desert of the plains.  The Indians knew where these pot holes were and would lead the explorers to them.  Later they would be stops on the trails and stage coach routes.  The life blood of the prairie.

No longer do the cricks roar after a rain like they used to.  Water would roll off the grasslands in sheets, pouring into the gully's, filling up the cricks and dumping into rivers further downstream.  Walls of water would fly downhill ripping up vegetation and trees, churning up mud and carving out banks.


This site is much further down stream and has had no major flooding in years.  The crick bed is now covered with grass and trees grow in it.  This is one of those sore spots in american history.  Here Indians were massacred in an ambush, mostly women and children.


this shows how to spot the water holes,  In the center is a darker brown and green area.  That is the reeds from the water pool there.  It was this area where about 700 Indians were living when they were slaughtered.  The high crick banks provide protection, there is water and game is plentiful.

Buffalo roamed the area, the primary meat source.  There are wild berries and roots that grow here.

Today the buffalo is gone, there are still antelope roaming around and the woods along the crick are good habitat for deer and turkeys.

A sand crick is a lifeline across a semi-arid land but they are not benign.  Massive amounts of water can roll down the crick after a heavy rain.  the bank overlooking the crick is about 20 feet high and about 1/2 mile across, it has been full of water, bank to bank and overflowing.


There will be a test tomorrow after yesterday.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

What A View

Sometimes when I take pictures I do it just for the pleasure of it and some practice.  Most turn out pretty decent but there are little things that keep them from being great.  I don’t use photo shop just the limited processing of the existing programs in the puter.  Every once in a while I’ll be going through them and say wow.  This time it is not the picture but what it revealed, a view.


This abandoned house sits on the side of the hill overlooking the crick and when I took the picture I wanted to show the colors of the cottonwoods along the crick and the old house would make a nice foreground element.  After I downloaded the images and was browsing through I stopped and said to myself, what a view.  Out across the valley, other ranch homes dot the horizon that rolls in the distance.  The railroad tracks out in front and the highway just below the front yard.  The crick bends here and curls off to the left and town is off to the right about a mile away.

It has been so dry here there is lots of dust in the air creating a haze, cutting down on the sharpness of the photo and changing the color saturation.  What a pastoral over look.  One could sit on the front porch in the evening, watch the sun set, the occasional animal in the woods pass by and relax.

Originally I was train chasing and i hit a couple of roadblocks so I went looking for other things.  If it had not been for road construction I probably would of ended up in Kansas chasing the circus train.


The circus had finished up in the big city and was headed to the next big city.  It came through town and I loaded up the train chasing jalopy and caught up to it just east of town when I was stopped by a one lane detour.  This is a picture of it going away from me.  i sat dead for a half hour then took off after it.  Got behind big rigs and just cruised along then there was another road block, so I surrendered.

The circus train is over a mile long and i was hoping to get a full picture of it from a couple of overlooks on a big curve.  All the performers, animals, vehicles, roustabouts and support people are on board.  Pretty impressive train.  There is a red train and a blue one.  this is the blue train.  The troupe lives on board for about 9 months out of the year.  True traveling life.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

This time of year the hope of spring time has dwindled down to a few hopes. The boys of spring are now the boys of autumn. The hot sweltering days of summer have given way to cool fall air. Long sleeve jerseys adorn the players now as they trot out on the diamond. the crack of the bat stings a bit more in the icy air of fall, no longer does the sweat roll off the brow and gallons of water are not consumed in buckets.

The playoffs are in full swing, bars roll to the swing of the bat, moans grumble out the door at the ball is caught and epitaphs swirl in the air as the bat slices through empty space. It is so much fun to toss the hard horsehide around, smack it with a bat, chase it across the field and hurl it to first base.

Baseball the all american sport that anybody can play and has been played in sand lots, asphalt jungles and pastures. The roar of the ball slicing over stretched arms to bounce off a tin can or roll through a cow patty.

It is amazing where ball fields have been built. The one in the corn filed is probably one of the more famous ones. Out across america one is liable to find a ball field in no where, which is where I found this grandstand.

The nearest town is that way over 10 miles and that away 50 miles and over there it is another 40 miles. Baseball was so popular that the pioneers/settlers built a ball park in a cow pasture by a sand creek. Lumber and materials was hauled by wagon but it was built and has stood for about a century.

Today it is not much more then a monument to man's determination to celebrate. Celebrate they did, There were holiday picnics and other games played until the start of the baseball game. Neighbors would bring their families and the visit would begin. children playing in the woods of the creek, people sitting in the grand stand visiting, men lounging under trees talking and teenagers getting antsy for the ball game.

It was a spectacle for the old settlers and their families. there was no television to watch the fall festivities back east someplace and electricity was in town so no radios. The telephone had just gotten off the drawing board and news traveled by singing wires or newspaper.

Here in the pasture there were no bright lights, no big money deals, just a few people getting together to celebrate life as it was dealt to then.

Today it is used for special occasions and there some people who look after it. Mostly it sits on the plains listening to the winds of time whistle through the rafters.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

John's Moment

Had a doctor's appointment the other day at a nearby town. On the way home I took my time looking at things and taking a few pictures. There is a small lake that I stopped at for a brief moment. On the prairie water holes are few and far between so I took advantage of this one.

It was a quiet mid day and the breeze was light, ruffling the water slightly in the small cove. I had my fishing stuff with me so I trotted out to the shore. Tackle was rigged, hooks baited and chair positioned. Into the water went the rig, pole is set in a branch and me carcass settled into the chair.

Breezes swirl over the water, leaves float to the ground or into the water, birds flit in the tree branches, frogs hop in the water and the fish make small circles. It was a great day to be by the water. Sitting there enjoying God's creation. A brief moment where I am still and can listen to the silence, feel the breath of creation envelope me.

If I catch a fish, okay, sitting there and watching the day pass was a recharging. The dogs sniffed around then lay by the chair, butterflies float past, ducks bob on the water and a falcon circles high overhead searching. I dig out the MP-3 and turn on some music, contentment rolls over my soul, here is a moment I can but try to recreate. A moment the grey matter will store, the memories will be another reality but this moment I savor.

The days journey took me other places along the back roads of the countryside. There are small towns dwindling into obscurity, giant wind farms setting idle, farmers harvesting and drilling and people traveling about in their daily life.

I expected to see the windmills turning but with a low breeze they were but monuments to dreams. Without wind they are worthless and when there is wind they have to have a demand for the electricity. Right now the price of wind electricity is to high and the utility companies will buy their power from the cheapest source. The windmills are good ideas but are very expensive and are probably ahead of their time.

The country roads were dusty. One could see the vehicles from miles because the cloud of dust raised. We haven't had much rain since July, less then an inch. Fine powdery dust floats in the air creating a haze. A the farmer rolls across his fields the dust floats into the air. A reminder of how delicate our balance on the prairie is.

The dust bowl combined with the depression dealt a death blow to many small towns. Some cling to a thin straw but many are on the last throes of demise. There are many old building that set vacant and are falling apart. they make for some great pictures and views of back to the past. There are old machines and rusting hulks of metal.

Speaking of pictures, Google has what they call Picasa web albums. I have been using Picasa for some time to post some of my train pictures and grain elevators. When I began blogging on blogger another album was opened for my blog pictures on here. I went and viewed them and the hit counter in some instances has been higher then for my blogs. So why are people checking out my pictures more then my blogs..... a question I have no answer for.

I also have some pictures on Photobucket and they had been stagnant for some time and all of sudden I am getting bunches of hits. Life has its quirks.