Done.

November 14, 2014

Done!

~

done1

~

That’s all she wrote. At least, that’s it for this year.

Enough for now. Time for a change.

This morning we wake to a thick cover of snow.  Winter has come to the high country. Right on time.

~

where the new house will be

~

going loggin

~

Ten and a half months ago…

We felled our first tree from across the frozen river.  Dead standing.  Beetle kill. Dragged it across the Rio Grande in the dark depths of winter.

Each one dragged, stockpiled, lifted, stacked, lifted again, milled, peeled, grinded, measured, cut, fit and fine tuned. Each a work of art.  A living museum. A tribute to the trees.  Our trees. Our home.

Now there’s a house. Built of love.  Not much blood, sweat and tears.  How about that.  Rather, this one’s made from good stuff. Dang, it feels good.

There’s a lot of love built into them there walls.

~

finishing up

 

~

details

~

We did it.  Reached the goal of getting the new house closed in by winter.

The metal roof is on. Bring on the snow. It’s coming in plentitude. Fine by me.  Now, we’re outa here for a while. Forrest is back at the South Pole. And Bob and I are flying south as well.  We’re migrating again.

My goose, however, will be remaining here.

~

evening up lost trail

~

So much good stuff.  So many good things. So many good people.  All I need is some time to reflect. Time to appreciate it all.

Time.  Something we’ve not had enough of.  Maybe free time is over rated.  Love, gratitude, progress… these things remain plentiful.  Well then – how lucky indeed I am.

~

on evening walk

~

Passing the reins on here to a couple of good friends willing and able to take on the adventure that winter is here alone on the snowy mountain at 10,000 feet.

Us, well, we’re heading back into summer.  We’re done up here, at least for now, ready to take a break, take on a new challenge, head off for a new adventure. We’re ready to welcome a new life… with open arms and a heart so full and still growing bigger… this is indeed a wonderful life!

~

this morning

~

I held my breath

As around me wind

Roared though

my silence could not hide

me and I found myself

captured enwrapped and

seduced once again by

the elements

lifting heaving and embracing

dancing in the wind

~

gvg

~

You can take the dog away from one wild mountain, but you better find another to put him in.  Some of us belong where the pavement ends. Far beyond.

And for those of you worried about the goose.. Rikki did not fly south, and we can’t take him (though Gunnar gets to go).  After months of wondering what best to do for him, I received this from a fellow goose lover:

“…Rikki is imprinted on you as his mom …He seems happy where’s he’s at.  Geese are incredibly hardy.  …  I definitely feel that he should remain…”

It felt I finally heard the right words. I listen to those feelings.

So, he’ll remain here with the cats, horses, hens and a caretaker who is going to have to see what works best for taking care of a semi-wild Canada goose in the high snowed in mountains through winter.

If you have any advice, please let me know. I want to do the right thing.  It’s been an interesting trip just having this bird a part of our lives.

~

rikki

~

On one hand, I’m exhausted, sore, splintered and sawdust covered.  On the other I’m bursting with joy and love and gratitude for all the good stuff and all the good people and new friends and new connections with old ones and love, dang it, so much love.  (Yes, I’m feeling sappy. Surely from all those trees…) Especially for my boys, my team. We built this house, this life, together.

And now my trees sit safely stacked into what is now our forever home.  Maybe we’ll stay here lots; maybe not so much; but it will always be ours. Always be home. Always be the nest we can return to. Comfort.  House.  Home.

~

roof done

~

That’s all she wrote.  For this chapter.  Onto the next.  Less than a year ago, these trees were still standing dead.  Now they take the stories they shared of the silence, wild and wind and pass them onto me, my family, a new lifetime, generations lasting less than it took these trees to grow.

Starting new stories of our own.

Together with the trees.

In the last eleven months, we built a house, starting with harvesting the raw materials on up, the three of us (and a few remarkable helpers from time to time, and I must say, at just the right time every time!).  I published two books and edited and started pitching a third, and writing a fourth.  I moved my family twice.  I dove in head first to learn the art and science of midwifery, the miracle of birthing, and the power of the woman. I ran a little business (our guest ranch) and still had time to make sure we ate fresh bread and watched the sunset and listened to each others silly stories and same old jokes.  And we smiled. And every morning I woke up excited to see what the day would bring, though a few mornings I was happy to have that day begin a little later.

My hands are sore and swollen; my eyes bloodshot from the sun, wind, sawdust; my muscles longing for a tub I don’t yet have.  The only day off I’ve had in months was the horse ride with Ellen in autumn color, and I’ve regretted none of it.  Once again I say:  if it wasn’t me living like this, I would wish it was.

May not see you for a while. But I’ll be thinking of you.  Hoping for the best.  Talk to you when we’re back, sometime before the snow melts.

And now, the page is turning.  I’m putting this book down for a while and picking up the next. Where will this one bring me?  Where am I off to next?

The wind is calling…

I’m going dancing in the wind!

~

leaf

~

Fall rising.

September 22, 2014

~

autumn on pole mountain

 

~

horses on fall pasture

~

If nothing else, a slide show for you, sharing progress on the house, fall color, and this beautiful world we live in with you.

Only you know me. There will be more.  I’ll get to writing, to words, to sharing, rambling… and then I’ll be here longer than I planned, when really, you know, what I should be doing is getting back to work…

(please click on individual photos to see them larger if you’d like)

~

as if the trees were not enough color

~

early fall behind the new cabin

 

~

various shades of trees

~

 

On building our home together.

Some days I’m tired.  I think we can’t do it. We’ll never get it closed in by serious snow fly.  We’re in over our head. What were we thinking and when will it be over.  Not another day of getting covered in sawdust and wood chips and beetle shells.

Most days, though I think this.  We’re doing it.  Ourselves.  This incredible, beautiful home on the cheapest budget you can imagine.  Yes, I’m actually very proud of that part.  I’m a cheapskate at heart, it’s true, but it’s more than that.  I’m proud that we harvested the main materials from our own land, used salvaged and surplus when we could, and are doing the work ourselves. The three of us. By us, for us.  The only paid labor was help with the foundation, a worthy start to this project.  Yes, the borrowed equipment and expert advice and occasional helping hand from good friends is always appreciated, a tremendous help, and at times, just what we need.

It’s an odd work site. Sure, there’s a dog, usually a cat, and always a goose hanging around so watch your step and check under your truck before you drive away.  Lots of visitors, which although they bring much distraction, usually bring much encouragement and support and appreciation for what we’re doing too. (And groceries, seriously, which are a blessing as we haven’t taken much time to get to town to stock up!) And I come to realize realize that it is not in spite of these kind and caring visitors and distractions, but because of them at times, that we are inspired, fueled and lightened.

I tell one that this will be the first permanent home Forrest ever had. He’s twenty one.  That’s a lot of years of fluctuation. Twelve moves in his first three years; then he lived at a kids camp, then a guest ranch.  Finally, his own place.  He’ll just have to share it with us. After all, for me, there were ten years before Forrest came into my life that I too had my fair share of stories of being homeless or a vagabond and moving around at least once a year… so I must say, having a solid foundation that we can call ours is a thrill for me too.  Interesting to note that these roots do not tie one down, but give one greater to strength to fly.  But that too is another story.

Will we make it?  Get the roof on, windows in, sealed up by serious snow fly?

Wait and see.  We’re only a month away…

(Hey Al – That beautiful bottle of champagne your brought us is already on ice!)

~

construction progress to date

 

~

vega fest

~

brayden milling

~

boys working

~

log wizard

~

Autumn falls heavy.  Shorter days, cooler air, longer shadows, crisper light. Wool sweaters and warm work gloves and hot coffee at lunch break. For this fleeting season our world turns  so brief but fiercely to contrasting shades of vibrant gold with earthen browns and grays.

I’m ready to move on.  We’ve been camped out since the end of May. Down by the work site in a one room cabin without plumbing or power for a light, and finally I’m ready for running water, an indoor toilet and hot shower, a kitchen sink, an electric light that all you have to do is flick a switch to get results. Sure, I love my candles, oil lamps, outhouse with a view, the sound of rain on the uninsulated tin roof of the Little Cabin, and song of the ever present Rio Grande, but it’s time. Almost. Soon, I start to hope. Maybe I’ll miss standing under the stars and the brilliant swath of the Milky Way to brush my teeth, but I won’t miss having to run out into the rain in the middle of the night to squat in the cold wet grass.

~

horses on fall pasture 2

~

canella

~

tres

~

bob and bayjura

~

As you walk down the dirt drive to the cabin, the silence of the mountain embraces you, hills rise on all side like a visual symphony glowing in the autumn glory of turning aspen blending with the browning beetle killed trees, rising to the golden grasses of the late season high country above tree line and the sharp contrast before steel grey sky portending another storm.

Suddenly you are there, and you hear it. You have arrived. The Rio Grande. You are swallowed and consumed and it’s not with fear or loathing but clarity and purity and a sense of old wild ways knowing this river has been cutting its path so long before you were there, so long after you leave. And still you are seduced by the song of the river and absorbed by the eternal hum of autumn’s swollen course painted with dirt from higher grounds, blending our world with that of some place I have never been, so many places, down river, eight miles away, a hundred, or down to the Gulf of Mexico.

This is not the angry roar of spring melt out you hear but heavy rich milky waters bringing a melancholy song of primordial longings as the geese fly over head in formation in the early morning, and my meant to be wild one but oh-so-tame Rikki remains firmly planted in my front yard.

~

rikki and forrest

~

rikki on slabs

~

gunnar

~

Heavy rains in an early fall storm.  Finally some time to sit and catch up on correspondence and business and never enough time to write before heading back out there in between storms, grateful it’s only rain.  Winter is coming…

Between early mornings and those blessed rain storms, I managed time to reach my personal goal/deadline of finishing a revised copy of my third manuscript.  I am pleased. Now onto the next!

Meanwhile, the guest cabins are full, main camp is bustling, some wonderful folks around enjoying the fall color, to be followed by the camaraderie and excitement of hunting season, followed by the late season calm for the select few tourist game enough to give it a go before our world turns white… And then… Oh, don’t ask. Not now.  One thing at a time.  Today presents plenty.  More than enough.  Better yet, just right!

~

grass seed

~

cinquefoil

~

aspen leaves

~

untouched fall color

~

As for book business…

I just received the good news that Barnes and Nobles has accepted The Last of the Living Blue.  This is a thrill and honor.  From what I understand, unlike Amazon who accepts all books (and sells the most too), B&N carefully review all books and watch progress of sales and interest before taking you on.  So this is great news for me, and I hope you might help by checking to see if your local B&N might be one of the select stores to carry my books – and if they do not, perhaps with your request, they will!

Much gratitude for the wonderful review of The Last of the Living Blue shared on Amazon and Goodreads by acclaimed author Gwendolyn Plano.

Finally, special thanks to friend and fellow horseman and blogger, Julian of White Horse Pilgrim, for actually coming (over the ocean and through one enlightening journey across this country) to visit us and our wild mountain.  As you can imagine, the world seemed a little smaller, closer and more comfortable when shared with good friends, good horses, and good food together!  Here are some of the photos Julian took of our work and shared. Thank you, my friend!

~

julian 1

~

julian 3

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julian 8

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julian 2

 

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julian 4

~

 

Full.

September 5, 2014

~

riding in over reservoir

~

 

The high country fades first.

 

The grasses on Pole Mountain turn to yellows, reds and browns.

 

Now the cold, wet autumn approaches.

 

Wool sweaters and down jackets and I even pulled out the long johns one day last week.  My fingers don’t work as well in the damp afternoons and I remain huddled longer and closer cooking over the old wood cook stove.

 

The aspen leaves tilt and some turn.  It’s happening.  I’m ready. Though all I have wanted to accomplish this season remains pending.  Time enough. To rush, push, get it done, and yet I know what this season does to me.  Sets me stirring. Like leaves in the wind or cold silver waters after a fresh rain. To be out there, breathing, feeling, sharp sensed, wild like a deer, uncontained… Running in the woods and riding the high country when staying home, remaining focused, keep grounded, containment becomes closer to impossible… most years.  Maybe not this one.

 

For now I want to be right here, where I am, doing what I’m doing.  Today.  Tomorrow is something else.

 

~

me and bob

~

 

Maybe tomorrow, for today my hands are full.

 

Simple living isn’t simply living.  There’s work to be done.  Beyond hauling water and splitting wood, though those things must be done too.  Days are full. Between building, books and guest ranch business. Cooking, cleaning, lighting candles, heating water in which to wash.  Writing words, peeling logs, gathering eggs, shoeing horses, hanging laundry on the line in between storms, figuring out what to feed the boys, and chasing the goose out of the road as another visitor drives away.  Would I want it any other way?  Well, sometimes, yes.  Indoor plumbing would top my list right about now.

Building.  Two more months until snowfly will more than likely shut us down for the season.  Not to say there won’t be snow before then.  Next week may bring the first of it.  I envision us shoveling off the work site, sweeping off our logs, working in heavy boots and thick gloves, watching our breath rise with the rising walls. Soon.

~

setting upright for ridgebeam

~

moving up

~

 

As the mountain releases, so do I.  The slow, certain exhale to dormancy. The big sigh of relief. For years I attributed this to making it through another season without losing a client.  I mean really losing.  As in, loss of life.  Injuries, well, that was part of it.  You’re in the mountains now.  But the pending fear of the big loss was ever present.  I lost sleep over it, but never a client.  Yes, that was a serious fear for me and a serious consideration in the outfitting business, while my clients would come in complete trust and often ignorance for which I would assume responsibility and risk.  Many folks treated a horseback ride in the high country as a walk in the park.  For me, it was their life on the back of my horse, which in turn meant their life on my back.  I took it seriously.  No, I have no intention of ever sharing the crazy stories I could tell of what my clients did, or what we did to them… suffice to say, I took my outfitters oath almost as seriously as a doctor does to her clients.  Truth is, I learned from all of them, and loved the opportunity to share my world, my time, my horses, my mountain.  And at the end of it, every time, I was glad I was done.  Hopefully with great memories, better riders, and a mountain that remained unaffected for all the hours and foot prints, both horse and human, we laid upon her.

 

~

on ute ridge looking southwest

~

 

Breaking water in the oil change pan outside the cabin that serves as the goose’s pond.  Ice most mornings now.  I await the honking of the flocks coming down river, congregating on the flats of the reservoir below Ute Creek, hoping some primordial longing to belong will call Rikki.  Friends tell me otherwise.  Get used to it, they say, you’re stuck with a goose.   I still hold hope that nature will prevail.  He will want to fly off.  I’ll let you know.  Yesterday morning was the first time a flock flew over head.  He ran to me instead.

 

Tonight after a dinner at the guest cabins he walks home with me and the wildly barking dog in the light of the moon.

 

This morning he remains on vigil, looking down at the river.  Something in him knows, stirs.  The river calls him.  Will he follow the primal voice and fly back to where he belongs?

 

~

photo by forrest

~

 

Lessons learned from looking between the horses ears.  Because sometimes I see more clearly from there than from between my ears alone.

 

What next?  What today? What lesson do I need to learn? Between my legs or out my kitchen window.

 

I used to run ‘em  in.  Made sense when I had twenty, even forty head to get in each day, brush out, pick hooves, saddle and get out on the trail.  Now I have seven. Now I can take the time. I am their leader, not their menace.

 

Sometimes what we’ve been looking for is right there before us.  Open your eyes, they remind me.

 

Between the horses’ ears.

 

~

gin on crow

~

riding in

~

Now back to work.

 

For those who received a complimentary copy (hard copy or pdf file) of The Last of the Living Blue,… please take a few minutes to write, post and share your review. If you need help learning how and where to post and share, please write me directly at gingetz@gmail.com. And for those who have already shared and posted reviews, and those who have written me personally to tell me your thoughts, thank you.  Most sincerely.

 

As for the kind words some of you have shared, I can’t say I don’t need to read those things.  I am finding myself horribly insecure with such matters right now.  The first book was more personal than I would have liked (thanks to the poking and prodding of my initial editor), and the second came out too soon for me to be able to start selling myself all over again.  I am a bit burned out on the whole process.  Though not on writing.  I am a writer.  I am not a salesman.

 

Now I find myself turning pages back to and through already written words, back to Ginny’s world, the world we shared and lives that tangled and intertwined in the Patagonia winds.  This book too shall come.  It begins, the time has come.  A new birthing.  It stirs, awakens, as it was meant to do.

 

Time for letting the grapes ripen, the wine sweeten, seasons come and go, everything in its time, no matter that I’m as bad as any one for wanting it all yesterday…

 

~

 

Much appreciation and gratitude to Carrie Browne for posting a lovely review of my books on her blog, The Shady Tree.  I also enjoy noting the progress Carrie has made on her poetry, photography and blog layout and design.  Her blog is a wonderful place to visit.  Enjoy!

 

~

riding home

~

 

A return to the approaching autumn.

 

This morning, the first elk call of the season heard across the mountain above the crazy calls of returning coyote. Tonight, hard rain on the metal roof.  And already I wonder when it will turn to the silence of snow.

 

~

butterfly

 

~

butterfly 2

~

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