November 14, 2014





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





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




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.




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!




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






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




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




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


julian 8


julian 2



julian 4



A farewell to summer days.

August 23, 2014


morning fog on pole mountain



rikki in rio 2~

A farewell to summer days.



of the turtle

we withdraw where

in silent spaces

Darkening days we learn

to breathe

within or is it


beneath the surface


to the cocoon

From which we emerged

Soothed by the sound of rain

the promise of browning grass

as the high country pales and fades


Washed over

with a wave of returning stillness


as a cloud enwrapping

the veil of early morning

silhouettes of what will be


maybe it is the

winds and waters which

hold me

when what I thought

embracing me

was something more solid



seeds 2





A poem in progress.

Words evolving as we do with life.


Yeah, I know.  I could leave it and settle for “good enough.”

But good enough is not good enough.

If you only live once, live as fully as you can.  Be the best person you can be.  Do the best work you can do, and share the best of yourself.

A good reminder from Mother Teresa:  “People are unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered. Love them anyway. If you do good, people may accuse you of selfish motives. Do good anyway. If you are successful, you may win false friends and true enemies. Succeed anyway. The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway. Honesty and transparency make you vulnerable. Be honest and transparent anyway. What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight. Build anyway. People who really want help may attack you if you help them. Help them anyway. Give the world the best you have and you may get hurt. Give the world your best anyway.”

We can’t expect others to be nice, use manners, play fair… All we can do is be the best person we can be.

Learn to trust.  Sure, you’ll get burned.  Get over it and try again.  Practice makes perfect.   Not trying gets you no where.

Take the blame if need be – Let someone else be the one to pass it on.  Something too heavy for them to carry will only make you stronger.

It’s not just “the new generation.”  It’s the old farts, too.  And plenty of us finding ourselves in the middle ground.

Oh, the disappointment of human beings.  My self included.


fading flower


Notes to self.

This morning, I thought I’d share them with you.


rainbow over outhouse


I have been meaning to share with you my friend, Teri’s blog:

Teri is a talented professional photographer from Washington State’s beautiful Methow Valley.  What many of you might be most interested in this.  Considering the devastation, sadness, fear and almost a sense of personal violation so many of us here in Colorado experienced over the past years (and presumable in years to come as well) while wildfires rages around us (last year’s Papoose Fire/West Fork Complex Fire is described intimately in The Last of the Living Blue), this year it has been the Methow Valley hit hard.  Teri’s words and powerful images tell the story better than I shall try to.  If you have a moment, please see Teri’s work here.


a piece of grandfather tree~


boys building


construction progress~



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