Good stuff.

Good Stuff.

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earth

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Breaking Ground

This is big news.  Yes, you got it. Ground breaking news.  Progress on our new home.  We started with the logs, harvesting the beetle kill from our land across river in winter. Dragging dead trees across the frozen waters for their next life of becoming a part of our future home.

Now the foundation begins.

Down on the exposed bluff above the Rio Grande, the bulldozer breaks ground.  Earth is moved to make way for what will be our home.  A hard, harsh cut gouged deep into fragile soil.  I stand in the pit and place my hands upon the layers of soil that took maybe  millions of years to amass and here we are moving them all in one day.  I find myself crying.  I think these are happy tears.  We have waited a long time for this.  There are many, many dreams tied into this one pile of dirt.

On one hand, I ask forgiveness for the land for such disturbance.  We try to live simply, modestly, carefully.  On the other hand, I see how we will be even more connected, grounded, a part of each other, with our home a part of the land, in the earth, partially buried and within these millions of years of creation.

I’ll need to keep that in mind when it seems some days like progress is going slowly.

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bob and gunnar

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All in all, it’s been a wonderful, crazy, busy week and looks like many more not only in the future, but here and now.  Better get used to it. Coffee is good.  Sleep is over rated.  Jogging takes less time than walking.  We’re running around finishing up projects on the guest cabins before the season opens, and Bob points to the plastic lawn chair next to the one he’s sitting in.

“Too busy to sit and enjoy the day?” he asks me.

I know.  He’s right.  I sit.  A full minute, shifting my focus and tapping my leg and completely missing out on the view before me of the full creek, greening pasture, and horses lying about lazily.  I know I’m not supposed to do that.  I’m supposed to be here and now.  But here and now, I’ve got things to do.  Things I want to do.  Good things.  Okay?

“Can I go now?” I get up.  I’m ready to get back to work.

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last years cinquefoil

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Announcing a new book.

Over the weekend, I signed the publishing contract for my next book, The Last of the Living Blue, to be release June 30th by NorLights Press. I feel very, very blessed.

I think what makes me as happy, maybe happier, than having my publisher believe in me (when now that I’m revamping and working on the final draft, I’m wondering why and how she did when I see how much work it needs!  Thank you, Sammie, for trusting me, and may I not let you down.) is the incredible support and warm reception I received from so many of you upon sharing the good news.   Thank you!

I’ll keep you all posted on progress as we countdown to the release date.

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reservoir

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Just when you thought the ground was drying out.  Just when you thought “watering the lawn” sounded like a good idea but you don’t have sprinklers or a lawn, just a sub irrigated pasture that needs surface moisture from time to time to grow good grass for the horses.  Just when you started to worry about fires and drought and all those things we DO need to worry about here surrounded by half a million acres of dead and dying trees due to bark beetles.

Suddenly, more snow!

No, it won’t kill the beetles.  It won’t bring our trees back to life. But it does help the grass grow and gives us a great excuse to catch up on indoor work today.

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spring storm

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Alas, I find a reason to go out there, in it.  It’s beautiful.  It’s fun.  Anything’s better than sitting around staring at a screen! However, that does bring me to this:

Apologies, friends, family, readers, those who reach out and write to me, for being so slow to respond this past week.  It has been a crazy, wonderful, busy week.  Please know you matter so much to me.  As I wrote to fellow blogger and friend, Carrie of The Shady Tree, I may be the world’s worst “blogger”  and that’s okay  because you know I never liked that word or title anyway.  Blogger.  Yuck. Anyway, you know the last thing I want is more time in front of the computer.  Writing already takes up so much time.  And when I’m done, I’m outta here! The last thing I want to do is spend more time sitting in front the back lit screen when I could be out there… There is so much out there!

How do you get it all done?  I don’t want to settle for “good enough.”

“Trust,” Ginny tells me.  And I trust it all happens in the right time, and in the meanwhile, do all I can to make it happen.

(“Dance,” she says too, as she raises her arms wide with a wonderful smile on her face like she hears the music and all the while she’s sitting in the wheelchair but you’re pretty sure any minute now she’ll burst out dancing.  Yes, I definitely should dance more!)

And speaking of Ginny.  Dancing in the Wind, a tale of two Virginias, will be put on “back burner” until after the finishing touches of Living Blue are complete.  Then we’ll give it all we got, and we got a lot. Can’t wait to share this one with you all.

That novel too may take longer than I expected.  And, I wonder, when will I find time to fit in the poetry project?  I’m not sure, but somehow I feel certain it all will come together.  It is all coming together!

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willow branches

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On a side note.

A new long-distance friend is starting up a most interesting business, and I think her idea is so fun, so fantastic, I wanted to share this with you. Jill is combining the opportunity to make new friends, enjoy the great outdoors, and talk books. Sorry, guys, this one’s not for you.  Ladies, please check out Outdoor Book Club.

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horses in snow

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And Stuff

The ethics involved in consumerism.  Otherwise known as:  A confession.

Last week found me in the big city. Denver.  Smaller and warmer and friendlier than what I used to call “The Big City,” though lacking the unmistakable diversity, culture, chaos and intense vibe of New York. Which was fun back then, and still I crave in small (very small) doses from time to time.

I had not left the mountain since last November at which time I went to Lake City and had lunch with a friend in the only restaurant opened “off season.” This means, nearly six months of missing (as in not having been there, not as in longing for) town, telephone, traffic and putting on clean boots. This also means I had not touched cold, hard cash in a good long while.  In fact, I had not even opened my wallet, which is why it came as a big surprise when I finally did and saw that my driver’s license had expired.  Whoops.

I realize how spoiled, lucky (or dare I say… smart – ha ha!) I am to have built such a simple, quiet life.  I’m busy, I get a lot done, there’s more than enough work, but I’m here.  And the rest, I can do without.  Maybe I might miss out on fun stuff like nights out on the town, talking on the phone, Starbucks coffee and travel, but this is what keeps me sane. And even then…

Love kids as I do, I would have made a really cruddy soccer mom.

Downsizing, simplifying…  These things matter to me.  I actually try to have less.  I don’t want to be a part of the Fattening of Society.  I don’t just mean the waist lines of the people.  I mean the wallets, the debts, the amassed good, the expanding feeling of needing more, or deserving more.  I want less.  Of “things.”  Stuff.  Consumerism.  Spending.  I want more time in nature, with my boys, writing, taking pictures, dreaming.  Yes, I want time to dream.  I want slighter debt, fewer possession, less stuff, a smaller house to clean and fewer clothes to wash. A basic diet, nothing fancy, simple food is just fine, and, crazy as it sounds, comfortable shoes. Being in the city reminds me of this every time.

My escapades took me of course to the thrift shop, where I was able to find my new summer wardrobe and a few things for my son for less than the cost of a pair of new jeans.

And then, yes, the big confession.  I found myself at Wal-Mart.  Shopping.  No one to blame but myself. It was my idea.  Here’s why.  It’s cheap.  I justify my horrid behavior by knowing I’m saving myself money.  Saving myself while messing up the world? It’s hypocritical.  It’s wrong.  Believe me, I know. Supporting maybe slave labor in China or something totally terrible.  Tell me how do they do this when a new pillow case cost less at Wal-Mart than it did at the thrift shop?  How to they grow the cotton, harvest, process, dye, mill, sew and ship it all the way from China to Colorado for a buck fifty and make a profit?  Who, I should ask, makes a profit, and who is losing out?  This is crazy. And here I am supporting it.  Feeling guilty, but secretly grateful for the prices.  What’s a person to do?

~

carmichael and gunnar

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22 thoughts on “Good stuff.

  1. Love your post Gin and favorite photos – the last one of the horses in the snow and this one above with your dog and cat together sleeping.
    Congratulations on breaking ground for your new home and working on your book to be published in June.
    I know what you mean about consumerism and buying cheap items made in China (sweatshops most likely). I am so tired of so much of our products being made in China. I try not to buy made in China. I wish they would bring more manufacturing back to the US.

    • Thanks, Ann. BTW – So loved and appreciated the comment you shared yesterday. Much to say with that – your response meant a lot to me. I’m running out now (always finding some excuse) to feed the horses and look forward to sitting down after things settle down mid morning and re-reading and responding.

      • You are so welcome Gin. As I am still settling into my new life here in Greenville, SC and taking time to learn more about the area and the people, I am also living simpler (even though my apt costs more than i should spend at the moment, it is less than home ownership and I want to make this apt. home. Greenville though is the only “place” I have ever felt at home and so happy to be here.

  2. Gin, thinking of the irony of you at Walmart made me laugh! It would be like Arnold Schwarzenegger at a men’s ice dancing competition. However, your serious observations about Walmart are thoughts that I have also.

    The building of your house is very exciting! I have great respect for anyone who can do things that most of us have to pay to have done for us. Furthermore, the setting, the style, and the use of the beetle kill timber are indescribably unique in my mind. On top of all that, this home embodies all that your family has strived to achieve. It is yet another example of why I like reading your art. It gives me a glimpse into a world I can only visit. I can’t wait to see it.

    • It’s fun to be able to share – and document the progress. Right now, it’s nothing but a big mud pit covered with snow, and filled with many dreams!

  3. Gin, congratulations on the new book deal! I couldn’t imagine how hard it must be to write a book. I always think that it would be wonderful to author a book, but it really takes a special skill to not only pen a good book, but have the dedication to follow through with that original idea.

    Amazing work, and amazing photos!

    • Thank you, Shane.

      With writing, I think it’s all about discipline and editing. After the initial inspiration of course, which only goes so far. I love the editing process, like I’m in right now. Going over what I did before, and making it new again. There is always so much room for improvement and you learn so much when you take the time to look closely and be willing to let parts go, and embellish other parts.

      It’s probably like a photographer (you!) so enjoying looking at your photograph on the screen and being able to play with it, adjust it and make it better and alter so it’s just the way you want. Even this process, the editing, can be as creative as the actual taking. Same thing with words.

      • Yes, I was going to mention that there must be some parallels between writing and photographing. I find that with photographs, it’s often helpful to set them aside for a period of time and go back to them. It’s like seeing them for the first time, all over again, and you have a much easier time of editing.

        Have a great day!

  4. I see how you came up with the title for this post! It certainly is full of good stuff and left me feeling all warm and full of joy! I loved the first picture. As I scrolled down my mouth actually dropped open and then a big smile filled my face because I knew exactly what that fresh dirt meant! Lovely! And a home that you build together, just for each other, just beautiful! Love the photo of the horses, too, and I can just imagine them thinking, “Oh, no, MORE SNOW!!??” They will enjoy the green grass that grows from it, though.

    So happy for the upcoming book release! Congratulations! Guess I’ll just have mine mailed to the ranch! (Insert ginormous smile, here!)

    • Yes, can’t say the horses are thrilled. But the dirt work site looks great covered in snow. You can’t tell that all that dirt stirred up is going to be one muddy, messy clay pit for a while to come..

  5. I was thinking of you and especially your horses as I watched the news last night (only for the weather) and saw bright red blobs of moisture dumping their contents exactly where you live.
    I wondered if your horses could even look at you today :)
    I LOVE the layers of rock and dirt and especially your perspective of living inside them and respecting how long “in real time” it takes to make such things.
    Oh and I will say again, there is no specific way to blog. Don’t worry about how often you write back, when you do it is meaningful and a real pleasure to read. You offer your readers so much and the only way to do that is by “doing” not staring at a screen. I completely respect that and you.
    What a great idea your friend has, camping, reading, engaging with women among the stars, sounds remarkably dreamy.

    Summer is in full swing here and really hasn’t let go since last summer. 104 by Wednesday. I am speechless and thankful my neighbor has a pool and is willing to share.

  6. GIN, WONDERFUL THINGS HAPPENING FOR U ALL AND U ALL HAVE EARNED THEM…..I AM STILL IN BUENOS AIRES BUT REMEMBERING I CHOSE TO DO THIS…..VAMOS A VER…LOVE U ALL…ADELANTE…THE PATAGONIA PEARL

  7. How exciting! I noticed the familiar blue-green hue on the mountainside just beyond your “pile of dirt” in the first picture. :) It will be fun to watch your progress! Wishing you a solid foundation, a warm hearth, and a table of abundance!

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