Monday, November 30, 2009

On the Ranch There Be Horses

I haven't been taking a lot of photos lately (too busy playing with the new iPhone), but today we went out in search of photo opportunities. As usual, I think I'm probably posting too many pictures in this blog, so be warned, this post will take a while to load. As always, you can click on any picture to see it at a larger size.

The burros have been let out to pasture some time ago, and the horses have just recently been turned out. Knowing this, we took a drive, hoping to find either the burros or the horses, hanging around in a scenic western-y landscape.

And boy did we hit pay dirt! Not only was it a beautiful day, but we found the horses.

First, we found Trigger,
and did he ever look happy.
That's Benny in the background.

Then we took off on the old road. This is the one they used from the 1920s till sometime in the 1970s. We stopped for a while by this stream.

The land here is so dry,
it was quite the treat
to see this small tributary.

Next we came up on Seven.
If you look closely,
you'll see how he got his name.

Again, Trigger.

And again, Seven.
I liked these shots so much,
I wanted to post them all
so I can remember this special day.

Here's a shot
of Trigger and Seven together!

Now, we'll leave the horses
for a while, and show you
a few shots of the ranch.

I know I've posted a ton of these,
but I have to tell you,
this landscape
continues to inspire me
in ways I could never imagine.

The painted desert
is my favorite part of the ranch

There's just something
about these colors
and textures.

Next, we took off for the wetlands, a part of the ranch I haven't shared with you before. For some unknown reason, there's this little palapa sitting out in the middle of nowhere. Terry says our friend Annie came by here one day, only to find a giant bull hanging out in the shade of this tiny structure.

Today it was empty.

A few minutes later,
we found Annie,
out riding her horse Echo.
I couldn't resist,
I had to take
a few shots of this beautiful horse.

Next, I took this closeup.
If you look closely,
you can see our golf cart
and the red cliffs of Ghost Ranch
reflected in Echo's eye.

Since no blog about the ranch
is complete without a shot
of Pedernal,
I thought I'd close with this shot.

It was a lovely day.
Hopefully, we'll find the burros
on another gorgeous day.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

the iPhone and True HDR

Geek that I am, I'm somewhat embarrassed to say that just a scant six months after I bought my iPod Touch, I have succumbed to the call of the iPhone.

Now before you judge me too harshly, let me give you a few of my reasons.

Number one, I HATED my old phone, an LG something or other that was on Verizon. The worst part of it was that when you had to press a number to make a selection, instead of making a selection, it would open some obscure menu on the phone.

This meant I was always having to mess with it if I made any kind of call that required pressing numbers. And don't most of them these days?

And it was too small.

And I couldn't add ringtones to it.

And the camera was stinky.

And, well, all right, I WANTED an iPhone.

So when we were in Santa Fe, stocking the Hunny Bunny up with boots and hats and Levis, I got a new phone.

For anyone who cares, the phone number is the same.

Boy, is this thing slick.

There are thousands (maybe millions) of aps, some quite useful, some just a hoot. It has a built in GPS, which actually works pretty well. And a built in compass that gives me longitude and latitude (great for setting up the satellite TV). And it syncs perfectly with my Mac, calendars, contacts, my 1Password program, my DVD tracking program, and even my recipe collection.

Did I mention that it goes on the internet?

I LOVE this thing.

And I have to admit, that for someone like me, the camera isn’t half bad. Weighing in at 3 megapixels, I won't be blowing these images up and printing them, but they're really not bad. The best thing about the camera is all the little helper aps you can get to enhance it's capabilities. There's even a free Photoshop application for manipulating your pictures right in the iPhone.

My favorite iPhone ap right now is called TrueHDR.

HDR or high dynamic range imaging is a process where you take two or more pictures of the same image at different exposures. Then you combine them together for a much more vibrant picture.

Lately, I've been exploring HDR, playing with images from my regular camera in Photoshop, but TrueHDR (which costs just $1.99 from the iTunes Store) allows you to take HDR photos in no time, right in your iPhone.

The picture below was taken from inside Cholula Red. I took one picture where I focused on the image of Pedernal out the window (which caused the inside of the rig to appear totally black). Then I took the second photo, focusing on the inside of the rig (in which the window was completely blown out and white). Then I pressed merge and here's the result.

As always, you can click on the image to see it at a higher resolution. Now I realize that this photo won't be winning any prizes (especially for composition, I could have cleaned off the couch before taking the shot . . .)

But I have to admit I'm intrigued. Occasionally, I'll be posting pictures here that I've taken with my iPhone. I'm just looking at it as an opportunity to try another kind of photography.

Here's one more shot that I took from inside the dining hall here at Ghost Ranch. Again, this would be a difficult shot except for the iPhone and this slick little ap.

The geek in me is quite happy!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Family, Turkeys & Longhorns, Oh My!

What a lovely day we had.

As I've said before, we are the luckiest people. Regular readers will remember the month we spent up at the ranch in Tierra Amarilla last August. These good people, who have become such good friends, asked us to share their Thanksgiving dinner, an invitation we happily accepted.

And I have to tell you, it was a Hallmark Thanksgiving, absolutely perfect. We found ourselves in the center of a loving, joyful family and the warmth was nourishing to my soul.

Here's Victor and Bonnie,
carving the turkey.

Bonnie and Jacob,
ain't young love swell?

home for the Holidays
from her freshman year at College.

Victor Senior,
the Patriarch of the clan.
I love his smile.

After a scrumptious dinner, we were treated to a drive around the ranch. When we were here last August it was haying time, everything green and lush. While the green has been replaced with a bit of brown, the scenery is still stunning.

Look at the ice in the stream,
BRRR . . .

Here's exactly
where we were parked
this summer.
Is this gorgeous or what?

Next we took off
for the far reaches of the ranch.
And look what we found!
A gigantic flock of wild turkeys,
cavorting and celebrating
their freedom
on this Thanksgiving day
(click to enlarge).

This isn't a great shot
(I was at full zoom)
but I wanted to remember the moment.

And even though the green is gone,
look at these feathery beauties.

When we got back to the ranch,
Tori took me out in the pastures
to see their longhorn.

His spread is somewhere
in the range of four feet.
Beautiful, isn't he?
And he sure doesn't seem to mind
the ice in the stream.

If I lived here,
I'd be taking pictures
of the cows all the time.
There's just something
about these faces . . .

And here's a picture of Tori
daughter of Victor,
grand-daughter of Victor Sr.).
The sun was in my face,
and while it isn't the best shot,
it will help me remember
this lovely day.
Shortly before our day was done,
more family arrived.
I'm embarrassed to say
I didn't get this little ones name,
but isn't she a beauty?

This was a perfect day,
just the way holidays should be.

Once again, I would like to thank these fine folks for inviting us into their home and making us feel so very welcome.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Holidays

I've been sitting here this afternoon playing with my Christmas music, getting ready for the one time of year I can play it with abandon.

And looking out
at the incredible
silhouette of Pedernal.

So clean and pure,
her sharp lines
against the clear
New Mexico skies.
She always inspires.

I'm thinking how very lucky we are, and how thankful I am for my life.

Some people write and say how I am always so upbeat, and I guess it appears that way. While my life is not ALL roses and lollipops, I prefer to look on the bright side.

I really do believe that attitude is everything.

So on this Thanksgiving Eve, I want to express my immense gratitude for everything this life has offered me. I have my health, I have a wonderful man who loves me and I have good friends.

And really, what else is there?

Well, world peace would be nice, but in my optimism, I try to be a wee bit realistic.

So tomorrow, as I sit around a table of good friends, I will reflect on my good fortune.

And I hope your day is peaceful and happy.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Back from Santa Fe

For starters, I wanted to include this picture of a ristra we saw in Santa Fe. I'm used to seeing red ones, but the rich colors of this one just filled my heart.

Now, back to our regularly scheduled programming . . .

I've been back at the Ranch for a couple of days, thinking I should update the blog, but really, what to write?

We had a fine (albeit expensive) few days in Santa Fe. We got to see friends, which was really wonderful, we ate out (a LOT), we went to the movies (the Men Who Stare at Goats, I wouldn't bother) and we did some shopping, which was long overdue.

We outfitted my Hunny Bunny, who rarely shops for himself, but it was way overdue. Now he has spanking new Levis, a beautiful new pair of buttery brown cowboy boots and a spiffy black cowboy hat. He looks wonderful!

Finally, on our way out of town we made one last stop to visit other friends who happen to pastor a small church. They had just installed a new dome on the church and we wanted to get a few shots of the addition.

It was our good fortune that on this day, the famed Kursk-Root icon was visiting the church.

This is an especially holy relic for those of the Russian Orthodox faith and a beautiful thing indeed. We felt privileged to be able to view it.

Since this was a special event, there was a large crowd and I was taken with this shot of these beautiful children.

Once again, we were lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time!

I'll close
with one more shot
of the cross
which sits on top of the new dome.

And that's it for today.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

What a Pain!

For the last couple of years, whenever we decide to go someplace, we simply up and move Cholula Red. Instinctively, I knew this was a huge convenience, but until today, it didn't really hit home.

For the first time in years, we're taking off in the car and leaving the rig for three days.

So of course, we need to pack.

Except we don't have a suitcase . . .

That hurdle was passed thanks to a friend, but really, it was just the beginning.

Exactly what am I supposed to take for a three day getaway anyhow?

Of course, pants, shirts, underwear, socks, jackets, a toothbrush. shower needs. But then what else?

Well a hairdryer would have been nice, as would a brush. And some aspirin to appease my throbbing head from hours of errands. I could have brought a book to read (there are no TVs in the rooms here at Ghost Ranch Santa Fe).

And what kind of fool takes off without pajamas?

It seems I have become extremely spoiled by just moving the house rather than removing items from the house.

Who came up with this plan anyhow? I have to say that moving the whole house is a lot easier than trying to decide what to take.

But finally, we're here in the big City (at least it seems so to us).

Now, suddenly, I'm aware of noises.

Building noises (Cholula Red is astoundingly quiet), street noises, people walking by, a siren in the street . . .

Geez, I guess we're completely spoiled, living life out in the country.

I miss my home (already).

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Heading to Santa Fe

We haven't been off the Ranch for several months, so we've decided to take a few days off to visit with friends in Santa Fe.

It seems we've been working a lot, which we enjoy, but now we are both looking forward to some time off.

I have to wonder if it will remind us what retirement is all about, or will we be anxious to get back to work?

I have to admit that the Sandhill Cranes at Bosque del Apache seem to be calling out to me.

Time will tell . . .

Thursday, November 12, 2009

John Wayne


I remember when I was a young whippersnapper and I always poo-pooed John Wayne as an actor. I can distinctly recall saying that he never could act, but just played himself over and over again.

The ignorance of youth.

Somewhere along the line I learned better.

I believe it was when I first saw Red River. Or was it the Cowboys? Or maybe the Quiet Man.

Just today, we watched the Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, and once again, I'm blown away. There is no denying that this man had the chops. Granted, he played many similar roles. But maybe that's just because he had what it took to pull these off, a stature and gravitas that just owns the movie screen.

So, if, like me, you've dismissed John Wayne as a one trick pony, may I suggest that you take a look at

These are all exceptional films, and ones in which John Wayne truly shines.

Off my soapbox (for a while at least).

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Can You See It?

MORE pictures . . .

I never seem to tire of this landscape. The light changes by the minute and every day I discover something that has totally escaped my notice.

Take Gerald's tree for instance. I pass it every time I drive for the Georgia O'Keeffe Landscape Tour, but it seems different to me every time.

You can shoot it
in black and white

you can catch
just the upper limbs,
with the red rocks
in the background.

you can take it
from another direction entirely,
the painted desert of Ghost Ranch
in the background.

Also, there are the cliffs.
No matter where you stand,
you get a fabulous view.

Then there are those surprises . . .
Can you see it?

Perhaps it's the time change,
but as I was driving
towards the turn around
of the tour,
this just jumped out at me!

Can you see it?

Let me know what you think it is!
I had a definite AHA! moment,
and am just curious
if anyone else sees what I do.

Or maybe
I'm just spending
too much time in the high desert!