Sunday, September 25, 2011

Perfect Autumn Day ~ This is one of my favorite times of year in the Wood River Valley. It is a quiet time. The summer tourist season has ended and there won't be a lot of activity again until the winter ski season begins. I love the busy seasons with the energy and wonderful mix of people from all over the world, but fall is a special time for locals. In addition to the quiet, there are other annual signs of autumn: the groves of aspen turn gold, the restaurants offer "slack specials" and best of all: the trailing of the sheep. Our community was founded on mining and sheep herding. It wasn't until the 1930's that Sun Valley became the first destination ski resort in the U. S. Before that time the miners and sheep herders claimed this area. Basques relocated from Spain and raised sheep in this Valley which reminded them of their homeland. Still, today in the spring the sheep are herded north along the bike path, through the streets and up the little canyons. And then, in the fall, they are driven back down, heading to Arizona or California for the winter. We all cherish this annual ritual which brings us close to our history. In fact, we celebrate it. In a few weeks we will have the Trailing of the Sheep Festival complete with a lamb dinner prepared by the Catholic Church, Basque dancers, sheep shearing demonstrations, booths selling spun wool and displays of the wonderful Basque wagons which are still in use today. The wagons can be spotted around the Valley during the sheep herding seasons. They are handmade of wood, usually with a stove pipe sticking up in the air, a small door at the back and often a metal wash tub or a broom attached on the outside. They are as much a part of local history as the trailing of the sheep. The herders live in them as they follow and look after their flock. Today most of the shepherds are Peruvian. The Basques have assimilated into the population, but over the decades their culture has influenced and enriched our community. Peruvians have taken over the the sheep raising and tending, bringing with them, their traditions and contributing to our community in a new way. But I digress ~ despite a bit of smoke in the air from distant fires, yesterday was glorious. My husband and I and our two golden retrievers drove north to see the changing leaves. Along the way we stopped at the Hemingway memorial located next to a stream under a grove of cottonwood trees, met a Peruvian shepherd, saw hawks soaring in the blue, blue sky, threw sticks into mountain streams for the dogs, took a few short hikes, then finished the afternoon with cold beer and sweet potato fries at the Sun Valley golf club. A perfect autumn day.
I am gradually moving long sleeved shirts and sweaters to the front of the closet, cutting back the summer flowers and this week's task is to move a cord of cut wood to the porch. I hope you are enjoying fall where ever you may be.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Hollyhocks and Sweet Peas

The field behind our house is golden and the barley will soon be ready for harvest. The air has that late summer feeling. We see trucks loaded with cut wood coming down from the high mountains, flocks of blackbirds gather in the trees and there are small patches of yellow leaves which have just begun to appear in the aspen. But it's not over yet! The hollyhocks are still standing tall and are in full glory. Each tissue paper blossom is perfect. The sweet peas are climbing up the windmill and are blooming in pink and purple, red and orange. Every day I pick a small, fresh bouquet of sweet peas because soon the snow will fly and I will miss these delicate, old-fashioned flowers.

What do you cherish most about these last few days of summer?

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Photos and a Fish Festival

This morning I took a few photos in the kitchen

...and then we drove over Galena Summit to the gorgeous Sawtooth Valley to go the Stanley, Idaho Salmon Festival...

Friday, August 19, 2011

First Post!

This is a big day for me! This morning I began to learn how to use the new camera, how to download the photos onto my computer and now I am beginning my first blog. I'm thrilled.

Well. Now what? Hmmm...thinking back on the many creative blogs that have inspired me over the years, I guess I'll just begin by telling you a bit about myself and posting a few of the photos I took in the garden and around the house this morning.

My heart, soul and spirit are 26 years old, but they are currently residing in the body of a 59 year old...which just seems weird to me. I was a social worker for many many years, but, due to state budget cuts, my job ended over a year ago. On the day the office actually closed I was in the Bahamas with friends and have been enjoying the lack of structure ever since. It is a luxury to have time to pursue my passions and I am appreciating every moment.

The days fly while I'm making recreated antique jewelry in my studio which overlooks the canyon and hills behind our house. Sometimes I paintings are primitive at best. I have no training, but I love doing them and only display them in the tiny alcove room upstairs. This spring I did a lot of work in the garden and I'm glad I did, because I haven't followed through with it this summer. The preparation work paid off in gorgeous roses, tall hollyhocks, sweet peas and masses of feverfew. Our garden was beautiful this year, but it is beginning to wane now that fall is on the way.

I'm looking forward to this blog evolving into a new facet of my life and the friends and experiences it will bring.

I hope you enjoy the few shots I took this morning around the house.

What inspires you to create? What do you love to do when you have free, unscheduled time to yourself?