alOha everyone ; )
Been a while - we've been having fun ... promise ; ) Spring is here - and the white powder you see below is long since gone (this was actually our last good storm of the season). But in these warm and sunny days we've been frolicking through nature like lovesick bunnies .. nibbling fresh mullein and picking wild irises. Just can't stop marveling at this beautiful new town of ours ; )
We're soon to be moving our caravan back out into the forest (once we figure out these temperaMental brakes of ours ;) but as we've mentioned before, last year, just as the rain was beginning to fall and sog up our gypsy road home through the woods, and snow was fast approaching, we knew we needed to find a den to dock Miss Winnie for the cold (and somewhat bitter) Winter.
See Below ; )
From the road, our hideaway is very unassuming - just the way we like it, but an acer or so up the dirt path, around the workshop and past a few tall pines, lie these little dwellings like swallow's nests, close but private ; ) The Winnie found her home there for the Winter .. she, more so than us, as we were playing elves in the studio all season with hot cacao coursing our veins and drippy red noses (the heater was broken for two months - classic - considering we'd just left southern California with suntans fast a'fading)
But never the less, we were happy to find this place, or maybe it found us .. We had just traveled the distance from our forested camp site en rout for the candle studio when Juwels noticed a yard sale. "Ooooo OOoOOo .. stop there," she pointed. "A yard sale." I didn't want to stop, quickly eyeing it and seeing nothing of interest. "There's a big desk," Juwels said. "We need desks and tables to setup the Roost (studio)" Juwels' sis was in the truck as well, squished on the other side of the bench seat, and she cheered along with Juwels for a pull over peruse.
We bought a gigantic desk ($5) a weathered ice cream maker (which we later donated to Goodwill) and then the owner of the ranch, who had the countenance of a school boy concealing a found lizard or toad, came over smiling and remarking about the warmth of the day, and he asked us if we needed a freezer or refrigerator, and it just so happened that we did ; )
We all jumped into his monster-truck style golf cart and headed deeper into the property ...
Me-O-My . . what did we spy ?? Old cars, vintage trailers, a steel spiral staircase lying in a field alone .. horse corrals, a trampoline, and old rail cars beside vintage busses beside giant rusty water tanks. "I need to photograph this place!" Juwels yelped, startling the man in the driver's seat. "Oh, you like this stuff?" he asked. "I love it!" she said, and I could almost see into her mind as she was welding the spiral staircase onto the back of the Winnie.
With the practicalities of the seasons and the Winnie's upcoming hibernation on my mind, I asked, "So ... you rent out spaces here in these trailers?"
"Do you have any spaces where somebody could just park their own motorhome?"
"Just that one," he said, pointing ahead to an empty space on the edge of the property overlooking the forest. "There was a guy there before, but he just moved out. I'm not advertising the spot or anything. I guess the right person will just find it .. always works out that way."
Juwels and I looked at each other and smiled. He didn't even know about our Winnie yet, but I knew that spot was waiting for her, and the universe had staged a yard sale at the right place that fine Saturday.
We came back a couple days later to pick up the fridge and freezer, and before we left, the Winnie's nest had been feathered for the Winter. "You guys will fit right in." (as a side note - the Winnie has been mostly freeRange .. parked on the streets of Venice and Long Beach, sleeping on a different street each night, and the only spot we'd ever rented before was in the parking lot of a artist collective near Long Beach. Finding a good spot to park your rolling house is not an easy thing ... either people think you're part of the Manson clan and fend you off with furrowed brows and holy water ... or they're nuts themselves and desperately need the rent for one poison or another..)
Love the mail man's tracks here on the shoulder ; )
Going forward in time - to the day these pictures were taken: Juwels and I had been up all night finishing what should have been a year-long gradual task of getting Pollen Arts' taxes together. We'd been going for five days straight - highlighters, bleary eyes squinting at tiny calculator buttons, calls to the bank, to the accountant, howling at the moon, and after triple checking everything to the state of delirium, we emailed the whole kit and caboodle off to the CPA and carried each other out of the studio to find the sun coming up and the birds singing ... not of deductions, depreciation, and tax brackets .. but of the early worm and new day.
Back at the ranch, I crawled into the Winnie, peeled my clothes off as if they were on fire, and climbed the small ladder up into bed without showering or brushing my teeth (not a habit - just exhausted) Juwels paused in the doorway, catching a second wind, and said, "You know what ... I'm going to walk back out to the road and take some pictures." My mind was shutting down, otherwise I would have fought this insane idea of staying awake any longer (we're sort of like Elliot and E.T. and I can't totally rest when I know my other half is away from the dream world without me.) But she was gone .. and so was I, both to different dreamy places - her, a Monday sunrise, and me, Mars. So I welcome you all to the brief morning of this long day that would start with a power nap, and progress into the canyon through snow, barefoot and balancing over ice water, and eventually back to bed. Twas' a perfect day of simple delights.
One of the owner's toys ... ahhhHhhhhh .. we've begged him to sell her to us. Winnie's little sister ?? But he said, "I'm going to be buried in that thing!" Soon, we're going to pitch him on mummification, and see if he'd like to ride shotgun to festivals and trade shows with us in the silver beauty. It's called a Grumman by the way ; )
One of the places on this property has this great rock climbing wall built right off of the chimney. There's also a greenhouse, an old forest ranger horse, and the beautiful coyote song by night.
Another trailer - the Winnie's neighbor .. I don't know why, but I always envision pancakes and hot coffee being served in there over the din of country talk, clanging cash registers, and laughing children wrinkling their Sunday suits. "What'll it be, folks?"
The Winnie didn't want to be photographed in her snow cap, but Juwels snuck this picture while she wasn't looking.
After waking up in a much more chipper mood, I insisted on jumping on the dry half of the trampoline.
... and about a half a second after this picture was taken, the snow shifted under my feet and soaked my wool socks. They'd spend the drive from the ranch to the canyon on the dash drying in the hot sun and clouding the edge of the windshield with their foggy evaporation.
Another rolling diner. This one is actually gutted on the inside and could pretty much be turned into anything from here ... we're trying not to think about it. ..
This is part of the stable. Everything here is creative reuse at its finest. The center piece is an old semi truck trailer sans the wheels, and then they just built wings off from there.
Potential ; )
That's old Lily over there. "She's a fence hopper," her owner told us. "We had to double the height on all the fencing because she kept jumping out to explore..." With the national forest within eye shot, she no doubt had some fond memories to chase. Retirement's tough on an old cowgirl .. but Juwels and I have been given the open invite to saddle up, and this Summer we'll surely take her out to snack on the tall grass and sweet wild flowers.
This is one of our other neighbor's spaces on the ranch. She has quite a few trailers that she's constantly fixing up .. it's a bit like looking into our future ; ) "What year are these?" Juwels asked. "1947, 1953, 1967," she said, pointing around the courtyard.
Some of her treasures.
This wall blocks the gusting Spring winds and later burns away the frigid Winter nights ; )
Last chance for a snow ball fight!! I got Juwels good as she was loading up the truck over at my brother's place, and when my back was turned, she stocked these babies up out of sight. She was so proud of her arsenal that she snapped this picture before launching her attack. And would you believe it -- even with such beautifully crafted and well hidden arms .. she didn't land a SINGLE ONE on me ; ) She was laughing so hard when she finally popped out from behind the truck that her thirst for war and revenge went by the wayside to limp-wristed giddiness and crooked aim. I want to say that a popped her again, but I'm not quite sure. Probably though ; ) If we were animals Juwels would have her eyes on the sides of her head and mine would be straight forward.
Some of our refulgent peaks ; )
On the edge of town, with my socks still drying on the dash, we come to the last stretch before descending into the Oak Creek Canyon.
We recently camped up on that cliff across the way - great spot ; )
The switchbacks snaking one thousand feet downward.
To get our fresh water, we used to climb a mountain with backs strapped down with water jugs in CA .. but here in Northern AZ, we can pull off the road right to our fresh water spring. Takes a little of the adventure out of it .. poison ivy, snake bites and all .. but dare I say that the water from this spring is not only easier to access but even tastier and more crisp than the blue gold we used to bottle back in Ojai, CA...
The gates to the main event.
Slipping and sliding downward still.
There goes a brave Winnie enjoying her safe decent to the bottom of the switchback and over the bridge. It's all smooth sailing through Oak Creek from there .. we still haven decided if we're going to let the Winnie play down this hill. Brakes fail me not ..
Hiding amongst the rocky path lie crystal caverns and other curiosities. Easy to miss these treasures in the scramble from one rock to the next.
I think Juwels called this one the "warty rock" ... that description kind of made me feel a itchy.
Bother - Paul. He would later return to this spot with a couple stone tablets containing the pythagorean theorem. His religion is Math ... and ... Grasshopper cookies before bed : )
We decided that we need to plant something in here. An orchid would be great, but we need something that can endure the Winter and spring forth with the sun. Any suggestions?
We thought this looked like the shoulder of a zebra.
And Juwels sees butterflies in these two .. could bee past life memories from her time spent as a Tinker Bell ..
I didn't think it could hold my weight, and even if it could, I didn't think I had the balance to stay on it, but something about being called out by my younger brother caused me to immediately start peeling off my shoes and socks. "You're not going to do that.." He said.
Off came the shirt and pants. "This'll be easy," I said. Juwels noticed and stared squealing. Unless something debilitating happened to me, I was pretty sure she'd be on the log as well.
I eased out onto on foot, and the beam held steady. Bringing my other foot around to the lead and off dry land brought about a slight bend. I took a deep breath and swung my back foot around to the front, and the bend continued ... but no cracking, and no pie roller action (that was my foremost fear). About midway on the high wire, the tree was flexing so much that it was actually just below the water line, and from the side profile, I appeared to be walking on water ; )
As I crossed past the midway point, the tension in the fallen tree came back up and resurfaced from the icy water. Dodging a few protruding stubs jutting out from the tree and staying with my breath, I stepped off the narrow end and onto the smooth stone bank on the other side. It was a rush to put myself out there, past the point of no return but with the only option to stay calm, focused and moving steadily forward. It's a metaphor for life in a way. Not everything can be crashed through and conquered .. some things have to be finessed and breathed through.
Juwels jumped on next - yogic lion's breath and all .. and she fell in ; ) Hey, she would have laughed if I fell in .. in fact, Paul showed his support for my second attempt (while we were filming) by throwing a couple choice snow balls my way from his perch high on the rocks. I guess I deserve it though ... after being the (sweet and supportive) big brother to him through childhood (grin) playful retribution is to be expected even all these years later.
But she quickly got the hang of it. In fact, I had to threaten more snowball action to keep her from trying a handstand on it later on. The tree is still in this spot, but sadly, the chase into Spring has long since dried this water hole up. Next year, after the snow melt .. you know where we'll bee ; )
After his antics with the snow balls, Paul channeled his meditative, nomadic chi and build some of his gravity-defiying, counter-balanced rock stacks. He introduced me to this form of art and meditation a few years ago, and I love it too .. I'll build a few for you guys soon ; )