52 – images of the ranch

These images were taken in the last five weeks–the iced over pictures were taken the first week of February, and the sunny pictures were taken throughout January. I try to remember to take my camera with me every time I leave the house, and to keep it handy even when I’m home; there’s no telling what the next critter is that’s going to show up in my yard. I feel so fortunate, and am so grateful to get this chance to live here.

FebruaryIce-best-4At left, a mesquite tree on the western side of the ranch—the coating of ice wasn’t from an ice storm, exactly, just a few days of very cold weather, with more moisture in the air than usual. Turned the ranch into a winter wonderland.

January - Mesquite in Winter - 012614A mesquite bush at right is waiting for spring on a brisk January day with lots of sunshine. It grows everywhere on the ranch, but this picture was taken on top of the mesa whose walls form the southern border of the valley we live in. Mesquite can grow up to 40 feet high, but the lack of water across most of the ranch keeps the vast majority no taller than waist-high.

January - Creosote Bush - 011014The creosote bush at left is native to and widespread in West Texas. Also quite lethal, as are most of the plants in this high Chihuahan desert region.

January - Sun - Road down - 012614At right is the rather steep road that we took to get back down to the valley. The road up was even steeper, but I January - Yucca - 012614was clutching the oh-crap bar far too hard to have two hands to take a picture.

At left, yucca is FebruaryIce-CaneCholla-8surprisingly beautiful against that incredible blue sky – the sharp ends of those leaves will pierce right through jeans. I know whereof I speak! Punctured, but a little wiser.

At right, a cane cholla, or cactus FebruaryIce6 - Copytree, sheathed in the February ice, just about to bloom. Hopefully the few brutally cold days won’t damage the flowering cacti.

The small windmill at left is probably one-fifth the size of the one at right. Had to take a picture of that one with my husband in it to get a sense of the scale of the massive structure.

January - Last of the Windmills - 012614The little one is still working, but the big one, though it still spins in the January wind, has been disconnected, replaced by other technologies in the end. Its vanes will be reclaimed, and the tower may be turned into a hunting blind, or just left where it stands. There are a dozen or more towers on the ranch, silent sentinels to changing times.

January - Sunset - 012514The image of the sunrise at left was taken from a vantage point a few steps from my front door. Unromantically enough, the beautiful sunrises and sunsets gain their color from dust in the air that is a constant in this parched landscape. They are beautiful, nonetheless.

January - Deserted Ranch House - 01-10-14The last picture at right is a window of an abandoned ranch house at the northeast corner of the ranch we live on. It’s crumbling back into the desert.

There are many, many corners left to explore… and many sunrises left to see. The summer will be brutally hot, but then, that’s why humans invented air conditioning.  Spring, fall, winter, bring images like these.  Can’t wait until the leaves come in–but mesquites don’t fully leaf out until May…

Clunky segue into something that is totally off the image track. Well, sort of, anyway.

In nine days, I will have been unemployed for four months.  In the last week, I have finally begun sleeping 7 to 8 hours, something I haven’t done for years. I’m working at things that interest me. I’ve finished one quilt and about to finish a crochet project, something my husband has never actually seen me do in the last five years… they served as stress relief when it became unbearable, but were usually pushed to the side and forgotten long before I actually finished them.

So many of the people I miss from my professional life are still in that pressure cooker… While I wouldn’t recommend my exit strategy (which was nonexistent) I genuinely hope you find a way to take a breath, find some peace, and diminish the stresses that took me nearly four months to shake off…

Take care, my peeples,


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