Art Camp 2017

Art Camp 2017

I woke up at the usual work time, 5:30 and got on the road by 7. I was planning on spending the night in Amarillo but when I got there it was lunchtime and I couldn’t see spending half a day just sitting in a hotel so I decided to drive on to Tucumcari and spend the night in one of the cool old hotels and breakfast in a diner we ate in before. Got there and it was only 2. That’s still too early to stop. So I thought to drive on to Santa Rosa. Getting gas, I checked how long to Manzano, it was only going to be two more hours. Why stop now? So I made the whole drive in one day. I arrived at camp at a little after 5, lost an hour due to changing time zones, so that makes it an 11 hour trip.

I had been texting Susie Monday, the person who runs the art camp, and she said it was ok for me to arrive a day early and as it happened, I got to the front gate at the same time they did. Several people had already made it there and hugs went all around. I got my little blue cabin again and got settled in. We had build your own tacos for dinner and watched hummingbirds fighting over the feeders. The bird identification debates have begun.

I got to bed and slept ok until the nearly full moon shone in the window like a spotlight right on my head. I had to get up and cover the window. I will have to switch sides and sleep in the other bed.


Today was an open day with nothing scheduled because it’s the day everyone is supposed to get here. I got to rest and take it easy, had a nice nap in the afternoon. Susie made a trip into Mountainair for groceries and I was one of the people who went along. We did a little shopping and I found a couple of fun things to buy.

The last two campers got here right before dinner, and after dinner we had camp orientation and the history of the camp itself. The nearly full moon was almost round and very bright.

The workshops got started today, Junanne did a very comprehensive overview of the printing techniques she is doing here and then Dale did a basics talk on what we’re doing for metalwork. Then lunch and get started making art. Dale was first so we got our ideas going and banging done (you do a lot of hammering on metal to punch holes for the design and smooth out edges). When Dale’s time was up, we had to stop banging for Junanne’s printmaking.

The well pump started having problems and couldn’t keep up with demand today.

After dinner, a few of us drove down the road a little bit to the place a house burned in one of the local forest fires, to look for bits of melted glass, or rusted metal or flat stones to use in our mosaics the next day. The nearly full moon rising over the flatlands was beautiful near sunset.

Maybe I’m getting a little used to the heat, it didn’t seem quite as hot today.

After a semi-restless night, I woke up about 4:30. By 5, it was starting to get light so I got up. The water tank had a chance to fill up overnight and I was the first person in the shower and it was a very nice shower. Hot and cold and plenty of pressure.

After breakfast and workshops, we went into Mountainair for a mosaic workshop with a local artist. We spent 3 hours picking out pieces and putting together a mosaic. They are fairly large, mine is about 18″ square. That’s a lot of real estate to cover with pieces of glass and ceramic. I ended up using mostly glass with a ceramic dragonfly in the center. There’s also a tiny bottle in it so I can put a little bouquet of dried flowers.

It rained while we were in town and the weather is cooler.

While that was going on, Erik drove into Albuquerque to get a new pump for the well. In working on the well, a piece of wall fell and broke a pvc pipe and that ended the water. Erik, Dale and a local plumber/handyman went through a box of parts and found a fitting that will fix things, saving Erik another trip into Albuquerque. Hopefully there will be enough water for showers by morning. Dale saved the day!

The moon is totally full tonight. We’re blaming the water pump problems on that. It’s the Full Buck Moon which is when the buck deer have antlers in velvet, growing.

I slept all night and woke up about 6. For breakfast this morning we had salmon and bagels and fresh fruit. And of course, plenty of coffee.

Because of the threat of rain, the visit to the top of Capilla Peak was changed to lunch today so we load up and start driving at 9. We get up there and do our morning movement/stretches at the pavilion at the top, then do a nature wander up and across and down and see flowers and grasses and butterflies. A few people actually make it to the top of the fire watchtower to talk to the woman who stays there. Looking to the west, you can see the Rio Grande riparian corridor. Then lunch, then head back for workshops.

It rained about dinnertime and things cooled off nicely. Pasta dinner then open studio and I did a little drypoint of a cactus leaf and helped with a couple of things and got my mirror frame finished.

As I walked back to my cabin, I looked up and the moon was between clouds and the clouds looked like silk gauze or batting draped across, all smudgy and silver gray. Breathtaking.

Silver bright moon rises

Through smudgy swathes

Of black silk clouds,

Lead bright sky between them.

Wind sighs through the pines

Carrying the fragrance

of pine and sage.
Hours later, the moon finds me again,

Awake and alone.


Today is the last full day and all projects have to be completed today. I finished one last night but don’t have time to complete another one so today has been a kind of piddle day for me. Other people have finished things and have produced some fabulous pieces.

We had a nice rain in the middle of the afternoon which cooled things down for a little bit.

Before dinner, Junanne and Dale and Carissa had things for sale in the main house. Dinner, then we had a talk on the back patio on herbal medicine by Katherine White who is an herbalist and curandera. Then the last open studio night.

Junanne was packing things up in the barn and Dale was getting a massage so Junanne and I were trying to be very quiet. That’s hard for us to do. She was cracking wise in a whisper and I was trying to laugh silently. Every so often, I had to go outside and let it out. Then about the time Dale’s massage was over, a big June bug flew in. Junanne was using a piece of white cardboard to try to knock it back out the big door. With no success. Then I started hitting it back with my hand. By that time hysteria had taken hold and everybody was laughing. I haven’t laughed that hard in a long time. It felt good.

This morning, all gets packed up and loaded to leave. Linens in the washer, goodby hugs exchanged, flight times planned.

The plan was for me to go with Susie into Mountainair to get the mosaics so I could take home the other two from Fort Worth people who are flying home and can’t take them on the plane. Then leave and drive to Amarillo and spend the night. Well… track of time was lost and things took longer than anticipated. By the time I could have gotten away, I would have arrived in Amarillo late, so Susie twisted my arm and I am staying another day. Tonight I get to sleep in the house and help eat leftovers. Things are quiet now and I got some rest this afternoon.

Down to just a small crew this evening, Linda cooked asparagus on the grill and we had that and various bits of leftovers blended together and it was all quite good. We ate on the side porch and one of the deer, a buck with antlers in velvet walked by and the coyotes gave us a brief serenade.

I loved this week and all the creative energy and women working on things together but it was exhausting. It was so nice to just sit and be alone on the porch. After dinner, we watched an old movie with Goldie Hawn and Steve Martin and laughed all the way through. Then bedtime and I got to sleep in a real bed, and that was also fabulous. (The cabins have a wooden platform that folds down and has a cushion on it but it’s not very wide.)

I slept very well and woke up about 4:30 which wasn’t so bad, it let me think about things I’d done and people I had been with for the week and then the birds started waking up and the sun started coming up and I heard someone else moving in the house and I got up. Linda was making coffee and we ate yogurt and leftover fruit salad and had more coffee then the others went down to the barn to work on cleanup. I gathered my stuff and after goodbyes, headed out.

I decided to stay off the interstate for a while and took the back roads which was more interesting and way less traffic. I saw two pronghorns standing by the side of the road. Years ago I would have seen several herds of a dozen or more but no longer. Made it to Amarillo by 3:30 and stopped for the night.

Woke up at 7:15 and on the road by 7:45. Made it home by 1.

I still have my mosaic to grout but Brian says there is some kind of grout you can get in a tube and squeeze it in so we will have to investigate that. I think I will use gray. Or I will just use some grout leftover from doing the kitchen floor.
All in all, it was a good trip, I met some new people, renewed friendships from last year and got to know some people better. I got invitations to come visit people and places, and start thinking about next year


Weekly Photo Challenge: The Road Taken

I’m a fan of Diners, Drive-ins and Dives with Guy Fieri. 

I was planning a trip with my dad last spring to Biloxi. A friend from work recommended a place to eat on our way called Darwell’s Cafe in Long Beach which is next door to Biloxi. We were in the right area for lunch, so I made it a plan to stop at this place. Got there and found out it was a place featured on the show. We got what Guy got and it was a revelation. I already knew I liked grits, but I didn’t know yet that cheese grits and shrimp would take it up to a new level. Yowza. 

The picture with the poster was a bonus 

Arkansas Traveller

Back in June, my dad and I took our annual trip somewhere. This year, we went to Arkansas. The weather this spring was abnormally cool and rainy, in fact, North Texas set a record for rainfall in May. It turned out to be nearly perfect weather during our trip.

Arkansas 2015

I got up and got an early enough start to make it to DeKalb before lunch, my dad and I visited a bit, had something to eat and hit the road.
Texas has had a dramatic ending of the drought and the Red River is going over the spillway at Lake Texoma for only the fourth time since the dam was built. Both bridges crossing the river in Bowie County were closed. By the time we got to where I30 crosses the Red, that bridge was still open and the water was really high. The Red is aptly named.
We made it to Arkadelphia and took a drive through my mother’s Alma Mater, Ouachita Baptist University. Then north on highway 7 to DeGray State Park and Lodge where we spent the night. Storms were rolling through and as we were in the Restaurant waiting for supper, the power went off for a few minutes. We watched the mountains on the other side of the lake, and then islands in the lake, disappear in the rain. Power was restored and dinner was served. So much for our after dinner walk.
We watched a little TV and went to bed. Make note, we got room #120.

Day two.
Got up, enjoyed the breakfast buffet at the lodge and got on the road. Mostly cloudy but with glimpses of the sun becoming more frequent as the day goes by. We head up Scenic Highway 7. Lots of curving roads, both sideways and up and down. We stopped at a picnic area for a sandwich lunch that had a nice view of some treetops, fallen trees and between all that, Nimrod Lake. Yes, it’s really called that.
Nearly to Morrilton, the road went through Petit Jean State Park which is the main reason we’re stopping here. You go up a 20 mph squiggly road and come out on top of a high bluff overlooking the Petit Jean River Valley. Views are spectacular. We will return tomorrow to do some walking on the trails. image
After the park, we look through an automobile museum that has a couple of notable cars, namely one owned by Elvis and the personal car of JFK. And other well kept cars.
Then to the Super 8 in Morrilton to check in for the evening. We got room #120, again. We had barbecue at a local drive in and had way more than we could eat. It was good.
I am stiff from lack of moving and from sitting in a car for so long. I need to walk. Maybe tomorrow will take care of some of that.

Day three.
After a good night’s sleep, we found some breakfast and headed back to Petit Jean. We climbed the mountain and the first turnoff was to an overlook and Petit Jean’s grave. The overlook gave us a fantastic look at the Arkansas River in full flood. The river is 6 feet above flood according to the guy at the front desk when we checked in the night before. image
Saw and heard Indigo Buntings singing.
We then drove on to the Rock House cave where a guided walk was to be had. It turned out to be a bit steep and rocky but as it was only 1/4 mile long, it was doable. The guide showed us where the old Native American art was on the ceiling, we would have never found it on our own.
Then to the Cedar Falls overlook, the river was really roaring down the falls. I noticed another overlook a little way down the Boy Scout trail and went to investigate. After some rock scrambling, it gave a view straight into the falls.
By then it was lunch time so we went to Mather Lodge and had a nice lunch with a view. After lunch, and there was some debate on whether it should be called lunch or dinner, my view is that you have “lunch” then “dinner” and my dad has “dinner” then “supper”. O.k. Whatever it was called, they had a buffet with lots of good things to eat on it.
Then to Bear Cave trail which is a trail around and between some gigantic jumble of boulders.
Ok, done that now. We still have a lot of afternoon to kill. So, I had noticed a drive with two overlooks we hadn’t done yet and suggested that. The best idea of the day. The overlooks faced West and gave us a tremendous view off across the Petit Jean River valley with clouds rolling by and mist and light rain falling from the clouds. The first one was just a platform sticking off the side but the second one had a rock shelter built by the CCC and various places to sit and soak up the scenery. We were surrounded by birdsong and watched buzzards (Turkey vultures) gliding below and around us. We could hear the sound of the Petit Jean River below us and watch the clouds roll by. We ended up spending about two hours at these overlooks. Before we left the second one, my dad got out his dulcimer and played some songs. image
Most of the day had light to moderate misty rain. Nothing to really put a damper on things, just enough to make things damp.
Then it was time to head back to the hotel and rest up a bit before supper.

Day four.
Got up and hit the road going north to Harrison. Just as an aside, cruise control doesn’t really do any good in the west half of Arkansas. You’re always slowing down for a hill or a curve and there are LOTS of both.
Driving along, I noticed signs for a Natural Bridge and when we got to the turnoff, I turned to my dad and asked if we needed to see it. We had plenty of time, so we turned off and went there. Down a VERY steep, twisted road, there were two little log cabins and a restroom. We went in, paid our $5 and walked down the path to see the bridge. The area was pretty and green and a huge slab of sandstone was suspended over a tiny creek. It is big enough to drive a small car across. image
The destination before Harrison was a couple of caves. Crystal Cave and Mystic Cave. The first one was discovered when a backhoe operator was digging fill dirt for an amusement park up the road. It is still growing and has lots of pretty formations. The other one has been a victim of human destruction for 100 years plus. It has been used as a dance hall, housed a still, and most things that can break off were broken and sold as souviners. There are only two or three formations still growing. There was a tiny salamander on one of them.
We got to Harrison and checked in to Super 8… #120 again…
There is an Italian place in the adjacent parking lot and we decided to eat there, very generous servings and excellent flavors.

Day five
Getting ready to go, I watched a mama cat relocate her kittens, they’re maybe 6 weeks old, the first trip was with two, a black one and a white one. She kept having to go back and get the black one, it wanted to stop and play. The second trip was 30 minutes or so later and she had a calico with her.
Lots of motorcycle riders in the lobby at breakfast time. Kinda wished I was getting ready to head out for a day riding with the hubby.
Got on the road heading for Fayettville area. Smooth trip, nothing interesting to provide a side trip, got there too early to check in at the hotel so we thought we would head to the local botanical garden. We didn’t think it would be hard to find. We ended up looping around two or three times and finally found it on the far side of road construction. We had just zipped right by it 30 minutes earlier. It is a small garden but nicely laid out with several little theme gardens and lots of pretty flowers blooming.
After that, it was time to go check in at La Quinta. We found our way back with no incident. We did NOT get room 120 again, it was number 328.

Day six
Up and breakfasted, we drove into Springtown to visit an art center, enjoyed looking at the two artists exhibited and then found the Shiloh Museum. It tells of the history of the area and we had a couple of interesting conversations with people who work there. My dad ended up playing his dulcimer for them.
I saw an Eastern Phoebe at the Shiloh Museum.
On recommendation from one of the ladies at the museum, we stopped at a little place called Briar Rose for lunch. The place was charming and the food awesome. IMG_1194
After that museum, we had plans on going to Prairie Grove where a Civil War battle was fought. The battle was short and brutal with many casualties. It was fought in a small area, barely a square mile. The people who lived in the area survived by hiding in a cellar. A neighbor watched from a hilltop a couple of miles away and was able to describe the whole battle.
A walking trail went around the main part of the battleground, a mile long. We walked it. There is also a driving tour that we did. It just brought home how small the battleground is. There are trees that I’m sure were there when the battle was fought, I wonder how much metal is embedded in them.

Day seven
Time to point the car toward home. I decided to stay off the interstate because I was driving and planned out a route…only to find one of the roads I planned to take was closed. Minor detour. We finally arrived at Mount Magazine Lodge at the state park of the same name. What a view. Mount Magazine is the highest point in Arkansas and the lodge is near the highest point. Every room has a view. We were a little disappointed not to have a balcony, but the windows open so we can still enjoy the fresh air. imageThere’s too much haze in the air for a nice sunset but it’s still beautiful. There are barn swallows circling and singing. I think I’ll leave the window open at least a little tonight. image
At the visitor’s center, I saw an American Goldfinch, Indigo Bunting and Brown-headed Nuthatch and Ruby throated Hummingbirds.

Day eight
Woke up just before sunrise to the sound of the swallows. A waning moon was in the sky and low fog was in the hollows. Beautiful start to the day, but it’s a sad one. This is the last day of the trip. The Red River was even higher than when we crossed it a week before, it’s up in the fields now and the crest is heading for Shreveport where it will cause major damage. It’s home for both of us and a goodbye until next time. And nothing like Dallas evening traffic and an ozone alert air quality warning to welcome me back to the big city.

I clipped a couple of gardenias from the bush in my dad’s yard to take home with me. They smell so divine.


Weekly Photo Challenge: On the Move

Weekly Photo Challenge: On the Move

Several years ago, my husband and I went camping in Oklahoma with a couple of friends. The point of the trip was a road trip on motorcycles. I ride two-up with my husband and the other couple each rode their own bikes. This is a perfect example of leaning into the curves. You don’t realize how far the lean is until you see a picture taken from the middle of the curve.