En la mitad de la nada…..Casitas de Gila

Loving my times in New Mexico, this blog caught my interest. What a lovely little get-a-way they described. This is a very short blog on pure relaxation as well as learning things about their exact vicinity. Very nicely written and I enjoyed “the break”.


Larry is a keen astronomer so he was looking forward to our trip to New Mexico where the dry desert air promised excellent conditions for stargazing. He came across a place to stay in the southwest of the state that advertised dark skies as well as spectacular views and incredible quiet. It couldn’t have been a more accurate description.

View of Bear Creek and Pinos Altos Mountains from the casitas In the middle of nowhere

We drove 30 miles northwest from Silver City on a secondary road to reach the tiny village of Gila. Already feeling like we were in the middle of nowhere we then had a further 4 miles to go on a dirt road. As we entered the entrance to the Casitas de Gila there was a sign “Entering Stress Free Zone”, another very accurate description!

Watching and identifying birds from the porch of our casita Our casita

Inside our casita Inside our casita

Becky, our hostess, showed us to our adobe casita, one of five positioned on a terrace overlooking Bear Creek…

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Thursday Tips: You Can’t Win if You Don’t Play

I like this saying.

1001 Scribbles

Back in the film era, there was an adage—really, something between a saying and a mantra—that went like this: f/8 and be there. It was, in essence, a statement that suggested that, when it came to getting “the shot,” the technicals were a whole lot less important than being in position when the opportunity arose. (The “f/8” part referred to the optimal aperture setting for most situations and most lenses.)

We’re now more than a decade into a mature digital age of photography, but the meaning behind the phrase still applies today, even if we’ve effectively left the analog age of film in the rearview mirror. In fact, if anything, the technical nuances of photography have become less and less of an impediment to the successful image making process with each passing year. The key has always been recognizing a good photo opportunity and being in position to take…

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I Am a Water Person


I have loved water my whole life!  Below is a summary of my love affair with water and, especially, some of my favorite Hot Mineral springs.

1.     Lake Mead:  Where I first fell in love with water.

2.     Mineral Springs Intro

3.     Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs in New Mexico

4.    Sycamore Mineral Springs on the Central California Coast

5.     Pah Tempe Hot Springs

6.   Poem:  “Sea Fever” by John Mayesfield

DAY 4: Five Day Challenge to post a photo and writing: Desert Varnish

Slot Canyon

Getting Lost in Nature

I consider myself very lucky to have been able to live out in the middle of a forest, off the grid at one point in my life.  We had a four-wheeler that we would take out often.  Any of the many trails leading out our back fence, onto BLM land, would end up in an awe-inspiring view.  We discovered so many places of interest in a relatively small radius just out our back gate.

One place we went to often was this narrow slot canyon.   We had to travel a little distance to get to it and actually ended up riding parallel to the little-traveled road that led into the Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park, six miles east from our property.  

One of our favorite places was this little, 3-sided canyon whose entry was so narrow you had to hike down into it from above. We’d park the 4-wheeler and hike into it.  This included hiking up a hillside of huge boulders, an awe-inspiring venture in itself.  When you got to the top of this rugged mound or boulders, sage brush and wild flowers there was an extremely narrow, dirt trail leading down into this quiescent, narrow canyon.  As the photo shows, the floor was soft, red sand (depicting the name of this area; The Coral Pink Sand Dunes).  The walls went straight up on either side.  Both sides of the canyon walls had distinct petroglyphs on them.  

It was so quiet and peaceful in there, with the thick layer of the soft, red sand floor; I often wished I could just spend the night in there.   It was only after quite a few trips to that place that I learned something else about the rock walls.  They were a brilliant contrast of red sandstone and a black coat of something I later learned was called “Desert Varnish”.  This varnish builds up over hundreds of years upon a rock formation that gets little precipitation, fracturing or wind abrasion; usually in an arid climate.  The varnish is primarily composed of particles of clay along with iron and manganese oxides.  There is also a host of trace elements and almost always some organic matter.  The color of the varnish varies from shades of brown to a purplish black.  Scientists can judge the age of the rock from the layers of varnish built up on it.

In this particular canyon, the varnish is almost a bluish black, very dark with a gleam to it.  You can look straight up from the bottom of the canyon to the sky above.  It is one of the most magnificent places I have been to.  I have a hankering to go back.

We sold our cabin that was located in this area and moved away.  I miss those days and the natural beauty we saw in any direction we looked.  I miss the trails and the surprises awaiting at the end of the ride, we were always surprised by something extraordinarily magnificent.  

Blogging U Photo 101

As part of this assignment, I am to challenge another blogger to do the 5 consecutive days of posting a photo with a word or two, or more.  I would like to invite one of my favorite bloggers, whose blog I absolutely love, “Through The Open Lens”, to do this challenge.  He posts daily anyway, so this shouldn’t be anything added to his list.

DAY 3: Five Day Challenge Assignment: “Free Range Kids”

He Mused to Himself


Sitting on the sofa, by the window…reminiscing.  Somehow the conversation turned to kids today and he comments (as much to himself as to anyone in the room) that as soon as the sun was up, he was dressed and outside and his mother didn’t see him till the sun was going down.  He recollects, how nice that she didn’t have to worry about him getting abducted, molested or some other fear mothers of today possess.  (Nowadays, we rarely let the kids even play in the front yard without supervision.)



I never tire of hearing “The Indian-Way-Of Cooking-a-Chicken” story.  

When he was a lad, he and his pals would get up early and head for the hills.  This was quite a hike out of town.  They made one stealth stop on their way to the mountain, a neighbor’s chicken coop.  


Once they arrived at their chosen location, up in the mountains, the first thing they would do is to dig a fire pit and get a good fire going. They would then kill the chicken by chopping it’s head off and smear the carcass all over with thick mud.  After it was completely covered in this layer of mud, they would put it in the fire pit and cover it in coals and leave it to cook while they went off and played like they were wild Indians up in the mountains.

Upon returning, they would fork the cooked chicken out of the coals and crack the hardened mud off of it.  The feathers and skin would all come off with the mud they were stuck to.  (This was the punch line of this particular story, how easy it was for our first Native Americans to pluck a chicken.)  They’d eat the meat, picking around the gut area.

He is a natural story-teller, weaving lots of intricate details into these tales.  As a listener, you feel you are right there, reliving those experiences with him.  I could see myself whooping and hollering, running wild and free through the hills and forests with that pure freedom only kids with no adult supervision or intervention can experience.

Imagination turned loose.

They weren’t bad boys.  Just good chums up in the hills playing Indian.  I guess if the worst thing they ever did was to steal a chicken or two in the follies of youth, they will still pass through those pearly gates.

The days of his youth are not far away.  They live on, in his stories and in him, embedded into the very marrow of bone and tissue that make him who he is.  They live because he lives.

A living testament to the makings of free-range child, deep-rooted into this sure and steady man.

DAY TWO: 5-Day Challenge Assignment: “A Sense of Order”

I took a parenting class, years ago, from a very well-known, recognized Family Counselor in a city close to me.  One of the things that really stood out and I remember from the ongoing classes a group of us would attend was that “A Sense of Order” was one of the (numbered) items necessary for Good Mental Health.    That made such good sense to me.  Now that I have learned the concepts of Feng Shui it really makes sense.  It’s hard to think clearly in a state of outer confusion.  Our outer world truly does reflect our inner world.  I have even heard that our hand-writing reflects many things about us and if we are feeling overwhelmed and our surroundings are unorganized we can help change this even in slowing down and painstakingly making our hand writing appear more legible and neat.  Funny concept, isn’t it!  I tried it and I think it did make me slow down and try to be more mindful of my actions.  To be accountable for my circumstances.  A clean, orderly home (that is something we have the power to create) really does free our minds from the constant state of disorderliness, stagnation and even depression.


These are some amazing rocks I found outdoors in various places, except for the green turquoise one I bought in a rock shop in Sedona, AZ for my mother.  In moving into a small home, very small,  I had to move a table I inherited when my mother passed away, whose leaves drop down, making it very slender, into the bathroom of all places….directly across from the toilet!  I didn’t put the rocks on it at first but had them in a deep window sill in my bedroom in front of a row of books.  I later got the idea to display them on this narrow table.  Now they are something I see and rearrange, just ever so slightly, every day.  I felt this photo is a great depiction of a sense of order, the title of today’s post.  They make me happy when I see them every day…lined up like little sentinels, showing me the beauty and art to be found in nature.

Blogging U Photo 101

As part of this assignment, I am to challenge another blogger to do this as well.  (They can accept or refuse of course and I sure don’t want to put more pressure on others.  We are all so busy and this blogging is all so very personal, how we choose to do it. )  So, today, I will challenge a blogger I found on the BUGs wall whose blog I found extremely interesting! Posts By Camille

“Happy Blogging and wishing you success in whichever area your blogging takes you!”

DAY ONE: 5-Day Challenge Assignment: Shadow Selves

In the philosophy of psychology, we are hearing a lot about our shadow selves.  This is the part of ourselves we aren’t happy with and try to hide from the world (others).  The idea, in healing the whole self, is to embrace these parts of ourselves we don’t like and learn to love and accept them.  We feel comfortable showing our “polished parts” to the world but would feel better if we can “loosen up” and be less critical of ourselves.  No more hiding the things we feel ashamed of.  Let’s bring them into the light and learn to love ourselves completely.

There is an Indian proverb or axiom that says that everyone is a house with four rooms: a physical, a mental, an emotional and a spiritual.  Most of us tend to live in one room most of the time, but unless we go into every room every day, even if only to keep it aired, we are not a complete person.

We can’t grow completely if we leave parts of ourselves behind.     


Blogging U Photo 101

TRIUMPH: Photo 101 Assignment Word

When we moved into a small house that was going to take a lot of remodeling, one of the earlier challenges we faced was how we were going to fit our old, upright piano through the maze of cinder-block porch walls and varied levels of the cement walkways between these walls and the house.



If that was successful, getting it through the back door was the next obstacle that my husband felt certain would never work.  There was just too small an opening between the block wall and then different levels in the concrete walkway to contend with.



The breezeway appeared a nice feature when we were considering purchasing this old “fixer-upper” but, even then, my husband expressed concern about moving large items into the home through all these tight spaces.

Now he was to the point of wondering who we could give the piano to.

Although it is very old and needs to be refinished (another project), it has the most beautiful tone,   rich and deep, and I loved its antiquity.  I wanted that piano and knew exactly where it had to go.


 We built thick, barn-wood shelves in the bedroom, leaving a place in the corner, near the back door, for our upright piano to fit about a foot under the bottom shelf, it was a perfect spot!

After getting the room ready for the piano, my husband’s doubts grew in mammoth size as to getting it through the regular sized door plus maneuvering it around the narrow porch that runs the length of the back of the house with openings here and there in the cinder block wall.  This was really going to be a challenge and he seemed to be giving up on it rapidly.  As for me, I have an inborn attitude of “where there’s a will, there’s a way”.  Without questioning, I just knew it would work, even if  it took thinking it would work and then doing the impossible, believing it was possible.

I have a wonderful saying I apply to this kind of situation:

“Those who think it can’t be done need to get out of the way of those who are doing it.”





Blogging U Photo 101

EDGE: A Metaphor

I am re-posting a photo I submitted to the Photo 101 Class Assignment, “Glass”.  With our new assignment, “Edge”, I have a wonderful metaphor for this same photo.  I edited the photo a little to make the edges more distinct.

Blogging U Photo 101

Edge Blue Glass

                                     A  METAPHOR

There was once a heavy drinking glass whose main function was to hold liquid.  All its edges  were smooth.  The color was a brilliant, cobalt blue.  It withstood many years of use and passed through various hands and situations.  One day, a careless person dropped the glass and it broke into three pieces.  It didn’t shatter into many pieces due to its overall strength and thickness. After the breakage, it took on a new feature.  Instead of all smooth edges, it now has some sharp edges that could actually cut someone if they aren’t careful in handling it.

Isn’t this a metaphor of life as a human?  In a new, young life, there are no rough, sharp edges.  A baby is all softness with no intention to deliberately hurt someone.  As the baby grows and comes across various situations in life, they learn that there are unpleasant things as well as good things out there.  They toddle through the growing years, falling down, bumping their head on things but, basically, stay intact.

Passing through the ages of childhood, puberty and into adulthood they have had their fair share of knocks, bumps and bruises but, if lucky, they  have withstood these things and remained intact; in fact, these encounters have made them even stronger.

Then a day comes when something so terrible happens that the tough exterior gives way, the very marrow of self is pierced and they break.  They break deeply but there is still enough parts left of who they are that they are able to function and carry on.  They have not shattered into so many pieces they are no longer useful, just changed.

They continue on with the business of living and life but notice they have acquired a new thing;  along with the smooth exterior there are now some sharp edges.  Sometimes these sharp edges can be hurtful to someone who handles them carelessly, a word or even a look may cause a reaction that stings or bleeds the other person.

Weary of living a fragmented life, the person seeks a strong glue, the kind to mend broken things.  Over time and through experimentation and trial and error, it works!  The blessed river of time washes over the sharp edges, tosses them to and fro in its current and, eventually, wears them down to  soft and smooth edges once more.  Trials require time, patience and the steady washing and wearing away the rough edges to bring us round again.

 Lines in An Old Shaker Hymn

“….till by turning, turning, we turn round right.”