Monday, July 22, 2013


Words by Greg
Photos by Greg and Trina

Nearby mountains continue to lure us away from the valley heat. Spring flowers have been swept away and replaced by swaths of summer flowers. We walk or wheel along. But never very fast. Never very far. Distracted by colors and shapes. And plentitude. Each blossom an attraction for bee, bug or butterfly. For us. An act of love. The immobile display of flowers appealing to mobile creatures for assistance. For help to connect type with type. Kind with kind. To spread the ingredients that mix to create next year's flowers.

We flit -- perhaps. From flower to flower. Peer into their workings. Understand little. Appreciate much. Not as helpful as a pollen-covered bee. Nor as hungry as a grazing elk. We wander and drink in scene after scene. Leave little changed when we go. While we are -- perhaps. Changed. Filled. Pollinated.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Behold! A Miracle

Text by Trina
Photos by Trina and Greg

It might be considered more of an actual miracle if my fig tree were to sprout forth a banana or a live piranha, but given this tree's history, the presence of even a single, tiny, pre-pubescent fig is, truly, nothing short of miraculous.

This tree lives in a pot on wheels because I live in Colorado. It gets rolled indoors for the winter. After a painful lesson two summers ago about figs not liking wind, I decided to leave the tree inside for the whole season last year. It didn't like that either. Yes, it was protected from wind, but it simply didn't get enough sun so its growth became very leggy with lots of long, bare branches that sported 3 or 4 big leaves at the tip, and no fruit spurs whatsoever. The tree was taking up the entire living room with its rangy branches and producing no fruit. This spring, wind or no wind, the tree had to go outside. I wheeled it out, gave it a shade cloth for the transitional period, and then pruned it hard, shortening the leggy branches and, in phases, removing all the leafy growth so that the tree would essentially start completely over in a more compact growth habit. I didn't dream that the tree would offer up any fruit after such an assault, so I was pruning in anticipation of a possible crop next year. The tree is now the happiest and healthiest I've seen it since I bought it, and it looks like it might be rewarding me ever so sparingly with a single fig.

Unless, of course, the wind blows.

Other garden treats:

Bee pollinating lettuce

Saving kale seed

Fig sap

Grapevine weights

Onion flower


Japanese maple espalier in May, pre-prune

and post-prune, in early June,

and one month later, in July:

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Nomadic Moments

Words by Greg
Photos by Greg and Trina

Summer heat. It's not a bad thing, in and of itself. But when the pavement in town is too hot for dog feet… When a morning ride that starts at 7:30 feels like it's too late, too hot… When the inside one's mouth and nose start to crackle from breathing the blast-furnace air… When lethargy -- usually such a pleasant thing -- starts to feel oppressive…

We begin to think about adopting a nomadic lifestyle. Why do we remain in this hot, dry city that rests in this solar-reflecting bowl of a valley? Why are we not happily shivering on a foggy coastline? Why are we not camped along a glacial river? Why are we not exploring one of the polar regions?

We do what we can. There are many reasons to stay here. But we try to think of reasons to make our escape. And when we have a chance, we do. We load up the dogs and head for the high country. We seek the sheltered frost of a mountain morning. We wander through shadowed forests. We creep through moist meadows. We step into cool streams. We move through fading light as daylight drains away into chilled darkness under a spinning sky of stars.

For a day. Or a night. We leave the truck parked and move more closely, more attentively over the earth. By foot. Or pedal-driven tires. On knees or bellies. Our senses alert. To the smell of mint that rises from the grass. To the scent of pine drifting past. To the whir of cicadas. The click of beetles. The buzz of flies and wasps. The bubbling calls of small birds. The crack and swoosh of a tree falling in the woods. The ploit of small fish dashing away downstream. The cries of elk. To the changing breeze that cools or warms. To rush of wind, heard, not felt, that stirs the trees on the rim of the hill. To bear tracks in rain dappled dust. To skin warmed by sunshine. To skin cooled by dew. To the puff of a puffball. To the kaleidoscope flowers in all their variety of color and shape.

We move through these scenes. These smells. These sounds. These sensations. Such slight motion. Such a small movement on such a large planet. Movement that should be meaningless. And yet this motion seems to satisfy. Some deep sense, perhaps evolved into our being. A sense that tells us we must remain in motion. That we must keep seeking… What?

Perhaps the motion itself is enough. And perhaps, when wandering to foggy coastlines, glacial rivers, polar ice caps seems impractical. When the seasonal migration away from a hot valley seems awkward. Then perhaps these small motions are sufficient. Perhaps we can be satisfied with these small, attentive travels. These nomadic moments that we find for ourselves. In small places. Not far from home.