Monticello Days – October 2019

The latter half of October includes emphasis on our projects, especially those that require steady power and internet. For me that is blog writing, editing photos, and editing for a couple of authors. I especially enjoy my quiet mornings in front of the sliding glass doors that look to the east.

Looking to the east at sunrise

I’ve been cleaning Cougar, getting ready for the winter trip. Clifford works with his ham radio, CI research papers, and writing music programs, as well as taking care of business that can’t be easily done on the road. He has also been preparing for the televised interview that he will be doing in Boulder, Colorado, in November.

The weather is changing and by the 20th of October, we see a covering of snow.

Skiff of snow

Also on the 20th, the Carnicom Institute Newsletter, which we have been working on for several weeks, has undergone its last revisions and I am glad to hit PUBLISH and send it on its way to our mailing list. My granddaughter Jasmine has her baby today, a big healthy boy. Congratulations to her and her husband Bart! And Clifford decorates for Halloween.

Cllifford clowning around with his skeleton buddy

By the 26th, the weather has warmed up. With a clear sky and a forecast of 60 degrees for today, we leave our projects, make a picnic, and head up Abajo Mountains to enjoy a day in the outdoors. We first go to Monticello Lake, which is low, so not as pretty as before. Quite a few other people are there, it is windy, and we don’t have a level spot to park for our picnic… so we leave and go to Pine Flats, taking the other road in to explore, finding a nice spot where we’ve never been, level and out of the wind. We set up our table and chairs and have our picnic. Then, while I saunter about taking photos, Clifford plays dulcimer.

Piicnic at Pine Flats

When the sun goes behind the mountain and the shade creeps over us, we pack up and head back down the mountain. What a great way to spend the day. Two days later, the temperature is down to 18 degrees and more snow. What a switch.

Back to more cold and snow

October in Monticello has gone by quickly, the days filled with meaningful activities. We hear of hardships around the country and the world, like the fires in California, and are so very grateful for the safe and comfortable place we have here when we are not traveling.

Writing about the end of of October is not complete without mentioning my dear mom. Although it has already been three years since she passed on, it seems like she is just a phone call away.

Just a phone call away… or so it almost feels….

Last Days in Monticello – June to July 2019

The days of late June and early July are focused on accomplishing all we can while we are still here in Monticello with power and internet. Lots of editing and photo/blogs on my side, while Clifford continues with ham radio and research.

Editing – the map of Purt that accompanies The Novels of Shannon series by A. MacDonald

We had thought about taking Cougar up to Abajo Mountain for Amateur Radio Field Day, but decide instead to make better use of our time by staying in town and just doing field day from base camp, as I like to call our place.

Amateur Radio Field Day from Base Camp

I make a comprehensive organized list of what needs to be done or packed for our summer trip and begin working on that. Cougar is thoroughly cleaned and reorganized. Accounting, CI email, and reviewing the Carnicom Trust are among the not-so-fun things that we take care of. Along with the giant to-do list, we spend time outside, enjoying our back yard, whenever we can.

We discuss taking a different route to Montana this time, but in the end decide to take the same route north as last year and a different route home in the fall. The upside is more time with my family, the downside is that we won’t go to Olympic National Park. However, we will look for different places to camp while in Montana so as to add variety to the journey.

The temperature varies from a low of 40 degrees to a high of 88 degrees, not bad for this time of year. The wind, from a breeze to unpleasantly blustery, is more or less constant. Fortunately, our wood fence blocks some of it so we can still be outside for a bit most days.

The fence provides a place of refuge from the wind

With an eye on the forecast and an awareness of traffic around the 4th of July weekend, we decide to leave after the 4th and set the 11th as our leaving day so as to drive through Salt Lake City on a Sunday morning.

Summer Solstice on Abajo Mountain – June 2019

Friday June 21 – I wake up much earlier than normal and being unable to get back to sleep, I get up, make coffee in the French press, take a few moments for quiet time, and then write in the journal, sitting outside in sunlight filtering through pine boughs.

Today, to celebrate Summer Solstice, we are going for a picnic on Abajo Mountain. After the morning routine, which includes the ham radio net that Clifford checks into daily, we head up the mountain. Today we go to Pine Flats, thinking that we will go to the spot where we camped last June for Amateur Radio Field Day, but a big party is blocking the road.

Last June we camped in the pines beyond this stand of aspen

Too bad, but we decide to go in further on the main road and around the bog area to see what we can find. Due to abundant snow melt and spring rains, the bog is now a pond and wild iris are blooming everywhere.

The bog is now a pond
Wild iris are blooming everywhere

The road is above water, but muddy and Clifford has to gun Suburban to get through it. We certainly would not be able to bring Cougar up here. We find a pretty and level place to park where the road becomes a 4-wheeler trail. Clifford sets up table and chairs and gets his books out, while I wander about taking photos and gathering a few rocks for the backyard landscaping. After awhile, we have our picnic of nachos and hot tea.

We find a pretty spot for a picnic

By the time we are finished with our picnic, the wind has picked up and it is getting a bit chilly here on the mountain. We pack up and head out, but take time to explore a bit, finding other potential camping spots, should we decide to come up with Cougar for this year’s Field Day.

Before heading back to base camp, we drive further over the mountain to the view point where we stopped with our friends just a couple of days ago. Sage is abundant here and I want to pick enough to make a couple of sage bundles for smudging.

Wild lupine and sage are abundant at the overview

Back home, checking messages, I learn that my daughter Becka and her driving companion, on the journey from Atlanta to Missoula, Montana, are in mid-Wyoming and it is snowing in Bozeman, their destination. I’m guessing she is not thrilled with that! While Clifford continues with his projects – CI research and ham radio – I unload the rocks, edit photos from our outing, and play viola before starting dinner. Before I know it, bedtime has arrived; Mary Oliver poems close out the day for me. Clifford, as usual, stays up late working on his projects.

Walking West in Monticello – June 2019

Tuesday June 18: After starting out clear in the early morning, today is a mix of clouds, thundershowers, and hail.

Getting up at 6:00 per my new sleep plan, I dress warmly and head west toward Abajo Mountain, walking through town to catch the morning light when the sun rises. I end up in a part of town I’ve never seen before. A couple residents are getting ready for their morning power walk and I talk to them briefly. However, I notice that they keep an eye on me until I am out of sight heading back toward our place. I walk for over an hour, a good outing, and already getting quite warm by time I arrive home.

I make coffee and sit outside to write in the journal, all this before Clifford is even up. The rest of the day proceeds with our usual activities, but I’m noticing that getting up this early and not really getting to bed early enough is taking a toll on me. Adjustments will have to be made.

The highlight of this day is the arrival, in the early evening, of our friend and CI webmaster, Kaylee, and his fiance, Ren, a very lovely young woman. They will be getting married in July, and we are very pleased to meet her and very happy for both of them. Due to the stormy weather and hail this afternoon, we have to figure out where they are going to sleep, as they had intended to camp in our backyard. In the end, finding a dry spot under the big pine trees, they do indeed set up their tent there. We provide an extra rain shield and an electric heater, should they need it.

Ren and I fix dinner for all of us. It is really nice to have a companion in the kitchen and it gives us a chance to get to know each other. After a very tasty shared dinner, we ladies do clean up and head to bed, while Clifford and Kaylee stay up late talking, catching up on past and current events in our lives.

Life in Monticello – June 2019

The week of Monday June 10 to Sunday June 17 is highlighted with a visit from an independent film maker who is interested in Clifford’s research and who spends some time interviewing him. It will be interesting to see how Clifford’s work dovetails with other researchers who will be interviewed for the documentary in mind.

Most mornings I am able to sit outside for my journal and quiet time. I am pleased to see more poppies, the nearly hidden climbing rose, and volunteer flowers making their appearance.

The heart of a poppy

One morning, having arisen at dawn, the color to the east is quite pretty, so I quickly put a poncho on over my pj’s and walk to the end of the street to take photos. I can’t really get away from buildings and powerlines, but I am liking the early morning light on the grasses and silhouettes against the cloudy sky. The next morning, I walk a different direction to catch more of the morning light at sunrise.

Eastern edge of Monticello
Silhouettes

I had watched a Youtube video of Dr. John Bergman, who is quite an inspiration due to his unique understanding of health. His discussions on high blood pressure and on sleeping are helping me think of different ways to stay healthy. One is to go to bed earlier and get up earlier. There is more to it than that, but I figure it is certainly worth a try. It is because of moving to a different sleep cycle that I am able to get up before sunrise to do these walkabouts for photos, but I’m also realizing that with our lifestye, Clifford being quite the night-owl, it is hard for me to get to bed as early as recommended.

During my morning walkabouts, I see that most people have yards that are neat and tidy, and I am inspired to redo a long-abandoned flower bed on the far front of our lot. It was easy to ignore it, but now I’d like to fix it up. Clifford takes care of the outside-the-fence patches of lawn, and now we are looking much better here.

Clifford’s work in the lab continues, while I continue with writing blogs, editing for several authors, sending literary agent letters, and taking care of CI email.

June Comes to Monticello – June 2019

The days of early June see warming temperatures with the highs in the mid 70’s most days. It is pleasant to sit outside for morning coffee and journal writing, sometimes in the sun, sometimes in the shade, sometimes moving from one to the other.

Journal writing at the picnic table

A purchase of marigolds and petunias, which I plant in a couple of pots, bring a little color to the backyard. There are also some wildflowers, astors perhaps, blooming and the grass is green, so the backyard is a pleasant place to spend time.

Wildflowers
Pine trees produce their “blossoms’
The backyard with a bit of color from marigolds and petunias

I am thrilled that the poppies on the outside bed are blooming. Looks like there will also be hollyhocks blooming, although maybe not before we leave for the summer.

Most of the activities of these days could be done by the maid or the secretary. Where or where are they! For my part, I continue writing blogs and editing for Ang and a couple of other folks. Clifford’s research in the lab continues.

Clifford in the lab

We don’t go on any outings other than a trip to Cortez, Colorado, for groceries and sundries. Due to the winter snow and spring rain, the landscape is quite green, a prettier drive than usual.

May in Monticello – May 2019

Tuesday May 21 to Friday May 31: These last days of May are punctuated by inclement weather. Lows are mostly in the low to mid-30’s and highs vary from 40 to 70 degrees. Rain, sleet, and snow make for interesting interludes between the sunnier days. Some days I can sit outside in the morning to write in the journal, but most mornings journaling happens at the writing table at the sliding glass door.

Sitting outside on a sunny morning
Sitting inside on a chilly day
Inclement weather

Clifford is focused on his work in the lab, the most important being the development of a process for protein separation.

Work in the lab

The to-do list for busy work continues with consolidating our various car insurances, involving much time on the phone. Where is our secretary when we need him (or her)?!? In my morning quiet times, I try to see a positive aspect to all the daily activities that I would gladly turn over the maid and the secretary.

In spite of the busy work that eats precious hours of the day, I continue editing photos, writing and posting blogs, playing viola or cello, and editing for my daughter Ang, making good progress on Emperors and Exiles, the second trilogy of the current series.

The only outing other than errands is to a view point where I can take photos of Abajo Mountain cloaked in new-fallen snow.

Abajo Mountain cloaked in new-fallen snow

As May draws to a close, I am encouraged to see the appearance of some kind of mint family blooming in the back yard, as well as the the promise of rose and poppy blossoms to come.

Settling In & First Abajo Outing – May 2019

Friday May 10 to Tuesday May 14: Upon our return to our “base-camp” and the CI lab in Monticello, the days are focused on settling in. This includes unloading essentials from Cougar, catching up with email, Amazon order (food dryer and sprouting seeds), errands, and getting the back yard in shape. Thanks to the winter snows, the yard is green with “grass” and colorful with a crop of dandelions. My daughter Merri and I have a conversation about how much we like dandelions, and shortly after that, Clifford uses the weed-eater to trim the whole backyard. The yard looks great, and the resilient dandelions make a good comeback.

Creative look at dandelions

Sitting out in the backyard with the journal, poems by Mary Oliver, and a good cup of organic French press coffee is my favorite way to start the day.

One day, Clifford and I put together the shed that he had ordered from Harbor Freight last fall. It took all afternoon, but it will provide a good storage space for many items that are in waterproof tubs. Another day we walked to the historic site of the original church, enjoying the blossoms all around.

My favorite day was a trip to the Abajo Mountain. Clifford needed to get pond water for an experiment, so I made a picnic and we went up the mountain to Monticello Lake. I do love being there, and even a bit of rain did not spoil our picnic.

Abajo Mountain still snow-covered
The road up the mountain
Reflections on Monticello Lake
Clifford gathering pond water
Looks like rain is coming
Droplets of rain on the lake while the picnic continues

During these first days back in Monticello, along with settling in, I continue with blog writing and editing of several books while Clifford begins to delve into the lab work of CI.