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Archive for July, 2010

The garden has survived some invaders this summer:  chickens scratching up new corn and squash shoots, squash bugs devastating whole plants, raccoons eating my strawberries and dogs lying in the cool moist dirt (crushing herbs.)  We’ve had (as of this morning) just over one inch total this monsoon.  Last year as of this day, we had around two inches.  In 2007 we had EIGHT inches in July alone!  But despite the setbacks, things are growing.  The sun pumps our water up into a tank and gravity feeds down to a drip system that waters twice a day.  Now that rains have begun, albeit slowly, the drip gets turned off and I only turn it on when needed.

The corn was not knee high by the fourth of July (it rarely is) but it will tassle in time and we will get corn (we always do.)

These petroglyphs sit on a proud rock overlooking the creek.  How many years have they been watching gardens grow and fail?  How many crops have they seen eaten by chickens or grasshoppers, or wiped out by the monsoon floods.

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Kiva and I went to see the mare band together.  They were not shy with us;  they are handled more regularly than the young gelding herd.

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Shy Boy

When I am communicating with horses, I watch their body language.  This young gelding was not afraid of me despite being half wild.  However, if you know horse language you know what he is doing here.  He is not looking at something else; he is just telling me the pressure I am putting on him is too great.  He was watching me very curiously and when I looked straight at him or advanced even an inch, he very clearly turned his head to the side.  When I backed up, or turned my face (and camera) away from him, he looked my way again.  He never walked away, or moved his whole body.  Now, if I had seen him turn his head (and didn’t pay attention) but kept advancing, he would have left; I would have scared him.

He was sensitively letting me know he wasn’t ready for our relationship to go any further.  Horses are incredible mentors.  They have very exaggerated body language and if we are open to the lesson, they will teach us.

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HA! I beat the raccoons today.

This is the most I have ever picked in one day.

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Check out Life Learning Magazine this month, I have an article in there (and some photos.)  This is a great mag. on the subject of unschooling.  They also publish a mag. called Natural Life Magazine on green living, attachment parenting, gardening, etc.

Ironically, Kiva has decided to try school for the first time.  As an unschooling parent, I will support this decision while also grieving the loss of freedom she now has to learn however she chooses.

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Baby’s Got An Itch

Another sweet baby (butt) from the Monsoon Mare photo shoot. Peace

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Okay, I run this route several times a week.  I get to a certain point and I feel I am being watched; maybe I am.  I call the dogs closer and they run, one on either side of me.  Down through an arroyo, over a boulder, along a dry stream bed.  No trails through this part of the run, I just float along the pinyon juniper woodlands feeling like a deer.  Light and leaping, over a downed tree, ducking under overhanging branches.  I pick my way along in the shadow of Juniper Mesa.  I feel I am being watched; always in this part, eyes watching me.

I can make an educated guess; the only thing that would watch me run through this land is a mountain lion. They are so hunted here (by dogs) that they will flee or hide in trees at the sound or smell of a dog.  The fear has been passed down from generation to generation; they associate dogs with death by gun or arrow.  Sad, but for me running alone it is what keeps me alive.  I am running after all, looking like a brown deer in their hunting grounds.  They’re not  just sitting around waiting to prey on people.  They are extremely shy creatures.  They just want their deer meat so they can get on with what they do best: sleep, mate and raise babies.  But… if  all the humans have shot their deer and moved into their territory, and they are really hungry, a human might look pretty tasty (especially a small brown one leaping through the forest feeling like a deer.)

And then I see it.  Not the lion, but the deer (carcass) tucked up under a juniper.  Not 15 feet from where I am running in the dry creek bed.  It looks like it has been there maybe two weeks or less.  Legs, spine and pelvis are strewn in a 10 foot diameter.  Barely attached to the spine is a skull with a gorgeous set of antlers.  There is debris covering some parts, but the majority has been devoured already.  I look around, call the dogs closer, and attempt to pull the skull free.  I see that the attack must have come from the back of the skull; it pulls free easily.

So, perhaps I have been being watched.  O well, I run with possible watchers every day out here; it’s part of the package.  This is where I fit in; the wild landscape and its great curving embrace.

I run home with the skull and my family thinks I am crazy.  The antlers make great beads and buttons, but for now the skull hangs on my garden fence.  I see it every day and it serves as a reminder of the wildness of this land.

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