Sunday, January 10, 2016

Winter Wildlife


One would expect that during the winter, the plains of New Mexico would be desolate.  If we didn't see much wildlife in the summer when the pastures were green, why would we see much now.  Surprise . . .

On our way out to Las Vegas, we saw several large herds of antelope.  It is unusual to see antelope in groups much larger than ten or twelve, but we saw a few groups of at least 100 or more.  In talking with a rancher in the area, she, too, has been surprised by the large herds.  Don wonders if the blizzard from several weeks ago pushed the antelope into larger groups and they have just remained together.  We don't know . . . but it was fun.

When we left Las Vegas on Sunday, we first were greeted with gorgeous hoarfrost on the trees, highlighted by bright blue skies and sunshine.  Within an hour, however, we were driving through a very dense fog.  We didn't know what to expect for the day's drive.



Not far outside of Springer, we came upon our first surprise.  Don noticed a large flock of turkeys on both sides of the road.  We did not have time to count them, but there were at least 50 on the south side of the road. 


Further down the road, we saw a herd of deer.  I don't know that we have ever seen deer in the area, though we know they are around.  This herd had about 6 does and one very regal buck.

We then came upon several more large herds of antelope, and this time we managed to get a good picture of them.  They seem whiter than they are in the summer. 



We also saw some elk when we were hiking on Saturday, and throughout the weekend, the raptors were everywhere.  We primarily saw Swainson's and Ferruginous hawks, but there were probably many others that we could not identify.  Seeing all of the wildlife certainly made the trip home speed by.


Miniq, Jordy, Nelson, and snow

We took Jordy and Nelson with us to Las Vegas, not knowing for sure how they would do with the Sturm's dog, Miniq (which is a kind of snow).  Miniq is much larger than the pups, but that didn't seem to matter.  She made sure they knew she was the Alpha dog, and within five minutes, they were playing chase in the back yard.  They desperately needed to run around, and with Miniq, they did!

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Because I knew it was going to snow, I purchased a pair of booties for the dogs.  I was worried that their little feet would get too cold (which indeed they did), but they were not real wild about them at first.  They reacted with some hilarity, but I know it helped them walk around.

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As evidenced below, Jordy is enthralled with Miniq!

Las Vegas, NM

Since Don and I had wanted to meet with the Forest Service about a project we have in mind for the cabin, we decided a great time to go would be while my high school friend, Betsy Sturm, and her husband, Matthew, were in town.  Kathy Gunter Davis and her husband, Walt, also joined us, and we had a fun time

Who would have known that Teddy Roosevelt spent some time in Las Vegas?  We didn't, but we found out at the Rough Rider Museum in Las Vegas.  We are in several wonderful restaurants, and our lunches were so filling, we just ate dessert on Friday and Saturday nights.  We discovered the Creme Brulee at the El Fidel hotel was finished at the table, and the Tres Leches at the Plaza Hotel was fabulous.  The chocolate torte there was also wonderful, but I would take the Tres Leches any day!

Don and I took our picture in front of the sheriff's office for the Longmire series,


we went to the Hot Springs in the area, and we hiked at the Las Vegas Wildlife Refuge.  


Despite a blizzard on Friday, we were able to spend some time outside hiking, which gave us some much-needed exercise.

Betsy and Matthew are remodeling a home, so he spent quite a bit of time working on it, but he was able to spend some time with us hiking and at dinner.   We had wonderful conversations, especially about climate change, since he is a research scientist on snow.  It was fascinating to hear from someone who studies it up-close and personal!

Friday, January 1, 2016

A Rocky Ending . . . a Better Start

Well, 2015 certainly ended on a rocky note.  I am still struggling with the cough I contracted, Don is not feeling well, and Caleb had caught the cold as well.  Unfortunately, his cough got so bad that Kenneth and Melinda had to take him to the hospital.  For most babies with croup, one breathing treatment does the trick.  Sometimes it takes two treatments; rarely it takes three . . . and then there are those kiddos like Caleb who actually have to stay in the hospital overnight.

Apparently he is not wild about the Darth Vader mask that he had to wear during the breathing treatment, but he did like the taste of the steroid medicine.  By New Year's Day, he was released to go home.  He still is breathing loudly - his Darth Vader voice - but he is so glad to be able to crawl around the house.

In the meantime, Di has found out she needs more surgery related to her issue last January.  That was not good news, but it will be manageable.

Then, while we were binging on Longmire, Don tipped a glass of water onto his computer.  I surely am glad I didn't do it, but I surely jumped into action when it happened.  I guess the computer is all right, since I am typing on it.  Thank goodness . . . it has all of our pictures on it!

We trust that the year will turn around rather quickly.  It already has since Caleb is home.  Happy New Year.

Christmas, 2015

We were so looking forward to this Christmas.  Caleb's first, along with my sister's visit, was going to make it a special time.  I managed to get everything done before the Norton family reunion on Sunday, and after a few "discussions" with the hostess at the restaurant about our reserved room that someone had neglected to reserve, we had a great time.

Unfortunately, by Tuesday, I began to sense that I was catching a cold.  We went to Star Wars Tuesday night, and several coughs ito it, I began to worry.  "Just don't let Caleb get it," I thought and resolved to stay away from him as best I could.

We introduced Caleb to a variety of Christmas sights and sounds:  carols, snowglobes, singing dogs.  Singing dogs?  He loved watching the tail wiggle.



We celebrated Christmas Eve in typical fashion:  luminarias, church, a nice dinner, and Christmas Eve books. 


Then it was bedtime and waiting for Santa.  The next morning, we opened presents.  Caleb loved his purple and white basketball.



The weather turned bad, but Caleb, Kenneth, Melinda, and Katie were all able to get home safely.  We hated to see the week end, but it was a wonderful time with the family.

Jordy and Nelson, One Year Later

One year ago we went to pick out a puppy.  We only committed to one, but we couldn't take him home until the next week.  I told Don when we left the little guy with the people who had him that if, when we returned the next Sunday, all three puppies were left, we would just take one.  But if there were two left, we would take them both.  Seemed like the right thing to do at the time, which indeed it was.

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Yesterday (Wednesday), Kathy Melzer gave them some snowball toys to play with.  This video is just one example of why they keep us entertained on a daily basis!