First Monsoon

First Monsoon

It finally happened! The oppressive heft of rain waiting to happen broke though into a gentle, unsteady storm that’s been coming and going all afternoon and evening. The season is still building, and fullblown torrential downpours are somewhere in the near future. And now we’ll even be able to breathe without all the smoke hanging over the house. I am pleased to report that the plants are VERY happy about this shift, despite the onslaught of pea sized hail that bombarded them a little earlier. In a break between showers, Loba and I grilled elk kebabs (in Indonesian marinade yum) over a sweet little fire burned down to glowing coals. And then we all sat in the sand in the stone circle and ate elk, onions, sweet peppers and squash with our fingers. It...

Fire & Flood: Finding Balance in the Extremes

Every afternoon the clouds roll in, and every evening the smoke fills the air. It’s a thick haze that smells like charred Juniper and melted Pine sap, and turns the sunset a rusty gold. There are fires burning fiercely a hundred miles away in several different directions, and the late afternoon winds bring us a visceral reminder of how close one hundred miles really is. The rains may come any day, and the old people in the village anxiously scan the skies every so often, praying the clouds thicker and darker. Willing rain to wet the dusty ground. Welcome to New Mexico: land of enchantment and wellspring of both fire and flood. There’s no gentle in between here, no “it’s all good” drone of mediocrity or absent minded mercy from place...

On the Wings of the Solstice: Monsoon Season

There are fat, dark rainclouds crowding the sky and laying out shadows of birds and junipers and Rhiannon on the swing, long legs pumping the air. Monsoons are coming, and in spite of the work it means, I pray for a wide river and sweet, muddy ground. Thunder rumbles and shakes the air, and tells the stories of this place — tells of the rhythm and ways of cliff-face, thorns and forest. Part of my morning has been spent chipping old caulk from the frames of broken windows. They need to be stripped clean so that new glass can be put in before the rains fall. A village friend came in to help us with chainsawing up some deadwood and brought us some delicious local sirloin steaks. And now I’m working away at the surprisingly large pile of emails in the...

Wild Woman Primer 3: Savoring the Summer

Wild Woman Primer 3: Savoring the Summer

This month’s blogparty is all about staying cool this summer, and it’s hosted by Alchemille’s Garden. I’ve always loved summer, I was born in early July in the deep South and have ever since thought of it as my own personal season. When I was very little I lived for a time on an island and spent much of my time jumping in and out of the Atlantic, eating fruit and running really fast to let the moving air pull the heat off of me. The hot, heavy nights were filled with the sweet scent of Japanese Honeysuckle and hummed with the buzz of houses full of window fans. Now that I live in the mountains of NM, I’m always amazed by how much the nights cool off and that by three in the morning, I’m pulling up the down comforter, even in...

The Sweetness of Summer

The Sweetness of Summer

The Comfrey is in full bloom, the sand is too hot to walk barefoot on and the birds start serenading at about five in the morning – it must be summer! One benefit of the long days and scathing heat is the ability to cook many of our foods in the solar oven. Ours was a gift, in a model I haven’t seen in forever. It’s all heavy wood and brilliant mirrors. It’s awkward¬† to move in order to properly align it with the sun through the afternoon, but its high quality and energy efficiency is well worth it. This is especially true on days when it’s too windy to have an open fire outside and too hot to have the wood stove going inside. Just this afternoon, Loba was baking delicious rye bread and chicken thighs in it! Rhiannon’s been...

The Scent of Late Spring – Inhabiting the Season

The weather has finally turned truly hot, and in the late afternoon the air hangs heavy and dense inside the cabins. This is the time of year when we take all our eating out of doors. Early in the morning Loba starts a small fire out in the stone circle to cook breakfast on and we gather in the shade of Junipers and Oaks to eat eggs, wild greens and rainwater. Even the dishes are often done outside in this season, and all hot baths are taken late at night under the cool glance of starlight. Riverside, the Willows and Maples have grown thick and lush, and we make tunnels through the greenery to reach the water. The dragonflies have arrived and flirt on the long thin reeds while Elk stomp through the current. I lay under the Alders and stare up at the sky,...