Sunday, November 14, 2010

6 Months Time Capsule

Since I am such a bad blogger I have let this one slide without posting for far too long. Guess I had better get you up to date. Lake Cochiti did get back to normal levels by the end of May; we had a wonderful summer enjoying being outdoors as much as possible; we saw the aspen starting to change on the mountains above Santa Fe; we bought a new truck and fifth-wheel trailer, selling the motorhome quickly and are parked at Hords Creek Lake near Coleman, TX.

On Thursday, Veterans Day, we drove some roads we had never driven and a few we had been on before. Our wanderings took us to the tiny community of Paint Rock, TX. It is a county seat but isn't a big shopping area. One business caught our eyes, Ingrid's Custom Hand Woven, Inc, a rug weaving company. They are dealing mostly in alpaca and llama fleece now, although they do some in wool and mohair.
 
The owner, Reinhard Schoffhaler, gave us a tour of the operations from the bundles of raw fleece to the finished products.  Since it was Veterans Day several of the employees were attending festivities so we didn't see all the actual washing fleeces, combing & spinning but had a great explanation of how it was done on the big machines.  They are using the underbelly and other parts of the fleece that are second quality, not for fine yarn but still wonderfully soft.  Think I could have set around petting some of the gorgeous fleeces for a while.  Eveything is naturally colored so there were shades of white, black, gray and browns.
 
We watched a weaver who told us just what she was doing and how she made transitions with color and pattern.  A beautiful rug was developing before our eyes.
 
Their website has descriptions of the operation and photos.  Ingrid's Handwoven Rugs

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Lake Cochiti Is Rising

Lake Cochiti is a flood control and recreation lake on the Rio Grande River.  Right now it is also a water sorage facitility to hold water for controlled flooding of the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge.  Since about April 16 the lake has been storing water.  On April 30, 2010 the lake had risen approx 13 feet.  The Corps of Engineers Rangers told me that it would probably rise another 9 to 10 feet. 

These photos of Cochiti Lake rising should tell the story from 4/22 to 5/1.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Scenic Drive

We took a beautiful drive on one of the 26 Scenic Byways in New Mexico, the Santa Fe National Forest Scenic Byway.  We traveled from the city of Santa Fe at 7,000 feet elevation past Hyde Memorial State Park to the Santa Fe Ski Basin at 10,360 feet elevation.  The ski lifts take skiers another 2,000 feet higher to the multiple ski runs.

We had not risen very far in elevation, probably around 8,000 feet when we began to see snow patches in the shade like this one.

We passed alongside & through Hyde Memorial State Park which is not yet open.  Beautiful campsites but really remote.  We continued up the mountains seeing mainly pines then began to see aspens.  This area has the most aspens in all of New Mexico so it will be something to behold in the fall.  We have read that the ski lifts operate in the fall so you can look down at the golden leaves.

We stopped at an overlook with a sign naming the view points.  I put a red arrow on one to show the peak that we can see from our campground.  This campground is named for Tetilla Peak.

Our camera didn't cooperate at the ski basin so no photos from there.  We could identify several ski runs with snow on them still.  They had stopped operation though since lots of snow had melted.

When we arrived back in Santa Fe we drove past a building with very large sculptures.  I couldn't resist snapping a couple of photos from the Jeep window as we drove past.  One day we'll go back and see just what they are all about.


Sunday, April 18, 2010

Up the Rio Grande

While we were enjoying the warmer temperatures of the Rio Grande Valley in January and February we visited the Riverside Diner on the banks of the Rio Grande River.  The elevation was about 50' above sea level and there was a low dam downriver for power generation so the water level made a nice wide river there.  Here are a couple of photos taken at the diner.

Now we have a different view of the river.  We are at Cochiti Lake in New Mexico.  It is one of three flood control dams on the Rio Grande River in northern New Mexico.  The normal lake elevation is 5,300+ feet above sea level.  That makes us more than a mile high!  As Park Attendants for Tetilla Peak Park we have a great site with a beautiful view of the lake, dessert and mountains.
Home Sweet Home

Yep, our site looks bare but we love the wide-open feel and can see for 20+ miles on a clear day.  Here are some photos of our views.

 
From our patio - looking southwest over the lake and dam


From our site - looking northeast


From our patio - looking south


From our patio - view south across part of the main campground

We are looking forward to exploring new sites in the area and revisiting ones we have enjoyed before.

Monday, March 1, 2010

A Visit To The Zoo

In January the cold chased us south to the sunny and windy Rio Grande Valley.  Texas weather has been exceptionally cold & wet this year & even the RGV got cooler than last year.  We have been able to get out many days in t-shirts or with a light jacket so we have explored and enjoyed.

On a cloudy morning with promise of sun by noon, we headed south to Brownsville to tour the Gladys Porter Zoo.  It has the reputation of being one of the finest zoos in the country.  We found it very nice but a little confusing in the layout.  We zigged and zagged our way through and watched the animals.  Most were sleeping or lounging around.  A couple of spider monkeys demonstrated their rope swinging abilities and showed off their long arms.

The gorillas are the zoo's real claim to fame but they all sat or lay with their backs to the watchers and ignored everything.  I didn't even take any photos of them. 

One peacock was strutting his stuff and showed off his tail fan.  When he had impressed us enough, he gently folded it away to wait for the next photo op.

I took a few photos, the clouds, sun and animals non cooperation didn't call for lots of photos.  We have enough, though, to remember our day at the Gladys Porter Zoo .