Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Sweep of ochre grasses

Sweep of ochre grasses
Originally uploaded by jhhymas.
Well, we finally made it! And found out that a lightning strike close to the house turned off the electricuty to the freezer. Horrible, but now cleaned up and the smell is almost gone. All three phones were fried, too, and we went into town yesterday and got some new ones. Except for the satellite TV repairman, all problem now fixed. Oops, also except for the rotted through board on the back porch. The weather is classic autumn, rain, clouds, touches of color beginning to change and gorgeous blue skies.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Roosevelt's badlands

Roosevelt's badlands
Originally uploaded by jhhymas.
All day yesterday we saw those huge autumn wheeling flocks of blackbirds. Lift and settle, lift, wheel and settle. This morning we are getting ready to leave Moose Lake, Minnesota. Now the terrain is very much like Michigan, scrubby twiggy untidy mixed forests and open fields. More lakes here, though.
We have reserved a room in Marquette for tonight; the nice place we stayed before (with the small-scale Russian chapel and the lovely gardens) is full, but this one is supposed to have a view of Lake Superior. These views are often across a highway, making it impossible to walk there. The dogs are being pretty good and S is really enjoying their little quirks of behavior.
It's a waffle motel, now I'm going to go and bake one.

Friday, September 15, 2006

End of summer

End of summer
Originally uploaded by jhhymas.
On to Valley City, North Dakota. Siince it is mid-September, we have been surprised by the necessity to get our motel reservations a full day ahead of time. Even then, they tell us, they have only one or two rooms left. This has been true all across Hwy 94.
Early in the day there were some even smaller sunflowers by the roadside; then they ceased. Soon thereafter we began to see fields of sunflowers as a crop.
The leaves are just beginning to turn gold on a few of the trees. The Theodore Roosevelt National Park (this is near the visitor center on Hwy 94) has some great scenic drives, which I hope to manage to see the next time through this way. The rocks in these badlands seem much more colorful than in the South Dakota Badlands; I hadn't known there were such extensive badlands in more than one place. The weather continues good, just some slight rain that we passed through. As always, there are strong winds here, which seem to buffet the car and make driving more noisy.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Song of the West

Originally uploaded by jhhymas.
We drove through most of Montana today. This was taken near the confluence of the Bighorn and the Yellowstone Rivers. The sunflowers today were also in full bloom, but the individual plants were much smaller. Along the road, you could see the wheat stubble and baled hay. Now we are back in the land ot the giant round bales.

We saw a small herd of pronghorn this morning. A meadowlark veered away from our car at the last moment, narrowly missing being hit. Fields were either huge, from horizon to horizon, or varied and irregular, carved out of rock-strewn or eroded terrain. There were lots of odd-shaped pastures like this, too. For much of the day rivers or creeks were visible from the road, their verdure a relief in the dry landscape, which is colored in various pale ochres, ornamented with the dull greens of the junipers and small conifers.

Tonight we are in MIles City, Montana, named after General Nelson Miles, who came here to "control" the Indians, according to the AAA handbook. We are tired and the dogs are all asleep.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Riding lessons

PICT0178 up
Originally uploaded by jhhymas.
Spent a lovely couple of days with Idaho grandchildren. Then, today we drove through the late summer Idaho days across the southern end of the state. Large sunflower plants were in riotous bloom along the highway for most of the way. The yellows and greens of these plants went very well with the arid, frequently golden, almost treeless landscape. Many alfalfa fields had just been cut and glorious stacks of golden bales put up. I didn't see a huge round bale all day. Most of the ones I saw were larger versions of the classic rectangular bale. Wheat has been harvested, too. Several times we passed places where the grain storage was full and tremendous heaps of grain were on the ground nearby. This wheat was a pale golden color which was very beautiful. This was a common sight to S but I had never seen it. You would have to come through just at this time, just after school has started. Tonight on the weather channel thunderstorms were predicted across Montana and Idaho. This can't be good for mounds, foothills! of wheat on the ground. We hope to avoid driving in the rain, but tomorrow we may find ourselves doing so. Goodnight, goodnight.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Swim, baby, swim!

Dynamic contrast
Originally uploaded by jhhymas.
I find waiting to go on a long trip very odd. I don't feel like starting anything--don't even worry too much about finishing anything. It is like everything is oddly suspended and nothing is important. Just survival things, remembering to take your thyroid, and brushing your teeth.
There are a lot of things I would like to have accomplished before I go, and not that much left of life to do them in. 1. A book of my poems. 2. A book of my haiku. 3. My mother's book: the illustrations chosen and published. 3. Best family photos chosen and arranged. Historic family photos all labeled. 4. 1500 mostly family slides scanned, arranged and named. 5. Pictures of my haiku group printed, labeled and sent to the Haiku Archives. 6. My best pictures assembled in a notebook. 7. All books listed in Librarything. 8. Number of total books cut in half. 10. Papers and notes gone through and thrown out. Notebooks indexed and labeled.
It's mostly about stuff, isn't it? Pretty terrifying just to write it down!Mother never painted the last dozen years of her life, because she wasn't ready and didn't think she had the space. Once when R. offered to set her studio up, she couldn't OK it and he almost cried in frustration. I'd like to leave things better organized than she did. Because there isn't anyone who will deal with it later, except hiring to bear it away. And away. And away.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Smile for me

Love in duotone
Originally uploaded by jhhymas.
I have never kept a diary as long as I have been doing this blog. I wonder why I've managed this. Although I worry it is pretty dull lately. The weather is warm. I left the big suitcases in the car and so only have to pack the motel ones, the food and the camera and laptop. I hope I get to take some photographs, but it is a hot and dry time of year, and so maybe not. Here we come!

Pass the mustard

Originally uploaded by jhhymas.
I think Mom gave me this extra tin of mustard when we were moving west in 1964. Maybe I can get someone to date it. It just turned up in the big litchen cleanout. I hid it at once because of its still-life potential.
I'm up to almost 1300 books in Downstairs will be done with one more shelf. Study is about half done. Then I still have the MIchigan place, the huge amount of poetry upstairs, and the spillover in the guest room. So, still not half done. It will be fun to see how this all comes out. Librarything seems to struggle sometimes to keep up with the need for computing power; I think they need some more machines.
Like Chicken LIttle, I am going along and going along. (Until I come to Ducky Lucky?) We plan now to leave Saturday morning. And we will try the regular car this time. The Bronco is a little rougher ride, and road-noisy for a long trip.But we love its roominess!