journal . stories . life

8 ~ May 2023

This May is like every other May, where I struggle to balance my desire to be up in the backcountry, with all the work in starting my gardens in the back. On May 7th I have one garden bed all prepared and seeded, with Kale and beets coming up. The second one is half done. I am holding off planting the second one until I can stack up all my wood from pruning on it’s base. Then I will cover it with straw and dig soil back up on the straw, which the chickens scratched down over the winter looking for bugs. At the very bottom of this page is a video description of my permaculture gardens. (down past ‘more journal entries).

But early last week the dogs and I took a break to do an overnight backpack trip. I climbed up offtrail to a spot on google earth that looked like it might have several good campsite spots, back behind rock outcroppings where the soil settles into small level areas. I found a good one before 9am, and spent of the rest of the time exploring and photographing the dogs and mountain landscapes. Our wanderings took us up a little higher, where I found a wonderful large park, surrounded by cliffs and slopes on all sides. That place was beautiful and dreamlike, and I am planning to carry my pack up there for another overnighter, next week.

The Pasque flowers were blooming on the mountain at 7600 feet.

We climbed the formation in the video below in the evening and had no trouble getting up a crack along a rock. Coming back down it seemed a lot more precarious. I followed a ledge and found another, safer, way down. The next morning we scrambled up in a couple of minutes, except for Hayley, who at 12 years old was too stiff from yesterday's hiking. She made it halfway, where I told her to 'stay', and that I would be right back. She is a trooper, and I love my little girl.

(click on photos below for larger image . . . - Esc or clicking outside of image will close it)

more journal notes: May 2023

My permaculture garden: #permaculturegarden #permaculture #urbanpermaculture

Jess spends a lot of time watching when I am in the chicken yard. I got the distinct impression that she is thinking she could help in some way. So I took a two day break from my garden prep and rearranged my shelves on the side of the house into a corridor for chicken herding. This video is her second time doing it. When I say ‘that'll do’, she runs to the gate, ready to be let out. You never saw a happier looking border collie, having got to do what she was bred for, even if it is just chickens. (no horses or cattle or sheep in my yard).

I enjoyed my overnight backpack trip Monday/Tuesday so much, (May 1st/2nd), that I am figuring out when I can go again, back up to that same area. This time though I want to hike a little further, and camp in that hidden park I found surrounded by rock formations and steep slopes.

IIt is such a joy to be retired and be able to plan your trips around the weather, once a little more garden and yard work is completed. (and also to live in a place like Colorado!) (plus have the health/strength, and mental preparedness to go up off trail and be perfectly at ease overnight - I don't take it for granted).

This afternoon I picked up a whole feed bag of stuffed animal filler, spread around the back yard from all those cute toys I bought Jess in January. She enjoyed them, but in March and April she and my 12 year old border Hayley decided to play epic tug of war battles with them, ripping the stuffed animals to shreds. It is amazing that an old dog like Hayley would get so passionate playing with a puppy. They both wag their tails during the game. Jess pulls Hayley all over the yard, but Hayley is determined to win, and she does, 90 percent of the time. Hayley keeps a tight grip and just will not let that puppy beat her.

On Sunday I got two large durable tug of war toys to replace the stuffed animals.

20 plus years ago it was an adjustment to realize that when backpacking I would be coming home to an empty house, after having a family and raising my daughters there. But as years go by you just accept what is, and I came to realize that true freedom is exactly that, noone waiting at home for you. Then you can give yourself completely to what is up here. Beauty. Mystery. Wild places.

We like to scramble up on rocks, but I don't often do something as potentially dangerous as the one below. It was a matter of having a lot of time around camp, and once starting not wanting to quit until I made it up. It was probably more dangerous for me than the dogs. It is amazing how nimble Beau and Jess are. As I mentioned previously, Hayley only went part way up, and I told her to 'stay,' that we would be back in a few minutes.

Last night at the Rose I had trouble getting into the mood to dance, partially because I had such a good night on Thursday at the Mercury dancing in front of the Deltasonics blues band, and partially because it all was feeling a little bit routine, since I have been dancing at the Rose on Saturday Nights for over 30 years now. I didn’t try to fight it, just got a table at the back, behind one of the pillars, and enjoyed my solitude. It is absolutely true that you can feel alone in a busy place with scores of people.

So I had only one good dance before 11pm, but had decided to stick it out, knowing from experience how the feel of an evening out can take a turn for the better. And that is what happened in the hour before midnight. Part of it was the band started playing more upbeat, fast triple steps, and part of it was the floor cleared out some, so there actually was room to dance. (counter clockwise around the floor, stopping for some swing moves to shifts in the rhythm) Also, by that time of night it is do or die. Many ladies that were just getting warmed up are now in the mood to dance, and I had a lot fewer declines when I asked them to dance.

All in all it turned out to be an amazing night. Most memorable was dancing to the band’s cover of Seminole Wind with a tall and slender (and beautiful) native american woman, and also to a cover of Chris Ledoux’s 8 second ride with another tall lady with strawberry blonde hair. As much fun as I have feeling the heart lift of those fast songs, what completes it is when my partner is grateful for the experience, and tells me so when the song finishes. It has and will continue to be a good way to top off the end of every week, one that makes you feel as if you have not wasted it. That is the goal isn’t it, to progress through each day, week, year, lifetime with the knowledge that it has been a good journey, full of rich moments and lots of beauty.

Later I remembered there was a period in my single life that I would not show up at the Rose until 10:30pm. That gave me time to do something else with my evening, rather than wait until things picked up at the Rose. I might consider starting that again on Saturday Nights.

The best songs to dance to at the Rose for me are the fast triple steps; songs like Seminole Wind by John Anderson, or Are You Sure Hank Done it That Way, by Waylon Jennings. But it is also great when the band slows down the beat and blurs the line between country and blues - an example is a song like Ryan Bingham’s Hard Times.

And once in a while I get to dance to a excellent blues band, like the Deltasonics, who played the Mercury towards the end of April. There is no joy like dancing with willing partners to soul scorching blues. The feeling can be so intense that you wake up in the middle of the night with the beat in your head.

More of the Deltasonics at the Mercury here.

Lendon James The Grizzly Rose #lendonjames #lendonjamesband #grizzlyrose #thegrizzlyrose #chrisledoux #chrisledouxeightsecondride #seminolewind #deltasonics #deltasonicsbluesband

“Wherever you go, go with all your heart"