Happy Valentine’s Day.

This morning I woke to my secret wish fulfilled – ½ inch of precip in the form of snow which equates to ‘just’ under 4” of snow; which is why we rescheduled our Valentine’s hike for yesterday under blue skies, 39o, and no wind for yesterday!

A good oil-skinned coat (Outback Trading co.)

and excellent boots (Asolo) which normally cost $350 for $99 on Ebay

made the hike easy and comfortable. Our 1 ½ hour journey north took us past miles of flat mono-crop dry wheat fields and then we descended into the canyon known as Twin Lakes. We’ve learned the best places are found in a sort of reverse topography out here in the Basin. The best places to hike take you down, not up, around here.

In the desert, you find yourself searching for bodies of water which is what draws us to this location. Late Winter/early Spring is a great time to go exploring and watch how the wild landscape works with the element of water. The bitter root and lomatium aren’t awake yet, but the mullein and teasel are,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

new buds are emerging on the native hawthorns, choke cherries, snowberry and dogwood.

The Artemisia (sagebrush), Basin Wild Rye, rabbit brush, silver brush, buckwheats and native grasses are prolific, and in the wet seeps bulrush and cattail share the space with watercress.

There’s nothing like quiet beauty to help recover from the flue. We hiked for three hours and covered a little over four miles and in this vast BLM landscape; saw no one.

Black cotton woods taking advantage of upper runoff and basalt basin

The only sounds that could be heard were from local waterfowl and the meanderings of winter runoff under the basalt rocks.

10 second download video of a winter runoff stream

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video of water fowl in flight

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This is truly the land of the lichen. I love looking up at 7 million year old + columnar basalt covered in bright green & orange lichen against the deep blue backdrop of the sky.

 

We picked up some stores on the way back from the hike in a small town, and had some Mexican fare before heading back home. Then, this morning I went ‘shopping’ which is a twenty step walk to the upstairs freezer chest. Tomato sauce (for pizza with fresh pizza dough), potatoes, caramelized onions, tomatillo salsa, raisins, apple pie mix; all from last year’s garden.  A quick trip downstairs and I grabbed the last of the bacon from last year’s Cable Creek Farm pork order.

We pride ourselves on health (he he) that’s why tonight we’ll be having the traditional Valentine’s Dinner; hot dogs and mac & cheese – but let me explain. Ok we’ve all dated and been in relationships right? Right. Then the dreaded VD comes along once a year and for those in ‘new’ relationships (or bad ones) this day can be a living hell. Well, we’re no different and our new budding relationship started (tentatively) around this particular day. The conversation dutifully came up gee where would you like to go for Valentine’s? I happened to know that someone had been married on this day (not me) and the memories from the termination of that love lost were not good. For myself, I’ve nearly always worked on Valentine’s Day because I made my fortune in the restaurant business. Do you, dear reader, have any idea how many years I watched the agonizing rigidity of couples doing their damnedest to make that night ‘special’? Way Mo than Enough.

I saw my chance and made the logical choice. My reply was something like ‘the fuck I want to go out to a crowded restaurant, spend too much money and sit there like a smiling manikin. Let’s have hot dogs, mac & cheese and be happy.’

In the eyes of a former bachelor, I scored some serious points that day, and every Valentine’s since (7 years now in a row).

I’m hearing some whispers about putting a couple pieces of bacon in the mac & cheese…

So  the kettle’s boiling water for de-icing the chicken water, plenty of wood to fire up ‘ol bessy, there’s bread baking on the ‘to do’ list, the Kombucha Fire Cider is done and ready to bottle, and I’ll be pounding a few copper nails into the varnished trim for the upstairs library. With the snow I made sure to put out some chicken feed & corn for the wild birds (don’t have bird feed and this stuff’s cheaper anyway). Looks like the red wing blackbirds are visiting.

For this week it looks like the SW wind and the NE wind are going to battle it out so we’ll see who wins.

Happy Valentine’s Day