Monday, May 9, 2011

Off Season

It is off season, and like the elk, I am rather enjoying it. Grass is still rather scarce as winter is just leaving, and money is rather tight for much the same reasons but the silence and peace in my mountain resort community are priceless. This is the New Mexico I grew up in and thought I had moved back to. I was rather shocked that it had been discovered.

I always joked that we allowed the building of US 66 and later Interstate 40 through the most boring parts of the state so people wouldn't stop. Now that I depend in part on tourism to bring art lovers to my studio I am rather split. But fortunately the tourists seem to go for the peak times ~ when the snow is the deepest and the weather is the warmest. This works for me because it leaves the off times for me to enjoy my state of wilderness.

If you are a bird watcher this is a great time of the year as the migrants make their way back to our neck of the woods. How wonderful it is to sit on your porch and see the bright blue Mountain Bluebird flitting over the meadow or the flocks of Red Wing Blackbirds re-establishing their presence in the wetlands around Coyote Creek. My Red Tail hawk is back to her perch on the power pole at the back of my property. From there she can get the prairie dogs in the neighbor's field and the voles and gophers in mine.

It is getting warm enough to begin planting the cold crops in my raised beds. And this year it has been dry enough that I have had to water bushes and trees beginning to leaf out. The pines always look like they might die each spring as they shed the old needles and begin to put out new growth. Since we had -42F nights this winter, extreme even for here, I have made the rounds daily checking on the pliability of limbs and any hit of buds or regeneration. Why oh, why do weeds weather better than those plants you tend so carefully?

Memorial Day weekend 10,000 Harley riders hit the Enchanted Circle and the Viet Nam Memorial here and destroy all the peace and quiet. The elk will head to the hills and all of us locals that don't have to go out won't. Fortunately for all the wild and tame life here the tourist season is generally lots more quiet and sedate than Memorial Day. And hopefully this year it will be more profitable for all concerned.

For now I and my forest neighbors are just enjoying the off season.

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