Old Man Willow

We walk by this old willow often.

Along the wetland that was once the Carson Flume and Lumberyard is a cluster of old willow trees. In the summer, their shade provides a nice respite against the direct sun. They also provide a place for the birds to sit and sing.

We often pause on our walks here for a few moments to listen to the birds and enjoy the shade. Then we press on.

Napping

There is not much better than napping with the Girl on a sunny winter afternoon.

One of the things I like about my current life is that there is generally no reason why I cannot have a nap in the afternoon. On these sunny winter afternoons, the sun shines through the bedroom window onto the bed. The Girl loves to sun herself. After a long walk this morning (and a short night last night), I decided a nap would be good.

So, we snuggled for an hour or so, the warm sun on us both. The simple comforts of the warm sun and my best friend are so rich.

Christmas 2016

It was cold last night and there was much frost this morning. This bottle caught my eye while we were on walkies.

The Girl is finishing up her treat. After walkies, I put a little peanut butter in her Kong toy and gave it to her. Merry Christmas, Ki! We’ll have a play in a bit, once I get my pumpkin pie in the oven. When the pie is done, then I can put the turkey breast in to roast for dinner later today.

My best friend and my youngest son will come over this afternoon to celebrate Christmas. It will be a good celebration and an excellent way to remember the birth of the Christ child. Wife would approve, I believe.

The capture is from walkies this morning. We got out a little late, given that it is very cold this morning — about 10F. That’s our coldest for this year to date and I didn’t want to get the Girl out in that until the sun was up. The sun shone this morning and that made the walk a wonderful time. The warm sunlight and the brisk air felt good. They certainly made for a very frisky Girl!

We met one of our doggie-friends at the old State School, Andy and Hercules. Hercules loves the cold air and will play a little bit, before walking over to me to lean on my leg for scratchies. We visited a few minutes before Andy and Hercules departed for other things. Ki and I finished our walk, had a bit of play, and then settled in for the day.

On the way home I reflected a bit on my life. It’s certainly different than it was and far different from what I expected a few years ago. Yet, I find myself happy with my life and enjoying the time to putter and spend with the Girl. I love my walks, our plays, and my project work. These are enough and I’m thankful and joyful.

I’ll get started cooking in a few minutes. I will finish my coffee first and then get on with it. There isn’t too much to do, really. The turkey is easy and none of the other dishes are difficult either. Perhaps Young Son will arrive in time to peel potatoes. Heh…

Merry Christmas all. Life is good!

Christmas Eve 2016

The Girl and I decided to have breakfast out on Christmas Eve. I decided to take a Christmas Card to the folks who work there. They treated me well this year.

I woke early this morning, thinking about some record keeping that needed to be done. So, I rose, made some coffee, and sat down at the computer for a few minutes. Of course, the Girl rolled out and needed to go out, so I took care of her. She ran back indoors after taking care of business, then looked over her shoulder at me as she jumped back into the bed. She seemed to be saying “Are you going to come back to bed?”

I gave her a pat and returned to my computer work. It was done soon enough, so I elected to take a nap before we started the day. (This would be about 0530 hours this morning.) She was snuggled into her little bed, which I had repaired yesterday. The seam came undone (again), so I sewed it back closed. This time I hope that I got the stop knot tied a bit better. Regardless, the seam no longer leaks stuffing and I can always resew if I need to.

In any event, I crawled back into the rack and looked at her, looking over the edge of her little bed at me. I patted the bed next to me, “Come snuggle!” I had to ask twice, but she rose, circled once, and plopped next to me tight. I draped the quilt over us and settled in.

I love that warm next to me. She is very snuggly, especially when the weather turns cold. She likes to have some part touching me when she sleeps anyway. It might be her back or her haunches, but she likes that physical contact while we sleep.

The Girl began snoring before I drifted off… it’s a pleasant sound…

I woke for the second time about 0700 hours, rolled over, patted the Girl a few times, and rose. I woke thinking that biscuits and gravy sounded real good and that I might celebrate Christmas Eve by treating myself to breakfast out. It took me a few minutes to gather myself together — and prepare for walkies after breakfast. So I collected our things and we loaded out.

There was a scattering of snow from the storms that blew over last night and the clouds threatened more snow for the day. That’s all good. We need the snow and it is not bitterly cold, so walkies in snow would be fine.

Breakfast was a treat. I saved back some of my hamburger patty for the Girl (with a bit of gravy as well), enjoyed my coffee, and read some of the news. I was saddened to read that Carrie Fisher is ill after suffering a cardiac event on the flight from England to the States. I hope she recovers. It’s not wasted on me that she’s 60-something-years old. That’s a little close to home.

After breakfast, we loaded up and drove out to Riverview Park. I decided to walk part of that loop this morning. I wanted a nice outing and wanted the Girl to have a good, long walk. Tomorrow I’ll be busy cooking and might not have as much opportunity to get her out.

I met a funny dog there at the staging area. He was standoffish until he figured out I’ll throw a stick for him. So, we played while his handler talking on the phone. Then the Girl and I started on our walk.

The sun was shining on the mountains north of Carson City, but the battery in my compact camera was low (and cold) so I couldn’t get a decent shot. The wind was a little sharp, but I had enough layers on. The Girl had her cover on and is less exposed to the wind. She’s fine anyway as long as she’s moving. And, moving she was!

I heard a group of coyotes calling in the sagebrush. They would bark a little and then howl. I like the sound but was a little wary because there weren’t more than a hundred yards out. I didn’t want the Girl to get into the middle of them.

But, they never showed themselves.

As I walked along I visited with other walkers. I was reminded how good life is. I love to be able to get out to walk, visit with others, play with my dog, enjoy watching her run from sagebrush to sagebrush, sniffing and marking. I sing a bit when we’re out and about. I’m grateful, not just for the season, but for the gift of life. I’m thankful for warm summer days and gray winter days, with a bit of snow on the ground and the wind spitting snowflakes. I’m amused by the calls of coyotes floating on the wind, drifting over the sagebrush to tease me. And I’m thankful for my best friend who loves to run, to play, to eat, and to snuggle.

I’ll spend some time thanking God for the birth of the Christ Child, which we’ll celebrate tomorrow. That Gift is, perhaps, the most wondrous of all.

Reflections

While on walkies one afternoon, the Girl and I came across this inscription in the concrete at the old Nevada Children's Home.
While on walkies one afternoon, the Girl and I came across this inscription in the concrete at the old Nevada Children’s Home.
A couple of weeks ago, the Girl and I were out for a late afternoon walk. A favorite place is the old Nevada Children’s Home (Nevada State Orphanage), which is now relegated to what appears to be state storage and a great place for dog owners to gather with their fur-friends. I had not noticed this inscription before, but the late sun caught the texture of the concrete just right and it caught my eye.

We are entering the portion of the year when I like to stop and reflect. The ending of the year and the beginning of a new year is a great time to review what is done and look ahead to what might be done. I like that.

I woke really early Sunday morning, dreaming of Wife. She was not happy and was telling me about it in no uncertain terms. As I shook off the dream, I wondered “What was that all about?” I’m uncertain yet what it might be. But I trust my intuition and I’ll know if/when I need to know. Regardless, being awake, I rose, emptied my bladder (always a good idea), and decided to make a cup of tea. Tea is good for the soul, I think, and the process/ritual is also good.

I really didn’t want to sit at the computer too long, so I wrote a short weblog post and turned off the machine. With my tea finished, I took up a book I was reading, The Peaceful Warrior, which I picked up on my travels last summer. I decided to finish the book. I don’t have to be anyplace most days, so if I want to read a bit and sleep a little late, I can.

(Although the truth is I live a very regular life. It’s not regimented — in that I get upset if I don’t keep my regimen — but it’s orderly. I like that.)

I finished my book and the Girl wanted to go out. It was not raining, so we went outside in the morning dark. She took care of her business, scratching the ground furiously after relieving herself (and grinning at me in the process), and was ready to go back to bed. I snuggled up close, loving her smell, her heat, her small sounds of contentment, and I fell asleep too.

I rolled out a bit late, but not really late, made some coffee, and sat down to wake. Before long she asked for her morning routine.

Laughing, I dressed us, collected my things, and peeked outside. There was a little sun shining and not much wind. So, out we went.

As we walked toward the usual place, the Girl danced around me, looked over her shoulder, grinning, and pranced about. She makes me smile and laugh, so we started trotting toward the park, both of us laughing and playing. We met up with another pair, an old man and his dog, who get it. He’s seen a lot of life, is retired, and enjoying his time. His girl knows what’s doing on. She’s intuitive, engaged, and social. She and the Girl get along very well, despite the disparity in physical size.

We walked a bit while watching the weather blow over the hill (much like yesterday morning). There are good relationship to be had between men. I’m learning something of that these days. We talked about the weather and our experience with life. Then the sky darkened with the increasing wind and a few drops of rain fell. The Girl began to shiver a little, although it was not too cold, but the vanishing of the sun took away that warmth and the wind was cool.

“We’d better go. She’s cold and there is rain coming. She’s fine with snow; but she hates being in the rain and being wet.”

Life is good. I am happy, regardless of whether a full-time gig comes or not. I am confident that God provides what I need and that there will be plenty of work in 2017. I’m expecting my apartment to be ready soon and will have a place to live, work, and process my durable goods. It will be good to have my own space again.

I think the path for the next few months is starting to come clear. What I thought I should do and what I’m going to do were not aligned. I think they are aligning with the passing of each week. I’m beginning to see the path and that’s good for me. It isn’t necessary that I see, but it is comforting to have a plan, even if it’s only for a few weeks or months.

Truckee River Charlie, thanks for your inscription. You gave me an interesting photograph and a nice wonder about who you might be.

I am thankful. Whatever I have, it will be enough. Life is good.

Fall is Fallen

On walkies one morning, I noticed the light on the street sign at Eighth and Fall. The irony amused me.
On walkies one morning, I noticed the light on the street sign at Eighth and Fall. The irony amused me.
The Girl and I returned from our trip to Denver about a week ago. The weekend and first few days of the week were filled (for me) with work. A client needed help with a critical phase of her project and I was able to help her. I returned with a Winder$ box that needed some work (a failed hard drive for starters and additional upgrades) and spent a couple of days working through its issues before it was stabilized.

But, even with being busy, part of every day is spent outdoors with the Girl. She needs outside time and interaction with me. I need outside time and interaction with her and our circle of doggie-friends. Even on cold mornings (and we’ve had a few already) we get out at least once and usually twice. With the shortening days it’s more difficult to get in two walks a day, but we’re managing.

One cold morning I noticed the light on the street sign near the hotel where we stay. The irony of “fall” made me chuckle as I paused for a capture. The Girl, impatient as she can be in the morning (“gotta poo!”) pushed her energy at me (“let’s go… now!”) and so I made the hasty capture and off we went for morning walkies.

I’m settling back into my routine after the odd days of travel. It looks like the Grand Junction engagement is not going to happen. I’m completely OK with that — if they don’t offer me the position then I don’t have to decide.

That is my approach these days. I can make a living (I think and God willing) without a full-time gig. I’ll have less money. I’m OK with that. I’ll have more time. I’m OK with that too. So, whether or not a full-time (or part-time) gig materializes, I’m OK with it. God provides what I need and I have an abundance already. I do not need more.

So, back here in Carson City I’m happy. I like it here. I like the climate. I like the outdoors. I like the mountains. I can go to the coast if I want to (and if I want to spend time in PRK). I’ll have time this winter to work on some projects I want done. In the spring we’ll spend more time outdoors as the days lengthen again into summer.

I have more captures and more thoughts rattling around in my head. For the next few days, though, I’m going to spend some time reflecting on thankfulness. I do that as a kind of tradition. But it’s more than a tradition; it’s real. I am thankful.

I also have a little work to do. Work is good, too.

It’s good to be back in Nevada. This place feels like home to me.

Happy Birthday, Wife

Wife and Pier at Crissy Field Today, Wife would have been 64-years old. She’s been gone for three years and change. Rarely does a day pass when her memory does not arise, often in the context of an event I think she would have like, a sight she would have enjoyed, or a song we shared.

I still miss her and think I always will. As I wander my way back toward Nevada, there are times when I think “Wife would have enjoyed that…” in the context of something I see or hear. The thought occurred to me yesterday when I was driving through Glenwood Canyon on my way to Grand Junction, Colorado. The light played on the rocks in the afternoon fall sun. The way the rocks were illuminated was interesting and we would have shared that sight.

Birthday celebrations are supposed to be happy affairs. I think when I settle in for the evening, I’ll raise a glass of wine to the east and salute Wife, her life, and her love. Happy Birthday, Wife!

The Progression of Fall

The Girl and I have enjoyed our fall walks along the Carson River Trail. The colors this fall were wonderful!
The Girl and I have enjoyed our fall walks along the Carson River Trail. The colors this fall were wonderful!

The Girl and I got out this morning to walk and play a bit before I returned to my report. I have a draft report due today and it is my focus for the week. So, we did not take a long walk for the last few days, preferring to stay a little closer to the room.

This morning we visited with human/doggie friends at the usual place. Just as we arrived, the wind came up, signaling a change in the weather. I looked outside a few minutes ago, intending to go walk, but it is raining. So, my walk will have to wait.

The draft report was emailed to the prime contractor a few minutes ago. I have the afternoon to think about other things.

The signal of new weather is normal for this time of year. I expect it to turn cooler over the next few weeks. Soon we will see a hard freeze and the resulting loss of the remaining leaves. The trees will release their leaves and don their winter clothing. I will miss the color but also will enjoy the dormant season with the skeletal images that come with winter outdoors.

I will be here a few more days, then will head for Denver for a few days. I have a job interview there and will see my kids. Then I expect to return to Carson City to work while I wait on the results of the interview.

I am looking forward to the trip to Colorado. I will take my favorite route. There will be a little pressure to get there, but I think there will still be time to play along the way. If the weather is good, the Girl and I will hike some. There will be photographs to make as well, I am certain.

I think I will hit my storage unit before I go. I want to retrieve my winter hat (if I can find it) and maybe a couple of lenses to go with me. I have some things I can leave in my unit and lighten the load for this short trip.

I think that when I return I will finally be able to begin the process of dealing with my storage units. I will either be moving into a place locally or will be moving remotely. But, either way, I will be able to begin the process of purging those things I no longer want/need and putting the remainder to work for me.

This is good.

Fall is Here

I think I'll never tire of walking out to Mexican Dam, especially now that the Carson River flows are increasing.
I think I’ll never tire of walking out to Mexican Dam, especially now that the Carson River flows are increasing.

The night before last was a blustery fall night. It rained off and on as the westerly winds blew moisture over the Carson Range and into the valleys east of the Sierra Nevada. The fan in my room’s HVAC unit mitigated the normal affect wind might have on my sleep — restless — which was good. So I slept fairly well even with the wind and rain.

When we left the room, there was a bit of sun for a cool fall morning. So we walked over to the old orphanage, interacted with some friends and acquaintances, and played with the ball a bit. We then returned to the room so I could feed us and take care of my Saturday-morning chores.

But I soon became restless. I wanted some outside time, even if the wind was up. So the Girl and I headed out to Silver Saddle Ranch for a walk and a look at the Carson River. We took a slightly different route than recently to add a little variety. But ultimately if one wants to walk to the Mexican Dam, there is the Mexican Ditch maintenance road to walk. The slope west from the ditch to a little rough to walk.

It can be done and we’ve done it, but the footing is treacherous in places and it’s not worth the risk of a serious spill. So I walk the road.

The wind did not yet take the leaves. Some of the old cottonwoods still cling to their green as well. They will be the holdouts, waiting until the last moment to shed for the winter. For me, that means a few more days of fall color opportunity before the winter colors arrive. I’m carrying my compact camera in-hand more and need to download those images for processing.

I could hear the Carson River flow over Mexican Dam before we reached the site. Even with the white noise of wind in the trees I could hear the water’s pitch. Glimpses of white air entrainment were visible through gaps in the trees as we approached.

Sure enough, more flow is crossing Mexican Dam. It isn’t a lot more, but it’s noticeable and I suspect measurable. There was enough rain in the watershed to boost the discharge slightly.

The Girl and I walked out onto the weir. She tried to drink and managed a few sips before a whitecap smacked her nose, causing her to jump back. Nonplussed, she tried a couple more times as we puttered along the west bank of the river. There’s plenty of dry driftwood for me to make a fire if I need to. I realize that I should carry my folding saw in my pack as well as the tiny saw on my multitool. “Two is one and one is none…” If I needed to make a small fire, I’d better have some additional tools in the kit.

I have a tarp (cover) and cordage for my pack as well. I think I’ll spend a little time this week to assemble those items and get them into my pack. They should be part of my EDC system anyway.

We turned away to walk back to the rig and return home. Clouds darkened the western sky as the continued winds blew more energy and moisture over the Carson Range. I knew we’d see more rain that afternoon. Even if it was only a couple of miles back to the rig, those could be pretty miserable miles in the wet without cover.

I’m so thankful that I can get out like this. I love being outside, walking, listening to the world about me. The Girl adds a unique element to the experience with her completely different perception of the world. Sharing that with her is good and I’ve grown because of it.

Back at our room, tired and ready for food, I cleaned up while the Girl napped. Her breathing and soft energy was too tempting and so I rolled up in my blanket next to her for a nap and a snuggle. There is something about having another living being in my life that expands my perception. That we share much experience from our totally different perspectives fascinates and astounds me.

Sure enough, I woke to a blustery light rain. That’s typical fall weather in western Nevada. There will be snow in the mountains and that’s a good thing for it is water for next year. Soon we’ll have colder days and harder light. With another layer of clothing and perhaps a jacket for the Girl, we’ll be good to go and be out and about on cold winter mornings, enjoying life outdoors.

I’m thankful. Life is good…

Flow Over the Mexican Dam

Over the last few days, I noticed the flow in Carson River increased. Irrigation season is ended and flows are being restored to the Carson River.
Over the last few days, I noticed the flow in Carson River increased. Irrigation season is ended and flows are being restored to the Carson River.

This was a difficult shot, technically. The dynamic range from the darkest shadow to the brightest highlight was too much for the sensor in my iPhone 6S. I made the shot anyway, knowing the technical problem. I used an application that captures data directly from the sensor in TIF encoding. I then post-processed the image on my MacBook Pro, but not using anything too fancy… just the Preview application and the simple tools it provides. The end result is not stellar, but it conveys the mood of the time of the shot.

The Girl and I are enjoying our daily outings along the Carson River. The trail from the staging area (River Park) to the Mexican Dam is almost flat and is about a mile and a half one way. There are wonderful views of the riparian area and the sagelands adjacent to them. Silver Saddle Ranch is west from the river/trail and it is still a working ranch. So it changes with the season too.

With the end of irrigation season (about the first of October), pressure on Carson River flows eases and the river begins its winter recovery. Reduced demand for water permits flows from the uplands to propagate downstream and recharge of the alluvial aquifer (bank storage) begins. As the alluvial aquifer moves toward equilibrium, more flow stays in the river and reaches Mexican Dam (and other parts downstream).

In the couple of weeks since irrigation ceased, I observed an increase in flow at Mexican Dam. In September I noticed where irrigators placed a few sandbags to direct the meager flow to the headgate of Mexican Ditch. Flow in Carson River was through Mexican Dam and its abutments or through Mexican Ditch to be returned downstream.

Now there is flow over Mexican Dam. It isn’t much, but it is there and it is measurably greater than two weeks ago. If the rain we are promised occurs this weekend, then I’m betting next week there will be more flow in the river. If so, I’ll notice it.

One might ask, “So what?”

There is something in me that observes. I am driven to just look at the world around me as I pass through it. I notice things, particularly when I pass by them multiple times. Change, in particular, captures my attention. Because I remain fascinated by water and its motion, I am particularly sensitive to changes in water dynamics when I see them.

Sometimes, those observations are interesting enough to capture with a camera. This fall I wish I was skilled with videography and had a drone. I think that an interesting short film could be produced of the Carson River corridor where I walk almost every day. But, I am neither skilled with videography nor do I have a drone. So, that is not happening.

Instead, I find myself capturing still images of the beauty of the Carson River corridor and posting them here along with my ruminations of what I observed. This is interesting, to me at least.

As the seasons change, my observations of the river will continue. I expect they will also change. In part that will be attributable to the changing season, but also I will change. I also expect that my range will increase as I find new trails to work with the Girl.

I’m actually looking forward to winter. I love walking in the cold, crisp air (with warm clothing). The hardness of winter light fascinates me. The bit of snow we’ll have here in the valleys of Nevada will add a touch of interest to the landscape. There will be fewer people out walking the trails as well. The heat and taste of coffee or tea after the walk is such a pleasant experience.

Yes, the seasons change and I welcome the change. The river flows on, caught in the changes humans enforce upon it, but also hinting that it is also the same, following its cycle through the seasons. I’m ready for the winter season. Life is good…