Flying Dog

Having an active dog can be exhausting. It doesn’t help that I strained a muscle in my foot last month, so I haven’t been taking him out for walks as much as he would like. So what to do to exercise the dog?

How about seeing if he can catch a cup of water?

Ready?!


Jump!


And here’s the landing. You can see how he’s been tearing up the lawn.


Again?


Makes my foot hurt just to watch him land.


Autumn Hill Orchard

We’re all out of the apples we bought recently, so it’s off to visit another orchard. You’d think that after living in New Hampshire for fifteen years, we would have visited all of the area orchards, but every year we find at least one that is new to us.  This year it’s Autumn Hill Orchard, about fifteen miles away in the town of Harvard, Massachusetts.

Autumn Hill is located on a steep hillside, with a great view of the White Mountains of New Hampshire off to the west.  That’s Mount Monadnock on the horizon below.  I’ll go off on a tangent about my iPhone camera – I’ve found that one of the limitations of this camera is that it isn’t so great for photos with a long distance perspective.  The view is really much more dramatic than it would appear in the photo below, but the iPhone seems to somehow flatten out distances or perhaps it just can’t provide as much detail to a photo at this distance.  It’s really great for portraits and middle distance, but not for long distance.  I really should use my other digital camera more often.

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Here you can at least see the curve of the hill the orchard is on.  The soils of New England are so rocky that it’s amazing the early colonists could grow anything.  I think they found out quickly that the rocky hillsides are best used for orchards instead of vegetables.

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Years ago, Ms. J visited Ireland and Scotland and had some apples of a variety that we just can not find anywhere in New England anymore.  There’s an orchard in far northern New Hampshire that used to grow it, but a few years ago a hard frost killed all of the trees of this variety.  Autumn Hill Orchards specializes in some of these hard to find varieties so we thought we’d try to find it here.

While we were walking around the orchard, I saw an elderly man walking with a little girl. He looked a bit confused.  We had a map of the orchard listing all of the varieties in the orchard so I asked him if he needed any help finding something.  It turned out that he had emigrated from England many years ago and he was looking for the same apple variety that we were.

Up and down the hill we walked, the owner of the orchard had placed signs in each row identifying the trees.  It would seem that the signs and the map would make if easy to find, but it still took us some time.  C and the girl, who was the man’s granddaughter, ran ahead of us and shouted that they had found it.  Cox Orange Pippin, here it is below.

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Of course Ms. J was very happy to now have a source of this variety that’s fairly close to us. Our fellow Cox Orange Pippin searcher was also excited as well, we both quickly filled up our bags.

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Here’s their version of the Empire apple.  It’s so dark that I thought it was a plum at first.

 

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Once we had a bag filled with apples we went back to the barn to weigh them.

C was thrilled to use this antique scale to weight the apples.  There’s still time for more apples, I’m sure we’ll be back!

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Black Mesa Hike

Ok one more post about Santa Fe. On one of our sunnier days, we hiked into a canyon known by a number of different names. Black Mesa or Black Canyon seem to be the most popular names, though I’m not sure if there is an official name for it. It’s a fairly deep canyon on the Rio Grande just outside of Santa Fe.

Here’s Ms. J and Mr. C hiking into the canyon.

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Mr. C noticed that there was a guy climbing the wall of the canyon using a system of ropes and pulleys. Let’s see if my camera can get a shot of him on the wall. There he is in the blue shirt. At first it looked like he was alone, but he did have at least one other person with him at the base of the wall, watching his progress and monitoring the ropes. The climber seemed to be fairly young, maybe in his late teens. Even though it was late December, and we had gone skiing the day before, it was warm enough that day in the canyon for him to climb in a T-shirt.

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When I was a kid, my parents were very cautious so I would never have been able to do anything like rappel down a sheer cliff face. Even if I had somehow been able to go through hundreds of hours of training, it just was not going to happen. My Mom and Dad would take different approaches to safety. My Mom would be concerned with the possibility of getting seriously hurt of maimed when doing whatever activity was being considered, with the added bonus of somehow adversely affecting her health as well. ‘Oh, no, you’ll get hurt, please don’t do that, I’m sure I’ll have a heart attack if anything should happen to you’. I’ll call this the “guilt approach”. My Dad would go with what I’ll call the “shock and horror” approach. ‘You know what happened to the last guy who did that? He ended up crushed beyond all recognition at the bottom of the cliff, no one could tell WHAT he was, much less WHO!”. With that two pronged scare tactic, I didn’t do anything remotely risky when I was a kid. Probably the most dangerous thing I did was riding my bike off the loading dock of an abandoned factory once. It was something of a dare, or just peer pressure, from the group of kids that I was with at the time. Everyone else was doing it, so I had to too. Off I went over the edge of the crumbling concrete pad, about eight feet from the asphalt parking lot. I went flying over the handle bars of the bike and scraped the palms of my hands. And no, I did not tell my parents about that.

After all of the ingrained safety training, I might be expected to be cautious with Mr. C. However, it’s been a little bit of a struggle, but I’m trying to not be as cautious as my parents were, within reason of course. I’d like him to be able to ski and hike with confidence, without having to worry too much that I’m going to have a heart attack or have nightmares caused by my cautionary stories about being crushed by falling rocks while hiking. Much as my brain’s safety manual guidelines would require that Mr. C not climb the giant boulder at all, I do let him do it. Watching every step of the way, and making sure that Ms. J is right next to him too. I sweat every step and dig my finger nails into my palms in nervousness until he is on flat, solid ground.

I’m on a de-sensitization campaign with my parents now. Whenever we do anything that they would consider remotely dangerous now, I make sure to take a picture and email it to them. Like this one of Mr. C climbing a huge boulder. Don’t worry, Ms. J is right there next to him, unseen by the camera since she’s a little bit lower, holding on to him to make sure he doesn’t fall. Might be a little bit mean of me to send them a picture like this.

I’m sure that my parents think I’m completely crazy for letting him do some of these things. But at 4 he’s already a better skier than I’ll ever be.

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You can see the dark shadow as we enter the canyon here. It must be at least ten degrees colder within the canyon, out of the sun. Must be why it’s called ‘Black Canyon’.

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Here’s the road out. You can see the ruts in the dirt from the years of use. 20140113-170151.jpg

WPC: Community

I was going to skip this week’s photo challenge, ‘Community’, since I don’t really take a lot of photos of large groups of people, crowds, or things that strike me as representing the theme.  Then I remembered that I had these photos.

These were taken at Taos Pueblo, New Mexico, which at an estimated 1,000 years old is the oldest continuously inhabited community in North America.  Seems like a good fit for ‘community’.

As you can see, we went there in the Winter,  seems as though no one thinks of going to New Mexico in the Winter.  Those who do go, tend to go for the skiing, so a lot of the tourist spots are not very crowded.  We were followed around by a dog for most of the time while we walked around the pueblo.

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This is not a museum or a the typical tourist site with guides and a re-enactors.  It’s a active community, with families living in these houses.  There’s a sense of privacy throughout,  though no one was anything less than welcoming.   I think the residents asked us as many questions as we asked them.

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To add to the feel of community, several homes were open, especially if the residents were working at some kind of craft, like ceramics, or beadwork.   However, it didn’t quite feel right to start taking snap shots of people intently working at their art, so I don’t have any photos of the people who live here!

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We went before Mr. C was born, and we’re going back soon, it’ll be interesting to see how he will react to New Mexico.  Definitely very different than New Hampshire!

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Here’s the dog that followed us around!

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Word of the Year

In honor of the word of the year, “Selfie”, as chosen by the editors of the Oxford English Dictionary, Mr. C took 112 pictures of himself on my iPhone.

What he was really trying to do is find the “Where’s My Water” game app, which I now regret having downloaded considering how much time he has spent playing that game. And how much time I have spent playing it as well.

He was somehow able to take photos using a number of photo editing features and filters. I think this one uses some kind of blue filter. He seems to know more about photo editing now than I do.

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