January 14, 2023
Thankfully, I have managed to escape my little whiny slump for now and my outlook and attitude has been brighter and more positive. I started walking nearly every day. This may have done the trick. I’ve mostly been walking around the neighborhood so far and find it fascinating the things I notice when on foot vs. just driving by. I brought the camera one day, I also brought a bag and gloves so I could pick up trash though I don’t do this every time. Getting out more has also resulted in me meeting more people and damn I just love talking to people. There have been some new friends made this week as well as getting to know people I’ve met before a bit better. Some of the people I met unexpectedly offered me jobs. Businesses struggling to obtain employees is the big issue around here and everywhere lately. Luckily, I happen to have some free time and don’t mind working for minimum wage so long as it’s fun and I feel like I’m being helpful. Luke has been getting a lot of work done this past week in anticipation of his mother visiting this coming week so he can be free to hang out with her.
This small town has so much to show me. We have rodeo grounds, lots of old cars, plenty of beautiful landscapes, & fun lawn ornaments & decor. I even think this stuff looks cool when the sky is grey and threatening to snow. Here is a couple of shots of the rodeo grounds.
I also love towns like this that have free little book exchange spots like this one. I haven’t tried the phone yet to see if it still works or if it’s just for show.
Here are a couple of other sights that have brought me joy during my recent walks.
I tried to get close to these geese, but they were squawking their warning sounds so I stayed across the street in my effort to continue my track record of being bitten by geese zero times.
I had a couple of little adventures this week. I guess you may have figured out by now that I consider lots of things to be an adventure… Our friend Russ needed help moving a dead truck so I lent him the truck and hung out for moral support and to take videos of the hilarity of this project. I only took three tries and nothing broke so I would sy it went well. First, he didn’t have the trailer attached to our truck correctly so it see-sawed as soon as we started loading it. His dead truck had caught fire so there was no way to move it without pushing. Our friend Curtis pushed it onto the trailer with the grill on his truck. There was also the moment that my truck started rolling forward on the ice and someone had to jump in and hit the brakes. Between the mud, the ice, and our inexperience getting this done I wasn’t sure if we would be successful, but it turned out fine.
I made my mother’s mulligatawny soup this week and am excited that I could start filling my freezer with something tasty. I was a little short on curry and may have dumped in a little too much nutmeg, but I think it came out really good. It is the season of soup! I read in the news today that soup lovers may be the last innocent corner of the internet right now. I peeped on some of these groups to see what soups they love right now so I could gather ideas for my next endevour. Do you have a soup or stew to recommend to me? Here is the recipe for mom’s mulligatawny.
I finished my miniature after some trials. It is supposed to have a spiral staircase going to the second floor, a ladder going to the third, and chandeliers in both rooms on the first floor, but I had to make strategic decisions to eliminate these items after taking a long time to build each one. It made me discouraged so I walked away for a day or two until I felt at peace about what I needed to do in order to finish it. It was just too smushy with these elements included. I have no idea if I have anyone who I could give it to yet. Luke talked about maybe making a funny video with it so I’ll hang onto it for a bit.
Music jams at the Ranch Dog have started back up which adds fun and some feelings of nostalgia. It reminds me a little of our weekly open mic back in Massachusetts. I decided to do the full tour of their menu and try to get something different each time I go. Some orders must be repeated though such as Susanne’s homemade apple pie a la mode. We also went to game night at the local community center to try out a new game the host had called, Mansions of Madness. It’s a cooperative app driven board game that’s a little like if Clue were designed by H.P. Lovecraft. We played it once and died before we could solve the mystery. I downloaded the app to my phone and passed it around to each player on their turn. The app tells you what happens after you make your move on the board and also directs you to build out the board with different rooms and places to search at each turn. There’s also battles that must be done with occult members and monsters. It was interesting and it’s a different game each time you play.
Luke bought us a new tripod that I got to try out while hiking Upper Calf Creek Falls yesterday with the BLM rangers. It’s only 3.5 lbs. which is the lightest one we have found yet. Every pound matters when you’re hiking so we save on the weight wherever we can. The heaviest thing in my pack so far is usually my water. They wanted me to track mileage at different points, elevation gain, and take photos on the hike. This was my first time on this hike so I ended up not really doing a complete job on any of these fronts, but I’m sure it’s OK. It was also my first time using the Gaia GPS app for anything really so I didn’t have a perfect system. I was all bundled up for the cold, but within about 10 minutes I was shedding layers. The hike is only about a mile each way, but steep with about a 500 foot elevation gain. The ranger I was paired up with for the hike this week moves slower so it was easier for me to take photos along the way. He is also a geologist so I was able to ask lots of questions and gain information about the rocks, fossils, and landscapes here. I hope that each time I’m with the rangers, I can retain at least 10% of what they teach me. Perhaps by the end of the winter I’ll be able to talk about the staircase with a tiny bit of expertise.
We hiked on White Navajo Sandstone that was littered with lava rocks from not so long ago. I learned how to look at the sandstone to determine which part of it was an underwater dune and what was above water. Rocks are cool and I love how much I can learn by volunteering. It’s like getting a scientific and personalized guided tour every time I’m able to go out with a ranger on a field day. We had a lovely little waterfall at the end of the hike which is always great.
We also took a drive out onto the Burr Trail road and I stopped to check out my favorite local chinle formation to see how it looks in winter. It’s still just as lovely with the rainbow sand dunes. Here’s a shot looking over it with the Circle cliffs in the background and Henry Mountains behind that.
Jennifer MacNeil is currently traveling the US with her husband and two dogs. She loves to have adventures, explore, meet fascinating people, and see amazing places. She strives to learn every day and spread kindness to others. She documents her journey through her photography and blog to share with others.