Posted in 2019, Autumn at Sonnystone Acres, growing every season, Photos

Autumn Garden Journal #2

Yesterday I slept in, lulled back to sleep by the relentless rain.  It carried on all day and by mid-afternoon had morphed into a Big Wind that littered the ground with branches and leaves. We had some Strong Gusts and I’m curious to see if any trees came down in the woods.   By sunset, we could see the sun and today should be okay.

These pictures were taken Friday, Before the Storm…

The roses are blooming away.  The purple coneflower is still a bird-magnet.

All that’s left of the edible garden:  Pineapple Sage and Asparagus ferns.

The birds have been frolicking in the bird bath. I so enjoyed watching that I didn’t catch a shot of them splashing around…

It’s predicted that Jack Frost will arrive to paint our trees their best oranges, reds, and yellows on Halloween.  I love his work and the trees are primed…

Keep on Growing…

Posted in 2019, Autumn at Sonnystone Acres, blogging

The Writing Life…

I’m in a slump… >sigh<  I want my Words to Flow effortlessly from my fingertips.  I want every stroke of the key to reveal a sentence that is perfection.  I want each of my Elevated Thoughts to be expressed so exquisitely that you gather at my feet enraptured by my Wokeness.

Being a Writer is an old, old dream that I cooked up six or seven Lives ago. Through the years, I scribbled in notebooks and journals, but always thought that if I only had the time that Great American Novel would write itself.

I’ve blogged for 15 years now, but being a blogger is not considered to be the same as being a Writer.  In fact, I’ve been told by several writer/friends that it is my blogging that gets in the way of my writing.  Actually, I feel like the time I spend working on the book just gets in the way of my blogging.

I guess I’ve put some ancient expectation on myself that I have to publish a book in order to be a Writer.  In this day of self-publishing, how difficult could it be to satisfy my ego with a published book?  So I’ve written some chapters and re-written them and put them away.  I get them out and re-read them and think, that’s not bad, just finish it.  Then I end up editing them and putting them away again, on a loop.  It feels forced and Not Fun and sort of depressing.  Currently I want to burn it all…

I realize that I’m not a conventional blogger who monetizes her blog and cranks out the “5 things you can’t live without” posts.  I know that my following is meager.  Still,  the idea of not blogging gives me the existential heebie-jeebies.  For the most part, I have thoroughly enjoyed writing these 1000+ posts over the years.

Thanks to the Feeling of Freedom that has persisted since our trip, I’m letting go of the worn-out dream of Being a Writer aka writing a NYT bestseller (but I’m not going to burn the pages I’ve written).  I’m letting go of the daydream that I’ll be a hit on all the late-night shows (but I’m still preparing clever repartee, just in case).  No more guilt or feeling like I’ve not lived up to…something.  I’m sticking with what I enjoy, no matter how hard it is…even if I have to blog about doing the laundry or cleaning the house…even if nobody reads it.

An interviewer once asked one of my favorite authors, Ursula LeGuin,  advice for writers, and she replied: “I am going to be rather hard-nosed and say that if you have to find devices to coax yourself to stay focused on writing, perhaps you should not be writing what you’re writing. And if this lack of motivation is a constant problem, perhaps writing is not your forte. I mean, what is the problem? If writing bores you, that is pretty fatal. If that is not the case, but you find that it is hard going and it just doesn’t flow, well, what did you expect? It is work; art is work.”

Look out!  The Blogger is Back.


Thanks for reading!



Posted in 2019, Autumn at Sonnystone Acres, updates

Falling for Fall

The weather is chilly with bright sunshine and last night’s Full Moon was spectacular.

Though my foot is still tender (it was a bad sprain) I’m up and at the decorating and gardening.  A lot of Time has been spent Being Here Now — watching the birds, going about my chores, and taking time to prop up my feet.


I haven’t felt like writing and I apologize for my absence.  These last few months have been physically challenging but mentally strengthening. The former is fading as the healing of the tendons and ligaments progresses.    The latter is not easy to discuss…  I just feel Free…

That Freedom is currently manifesting itself by being outside.  Tugged along by the Autumn changes, I’m walking through crunchy leaves, feeling the pull of the season from hot and green to cool and orange, My usual cardinals have now been joined by migrating birds at the feeders and bath.  I’m too busy Watching to take very many pictures, but I’m sure that will pick up since I got out the Nikon.



Posted in 2019, Autumn at Sonnystone Acres, updates


I had surgery on Monday.  I went in with a small, still draining cyst on my inner right thigh.  I knew the thing had been full of infection last July, but I wasn’t prepared for how extensive the tunneling had been.  I have a 5-inch incision and a lot of bruising now but at least the damn thing is gone.

The first two days were spent in a hydrocodone-haze, feet up and ice bag on hand.  Yesterday, I decided to be well and got up and strode around, using ibuprofen only.  Sitting in my office chair is not necessarily comfortable. Six hours later, I was back on my ass, ice-bag on and whining for a tab.  Today I am pacing myself, 3 hours on, 3 off.  I hate it.  I can’t drive for fear of pulling stitches, so I’m stuck here. I have no interest in watching TV, but I do have my soaps recorded, so there’s that.  It’s a good time to catch up on the movies I haven’t watched and the books I’ve been meaning to read.

What’s keeping me patient is planning the Fall Garden Work that will give us an outline of the Bird Garden.  It’s gone through some changes as I stared out my window, but I believe we have the final layout figured.  Casey is taking care of some other projects (and me) right now, but if weather (and my leg) is co-operative we should be starting in a couple of weeks.

I got some mums before the surgery and brought down our motley assortment of fall decorations.  It doesn’t feel like Autumn yet, that’s for sure, but by the time I’m back on my feet we should feel the changes.

Wink loves Fall



Posted in 2019, Trailer Trippin', Trippin' in the Trailer

How I found my kachina…

The Santa Fe Flea Market was a bust.  There were very few vendors present on the Sunday morning that we visited, so not much to look at.  While I was browsing a booth the owner struck up a conversation about not having a “smart phone”.  As we talked, I learned that she was 72-years-old and from Connecticut.  She still spoke with a strong East coast accent and was as white as me.  She must have been feeling rather bitter that morning, or perhaps she’s always angry, because she started a rant about how she’d worked all her life, 30 years at someplace somewhere, and now all she got was $700/month while all those “illegals” were getting handouts…  She may not have had a smart phone, but it was obvious to me that she had cable TV and that her favorite news channel is faux.  She ended her tirade with a line that lingered in my mind:  “I feel like I’m a minority here.”   My mouth opened to respond indignantly, but I managed to just look at her and say, “You Are in the minority here.” and walk away.

Among U.S. states, New Mexico has the highest percentage of Hispanic ancestry, at 47 percent. Natives account for about 10%  83 per cent of the 47 percent are descendants of the Spanish colonists who arrived during the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries.  Among the Natives you’d most likely find Spanish/Mexican DNA, as well as in many light-skinned residents (called white Hispanics).. The percentage of white people with European ancestry is 24%.  The state is not officially bilingual, but a lot of business is conducted in “New Mexico Spanish” and in 1995 they adopted a bilingual state song –  New Mexico – Mi Lindo Nuevo México.


It’s hard to look at how the Natives have been mistreated by brown-skin and white-skin men alike.  At the Pueblo Cultural Center in Albuquerque, there was a lump in my throat and my heart was pained as I walked through the living history of the Pueblo peoples.  Their civilization was like the Garden of Eden.  They were a peaceful people, though they would defend themselves if needed.  They were monotheistic and praying to the Great Spirit, The Creator, was central to their lives and ordered their seasons. They were successful farmers, hunters, and traders.  All of that came to an end when brutal, horrible Coronado came to town…

After touring the Cultural Center, we visited the Coronado Historical site in Bernalillo…which is really the ruins of the Kuaua Pueblo.

Kuaua Pueblo...most of these buildings were 4-5 stories tall.

 In 1540, Francisco Vásquez de Coronado—with 500 soldiers and 2,000 Indian allies from New Spain—entered the Rio Grande valley somewhere near this site.  Coronado was searching for the fabled Seven Cities of Gold.  Instead of treasure, he found a dozen villages inhabited by prosperous native farmers.  These newly “discovered” people spoke Tiwa, and their ancestors had already been living in this area for thousands of years.  Coronado called them: Los Indios de los Pueblos or Pueblo Indians.  He and his men visited all twelve Tiwa villages during the course of the next two years because they survived on food and other supplies that they obtained from them.  Without the assistance of the Tiwas (willing or unwilling), Coronado and his men very likely would have starved to death.

Kuaua was the northernmost of the twelve villages.  Its name means “evergreen” in Tiwa.  It was first settled around AD 1325 and was occupied by approximately 1,200 people when Coronado arrived.  Conflict with Coronado and later Spanish explorers led to the abandonment of this site within a century of first contact.  Today, the descendants of the people of Kuaua live in the surviving Tiwa-speaking villages of Taos, Picuris, Sandia, and Isleta.

In 1680 the tribes/clans got together and rebelled, defeating the Spanish.  While the independence of many pueblos from the Spaniards was short-lived, the Pueblo Revolt gained the Pueblo Indians a measure of freedom from future Spanish efforts to eradicate their culture and religion following the reconquest. Moreover, the Spanish issued substantial land grants to each Pueblo and appointed a public defender to protect the rights of the Indians and argue their legal cases in the Spanish courts. The Franciscan priests returning to New Mexico did not again attempt to impose a theocracy on the Pueblo who continued to practice their traditional religion.

In 1848, the Spanish sold New Mexico to the United States.  The United States government did not recognize the natives as people…seriously did not think they were human…and took away their land and their rights, including their right to continue speaking their languages and perform their ceremonies.   There was trouble.  Eventually, their land was sort of returned…not the same land, mind you, but there was some land granted.  They were finally allowed religious freedom in 1978…  They are the only Americans whose religious practice is covered by a law other than the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

As we left the Kuaua ruins, there was a couple selling kachinas.  Raphael and Pauline Sarracino live in Jemez Pueblo and are of the Hopi/Jemez/Laguna tribes.  Raphael is an Elder and has studied with the Hopi.  He prays over each kachina doll before he carves it, praying to the Creator that his work will respectfully represent the Spirit of the kachina  that he carves.

Kachinas are not just dolls.  The Pueblo people believe they are supernatural beings that help and guide humans in many ways — there are over 500 kachinas!  They represent many phases and aspects of life. Many kachinas are animals or other aspects of nature.  Kachinas also represent intangibles such as happiness, strength, beauty, power, parenting, love, protection, abundance…there are many.  The ceremonial dancers dress as the kachina and their role in each is always to bring the community together for good, to celebrate the gifts of the Great Spirit, the One.

Raphael made it clear to me that the Natives do not worship the kachinas.  He said they believe there is only One God who created us All, as well as All that is Living and All that have Died.  He said that they have no fear of their own Creator, who gave them every good gift.  He said it is their aim in life to stay in prayer with the Great Spirit and to see All as One, to respect the gift of the Earth, Sky, Wind, Water.  The Creator does not micromanage their lives.  He said that we have in each heart everything we need and that it is our decision how to use those gifts.  He said he believes that is why we are all individuals and still the same spirit works within us.

He had brought five of his doll carvings, each around nine inches tall and decorated with colorful paint and feather, all of them beautiful.   He carefully explained to me the meaning of each one.  I was most interested in Rainbow Woman, a colorful doll who represents peace and harmony, especially between different tribes and cultures.

The one that had caught my eye as I walked up was not a doll, but what they called an ornament, bright blue with red ears and a tube nose.  What is this one?  Raphael answered that it was Early Morning, representing new beginnings, leaving the past and not worrying for the future, being grateful for each day and walking fully alive in it. I knew it was the Kachina for me.  He prayed over the figure that he had created, asking the Creator to place peace, love, and harmony in my heart and I felt the power of his prayer.

I thanked Raphael profusely and we talked more about the Pueblo culture. He said when the the Spanish killed nine of their medicine people, the towns had immediately sent people to Hopi where the Spanish hadn’t yet found them.  There the sacred stories and ceremonies were preserved and passed down.  He said that though many had convereted to Catholicism, their own traditions had been interwoven into a blended religion of their own.  He said that still Hopi Pueblos are the center of the training that they receive, as each ceremony must be done just-so.   Long uncomfortable with calling them indians, unimpressed with native-americans (they weren’t americans until 1848), I asked him what to call his people.  He stood proudly and said, “We are Natives.”

Raphael smiled as he told me that he feels it was a lack of communcation, two different languages that had caused the trouble.  “I think if we had been able to discuss it, we would have shared with them and there was no need to kill us.  They thought we were pagans, worshiping these idols, but we could have explained that we no more worship them than they worship their saints.  We believe in only One god, there is only One, and it is the same for All.”

I thought of the Angry White Lady, who judges people by the color of their skin.  How does she tell the Hispanic from the Natives or the legal from the illegal?  She felt no kinship with these brown-skinned people, regardless of where they were born.  I don’t think she would have listened…and I’m certain that Coronado wouldn’t have. That Raphael still had such a hope was touching.

After I got my kachina home, I learned that he plays an important role in the the most important festival ceremony of the year, Powamu, the Bean Planting Festival.  He is Early Morning Singer, who stands on the rooftops at dawn singing the village awake to greet the New Day…

 Now he sits on my altar and encourages me each day to Be Here Now.







Posted in 2019, Trailer Trippin', Travelogue, Trippin' in the Trailer

Travelogue Days 7-11

We arrived at the Abuquerque/Bernalillo KOA by 12:30, got set up and checked the place out. It’s a nice one, sweet pool and patio, clean and quiet.  Our first stop was to follow the signs for Kaktus Brewery at the other side of the campground and try some of their beer.  It’s just a quick walk to a really cool place and we went back several times.

Unfortunately, Sonnystone, too had a leaky tire.  The next morning we visited a Big O Tire to get it fixed — we had a good spare that we put on.  While waiting, we headed for the nearest grocery store and picked up some steaks to grill that evening.  After dinner a big wind blew through and I headed out to bring in some stuff.  Wearing my Nike slides, I slid off the bottom step and gave my left foot a really good twist, bruised my right foot, and skinned up my shin.  Whaaa???  Since we had planned to hike the next day at Petroglyphs, our plans had to change…

We just readjusted and visited the Pueblo Indian Cultural Center.

I want to say more in another post about what I learned from this place and how it affected me.  We also ate at their restaurant and it was delicious.

I had so looked forward to seeing the Petroglyphs, but the next day my foot was still sore.  We went down to the Visitor Center which is not adjacent to the hiking trails.  There we watched a 20-minute movie that explained how the volcanic escarpment was formed, why they were able to carve on them, how they carved on them and some ideas about what they mean.  We picked up some trail maps for the next day’s hiking.

Then we came back toward our campground and about 3 miles beyond to Coronado Historic Site.  This site has a large underground Kiva that used to be covered with murals before the archaeologists came in and carried it away to the University of New Mexico.  To their credit, they went through a big process to preserve them and 7 are on display at this facility.  You can also climb down into the Kiva to see one that a Native painted for them, but we missed the tour.  Not sure my foot was up to it, anyway.

Sitting outside were some Natives selling jewelry and carved cottonwood kachinas.  I talked with the carver for quite a while.  That, too, is something for another post.

Finally, yesterday we got up early and went out to see the Petroglyphs.  The foot was only tender, so I was ready for the main attraction…

I hate to admit it, but I was terrified the entire first hike, and that was the shorter one!!  It is like a rock climb.  I mean, I fall on 3 steps…we were a mile up in the air standing on ledges…!  The only thing scarier than climbing up was the thought of climbing down.  But I made it!  The second trail had more flat and more handrails, so I was only scared…

Old Town was just what I expected.  In fact, I had a feeling that I had been there before as we browsed through shops of junk-made-in-mexico.  We didn’t buy, but these were food for thought…

There was definitely more of a Spanish flair to the place with its tiny plaza.  The church is some famous very old church…  We ate at Church Street Cafe and appreciated the Mexican influence on our food, though!

They’re predicting storms all day today, so it’s time to start the drive back.  We’re packing it in and plan on leaving about 10am rocky mountain time heading toward Amarillo, probably arrive about 5 or 6p central time.  Then we’ll plow on through the next two days, stopping at the same KOA that we visited on the way here.

That’s the outline, but the story is so much richer, deeper, and enlightening for me. You can bet I have tons more pictures of big skies and Sandia Mountains and I’m looking forward to returning home and writing about what I’ve learned.