WATCHFUL EYES OVER THE MULE MOUNTAINS
(click on the photographs to enlarge them)
Knew for sure we were definitely in Arizona last night when big walloping wind gusts tried their best to totally re-locate us some distance east of where we presently are. People in sticks & bricks houses wouldn't be aware of the wind unless they saw branches blowing by but if your in an RV it's akin to being in a wind tunnel. The rig rocks, the slide awnings flap, & every square corner sets up it's screaming banshee sound. Needless to say this is not at all very conducive to a good night's sleep.
BLACK CLOUDS IN WIND BLUSTERING MORNING
Converging weather fronts brought in a tangled mass of angry looking clouds & the day dawned with a moody determination. Bright blue sunny days are nice but it takes clouds to give the sky a fuming personality & dark ominous clouds are my fav. Took some photos & would have taken many more but it was Yoga morning & I couldn't really come up with a good legitimate excuse not to attend my first class this morning. All the way to the Elfrida Community Center my eyes were on the sky watching Mother Nature's wonders at work. The cloud shadows & sun splashes on the mountains were inspiring.
SILOUETTED SOUTH END OF THE SWISS HELM MOUNTAINS AT SUNRISE THIS MORNING
Looked to be about a dozen ladies gathered around in a large circle with chairs & mats when we walked in to the Elfrida Community Center at 9 this morning. David, an instructor from Bisbee welcomed us to the group & it wasn't long & I was seated in a white chair with a purple floor mat at my feet. I immediately knew I was going to be more comfortable here than the exercise class when David dimmed the lights. I am not a bright lights kind of guy. The first minute was spent in a relaxation mode. Now, this was my kind of exercise. The instructor had a soft voice as we went through a series of stretches with closed eyes. The closed eyes part really worked for me because I was able to drift off down memory lane making some now & then comparisons. My mind took me back 44 years ago to my days in boot camp at a naval base in Canada called Cornwallis. How different my body now as I sat there in this dimmed room trying to do even the simplest of stretches. Where once I scrambled up & down 30 foot ropes, drilled for hours on parade grounds, ran for miles on cross country runs, & did a whole host of improbable physical things, I now found it hard to simply bend a knee joint to reach the floor or raise a leg to an even level while in a seated chair. I was on the floor, on my back, & found that hard. I was on my stomach & that didn't work well either. Mashed my face into the purple mat. The only thing that finally worked for me was when after an hour & a half I heard Yoga instructor David say, "and now for our final move.......:))"
ANGRY WIND TOSSED SKYS
Elfrida has a community garden just behind their community hall so after the Yoga class we took a walk over there to have us a look see. Yes, I was still able to walk after the class. This plot of garden land is made free to the local people & seeds are provided. Each person or family is given a tower or in Canada we'd call it a raised bed with screened soil where they can plant their seeds. Two spacious greenhouses are filled with strawberry plants. A large earth oven has been built as well as a small pond with seating benches. We saw rows of onions & a long patch where peanuts had been grown. A band of roving chickens kept an eye on us as we strolled under an arbor that might have been grapes at one time. Gourds had grown up along a fence line & were hanging loosely for anyone to pick. What we thought were corn stalks turned out to be sugar cane. A Mexican caretaker fellow shoveled soil through a screen in another greenhouse as his boombox belted out Mexican tunes. We talked with a couple of ladies who had walked over from the Yoga class. Eve lives here in the valley near McNeal but has property in Nova Scotia as well. Another lady was visiting from England.
Wind gusts had picked up in intensity & when we arrived back at the ranch two of our tables were blown over & our Star Choice television satellite dish was on the ground with the dish pointing straight up in the air like a turtle on it's back. I immediately assumed the worse figuring the electronics in the LMB arm would be shattered & we would never ever be able to watch television again in this lifetime. Set the tri-pod back up, re-mounted the dish in the high winds, made a few slight adjustments & had Kelly turn on the TV inside. When I moved the dish slightly & saw Oprah Winfreys face fill the screen I knew that all would be right with the world again because Kelly would have her Oprah show back. Whewwwww, close call for me!! I then staked the tri-pod legs to the ground & suspended a heavy jug of water under the tri-pod center for added weight. I then re-positioned the car close to the dish to act as a wind break. It's nearly 7 p.m. now & so far so good.
DARK CLOUDS OVER THE GLEESON MOUNTAINS
Rest of the afternoon was spent inside because every time we stepped out the door we were practically blown right off our feet into the next county. We occasionally have strong winds in Ontario but they are not like the big winds that sweep out of the mountains in the southwest & come screaming across the desert floor to turn your whole world upside down right quick!!
SAND HILL CRANES LOW TO THE GROUND STRUGGLE AGAINST THE WIND TO-DAY
Later in the afternoon I stood outside & watched as thousands of Sand Hill Cranes struggled against the massive wind gusts on the way back from their feeding grounds at the north end of the valley. They were heavy with the days intake & at times were motionless in the sky only to be pushed back by the winds. They reminded me of salmon struggling upstream against the onslaught of relentless rushing waters. Great flocks of birds were down low to the ground trying to escape the wind shears. They came low over the ranch house & dropped even lover as they hugged the ground heading for their nightly roosts another 2 miles south of here. It's dark now as I'm typing this & yet I can hear them overhead trying to get home. Usually they are all back well before dark.....but, not to-night. I'm sure there will be some for which there will be no sunrise.............
ANOTHER 2 MILES & THEY WILL BE HOME
GROANER'S CORNER:(( I once had a job in an Orange Juice factory, but I got canned..... I couldn't concentrate.
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