Winter In The Valley

It’s been a while since I posted here. I’ve been busy, what with moving out to our cabin and getting ready for winter here. We’re off the grid and we rely on wood for heat. Our electricity comes from a couple of 100-watt solar panels and we haul drinking water from town in five-gallon carboys. All of this takes time and attention, thus I’ve had less time to collect my thoughts and write.

It has come to my attention that a few of the readers of this blog have an antipathy towards Facebook. Facebook has its problems and annoyances, but these days I just have to use it. The vast majority of my friends and relatives use Facebook and thus it’s a convenient way to share photos, audio, and brief textual expressions.

It’s Christmas day as I type this post. It’s sunny and windy outside and I’ve retreated to the cabin to write for a while. A pecan and mesquite fire is burning in the stove. I’ve collected several of my Facebook posts and present them here, both for Facebook-phobic readers and as a more dependable way to archive them. I’ve enclosed direct quotes from Facebook posts in double quotes.

Our November project was an outhouse/toolshed. It was a fun project, one of those design-as-you-go structures. We’ve taken an option which our county offers: opting out of building codes. I’m willing to take full responsibility if the shed falls on someone or otherwise becomes a public menace!

Here’s the little shed during three phases of construction:




“I needed a shed door handle and didn’t want to drive to town for a Chinese stock handle from the hardware store. I walked out into the scrub with a battery-powered reciprocal saw, hoping that the powers of serendipity would favor me once again. A contorted mesquite root at the edge of a wash looked usable, so I cut it, took it back to the shed, and fitted it to the door. Total time for the project was one half-hour. On the left are the two stumps, on the right the mounted handle.”


Before we had a woodstove some of the November mornings were quite chilly and I’d make a little campfire near the cabin. Here’s Sage looking at me through the smoke:


Here’s a pre-sunrise photo I shot on the 6th of December:


That same week there were some nice morning clouds shrouding the Mule Mountains. We had had a nice rain the day before:


“This morning [Dec. 3rd] I surprised a Chihuahuan Desert Goblin slowly creeping past the south wall of our cabin. In exchange for a sip of coffee it agreed to pose for this photo.”


An assortment of dawn shots from late November and early December:





Sunrise and sunset on November 14th:


Some tree lizards sunning themselves on the cabin wall:


Dingo returning, curious as to what had detained me (I was photographing the Black-Spined Opuntia clump in the foreground):


There is a lot of contorted, dead, and dry mesquite wood in the desert around here which we burn for firewood, along with pecan branches from a nearby orchard:


The western frosty side of a long-dead mesquite burl:


Frost on my truck’s hood the morning of Dec. 7th, looking like a planet ascending:


A couple of musical photos taken by others. The first is a shot of Jamie and me playing at a Tucson steampunk tea party, and the second is John Cordes and I accompanying a California singer at St. Elmo’s in Bisbee:



A pair of Devil’s Claw photos; the first is a pod opening here in the cabin, and the second is of two pods which somehow had contrived to grasp a dead deer’s leg and foot:



The dawn on this Christmas morning:


Merry Christmas!


3 comments on “Winter In The Valley

  1. Joan says:

    Wow! I got what I wanted for Xmas! Stupendous photos, Larry. Loved the shed door handle. The sunrise photos were specatular and I was interested in the erecting of the shed. Went fast! (in photo time anyway).
    Any interest in posting inside photos of your house?

  2. Dave Ayers says:

    Thanks for reviving the old-fashioned blog. Good photos as usual. You have a distinctive style with your closeups, seeing things that most of us don’t notice.

  3. Rain Trueax says:

    Great photos of a region I much love. The small things– that’s the real big thing– well, except for those sunsets

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