Armadillo Guitar, Miner Man, and Dead Beaver-Rat

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Where to start? My family arrived here on Thursday making me realize that home is wherever they are. Daisy, the Jack Russell, and Biscuit, the Shiba Inu romp the 120 acres like they are part coyote and always have been (a point they want to make certain I make publicly). Pam’s wolfhounds ignore them, and I’ve actually caught them both shaking their heads and snickering at the arrival of the miniature canine greenhorns. I’m just thankful Rose and Mary Ellen decided that Daisy and Biscuit weren’t part of the food chain.

We ve all had the cough and cold flu for two weeks. Mine morphed into a burst ear drum. Logan’s turned to pink eye. And, Amy’s went to her chest and set up house. Logan arrived still on antibiotics and proceeded to get the barfy flu his first two days here. He’s learned to say the word puke (we’re such great parents, I swear).

In between bouts of throwing up, Logan feeds the horses carrots, pets the wolfhounds, and imitates the bluebirds and meadowlarks by flying around Pam’s house tweeting.

Before my family arrived and on the night before Pam left, Pam and I spent time child-proofing her house by moving carvings from Bhutan and other items from across the globe out of Logan’s reach. When we came across a tiny guitar on the floor in a corner, I told her that Logan would definitely be interested in it and would absolutely break it. She said she didn’t really care. I asked that she make sure she was ready to say goodbye to the item because it would be in pieces when she returned. She just smiled and said, I’d like to point out that the back of that guitar is made of an armadillo. Point taken. Logan discovered the guitar yesterday and is enjoying it immensely. Thanks Pam.

With all of us sick, we hunkered down for Easter weekend. The bunny came, but for the most part, we stayed in bed Sunday. Logan started at Creede Day Care yesterday. For the first time, he’s staying where there are more adults than children and can get undivided attention. Small town day care rocks.

Pam mentioned she spent just 11 days at the ranch in 2005. A few more than that in 2006. And, she’s trying for at least a month or so this year. To say that Pam travels would be an understatement. I’ve asked her how she can stand being on the road so much, and she tackled the answer in her Letters from the Divide column in our May/June issue (on stands May 5). Amy and I cleaned out her fridge one morning to make room for fresh groceries and held a contest for the oldest item found. Amy won with a condiment dated January 2002. I lost with an unidentifiable food item dated March 2003. World travels evidently give a person a strong gastrointestinal constitution.

With Logan in day care, Amy and I drove the Bachelor Loop mining tour just outside the town of Creede. The canyon is one of the most beautiful I’ve seen and looked even more ominous because of the layers of fog, light snow, and blue sky sneaking through 13,000 and 14,000 foot peaks. Spring weather here makes you crazy or you accept it for all its layered grandeur. I plan on bringing my camera next time up.

Next, we tried to find Love Lake, seven miles up snowy, muddy, rutted road past Pam’s ranch. An old man riding an ATV, black lab aboard the back, passed us. His yellowish grey beard (think Santa Claus) matched his teeth. He looked every bit the part of a miner who could have founded the town. For all we know, he could be mayor. He stared at us the way the wolfhounds stare at Daisy and Biscuit, and he made sure we made it back down when the road got too tough for our SUV and we turned around to head home with our tail between our legs.

Next up, fly fishing on the Rio Grande. Amy fixed up my line. I wore my snow boots to wade in the shallows. As she was teaching me to cast, I noticed a dead rat floating next to her boots. We debated whether or not it was a rat, a beaver, or a marmot, before sending him on his way with a small eulogy. Who knew the Rio Grand had the elusive and near-extinct Rat-Beaver? You should know that that’s all we caught that day.

Amy calls me twice from the road on the way out of town. Once to tell me about the movie theater in Monte Vista which consists of a motel where you can watch movies out your window on an outdoor drive-in screen. And later, to tell me that she’s dodging potatoes as they blow off of a farm truck, giving mashed potatoes a whole new meaning.

While I type, the snow blows sideways, then stops, then starts again. It might seem depressing if it wasn’t so beautiful and fleeting at this time of year. Blue sky peeks out, just like the horses by the barn.

More photos to come, including the town of Creede.

Last modified: January 25, 2010

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