I have shown “my” mountain before, but this weekend I was in Corrales, a quaint country village outside of Albuquerque, walking along an arroyo and got some new pictures from a different angle. It was a springlike day, giving me some hope for warmth, but it is over now. We had more rain and snow today.  (Sorry for the graininess in some of the pictures. I did not realize until I uploaded that I had one of my camera settings not exactly where it should have been.) All pictures will enlarge when clicked unless otherwise noted.

This is the arroyo along which we walked. Chicklet is in the bottom. During other seasons there are varying amounts of water in this. It stretches for several miles along the "back road" of Corrales. One rarely can take even a short walk beside it without seeing people with dogs and horses.

this photo will not enlarge when clicked

My World is a weekly meme in which participants are virtual tour guides. Go check it out and see the worlds of others. Or better yet, take a look at the guidelines, and do your own My World Post!

Sandia Mountains as viewed from Albuquerque's west side 18-Apr-09. (click photo to enlarge)

Sandia Mountains as viewed from Albuquerque's west side 18-Apr-09. (click photo to enlarge)

Like most places, Albuquerque seems to not be able to decide whether it is winter or spring. However, in my 6-1/2 years of living here, this is the latest I have seen snow. (And if you are on Facebook and know anyone from  Albuquerque, you know the whole city flipped out.)  Easter weekend was cold and rainy (snowy on the mountain), and last Friday it snowed for half of the day at my house (the least likely place in the metropolitan area to get snow). The mountain was gorgeous the next day.

2009-04-19sunset

I am sure I will still see snow on the mountain today, but down at my house we are having spring again. Last night while I was working on a stamping class for tonight, we left the door open. The warm air wafted in bringing the scents of spring and the sounds of crickets. The evening sunset was warm and springlike. It made me truly content.

But if it snows again next weekend…

My World is a weekly meme in which participants are virtual tour guides. Go check it out and see the worlds of others. Or better yet, take a look at the guidelines, and do your own My World Post!

It is cold here. Extremely cold. It was 12 (F) when I got up yesterday. OK, it is not as cold as some of you have it, but my house is cold inside. COLD. (Note: That was the outdoor temperature. Inside it slightly warmer!)

click photo to enlarge

click photo to enlarge

Because our elevation is around 5000 feet, our heat depends on sun. Thank goodness we have a lot of it–310 days a year. However, this week has been short on sun. Tuesday was a day with mixed snow and sun. There were large snow squalls all day. Toward the end of the day I thought it was actually going to get busy and snow, but three minutes later the sun was shining.  (I am not sure what made me so delusional. Probably wishful thinking about the possibility of no school on Wednesday–”art day.”)

The first photo is one I took on the way to an appointment. I loved seeing part of the city obscured in a snow storm while it was perfectly clear where I was. When I left, however, I drove about 500 feet and got in a mini blizzard myself.

The next photo shows how hard the pellets (yes, usually they were pellets, not flakes) were coming down at times. If these episodes had lasted more than a few minutes, we would have been buried!

click photo to enlarge and see snow detail better

click photo to enlarge and see snow detail better

To see LOTS more terrific sky pictures or to find out how to participate in this meme, head to the SkyWatch blog.

 

A week ago yesterday I took to the skies to Orlando for a business conference. There is no better time than early January for a little shot-in-the-arm for motivation, especially if it is in a warmer place than where my flight was originating!

The sky was incredible that day. On the way to the airport I noticed some really interesting clouds above the mountains, but they had mostly broken up while waiting on the plane. In this photo, THOSE clouds are the small ones hanging right over the tops of the mountains.

200901-152009-01-07swf-mtnskyfromplane

click photo to enlarge

This is the same mountain I have shown in many previous posts, but a view from the south–and a little higher. Probably about 1/3 of Albuquerque is also in the picture. It seems bit drab and barren in the winter, but I certainly do not mind with a brilliant blue sky nearly every day!

To see LOTS more terrific sky pictures or to find out how to participate in this meme, head to the SkyWatch blog.

click on photo to enlarge

In an earlier My World post, I mentioned Cottonwood trees and that I would probably post about them more as part of My World. Well, here I am with another Cottonwood tree post.

I take Chic to gymnastics in a neighboring town every Monday. When the trees were in their blaze of autumn glory, we noticed this tree. We did not have time to stop that day, but we KNEW it was made to be climbed. Since then on every nice day (most) when we had time (some), we have stopped to play in the tree.

click photo to enlarge

enlarge

It has ten giant branch/trunks sticking out. Two more have been cut off. My girls love to play and climb here and usually pretend they are the Ingalls girls (as in Laura Ingalls Wilder) living on the Kansas prairie and making friends with “Indians.” The girls are in the first two pictures, so you can get an idea of the size of the tree compared to them.

Climbing trees are probably part of the everyday world of many of you, but they are not for us. They are special treasures.

A view of the mountain from the climbing tree

A view of the mountain from the climbing tree

My World is a weekly meme in which participants are virtual tour guides. Go check it out and see the worlds of others. Or better yet, take a look at the guidelines, and do your own My World Post!

click photo to enlarge

click photo to enlarge

 

For My World Tuesday I put up a Cottonwood photo that was not yet in full autumn regalia, so I thought it might be a good time to post a yellow one–against our blue sky.

Our “monsoon season” appears to be over for real, so our skies look like this pretty much every day. The sunrises and sunsets are very pretty, but they are exactly the same every day. So my choices are to find something interesting to put in front of the sky or go into the archives. Today I thought this was interesting enough.

Below is a not-so-good picture of the “green mile” which is now the  “yellow” mile–the river valley filled with Cottonwood trees. I took it by holding my camera in the appropriate direction while I was driving, thus the bit of askew-ness.

click photo to enlarge

click photo to enlarge

For those last week who expressed concern over my camera lens–I am still without an 18-55 mm lens. I am trying to decide if I want to replace it or get an 18-200 mm lens. I need to do something soon because shooting sky pictures only with my 55-200 lens is a bit of a challenge at times!

To see LOTS more terrific sky pictures,  head to the SkyWatch blog hosted by  Sandy , Ivar, Wren, Fishing Guy and Klaus.

click photo to enlarge

click photo to enlarge

This is a picture at sunset of the Sandia Mountains. This mountain is one of the most defining things about where I live. It is always there. People know what direction they are going by looking at it. It can be seen from pretty much anywhere in the sprawling city. It creates weather from time to time and usually looks good in pictures. Even though I am used to it and sometimes take it for granted, it still has a massive beauty of its own.

My World is a brand new meme put on by the same people who do SkyWatch Friday. Go check it out and see the worlds of other people!

For my regular readers, if you haven’t checked the post below, please do so if you have a moment!

click to enlarge

click to enlarge

I did an extra post this week (with a couple of really good sky pictures as well as other scenery–go take a peek!), and it is a busy week, so just a quick picture I took yesterday, yes, while driving (traffic was bad, and I was going slow). Our mountain is not the most glamorous mountain around, but it has its own majestic quality, and does some terrific things to the clouds.

We have guests arriving today for our annual International Balloon Fiesta. (Do not expect any good pictures from that becuase if I go, it will be ugly weather and likely get canceled. If I do not go, the weather will be sparkling and beautiful, but I will not be there to get pictures. This is a rule.) The guests leave next Tuesday, then the girls and I leave Wednesday for Missouri. Posting and visiting may be sporadic for a couple of weeks.

Happy SkyWatch Weekend!

To see LOTS more terrific sky pictures,  head to the SkyWatch blog hosted by Tom, Sandy , Imac and Klaus.

This post is a meme hosted by  Sonia at Leaves of Grass. This is not the first time she has hosted Ecological Day (I have been aware of it at least twice before), but it’s my first time. Pop on over and see what everyone else is posting this month! I think it will be fun. Most pictures in this post will enlarge when clicked (and likely worth it.)

——————————————————–

Our mountain on the way to school

Our mountain on the way to school

Last year when Chic started school, I hated whined about complained incessantly about did not like the drive to school. She goes to a private church school, so it means driving. It is less than 7 miles to get there, but we have horrible traffic. Between the traffic and unloading everyone and walking her in and talking to this teacher or that (since I am involved in many school activities) and getting home, the minimum round trip time was 45 minutes. Often it would be an hour or more. I had to do that twice a day, except Wednesdays when I taught art, then I was there all day and it was only one trip. This was/is a serious time drain on my life. 1.5-2 hours a day DRIVING. I cannot get anything accomplished then. (Not even phone calls because a large portion of the trip is in a “dead zone.”) And not being the type to be running around town all of the time, the gas used for these trips to school really bothered me. It wasn’t over $3/gallon yet, but just USING that much gas bothered me. I tried all year to find someone with whom to carpool. Several lived in my area, but none wanted to do it. It was frustrating.

Our mountain on the way to school with moon

Our mountain on the way to school with moon

I wanted to ride my bike–I had a bike trailer–but there were two obstacles. One was that there was not a bike path the entire route, and the part without would be VERY dangerous for a biker, especially hauling a bike trailer. The other obstacle was a giant hill. GIANT. Cars with smaller motors have trouble getting up that hill. How would I ever make it on a bike, hauling a bike trailer? Biking just was not an option.

Summer over, the whole school grind started again, and I was no closer to a carpool, and still had the same obstacles preventing my biking. Until… a rocket scientist (because apparently it takes one to come up with a different idea) had the idea of driving to an area, then biking from there to his work. I started thinking about where I could drive and then bike. Driving part-way is not as good as not driving, but biking part-way is better than not biking at all. So each day after dropping off Chic, I would scope the route. There was a library at which to park, but there was the block in front of it without a bike path, and I was not sure how to safely get to a bike path from there. There was NO parking where the bike path started. Finally I found a sand road between the library and the bike path. Not optimal, but it would work.

Chic & Chicklet in bike trailer

Chic & Chicklet in bike trailer

So a month ago I began driving about 2-1/2 miles to the library and biking the rest of the way to school three mornings a week. I make nine trips to school a week, and am now biking 3 of them. Considering the amount I drive, my guess is that I am using 25% less gas every week. Would I like to do more? Yes. Is more realistic? No. 25% is better than nothing.

My shadow while riding

My shadow while riding to school

Biking is somewhat of an inconvenience, but I have decided that to be friendly to the planet, we have to be willing to be inconvenienced. My phrase for this is “conveniently inconvenienced.” The time factor is fine. I spend only a small amount more time biking to school than I did before with the combination of drive and exercise. The incovenience for us is that we are leaving our house 40 minutes earlier than before, meaning our children get 40 minutes less sleep. I allow that they rest a little in the bike trailer. Also, I have to drive Prince Charming’s truck (mid-size) on those days because I do not have a bike rack on my car. (And am not yet willing to spend the money to get one.) I am not a fan of the truck, but most days I do not have other errands. Another factor is that I have to eat breakfast earlier than before, at 5:45 a.m., in order to allow about an hour before exercising. (My body needs that.) And I cannot get dinner made most of the time before I leave for school (which used to be my goal). There are many inconveniences, but it is worth it. If we wait until being ecologically friendly is convenient, it will never happen.

Edited: After many of the comments, I feel like I should edit this to say that this was not meant to be “preaching” about ecology, the environment, or anything else. Not everyone can do this. My point was that for a whole year I wanted to do it but could not figure out how. Someone else gave me an idea to make it possible. But although not everyone can ride a bike or something similar, we can all do something, but it might require thinking beyond our regular ideas and routines. (Or allowing someone else to put the idea in our heads.)

The mesa with golden morning sun.

The mesa with golden morning sun.

These are a few of the things I have seen on my bike trip. I would be seeing the outdoors if biking around my neighborhood, but some of this would not be seen in my neighborhood.

I love how the petal tips curl on these floweres. (Click to enlarge.)

I love how the petal tips curl on these floweres. (Click to enlarge.)

"Russian Olive" with copper fruit. I've never seen that before.

Russian olive with copper fruit. (I've never seen these in copper before.)

Chicklet loves rabbits. This one posed for us.

Chicklet loves rabbits. This one posed for us.

It got tired of us, but left slowly. (Cute tail!)

It got tired of us, but left slowly. (Cute tail!)

 
click on photo to enlarge
click on photo to enlarge

This is part of the Sandia Mountains.  In yesterday’s post, I referred to them as being in the picture, and several people said something to me about them. Hence, this post.  It is one I have been meaning to do, but if you read here regularly, you realize that meaning to do a post has nothing to do with that actually getting it into the computer.

So why are they called the “Sandia Mountains?”  Well, the origin is somewhat interesting.  When we were house hunting here, our realtor explained it to us.  Although she was wonderful and had my complete trust, I had to look it up to be certain the story was true.  It was.  Apparently “Sandia” is the Spanish word for “watermelon.”  That seems to be a bit of an odd name for a mountain range, unless you have been here at sunset, looking at the mountains.  At sunset the mountains turn watermelon pink, and they are quite beautiful.  It does not happen every day.  A lot of it depends on the clouds or lack of clouds, but the watermelon color does come often, and it is quite a treat.

The top picture was taken at sunset from my back yard. (Sorry for all the house tops.  That is where I most commonly am when I see sunrises and sunsets.)  It was an incredible sunset, and there was even a rainbow in it for a while.  (Not shown.)  The picture is definitely worth enlarging.

The following picture was taken during the same sunset as this.

click photo to enlarge

click photo to enlarge

When I see this view of the Sandias, I see all the glittering windows in the city.  It reminds me of a story I heard as a child about a boy who longingly looked over the valley at a house with golden windows and wished he could live in such a house.  One day he visited, and found that the house did not have golden windows, but was shown a house that did.  It was his own.  One version of the story is here if you want to read it.  I do not know why, but I have always loved that story.  I did not really relate to it because I never remember envying anyone else’s house, even as a child.  (Even though we were poor!)  Whatever the reason, I loved the story, and I still do.  And now, since living in this place with enchanted skies, I have illustrations for it.  The picture is definitely worth enlarging.

click photo to enlarge

click photo to enlarge

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.