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Post Title: Added Instruments in the Canyon’s Symphony

Post Date: January 22, 2014

On my first lap up the canyon this morning I had to stop momentarily to soak in the view. It was barely light enough to see where I was running, but the clear, dawning sky allowed the mountain ridges to stand in stark relief against it. Every tree, rock or indentation was intensely vivid without the sunshine to diffuse the light and spread a wash of brightness over everything. Pre-dawn feels magical to me. It’s my favorite time of day. The owls are still hooting to each other across the valley and I’m ever so fortunate to be here, right now, with them.

Today, I’m substitute teaching at MVA, the local, part-time public school for the home-schoolers. It’s one of my favorite places to work as these kids are, for the most part, allowed the freedom and the time to explore things more at their own pace. Today is a half day, and when I get back home I will tutor another home-schooler in reading, writing, and arithmetic. Last year, we covered all the multiplication tables through the twelves and he now knows them by heart. He writes wonderful, imaginative stories, practices the vanishing art of cursive writing. and we work on fun science together.

Last week we picked up five new chickens from one of my Dance Centre students. My son Chance and my five-year-old grandson Ian came with me to help capture our new feathered friends. Once we got home, it was quite dark, which made it much easier to treat the chickens for potential mites or other nuisances. We each had a job. Ian held the door of the pet carrier closed. Chance held each bird while I smeared Vaseline and tea tree oil on their legs. Then my husband Kent dusted them with diatomaceous earth. The sleepy heads barely knew what was being done to them. Now, at last, we’re getting plenty of eggs to feed our family.

Construction has officially begun on my grandmother’s Cedar Fire rebuild. A week ago Monday, we had the big cement pour. I had tried to convince my daughter Kali to let Ian skip school to watch this exciting event. He’s one of those little boys who could watch big trucks and tractors all day long. What’s he going to remember from whatever he did at school on that Monday anyway? The images of big cement trucks finagling their way in the dirt road and up to the construction site, along with the pumper engine pushing the gushing gray sludge out the huge snake-like hose, requiring massive strength from the guy holding the end of the serpent, is probably more likely to stick with him.

Post Title: The Color of Clay

Post Date: February 21, 2014

I started my walk just as the dawning light was beginning to descend into the canyon. The crisp, clear air filled my lungs as we ascended through the sagebrush and newly sprouted green grass. The breathtaking views over Kimball Valley, out toward Cuyamaca and the surrounding ridges never cease to inspire me. Even though I was kind of in a hurry I decided to sit down on a rock, just for a minute. I closed my eyes in silent meditation and immediately got a message from my late mother and grandmother. You see, ten years after the Cedar Fire I’m rebuilding Bamoo’s (my grandma’s) house and mulling over appropriate paint colors. I knew I wanted a shade of dirt, but what? They seemed to tell me that the house ought to be the color of the clay in the clay pit. I opened my eyes. Okay. I don’t have much time, but I better go collect a sample now. I climbed over some boulders and bush-whacked up to the clay pit. Luckily, I had a paper towel in my jacket pocket, so I scooped up fistfuls of the dark red clay into the paper and wrapped it. About 50 feet down the rabbit trail, I stopped when they seemed to indicate that the color of the trim might lie at my feet. I pulled out my last napkin and grabbed a handful of the dark brown, almost black dirt mixed with dead lilac leaves. I was excited. Mission accomplished! My dilemma of color decisions was settled.

Title: Quail Mutterings | Address: chivarnado.com

Author: Chi Varnado | From: Ramona | Blogging since: 2010

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