Everyone has heard the phrase “keep the home fires burning.” It was a wildly popular patriotic British song from 1914. Written by an American woman, Lena Guilbert Ford, who was living in London during World War I. The original title, “Till The Boys Come Home.” was changed to “Keep the Home Fires Burning.” She collaborated with Welshman Ivor Novello to create what has been called the greatest patriotic song to come out of England during World War I. Personally, I’m not sure what the competition for this title is, but I’m not sure it’s held up over the years.
This phrase has a different meaning for me as we get most of our heat from a wood burner stove. As the temperatures dropped recently, I’ve taken this phrase to heart as I enjoy the warmth and beauty of a nearby fire. It’s even more beautiful in juxtaposition to the view out my window.
On a crystal clear morning, with snow in unmelted patches, I saw a pair of Grosbeaks. Hiking with a birder friend who was more concerned with physical exertion than admiring our surroundings, she continued forward as I stopped to capture a few shots.
When we finally stopped for water and a rest, I showed the others my pictures. They couldn’t believe I was the only one who saw the birds. I’ve since learned about these birds, including a new word “frugivore” which means fruit eater. They do, however also eat seeds and feed spiders and insects to their young. Interesting that the adult birds don’t eat those things. It’s like fish sticks, Lucky Charms, and boxed macaroni and cheese – parents feed these to their children but don’t eat them as adults. If you’re still eating these things, that’s fine – I’m not judging.
A Halloween poem in less than 100 words (as told by a reluctant artist)
Draw a Monsterfor Homework
The assignment: Draw a monster for homework.
My best friend and neighbor Jess, smiles a smirk.
“How hard can that be?” She mutters.
“Do you even know me?” I stutter.
Pencils and markers lined up for the job
I make careful shapes, but end up in a blob
A shadow of gray that won’t go away
“What’s that?” I imagine Miss Riley’s voice say.
So what if the corners are tattered and torn,
It’s Halloween which means endless candy corn!
My blob monster drawing, messy shadow and all,
Hangs proudly with others, out in the hall!
Blending of colors
over the morning mountains
breath taken away
Yesterday I spent the morning at the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum. There are currently two exhibits that are dramatically different and demonstrate the time and place of the quilters. The other quilts are based on works from the civil war but I am focusing here on Coahagan Island. Look through the pictures for more spectacular works of art.
The quilts of Caohagen Island are now the cultural and economic focal point of the island. Through the exhibit I learned that this tiny island in the Philippines 🇵🇭 with a population of 600 residents has 100 quilters.
The joy in these quilts fills the room and comes through in the stories they tell. Color choices and intricate designs are only part of the story. In 1996, quilting was introduced by a woman named Junko who had traveled to the island from Japan. Beginning with school children, Junko introduced the traditional art of Japanese Quilt making. She then began teaching a group of 10 women who have become the core of the quilting collective. Since that time, men and women have been creating these works of art. In the beginning, lacking the skills and confidence of established quilters, they were known for their imperfections. They turned this into a strength and the world has embraced them.
Unlike the quilts we are familiar with in the United States, these quilts aren’t straight lines and perfect patterns. This may not appeal to a purist, but in my mind, they are superior for their ability to exude island life.
Quilts from this island are available for sale and make up 1/6 of the local revenue. Both the stories of the quilters and the quilts themselves provided a morning of inspiration that I will not soon forget.
Aspen trees play exquisite music in the wind. The sound of their leaves is magical from spring to fall. Called “quaking aspens” as their sound in the forest is unlike that of any other tree.
Aspens are the autumn showstoppers in Colorado. Their magnificent yellow leaves are the reason Long lines of cars drive along Peak to Peak highway and into the high country during “leaf peeper season.” They are beautiful up close or from the distance set against the green pines.
What makes them unique in the world of trees? They reproduce by root sprouts, so when you see a cluster of aspens, they are clones and share a root structure. Knowing this, has changed the way I look at these trees. I imagine under ground they are “holding hands” and supporting each other as they provide shelter to animals in our forest.
Another important feature of aspens is their ability to reduce the spread of forest fire in addition to regenerating in areas where there have been fires. A secret weapon in fire mitigation.
And after the cold has forced them to shed their leaves, they remain a charming part of the scenery in the mountains.
Snow blanketed my landscape
Happy by the fire!