Fall arrived in the Tetons a couple of weeks ago, although you wouldn’t notice it by the weather today. The aspen leaves are changing color in the northern part of the valley, but the colors are not as spectacular this year as they were last year. The cottonwood trees and willows seemed to have rapidly gone from summer to winter, as many of them are already bare. Mr. Gecko and I have been wading through the somewhat baffling process of creating a baby registry. When we registered for items for our wedding, it was pretty easy. We both had our own things, and knew pretty specifically what we still needed. Baby things are a whole new field, and it doesn’t help that we live far enough from major shopping that I can’t just go and touch things. We’re slowly figuring it out, though. It helps that many of our friends have had babies, and we are getting plenty of pass-downs. My work season is winding down, so expect more project posts. I have a long list of things that I want to get done before our little gecko arrives. I have been able to get out and take some photos as things slow down and I have more energy. This beaver is part of a colony that lives at Schwabacher’s Landing in the park. Mr. Gecko went out this morning, early, to take some sunrise pictures. These last two are his. I was still in bed, trying to catch up on sleep while I can. Hopefully soon I can catch up on blogging, too…
This year has been a wild one. Moving, crafting, learning new skills, creating new habits, and making some wonderful friends.We moved from the desert to the mountains, leaving Arizona on a windy, 86 degree F day and driving to our new home in Wyoming through the snow. In March, we fostered a fantastic, loving giant of a cat that we still miss. He found a great home a few weeks after we moved. My mama came to visit before we moved, and I had fun showing her around. I also finished the first of three baby blankets.Our first few months in the Tetons were filled with discovery and wonder. Summer was filled with guests and trips to Yellowstone.Mr. Gecko’s parents came to visit, and we had a long, amazing day in Yellowstone, capped by a large herd of bison that we watched for at least an hour.Among the visitors to our house was this little guy who dropped in for a swim.I finished baby blankets two and three, and was really pleased with both. Mr. Gecko and I went to California and Tennessee, before settling in for the winter. In between, I had my 100th blog post.We have better internet at the house now (I’m using it now), but it took a long time to decide what we wanted. For most posts, I’ll be going into town, especially if I have lots of pictures to upload. Almost all of these pictures are from earlier posts. I have found that having to drive an hour into town to use internet makes me more likely to post. It is somewhat like having a deadline, and I’m more likely to write them at home and have several ready when I head into town. Which has been great, except for the weeks when I’ve forgotten to bring my laptop…The critters have adjusted really well to the changes that this past year has brought. Sugar loves the snow, and Cricket is much happier in this house. Her little kingdom- food, water, cat tree, snuggle cube, windowsill- is in the living room, much closer to us than in the house in Arizona, and she comes every day for (brief) snuggles. Christmas Eve and day brought more snow to our house, and this past week has brought frigid temperatures. This is the thermometer on my car at 11:42 in the morning. We didn’t see positive numbers that day, and that night it got down to -27. 2014 was crazy, and stressful, and uncertain, but it was also filled with wonder. I miss the friends and family that we were so close to in Arizona, but I love that we have made so many new friends here, and that we live in a small community where people do nice things for each other all the time. Though there were parts of the year that were tough and frustrating, I wouldn’t have traded a single moment of it. I feel blessed every day here.
I had written a couple of posts to go up last week on my trip to town, including one on a foggy morning walk that Sugar and I took. Then I left my laptop, with said posts on it, at home. So, no new posts last week- they’ll be squished in this week instead. Mr. Gecko was out of town for two weeks, so I was on my own for snow removal. As much as I love snow, it was a bit disheartening to watch it rapidly fill up the driveway and front walk that I had just cleared. The day after the worst of the snow, though, we had this sunset:Sights like that make up for the hassle of snow removal (and then some).
Fall is a memory of crisp days, critters, and fiery colors blazing from the trees. Over the space of a week, we jumped from the barren, leafless after-fall to 3-feet-of-snow-already winter. Since I haven’t come into town for internet since we got back from vacation, this overdue post is going to be a random selection of winter photos. Speaking of random, the tomato cage in the snow is to mark where the fire pit is so that we don’t run into it with the snow blower. Mr. Gecko, brilliant man that he is, suggested that we turn it over so that no one (meaning our crazy beast or clumsy me) falls on the pointy end. Since we are on the subject of the crazy beast, I should tell you that our desert-born and -raised Sugar dog LOVES the snow. She jumps, runs, flails, rolls, eats, and otherwise frolics in the white stuff. She will also try to catch snowballs, and usually misses. Me, being the bright dogmama that I am, decided I would throw a chunk of ice in her direction. After she had missed the previous 6 snowballs, she somehow twisted and caught the softball-sized ice brick. Never doing that again. She didn’t care and wasn’t injured, but the sound that it made was horrible. This is not the best picture, but it makes me snort. Silly girl. The only time I have seen Sugar panic in the snow was on this walk. She hopped up onto the snowbank on the side of the road. It had been piled up by the snowplows, so the sides and top were firm and about 4 feet tall. On the other side was three feet of soft powder, which Sugar proceeded to fling herself into, thinking that it would be as firm as what she was standing on. Poof. She sank, and her eyes went really wide. She started flailing, and I was prepared to wade in and rescue her, but she wiggled around and got to the edge of the bank. With a little encouragement and a couple of attempts, she clambered up the side and made it back to the road. Good girl. The road home. Somewhere. I guess spiders like the snow. This dude was cruising around our front ‘yard’.There are several small herds of bison that winter close to us. They sweep the snow off of the grass with their heads, so their heads are usually covered with snow. I call this one “Wishful Thinking”. This coyote was standing there staring at the bison.
I don’t know what he was hoping would happen. This is how winter has started for us in the Tetons. I love it. I love the snow and the cold and the critters. I love watching the beast play. I love crocheting or knitting while the snow falls and drinking hot tea and planning hearty soups to cook. I don’t love pushing a full shopping cart through icy slush, but at least the cart is full. I also don’t love shoveling the sidewalk to our door and have it fill in 20 minutes later, but nothing is perfect.
We went to lunch at one of the local lodges a while ago, and our waiter had some good advice. He recommended embracing the winter, finding something to love about it and holding onto that. Since he’s from Alaska, I figured he would know.
So rather than dread the bitter cold, the snow that will reach to the roof, and the inevitable power outages, I’m going to look forward to it. Crocheting by the fire, walking the Sugar Beast in the snow, plowing my way through as many of the books on my to read list as I can. Mr Gecko is not as thrilled as I am, but Sugar loves the snow.
With the coming winter, our large southward migration is starting. On our trip to town last week, we saw elk, deer, moose, my favorite little herd of pronghorn, and a bear. Sadly, my camera was at home, so no pictures of those. I’m also seeing lots of animals on my way to work early early in the morning. Oh, and the reason that I have a favorite herd of pronghorn is that this buck (male pronghorn) has a herd of 8 ladies (does). He keeps them pretty close together on Elk Ranch Flats, next to the bison, and runs off other bucks. Dude’s a stud.
As a side note, I took a continental knitting class last night at our local LYS, Knit On Pearl. It was great, and I picked it up pretty fast. I only learned the basics- knit and purl- but it made sense to me. I don’t know whether Mr. Gecko is happy that I’m learning something new to use up the yarn in my “room o’yarn” as he called it on Facebook, or nervous that I’m going to have an excuse to buy more yarn…One last little update. With the massive decrease in tourist traffic (all of the campgrounds are closed for the season), the park has been working on needed maintenance. This week, many of the trails around Jenny Lake have been closed so that helicopters can ferry in supplies for the trail crew to repair the trails in the area. This guy seemed to be pretty efficient- in the 5 minutes or so that I was at that overlook, he moved two loads of rock.