Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Hagerman Fire

Over the weekend we had an enormous fire in our area, burning 215,000 acres in a 24 hour period!  I believe the acreage total is up over 300,000 now but the fire in our area is done.... since it ran out of anything to burn.
I woke up at 5 am on Sunday morning and was opening some windows to let fresh air in when I noticed the whole horizon to the west was glowing red.  Our town has a mighty river, the Snake between it and a high desert plateau which was currently on fire.
My husband and I jumped in the car and drove up top of our valley to see what we could see.  To the south of us, the fire was so big that even though it was miles away we could see flames leaping.  It was pitch dark so I couldn't
 really get any good photos there.
We drove over to the Bliss Grade overlook and got some amazing photos, as we watched the fire advance for about an hour.   The first photo shows the reflection of my car's windshield.

The next photo shows the fire advancing behind a cone shaped hill with the fire reflected in the river below.  It was the eeriest feeling, as there was a ribbon of fire miles long, and way downriver in the dark, we could see only a couple of different spots where there was flashing red emergency vehicle lights.  We thought "are we the only ones that know the whole place is on fire?"... we didn't know that everybody was fighting a fire south of here till later in the day.
As the dawn advanced, you can see where the fire has burned over the cone, the smoke is starting to come up that engulfed the Magic Valley all day.  The firefighters protected structures up on the desert, and I could hear helicopters and bombers that were getting water out of the river to drop on the fire all day.   Around 5 pm, the wind came up around 25-30 mph and the fire was at the river's edge.  It jumped the river in 3 places, but fire departments from the whole valley were waiting and got it put out immediately.  After that, the smoke just cleared out... the fire had run out of fuel at last.  Whew!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Riding the Debt Wagon

So I just did the Oprah debt thing.... made the charts a couple of months ago where you list all your bills, re-arrange them in order of highest interest rate, then put all your money towards that bill and pay the minimum on the others.
So far it is working, in the first 60 days, I have paid off 2 of the smaller credit card debts i owed.  Today i made the first larger payment towards a 13.33% card.  I need to call them to get the interest reduced as well.  All I can say is it feels really good to see this starting to work in only 2 months.
I'm a self employed maker of kaleidoscopes and jewelry, so as the winter months come round, there are usually long stretches of time between sales.  I'm vowing to ramp up my retail and etsy websites, and use an emailing service to keep in touch with my wholesale accounts.  In the past, I've spent a LOT of money to do trade shows, but for now I want to nurture the accounts I have.  At least until I can get my debt in manageable territory.  I love my work, but I have nothing to show for it but loads of debt....debt, debt, debt.... the key word that is undermining our whole society.... sigh... at least i finally posted, but see why i don't most days?  Extreme terror? Blindsiding depression?  Nah, just laziness and too much time reading what everyone else is putting out there!
How People go camping in Montana

For kicks and giggles, here is a photo of people who really know how to live!  We were on our way to a craft show in Bigfork Montana when we saw this crazy car full of stuff.  We thought it was po' folk moving but when my husband saw the photo he said "it's a truck driver going camping, see how he's tied everything down?"..... so I look at the ingeniousness of the treasures tied to this car.  I guess thats what you do when you wanna go camping and you don't have a pickup or van. (they WERE going camping )... notice Tigger and the bag of potato's tied onto the backpack, what a hoot!  I really think this is performance art, as they put on quite a show, there must've been 6 people taking pictures as soon as they pulled into the quik stop.  God Bless America!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Shooting up in Utah

Yesterday was a strange but fun kind of day.  We have a friend, Little Mary who is a retired military gal with 14 guns and a 160 acre parcel in the middle of Bumf*** Utah.  We decided to pack a picnic and go visit the place with her and our friend Dan.
The day was crystal clear and temps in the low 80's with a light breeze.  Couldn't have been nicer.  We brought my craft canopy for some shade and set up a day camp.
On one of my walks, I ran across a number of wee scurrying lizards.  Most of these guys were so quick you could just see a tail waving back and forth before they disappeared under a bush.  This one posed for me tho.
I think it's a dream of a lot of people to move out somewhere where there is nobody, but I can tell you after yesterday that this is just that kind of place and it's TOO isolated.  About 30 miles from a town with just a post office and 10 more miles down a dirt road.  I imagine the stars at night would be totally breathtaking tho.  I took a string of pictures to make a panorama shot, but each one looked about the same, so here is just one of the scenery.
As you can see, lots of stickery plants, sagebrush and these amazing salt flat areas of pure white.  We weren't too far from the famous Bonneville Salt Flats, at least when we left in the afternoon and headed south to the I80, I think that's what I saw off to the left, a miles long area of pure white in the middle of the desert.

As for wildlife, there were plenty of flies after our lunch, a beautiful white butterfly that liked the canopy, and this poor thing, beautiful in it's symmetry.  Actually, this isn't wild at all, but probably a sheep, as this is sheep country.

Shooting the guns was actually a lot of fun.  Mary is a kind teacher and helped me do whatever it is I needed to do  to get the gun to shoot.  I smacked a target on the second try which was exhilarating.  Won't say how many times it was before the second hit tho!  Here is Mary in her "Chuck the Rifleman" moment.

The last little gift of the day when we were looking for cactus to take home, was a Horny Toad that scurried across my path!  It's a miracle to see one of these little guys, unless you happen to live somewhere where they flourish.  I saw one when I was a kid, and now this one.  I stuck the camera as close to the sticker bush as I could, but he's so well camouflaged that you really only see him cause of the outline of his torso.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Catalog Crazy

So yeah i've been away from the blog for months now... somedays just too blue to write (as in I've got nothing to say or add to the world to make it a better place etc), but most days too busy and overwhelmed to write.  And the funny thing is, writing usually aligns my molecules (kind of like doing that exercise video for 10 minutes) so it's a good thing.

I've been making a bad habit of zoning out in front of the computer, pushing a button, reading something, pushing another button and so on, while time flies by.

 Lately I've been making myself actually heave ho on the old catalog for 2010, gee 6 months into the year, i think it's about time!  I just revamped the one month old edition and it's ready to go out to all my wholesale customers.  Well, it's ready after I buy more ink and print about 50 more issues.  You see, my laser printer was printing kind of fuzzy on the jewelry photos, then I cleaned the big thingy inside that must be absolutely speckless.  Well, that was a mistake, cause then the print quality really went down.  At the same time, I was printing catalogs for my trade show ACRE  in Vegas, so I ran to the local Office Max and purchased an HP Officejet 6500 which claims to be "40% cheaper than running a laser".  They lie.  While the printer prints beautifully and is quiet, it runs thru cleaning cycles alot and burns up the ink.  I think my 5 page front and back catalog cost about $5 to print on the ink jet, whereas it was about $2 on the laser (using discount laser toner).  Sigh.  and now for some strange reason, my laser seems to be  printing pretty good again, so I'm trying to finish things up and get that catalog out.  It will feel like I've come up with a solution for world peace or something once it's all done and mailed.

Here's a sunset from a few weeks ago, I think the volcano in Iceland may be causing this, but it's fantastic!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Spring Comes, Spring Goes

Wow, our icy blanket that we've been living under for 2 months has finally melted away!   We've had a weird inversion for weeks which means a thick layer of clouds between us and the sun.... which is a pretty good description of what it does to your spirit as well.... coated by a heavy layer of blaw and ice.  I haven't even made anything in the studio for 3 weeks, but that's post partum Christmas burnout.  Fellow crafters are all crazy busy getting ready for the winter trade shows, which I can't afford to do.

Instead I'm going to concentrate on listing some vintage items on etsy at and listing my show stuff (mostly jewelry) on  Also hope to finally achieve my real goal when I joined etsy and get jewelry and stained glass supplies listed for sale and clean out the studio.  You can only move stuff you are no longer using so many times right?

A sign of spring tho, we had a few sunny days and 3 new baby calves.  They're a bit early, but sometimes the bull gets out or the girls get in and stuff happens.  Can't wait for the calf rodeos to begin... get a couple of babies together and it's a guaranteed chuckle.