April 1, 2011
This winter we worked in our garden, orchard really hard to find at least one day of time and go skiing. The other thing we have to figure out before going – is the right weather. Because so many days here may be fine and sunny. Whereas over there, only 1.5 hours north from Zion – it may snow, the winds may be unbearable, etc. And it may also be very cold. The mountains in Brian Head are 9000 Ft height. Some even higher. So we figured only one day that suited us and it was February 7th, a day after Andrei’s Birthday, that is how he wanted to celebrate:
Even after finding one of the warmest days in February, it wasn’t very warm and the winds were fierce, especially closer to later afternoon. it takes us 10 min to sit on the chair lift until we get to the top of the mountain and boy those 10 min are cold and boring…One time I took the camera to take the pics from the whole trip up and down. Here are the views going up Navajo mountain (there is also Giants Steps mountain- another lift system):
The summit of Navajo Mountain:
The view from the summit. Red slopes of some lower mountains can be vaguely seen in the far distance, by them you know you are in Utah :
This is the beginning of the slope once you get from the lift:
Then you can take different trails, different directions, I prefer in the middle of the forest:
There are houses here and there, I bed real big lovers of skiing own them, and one of the owners was not lazy or had enough time to build this cottage on a hens leg from fairy tails like it belongs to a witch :
Then you dive under a bridge in the far end and the last part is really fun – steeper and also even, no bumps or pits, fantastic ski slopes I should say.
Not to walk to the bottom of the big ski lift we first take the small lift - for starters and kids, called Pioneer lift and from there we proceed down toward the start of the big Navajo lif. The Pioneer slope looks like this:
And the turn towards big lift is here:
And here a I am coming to the finish of the day:
The best time to ski in Brian Head to my mind is March and April until they stay open. But then during the day the snow can get wet. In February the slopes are wonderful, but you have to be very careful choosing the weather. Two years ago I remember going there from our sunny and warm Zion, buying tickets and managing to do only one landing…The snow storm and winds were unbearable…
P.S. I haven’t posted this till now, April 1st. And it is not April Fools . We were skiing in Brian Head yesterday, it was rather warm because we are havign a warm spell here in Utah, but the winds on the top of the mountain were still very strong, they even stopped us at certain parts of the trails and certainly didn’t let you go down fast. As my goal on a mountain is to train myself into better movements, more gracious and all, and Andrei’s goal is to get the excitement of going down fast – I was satisfied enough and he was not that much. And yes, the snow was already wet, but closer to the evening it got dry again.
It is nice to be there in Brian Head -you can leave your skis, nobody will take them, eat, have some rest by the central building on cozy benches, but one thing…Americans consider themselves clean people. They wash their hair every day. And here in Brian Head – every time I sit to eat by the table outside – some families especially with babies - they put their shoes, boots on the tables!!! and one of them goes skiing, the other takes care of a baby, but the boots stay the whole time on the table. As if someone will kick their boots from the floor, as if the boots don’t belong to a floor…or at least – a bench, which I also am doubtful if they do…but on the same table where we put food, where we put a book to read…The same boots with which they go through the dirty pavements – snow melted, so roads are really dirty with all the remnants of salt and black dirt; boots with which they go to the bathroom. I am really shocked at that and even if I tell them about it- they don’t care, never take their boots off the table as if they are some precious sculpture. This is not one case already, makes me sad. But maybe there is something in some of their culture (not to offend the clean and neat ones that I also met in bigger numbers, thanks God)- I remember my roommates in Maine were keeping their shoes on their beds…The only positive part – they usually collect after their dogs, unlike in Europe, but I am wondering- why some people are super scared of bacterias, of contamination, while others are supplying them on eating surfaces without any reason at all.
(This was an interruption of my writings about Spain. Expect them to be continued in my next Blog.)
February 15, 2011
It is so late to talk about it, but because I got some good pictures from a professional photographer Nathan Wotkins, who happened to be in the dancing hall in St. George the last hours of 2010 and saw us there dancing, I am posting the pics.
But first of all I have to say that the new year celebration in St.George, Utah, just 45 min away from our Rockville, is the best i ever participated at. Well, not counting some two celebrations with my wonderful creative full humor friends I had in Lithuania long ago…They used to call the celebration The First Night – which is not right, because it is the last night in reality. This year they changed the name into From Twilight to Midnight. Whatever the name – this can happen only in a Mormon country – where else can there be so many volunteers willing to work, stand by the event doors, organize, sell tickets – from 7 pm to 12 am of December 31st. All in order for the families, kids, teenagers, loners to have a good and safe time. No alcohol, of course! But nobody checks the breath . It is a street celebration, held in the very heart of St. George – the Main street. The Art gallery in the North is one end of events and the Art center in the south is the other. between them there are other commercial galleries, all open late till the owners feel that nobody is coming, there is a city square with several stages fro rock concerts. comedy shows, drumming pavilion, magic shows, etc. We started this year from the Art Gallery – a pianist playing created a pleasant atmosphere to observe our friends’ Ann Weiler Brown’s, Pearle Meadows and just acquaintance’s Royden Card’s abstract colorful arts. Wonderful! Then we drove (though it is very close to the Arts center and there we were very busy running from the first floor to the second floor up and down – to watch shot festival movies and to dance in the big dancing hall, with an orchestra playing and very few dancers dancing. Where else can one have such a luxury? And all that for only $5 per person! No crowds to park the car or leave the celebration – no traffic, no hazard. The short movies we saw were very good as creative pieces and also as good breaks from dancing. We are not that young or have that much permanent training to dance non stop . So here we were, dancing…
To keep matters straight, the first two pics we did ourselves with our camera. the last ones are taken by Nathan, who has a beautiful photo gallery on the Main street , quite close, he got tired of staying in the gallery and therefore came to have some fun, which for him, I guess, is taking more pictures . You can see his nature pics on his web site: www.wideangleart.com . He also has a print shop right there where anyone can get ones photo art printed in professional manner and in big formats (www.print-it-shop.com).
So if you want some “not-a -wild” but cozy fun with contents for your next New year celebration – come to St. George!
January 10, 2011
After enjoying the best colors of our November in Utah I visited Lithuania, my home country, had a lot of tasty meals (especially the ones my mom cooked), nice talks with friends and relatives, enjoyed the snow and the whiteness of the surroundings there, which is not so pleasant for drivers. Got used to cold, which never left the country after it gripped on the last days of November. And here I returned back to Utah on the night of 21st of December, luckily with no major delays, right into the clouds reaching the ground in Las Vegas! Never before have I seen such a phenomenon. My husband, while meeting me there, took this picture from the Flamingo hotel towards the City Center (Aria, etc.):
The next morning we drove to Bellagio (the best way to go around Las Vegas, even if it is a short distance – is to drive, then you don’t get annoyed by poor Mexicans handing the pictures and phone numbers of naked women “with low social responsibility” as one of our friends calls them; and parking in Vegas is free and it is easy to get from them to casinos). The Christmas flower and tree exposition in the Atrium was beautiful as usual – one can argue about the beauty of the whole concept, but the abundance of flowers, some cute decors make it really worth seeing (and they change it 7 times a year):
There were Polar bears made from carnations…so many flowers were beheaded and kept being beheaded for they wilt and the workers there fix the wilted parts every day. How to get such a job?:
As if it is not enough of the abundance of poinsettias there were amaryllis buds coming out to bloom soon.
By the reception area of Bellagio there are always big flower arrangements like this one (I always try not to miss them):
And then we drove home to Southern Utah with the Virgin River roaring on the side of our road -RT 15:
It had unusual amounts of water and the mountains in the Gorge were “crying” with bridal veil waterfalls. Here is what we saw once we got to Rockville:
Our friends’ Browns’ (Alan is the Mayor of our town) property was so flooded that they had people help them take the chickens out of water , they lost their pasture and a big part of their grape-yard. After this ordeal the river just changed its course and now their property turned into a riverside front property…I don’t know whether it is better or worse for the value of the property, but certainly it got very bad for their three lamas:
So they had to stay on their porch for a while and then were taken for vacation in Escalante.
Here is how the river changed its course. it used to be behind the sandy beach and that line of bushes, no one could see it from this bank:
And this is how it looked a day before when all the residents form the river side properties were told to evacuate:
The pink color is not some exotic flowers, it is the failing of our old camera to do its job well, maybe it also got tired of the 5 day lasting rains. Here is how the flood looked just before one enters Rockville at our neighbors’ property:
And this is what it did to their road:
So the New Year’s Party at their house was canceled.
Then we had a very nice Christmas Eve with all 12 dishes in Lithuanian tradition and Christmas Carols in American tradition:
I expect our friends form here would be glad to see Ruth smiling and with her naked shoulder
Alison introduced a new tradition – to lit candles for everyone we would like to be here with us:
and we liked it a lot, but we didn’t prepare a tripod for taking the picture with this little light:
then some normal days passed and again a rainy one which ended in big frosts and snow. So the morning of the 29th of December was marvelous, we never get this much white in our area:
Mount Kinesava. Lower: a view from the Rockville cemetery hill towards our Main street:
From our garden towards Lyon’s pasture:
Our friends came to see Zion and I felt bad – one day they had rain, the others – terrible frost with all the trails in Zion NP closed. So at least we very carefully drove to Grafton (the first time during our stay here the roads were covered with ice ), where “Butch Cassidy and Sundance Kid” (classical western) was filmed long ago:
And I’ll finish this Blog with the funniest Christmas Picture I got this year:
This is our Lithuanian friend Stephen Burzgulis who used to live in Springdale and now lives in San Diego, has done a lot of research about Afghanistan, has created a very good song about it and even learned how to make a Pashtun head cover (my guess – from his curtain ) and sent his best regards from “high mountains”.
November 26, 2010
It was a busy season since August started. Besides the boring and never ending irrigation, lots of good guests (which was wonderful!) - peaches were brutal this year. So many…to thin them, to support branches, to pick, to freeze, to give away, to try to sell. Our kitchen was permanently overstuffed with boxes of peaches… And me making jams…
The two apple trees that we planted some 6 years ago were also loaded, but because we never spray them with neither chemicals, nor organic stuff – they were very much inhabited by worms, so we got a reasonable number of apples for our consumption:
We also had figs, pomegranates, pears and right now before the frosts I picked persimmons. Quite a lot, I would say.
Here they are before the frosts:
And after the frosts:
They are very decorative and very sweet, it is the best fruit to my taste. The figs also had lots of baby figs but the frosts got them. here is the inside of the fig bush just before the leaves were crinkled and down:
You can see a little fig on the right upper corner. The leaves are very sharp, harsh, I can’t imagine how Adam and Eve wore them as they were. I would have looked for a softer leaf for that purpose.
My garden also produced, but far from being abundant:
I used a lot of lama manure in winter and spring for the garden, but it didn’t seem to work well. From the 40 tomatoes I planted – we had enough only for the two of us -is it a lot? The cherry yellow ones were the best producers, with one individual expanding to a record size by late autumn, so that I felt sorry to leave him for the frosts to kill and was covering with blankets and jackets during nights for a while. But once the frost hit minus 4-8C -I gave up. So now we have a lot of green tomatoes . And here is a sweet Italian pepper which was more decorative than useful:
On the 24th of November we woke to such a magnificent morning:
Our pear turned red only that night.
Most of our trees didn’t change colors, their leaves dried on the branches and are falling off now in big quantities. We can hardly catch up with raking and burning them. Thanks God there are those cottonwoods by Virgin river and around town – at least they turned yellow and we had some autumn colors. But they are fading fast… the unusually early frosts…
July 26, 2010
They say it is not safe to write about your trip while you are on it, so here we go – we managed to get out of our home , garden, irrigation, cats and fish two weeks ago – and travel for 6.5 days North. To cool off. So we headed towards St. George in order to start the cooling process – to dip into the emerald Quail Creek lake as it is shown in my previous Blog. Then we drove towards Nevada border, towards Enterprice. And on the way – here was the Mountain Meadows Massacre site…A very sad place. Though the valley is beautiful:
Here in 1857 a group of some 150 people from Arkansas stopped for a rest on their tiresome way to California, at that time – a land of opportunity. They met the Mormons who lived close by and asked for their permission to rest for a couple of weeks. Even gave them a good horse for that. There are several books written about the case but they all have the same conclusion – the Mormons killed those innocent people, except for several kids who were not of 8 years or up. There is something in their religion that forbids killing young kids…I wish there was something that forbid killing, period…Why? I guess even the nowadays Mormons are not quite sure, they explain it in fear, but isn’t fear the main cause of all the killing in the world? Not to expand on the subject – this is the darkest spot in Mormon history. they built a monument on the grave sites, but…On that monument they as if praise themselves – the Church built and dedicated the monument, preserves it…but the fact that they killed and even the number of people killed – is not reflected on it. Also – a note: the killings were very brutal, happened at night and the killers pretended they are Indians. dressed like them and painted their faces like them…
It sais that it happened on September 11, 1857! Another 9/11… And like Alcaida – the Mormon Church never said: “Sorry”…
Then we drove and drove for some 4 hours over a mountain range, then through Nevada and reached Ely, the first city on the Loneliest Highway in America, that goes through Nevada West-East. It is an interesting city as all of the very few on that road. It has a grandeur in its past, the grandeur of a mining town. But the mining is almost gone, the gambling is also not very big there, far from metropolitan areas, it is depressed. We stayed in its biggest hotel – wow – 6 story high!, called Hotel Nevada. The hotel was the first such a tall building built in Nevada in 1929. Before all the hotels were built in Las Vegas. In its time it had prominent visitors such as Lyndon Johnson, the president of the USA, Ingrid Bergman, the actress and many more celebrities from the entertainment business. Including Stephen King who came here in search of the three ghosts who live in the hotel. I wonder if he met them, we didn’t.
A view from our window and our room:
Rooms are not big, but cozy, furnished in old style, but the facilities are modern and clean. It was funny to see this flat screen TV in our room. The lobby and corridors have a lot of character created by Wild West artifacts:
Though I am very much against killing animals those chandeliers looked very impressive:
I hope they are made from shed horns…
There used to be a bigger collection of miniature scenes of various activities people were doing here, but at least there are still some 4 left:
I guess this is a jail guard working hard.
I am not sure if we went to this or another bar for beer…But here is the Woman’s bathroom door in that bar:
I specifically checked the door on men’s bathroom – there was nobody peeking…:-)
And in the morning I walked the meditation labyrinth with all those abstract statues or constructions around:
While two crows were kissing endlessly on the opposite roof:
From there we drove up towards Idaho, Twin Falls.