Birdie Boobie Only the week's worst golfer gets to have this bird

    The tradition in the group of ” eight “, or the group of ” twelve, ” is that if any team gets a birdie on a hole, everyone takes a sip of ” Fireball “, a cinnamon flavored liquor. If birdies are flocking to your team you win the match, get a free beer from the opposing team at the end of eighteen, and get a little tipsy in the bargain. If you or your partner don’t make any birdies you each get to take home a special ” birdie ” trophy, and keep it till the next time the group plays. Created by Miles, an airline pilot, this birdie is what I got over a month ago, and still have, because we haven’t played golf in a month. Some people in the world get the virus, some die from the virus, some lose their job or business, some can’t pay their bills, others can’t go to school, some people go crazy, and then there are us golfers who can’t play golf. What doesn’t make sense is that in neighboring states guys can still play golf?  There isn’t much consistency in this virus whirlwind about the number of rules you have, the way you implement the rules, and how long a Governor, or country, keeps their rules in place. This ” Birdie Boobie Prize ” will hopefully find anther dugout to hang out soon. Brought down by a Titleist 4 golf ball some idiot hit wrong, he isn’t much of a conversationalist. I expect he is as tired of me as I am as tired of him. Next time on the course, I’m going to make sure I shoot a birdie, or make sure I have a better partner.  Some days, birdies are really hard to come by.

Camel Time Cerrillos, New Mexico

  At the Casa Grande trading post and museum in Cerrillos, New Mexico, there is also a small petting zoo for the kids. There were, this morning, some fowl and goats in the locked pens, and, oddly, a solitary camel. The last Scotttreks camel experience was in a Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic airport smoking room, and that camel was ceramic and painted with smoking advertisements. Camels, it appears, were big in the Southwest United States in the mid 1800’s when the United States Army created a Camel Corp and experimented with the animals, using them to pack goods as Army soldiers patrolled and kept order in the western territories before they became states. The camels were well suited to their task, and the landscape, but the experiment was shelved and the camels were sold off. You can buy a camel today for a little more than $5000.00 but you need to know a few things about them before taking one home. Camels need space, exercise, lots of hay, and they are not always friendly. From people who own camels come reports that the large animals can show love, hate, be jealous, be warm and caring, fierce and dangerous. They can drink up to 20 gallons of water at a time and eat grass, hay, wheat and oats, seeds or dried twigs in the wild. Water is stored in their bloodstream, not their hump, and the hump, one or two, is stored fat the animal uses as a food supply when food is scarce. Camels can sleep standing up, spit when aggravated, and pee on their legs to keep themselves cool. There are claims that their milk will cure diabetes, TB, autism and AIDS, and, in the desert, they are used for transportation and even food by the Bedouins who depend on them in their nomadic lifestyle. I’m wondering, this morning, if kids are really allowed to approach this camel, hoping that it is one of the sweet, gentle, lovable cartoon kind of camels that children love to get close too. I can imagine it’s caretakers and owners climbing aboard and taking a midnight ride down one of the arroyos that run through Cerrillos, scaring the devil out of the coyotes howling a mournful song on a moonlit night. When Scotttreks goes on the road, there is never a moment when something quirky doesn’t pop up and bite you on the behind. While I’m standing here, the camel doesn’t drop what it is doing and come over to see who I am, and what I want. That, I’m feeling, gives me a pretty good idea that he’s not as interested in me, as I am in him. 

A day in Cerrillos, New Mexico Just past Madrid, on the way to Santa Fe

    In the 2000 U.S. Census, Cerrillos had 229 permanent residents. On the road between Albuquerque and Santa Fe, and a few miles north of Madrid, another New Mexico ghost town, Cerrillos has even more ghosts than Madrid. The town has a few art galleries, shops, a U.S. Post Office, the nearby Cerrillos Hills State Park with hiking trails, the Cerrillos Mining Museum, a General Store, the Saint Joseph Catholic Church, train tracks, a lot of quiet, and a small town rural New Mexico pedigree. According to a town history, on a board by a little public restroom by the headquarters of the Cerrillo’s Hills State Park, this town started as a tent city for miners,and was once considered to be the location for the state capital. This area has always been big on mining and the original inhabitants, the Tano Indians,way way back, were slave labor in the mines till they revolted. Turquoise, gold, silver, and lead are the main minerals that have brought people here looking for easy riches. There was a movie, ” Young Guns, ” made here, and many of the residents work in Santa Fe and commute, just liking to be away from city life. Highlights of today’s visit was encountering a California  “Hippie Bus ” with its occupants a family who spend their life on the road and were looking for turquoise in town. When they had trouble navigating, the woman would get out of the bus, step back and direct her driver till he got the bus going the right direction. Another place, good for the spirit, was the Saint Joseph Church at the end of a main street. The church goes back a hundred years and there is an open courtyard visitors can stroll through and meditate on the human condition. The Mining museum and trading post were closed but you could still see the camel, goats and birds at the petting zoo, along with mining machines all rusted and inoperable. A local man, waxing his older Volvo, that is a classic, told me his son was living in New York and he and his girlfriend haD to sneak out at night just to get relief from the lock down there. ” No way I’d want to live there, ” I volunteered, and the man, who was a contractor who builds in Santa Fe, agreed. ” We’re still working but you can only have five in the house at one time, ” he said, ” It makes making a living difficult.” This little town used to be full of hotels, saloons, dance halls, shops and short order houses, brothels and boarding houses, but it is now just a sleepy little burg for sightseers and tourists. Cerrillos means ” Little Hills ” in Spanish, and , later IN the evening, as the sun goes down, these little hills will get a pinkish tint that makes them look like some of the art canvases in the shops. In the late 1800’s and early 1900’s this little town was feeling it’s oats. Now, Cerrillos is a place to escape the bustle of the big city, revisit the state’s mining history, pick up some rare turquoise mined from this area, hike in the ” Little Hills”, and spend a lazy Saturday petting camels in the petting zoo.  

Pat’s Deer April Snow, Colorado Springs, Colorado

  Pat works from home with his computer, a big part of Scotttreks, behind the scenes, supporting Scott. Outside his office window, on a snowy day, his wife takes photos of deer in the front yard of their home on the west side of Colorado Springs, in the mountains. With snow falling, and trees laden with white, this deer family is scavenging. The snow has covered most of their food supply and is starting to give them white fur, sticking in patches on their noses and necks, making them look like old men and women. These deer have visited before and take treats from people. We know people shouldn’t feed deer,or any wild animal, but they are gorgeous, and the weather today is so inhospitable. Deer are such large animals it is hard to see how they find enough food to support themselves when it is buried under snow drifts.  Alan has his deer in Texas, Charlie and Sharon have their deer in Albuquerque. Pat and Amber have their deer in Colorado Springs. Scott sees his deer, occasionally, in the Albuquerque foothills, Open Space, and the adjoining Cibola National Forest. For these deer, this day is just business as usual. We are graced by their presence, It is good for me to know that there are living things on the planet that live by nature’s rules, not human rules. When you are built for snow, it isn’t the tragedy, I think it might be.

In the Clubhouse Official PGA Birdhouse

    Golf is the kind of sport that doesn’t appeal to everyone.  First, the idea of hitting a little round ball, on a tee, with a stick, seems silly. I mean, the ball just sits there. It isn’t coming at you like a football pass, or a baseball pitch. The only times you touch the ball are when you tee it up for a drive, mark your ball on the green so someone else won’t hit your ball when they putt, or pull it out of the cup on the green, after you putt out. Second, there are all kinds of rules, depending on who you are playing with. Don’t tee the ball up in the rough. Don’t improve your lie. Your club can’t touch the ground in the traps. If you hit out of bounds, or in the water, there are penalty shots.  Rake the trap when you are done with your shot. Don’t talk when someone else is swinging. Don’t hit into the group ahead of you, even if they are old and crippled and disastrously slow. Don’t throw sunflower seeds on the green. The list of rules is extensive. Third, the equipment is sometimes expensive. Wood shafted clubs are not used any more and there is a lot of technology in designing clubs that make it easier for non professionals to ht the ball straighter and further without having to go to the range and work on their game. Fourth, you have to look like a golfer to play like a golfer, with a pair of golf shoes, a golf cap, glove, a clean pair of shorts or slacks, and a nice cotton or cotton polyester shirt that gives you free movement of your upper body. Fifth, golf is played in all kinds of weather, and wind is a weather condition that sends most golfer birds into the clubhouse. Sixth, golf is a social sport and is usually played in groups of four, with lots of time to socialize between shots. In point of fact, getting out of the house and joking with the boys saves more marriages and relationships than it destroys. This Official PGA Birdhouse is another Charlie creation, and I can see it hanging in a tree just by the eighth tee, swinging gently in a pine tree with the occupant watching us chili dip an iron on this par three into the front bunker. There are enough downsides to golf, that I can see why more people don’t take up the sport, or stick with it. This, us addicted golfers, always say, is great. There is nothing worse than not being able to get a starting time.  

Insects in a Box from Panama City, Panama, Old Town

    Part of travelling is bringing back stuff. There are memories and words and photos on all trips, but there are also objects that get packed in your suitcase and brought back home.  Maybe it is a piece of art from Uruguay? Maybe it is a recipe? Maybe it is a T shirt or a special cap? Maybe it is a new watch or a pack of seeds to try something new in your garden?  This little insect box, from a market place in Panama, hangs in a hallway at home. Insects, as most of us know, can be good – like ladybugs, or bad – like mosquitos. Most often, we feel insects before we see them. Casual research suggests there might be as many as five million species on the planet with only a million species identified and described. There is still plenty for  ” bug lovers ” to do on our planet. My insects on the wall are the best kind. They don’t wake me up, bite me, or talk trash. They remind me of great engineering designs and adaptability. We’re not in this world alone, even if we think we are. If I were to take a trip into the jungles of Panama, I’d meet all of these guys on a first name basis. Somehow, I like them on a wall, in a box, the best.

Hippo at Play Albuquerque Zoo

      At the Albuquerque Zoo, there are plenty of animals; birds, monkeys, a tiger or two, penguins, giraffes, jackals,zebras. They are well cared for in their little enclosures and we can stand at a rail and admire their coloration, adaptations, behaviors. There will come a time when the only animals we will see will be in zoos, but there are still places in the world where animals spend their days and don’t ever see a human. Pushing the ball just ahead of its huge mouth, this playful hippo walks in his pool because these river horses don’t really swim, but walk along the bottom of rivers or pools, as they hold their breath under the water. They are speedy and quite dangerous in the wild. Until Scotttreks does its next safari, these zoo animals will have to do. If I were to organize a parade, this star of the show would have to be in front. While turtles are cool, hippos, looking ungainly and mis-proportioned, steal this show with quite surprising grace, and playfulness.      

Dinosaurs like to color too Another Charlie creation

    Each day there are people and things to be colored. Rainbows fade if they are not brightened up. Flowers lose their delicacy in the hot desert sun and always need a make over. Oceans take a slew of work to keep the best blue. Dino, created by Charlie for a grand daughter, carries his own set of primary colors wherever he goes, ready to step into artistic action. Dino is taking a road trip soon and will find himself  in a child’s bedroom on the other side of the country. Late at night, he and his soon to be best friend, will hide under warm covers and color the world the way it should look all the time. Dinosaurs don’t have to be the bad guys. They can be our best friend too.  

Deer in Embudo Canyon Albuquerque Foothills

    As soon as we say we haven’t seen any deer, we spot some. This family unit nips leaves off branches, ears cocked, knowing we were here long before we spotted them. Animals, these days, have issues caused by us humans encroaching on their territories. There are a whole lot more of us these days than them. I say a little prayer for them this morning as the sun comes over the Sandia’s and the humming of I-40 freeway traffic grows louder through Tijeras Canyon. It is currently bow hunting season and the bucks, not far from us, are at risk. I pray hunters this year are lousy shots. I don’t know, for sure, but I think I see a big buck pointing a big telephoto lens at me, getting closeups for his own Facebook page. Going through a hunting season as the target isn’t rewarding but these guys and girls seem pretty nonchalant considering the price on their heads. Hiking is always better when you see some nature. We pass these deer, in peace, and I can almost hear their sigh of relief. I’m not a deer, but even I too am wary of humans.  
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