Happy 2012!

Happy New Year everyone!

May 2012 be a year of continued blessing and growth for all of you.

I can hardly believe it’s been over a month since I last posted.

Then again it seems like forever since December began. A lot has happened since then. Last summer, after 30 years of submitting applications, my husband finally drew the single 2011 Desert Bighorn Sheep hunt permit for a unit in the eastern portion of the Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge in southern Arizona. The season began December 1 and ended December 31. Since he will never get another chance to hunt Desert Bighorns,  he has since August been making the four-hour drive out to hike the arid, empty, forbidding lands of the Cabeza Prieta seeking to get a sense of where he might find the sheep.

As a man who’s always looking for adventure, he found it in spades.  In an area bordered on the south by Mexico and on the north by the Barry M Goldwater Bombing Range he encountered violent thunderstorms, and gale force winds, blazing heat, frigid cold, solitude, bad roads, dust storms, illegal smugglers of people, drugs and guns, the discovery of human remains, A-10 and F-15 fighter jets strafing and bombing the nearby range  in training runs that shook the air and ground for miles, and a never- ending parade of Border Patrol officers wanting to know what he was doing. With his access limited to three roads, each miles from the areas where the sheep were, and camping prohibited throughout most of the refuge, he faced a long walk out at the end of the day, no matter where he was.

And that was just the lead up. He worked his last day of work for 2011 right after Thanksgiving, taking off before opening day to prepare and get settled in his camping area before the season actually started. Five friends met him out there to help.  He was prepared to hunt the entire month if need be. I had no idea if we were even going to be able to do Christmas.

Plus, with my mother gone, my sister decided to stay in New Mexico, and with our son and daughter-in-law due to stay with her family in Tucson for the holiday, even apart from the hunt, Christmas 2011 was certain to be a radical departure from our accustomed traditions.

Since by the weekend of Dec 11th my hubby was still at it, I gave up on the idea of getting a tree, put up a small one in the piano and put Santa hats on the animal mounts we have in our living room.  Here’s our full sized Gould’s turkey with his tiny hat. It makes me laugh…

As it turned out the ram was taken over that same weekend,  and shortly thereafter my kitchen was co-opted for meat processing for about a week.  No Christmas baking to be done then!  Instead I spent the time working on the Christmas letter and ordering presents (first time in a loooong time we had to do so without lists!)

Once the butchering was done, my husband develped a weird staph infection under the skin of one of his fingers, so we were off to Urgent Care two days in a row right before Christmas. The treatment was a shot of antibiotics followed by a 10 day pill regimen of the same along with daily soakings in betadine and epsom salts. It’s better now, but for awhile it was very nasty — swollen, painful and after awhile black. (Which was really just a scab beneath the skin, though we didn’t know it at the time)

We ended up having the kids at our house for Christmas morning, then went over to join Kim’s family for the Christmas dinner that afternoon. It made for a very nice –and festive –holiday after all. I’m thankful they invited us!

Here’s Lily with her new stuffed puppy, which looks — ahem — a lot like Quigley. Imagine that…

Then we left for California to visit my 91-year-old stepmother (and her 92-year-old sister)  for three days and by the time we returned I was exhausted and had picked up a cold — most likely from the seven story hotel in which we stayed (on the seventh floor) (with Quigley) along with about 100 marching band members from Japan and their supporters, all of whom were apparently housed on the third floor!

But! on the way home New Year’s Eve, on the road somewhere between Yuma and Gila Bend around 8:15pm we saw the New Year’s Eve meteor!  It had nothing to do with the Quadrantid meteor shower that was supposed to begin  on the 3rd, but was instead a random meteorite from somewhere out by Jupiter.

It started as a bright light coming at us out of the east. What in the world???Then it sprouted a tail that turned green with red around the edges and we realized it was a meteor. It looked like it was going to crash into the ground right beside the highway, but just before it did, the head vanished and the tail slowly faded. Turns out it wasn’t that close, but streaking low on the horizon, visible to people in New Mexico, Colorado and Arizona. Others also thought it was going to hit the ground or a building, but we were all deceived I guess by how bright and low on the horizon it was. Fantastic experience. We could hardly believe we’d seen it. It’s the first one I’ve ever seen, apart from the little white streaks way way up in the sky from “shooting stars.” If only I’d had the camera out and ready I might have been able to get a shot.

Instead, I’ll have to settle for this picture from Wikipedia that shows what a bolide looks like. It’s very similar to what we saw. Ours had a fatter, greener tail. Still — Very Cool! And it seems symbolic somehow, though I haven’t figured out how, yet.

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