Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Humming Bird Wars


When you think of hummingbirds, you often think of beautiful small birds that meekly live off flower nectar. Birds that are so small that they do not bother anyone or anything. You would be wrong. As they fight at the feeder, they use their bills as lances and attempt to stab each other.

Besides keeping the feeders full we moved on to some must do projects, first of which was to stain and seal the wood of our pergola.

It had been through three winters and it certainly showed the wear and tear. Splitting up the staining chores Renita agreed to stain the cross members while I would do the ladder work. We had thought of using a spray gun, but we are too close to our neighbors, and we worried about over spray and wind drift.

The cross members were easily removed using an electric screwdriver and after placing tarps over our cement patio. we both stained our sections. It ended up only taking us three mornings and we shut down for the hot afternoons.

Finally, we were finished, and our neighbors gave us thumbs up. We even got one from the head of our rv park. Now our next task was to fill our orders from the shows, contact the people and mail their jewelry.

While we have been making orders, the hummers keep us entertained especially the bully of our hummingbird world here, a rufous hummer.

Ruby throated and black chinned hummers would arrive at the feeder only to be chased away by the male rufous. Whenever one stated feeding he would swoop down and threaten and then chase them away. This allowed the other hummingbirds, a chance to sneak in for a drink.

Now the hummers are drinking so much at our one feeder that they drain it in two days. We have never had so much activity, perhaps because the drought has affected the wild mountain flowers.  Two days ago, we got a heavy rain, but it has not helped the smoke as Oregon, Washington, and Idaho remain in a severe drought.

Now we look to the skies and hope for another Monsoon rain. That is how we get our moisture during the summer. Clear skies



Friday, July 9, 2021

The Cody Stampede and Wild West Art Show, 2021


I have not written in a while but there is a good reason. We are in the middle of three weeks of shows and so it has been hectic. During the pandemic lockdown we shut down our business, but we never stopped making cabochons, and adding bails or wire wrapping. Now the question was would the people like our new work?

Our first show was the Alpine Mountain Man Days, and we had the same spot we have had for six years. Its right next to the food vender’s area, one gets tired of the smell of fried food but its where our customers expect us, and we get quite a bit of returning customers.

The first day of the show was a Friday and usually it a slow day. This year there was a steady stream of people and we ended up having a good day. The second day a Saturday, (usually comes after a Friday), and we had a great day. While there was quite a few other people making jewelry, no one does what we do and so we did not have much competition.

Sunday was slow, not a lot of people but we had enough business to end up having a good show total. One of our customers bought an opal ring, and the next day she called us distraught that the quartz cap had separated when she washed her hands. We met her and returned her money, including giving her some gas money to make up for our mistake. To make sure we would not have this happen again we pulled all of our Coober Pedy opals for further testing. We guarantee our work with a lifetime warranty, (which means my lifetime).

Driving to Cody we stopped along the North Fork of the Shoshone River. I had never fished it and  it gets a lot of pressure. Two trout rose to my fly, but I missed both of them, Renita bravely walked through the grass taking pictures and watching for any rattlesnakes.

Arriving at the State Park we set up in our reserved spot. It was a beautiful spot, but it did not have any electricity or running water. Both are highly overrated; we have lived in Wyoming for forty-five years and had already made plans to compensate for the conditions.

Set up was at six pm and as usual other venders had jumped the gun so we could not drive to our spot. Instead, we had to load everything in a wagon and haul it to our designated spot. I got angry but nothing we could do and so I calmed down. Now Cody requires us to have a million-dollar liability policy, and it a good thing as we had one as a sudden high wind blew over and destroyed some other venders’ tents. Ours held in place partly because we had added new weight supports to meet the forty pound per leg requirement.

Each of the three days started with a parade that takes about one and a half hours. It seemed like every politician showed up but there were also many great floats. My favorite was the pack mule team of the US Forest Service. This team is used by the forest service in areas trucks cannot reached.

You can always tell when the end of the parade is near as reenactors dressed as mountain men walked along firing and then reloading their flintlocks. Behind this group a wagon was pulled in which a gatling gun was being fired into the air, (Custer had them but left his back at the fort).

As soon as the parade ended the record crowd headed to the vender area and we were swamped. We set records for each day’s sales and an all time show record, people were so happy to be out, and many wanted a souvenir from Wyoming.

The downside was the weather. The temperatures reached into the low nineties and so we both drank water and iced tea to keep from getting heat stroke. Thank goodness the humidity here is so low. We were also lucky as several brief rains cooled down the air, for a little bit anyway.

Now we are back at our home in Star Valley, and tomorrow we have our last show of the year. After that we will spend quite a bit of time making new jewelry to fill all the empty spots. Clear skies