Five week trip, day 25: Red Rock hike near Lander, garden tours, and artistic expression

Yesterday, my one full day with old friends Todd and Scott Berkenfield, we did exactly what I wanted to do all day long! First, I looked at both their astrology charts. Then, Scott and I went for two hour morning walk up in nearby red rock country. (Lots of photos at the end of this post.)

In the afternoon I got a tour of their small garden which has produced an astounding amount of produce this year.


Here are some of the boxes in their garage filled with what still needs to be preserved. Potatoes and carrots remain in the ground.


Apples, too.  I picked a box of their terrifically good tasting apples for my upcoming sibling reunion in Sun Valley Idaho, all from only one of their fruit-laden apple trees. They’ve already picked hundreds of apples and have hundreds more to harvest, mostly from only two of the four trees! Especially this one, which, as you can see here, now leans over with supports (due to one humungous rain, followed by wind).


Their garden soil is, as you can imagine, after a number of years, and given this year’s production, incredibly dark and rich, thanks to this ComposTumbler which Scott says makes compost from layers of kitchen scraps and horse manure in only two weeks (IF he tumbles it; except, of course, in the freezing winters of high altitude Wyoming).

composterIn late afternoon, Todd and I took a driving tour of the town, focusing especially on the Community Garden, which, except for its elaborate and impressive gate —


I found disappointing. This town of 7500 (which, by the way, boasts its own symphony orchestra and several theater companies) has plenty of land inside the designated community garden, but not many people appear to be using it.


Scott said later that the city had secured a grant for a greenhouse, but despite the fact that most of the neighbors are all for the community garden, one neighbor objected to the greenhouse, said that “vagrants would sleep in it.” Here we go! The proverbial “difficult neighbor” issue.

This surprised me, given that when Todd drove me past the city park I noticed a sign that said that people were welcome to camp there! “For a week at a time,” Todd added, saying that “climbers really appreciate it.” What about the homeless, I asked. “There are no homeless,” she said. “It’s too cold.” If so, it’s hard to imagine who those “vagrants” are!

In the evening I took them through the Evolution of Green Acres Village on my computer, and Scott said this morning that it’s too bad I couldn’t have done my presentation for the community garden there. Yes, and too bad my schedule is, at this point, fixed!

For the final interesting experience in this very full day, Scott took me on a guided tour of the interior walls of their two-story, high ceilinged octagonal house — which they built themselves from a kit, changing it somewhat; Todd, a total neophyte, learned how to cut all the wood for the ceilings. Both his watercolor and oil paintings and some of Todd’s mandala quilts hang on the walls. Newly retired, they are individually exploring aspects of themselves that long for full creative expression. YES!

I have a surprise to tell you about in the next post, fo today, day 26, on a topic that refers back to this post. But meanwhile, here are those red rock pics I promised. Twas a perfect morning for a hike, and Scott (whose career was spent in the USG, as forest ranger, park ranger and in the BLM) was the perfect companion and guide.

These formations lie on the eastern slope of the Wind River Mountains.

The first photo shows the settlement near Lander that Todd and Scott live in. We hiked up from the bottom.


Their house is situated in approximately the middle of this photo.

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