running with coyote

I have had some sweet warm hikes in the forest.
60 degree days, Arizona sun and a loyal coyote to hike with.
Moki is a great running and hiking companion.  he was born and raised far from the busy-ness of town.    he is a true wild child and an excellent protector of the children.  
the wood stove that heats our entire little cabin (600 square feet.)
↟ the new honor the elk earrings with turquoise ↟

↟ as requested, I have added a smaller sized pendant to the shop ↟

Leaving what I Love

Something I will miss (on a daily basis) is the way the afternoon sun hits last year's grass and lights it up.  Anyone who has connected to land this way will understand what I mean.  And for those who haven't, imagine just loving the sight of anything your child does.  That pure joy of watching their joy, or the heart wrenching feeling of seeing them hurt.  Loving land does compare to that feeling.  It is deep in you; it is part of your flesh.

When the rancher up creek clear-cuts the old growth Ponderosa for his cattle, you feel it in your stomach; your heart.

I am leaving Walnut Creek for my family.  My youngest child (whose brothers are no longer home) has needed more than what we could provide here on the land.  I am not talking about schooling; though she has decided to go to school after being unschooled her whole life.  I am talking about more socializing and pursuing her dreams of competitive gymnastics and playing with a sting band.  All of these activities are an hour drive from home.  Being in town all day, gas prices, getting home after dark, having my dogs pissed off at me, never seeing my horses, not being able to keep up with my garden, and mostly not being able to do my job here at the Walnut Creek Center; these are the reasons why I could not stay here.  I am back for the summer (my last) until the new managers take the position.  After that...I'm not sure.

My children are only children for another 8 years or so.  I can pursue my dreams after they've gotten a good start on theirs. They lived on this land and close to nature, in very remote and rustic conditions for most of their lives.  That style of life isn't for everyone and it never felt right imposing my dreams on them (unless they, too, wanted the same thing.)

In a few years, I will move back to the cabin in the mountains where all I hear at night are coyotes, tree frogs and elk bugling.  For now, I will enjoy the last six weeks I have with my Love Land.  After that, I will still come twice a week to tend to the horses, walk the creeks and mesas, and photograph the land I love best.

The Daily Wyatt

Green Coffee Beans

~They smell SO heavenly when they are roasting~


I put Green Coffee Beans in a cast iron pan and roast them either over a camp cookstove or an open firepit.  (The smoke is intense and gives my family a headache.)  I cover my beans and it gives them a smokier taste.  However, you can leave them uncovered if you are outside and they will taste "cleaner."

Keep roasting until they are not quite as dark as you like.  Note:  stop before you think they are done because they will keep roasting after you take them off the heat.

Buy Organic Green Coffee Here


Spring Cleaning

It might be time to splinter this web journal into separate blogs.  I've been thinking about it for a while.  I'm beginning to document the whole Walnut Creek story on a separate blog (how we got there, how we lived there, why we're not there anymore.)  That Blog is "Five Year Wild" and is for those just interested in the Walnut Creek story and the amazing adventures living off-the-grid for five and a half years in a remote AZ wilderness.

I will have a Photo Blog for those only interested in the photography part of it (not up yet.)

And then, I will attempt to move this blog to my website, so stay tuned for that.

In addition, I have a blog called the Creek and Mesa Review which has reviews of photo equipment, cameras, books,  and cool products.

If anyone has any feedback or ideas, send 'em my way.

Happy waxing moon!


New Green through Brown

~Papago Lily (or Blue Dicks)~

Dichelostemma pulchellum

Sweet little onion like bulb nestled (tightly) in rocky south facing hillsides.  Edible but difficult to extricate from the soil.

One of the first plant to show its precious green tips in the spring (late February.)

Purple-ish pinkish flowers with 6 segments.


More Arizona Snow

We've had two storms  (nearly a foot each) two weekends in a row.  Both times, the snow accumulation melts nearly away by the next storm.  Creeks are flowing freely around here and people are spending more time stocking up on firewood.  Storms help us focus on the simple needs in life: shelter, warmth, water, and food.  We come in after a long walk in foot deep snow; we make tea and hot chocolate coconut milk; we build a good fire in the wood-stove and read a book, or work on homework or draw.  In other places, where snow is plentiful, I imagine people are always prepared.  Here is Arizona, we take the daily warmth and sunshine for granted; a storm comes and people scrabble around for basics.

Granite Mountain Wilderness Area, Yavapai County, AZ

My Chica, Snow, and missing my home

The snow always makes me ever so grateful for a roof, a warm woodstove,

plenty of wood,

and large colorful jars of dry beans and rice.

When I lived at Walnut Creek, I was grateful for being "trapped" by the snowy/muddy roads.  We would just wander around for hours in the snow taking pictures and not seeing anyone.


My world has changed and I am not coping well.  My horses are 45 miles from me and I am living where I hear CARS all day.

Sure, I go out to Walnut Creek two or three times a week, but I am a visitor now; a tourist, not a native to the land as I was for the last six years.

And, I need a job.

What am I good for?  Gardening?  Yes.  Helping my kids be good learners at home (and now school?) Yes.  Running Solo in the Wilderness?  Yes.

Taking pictures?  Sometimes.

Writing?  Sometimes.

But these skills aren't buying grass-fed beef for my family, or putting gas in the car, or paying for my daughters violin lessons.

or maybe they can.


Free Range Horse

An amazing and playful horse:  My Chica.  Taken with my phone as I didn't have my camera with me.  She is a very free spirit and very much her own girl.  Here she wanted me to play like a puppy; so we chased each other around and I caught some good shots. (Low quality but fun.)



Elk Hides

In the fall, during the Elk hunting season, I collect unwanted hides.  Often times the hunters leave them in the forest.  I put the word out and the hides show up.  I use the dry scape and traditional brain tan method to make beautiful soft buckskin.  It can be used for anything you would use soft leather or suede for.  Here are a couple bags I made during the cold snowy  months last winter. Kiva and I sat near the woodstove, listened to stories on CD's and beaded these designs.

I didn't take any new hides this year as I am still scraping a large bull elk and a deer hide from last winter.  I use the antlers for buttons, beads and pendants.  

End of July

The garden has survived some invaders this summer:  chickens scratching up new corn and squash shoots, squash bugs devastating whole plants, raccoons eating my strawberries and dogs lying in the cool moist dirt (crushing herbs.)  We've had (as of this morning) just over one inch total this monsoon.  Last year as of this day, we had around two inches.  In 2007 we had EIGHT inches in July alone!  But despite the setbacks, things are growing.  The sun pumps our water up into a tank and gravity feeds down to a drip system that waters twice a day.  Now that rains have begun, albeit slowly, the drip gets turned off and I only turn it on when needed.

The corn was not knee high by the fourth of July (it rarely is) but it will tassle in time and we will get corn (we always do.)

These petroglyphs sit on a proud rock overlooking the creek.  How many years have they been watching gardens grow and fail?  How many crops have they seen eaten by chickens or grasshoppers, or wiped out by the monsoon floods.

Life Learning Magazine

Check out Life Learning Magazine this month, I have an article in there (and some photos.)  This is a great mag. on the subject of unschooling.  They also publish a mag. called Natural Life Magazine on green living, attachment parenting, gardening, etc.

Ironically, Kiva has decided to try school for the first time.  As an unschooling parent, I will support this decision while also grieving the loss of freedom she now has to learn however she chooses.

An Unschooler Goes to School

Kiva has decided she would like to try school this coming year. This will be a huge change for my free and wild child. No more days of three hour trampoline sessions, drawing and reading leisurely for as long as she likes; no more long walks in creek beds with no where to go and nothing to do but collect juniper berries or dig the local clay.  She has always learned at home and from the world around her with plenty of unstructured time to explore.  She is such a busy and creative child, I feel school may get in the way of her "real" life-learning.  However, she is far more social than I am and I must honor this.  Unschooling and taking children seriously means, for me, to respect all their thoughts, ideas and decisions even if it is not what I want (as long as no one is being harmed.)  I don't really want her to go to school, but she wants to explore this option, so I will bring her.

Kiva has created an incredibly diverse life for herself; she has been playing the violin since 2006,  is actively involved in gymnastics (4 hours a week) and spends 3-4 hours a day drawing and writing stories.  She has animals (large and small) to tend to, belongs to a homeschool science club, an unschooling social group, and is writing a book.  Where will school fit in?