Here is the list of books I read this year (in the order I read them with the particularly great ones in bold, also shown in the banner above):
- Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson
- Summer of My Amazing Luck by Miriam Toews
- The Moor’s Account by Laila Lalami
- Irma Voth by Miriam Toews
- A Boy of Good Breeding by Miriam Toews
- The Flying Troutmans by Miriam Toews
- Born for This by Chris Guillebeau
- En Recuerdo de: The Dying Art of Mexican Cemeteries in the Southwest by Bruce F. Jordan
- As Aways, Julia by Julia Child and Avis Devoto
- Journey through an Arid Land by G. Davies Jandrey
- Language Arts by Stephanie Kallos
- The Art of Memoir by Mary Karr
- Where All Light Tends to Go by David Joy
- Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
- A Movable Feast by Ernest Hemingway
- The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
- The Rabbit Back Literature Society by Pasi Ilmari Jääskeläinen
- Rogue Lawyer by John Grisham
- The Last Train to Zona Verde by Paul Theroux
- Deep South by Paul Theroux
- Blood, Bones, and Butter by Gabrielle Hamilton
- The Empty Mirror by Janwillem van de Wetering
- The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert
- 10:04 by Ben Lerner
- Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert
- The Happiness of Pursuit by Chris Guillebeau
- Arizona Kicks on Route 66 by Roger Naylor
- The Land of Open Graves by Jason De León
- My Life in France by Julia Child
- Alaska by James Michener
- The Litigators by John Grisham
- At the Water’s Edge by Sara Gruen
- The Racketeer by John Grisham
- Drop Shot by Harlan Coben
- Nathan Coulter by Wendell Berry
- The Oath by Jeffrey Toobin
- A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler
- Jayber Crow by Wendell Berry
- American Heiress by Jeffrey Toobin
- Outside 25: Classic Tales and New Voices from the Frontiers of Adventure edited by Hal Espen
- The Best American Travel Writing 2006 by Tim Cahill (Editor)
- The Backbone of the World by Frank Clifford
- Where the Waters Divide by Karen Berger and Daniel R. Smith
- Going Back to Bisbee by Richard Shelton
- Dear Data by by Giorgia Lupi and Stefanie Posavec
- Crossing the Yard by Richard Shelton
- Hannah Coulter by Wendell Berry
- That Distant Land by Wendell Berry
- Andy Catlett by Wendell Berry
- Whitefoot by Wendell Berry
- A Place in Time by Wendell Berry
- The Whistler by John Grisham
- My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout
As usual, there were several authors I read several books by — Miriam Toews, Julia Child, Paul Theroux, Wendell Berry. The Berry books were particularly special, and I finished the last of his fiction that I hadn’t read earlier. (I’d been saving them up, and it was a nice way to finish the year.)
We get some interesting folks passing through our area, including those on cross-country bike or walking trips. This week, I met a guy named Mark Hainds who is walking the border and passed through here.
Two years ago, he walked the whole Texas border, and this month he’s walking from El Paso to Sierra Vista. He’ll finish the Arizona and California border on a future leg, and yes, he’s writing a book about it. He averages about 25 miles a day and walks pretty much every day.
I walked with him for 12 miles or so yesterday and got to see a stretch of the old railroad I hadn’t seen from about mile marker 7 on Highway 9 (west of Animas) to Rodeo. It was a cool day (note the snow on the Peloncillos in the picture), but the wind was down and it was sunny much of the day. It was an enjoyable walk, and Mark had some good stories to tell.
I’ve read so many books about long quest-style walks like this and think I’d like to do one myself some day. In the meantime, it’s nice to have the flexibility in our lives to be able to take time off to enjoy opportunities like this as they come along.
For recordkeeping purposes, this year:
- First frost: November 16, 2016 (?)
- First snow in the mountains: November 28, 2016
- First snow at our house: (to come)
This week is the last farmers market of the season here. We are celebrating with a community potluck.
I am ready for a break from this. We’ve been going for 7 months (sadly, with me as the “anchor” vendor) and haven’t missed a week. Over the course of that time, we’ve produced approximately:
- 175 loaves of bread
- 120 bags of lettuce, arugula or other greens
- numerous quiches; bags of sprouts and microgreens; cucumbers; radishes; green beans; containers of pesto, salsa, onion confit, and garlic paste, etc.
This has been a great experience, and the community has been enormously supportive.
PS I’m looking forward to eating all the greens and other things we produce this year!
It’s been a crazy couple of weeks here, but I wanted to get a quick post up about our camping trip to Big Bend National Park. It’s the 30th national park I’ve visited. We loved it. Though we weren’t able to stay long this time, we will definitely go back. (I’m especially looking forward to a rafting trip.)
For those interested in a visit, it’s an easy 7.5 hour drive from here.
Every once in a while, I go on a binge of taking photos for some Wikipedia project. (You may remember the lake work.) This month, they had a contest to gather photos of places on the National Register of Historic Places. It was a good chance for me to explore some things I hadn’t seen (or hadn’t looked at closely) around Douglas and Bisbee.
Here are the results. (The last three photos were taken in earlier years.)
Douglas-Williams Home Museum, Douglas, AZ
Hotel Gadsden (now for sale — they say if they don’t sell soon, they’ll close.)
Grand Theater, Douglas, AZ
Douglas Post Office
El Paso and Southwestern Railroad Passenger Depot, Douglas, AZ
El Paso and Southwestern Railroad YMCA, Douglas, AZ
(This building was recently purchased and is being restored. That’s a lot of work!)
St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Bisbee, AZ
Douglas Walter House, Bisbee, AZ
Evergreen Cemetery, Bisbee, AZ
John Treu House, Bisbee, AZ (also for sale)
Muheim House, Bisbee, AZ
Phelps Dodge General Office Building, Bisbee, AZ
Bisbee Womans Club Clubhouse, Bisbee, AZ
Silver Peak Lookout Complex, Portal, AZ
Fort Bowie, National Historic Site, Bowie, AZ
Chiricahua National Monument Historic Designed Landscape, Portal, AZ
It’s pretty quiet here, and so when a car we don’t recognize pulls up to the front gate, it’s always interesting. On Monday, a truck pulled up and parked. Getting out the binoculars, I saw two women, a man, and a child who I didn’t recognize. As the couple walked up the drive, we waved, and they waved back.
It turns out they are the people who own the piece of land to the west of us. In 8 years here, we’d never seen them. It turns out that they’ve been married 16 years, and the woman had never been there. Her husband hadn’t been there for 30 or so years. (His father bought the parcel and left part of it to him when he died.) They live in Tucson.
In fact, they weren’t even sure exactly where the piece of land was, which was why they’d stopped at our place.
They were very nice. We invited them in, talked for a while, and exchanged phone numbers.
It’s amazing to me that someone could own a piece of land that they’d never even seen, but it seems to happen a lot here. People buy cheap with some expectation that the price will go up. For most people, it’s not a place they can ever really imagine themselves living.
That suits us fine.
It is one of the most lovely times of year to go camping here, and we took advantage of the long weekend to see a new place, Aguiree Springs in the Organ Mountains just east of Las Cruces.
These mountains are quite dramatic, and the hikes we did around them were beautiful. And because of the late monsoons, everything was in bloom! (And yes, the mosquitoes were in full force.)