Eating

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Hey there, happy Friday!!

A small bowl of our burgeoning orchard bounty: a perfect strawberry, two plums of a dozen on the tree, and the blackberries, so many blackberries this year! The cobbler was a fine way to snazz them up, though they are pretty magical eaten straight from the cane.

Have you ever had the pleasure of a vlaai? It’s a pie or tart of the Limburg region of the Netherlands and Belgium, though different by virtue of a slightly sweet yeasted crust. I discovered it in the fabulous Home Made series by Yvette Van Boven, of which I own three. She’s a marvelously clever cook and infuses her books with fun humor and drawings.

This was my first vlaai with the cherries I canned from my neighbor Judy’s tree. In future, I will roll the dough thinner, as it puffed much more than expected. The pie was truly delicious, however, sweet and tart, and pretty cute, too, if I do say so, the squirrel and her quarry of acorns. We enjoyed it with our neighbors, Judy, Barb, and Jack, over a splendid afternoon of tea and conversation.

These super dark rosehips (plus two from another) are from a bush my mom gave me in memory of my Grandma Tess. In spring and early summer it is covered in sweet scented white blossoms, which makes it a real year-round stunner! I tried to make a jelly with them and crab apples from down the street, but despite their beautiful pink flesh and and flavor when raw, they were utterly bland and uninspiring when cooked. It’s too bad, because the rose hips made the prettiest purple color. I’ll see what I can do with them next year.

We’ve been hiking with Jeff (geocaching action shot!) every couple of months, enjoying discovering places midway between our houses and enjoying breakfast afterwards. This time it was Pegasus in Castle Rock – get the breakfast quesadilla and be glad.

Rainbow connection…

Greg, Juniper, and I had a super time, along with thousands of others, at the Chile & Frijoles Festival in Pueblo last weekend. It was a picture perfect day, not a cloud in the sky, air redolent of roasting chiles, of course. We enjoyed fair food in the form of a smoked turkey leg, some supposedly award winning, yet awful and outrageously expensive green chile, truly yummy green chile ice cream and a jalapeno brownie (thank you Bite Me Cake Company!). I also bought the fab poster pictured above, and a half bushel of organic Pueblo chiles from the nice people at the Hobbs & Meyer farm stand. It took me the better part of a day to prep and can them, but I have three quarts and a pint now ready to roll.

In making conversation with the kindly man on the right, I realized I’ve been eating chiles my whole life.  As my Great Aunt Mary (Hello in heaven!) would say about bananas, I’ll take them any way I can get them: in chile and tamales, of course, in salad, on top of eggs, filled with cheese in a relleno, in queso, atop a burger with cheese, roasted and straight into my mouth.

It’s funny how I never really thought of it as being a “thing” until my years away from the Southwest. When I talked green chile in Portland and Pittsburgh, most people assumed it was something completely different, Texas style with ground beef and kidney beans or a truly awful concoction with, gasp, carrots and celery. How  wonderful to be among people who know, even though they might still make a total cock-up of the recipe by adding tomato or beer or other nonsense.

p.s. For some cool and muy authentic Mexican recipes, with chiles, of course, visit this sweet lady.

Lady of the Wood

David Walker

Noor Reverie 

Rebecca Maxwell

Ornitho-Maia

(foreground)

Nadine Jaggi

The Exchange

Tatyanna & Natasha Meharry

Stories Upon Stories

Nora Naranjo Morse

Melanie Yazzie

Destruction by Fire #4: Fall From Grace

Rudy Hernandez

Emergence

Andrew Velez

Escaped the heat with a lovely visit to the Fine Arts Center, and especially enjoyed the Wearable Art Exhibition. It’s highly doubtful I would wear anything on show, but wow, what beautiful artistry and dedication to craft. Seriously. Followed our artistic reverie with happy hour at Stir – always kindly and delicious!

It’s hard to go wrong with turquoise…

The horsetail milkweed (those blossoms!!) is in full splendor, as is a lovely miniature rose. The garden gives and gives…

Speaking of gardening, when I hurt my knee on the trampoline and was relegated to the couch, I could not get enough of Garden Rescue! And, truth be told, I’m still watching. A friendly British garden competition and oh, so sweet. If you’re in need of outdoor inspiration, get cracking…

My cousin Allison’s new pup, Rookie. He and Juniper got along like a house on fire, Mutt and Jeff style.

Celebrated this sweet girl’s eighth year! She’s holding a Kate the Unicorn Squeezamal we gave her – it smells like grape bubble gum. So cute…

Driving home from the party – hard to beat the view!

It is said that if you want wildlife to visit a garden, just add water, as it attracts more critters than food. I’m not sure about our numbers, but I will say that we get a lot of activity, with this adorable female Lesser Goldfinch enjoying our hospitality on the regular. We are happy to oblige.

Early last Saturday morning, driving for a waterside hike.

I cannot be certain, but I do believe this butterfly flitted in our wake for the whole of the hike.

Mr. Silly helps me find just the right angle. This cast too much shade on his handsome face.

Happiness!

white evening primrose

These currants were beautiful and delicious!

Post hike cinnamon roll at The Pantry. It did not disappoint!

What a treat to rise early, hike for a couple hours, eat a hearty breakfast AND a cinnamon roll, and be home by NOON. The height, peeps, the height!

porch life…

mountain shadows

Saving the best for last. Do you like shrimp and grits but despair at having an even distribution of flavor? I am known to cut shrimp into itty bits so every bite is just so. A hassle, to be sure, but, like most things, worth it in the end. That is until I encountered Edna Lewis and Scott Peacock’s Shrimp Grits. The shrimp is cooked in heaps of butter then whirled into oblivion in a food processor before being mixed into already cooked grits. They “get to know each other” for five minutes or so before everyone at the table does their best to contain ecstatic outbursts at each and every bite. Yes ma’am, exactly. Just try it!

Mt. Maestas

Blanca Peak & Mt. Lindsey

When Greg and I were first together, a woman we knew had a rather curious comic taped on her refrigerator, front and center. It read: “It’s not a vacation if your husband goes with you.” I imagine her snickering while carefully clipping it from the paper. Then, with precision, taping around its border, ensuring it would rest for ages and ages on the freezer door, in the direct gaze of her husband of more than twenty years. How funny it must have been to her. How cruel it always seemed to me.

Our trip to Taos was initially one Juniper and I would take without Greg. His schedule at the time of planning was fluid, unknown. It would be fine, of course. I am an excellent traveler, with or without him, and Juniper is so easy going. But I didn’t really like it. Not because I feel completed by him or “need” him. No, I am my own person, solidly so. Perfectly complemented by him, yes. Two synergistic beings in rotation round the sun. I didn’t like it because I love his company. His wit and wisdom. His kindness. His gentleness and strength. His ability to make me laugh and feel comforted. And, boy howdy, that handsome face. So easy on the eyes.

So when his schedule definitively opened, we jumped on the chance to travel together. And what a marvelous time we had!

The Plaza at Costilla, New Mexico, which lies just over the border from Colorado. My Great-Grandparents (times three), Maria de Jesus (called Jesusita and the source of my Native ancestry) and Aaron Williams, lived here at the time of the 1860 Census. She kept house, and he was a Wagon Driver (note his horse shoe tie pin!). The Plaza is much as it looked when they lived there, the building dating to the 1850s. I continue to feel awed at each layer of history as revealed to me, that they lived and died more than a century ago, yet I feel incredibly close to them. They are in my dreams and on the air, a pulse in my very veins. A marvel, truly.

Oh gosh, how I wish you could see the vivid emerald flush as it appeared to our eyes. We were treated like never before to green on this trip!

This little guy or gal, a cicada, I think? Long since dead, but still clinging to it’s final resting place. Nature really is a wonder.

The Claret Cup Cactus and Opuntias put on quite a show for us.

ponderosa

We hiked to the bottom of the Rio Grande Gorge (a rift zone, actually), 680 feet, and thankfully not straight down!

Good Juniper. Not so great Colleen.

Not so great Juniper. Good Colleen.

We are none of us models!

Greg hides behind a most delicious post-hike burger at Taos Diner. It was well earned!

Manzanita Market – where I, of course, bought another wonderful selection of Dryland Wilds products. The cottonwood bud hand balm is the scent of my childhood springs (!) and super moisturizing.

Chokola never fails.

My people!

Back with more tomorrow…

 

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Griddle cakes, pancakes, hot cakes, flapjacks: why are there four names for grilled batter and only one word for love?

George Carlin

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My recipe for pancakes (a form of L O V E ) here….

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