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Our cute little woodsman incense burner, which we bought at a magical holiday market in Pittsburgh, continues to delight!

Not nearly often enough, we empty, scour, and refill the refrigerator. I, in my maniacal delight at soldierly, short to tall rows of jars finds it oddly comforting, opening the doors, even when I need not a thing, just to gaze upon it and marvel.

We had a few meals out in the world before COVID numbers began to creep up, and up, and up, but have since relegated ourselves to 100% home cooking. Ribs with salad and sweet potatoes; Asian glazed drumsticks, fluffy rice, and a mess o’ spinach and roasted pepper; herb drumsticks and roasted broccoli some of the prettiest lately.

A walk or two a day keeps our spirits soaring. So, too, does playlist making, reading – books and magazines alike, Star Trek Discovery gotten from the library, The 2017 iteration of Twin Peaks (so YOU, David Lynch, and I must add how beautiful his silvery locks are!), sipping the hottest of coffee with creamy homemade almond milk come the weekend, bedtime cuddles, and chats with those I love.

Such lovely soup weather we are having. This is lemon chicken & rice.

Hearty beef chili with pinto beans and plenty of New Mexico and pasilla chiles.

Topped with an egg for breakfast the following day. Um, yeah…

I am still making soap, and I daresay these are my prettiest bars! After initially going gonzo with various butters and oils, scents and add-ins, I have whittled down my favorites. The top is a rather luscious goat milk, of which I made two varieties this time: plain and lemon-bay leaf, which smells like summer all year long. The speckled variety in the center photo is orange-rosemary-mint, our dreamy shampoo and body bar. Truly. The white bar is unscented 100% coconut oil and slated to be our new laundry soap. I’ll tell you how it goes. In the mean time, it’s so pretty to look at. They all are, really.

Greg and I bought these summer strolling straw hats a few months back. Fine breezes filter through the weave and can be shaped, via the magic of hot water, any which way. Our only beef was a lack of personality, so I beaded hatbands, officially jazzing them up. Or maybe cowpoked up? Whatever lack I have in ranch vocabulary is made up with their style. Greg’s is the one on the left. Each probably took about 20 hours and hundreds of beads to make, so if you’d like to give it a try, get ready to invest some serious time.

The butterflies this year! Eeek….

grape & rosemary focaccia

It’s peach season, y’all! I made peach rhubarb pie and two flawless batches of jam, beautifully colored by some of the rosiest fruits I’ve ever seen. Definitely worth all the chopping and sweating over roiling pots. And a note of recommendation, my dear neighbor Barbara, who has decided her canning days are long over, gave me her steam canner. If you don’t already own one, I cannot recommend it more highly. Instead of filling a GIANT pot with water to seal your treasures, you use only a few cups! No more heavy pot hassle or jars breaking after bumping into each other. My canning world has been revolutionized.

I smoked more trout and made chowder, adding shrimp and, in one of those sneaky swaps for some of the heavy cream, a pound of cauliflower to the broth, simmering until soft then whirring into oblivion in the Vitamix before adding potatoes and the fish. So delicious!

A crazy delicious salad with lettuce, nasturtiums, and purslane grown in our own back yard. Purslane (pictured below) is considered by most to be a weed, but if you’ve got it growing around your place, give it a try! It’s kind of citrus-y and has a nice texture.

Our first kohlrabi! Such a looker, purple and alien, but so yummy! Depending on your reference, it might taste of broccoli & radish, turnip & potato. Maybe even artichoke. Whatever your tastebuds, it’s a delight to watch it grow.

Young bucks….

The front garden is in full splendor and the wildlove (mistyped wildlife but am keeping, because duh) is in heaven….


Aloha and happy Friday! How wonderful does Hawaii sound at the moment? An earful of crashing waves and the scent of plumeria on the breeze. A bit like heaven, indeed.

This post is not about Hawaii (but I’ve got a few from back in the day {and the hubster sans beard!!} if your eyes need that variety of candy.). Rather, it is about some of my makings and doings as of late, or not so late because one of the necklaces is more than a a year old. You know how time flies!

The most special of the necklaces are the second and third, as they are made with medals from my Great Aunt Mary’s collection. Only part of which I kept – there were hundreds! She’s been living it up in heaven for more years than I can remember now, but remains ever so close in spirit and via these gems. I love you, Aunt Mary!

The wooly creations are a result the acorn obsession I spoke of earlier, though still no acorn. Ha! For scale, that’s a quarter gleaming over to the side. These are such fun to make! I really don’t need a collection of them, however, so I am contemplating surreptitiously placing them among their kin at the grocery, as little smiles to the world. I’d label them with puns – “Popped up to say you’re great!” Or some such. I hope I’m not the only one who thinks it would be fun to stumble upon one.

And finally, I did not make the board (that came from Magnolia), but the hummus, pita, jelly, and crackers were all made by my hands, and the ensemble too lovely not to photograph. I enjoyed these treats with my dear friend Cori before we ventured to the Ent Center Wednesday evening to see Beyond Calligraphy by the Guangdong Modern Dance Company. If you are even slightly interested in modern dance and near a show, get yourself a ticket and go, go, go. It was the most magical, evocative, and beautiful performance I have ever seen. Wow, just wow!

Hello from Jack Quinn’s, our favorite Irish Pub! This was last Saturday, and we were lucky to arrive at a sleepy enough hour to snag one of the very special booths, each cozy and enclosed, what an office cubicle dreams to be. The kind eyed with envy from passersby (been there!) and what I imagine would be taken by gangster types in days of yore.

It was a grand outing downtown, with an early dinner of Guinness for Greg, a Blarney Stone for me (Jameson, bitches!), and a shared feast of pretzels with beer cheese dip (the height!), amazing mussels, and a pork belly boxty. Oh, and a beautiful baked apple. Sooo much deliciousness and kindly service. Always.

We followed our perfect meal with JoJo Rabbit at Kimball’s Peak 3, our favorite theater that’s just around the corner. After loving Taika Waititi’s work in Boy, What We Do in the Shadows, and Eagle vs. Shark, we had rather high hopes. Sadly, it didn’t live up to our expectations, despite the fabulous Sam Rockwell and the scene stealing from he adorably funny Archie Yates. We’ll likely do a similar repeat this coming weekend to see A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood. More high hopes…

A few weeks back, strolling a craft fair with my dear friend Bebe, I became smitten with a cache of felted wool acorns. Itching to recreate them, I collected acorn tops from neighborhood streets and bought all the makings – wool roving in 100(!) colors, felting needles, and a sturdy pad for all the stabbing. With my attention diverted by three books of every manner of cuteness checked out from the library, I have yet to complete an acorn (ha!), but I have made the cute peach and the wee mushroom and mouse scene. What I will do with them, I am not quite sure, but who cares! They are adorable.

When we visited Santa Fe last year, I bought a Dryland Wilds Sagebrush Plantwater, so I could mist my face with one of my very favorite scents on the daily. After using it a short while, I wondered what other wonders I was missing. To my great luck, the lovely Robin Moore and Cebastien Rose make much more than plantwaters. They are high desert wild crafters, sustainably foraging native and invasive flowers, leaves, and resins, and harvest plants that would otherwise be discarded to make the most exquisitely intoxicating scents of New Mexico.

It’s no surprise I became a huge fan. In addition to the sagebrush, I purchased pinon plantwater, luxurious soaps, evening primrose and copper mallow lip balms, and beauty oils infused with willow and loosestrife, sagebrush and snakeweed, rosehip and thistle. Each is evocative, efficient, and positively uplifting!

Imagine my delight upon learning they offer a perfume making class. And what great luck to have the date correspond with our anniversary! So we planned our trip to Albuquerque around a Sunday afternoon. Cebastien is a fantastic teacher, educating about the various perfume notes, and encouraging us, via scent combining exercises, to try what would normally make us run for the hills. It culminates in the exciting creation of our own scented oil.

I call mine High Desert Morning. An infusion of ruby red grapefruit, balsam fir, honey mesquite, and labdanum. Initially, it only contained the first three, as I imagined peeling a grapefruit to the rhythm of the rising sun. It was lovely but lacking. So I pondered Cebastien’s teaching and decided to go for a run-for-the-hills essential oil. I tried the labdanum, and that drop on my perfume card made it all come together, for the missing element was Greg. Labdanum is on the musky side and reminiscent of his sweet bearded cheek. Crazy fantastic!

So if you need a reason to head to Albuquerque besides fabulous food and turquoise, treat yourself to a class. If you are less adventurous, try a soap, beauty oil, or plantwater, and inhale the magic of the high desert.

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