Colorado Springs

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Farmer Greg + tomato + kohlrabi
pork shoulder steak + spiralized zucchini & carrot + veg galore + peanut dressing
Uncle Lyle + Aunt Bev, with L O V E

The front garden gives and gives

Who goes there?
Raccoon methinks
B a l l o o n s ! !

Mud! Juniper’s toes! My Maine Coone socks! Hello Paris…

blue tepary
scarlet runner beans: one and all
S I X pounds of prickly pears wild harvested and processed!

Home grown tiny canteloupe…flip fantasia
With a sincere nod to US3’s FAB song!

poblano
fennel + chicory + ground cherry + kohlrabi + tomato
tomato
big + little
harvest
Breakfast “Ramen” – zoodles + egg + bacon + jack cheese + green chile + chicken broth
pico de gallo with our own tomatoes and cayenne pepper – huzzah!

Good Tuesday to you, dear reader! What eye candy here today, and what luck to find it all in front of my lens.

From the top: the garden is going like gangbusters, with super delicious ripening tomatoes, of a variety we cannot remember, drat. The kohlrabi hollering go big or go home!

After struggling a bit with the middle age S P R E A D, Greg and I joined Weight Watchers. It’s been a few weeks, and though the pounds aren’t exactly flying off (damn slowing metabolism!), we are losing weight and feeling truly great. It is actually FUN, and we are enjoying the challenge. I am spiralizing like a mad woman: zucchini, carrots, butternut squash!

We visited Bev + Lyle’s graves weekend before last for the very first time. Her colorful personality called for a rainbow of roses. We’ve had more death in the family, and I’ve felt a little heavy about it, truth be told. I pore over pictures and replay Super-8 style memories while pondering the gossamer connections of blood kin and my chosen family, each binding me to the wider world. Like planting small seeds of comfort that will one day bear beautiful fruit.

In a super cookbook from the library, Living Within the Wild, I found the recipe for Breakfast Ramen. Theirs uses actual ramen, which is NOT worth my points on WW, so of course I zoodled! It also calls for nori rather than green chile, but come on, green chile was made for this dish! I will definitely be making it again.

This past weekend was the Balloon Festival, and we awoke early Saturday to wade through giant puddles and trudge the mud of two evening’s blessed rains: all to watch the launch from our favorite perch on high. The mist veiled hills a bonus gift for our labors. Every year we expect a crowd in our viewing spot, and every year we are gratefully spared, reveling in our own good luck AND company to watch each wonder of gravity rise and rise and rise.

It is prickly pear season, at last, at last. I cannot believe my good luck at finding the local patches of beautiful fruit, waiting to be turned into wonderful juice. The spiny jabs worth it in the end.

More glory in the garden as the harvest gets to go, go, going. We experimented with cantaloupe! While it is among the best we’ve ever tasted, it is not nearly worth the water or labor for the three adorable fruits produced. The ground cherries, peppers, beans, zucchini, and tomatoes are quite a different story. The blue tepary and scarlet runners an excellent introduction to beans for drying, so we will plant much more next year, taking out the strawberry plants that do so very little. How life presents a body with ample opportunities to learn!

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yellow dianthus : low creeping sumac : peony : iris : New Mexican privet : ratbida : echinacea : fernbush : golden currant
echinacea : horehound : yarrow: Grandpa’s potentilla : New Mexican Privet : mallow
mallow – it blooms like mad for months and makes pollinators very happy
crocosmia : foxglove : horehound : sea buckthorn : Apache plume : fern bush : Grandpa’s potentilla : yarrow : dwarf mugo pine
goldenrod : serviceberry : penstemon : hyssop : horsetail milkweed : mallow : amaranth : rabbitbrush : choke cherry
horehound : Grandpa’s potentilla : mallow : foxglove : crocosmia : scarlet runner beans
Nine foot tall sunflowers!!
golden currant : fernbush : ratbida : evening primrose : echinacea : prickly poppy : oriental poppy : horsetail milkweed : hyssop : sedum : dwarf mugo pine
New Mexican privet : fernbush : golden currant : orange horned poppy : brown eyed susan : crocosmia : penstemon : red yarrow : sedum
never-ending rhubarb in a basket bought ages ago in Portland

Though there is always more growing to do, like with the evergreens and a few of the shrubs, I feel like our gardens, and my vision for them, have come to fruition. With the exception of this year’s new plants and the fruit and vegetable patch, we don’t provide any additional water – a xeriscaped haven in the high desert of Colorado Springs!

It is truly exciting to no longer think long-term, wondering what more needs to be added. Everything is here, huzzah! We’ll replace whatever becomes diseased or dies, of course. In the mean time, what a pleasure to wander amongst plants of varying heights, textures, and colors, to hear all the critters and winged visitors, bird and insect alike.

How cute, also, is farmer Greg harvesting lettuce made safe from marauding, but ever adorable, rabbits. We’ve also learned they enjoy echinacea flower petals for dessert, rats. The ups and downs of sharing a space with all the four-leggers.

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When I made our Chinese takeout meal, I bought a package of egg roll wrappers, but dang, if there aren’t a million of them. So I waited for an idea to come. Butternut squash and sage ravioli! A lazy woman’s delight of feeling home made without the need to roll pasta. Ahem, yes. More please.

Logan George, our neighbor of three, with THE coolest name in the hood, had a wee baby brother! I made cupcakes and bought cool baby things. You are loved, little Max.

My sesame chicken disappointment is dearly departed, peeps. I asked, and the interwebs provided, though I did not deep fry. The best we’ve ever had.

Meal in Reverse: Apple and fennel pizza with hot honey (poured from Grandma’s pot!!) for dessert. Mushroom and fennel pizza for the main. Salad not pictured. Delicious, of course. What a delight to see the smile when I boxed it for leftovers.

And a note to former Portlanders living in Colorado Springs who also happen to be fans of Mama Lil’s. They have GIANT jars at Costco. Saints preserve us…

Just like IKEA

Savory Corn Custard with Mushroom & Linguica

No, seriously!! The washing machine ate my pants.

Marge Simpson

It’s beautiful where we are!

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How cute is Greg enjoying a prickly pear margarita last weekend? I made tamales, red chile, and Anasazi beans to go with them, which was marvelous and photographed poorly, but who really cares with that dazzler of a smile?

How are you? We are at day 15 without leaving the house besides a dog walk. Our food supply is pretty good, except for fresh produce, with three apples, three carrots, and one jalapeno and poblano left. We have plans to get rid of our thorny blackberries (OUCH!!) and replace them with lettuces and spinach, maybe some carrots, too. Though I am sincerely hoping it will be a bonus rather than a necessity, but who knows? These are such strange times.

Our health is good, some sniffles after a super windy walk yesterday, so hoping that doesn’t equate to anything serious. I am worried for my friends in the medical profession, as they are already having meetings about not having enough personal protective equipment to get through the crisis, despite government reports saying there are plenty to go around. And then there is every last person suffering financially. I know my prayers mean not a whit, so we are helping those we can how we can. May it be enough to sustain them until government money arrives.

This is Texas Sheet cake, also made last Sunday (p.s. – If you decide to try it and don’t like a cloyingly sweet cake, cut the sugar in half – you won’t regret it!). My friend Whitney was the first (maybe only?) person to make it for me, way back when I was a whippersnapper of twenty-two. I remember being in her kitchen on Albion Street in Denver, us chatting while she washed dishes, waxing poetic about how easy and delicious it was. I hit the pause button the moment she said it contained cinnamon. My rather unworldly upbringing had never-ever put cinnamon and chocolate together. How weird would it be? Would I like it? The answer was a resounding yes, and now, twenty-six years later, I cannot recall the number of times I have made this fabulous flavor combination.

After lamenting the soy flour contained in the blue corn pancake mix we bought in Santa Fe, I ordered some plain blue corn flour (masa) from Gold Mine and made a batch of pancakes the day the box arrived at our door. They were delicious! If you’d like to try your hand at them, they’ve been added to my long list of pancake recipe combinations that can be found here. Enjoy!

Feeling grateful for our every day walks, this beautiful city, and every moment that makes me smile, like this wee one on his way to work!

Whenever I feel overwhelmed with the news, I think on my light and inspiration, my Great Aunt Mary (who would have been 112 on St. Patrick’s Day!). The oldest of seven, she lived through the death of every one of her siblings, save my Grandma Tess, by 1975, the youngest at the age of twenty-five.

Her faith was boundless, and she was the most selfless, loving, and giving person I have ever known. Though she suffered many a heart break and disappointment, she never let her feathers ruffle, never uttered an unkind word. A smile was never far from her lips, nor a chuckle or a prayer. She walked her talk to the utmost!

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Just a quick hello on a beautiful snowy morning! It is cold, expected to top out at a whopping 16 degrees, but how cute is Juniper in her shoes (and wearing two coats!) and the trees in their frosty robes. Happy Tuesday!

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