September 2019

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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.


Awake the dawn that sleeps in heaven; let light rise from the chambers of the east and bring the honey’d dew that cometh on waking day. O radiant morning: salute the sun.

William Blake


La Veta

Higway of Legends (Highway 12 portion) past Cuchara and winding to Trinidad is one splendid sight after another. Clear lakes swimming with fish and ringed with people eager to catch them. Dikes of the geological and monolithic variety punctuate the landscape and emphasize our small human stature. Old churches dot the highway, marking the old gathering places of dying and dead town squares. Then there are the scars of industry, long cold coke ovens and miles of their spent matter lining the landscape of aptly named Cokedale.

And to Trinidad, where we hoped for a quiet lunch at a recommended Italian spot but got a parade of highly imaginative vehicles instead. Juniper did NOT like the ruckus surrounding them, so we headed for tamer pastures.

Gray Jay

Cordova Pass bisects the Highway of Legends; it is entirely unpaved and definitely not for the faint of heart nor low clearance vehicle. It gave more marvelous candy for the eye, but oh, the bumps!!


The Apishapa (ah-pish-ah-paw) Arch bisects one of the hundreds of dikes that radiate from the Spanish Peaks. I was super keen on visiting, and taking a photo of its namesake river and valley to honor another set of Great Grandparents, Guadalupe and his wife Donaciana, who lived here at the time of the 1870 census. How I found myself in awe of the beautiful places my ancestors lived.

Quite the contrast in architecture, eh? Bubbles are a bold choice!



I am with the roots

of flowers

entwined, entombed

sending up my passionate blossoms

as a flight of rockets

and argument;

wine churls my throat,

above me

feet walk upon my brain, monkies fall from the sky

clutching photographs

of the planets

but I seek only music

and the leisure

of my pain

Charles Bukowski


Highway of Legends

Hola! This first photo is the view my Great-Grandma times four Esquipula Maes enjoyed from her property in Southern Colorado. How giddy I was, heart pitter-patter with excitement when I found the deed, dating from 1862. That was nothing compared to the feeling of my feet firmly planted and eyes taking in the beauty. And, oh, the wonderful scent of it, too. How wild the bonds of ancestry!

Jesusita Williams is my Great Grandmother times three and the source of my Comanche ancestry. She shares a headstone with my Great Grandpa Aaron, and is near her children Louis and Carmelita. I like to think these marvelous cliffs keep vigil over their graves.

I am holding a copy of the above photo, taken in almost the same location, with over a century between, my Great Uncle times four Jose de los Reyes is the bearded man with a baby on his lap. My ancestors ranched and farmed here and within a twenty or so mile radius, and Jesusita and Aaron are buried just down the road. I spent hours scouring Google maps to find this spot. More heart pumping excitement, I tell you!!


And now for the Highway of Legends portion of our journey.  A scenic byway by name, it is a spectacular unspooling of highway around the Spanish Peaks, with picturesque views for days and history aplenty. It was one of those “about time” adventures, having driven past La Veta and over its namesake pass countless times since we were children. The town is a wisp of a thing, with 800 residents at the last census, but enough to loudly cheer at a Friday night football game and support a fine grocery, bakery, booze stops, lovely galleries and tourist shops. I would be remiss if I didn’t tell you about Desert Expressions, where I laid claim to a finely crafted necklace and bracelet, very much of their place, sterling silver with turquoise and hand stamping. The owner was kindly and funny and let Juniper browse along with us. Our girl took the job seriously and was very well behaved.

Our guest house was wonderful and surrounded by well loved gardens, tended daily by their owner and keeper, Ernest, several cats (that’s Oscar above) and dogs. Juniper is pictured with an especially sweet playmate named Emma.

The ever patient hubster waits for me to “take my snaps.”

Do you see the faces of my ancestors?

More to come on Friday!


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