Eating

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Up yonder – roasted zucchini soup with toasted pepitas and a chicken thigh with smoked paprika gravy. The soup is a godsend when your giant Costco bag of zucchini gets overlooked for a few days, and the whole three pounds needs to be eaten, pronto. Just roast it under the broiler until it’s got a nice char, and whir it with a little bit of water, a can of green chiles, garlic, cumin, and salt in your Vitamix. Done and done. Here we have homemade tamarind soda, not a root beer float. I’m a big tamarind lover! Nothing tastes quite like it.

neighborhood blossoms

Our garden, complete with lovely butterfly on Thursday. I was out there soaking up the beauty and thinking what a great year it’s gonna be out here.

Then the snow started falling Friday afternoon and didn’t stop until nearly a foot fell at our house. We went out a few times to shake the heavy snow off flattened bushes and trees, which gutted me, truth be told. It’s all melted now, and does look a bit worse for wear, but most of it is better than I expected. Grandma’s rose still has tons of blooms and even more buds! There are quite a few other broken bits that I don’t think will recover, sadly.

This being me, it should come as no surprise that there is much to be happy about here. Redemption! Drought conditions and red flag wind stoked too close for comfort wildfires within minutes of our house earlier in the week. They’ll be put on the back burner for a bit, as the ground is positively saturated. So, yeah, gratitude runs the day!

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Rolling along Highway 50 and the Arkansas, gazing westward toward the Collegiate Peaks. With soaring granite walls and the steady rush of the river, this drive is one of our favorite excursions, putting Colorado’s full glory on display: sun, stone, water, sky!

In the awe of people doing what they truly love category: despite what I imagine to be rather frigid temperatures, we spied many a fisher in chest waders out on the water.

Wet Mountains

The sky put on quite the light show as we headed south!

The Mellow Moon was our cozy landing spot, an easy walk to delicious eats at Raisin’ Rye (cinnamon roll, jalapeno & sausage kolache, almond croissant!!), Three Barrel Brewing (Firecracker Pizza, honey kolsch!!), and Chavolos Mexican (carnitas, chile relleno!!). Oh, and a giant-wonderful jar of honey and a bar of bee pollen soap at Haefelis!

It was an equally easy amble from the Mellow Moon to the Rio Grande and all the small town charm. Some large beast, a deer or elk, we guessed, left ample evidence of a hearty roll in the snow. Juniper could not help but to follow suit!

Horizontal snow…

Our trip on Friday was a leisurely three hours, including a stop in Canon City for Indian food at Nirvana and another for marijuana treats in Salida. We are very infrequent flyers and found ourselves agog at the choices! Greg got some Bliss Drops to, as the kindly salesperson put it, have the the equivalent of “three glasses of wine without needing to pee!” I chose Wyld Peach gummies for my annoying migraines. As luck (???) would have it, I did get a migraine while in Del Norte. I could not have been happier. I suffered no headache pain. Woot!

Sunday started as a rather gorgeous, snow coated morning. We made no tracks to rush while still getting on the road at nine. After breakfast in Alamosa (nothing remarkable, sadly), the skies turned, and we inched along in whiteout conditions up and over La Veta Pass (La Veta Loca, as the hubster put it), adding two hours to our normal trip length. Luckily it was beautiful, and there was only one jerk on the road, so it was all good in the end. Life as it should be.

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Night Out

Tuesday evening, before the wind literally turned much of the city upside down, we went out to dinner. It had been ages and in the works for days, and by the time it arrived was very much needed. Greg, so early in the week, had already had a rough time at the virtual office. Nothing he couldn’t handle, but still distressing and annoying.

We went to Mood for tapas, which was quite lovely, really living up to its name, soft glow and sparkle. Our server was simply the best, keeping it light and knowing the right moment for everything. We enjoyed adult beverages and great flavors and relished the fact that a whole host of other people were doing the cooking and clean-up. Hell yes!

After dinner, we strolled in the crisp of it and admired murals, cheerful downtown neon, and sweet twinkle lights. We stopped into our favorite chocolate shop to grab some Firework bark for a dear to us treat: add pop rocks and smoky chile powder to chocolate, and oooh la la! It lives up to its name, yes ma’am. Like a Depeche Mode song, we just can’t get enough.

Though it didn’t feel quite normal, it was as close as we’d been in a while, and oh how grateful I am for those moments.

You know I can’t resist them…

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Our STRONG rooted fennel took two hands to release from the ground!

Juniper’s tongue! She’s so stinking cute.

The beautiful fluff of seed pods waiting to be carried off to new lands.
omelet
Bee and butterfly!
butternut squash tacos
reflection from a seltzer can!
spicy Asian pork salad
Bald Eagle
Final harvest of peppers, onions, and fennel!
tiny poblano
Snow!

Hello, and happy Wednesday!

We’re a one foot in salad and one foot in soup season around here. Days still have enough warmth in them, but my mind, I think, is further along the transition because I made fennel apple soup with these last bulbs, and boy, it was wonderful!

It is full on FALL here, with trees lit up: ochre, pumpkin, scarlet. But alas, no photo! The last jeweled apples cling to trees and prettily litter the ground. It hurts my heart a bit not to gather them all, but I’ve already made butter, sauce, and jelly galore. The birds and squirrels and other critters will go gonzo soon enough, I suppose.

The bee and butterfly up yonder were noshing on our mint. After looking a little droopy, it took off right and proper, with hundreds of winged creatures feasting on the flowers. We were dazzled by the constant flurry of activity and ever-so-grateful not to have prematurely trimmed it back. I shudder to think at all the missed nutrients for the bevy of tiny friends.

Farmer Greg’s final harvest was a showstopper considering the tiny footprint of the garden, and this doesn’t even show the giant bowl of tomatoes waiting to be made into something wonderful.

And on that wonderful note, how good does the handsome hubster look after 18 pounds lost on Weight Watchers? He’s humming at a much faster clip than I, but we’re still moving forward. Foods like the pork salad and butternut squash tacos (thanks to Gwyneth Paltrow for this idea) make it all the more colorful and satisfyingly delicious.

Here’s hoping you are WELL!

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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