Making

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The last of our garden tomatoes, before and after roasting into a delicious soup.

The first year since moving to our Colorado house that the garden aspens actually turned sunset hues. They’re usually killed by frost or snow before the opportunity arises. What a show!

Juniper looks so little when she sleeps.

Jett came for a visit. We gorged on Italian food and homemade ice cream, shopped, walked, and puzzled. It was a great day!

Doing a lot of meat over shredded cabbage, as of late. This is a middle eastern take on ground chicken, with tomato, onion, raisins, and hot honey pinon nuts. It was delicious.

Have you watched Sprung on freevee? If you haven’t and are a laugh out loud and nice show person like me, get to it! It’s a super fun series about three people released early from prison because of COVID. I’ve watched it twice and highly recommend the same.

I am holding a John Wayne casserole made after seeing it on the show. It has a biscuit base, ground beef, cheese, and a million different iterations after that. In keeping with old school casserole vibes, I added a can of cream of mushroom soup, then a mixture of garlic and chile powders, tomato, green chile, and corn. Tasty!! I’d make it again in a heartbeat.

When Greg and I were in Wisconsin, we had some really good maple pecan fudge. Its only defect being it was a bit too sweet for us. I couldn’t get it out of my head and decided it could benefit from the bitterness of chocolate. I made a batch this past weekend, dividing the basic five-minute fudge recipe, two thirds with white chocolate chips and 3/4 teaspoon maple flavoring (real maple syrup was a major fail), and one third with the usual chocolate chips, and layering the two. It is amazing peeps!

Bought a jar of wonderful creosote and rosemary cream and a delightfully scented candle from Sonoran Rosie. So pretty and smells like the desert in bloom.

Bracelet in progress. I think I like it.

Way back in 2008, I wrote about the concoctions I made in the drinking and body care categories. One of them was kombucha, which I have made off and on in the fourteen years since. We’re in an off period now, but never say never about the future!

I also tried various deodorants and shampoos, which in their former formulations I abandoned. The deodorant paste contained baking soda and made my armpits break out in a rash after a couple months, while the shampoo eventually made my hair look greasy all the time. Live and learn.

Today I present you with what I have learned. I still make soap (and very much enjoy it!), for hand and body washing, shampoo, and pictured at top, laundry. This is made from 100% coconut oil (and lye, of course) which cleans clothes exceptionally well and will make your skin drier than dead leaves if you wash with it on the regular. Greg and I grate it with a microplane, using about two tablespoons per load. A batch of eight bars lasts well over a year, mostly because we only wash a load or two a week.

In case you wondering why, since we’re such a small family, it takes a while to achieve a full load, usually every two to three weeks for darks and once a month for lights. I considered the minimalist clothing idea at one time, only having a few items in each category, but realized with so few garments, the necessity of washing a small load of laundry all the damn time, and who wants that? No one under this red roof, I assure you. I went for a minimalist color scheme instead – black, white, grey, oatmeal, harvest yellow, forest green, turquoise, and rust for the majority of my tops and sweaters. Jeans in every fade, a single black pair of corduroys, ochre, rust, and green pants, skirts, and shorts. Most every garment is a good match for the others. I also wear everything but the undies for as long as they aren’t visibly soiled or smelly.

It’s also a boon for all of our water reducing measures in preparation for moving to Taos. We’ll have a well and collect rainwater for all of our usage, no endless city taps! It is best to be prepared well in advance.

Getting back to it, I also make hand and lip balms, with beeswax, avocado, and olive oil, sometimes with herbal infusions, like creosote bush and calendula, and the remains of lip balms I’ve gotten as gifts. The lip stuff I use several times daily and the hand balm every night at bed time. I should also mention the hand balm benefits from the addition of zinc, which is a pretty amazing all-around for skin.

In the liquid category, the pink spritz (a great re-use of a rosewater bottle) has a mixture of zinc, magnesium flakes, sulfur, and filtered water. Greg has super sensitive skin, and this is the absolute best mixture for keeping it clear, soft, and itch-free. He sprays it all over, scalp included. It is not hyperbole to say the change has been astounding. Surprisingly enough, he doesn’t smell like matches, either.

The old rye bottle is a mixture of apple cider vinegar and rice water, which I use as a face and hair rinse. The blue spritz is our deodorant – a combination of essential oils (tea tree and white thyme for antimicrobial properties, sweet orange for scent), water, magnesium flakes, and a touch of alcohol. The amber bottle is my moisturizing hair oil. I use castor, olive, and jojoba oil, with rosemary and mint essential oils, which are supposed to stimulate hair growth. That is not definitive, but really smells nice. It helps keep my dry ends in check, at least!

Are you still there? The camera continues to please, dear peeps, in spades!! Our first frost brought a whole host of photographic delights.

Weekend morning ritual: get up without an alarm, though shockingly close to said usual hour, enjoy a latte or three and a ginger biscuit or three, with Juniper cuddles on the sofa. Right when her pants are full to brimming with ants, we walk!

Oatmeal Raisin with flake salt, crispy-sweet, salty good.

Creamy chicken stew, made with cauliflower and cream cheese instead of actual cream, pureed to smoothness. Add ground chicken, green chiles, corn, onion, garlic, and powdered New Mexico chile galore. Eat super duper fast.

Happy Halloween!!

The late snow kept Pike’s Peak in prime prettiness for days. Another silver lining…

Our girl gets the bestest belly rubs and poses with brilliant iris blooms. She is all that and then some.

The petal parade has begun….

Yesterday was our wedding anniversary, twenty-nine years!! It is quite the number, which leaves us both pleased as punch. In celebration, we went to Dos Santos, our favorite taco joint, on Friday, and yesterday I made bouillabaisse and homemade garlic and red pepper aioli (high falutin’ word for lip-smackin’ good mayo) for the day-of celebration. It is slathered on extra crunchy French bread croutons before being delicately dipped in the broth. Every manner of happy tastebud sound follows. We enjoyed it with a bottle of wine purchased on our Missouri vacation last year – Hermanhoff White Lady. It made for one heck of a way to celebrate!

While I labored in the kitchen, the hubster labored in the garden and on our screen door. Juniper is sometimes an impatient little booger when it comes to getting in and out of the house and had made enough of a wreck of the screen that insects could get in, no problema. So we had a heavier duty one installed (by Mullet Screens – a kindly guy who comes round in a van!) and bought the “screen saver” (HA!) to keep further damage from occurring. It needed a little trim, and Greg made it so. It looks quite nice and seems built to last.

All the sprouts tended since January are snug in the ground and looking quite lovely! The stick structure in the middle is made for beans to climb and came from fallen branches in all these terrible winds we’ve been having. I am super excited to think about our summer harvest. Though I won’t be counting any beans until they’re actually off the vine. Now that snow is out of the picture, we are in prime hail season. Oh, Colorado….

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Happy 73rd Birthday to my MOM!!

Getting Fancy

Good Wednesday to you, dear reader! How about the zoodle ramen above? It was pretty and damn tasty. The jalapeno was one of the hottest we’d come across in quite some time; neither Greg or I could eat the very few slices in our bowl. Yikes!

Time for a pack nap. Sooo cute!

Still beautiful in our neck of the woods…

One of my first memories as a child is the sound of the percolator at my grandparents house and the smell of coffee wafting to the guest room. I’d hop out of bed and pad down the hall to the thrill of Grandpa’s whistling. There in the kitchen, he’d be moving to an age-old dance, to and fro, to and fro, in slippers, old school jammies, and a robe.

From a very young age, I’d get to have a cup – a very pretty teacup, white painted with delicate pink roses. He’d fill it three-quarters with cream, add a tiny spoon of sugar, and top it off with coffee. Then we’d head wordlessly to the patio, where I’d snuggle next to him while he read the paper, puffed his pipe, and, of course, sipped his adult version, minus the sugar.

When Greg and I started dating, he did not like coffee. At our first outing to Paris on the Platte, as I knew he had always been a chocolate person, I convinced him to try a mocha – chocolate and a tower of whipped cream just the right combination to set him on the path to coffee nirvana. It worked! Before long, the pair of us were grabbing coffees at the the businesses popping up everywhere. Mochas, cappuccinos, black, with cream!

It should come as no surprise, on the occasion of our 50th birthdays, we decided to splurge on an espresso machine! After nearly three months on back order, it arrived, and we’ve been enjoying learning the ins and outs for the past few days. The coffee is delicious, amazingly so, and takes me right back to my very magical first espresso on my 16th birthday and all the other heady coffee house days since.

Our next project is to master latte art! Cheers to that…

August

Try as I might, this shot never quite turned out as I hoped, so squint your eyes and work with me here.

Do you ever make vision boards? I hadn’t made one in probably twenty years, but as I was watching Dr. Pimple Popper (oh, yes!) one evening last week, the spirit moved me, and I obliged. I could not find the glue, so it is this delicate and imperfect creation, akin to a sand painting, waiting to be scattered to the four directions to potentiate this very august dream.

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