Friday, July 1, 2011

From The Garden To The Table

Onion tarte in a casserole thrown by Bob and glazed by me.
Onions, radishes, chard, peas, arugula, cherry tomatoes, and mustard greens have all been happily eaten. I bogart the strawberries when I am out in the garden.  The ever bearing varieties are bearing...even in 100 degree heat. The fire in Los Alamos looks like it will be contained soon.  Smoke still hangs in the air. 4th of July is this weekend.  Of course only an idiot will set off any fireworks in New Mexico.  I'm sure there will be a few.
Covered cheese dish, that was supposed to be a butter dish! Ethan's blue bowl.
 I have been cooking from the garden.  Onion tarte from days of French cooking has mad perfect use of our gorgeous white onions.  Bob dips radishes in salt and olive oil nightly.  I am using our pottery we have made in ceramics to bake and serve in.  It's really meaningful to set a table with items you have made.  This is something new, and very rewarding.

Thanks for reading.
Each day is a gift. Open now.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Runaway Chair

I write this from beneath a cloud of ash. The Los Alamos fire is not contained. The wind shifted directions and all the smoke has come our way.  Our beautiful mountain view and valley are gone. We have a sort of fog...but it's gritty and oppressive.  The town of Los Alamos has been evacuated.  There isn't a prayer of stopping this fire without a downpour from above.  My heart and prayers go out for the residents there. The Red Cross and National Guard are there. A red sun sunset is promised again tonight.
I am wearing Mayan jade beads Bob got in Guatemala.  Special occasions only. Taken after the wedding.

Last Friday, in 100 degree weather I went to a wedding in the South Valley. A man who I worked with in the movie biz was getting married. Joe and Melissa had a traditional Catholic wedding.  Charlie Z offered to help me get there in spite of my wheelchair bound self.  Having this broken foot has given me a new awareness for those who are not foot abled.  I do love the power chairs for grocery shopping, and big box stores.  They have allowed me to go where without these battery operated vehicles, I could not go.
Jesus seems to really be enjoying the latin words sung by the mariachi band.
Charlie and I pulled up to the church just in the nick of time.  Accidents and construction delayed us.  No problem getting the chair out of the car and me in it, Charlie wheeled me toward the church.  When we got to the steps of the ramp.  Stairs flanked by 45 degree angled cement slopes.  Charlie said: "we're going up!"  He backed the chair up to get a running start and pushed me up the steep slope.  The groomsmen saw us coming and were holding the door open.  We reached the top only to catch the wheel in a crack.  The chair started rolling backward and Charlie exclaimed: "oh no!"  I thought we were going to roll back down the hill, with me running over him with my runaway chair. He caught the chair and slowly pushed me toward the crack. A groomsman grabbed the chair and pulled me up and over, Charlie hanging on.  I know how to make an entrance !!
The luckiest woman in the South Valley

The mariachi band started to play as we found our seats.  Joe saw us and came to me, tears in his eyes:
"Susi, you made it."  I don't think he knew about our recent experience.  :-)   The most unusual Catholic ceremony proceeded.  I cried when I saw Joe's chin quiver when he saw his bride. His mother, also a Susie and I really struck up an unexpected friendship at the wedding reception.  Upon leaving the church Charlie Z slowly backed me down the steep slope.  He said he invisioned the chair careening down Isletta Boulevard like some runaway train. 

My congrats and love to the newlyweds.  Our love for Joe made the extra mile worth it.  My gratitude to Charlie Z for pushing his friend around for the night. 
Thanks for reading.
Each day is a gift. Open now.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Coop Mahal

This chicken village is to much!
 It's been over 100 degrees here for the last week.  I keep a vigilant watch on my flock's  water, and have put up more shade cloth in the last month than I could have ever imagined.  I have 2 fans blowing from the east end of their yard.  I am really considering getting one of those small children's wading pools and putting a few inches of water in it, and see if they would splash around.  I think I am going to plant a shade tree next on the southeast corner (the only place to put one).  I imagined hot Albuquerque weather, but I never imagined how bad I would feel seeing them panting.   There's only one word for what I am experiencing: codependent. :-)
MadeABQ has the coolest chicken tractor, and in several sizes. Kenji who owns FabLab in Albuqueque is the man who does my letter laser cutting. Imagine my surprise when I walked in his shop and saw this!
My fave...amazing design!

I have been planning the final coop with nesting boxes.  Originally I was going to match our house roof line and make a mini me coop.  But now that I have lived with them in this spot, I know it has to be one I can walk in.  I don't want to bend over, or crawl on my hands and knees to clean it.  So it will be 4' x 8' and just over 7' tall.  There will be a door I can open and clean out their droppings.  The internet is full of chicken coops and plans.  Design Swan had a blog about modern coops. I put the link below.  There are some amazing ones. 

Backyard poultry are common place today as they were in the depression. My Dad told me that many of his neighbors on the North side of Chicago kept chickens  for eggs mainly, but in a pinch for stew.  When I had my farm my Dad would get a lawn chair and sit and watch my chickens.  He loved their interaction.  I would catch him taking a couple of slices of bread and putting them in his pockets, and I knew he was headed out to watch my birds.  This made me happy.  As happy as when my Grandson was here, and loved watching them too.

I added a few more links of coop sights.  There are literally thousands of them on Google images. The Amish even have their own coop company.   I call it "farm porn".  I could look at these web links for hours.  $300-$10,000 per coop.  At that price you won't be saving much money on eggs. I keep chickens because I love them like pets. Our dog and cats don't lay eggs.
It will be something like this one with nesting boxes on the side.

We will build the "coop mahal" in sections and assemble the sides, and roof out in the yard.  3 or 6 nesting boxes...that is the question at the moment. I'll take some photos of the drawings.
Thanks for reading.
Each day is a gift. Open now.