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Monday, October 31, 2011

La Llorona

 I first heard about La Llorona (pronounced "LAH yoh ROH nah") back when I was teaching junior high school English in Corona, California. Every Halloween we would read some Edgar Allan Poe, hear a few ghost stories, and share our own stories. The Mexican-American kids would tell of La Llorona, Spanish for The Weeping Woman, looking for her children along the railroad tracks. In the stories I heard, La Llorona would snatch any kid she found, crying, "Oh, my children, oh, my children!" The moans and wailing were audible to many people living in the Railroad barrio in Corona. You didn't mess around with La Llorona.

Here in New Mexico, La Llorona pretty much says the same thing, but in a more natural setting.

Local legend says La Llorona walks along a creek between Mora and Guadalupita. This must be our own Coyote Creek which runs through the Nickel and Dime. 

In the 1930's a man named Patricio Lujan saw a thin woman first walking, and then floating in the air near the creek.

Then she vanished. There were no footprints.

According to many of the locals, the Mora Valley is La Llorona's home and children are still warned to behave so they are not taken away by The Weeping Woman. 

Why this warning? Maybe it's to keep kids from wandering near dangerous places like rivers and railroad tracks.

Or maybe the wailing and moaning of La Llorona reminds them of the danger that lurks just outside the door.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Quilty Pleasures-A House of Quilts

I'm wrapping up a stay in SoCal where sis-in-law Pattie has played hostess to me for almost a week. Besides being an accomplished cook (with 5 kids, it was a matter of survival), she has been a quilter since 1975. Her first quilts were made with templates, scissors, needle and thread, and that's it.

Pattie has made many amazing quilts and the house is her own personal quilt museum. It's not a "don't touch" place, though, and these quilts are used, loved, washed, and used again. I went around and took some snaps. These are just a drop in the bucket, though, because I suspect she has plenty more in storage, ready for some more lovin'.

Quilts are on the walls:


An Alex Anderson Pattern and Pattie doesn't know what it's called

On the furniture:

Double Irish Chain, machine sewn, hand quilted

Log Cabin, hand quilted in concentric circles

Postage Stamp Baskets, machine pieced and quilted

Red and White Toile

30's hand pieced, machine quilted star quilt  

Left: Sampler Quilt made of Civil War fabrics Right: 1920's top found in Leadville, Co, quilted recently by the person who found it.
And, of course, on the bed:

Another Double Irish Chain, machine pieced and quilted, originally to be a table cloth. Folded on top is Pattie's Unplanned Community quilt

Even on the ottoman:

Mariner's Compass
It's am impressive body of work, don't you think?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Good Fences Make Good Neighbors

"Before I built a wall I'd ask to know / What I was walling in or walling out /

That's from Robert Frost's poem "Mending Wall." (Okay, we have the cultural part of the post out of the way.)

In our case we are walling out The Angus Boys,  those curious cattle who most recently had a (literal) bash in our Growing Dome greenhouse. The fence should have been done a long time ago, but we let it slide and those were the consequences.

Oh, well. Our fence guy has been on the injured list, so Tom decided we should do it ourselves. Tom is a fence man from way back and I have infrequently been his assistant, so it wasn't like we didn't know what we were doing.

So the first order was to cement the corner posts. We dug something  like two holes a day. We're retired, you know.

We gathered our materials:

Tom used the trusty Polaris Ranger to tote the stuff around.

Tom stood in the bed of the Polaris, swinging a sledge hammer to drive in the tee posts while I crouched below, my gloved hands holding the posts semi straight, expecting at any moment to have my head bashed in. I was very nice to Tom to ensure he didn't miss. Later we were smarter and bought a tee post driver, which made it much easier.

Rolling the wire along the ground the length of the fence was fun, especially the first time when I didn't hold the wire after it was cut. It rolled right up, just like a roller window shade. I just stood there and watched it go.

It took us about a week, working little by little, but it is done now and the cattle will not be able to get in. This week Tom is running some barbed wire along the top and once we get the bees, we will need to electrify part of the fence to guard against bears. But it's great for now.

So what was Miss Pearl doing during all this labor?

She's a smart dog!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Growing Dome Update: It's Not Pretty!

While I was enjoying the sewing and conviviality of the quilt retreat, the phone rang with bad news:

"I was looking for the cows and there were only three. So I looked some more and they were in the dome! They must have pried open the door or maybe they came in through the window."

Yeah, right.

The rest of the news was just as good: All the plants were eaten or thrashed. There was some damage.

Well, yeah, when three 700 pound steers are stuck in a 12 foot diameter Growing Dome with the door closed, you can bet the old "bull in a china shop" saying becomes crystal clear. I always wondered why a bull would be in a china shop. Let's just say that someone didn't close the door tightly and the (castrated) bulls came in.

If you want to see what the dome looked like before the steers came a-calling, check out this post for a point of reference.

The boys must have tromped round and round and the door shut behind them and there they were, pooping and eating, going round and round and wondering, "How the hell do we get out of here?"

Their hooves must have been like egg beaters, loosening the weed barrier cloth I had under the bark. And the manure? Well, this is the most local and sustainably sourced fertilizer ever. Delivered right under your feet! Fresh from the source!

One of the Angus Boys stepped into this garden bed. Maybe he needed a little space from the others? Perhaps he needed to get closer to the cucumbers? Who knows what's in a bovine brain? On the way out he must have tripped, since the wooden sides of the bed need to be replaced.

Here's a pile of junk from inside the dome. 
And below are the suspects: I didn't ask who was in there, but since Mignon is the most curious, I suspect he's involved.

And because he's the most belligerent, Number 19 is on the suspect list, too.

They still look cute, and don't they look well fed? The ranch grass along with the dome's salad bar did 'em good!

A lone survivor:

So the fence wasn't built while were were gone and our fence builder has been waylaid for a while, so someone came to the rescue: Cue the spaghetti western music---

Meet The Fencist

And his Trusty Sidekick

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Quilty Pleasures Wednesday-Quilt Colors in Nature

It wasn't until recently that I was able to choose colors for my quilt projects. Forced to harmonize fabric that went with a particular print, I was usually paralyzed and relied on my color savvy friends to help, or I bought everything in a particular fabric line to ensure that it all went together.

I'm not so much into matching anymore, but I do want my colors to harmonize and look like I made at least a few thoughtful choices. After a "Doh!" moment, I realized selvages help a lot, but I will save that for another post.

A couple years ago I bought the book Portraits from Nature by Jean Wells which showed how Jean uses photos of natural places to choose colors for her projects. This is good, but I took her idea a little further, exploring color generating websites to see what colors they could pull out from my photos.

If you read yesterday's blog post, you saw this photo below of the area behind our house in all its fall glory.

I found Color Palette Generator at the DeGraeve website. What you do is stick a photo's URL address into the box and in a minute or so it pulls out the major colors from the pic.

To the right of the photo are many, but not all, of the photo's colors. I was disappointed not to see the yellow-orange leaf colors, but heck, even this member of Densa International could figure that out.

Here's a shot of the Growing Dome from last spring, one of my favorites because of that beautiful blue sky. I tried Big Huge Labs website to see if there would be a difference in how many colors it could pull from the pic.

And yep, there was a big difference! This site picked out five more colors than the first one did. Some are close to alike, but still, I thought it was pretty neat-o.

Now if you were to have an ipad or other tablet computer, you could take a screenshot of the webpage and tote it to your LQS as a reference when choosing colors for a quilt. Or, if you have a color printer, you could print out the page and leave the hardware at home.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Walking Fall at the Nickel and Dime Ranch

When we left for Michigan, it was summer; when we returned, fall had decided to visit. The monsoons had moved on and the leaves were screaming, "Enjoy it while you can!"

Today we're going to take a walk on the cliff side of the ranch to see what fall looks like from there. Ms. Pearl suggests we go out this gate.

Fall is amazing compared to Southern California, where you might get some brown leaves and that's about it.

The creek is back!

Let's cross the bridge to see what's up. Did you notice the grass is greener?

Here's the creek looking north from the bridge. That rock is a great place to sit and listen to the water.

The skies are clear.  Georgia O'Keeffe liked Northern New Mexico. It's all about the color.

The grass has grown more, but the ground is still pretty dry. At the Livestock Growers' Meeting last Saturday the opening prayer requested more rain and lots of snow.

But the cattle are satisfied, gaining weight and looking like teenaged football players, defensive line. This is one of their chill spots, under the pines with a nice view of the ranch.

Do steers care about the view?

Happy fall, everyone!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Johnny Depp, John Dillinger and the Little Bohemia Lodge

I don't think Tom will ever recover from being a history teacher. After our trip through the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, we made a beeline for the Little Bohemia Lodge, near Manitowish Waters, in northern Wisconsin. 
The reason, of course, is historical:  Little Bohemia is where the famous shootout between the Dillinger gang and FBI agents occurred as depicted in the recent film Public Enemies, with Johnny Depp (woot!) as bank robber John Dillinger. 

Oh, yeah, buddy!
Actually, the Lodge was pretty interesting. We settled in for lunch and after we ordered, Tom wandered around, taking pictures. The hostess was gracious enough to show him the room where the FBI shot through the windows, thinking Dillinger was inside. The FBI didn't consider whether anybody else might have been there, but just blasted away. The original glass with bullet holes is still there, covered by other windows to preserve it.  (Click any photos for a closer look.)
Tom followed the trajectory of the bullets and found they had penetrated a wall across the room, and then into the wall of the next room!


 The shootout was a public relations disaster for the FBI. One agent was killed as well as one innocent bystander. Two bar room patrons were wounded in their Chevy coupe as they left the Lodge parking lot. The headlines screamed, "Ineptitude!"

Dillinger and the gang escaped; witnesses are still mounted in the main hall. 

A glass case holds items the gang left after fleeing the scene, including Dillinger’s Ex-Lax. Maybe after taking the Ex-Lax he was “on the run” in more ways than one.

 Five years ago the former owner wanted to tear down the Lodge and build condominiums, according to the hostess/tour guide. Fortunately, the present owner had a cabin across the lake, and, thinking it a shame to have something so historical torn down, bought the lodge and re-opened it. Soon after, he was contacted by Universal Pictures asking to film on location! Despite the addition of a deck, the lodge is almost exactly like it was in the 1934 shootout, including the tables and chairs, so we were told.

While Tom took pictures, two diners asked him what he was “shooting,” (get it?), so he launched into a historical explanation. The couple was unaware of what had happened, and they hadn’t seen the movie Public Enemies. Tom took them to the bullet holes on the wall and explained what the hostess had said. 

While Tom (in history teacher mode) gave his lecture to the captive couple, I enjoyed the posters in the entry area.    

I like history, too, you know, especially if Johnny Depp is involved.