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Monday, September 30, 2013

Sun Worshipper

With autumn comes the sun through living room windows and a dog who worships that sun with panting, eyes-closed bliss.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Quilty Pleasures-When Someone With ADHD Takes Up Paper Piecing

At Threadbear, my local quilt shop, we are working on a Block of the Month project from the book, Hard Times, Splendid Quilts by Caroline Cullinan McCormick.

It's paper piecing, something new and kind of daunting especially for me, an early Ritalin junkie.

The term back then was hyperactive, and I was an easily distracted, always needing something to do, smart-mouthed trial to my parents, my brother and my teachers. As I matured, I learned to channel that energy into productive projects, a successful consulting business and a fun job helping teens to get ready for college. And to keep it interesting, I made clothing and quilts in my spare time.

Paper piecing is good for me: It satisfies a need for order. You see, I was the kid who did her algebra homework on graph paper, one digit or symbol per square. It helped to make sense of what was happening and if I made a mistake, it was easier to find in all its linear neatness. It was a successful coping technique for a hyper kid.

Sewing little fabric bits helps to train my mind to focus: One Step at a Time. But it is also maddening, because the opportunities for error are there, right in front of me, if I lose that focus.

Case in point:

The triangle with the pretty 30's fabric should actually be black pindots, plus, it shouldn't be joined to the black pindot square.  I'd been binge-watching Scandal and allowed myself to be distracted. After sewing the units together, I realized, "Hey! This isn't right!"

Since paper piecing requires the stitch length to be shorter, using the seam ripper becomes a Zen experience.

"Be in the moment, Grasshopper," I say to myself, picking away at the teensy stitches.

There. Now they are correct.

Eventually, the tiny pieces of fabric are placed accurately on their paper foundations, the tattered paper underneath repaired with tape, but still falling apart after all that taking apart and putting it back again. The units are sewn into their correct places and they finally look pretty good. You wouldn't know what a wreck it is underneath, would you?

At our paper piecing group yesterday I volunteered that it would be an amazing feat if I could put together at least one block without having to do any unsewing.

And I realized that maybe it wasn't my ADHD causing the mistakes, because almost everyone admitted to making at least one mistep in each of their blocks.

So it's good to know that I am not alone. The paper piecing continues.
Caroline Cullinan McCormick

Monday, September 23, 2013

Autumn Leaves

nature is most seductive when it's about to die, flaunting the dazzle of its incipient exit - See more at:
nature is most seductive when it's about to die, flaunting the dazzle of its incipient exit - See more at:
nature is most seductive when it's about to die, flaunting the dazzle of its incipient exit - See more at:
nature is most seductive when it's about to die, flaunting the dazzle of its incipient exit, - See more at:

Monday, September 16, 2013

Rain Update-Bridges? We Don't Need No Stinkin' Bridges!

Yesterday I went on a fact-finding walk to see how our foot bridges survived after what some people around here are calling a 100 year flooding event.

Here is our south bridge back in 2011. The telephone poles holding up the bridge were secured to railroad ties. The railroad ties were grounded with rebar.

Well, it's gone, washed away to who knows where. Look carefully and you can see the rebar sticking out of the ground in the foreground, all that is left.

A couple years ago Tom and Zack used rebar to secure (so they thought) the north bridge to the creek's bank. The banks are pretty steep there and the bridge was about 5 feet above the creek bed which seemed pretty reasonable at the time.

Below you can see the hefty telephone poles holding up the bridge. 

Well, the bridge wasn't high enough. Who knows where those telephone poles are now?

Ms. Pearl is just happy to surf down the creek.

Bridges have been destroyed, but for many, rebuilding a bridge or two is just fine. 

Today on our dirt road we met neighbor Benjamin in his pickup truck. Like true country folk we stopped our trucks in the middle of the road to see how everyone was doing.

Benjamin mentioned losing a bridge, but it wasn't a big deal.  "But isn't this rain a blessing?" he said, smiling ear to ear.

Colorado was hit much harder than folks in New Mexico, and I hope the list of missing people shrinks as those areas isolated by flooding become accessible once more.

So who's to whine about a footbridge or two compared to others' losses? It could have been much worse and it wasn't.

So we smile from ear to ear,  counting our blessings.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Blessed Rain

For those of you who have regular rainstorms throughout summer, you are probably thinking the title of this post should be "Blasted Rain," and I hear you.

But around here, where people have been praying for rain for years, the past five days have been a blessing.

Remember this photo from back in July? Yep, that's a dry creek bed, even though we had just received a little rain and hoped for more.

We went out exploring and here's that same place yesterday. The footbridge touches the opposite side just to the right of the tree.

We haven't been out yet today, so who knows if the bridge is still there? I'll let you know.
Ms. Pearl's Labrador Retriever half has taken over and she's been body surfing down the creek. At first I was worried, but she knows where to get out.

Pearlie wouldn't hold still for a photo. "C'mon, cut the crap! There's water out there!"

Portrait of a Manic Austrolab.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Scrambled Eggs with Kale, Tomatoes, Onions and Guacamole

The other morning I had brunch at The Tune Up Cafe in Santa Fe where I devoured an egg dish with guacamole as one of the ingredients. I've had eggs with sliced avocado, but never guac. Its garlicky, oniony essence made my breakfast hover above all the others in the recent past.

Luckily, I had some guacamole at home the other morning, so I decided to levitate my own breakfast and make something akin to what I had at the Tune Up.

Veggies in the pan, ready for plating. The yellow tomato is a German Gold, I think.

Scrambled Eggs with Kale, Tomatoes, Onion and Guacamole 

Serves 1


1 T plus 1 t olive oil (divided)
1/4 medium onion, chopped
3 large kale leaves, minus the center ribs, chopped into teeny tiny pieces
1/4 c chicken or vegetable broth
1 medium tomato, chopped
seasoned salt and pepper to taste
1/4 c (or more) of your favorite guacamole
2 eggs and two whites (Give the two extra yolks to the cat. Make the dog sit and watch until cat is done. Then let the dog have what's left.)

1. Cook onion in olive oil on medium heat until the onion looks translucent.
2. Add the kale pieces to the onions. Saute this for a minute or two.
3. Pour in the broth and let the liquid cook away, about two or three minutes.
4. Add the chopped tomatoes and cook just until the tomatoes are warm. Add seasoned salt to taste. I like Goya Adobo salt.
5. Remove veggie mixture from the pan to a plate or bowl. Keep warm.
6. Add 1 t olive oil to the pan.
7. Scramble your eggs whatever way you like. Just before they are done, spread the guacamole on the veggie mixture on your plate.
8. Top with the scrambled eggs. Add green or red chile, shredded cheese or anything else you might like that I didn't include.


Monday, September 2, 2013

Raised Beds and Growing Dome Update-Late Summer 2013

Back in June, Mike Salman and his crew were building the raised beds which replaced the grass in the side yard. I wanted the veggies growing close and inside the stucco wall to discourage critters and because I am lazy. I like lettuce grown just a few steps from the house.

Even though it was almost a full month late, I decided to plant the stuff I had started in the dome.Why not, I figured. There was no room in the dome, so out they went.

I planted tomatoes, kale, cabbage, peppers, lettuce, carrots and purple green beans. There are also three melon plants with no melons.

Here are the green beans, called Royal Burgundy. When you cook the purple beans, they turn green. I like them because my dad always planted them and they're easy to find when it's time to pick. Today's the first picking of the outside beans! Yay!

I haven't killed the flower garden, yet.

Over in the Growing Dome it's a tomato jungle inside. I planted fewer tomato plants this year since they overwhelmed the other plants.

But they still crowded and covered the basil, cucumbers, peppers and one last crop of indoor green beans.

The other side is crazy, too. Note to self: You may need to revisit how to corral the tomatoes.

And it's the lonely, empty bee yard.  I saw their new mom yesterday, though, and she says the bees have easily adapted to their new terroir, which makes me happy.

Late summer looks pretty good, don't you think?