Tuesday, March 31, 2009

ABC Wednesday-K

Boy Howdy, does the week ever fly by!

Last week I promised to be diligent and have an actual letter K all ready for ABC Wednesday, but here it is Tuesday night again, and I'm scrambling!

In looking over my backlog of photos (which is a pretty daunting task) I finally found these and decided to do Kachina for the letter K.

Actually, I was looking for Kokopelli, which is also a Kachina, but can you believe I don't have one single picture of Kokopelli? Oh well, you probably already know what he looks like anyway.

Kachina dolls are representations of Pueblo Gods, used in various religious ceremonies. You'd think that after all this time in the southwest, I'd have a slew of pictures of various Kachinas, but I only came across this one . . .

Named Pahlik Mana, it actually represents a Maiden, signifying the springtime and a spirit of renewal. She is sometimes referred to as the Butterfly Maiden.

Sorry this is so sparse, but it's all I've got (unless you want pictures of me, my name is Kate after all, but I'd much rather do Kachina).

I can guarantee one thing, there will be no more promises from me on how prepared I'll be "next week".

RIP Lorne

Regular readers know I am a HUGE Joss Whedon fan (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Firefly, Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along, Serenity and now Dollhouse).

So it was with a heavy heart that I learned this morning that Andy Hallett had passed away at the much too early age of 33.

For those of you who watched Angel, you would know Andy Hallett better as Lorne, or the Host. On his native planet, he was known as Krevlornswath of the Deathwok Clan,

In all, Andy appeared in seventy six episodes of the series.

If you've never seen either Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Angel, you really are missing some of the best storytelling of recent times. Involving, evolving characters, amazing story lines, they had it all.

And Lorne was one of the best characters, no question about it.

Originally arriving on Earth from the demonic dimension Pylea, he quickly fell in love with the culture and society and decided to stay forever. He became the Host at a karaoke bar, where he used his powers to "read" people as they sang for the patrons.

He stood well over six feet tall and was an an incredible shade of green. Possessed of a truly wonderful singing voice and a unique sense of style, he was a real stand out on the show.

This is a poor representation of the character and the man who created it. It really does need to be seen to be understood.

I can plainly say that I loved the character and was constantly enthralled with the actor who created him. And now, he is gone forever.

What a loss and how very sad.

RIP Andy Hallett.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Spring Cleaning Part 2

I woke up this morning to this . . .

Realizing that I had another day of reorganizing the rig, this brightened my spirits considerably.

I busied myself, moving everything around, deciding that there was quite a bit that we could certainly do without. It's an interesting project, scrutinizing things that at some point seemed important. I know the difference between what is really important and the things we choose to surround ourselves with, but this is always a good reminder.

So things are moving along well when the drawer under the refrigerator decided that it wouldn't close. Here we are, trying to work, when right in the middle of the traffic pattern, a projectile is sticking out a good eight inches at shin level, do you get the picture?

Several hours later (much of it spent on the floor, scrutinizing the undersides of our fridge) we can now say the we intimately understand the inner workings of the drawers in our Lazy Daze!

But the end is in sight, we figure to finish up the loose ends tomorrow, then we'll do a thorough surface clean, and voila! we're good to go for a nice long time.

And just to show that I can multitask, l wanted to share this picture of the bread I made today.

I think I've finally mastered bread in the solar oven.

As long as the sun holds out, I can't imagine using the gas oven again!

Friday, March 27, 2009

So how much can you fit in a 30 foot motorhome?

Well, it would appear quite a bit.

Let me backtrack here and tell you that all RVs (recreational Vehicles) have weight limits. This is determined by the chassis, the weight of the "house" and a variety of other elements unique to each unit. While many RVers ignore this limit, we try to adhere to it as closely as possible. We do this by closely monitoring our tire pressure, and constantly maintaining awareness of what we bring into the rig.

And there's the rub. I have to admit that this is a tough one, but we are pretty careful.

To stay on top of this, every three months or so I go through a couple of easily accessible cabinets, closets or drawers and get rid of things we don't need.

But once a year, I do a REAL clean out, and that's what I'm in the middle of right now. I'm opening every drawer, cabinet, closet, bin, nook and cranny and taking everything out and giving it the once over. So far, three large bags of "stuff" have gone to the Goodwill.

Now I'm into the hardcore, not so easy to reach places. You know, the ones that you only get into once a year.

Poor Cholula looks like a bomb has gone off in her innards.

This is a long process, one I don't take lightly. Since I started with my closet, every once in a while I have to run back there and open the closet door to see how nice and roomy and organized it looks.

It gives me hope.

While we're talking about "stuff", where did all this Tupperware, Loc-Tite and Snap-Ware come from? I suspect there are wild parties going on when we're away, leading to a colossal bacchanal that results in massive plasticine reproduction.

And books. We very rarely buy new books, but we do go to many yard sales and junk stores. And honestly, our intentions are to read every single one of them; however during this time of the year, those too have to be dealt with. We both look long and hard at every book and decide which ones we'll really read and those that simply look good on the book shelf, or were just purchased with the best of intentions.

It's a hard job, but someone has to do it.

I also use this time to go through my pantry and check out our food supply. I try especially hard not to hoard food, try being the operative word here. All it takes is to put one bag of beans or one can of green chili in the wrong place and before you know it, I have six of everything. And that bag of chips that slipped behind the flour really doesn't look so appetizing any more. . .

It's all such a huge daunting task that I decided to take a break and moan and groan via this blog.

So think of me kindly as I continue on this (seemingly) endless task. It can't take forever, can it?

Here's till I can once again say that

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

ABC Wednesday - J

Once again, it's time for ABC Wednesday. This time I actually have a post that relates to the letter of the week!

J is for Javelina

Javelinas are also called peccaries,
and are part of the swine family.
Before we came to New Mexico,
I had never heard of Javelinas,
but they seem to be pretty common
in this neck of the woods.
They grow up to about ninety pounds
and apparently can be pretty fierce.

We have seen Javelinas in the wild,
but the only time we had a chance to take a photo
was during this visit to
the Living Desert outside of Carlsbad, New Mexico.

I love this photo of this Javelina relaxing in the sun.
There is some talk that the Javelina
might be related to the hippopotamus!

If you want to see a Javelina in a larger photo,
click on any image.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

On My Soapbox-Faces

Regular readers know that I am a huge movie fan. Actually, I like all kinds of entertainment including books, movies, music, theater, whatever.

I also have a real passion for BBC series. I am a fan of their Victorian dramas, the mysteries, the comedies, the romances and especially their ongoing rural series, like Monarch of the Glen, and Ballykissangel, which we are currently enjoying.

The writing is always involving, but what really engages me are the actors.

While watching Ballykissangel, I think I've finally discovered a huge part of the attraction.

In Hollywood, the "standard of beauty" has become so skewed, so standardized to an unreal benchmark that most signs of individuality and character have virtually been erased from faces. Then there are the bodies. The women are excessively thin with giant chests, their faces tight and overly made up. The men fare a bit better, but most are overly muscular from days spent at the gym. These folks bear no resemblance to the people I know, and their faces seem almost incapable of showing emotion.

But on British television, the faces still retain character. The people resemble real people. Their teeth may not be sparkling white, and their skin isn't flawless and their figures may be a bit thicker than what is (in America) considered stylish; however they shine with a force of personality that seems to have been lost in much of what passes for entertainment here in the US.

It's such a great journey to start a series like Ballykissangel or Bramwell. At first, the people all appear rather plain. That's not to say they aren't attractive, it's just that they seem to lack the "sparkle" that we are used to seeing on our televisions and silver screens. But as you get into these characters, something magical seems to happen. The faces that at first seem plain take on a beauty that comes from within. You see the true beauty of the human condition that goes well beyond the physical. You wonder how you could have ever failed to see their beauty, it is so intense.

On the other hand, I find that with so many American (make that Hollywood) actors that I first thought had beauty, it seems to fall by the wayside. In fact after a while, I have a difficult time telling them apart. After all their toning, makeup and "work" that they do to themselves, they seem to have shed so much of their individuality along the way.

Take a look at some of these British series or plays and you'll see what I mean.

That's it, off my soapbox for now.

Tomorrow will be ABC Wednesday the letter J!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

the Colors of New Mexico

I've been taking pictures
for a couple of days now.
Once again,
I'm amazed at the vibrant
colors of New Mexico.

This morning, I looked overhead
and saw this amazing blue.
I'm thinking that the dark line paralleling
the jet trail is a shadow?
Whatever it was,
I liked it enough to take this picture.

As always,
remember to click on any image
to see it at a larger resolution.

While this isn't the best shot
of a bird flying overhead,
this one's a memory shot, just for me.

Spring is busting out
all over New Mexico

Doesn't it look like this tree is smoking?

I played with this photo quite a bit,
and wondered whether to include it here,
but I liked it well enough.
So here it is!

Remember our tomato plant?
Here's our first bud.
We'll be following its' progress . . .

We took a ride into Elephant Butte today
stopping at several campgrounds
on our way back.
Many of them have just recently
been opened for the season.
The water was a different color at every stop . . .
The reflection of the incredible New Mexico skies
change the water constantly.

Thought you might enjoy this photo
of this fellow windsurfing

This butte is called Kettle Top.
And look!
Now the water is blue.

They call Elephant Butte Reservoir
the Diamond in the Desert

As all good days must,
this one comes to an end.

I've included this shot
so you can see what a lovely view
we enjoy out the back
of Cholula Red

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Solar Cooking

I love my solar oven. The longer I have it, the more I recognize it's value and efficiency.

When you first try solar cooking, it's kind of a lark. You're amazed that it really works, and experimenting with different recipes is a whole new adventure.

Then one day, you begin to recognize its' true value. I think you have to have been using it for a while before it really sinks in. Longtime readers know that I've been baking our bread for some time now. With the solar oven, it has become so simple, I'm sure this is the method I will be using for years to come.

I'm beginning to realize that this is a real tool, not just a passing fad. I know that the idea of solar cooking is appealing, but when you get into using it on a regular basis, you begin to realize just how very much sense it makes.

As a society, we have become so accustomed to turning a knob and getting our power, it takes a while to wrap your head around the fact that you really can cook for free.

Now you do have to have a solar oven, but there are tons of options, from ones made from a simple reflective wind shield guard to gluing tin foil on to a piece of cardboard. There are many plans scattered all over the internet and I would love to see any of you try one or another of these.

I looked back on the blog and realized I hadn't really talked specifically about my Global Sun Oven, so I thought this might be a good time.

This shot is of the oven, when it is all folded up and ready to travel. The reflective panels fold flat over the glass lid, making quite a compact package. When folded up like this is is just slightly larger than my first solar cooker, the Hot Pot. You'll notice that there's a handle on the front of the oven, making it quite portable.

This shot shows the oven with the reflector panels fully up. You simply set it in the sun, aim it so it is facing the brightest part of the sun, and with good weather, it will usually reach upwards of 300 degrees within about forty minutes.

The box of the oven contains insulation which makes for excellent heat retention. The glass door sits on a gasket giving it a a tight seal. The thermometer is permanently attached so you always know the temperature of the oven. You can barely see it in this photo but there is a swinging shelf inside the oven. You can either place your food directly on the shelf or remove the shelf and put it directly on the bottom of the oven.

The foot you see here at the back of the oven is the reason for the swinging shelf. As the sun rises and sets across the sky, you can raise or lower the oven to get the most amount of sun. With the swinging shelf, your food always stays level. When the sun is directly high in the sky, you can remove the shelf and cook right on the bottom, but so far, we always just use the swinging shelf. So far, I've baked over a dozen loaves of bread, made a half dozen cakes and just yesterday I made a pot of chili Colorado. It's amazing to watch a pot of meat come to a gentle simmer and stay there for hours. The sun is a wondrous thing. We've also cooked several pots of beans, made chicken vegetable bake, cooked numerous pots of rice and reheated many leftovers.

The solar oven is perfect for reheating frozen food, you just put it in there and let it go for an hour or so and it's ready to eat. You rarely burn anything since there is no direct heat, and food is very rich, since there's little loss of liquid.

But really, the most amazing part of all this is I am not using propane or electricity to cook. While the solar oven was an investment, it is already paying for itself.

Here's a final picture of one of my latest cakes. I found these small two cup silicone bowls on the internet. They are a perfect size for a small two person cake, meaning we don't have a lot of baked goods sitting around the rig. This was a banana chocolate chip cake and it was yummy!

Do any of you readers use solar in your daily life? If so I'd love to hear about it. And if you're interested in a Global Sun Oven, send me a private email.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

ABC Wednesday I

OK, time for another ABC Wednesday cheat . . .

I searched all week and just couldn't come up with a suitable I, so I'm calling this one

I Took These Pictures

This will be a short travelogue of some of the places we've visited in the last couple of years.

Remember to click on any image for a larger, clearer version

I took this on an early morning walk
up in Sugarite State Park.

It was one of my favorite mornings,
the air was sweet
and this little bug seemed to be posing.

This was taken at Hyde Memorial State Park,
just a few miles outside of Santa Fe, New Mexico.
It was the first time I had seen this type of pine cone.

Storrie Lake lies about four miles
outside of Las Vegas, New Mexico.

The water is quite shallow
and you can often see right down to the bottom.

I liked the shadow . . .

Storrie Lake at sundown

A night shot that I haven't been able to replicate

I'll end where I started,
on that morning walk at Sugarite

I'm already looking for a J
and promise to try to stay on topic next week.

How to Save a Life (or Three)

I don't want to get preachy or anything here, but I just want to mention . . .

Yesterday, both Terry and I gave blood. As we travel around, when we see a blood drive we usually try to stop. It really isn't a big deal, giving blood, and it can help so many people.

I figure it's a great way to pay forward.


Someone needs blood every two seconds.
About one in seven people
entering the hospital will need blood.
One pint of blood can save up to three lives.
Type O is the most common blood type.
O negative is considered a universal blood,
it can be given to anyone regardless of blood type.
If you have O negative
you can ONLY receive O negative blood
If all blood donors gave three times a year,
blood shortages would be a rare event.

Since it's such an easy thing, next time you see a blood drive, consider giving a pint.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Just One Photo

While not a perfect picture, this is a shot I want to remember. We rarely have clouds at sunrise, so I took several shots, but all were kind of funky. I tried my best, but they all looked very faked, and I finally just decided to post this one.

Remember to click for a larger image.

After studying the series for a while, I decided that my lens was probably dirty, which accounts for the strange artifacts and colors.

Still, it was a beautiful morning and I want to remember it.

Sunday, March 15, 2009


There is a local hotel that serves an excellent Sunday Brunch so we decided to go for our anniversary today. It's called the Elephant Butte Inn, and it also has a spa, as well as meeting facilities. For us though, the brunch is the draw.

When we got there we found that they were hosting a quilt show, so I decided to take some pictures and post them here.

I'm always fascinated with handmade quilts,
such imagination and lovely work.

Remember that you can click on any image
to see it full sized

Unfortunately, each quilt had a huge
"Do Not Touch" sign attached,
which made the pictures less than attractive . . .

I loved the optical illusion in this quilt,
plus the colors were so rich.

I believe that this one was first
painted on the fabric, then quilted.
Great colors.

I believe that this fabric was tie dyed
prior to the quilting.
Years ago, I used to do LOTS of tie dye.
Doesn't this one look like a color wheel?

I thought this one looked both modern
and traditional at the same time.

While this one looked like it belonged
in an old Victorian home.

Of course I had to include the crane quilt.

Again, the bright colors always get my attention.

This was the most unusual quilt in the whole show.
I thought the creator
was quite clever with shapes

I saved my very favorite for last.
There was a note that said that this quilt top
started out as one single piece of fabric.
The quilter cut it into various shapes,
reorganized the pattern,
then quilted the whole thing.

I think it is just stunning.

After this, we went for a drivem where I took a LOT more pictures, but I'll save those for another posting.