Hatches, Battened

Storm Warning flag

There's nothing like the threat of winter and an onrushing storm to motivate me to finish a slew of projects. Summer seemed to stretch on forever and our fall was mild until recently. But we've woken to a few dustings of snow lately so I overcame my inertia to finish a few more projects. I've replaced and re-weatherstripped the back door and covered a gaping hole in the wall behind a bathroom vanity. Wow, why did those projects take me so long to finish?

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving Meal

It is Thanksgiving evening and the kitchen is tidied, the leftovers put away, and only a few dishes to face tomorrow. Now that's a good holiday.

What made it a better holiday was a lovely home-cooked meal as one of our blessings. Here's what we are thankful for: loving family, good work, a warm, cozy house, and good things coming our way. But possibly just as important, here's what we had for dinner:

- Cacahuates y Pepitas Enchilados - because it's fun to say and a delicious snack.

Winds of Change in the Four Corners?

North Wind blowing

The Four Corners region where Arizona, Utah, Colorado and New Mexico meet can be pretty windy. On a particularly breezy day between the Grand Canyon and Four Corners Monument I saw roadside vendors having a 'Wind Sale'. Unfortunately, no one was buying. The question of the day: 'Is the wind blowing away from dirty coal and toward renewable energy?' Or are we caught in a dust storm with no idea of which way is up?

Mind the Gap

Window frame with spray foam

I enjoy working on projects around the house. But one DIY project often leads to another. While removing some old paneling this summer I uncovered an ugly secret hiding behind the window trim. I discovered a 1"+ gap between our newer double pane windows and the wall framing. Loosely coiled foam strips were the only insulation in the window to wall air space. It's no wonder the window frames felt so cold last winter!

Why I Garden #18

French Tarragon, drying

We had the first hard freeze of the season last week. There were no light frosts, the low temps went solidly below zero (Celsius) in one night. The local meteorologist gave us ample warning so we pulled up tomato plants, harvested squash and chile and tender herbs. It was an exciting end to a full year of watering, weeding and tending. Tomatoes and tomatillos are slowly ripening, herbs are hanging to dry in the kitchen and apples are being sauced or fermented.

On Not Cooking with the Seasons

in
Peach Pie - Homemade

Peach pies are a thing of glory and, it turns out, a true thing of summer.

I have been saving a peach pie recipe for a while now and finally got the time, the peaches, the crust all happening at the same time. Go for it! The crust rolled out nicely and I crimped the edges. So far so gorgeous. I blanched the peaches and put them in cold water so the skins could slip off. This was the first problem and I probably should have stopped there and found a bunch of apples that looked like they needed pie-ing. But I get an idea in my head and...there you go.

Putting Water in its Place

Mulched Basin for Rain and Grey Water Drain

Water in the Southwest may be worth more than gold. Even growing the hardiest of native plants requires considering how they will be watered. In our backyard I've used rain barrels for two years to water the vegetable garden. But until now my front yard was dependent on direct rainfall and the garden hose. I've finally added a branched drain system that directs rainfall from the gutters to mulch-filled basins that water our trees and perennials. Hopefully, I can water the front landscape without moving a hose again!

Railroaded by Economics

Rail Runner Express #108

Economics tends to be an arcane science that few understand. But, occasionally the 'real world' provides a clear example of economics in action. For instance; ridership on the New Mexico Rail Runner Express. This February the Rail Runner Express raised weekend fares at the same time they cut two trips from the Saturday schedule. In October, it was announced that NM Rail Runner traffic was down by nearly 11%. Here's the punchline - the ridership loss was from the weekend schedule.

In the January 29, 2010 issue of the Santa Fe New Mexican:

A Perfect 10/10/10

350.org 10/10/10 Global Work Party

So, do you have big plans for the weekend yet? If your Sunday is still open, check out the 350.org 10/10/10 Global Work Party to see if there are any events in your area. There are 10/10/10 events planned worldwide that range from group bike rides to trash clean ups and tree plantings. Santa Fe is home to a Skill-Share event and a long bike ride to join the Albuquerque event.

Facing Down the Crisper

I, again, have a crisper full of weird things: daikon, sunchokes, scorzonera (or black salsify, if that helps any). I keep pushing them around and making things with carrots instead. They just look weird and I need to get over that. To think I thought turnips were strange.

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