Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Cabins Near Fenton Lake, New Mexico

We found a small area near Fenton Lake in New Mexico lined with rustic cabins.  Some, like the one directly above, are boarded up and likely unoccupied.  Others were obviously occupied and looked very cozy with cottage gardens and firewood stacked in anticipation of winter.  All were nestled on wooded lots and difficult to photograph from the road.  It was one of those places that I've been where I just wanted to jump into the landscape and stay indefinitely.

Project For the Next Cool Day

The next day that it's not 108 degrees outside, this is what I'm going to set up for the kids, complete with christmas lights and pillows.  They'll love it! 

I keep downloading pictures, then they disappear somewhere on my computer!  I still have so many to share.
This picture was taken from the website Moon to Moon, which features bohemian interiors:

Another great site is Inspire Bohemia:

Monday, August 29, 2011

Refrigerator Pickles

After a disappointing Oklahoma gardening season, I am finally at least seeing some cucumbers and melons. I don't yet have enough cukes at once to can a batch of pickles for long-term storage, but I am storing away small batches of refrigerator pickles that will keep around 2 months in the fridge.

After disastrous results with an online recipe last year, I did a bit more homework this time around. I was surprised to discover that the amount to salt called for in various recipes can vary (with similar amounts of liquid) from 1 tablespoon to 1 cup. After comparing various recipes and using some common sense, I cobbled this one together and am pleased with the results. It's perfect for doing a single to several pint jar(s) at a time.

Although I am still hoping to get some water-bath canning accomplished, this method definitely accommodates my working-mama schedule nicely!

2 c. Water
1/3 c. Distilled Vinegar
1tbsp. Pickling Salt
1/2 tsp. White Sugar
1 tsp.-1 tbsp. Chopped Garlic
small sliced onion
sliced cucumbers to fill a quart jar

Boil the water, vinegar, salt, & sugar together while chopping the onion, dicing the garlic, & slicing the cucumber. Add chopped veggies to the bottom of the jar rim & sprinkle with the desired amount if dill. Pour the boiling mixture over to cover. Put lid on the jar & turn upside-down a few times to mix. Allow to cool on the counter, then refrigerate for up to 2 months. Makes 1 quart jar.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Saturday, August 27, 2011

View From Mt. Scott

The Wichita Mountains in Oklahoma may not be proper mountains by Colorado standards, but they are one of my favorite places to visit and hike. Mt. Scott is the tallest point, with a wonderful view of the rugged landscape below. I can easily imagine Clint Eastwood riding across the rocky terrain in one of his movies.

Two migraines in one week have set me back quite a bit with a number of projects, including loading more NM pics, so for today I'm sharing some of our down-home okie beauty. You never have to look too far . . .

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The River Cottage Family Cookbook

The River Cottage Family CookbookThe River Cottage Family Cookbook has quickly become one of my favorites.  It is stocked with simple recipes using mostly whole foods and has easy step-by-step instructions for a variety of cooking techniques. The author, Hugh Fearnley-Whittngstall, is a the host of a British cooking show (some variation of the 'River Cottage' name).  He has a series of cookbooks which feature recipes for mostly farm raised meats, garden produce, and wild foraged foods.  I borrowed a few of the others in this series via interlibrary loan to see if it would be worthwhile for me to purchase them as well.  I found them to be a bit "too British" for my American tastes, but they also feature beautiful, homey farm photography and are categorized with an eye towards using what is available locally.  Many of them do feature information on using almost all (ALL) parts of farm animals in cooking. 

Whittingstall's Family Cookbook sticks to recipes that children are more likely to find appealing and part of the book even mentions that it tries to appeal to a more Americanized audience.  I really liked that he doesn't dumb food down for kids  (no happy-face salad or other gimmicks) but also realizes that complex gourmet fare doesn't appeal to the majority of children either.  We have especially enjoyed the lentil-bacon soup and, after years of hearing about making spaghetti carbonara, I am a pro at this simple dish.  Thanks to River Cottage, I also now know the proper technique for making a French omelet and never over-brown the outside. 

I really can't recommend this book enough.  I usually don't purchase a cookbook if it only has a few recipes worth bothering with; however, this book is well worth the money.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

NM Clay Oven

Picture of clay oven at the Jemez State Monument.

I took a picture of this reconstructed clay oven outside of the remains of the 700 year old Jemez village in New Mexico.  As we left the town of Jemez Springs and were driving through the Jemez reservation, I noticed that every single house, from adobes to mobile homes, had one of these ovens in the yard.  My kids were really interested in making one, so I'm going to try to do some research on how they are constructed this week.  Even if we don't get around to actually building one, understanding the construction and culture is bound to be an educational experience.

Hurt Feelings!

My friend Byron is runs a community empowering organization, , and often sends out a little inspirational newsletter. I found this one to be very timely as I deal with a minor case of hurt feelings.  I really like remembering that, although I may be hurting, there is someone else hurting worse and I can do my part to help them hurt less.  It's such a blessing to read the right thing exactly when you need to!

We are all wounded.  Every person has had something happen that has made us feel less than or hurt by others.  It's part of the human condition, being wounded.  It cannot be stopped. Even if someone in the world doesn't get to you, then some illness or disaster can strike at any moment.  Being wounded is obvious; what is miraculous is that sometimes our greatest leaders are the very people who have been wounded greatly.  They become wounded healers.  It's kind of like they say, "Okay, I hurt, but you hurt more, so I am going to help with your hurt."

As I become close to people, what I end up sharing most is not my successes, but my struggles.  In that sharing, I seem to free not only myself, but it has a benefit for others.  I hope that you are free to allow yourself to be a wounded human.  The more you can accept and share yourself in totality, the more it will free others.

Love, Byron

Monday, August 22, 2011

New Mexico

Well, the charger I brought for my iPhone didn't work out and by day 2 of our trip it had died.  So much for my blogging app while I was away.  In the future, however, I'm sure it will come in handy!  Anyway, now that I'm back home I'll share some of my pics of the Santa Fe National Forest.  Stay tuned for some of the Cadillac ranch art installation outside of Amarillo, downtown Santa Fe, and others . . .

The cruelest part of a trip like this is returning to the unrelenting 105-degree Okie heat after frolicking in the 65-degree New Mexico mountain weather.  Even 90-degrees in Los Alamos felt divine!  I woke up shivering one day at our campsite and turned to my husband and said, "it feels great to be cold!"  I'm known for always being cold and constantly complaining about it.  He looked at me with a very surprised face and said, "In the 16 years we've been married, that's definitely a first!"

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Blogger for iPhone

This post is mainly a test to see if my blogger app is functioning. I'm so excited to be able to take my blog on the road! Maybe a picture will upload, too.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Our Skoolie

After already breaking my "post-a-day" rule in order to finish preparations for our upcoming trip to Santa Fe, I am now posting a Moviemaker video I made after my husband finished alterations on our skoolie, a.k.a converted school bus.  Unfortunately, we won't be taking the bus to New Mexico this time.  Our budget has suffered terribly this year due to unexpected expenses and farm projects.  We will be tent camping to save on gas money and campsite fees. 

Our kids have been very spoiled with their idea of "camping" anyway, so this will be a good experience for them.  In the meantime, check out my preferred manner of "camping"!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Starting Over

After closing my old blog I'm starting from scratch!

The new incarnation of my blog will function as my journal and sounding board and will include anecdotes, reviews, recipes, information sharing, and lots of photos.  In the next few days I'll be posting pictures of the house, farm, and converted school bus. By the end of the week I should be sharing about our upcoming trip to the Santa Fe National Forest.

I'm hoping someone somewhere might be blessed in some small way by my little corner of the cyber-world.  Here's a picture of some cute, fuzzy chicks to start things off: