Wednesday, July 29, 2009

And away we go!

I am so far behind on posts it's pathetic! I finally finish up with my Ruidoso posts just in time to head out the door again to go back! This time the kids and I get to enjoy the company of Big Daddy, and two of our closest friends! I am really looking forward to the trip! It turns out that Big Daddy's band is doing a "tiny tour" of New Mexico. They'll have one gig in Ruidoso and then we'll travel up to Albuquerque to visit my mom, have a gig and hang out with long lost friends! But gigs aside, I plan on RELAXING!!! Escaping the scorching heat of Texas and seeking refuge at our little mountain retreat! I mean seriously, I will be experiencing at least a 20 degree drop in temps and I cannot WAIT! To be able to spend time outdoors without melting, frying or heat-stroking! I will get to trade in the hot, muggy, sticky, smelly city air for clean, crisp, pine-scented, mountain air! Oh the ecstasy! So please forgive me while I take a couple of weeks off to recharge my mind, body and soul! I promise to explore new places and take lots of pictures so I can regale you with tales from the road when I return! Adios Amigos!

Smokin' Hot Summer Toes!

While in Ruidoso the MG girls had a toenail painting party! I'm sure that those of you who follow along know that I am a HUGE fan of painted toesies! Hot pink, peach, baby blue, hooker red... I LOVE it all! Here you see 3 generations of hot toes! We've always sported sweet feet in this family!

Afternoon in the Rio Ruidoso

We took a trek into town one morning for the kids to enjoy a pony ride. They had a wonderful time! That is, they had a wonderful time until our turn was over. The Piglet screeched like a mashed cat when we had to remove her from her pony! Oy, it was a sad state affairs! Luckily there was a playground across the street, but sadly, the swings were broken and the slides were hot. More crying ensued! But alas... there was a stream! A river actually, the Rio Ruidoso to be exact. Last year that river flooded, wreaking havoc through the town and leaving me, my mother and my two kids stranded in the upper canyon for 3 days! But on this warm summer day, it was a cool, clear, trickling stream, perfect for wading and exploring!

The Monkey Man was the first in, of course. He had his shoes off and was in up to his knees in seconds flat! And not to be outdone, the Piggy was right behind! They played and splashed, found rocks and shells and shockingly stayed dry from mid-thigh up! I love watching them together. The Monkey Man is such a good and patient big brother, well, for the most part. He holds her hand and helps her along when she has a hard time keeping up. It gives me great joy to know that they have each other and I hope they will always look out for one another. It's a bond that I will never understand being an only child, but even I can see that it's strong and growing stronger everyday. They are so lucky to have each other, and I think sometimes, even they get that!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The problem with young people...

Redneck Mother just turned me on to one of the funniest damn blogs I've read in a long time. Take a quick detour over to:

And enjoy!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Ruidoso--Best shot

This is a photo of the Monkey Man playing my dulcimer. I absolutely loved this photo, my favorite of the trip!

Ruidoso or Bust! Restaurant recommendation, or not so much!

Needless to say, we didn't eat here!

Ruidoso or Bust! Critters around the cabin

Although I try to get out and do stuff while in Ruidoso, I also just like BEING in Ruidoso. There is no place more relaxing than the front deck of our little cabin! We see squirrels, chipmunks, beetles, hummingbirds, deer, lots of birds and sometimes BEARS! This trip was just full of animal visitors and we loved it! We were seeing so many birds, I finally had the Monkey Man pull out his field guide to "Birds of North America"! I wish I could have snapped some pics, but let me tell you, birds are HARD to photograph! Every single pic I attempted was crap! But here is a quick list of the birds we identified in the 6 days we were there. It really is quite an impressive role call of birdies in a single location! We possibly saw an owl, it was early morning and something very large, very white and very quiet sailed through the tall pines across the street. Couldn't get a really good look, but I know for a fact it was no egret. So if anyone knows of a large, white bird that would soar fairly high up, let me know! Anyway, here's my list:
Steller's jays
Dark-eyed Juncos
Acorn Woodpeckers I LOVE woodpeckers! They look like little comedians with funny red hats!
Black-headed grosbeaks
Various sparrows
Turkey Vultures
Swainson's Hawk
Ruby-throated hummingbirds
Rufous Hummingbirds
Western Tanagers This was a STUNNING bird, such amazing colors! There were two chasing each other around, I thought they were maybe males fighting over territory or females.
Yellow-rumped warbler
Flickers I also adore Flickers! Absolutely gorgeous!

We were visited by a couple of cool moths, I've yet to identify them, but we are always fans of moths! This little guy may not look too impressive, but there were several each morning around the light and on the door, they measured about 2" in length. Their fuzzy faces were just too cute!

This little moth was an odd one. It reminded me of a fox's face!

But our most prolific visitors were the deer, mule deer to be exact. We had small herds traipse through the lot next to us daily. They were very curious about us and intrigued by the peanuts and seed we had set out for the birds. They were slightly skittish but not at all scared of us, in fact, there were several times I thought one of them was going to walk right up on the deck!

Bucks are not too common, so we felt privileged that he was comfortable enough to lay down and rest about 20 ft. off the deck!

A group of evening visitors!

This sweet girl looks more like a kangaroo than a deer! Get a load of those EARS!

And the most adorable young buck I've ever seen! What a looker!

We never saw a bear, but we found evidence one morning. Hummingbird feeders were ripped off the deck and pulled open and there was quite a bit of scuffled dirt to one side of the cabin where it obviously lumbered down the hill. I would have loved to have seen it! It's always the biggest thrill to see one of these amazing animals. Oh well, maybe next time.

Most of the visitors were quite welcome, however this bunch wasn't so welcome! At first I worried that it was termites, but never fear, just a swarm of winged ants!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The drought is taking its toll.

My poor little garden is giving its all, but the 100+ degree temps and no rain in sight is just taking its toll. The flea beetles are wreaking havoc on my poor eggplant, and it is to taxed from the heat it just has no defenses. I managed to get one tomato each off of the two heirloom vines before they succumbed to the wilt. It was so sad ripping them out. They all got over 5' tall before they went down. The tomatoes that I did manage to salvage were HUGE and gorgeous! It would have been such a luscious harvest and I'm so bummed! The black-eyed peas have been out of control, but now are starting to turn yellow. I don't know if it's the heat, the lack of rain, a wilt of some sort or if they just quit producing and turn yellow when they're done. It's my first time with peas, so I'm pretty clueless! The green beans are a disaster, I don't think I will get anything out of them this season. And I'm wondering if I'm going to have to clear and treat all the beds for wilt before I can plant again, which may mean I miss the winter season. This garden kicked my ass this summer and I'm feeling slightly defeated! Oh well, on the bright side, basil is still out of control, okra is really starting to kick in, I have jalapenos and pimento peppers ripening, and even though the beetles are causing problems, I do have one little eggplant that is trying so hard! Maybe they'll kick in for a late harvest. I will keep my fingers crossed. Turns out, summer gardening is just NOT easy in Texas!

Friday, July 17, 2009

French Breakfast Puffs? Oui, oui!

A few weeks back, I mentioned on my Facebook page that I was making French Breakfast Puffs. I received many comments and emails asking for the recipe, so I figured I'd have pity on those desiring the ultimate in cinnamon-y, sugary goodness! The recipe comes from my Mimmie's old Betty Crocker cookbook circa 1950. As you can tell, my Mimmie, my Mom and I have used the hell out of this cookbook, it's definitely a classic! And from the look of this page, we were all pretty fond of French Breakfast Puffs!

So, here's the recipe!

French Breakfast Puffs

1/3 cup shortening
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1-1/2 cups flour
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 cup milk

Topping: 1/2 cup sugar, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 cup melted butter

-Heat oven to 350*F. Grease muffin tins (personally, I prefer to use the mini muffin tins, they are perfect for little fingers and you can pretend that since they're smaller, it's OK to eat more!)
-Mix shortening, 1/2 cup sugar and the egg thoroughly and until fluffy. Stir in flour, baking powder, salt and nutmeg, alternating with the milk. The batter is a fairly sticky batter. Divide into muffin tins.
-Bake 20 minutes or until golden brown.
-Mix the other 1/2 cup of sugar and cinnamon together and melt the butter. Remove the hot muffins from the oven and carefully pull them out, roll them in the melted butter, then roll them in the cinnamon/sugar mixture. Serve while still warm.

Here is the finished product... feel free to drool!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Ruidoso or Bust! The Petroglyphs

One of my favorite places to visit in the Ruidoso area is the Three Rivers Petroglyph site. This site dates back between 900-1400 AD and was created by the Jornado Mogollon people. It's kind of out in the middle of nowhere, between Carrizozo and Tularosa, it's NOT the easiest hike and generally it's hot as hell! That being said, it is ALWAYS worth it. To me this place is mystical and slightly surreal. Since it is completely off the beaten path, you rarely run into other hikers. I like to hike up the trail, find a secluded spot, close my eyes and just listen. Sometimes it seems like the wind carries whispers! Or maybe it's just the mesquite trees rustling in the wind. Either way, it's one of those places that allows you to forget about the hustle and bustle for awhile and honestly, the petroglyphs themselves are just plain cool!

The great New Mexican landscape, isn't it gorgeous?

Roadrunner feet!

This glyph of a speared bighorn is the most famous and most photographed glyph, so of course, I had to get a picture too!

The circle-dot motif is very prevalent at this site, over 10 percent of the 21400 glyphs are similar to this one. The researchers found this odd as this specific motif is not prevalent at other Jornado Mogollon sites.

This little animal has always been one of my faves. I dig the geometric designs!

A standing stone, so majestic!

Obligatory "She-rah, Princess of Power" pose next to my FAVORITE glyph!

If you are ever in the Ruidoso or Capitan area, you really should check this place out. It is insanely cheap, something like $2 per car, they have very well-maintained picnic areas and restrooms, so seriously, pack a picnic and get out there! It is a great little voyage into NM history! Helpful hint, if you are doing this anytime between May and September, GO IN THE MORNING! It gets HOT! Be aware, I'm not kidding when I say it's in the middle of nowhere, do not screw around with your gas tank. Stop in Tularosa or Carrizozo (depending on which route you take) and top off the tank. Also when you're up on the hill checking out the petroglyphs, look to the southwest and you can see White Sands in the distance!

Garden visitors--Take 2

This has been a great week for garden visitors! First my tiny lizard in the black-eyed peas, then the next day I found a tiny baby gecko which I did manage to catch and show the kids, but he did a suicide dive off my hand into the parsley box before I could snap a pic! Then I had a wonderful night-time visitor. We noticed something hopping around the tomato bed one evening and low and behold, the first toad of the season! It's just been too hot and dry for these guys. He was a quite the fatty as you can see! He is welcome to come and feast on buggies anytime!

Unfortunately the next visitor did not grace my garden, he was found snorfelling around the folks' patio. They are backed up to a green space and this little feller squeezed under the fence in search of delectable bugs and grubs! I have been in Texas almost 7 years now and I've yet to see a LIVE armadillo. I've only seen them mashed on the side of the road. :( But how lucky that the folks had such a fantastic little visitor! I'm looking forward to seeing what else decides to visit their yard in the future!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Tiny garden visitor

While out watering my beautiful black-eyed peas I came across a most welcome visitor... the tiniest little lizard I ever saw! It was maybe 2 inches long, if that, and no wider than a blade of grass. I observed it for a bit, mesmerized by its awesome cuteness, then I tried to catch it so I could show it to the kids and maybe take a pic, but it was TOO wily and entirely TOO fast for a clumsy, slow human! I am so pleased to have this little lizard lurking in the jungle of my peas and okra and it is welcome to consume as many of those pesky little bugs as it pleases! Bon appetit, Lizard Little and feel free to invite some more of your relatives to live in my garden!

Thursday, July 2, 2009


I do. I truly love okra! Many people say it's slimy and full of seeds or tough and woody. Face it, okra has a bad rap! It's a misunderstood little veggie that is held in suspicion by much of the general public, at least here in the US. I'm here to tell you folks, DO NOT BE AFRAID! Okra will not hurt you, not even if you fell on it!

Okra is known by many names around the world, mostly "okra", "Lady Fingers", "gumbo", "quingombo" or "bhindi" to name a few.

It is a big, leafy plant with thick stalks and a GORGEOUS flower! Seriously folks, how could something this beautiful and perfect not be good for you???

And the fact is, okra has about as many uses as it has names and varieties. Most Americans that have tried okra have probably had it deep-fried in batter, which is awesome, but that's just the tip of the iceberg! You can throw it in gumbo, mix it with corn for an amazing casserole, saute with onions and various spices for a Bhindi Masala (which I'm probably making for dinner tonight), pickled okra, fried okra with potatoes, hell you can do almost anything with okra if you're creative! One of my favorite ways is Southern Fried okra. We're not talking deep fried in a caky batter, we're talking about rolling damp okra around in mostly cornmeal with a dab of flour, salt, pepper, paprika (if you're so inclined) and lightly sauteing in olive oil. It's best to use a good ol' wrought iron skillet! I could make an entire meal of that, in fact I did about 2 days ago! Mmmmm!

Okra is absolutely bursting with goodness! It is super high in fiber, it's a good source of sodium, B6 and folic acid, not to mention the benefits of the mucin inside. The mucin is great for soothing the GI tract and helping keep joints limber. I'm crappin' you negative people, okra ROCKS! So if you see a batch at your local farmer's market, give it a try! Fresh okra is obviously way better than frozen, but I do admit, it's hard to find fresh, henceforth why I'm growing my own. In my humble opinion, summer just isn't summer without fresh okra! And if you're a fellow okra connoisseur, I would love to see what awesome recipes you have!