Tuesday, November 30, 2010

80 Sweaters for Knit for Kids, Part 2

Here are the rest of the sweaters being mailed off in this batch to Knit for Kids. See yesterday's post for the others. I've started down the home stretch toward my goal of 100 sweaters for this great charity!

Monday, November 29, 2010

80 Sweaters for Knit for Kids, Part 1

It's time to send off another batch of sweaters--numbers 65 through 80--that I have made for Knit for Kids. You can see the last bunch that I shipped here and here. If you would like to learn more about this charity, check out the Knit for Kids website. The basic sweater pattern is very easy and can be knit or crocheted, and the variations you can make are endless. You can see most of the sweaters I have sent by clicking on the "Knit for Kids" tab near the top of the blog. Pass on the word about this fun and worthy project. You might want to knit a sweater or two, yourself!

I'll post photos of the rest of the batch tomorrow

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Adobe Sunrise, for Skywatch

I am so thankful that I get to live in this mud house with Beez and 
our little band of rescued dogs and cats. 

My heart is filled with praise every morning when I rise up to see skies 
like these from our very own patio. 

This sunrise is reflected in one of the windows of our adobe house in the pecan orchard. 

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. You can celebrate with skywatchers all over the world at Skywatch Friday. 

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Tularosa Skies for Skywatch

This photo was taken from Aguirre Spring, at the foot of the Organ Mountains in southern New Mexico, and looking across the Tularosa Basin. The white line that you see in the middle of the photo, a bit to the left of center, is the beginning of the pure white gypsum dunes of the White Sands National Monument.

If you look off into the distance, you will see by the horizontal line of the mountain ranges there that this photo is, in fact, straight. The land in the foreground that slants down toward the right of the photo is the bajada, the broad alluvial slope that starts at the base of the mountains on their eastern side.

I posted some other photos of the Aguirre Spring area yesterday.

For skies all over the world, please visit Skywatch Friday.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Aguirre Spring

We've always meant to go to Aguirre Spring, but somehow never did. Now that we've been there, we'll be going back again and again. Run by the Bureau of Land Management, it is located on the opposite (east) side of the Organ Mountains from Las Cruces. 

We look at the mountains from the other side every day. We have passed by the turnoff the the campground/picnic area many, many times. I am so glad we took the time to drive in and do a little exploration. 

The air was so clean, it was absolutely delicious. It was quiet, except for birdsong. The plants and trees were varied--sotol (see below) and alligator juniper were a couple that I recognized. 

The back side of the Organ Mountains

This is the view down toward the Tularosa Basin. You can see part of the White Sands Missile Range to the right.

There were little trees growing way up there between the rocky outcrops

I loved the way the light was shining through these sotol leaves

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


Please get this thing off me...
Little Pete has been very patient. In spite of a tiny glitch (the name of this peculiar recipe will make everything clear), his recent Necessary Operation was a success. His stitches are out and he is free of the awful lampshade hat he wore and used as a weapon against pushy pack members and unwary human shins.

I just had to post one last photo of his dirty little face framed in that awful thing. Note the ever-wagging tail. He's a good boy.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Are You Ready for Some Basketball?

The first time Beez bought New Mexico State University basketball tickets, I thought he was nuts. Now, I wouldn't miss a game. These photos were taken before a recent exhibition game. Good seats! Great view!

The cheerleaders are amazing, but it scares me to watch them in action. I'm too old to even watch that stuff. 

NMSU men's team warming up

I really like living in a university town. We are just beginning to tap into the cultural and entertainment possibilities. Next up: Museums! Art galleries!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

November Sky, for Skywatch

It's November in the desert--pure and simple!

For November skies all over the world, visit Skywatch Friday.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

November Colors

Coming from New England, where the frost can hit any time starting in mid-September and my Massachusetts friends are reporting snow on the ground as we speak, it still surprises me that November colors can come in:

Tomato reds...

... and tomato yellows...

Squash greens...

and chile reds!

All of the above photos were taken at the Las Cruces Farmers Market last weekend...

... but these luscious reds and greens are from my very own garden, picked just in case we have a mid-November frost.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Contest Winner!

As I mentioned last week, I won a contest and was just waiting to receive the prize. It arrived, and here it is: A Hungry Hound Handcrafted Feeder from Pam of Life on a Southern Farm.

The feeder is beautifully made by Pam's husband, FarmMan, and it holds 15 lbs. of dry dog food. You can order one for your dog and several more for gifts--just scroll down on the right side of Pam's home page and click on the picture of Jill, FarmDog Extraordinaire, modeling her own feeder.

Thank you, Pam and FarmMan!

Our dogs love their new feeder, as you will see.

Leny loved the feeder at first sight

So did Little Pete, but he was hampered by that pesky lampshade thing he has worn since his recent Necessary Operation. He tried and tried, but couldn't manage to get a single mouthful.

Poor Pete, what could he do? Not one to admit defeat, he thought about the problem for a bit...

... then ate a piece of rug instead.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Getting Over the Color Green

Although I loved the mountains...

Barren, Wild, and Worthless; Living in the Chihuahuan Desert, by Susan J. Tweit (Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 2003).
You have to get over the color green; you have to quit associating beauty with gardens and lawns; you have to get used to an inhuman scale.
                                                                    ~Wallace Stegner,  "Thoughts on a Dry Land"

Although I was born near the Atlantic Ocean on the coast of Maine, I was soon whisked away by my parents, who sought the good jobs in a growing economy out on the other coast. I found myself growing up just a block away from the Pacific Ocean, learning to ride my bike in the cool fogs of San Francisco.

Later, when I was eleven, we moved to the golden, rolling, live oak-studded hills of Marin County just over the Golden Gate Bridge. Because these landscapes were all I knew as a child, they seemed pretty "right" to me.

However, the older I got and the more books I read, the more I sought a different world--a place where the houses were old and creaking with history, the winters were snowy, the maple and birch tree woods hid mayflowers and fiddleheads and jack in the pulpit, and the gardens were full of lilacs, violets, and lilies of the valley--the land of my birth, New England. After moving back East in my forties, we lived in New Hampshire for over 20 years until the winters got to be too much for my arthritic joints, and that is how we came to be living in the Chihuahuan Desert.

Here in southern New Mexico, I find myself in a landscape so different from that of New England that I might be on another planet altogether. When we first came here, although I loved the mountains, I wanted to run from the desert. I couldn't see its beauty or its hidden life--I just saw rocks and dirt.

This book--Barren, Wild, and Worthless--spoke to me. It follows Susan Tweit, another non-desert dweller, from her shocked denial on arrival--the desert was "harsh," "unloveable," and colored in "a thousand shades of dry"--through a gathering of knowledge, understanding, and experience to a new feeling of being at home, at last.

A wash of green 

My own journey has been much like this one, so I read each page with recognition and delight. It has taken me a while, but now I don't think that I could live away from these open spaces and endless skies.

Here are a few quotes from Barren, Wild, and Worthless, just to give you the flavor of the book. The photos are mine.
Green is as rare as shade. The desert is neither soft nor appealing. Its shapes are hard and angular; the plants are studded with spines and thorns; the animals armed with venom and stingers...
Despite its enormous size, the Chihuahuan Desert is not well known. Nor is it a popular place. It does not inspire T-shirts, sun visors, or "I ♥" bumper stickers. Rarely do its landscapes grace calendars and coffee table picture books. Tourists do not flock to visit this desert. Deserts are hard to love, and the Chihuahuan is especially difficult... 
Plants grow, but only sparsely, each keeping to its own space, a decent interval of bare ground dividing it from the next. Green requires water, and water in the desert is scarce, ephemeral. Only after the infrequent rains does the earth blush with a wash of green... 
Each keeping to its own space

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Joke's on Me, for Skywatch

This is a famous windmill at the foot of the Organ Mountains just outside of Las Cruces, New Mexico. I see it in lots of photos. 

It is a real working windmill, and pumps water from deep below the desert's surface as the wind blows. The pump mechanism makes a lovely creaking sound in the otherwise silent desert air.
The water used to be pumped into a big metal stock tank. Now it goes into these big recycled tires, which are probably a lot less fun for adventurous nighttime swimmers and merrymakers. This is Bureau of Land Management land--grazing rights are leased to ranchers who run their cattle out here. I'll bet more animals than just cattle water here; on the far side of this tire there were yellow jackets taking sips. Below the tires where the overflow water seeped out we saw little yellow butterflies. It looks like the perfect place for javelinas, deer, mountain lions, and rattlesnakes, too. 

On the day we passing through, I saw this hawk (a Northern Harrier?) perched up there. Pardon my usual lack of focus; I get excited and forget to do the things that photographers are supposed to do.
And here's the joke: When my hawk took off, I shot several pictures of him flying overhead. They all turned out just like this one!

For more successful sky photos, be sure to visit Skywatch Friday.


Monday, November 1, 2010

Scenes from the Day of the Dead Celebration

There really is nothing else like this celebration. On the Mesilla Plaza just south of Las Cruces people built altars to remember their dead. It's hard to describe the combination of death, love, and humor present on the beautifully sunny afternoon when my sister and I strolled around the plaza.

Lots of sun, lots of people
A tribute to the murdered women of Ciudad Juarez, Mexico; in the background on the black boards are hundreds more names honoring military dead

Altar for a little dog