April Winds of Change

SONY DSC

 

We were longing for signs of spring and now we’ve reached the high time of encouraging proof. Still we’re contending with the unsettling roar of winds and the occasional day with a high only in the 40s. We’re trying to be patient, and feel grateful for our luck when we compare our weather with Denver’s recent snows.

Took this photo a week ago in the Taos historic district. Nearby, I noticed the big apricot tree on Bent Street was starting to bloom. Surely this starts a season that’s nice for visitors. It’s still relatively quiet but Spring’s charm is bursting out. Expect wind.

SONY DSC

Around the same time I took this photo of apricot blossoms in the orchard where I live. Those eager apricot trees just can’t wait to get started! They are the first of the local fruit trees to blossom and their beauty deserves a close-up shot like this. I don’t know the odds that they’ll bear fruit this year but you can always assume it’s an iffy proposition. Still they’re beautiful trees that will always shine with their early blossoms.

SONY DSC

I took this last Sunday when I noticed that the acequia water was running in the orchard. These are a couple of the old apricot trees I’m very enchanted with. I have of good view from my backyard of ravens sitting up high in their branches.

You can see the ditch that runs alongside them. This was the first time in our neck of the woods to get the acequia water and my landlord said that the flow was pretty good. My camera and I have had a love affair with the orchard landscape when the water flows and this day was special because it may be my last chance to take in the sweet smells and sights. I’ll be moving to the East Coast toward the end of the month.

SONY DSC

This shot exemplifies the patterns and juxtapositions that the flooding water can create. I especially love seeing the way the apples hold their color as they age and their contrast with the new green grass. Certainly this expresses the sentiment of Wabi-Sabi, the Japanese philosophy that values images that reflect on the impermanence of living things.

SONY DSC

This image offers more of a detailed look at the same elements, but gives more information about the water and the apples.

SONY DSC

This is my favorite photo of the day. Monet, the impressionist painter comes to mind. Just proves beauty can be found wherever you are living on this amazing planet. The part of the world I’m moving to will be a new experience for me, and one very much in contrast to the landscape here. My heart is being called there by my daughter and two granddaughters.

So when I continue to blog the scenery will change dramatically. I’ll be living in a more urban environment in Portsmouth, NH, located on the edge of the Atlantic, with a short hop up into Maine and an hour’s drive to Boston. Also I can direct my camera’s eye back to family members, as I have in the past.

Some of you will likely lose interest in this new direction my lens is taking. I hope to make good choices as I make this transition and assume that many Taos acquaintances will prefer to be dropped from the list receiving the links. I’m learning that some friends have past ties to the Northeast and they expect to enjoy the photography as much or more than they have seeing Taos.

SONY DSC

Newly budding willow branches blowing in the wind restoring color to our world. This willow tree is very old and large, still thriving in its location near an acequia ditch.

Thank you Toas for all your dramatic and inspiring beauty, your revelations of truth and the people who choose you for their home and became supportive friends. You know I will miss you.

Posted in Kate's Home Base | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Spring Up

SONY DSC

 

In February I flew to New Hampshire to celebrate both my birthday and an important first meeting with Charlotte, my second granddaughter. This photo shows her with granddaughter #1, now 13, and mom, my daughter, Katrina. Charlotte is dressed for puddle fun. Even now, mid March, I see on the weather reports that this northeast part of the US is still owned by the winter season. Here in Taos we are getting some good whiffs of days in the 50s and 60s, most with sunny skies.

SONY DSC

 

Here on the property where I live in Taos I discovered on yesterday’s walk these hopeful buds on a  cherry tree near my house. The first of my three summers here the tree  provided lots of fruit, the second year none at all (due to an early frost) and last summer the fruit was sparse. It’s an early bloomer so the risk is always there…

SONY DSC

 

While taking a walking tour of the property I got a nice shot of our resident horse, Barney. I think he eats most of the organic, acequia-watered alfalfa grown on the land here. I’ve added some of his aged manure to the garden beds around my house. He is ridden by his longtime owner, one of the landlords, if only occasionally, and gets to eat lots of apples from the orchard in late summer and fall. All in all a pretty nice country life.

SONY DSC

 

Now that the snow has melted in my back garden I can see a hardy spinach variety I planted last fall has survived the winter as advertised. Sold by “Botanical Interests” seed company out of Colorado, it’s an heirloom variety called Viroflay that can overwinter in sub-zero temperatures. According to the seed packet it can grow quite large as well. Looks like I should thin my plants.

SONY DSC

 

Upon inspection I found that the blue flax that has generously seeded itself all around my house is starting to come back to life. I have recommended this hardy flowering plant before to those gardening in Taos. It also grew well back in the mountains of Idaho where I gardened in times past. It will both come back like a perennial from last year’s plants and come up from the many seeds the many small blue flowers produce. It is one of the first flowering plants to bloom as the weather warms.

SONY DSC

 

Here’s another early-blooming flower starting to show its face, the Sweet William. Like the Blue Flax it has advanced itself around my garden beds without any help from me. The plants that have established themselves will bloom early and you’ll continue to find new plants arriving from seed.

SONY DSC

 

And last but not least is the greening up of the hearty dandelion plants that have thrived here and there in my garden beds. I treat them with a respect they don’t commonly receive by harvesting the tender leaves in spring. They add their green nutrition to my food in a variety of ways: teas, soups, salads and blender-made fruit drinks.

It really is already possible to see early bulb-type flowers blooming but I didn’t have any specimens handy for this spontaneous “photo-shoot.” It was a quiet warm afternoon and I enjoyed walking around the neighborhood without a sweater or a coat imagining the spring joys of flowering plants to come. It is a kind of “awakening of desire” time, both for the plants and the humans.

Enjoy your spring wherever you live!

 

Posted in Kate's Home Base | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

February Pregnant Pause

 

SONY DSC

Here in Taos we’re feeling winter’s weather softening. Yes, there’s still the occasional snowfall, but a couple of days in a row in the high 40s can melt that down to the mud that you run into everywhere now. I’ve especially noticed an influx of birds tweeting around my house and I swear there’ve been a couple of recent raven conventions in big trees in the hood. It’s still a little early to find signs of budding and greening which make for nice photos. I’ve done here what I can to show you some unexpected beauty for this time of year, the pregnant pause between winter and spring.

SONY DSC

 

I discovered this nest-looking arrangement on a walk around the property a couple of days ago. Now that I look at it again I see the grey rock in the “nest” looks like an egg.

Last weekend marked the half-way point between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox. So that can only mean we are officially gaining momentum toward that start of a new yearly cycle.

SONY DSC

 

Now this photo has no snow but gives focus to the beautiful shapes and textures of winter leaves, including some that never got the memo about their seasonal demise. I wish I could name the plant these soft furry leaves are from. Feels so familiar to me. This was taken alongside the pond at the Overland Complex. I pass by it often on my way to the Ancient Rituals Apothecary (I call it the Tea Shop) between the Envision Gallery and the sushi restaurant.

SONY DSC

 

I took a couple more photos there. These lovely leaves could be from day lilies I suppose. I was attracted to their color, helped by the angle of the late afternoon light.

Yes, the light here in Taos can be a topic. I don’t claim to understand it scientifically but I sure do experience it. It can transform the ordinary into the magical before your eyes. Not that we haven’t all had these kinds of experiences, say watching a sunset on a Pacific Ocean beach and allowing ourselves to be absorbed into the transformation. Here, that potential for  color therapy will enter your everyday environment and remind you that you live within a greater magical mystery.

SONY DSC

 

I found this cattail still in the process of releasing its seeds into the pond’s environment. I would have thought this seeding phase would have been complete, but it looked very much a happening thing.

SONY DSC

 

Remember the bright yellow chamisa bushes flowering in fall? This is what one head looks like at this time of year. I see the bones of a pattern of bursting star shapes enhanced by the warm light of the setting sun.

SONY DSC

 

And this last photo was taken in the orchard under one of the many apple trees in the same waning light of day’s end.

May we all know we ARE THE LOVE WE SEEK on Valentine’s Day.

Posted in Kate's Home Base | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

January Retreat in Taos

SONY DSC

This wintery time of year has lived up to its reputation. Most long-time residents say it’s been colder than usual. Many people I’ve talked to have reported frozen pipes and some even broken ones that have caused flooding in their house. I guess the plumbers have been busy?

I’ve stayed mostly indoors in my cozy radiant-floor-heated casita and turned my attention to various projects. I recently re-read a women’s history classic, The Red Tent, by Anita Diamant. I’ve welcomed the slower pace after all the rushing around before the holidays making sure local stores had my cards and tree ornaments in stock. In the rhythm of the yearly cycle this is the time to go inward, to reflect and evaluate, to allow the unconscious to process the events of the past year. Soon enough it will be time to begin afresh with the Spring Equinox.

On the way home from a trip to Santa Fe last week I took a turn into the Rio Grande Gorge to see its winter look. It was just before dusk so both of these photos catch the contrast of light and dark.

SONY DSC

As you can see, the river here is not frozen. I noticed that there were stretches along the 68 highway between here and Espanola that were iced up. People were stopping to take photos. I thought this might be the case here in the gorge but apparently not. And there’s a reason for that but I can’t make out for sure what it is. Perhaps the gorge both collects and holds heat in the day and because the water is moving slower here it has time to warm up?

SONY DSC

I did take this shot of some fanciful ice at the end of a boat ramp.

SONY DSC

To warm you up…this is a new collaged nicho featuring the Hindu Goddess, Lakshmi, that I recently added to my consignment art in the Wabi-Sabi gift store. They have been carrying my cards for a couple of years now. As you can see in this photo they feature art and artifacts from Eastern spiritual traditions.

SONY DSC

This was taken from the front porch of my house looking out through the icicles to a sunny cold day in the hood. A couple of those icicles stuck around for many days and grew several feet long. Very entertaining.

I want to extend an invitation to local friends of my Taos blog to consider attending the miniature show at Millicent Rogers this coming Saturday, the 26th. It will be my first time showing art there and I plan to attend the opening at 5:30 PM. I understand they charge $15 admission to raise funds for the museum.

 

 

 

Posted in Kate's Home Base | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Taos Lines Up on 12-22-12

SONY DSC

Back in 2011 a Mayan wisdom keeper from Mexico, Ac Tah, was invited to speak at a conference in Taos presented by the local Labyrinth Society. Taos has never been the same. Ac Tah impressed many locals with his integrity in his role of descendent and appointed messenger of knowledgable Mayan ancestors. His perspective is that the end of the Mayan calendar coincides with a never-before galactic alignment from our Central Sun, to Sirius, our Sun, ending here at planet Earth. This is an energetic event, called a dimensional shift and in Mesoamerican culture seen as the return of Quetzalcoatl. Some visualize it as the beginning of the new age of Aquarius.

However it’s described or understood Ac Tah stayed connected to the people he met here in Taos after returning to Mexico, and his influence led to the creation of the powerful ceremony I attended at New Buffalo Center on December 22nd. The pyramid in the photo above is symbolic of it. It was designed by Ac Tah and built in Mexico. Apparently there have already been many built and erected throughout Mexico. A group of four Taos men drove a truck down to a town north of Mexico City to pick up the deconstructed pieces of the assembled one pictured. That part of the story is in itself dramatic.

These photos reflect the commitment of literally hundreds of Taos residents, those who contributed their skills, money and dedication to make the event possible and those who answered the invitation to come and participate in Ac Tah’s vision of a 12-22-12 ceremonial gathering.

SONY DSC

The so-called “ceremony” was actually a dawn-to- dusk day at the New Buffalo Center (in the 60s and 70s a famous hippy commune near Arroyo Hondo). I arrived in time for the 2nd of three time slots for gathering, around 11 AM. The centerpiece of this time’s grouping was a newly made sacred pipe created by local artist and ceremonialist, Reuben Medina. The pipe itself is a story, like many background pieces of the total puzzle of the day.

I spoke on the phone today with Reuben and learned that he was inspired to make the pipe based on the story of White Buffalo Woman. She appeared magically to give the first sacred pipe to a group of native Americans whose males had become too warlike. Thus the pipe (chanupa) was called a “peace pipe.” For Reuben the pipe spoke to the welcome return of the Divine Feminine at this time, along with the return of the Feathered Serpent, Quetzalcoatl. He had decided to gift the pipe to an extraordinary woman, Pat McCabe, his friend, who has devoted her life to the return of the Divine Feminine by traveling and teaching through Lakota ceremony.

This photo captures the moment that he passes the chanupa to Pat. It’s important to my telling of this story for you to visualize the pipe as having two parts, a male and a female. The bowl separates from the tube part. In any case it symbolizes the coming together of the dual aspects of the Divine, masculine and feminine, in harmonic oneness.

SONY DSC

If you focus in on this photo you can see the pipe (shaped like a snake) with the bowl  sticking up and tropical bird feathers hanging down. Pat seems to be selecting herbs for placing in the bowl. Without being able to foresee where this pipe area would be set up inside the circle (there was delay in Pat’s arrival) I had chosen a good position for taking photos. The day was cold but the sky was clear and thus sunny. To face the Sun I had to turn completely around but I did this at times to feel its warmth on my face. In the context of the story about the energy arriving on Earth by way of our Sun it felt doubly good to connect with it in this way. There was a thin layer of snow beneath our feet, keeping them cold, but I observed that my body was able to adjust to the outdoor conditions better than I might have thought. It seemed like the elevated energy was keeping me in a state of heightened gratitude and focus, allowing me to feel content.

SONY DSC

At this point, the pipe is lit and being offered up to the sky for all to see and the drummers are drumming. Pat offered some teachings about the shift toward honoring the energy of the Divine Feminine. In conclusion each of the 60 or more participants in the circle were encouraged by Reuben to hold the pipe, touch the end away from the bowl to each shoulder and  smoke the pipe if they wish. During this time people in the circle were invited to offer a song, most with accompanying drums and rattles and everyone was encouraged to join in.

I feel very grateful to all the Taos people who made this event happen, the 12/21/2012 Ceremony group, and Ac Tah’s team in Mexico who coordinated with them. For me, what has come up is the concept of “community.” All along the path of this event Taos (and Mexican) people have demonstrated that when something captures the hearts and imaginations of a group of strong and trusting individuals just about anything can be accomplished.

Let there be LOVE…

 

Posted in Kate's Home Base | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tis the Season

People were starting to gather at the Taos Plaza before the official Christmas parade and lighting of the tree last weekend. There were free cups of hot chocolate and cookies along with mild temperatures. This “lighting of the plaza tree” event seems to be the earliest of the many traditional Christmas celebrations for this ever-popular season. From down town there’s no snow visible on Taos Mountain now. The latest talk is that this Sunday there’s a good chance of seeing some.

While walking from the plaza to a nearby store I noticed this creative window design. I wasn’t clear which store it was advertising but I really admired it. Taos has its charm and the holiday season can bring out some inspiration on the part of store owners trying to lure customers. It can be another reason to get out and shop around and even take a look at the rich diversity of crafts made by locals.

Here’s another store window shot, this one belonging to Wabi-Sabi, a store that focuses on gifts, mostly imported from Japan. This store is dear to my heart because they have been carrying my cards for several years now. More recently they have some of my Goddess altars on consignment. You can always count on a cup of tea while you browse.

This Kuan Yin wood altar is one example of my work displayed at Wabi-Sabi.

I’ve got my eye on these painted wood (hand carved?) flying Hanuman ornaments on sale now at the little shop at the Hanuman Temple. They’re $15 and I really admire them. I’m assuming they are imported from India?

I you’re looking for a lovely Christmas shopping experience try Country Furnishings of Taos owned by Mary Shriver. I suspect some people go there to browse just for a pick-me-up. Those are my handmade tree ornaments, which Mary’s carrying for the first time this season. She also has seasonal cards of mine and a few retablos.

Another great store to get to know, if you don’t already, is Garden and Soul, just off the plaza. They specialize in cards and local art. You’ll recognize by now that my work is well represented there with an assortment of offerings corralled in one corner. The store changed hands some months ago. The new owners are a couple, Bob and Stephanie Deavers. I’m sure they’d love you coming in and introducing yourself. Tell them I sent you, as they say.

Because of the location of my house (blocked as I am by trees and power lines) I rarely catch photos of amazing sunsets, of which we have many. I remember when I first moved to Taos I was truly astonished at their nightly show which reminded me of times past when  I lived along the Pacific Ocean in one place or another (San Francisco, Point Arena and Encinitas, all in California, and then time spent in Mexico, especially Todos Santos). There’s no ocean here, but you sure do get the sunsets.

This one caught my attention as it seemed the whole sky was ablaze. I took this shot facing east away from the setting sun.

Wishing you all well as you plot your course through shopping, celebrating and getting those packages wrapped and cards mailed in a timely fashion. Tis the season!

 

 

Posted in Kate's Home Base | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Early November

As I sit down to create this blog about early November the weather here is finally heading  the way of something more like winter. And so the photos in this blog reflect the mild temperatures of this year’s lucky, lingering fall.

I took a quick shopping trip to Santa Fe recently and as I approached Taos on my return I stopped to take a photo of this iconic single tree which gets a lot of attention by photographers. This was my first time and the late afternoon sun helped make for a pretty good result. If you know the site you’ll recognize the dark shadows of the gorge running through the middle of the frame. In another mile toward Taos you can get better views of that. This site is alongside a tricky curve in the road and you take your risks just crossing it. The tree says “you’re almost there.”

This is a small fraction of a large Day of the Dead altar set up in the lobby of the Taos Inn each year around Halloween and early November. It was truly a vast display of notes and photos honoring deceased relatives of Taos residents an especially featuring photos of former Taos residents going back in its long history. There were similar altar spaces set up in locations handy to the public, but this had to be the largest.

This was a lucky shot taken along the Rio Grande gorge on a return trip to Ojo Caliente Hot Springs around dusk. The overcast sky turned the scene into an old fashioned sepia print and the wary deer makes it special. When I first spotted the deer she was drinking from the river but as I got out of the car she watched me attentively but never moved away from view.

The deer is a spirit animal for me so this was an amazing way to end what was already a beautiful day.

Took this several days ago. This is the acequia ditch that runs under Maestas Road and winds around to the back of the property where I live. It’s source is the Rio Chiquito River that can be accessed nearby. One of the charming plants that likes to grow along this ditch is the wild rose (the orange leaves on the right) which makes it fruit, red berries called Rose Hips, known for high vitamin C levels and used often as a tea. I have been known to string them for decorating a Christmas tree when I lived in places where they were plentiful.

When you’re looking at this photo the ditch is beyond that slope on the left side. You can see the bit of bright green at the end of the dirt road. That is a small corner bit of a very large flat meadow planted in alfalfa (watered by the acequia in season). This you can see as you’re driving by on Maestas Road which goes by my driveway.

And once you enter the alfalfa field you can keep going straight and there’s a small apple orchard in the corner. If you walk to the right you’ll find access to the Rio Chiquito River. I did this walk with some visiting friends not long ago and we ended up in this area and noticed there were little piles of bear poop (mostly poorly chewed apples) scattered under the trees here and there. I found it a little scary to think we were sharing the same space as a family of bears. This harvest of apples must have been a high point in their yearly migration?

Sadly due to technical issues I can’t put my little square photo at the end of this blog as usual. Hopefully I can resurrect this pattern in the future? I’ve got Wabi-Sabi photos on my mind. Could be a theme to my next Taos blog.

Posted in Kate's Home Base | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

October’s Last Flames

 

I share this photo of Burch Street taken a couple of days ago as a nod to the beauty of October here in Toas. I see from the weather forecasts for the week ahead that we will continue to have lower temps than we’ve seen since last year this time and a noticeable lack of rain. Time to switch out those skimpy summer clothes for the layers of winter.

Closer to home, this is part of one of the apricot trees in the orchard near my house. These trees are favorites of the local ravens who favor their high branches. I have come to have a deep affection for these particular trees, their sprawling shapes, the dark color of their bark.

On a walk along Maestas road a couple of days ago with friends we ventured into a field along the Rio Chiquito River and came upon a small apple orchard that was being frequented by bears. There were luckily none in sight but their scat was all over the place.  It was a quiet, beautiful spot with plenty of apples. Unfortunately I didn’t bring my camera. I figured there are bears there because there are fewer barking dogs than around our orchard, which is also closer to a main highway, instead of a river. Still, not that far away.

 This shot of a last, lone wild plum expresses the spirit of a Japanese aesthetic called Wabi-Sabi. There is even a gift store in Taos by that name that specializes in Japanese imports.

I have a long history of discovering (and re-discovering by accident) a well-known small book that can be found in libraries in almost any town which attempts to explain it. When I found it again in the Taos library my first year here I decided to illustrate it with photography. This year I plan to do that again, with fresh photos and hopefully deeper insight. The book is available for sale at the Wabi-Sabi store.

I was at the Hanuman Temple last Sunday for lunch and a circle of people were creating this Goddess Yantra out of vegetable died rice. I had never happened on to this before and was intrigued. As it turned out there is an annual ritual event called Durga Puja that last for several days starting with the New Moon and going through the First Quarter, when the moon is half full. It celebrates Durga and various Hindu Goddesses who are aspects of her. To learn more go to the Hanuman Temple website (easy to find via Google).

This photo I took later when I attended the evening ceremony.

This was taken during the ceremony which involved various oils, prayers and finally singing and blessings. I was honored to be present. Each night there is a new Yantra for a different Goddess.

And what would the last blog of October be without the colorful generosity of squash at the farm market last Saturday? And here’s to the market itself which will be having its last event in a few days! When I think of the market I always am reminded of the glorious diversity of the Taos region, well represent by both the buyers and the farmers each week. It’s a beacon of Taos as a living example of what might have happened if most of the native population of what is now the USA had not been decimated. Weekly through the summer months it becomes a theater of integration for all who live in the region. It may sound idealistic, coming from a somewhat newly arrived Anglo, but for those of us who have mostly lived in typical US towns the contrast is both brightly real and welcome.

Potter shards discovered in my back yard

Posted in Kate's Home Base | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Summer’s End–October

This is an amaranth plant growing in the large garden at the Hanuman Temple in Taos. There are many varieties (colors and shapes) of this ancient plant grown by humans for their health-giving seeds. I buy amaranth seeds in bulk and add them to a mix of chia and flax which I grind in an electric coffee grinder and sprinkle on food, especially salads. I add it to pancake batter and hot cereals as well. When the plants are young I pick the leaves to add to salads, but they are definitely edible at any stage of growth.

Speaking of the Hanuman Temple…they recently had an annual festival, the Bhandara, in honor of their guru. For this popular event they do traditional Indian cooking with wood fired ovens. In an outdoor area near the kitchen there are eight of these and I was able to see them in use for my first time. I’ve always wondered how and when they were used. It seemed at the time that most of the cooking that day was over and the attention was focused on these tortilla type breads that were being placed in a large wok-shaped pan of oil. On the upper left you can see how they puff up when cooked.

Here’s a view of the cooking operation. I had heard of the annual Bhandara celebration  before I moved to Taos from a good friend in Ketchum, Idaho, who had attended it many times with her family over the years. They have a close friend who’s been associated with Ram Das most of her adult life. Likely the gathering was an extended family reunion opportunity. Now that I live here and usually go to the temple on Sundays I appreciate what a role it plays in bringing together like-minded people. It is a very inclusive, welcoming place.

This may not be a world-class photo but it introduces the seasonal ritual of ristras. Before I lived in Taos I thought they were just for looks but soon learned that to the pepper-addicted folks of the region they are a practical way to keep dried ones handy in the kitchen. The couple on the left have become two of my favorite farm market vendors. Love their radishes and often photograph their amazing flowers.

And this is a last look of the season of Barbara and Larry of Cosmos Farm in Dixon. Barbara was still stringing marigolds when I took this but said this would be their last time coming to the market for this year. For me there was something special about the beauty they brought with their marigolds and garden bounty and I’ll look forward to seeing them again next year.

It’s difficult to transition away from the season of the farm market which brings the spread-out and diverse community of  Taos together. The end of the market season is just one less reason to drive to “town” with any social expectations. Many of the farmers drive long distances to participate in the summer market and one can only imagine the work it takes beforehand–to plant, nurture, then harvest their produce in time for the weekly early morning drive, not to mention setting up their booths. What a gift of dedication to the good of the larger community! I’m sure I can say WE ALL thank you!

I’m not sure of the date of the last farm market but I can feel it’s soon. Last night our temperatures dipped below freezing for the first time of the season. I check the weather online so knew it was coming. I harvested all my unripe tomatoes and cut all my marigold flowers to make the strings I so love. I can take down the faded ones I made last year now and enjoy the fresh orange color and the smell of the new ones.

I am adding a stewed apple recipe to this blog for folks who both like to eat healthy and find they have an over-abundance of apples (like me). It comes from an ayurvedic cookbook (Eat Taste Heal), is great for balancing Vata, and is dairy and gluten free.

Ingredients:

2 apples, peeled, cored, and sliced

4 or 5 dried apricots, soaked in hot water 20 minutes

4 dates, preferably Medjool, pitted and cut in half

2 C water

1 tbsp maple syrup

1 tbsp grated fresh ginger (I say “or less”)

1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon, and same amount of cardamom

Put all ingredients in medium (small?) saucepan. Bring to boil over high heat. Reduce to medium-low, cover and simmer for at least 5 minutes (or longer? I say). With a ladle, transfer 1/3 of the contents, including juice, to a blender and process to a puree. Stir this back into the pan and serve warm.

Keeps well in the fridge for a week or so (my comment).

Cottonwood leaves along the curb…

Posted in Kate's Home Base | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

September’s Equinox

I took this at last week’s farm market. That’s Daniel Carmona of Cerro Vista Farm, up near Questa. These flowers are all so typical of fall, a season that’s only a couple of days away as I write (Fall Equinox on the 22nd). I bought some great broccoli from his booth. I tried growing my own the first season I was here (3 summers ago now) and had to battle the cabbage moths for what little I was able to harvest. That ended my attempts. Easier to just buy it from Daniel.

There’s more variety of flowers in this shot of Kathy Moen’s booth. She has zinnias, cosmos and gladiolas, among other things. Her farm is near the Hwy. 68 down from Taos to Espanola, somewhere about half way. So she has a lower elevation advantage when that first night of freezing temperatures arrives here in Taos at 7,000  feet. I talked to a friend on the phone last week in Ketchum, Idaho, and he reported that they were going to have their first frosty night and he had picked all his marigolds and some tender garden fruits and vegetables. I’m happy to be gardening here in Taos where we can hope for a longer season. Gotta watch the weather news for low temps ahead though, starting about now.

I didn’t keep track of whose grapes these were at the farm market last week but I had to take a photo. Nothing says fall like picking grapes. Fifteen years ago I might have been doing just that this time of year. I was living in Sonoma County, California, on a spacious property next to a large vineyard. There were also some old vines on our place and some years those of us living there (and friends) came together in an effort to pick all the grapes and press them into juice. Not every year, mind you, could we muster the will. It was a big commitment of time and energy, but the reward of fresh juice was the payoff. Made for great sensory memories. We also did apples some years I recall.

Which brings me to the topic of Chamisa. It’s a plant very much like the wild sage that is indigenous here and they tend to grow in the same places. But sage never has a showy blooming period like Chamisa. She waits for late summer/early fall and throws up a yellow that is a joy to see. This clump was photographed along Maestas Road, the one I live on, but it could have been taken about anywhere along a road these days.

And where there’s Chamisa you’ll likely see these small purple daisy-like wild flowers. They’re called “purple asters.” If you wanted an area of wildflowers near your house this would be a good time to add the seeds to your mix. These were blooming near my driveway. Also you could consider getting a garden version of the same plant at the nursery in the spring. I had a neighbor in Ketchum, Idaho, who had large plants that also bloomed in the fall with purple flowers that looked similar. Just when other flowers are starting to fade they make a great fall show of color.

An heirloom tomato from Living Light Farm

 

 

Posted in Kate's Home Base | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment