Cherries, Peas and Hollyhocks

Cherries, a special offering of the spring season (until the Summer Solstice June 20) appeared at the farm market last week, along with more fine local peas. Radishes are also abundant, along with the first of summer’s beets. I noticed this morning on the online “Weather Channel” that our Taos temperatures will start creeping up into the low 90s for the first time this season. I guess that’s right on time for the start of the summer season. Peas don’t like the heat so they will scurry to finish up their  seed-making task and step off stage left. I’m just starting to harvest my peas. I’ll make sure to keep up the watering.

More cherries here from Mary Campbell’s farm in Dixon. To her left is Harvey, who is a farming neighbor. He was claiming to be old so I asked the year he was born and he said a number that was before 1930. Old enough to qualify in my book. I mention it because Harvey is still in the game. He and Mary seemed to be sharing a table. And the handsome fella to the right is from Oklahoma, working and living this summer on Mary’s farm to learn the trade. There is an official name for this exchange which I missed, but it’s good to see young people’s interest in farming.

Speaking of beets! These look young and fresh and I’m sure packed with nutrition. My favorite way to cook beets is to drizzle an oil and Balsamic vinegar mix over them and bake them in the oven in an aluminum wrapping. Brings out the sweetness.

My peas, the photo taken a week or so ago. I wanted to show illustrate how beautiful the flowers are, as well as the tendrils clinging to the sticks that make up the tipi they like to climb.

Also thought I’d mention how my pea growing experience each spring brings back memories of the ten years I spent as a nanny to my granddaughter (now 12). She loved my peas from the time she was old enough to pop them into her mouth. It feels good to know I leave behind that legacy of her knowing where food came from before supermarkets. She also loved the seeding time in the garden when I first turned over the soil with a trowel, revealing a world of earthworms. Loved those worms!

This shot was taken in the orchard on the property. Looks like there will be some apricots this summer. All this grass you see has been mowed the past couple of days, along with the alfalfa field. Some of this grass will get bailed and reserved for Barney, the horse who lives here.

And these are the wild plums that never had a chance to evolve last summer due to a late freezing night when they were flowering. What a beautiful sight. They grow on plants that are more bushes than trees and they are small in size when ripe, but delicious. They remind me of picking wild blackberries in California back in the day. Wild fruit=gifts of nature.

This is farmer John, half of the married couple who own the property where I live. He’s using this small tractor to pull out old fenceposts near my house. He is proposing to build a new latia (coyote) fence along the side of my back garden that runs along the road to their house. Now that would be nice.

Here come the hollyhocks. They make the OptiMysm metaphysical store look very inviting.

Happy Summer Solstice!

Tis The Season–2

It was around 4:30 when I walked by the Taos Plaza and took this shot. I had just stopped to talk to a man who was putting candles inside the stand-up paper bags (with sand in the bottom) that would become “farolitos” as soon as it was dark. He told me he belonged to a local group of vets and that each year on the night of the “Lighting of Ledoux Street” a different Taos group took charge of this annual task.

This is what they look like before they are lit. A block away from the Plaza is Ledoux Street and it was getting ready for it’s annual festive lighting, meaning there would be farolitos lining the street on either side. The only traffic would be people strolling along stopping here and there to warm themselves at a wood fire (luminarias) or exploring inside one of the many galleries along the street. The Harwood Museum of Art, at the lower end of the street, always welcomes townspeople to stop in this night and look around (something that usually costs money). I enjoyed the magic of the evening myself and ended up with friends at the Adobe Bar.

I believe this photo was taken the day before from the parking lot behind Moby Dickens bookstore. I’ve noticed how much I’m lately enjoying the shapes of bare tree branches backed by shocking blue skies or, as here, the mix of clouds and sky. The sleek black ravens add to the mix–a favorite Toas winter image.

I doubt this image would be as charming without the dusting of snow. Love the yellow part that looks like a hat. Somehow it all comes together looking like a friendly alien that escaped from a candy-land planet.

This photo, also taken in downtown Taos, (a railing in front of Geraint Smith’s new photography gallery) should have been included in my somewhat recent Wabi-Sabi blog. Yes, there was water from melting snow standing in puddles that made for brushstrokes of contrasting lightness. The peeling “Taos Blue” paint is so much more interesting than a fresh, even coat would be.

Driving back from Santa Fe with a friend a week ago we stopped at the Chimayo church. These farolitos will light up at the turn of a switch and are designed to look like paper bags but are really plastic. They are practical when placed along roofs, which is often the case around town for public buildings or businesses that want to contribute to the nighttime ambiance of the season.

Yes, I’ve been making regular visits to the Taos Folk show at the Stables Gallery, checking on my inventory. The show is having great success. My friend, Sybille Palmer, is making these amazingly cute owl tree ornaments out of felted wool. I’ve heard they are a popular sale item.

I’ve also heard that the Taos Ski Mountain has good snow now. That can make a town like Taos pretty happy. It’s six days until the Winter Solstice on the 21st. I’ll be celebrating it with a newly formed Shamanic Drumming Group who gathers once a month at the new metaphysical store, OptiMysm. It’s been a few years since Taos has had a metaphysical store and for many this opens a fresh door to useful spiritual tools and locally made gifts, among other things.

Winter Solstice Card