Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Cooking Up A Bounty...


About a year ago I realized I was, though happily working away in the studio, spending a little bit too much time with these guys...

and not enough time with real people... not internet people but real flesh and blood people, so the solution?
I decided to volunteer at one of our local soup kitchens. It would be great, one day a week, I'd go in, help cook up a meal and be back to the studio for a half a day of work. Well....


A year later, I am now the official food coordinator and one of the head cooks. What does that mean?
I now have to be very careful how much time I do spend away from the dogs and the studio. About once a month, I commandeer someone, my kiddos... 

                  

or husband to make a hour and half to Farmington New Mexico, where there is a Sam's club to do the shopping for the soup kitchen...




literally a more than one person job.

Like most soup kitchens, we are part of a larger charitable food bank network and get almost all of our meat and other goods donated by our local grocery stores...


And since we are right on the edge of the "bean capital of the world"...



we have beans, lots of beans. The below, called Anasazi...



found dried in ruins like these,...


but propagated and now grown and sold in local grocery stores.

We also get much our produce from regional growers, sometimes having to process pallets and pallets of onions, potatoes, sweet potatoes and sometimes things like exotic peppers...

                 

Being a small town, with limited services, but high poverty both in the white, Hispanic and Native American populations, it's great when we all work together, the soup kitchens, the food pantry and the shelters.

It's a treat when local growers share their bounties, and they did often this Fall...





The end result?

              

Well last week, a hearty beef stew with Colorado grown potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots plus corn and green beans with a heart gravy for 130 people. And as the warm bowls filled the bellies of those who needed a good meal on a snowy January, I felt the same satisfactions I get in the studio when I am pleased with completing a piece of art....hum? Maybe I'm not as far away from the studio on the days I'm away from the studio? 


Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Review: INTO THE WOODS and a Spot on Impersonation...

                            

We went "through the woods", over some mesas and down into Farmington New Mexico to do some shopping and see INTO THE WOODS, the 1987 Broadway musical turned into a musical movie by Rob Marshall, director and choreographer of many a Broadway musical and of such other films as...

CHICAGO (2002)

 MEMOIRS OF A GEISHA ( 2005)

And was the "pinch" director of the not such a good idea reboot, well actually re-reboot since the first movie was never meant to be the beginning of a trilogy, the Pirates franchise....

(2011)
But we will not hold that against him.

INTO THE WOODS, stars Meryl Streep  as the Witch, Emily Blunt as the Baker's Wife and James Corden, known more for TV and Broadway and London stage as the Baker...


Tracey Ullman is Jack's stressed out mother and Daniel Huttlestone is Jack...


who just had to open his mouth, for me to remember him in his last endeavor...

LES MISERABLES (2012)


Broadway darling Likka Crawford stars as Little Red Riding Hood...


So how did I like INTO THE WOODS? It was very Broadway-ish. I liked the score by James Lapine and Stephen Sondheim, wonderful songs, especially Meryl Streeps rendition of "Stay With Me". That song could make any mother cry and ponder locking their sweet precious children in a tower to protect them from the world. I was right there with her for a while there.

But what I like best about INTO THE WOODS, well, is Chris Pine's...


spot on impersonation of Captain Kirk...


 Captain Kirk, who is played by William Shatner, but Captain Kirk playing the role of Prince Charming...

still giggling...



Monday, January 05, 2015

Apres-Holiday...



Sunday, knowing it was the "last hoorah" for Christmas Break, we took our eleven month old puppy, Piper, up and over the mountain to Telluride for a late lunch and stroll. How many skiers and dogs can you pack onto a gondola? That would be eight, the lady on the end, busy on her cellphone didn't even know Piper was there until we got ready to unload.  I chatted with the mom and daughter across from me the whole way, sharing stories about our dogs and the daughter even bringing her phone out to show me pictures of her beloved "Walt", a great name for her dog back in Houston Texas. Guess that is two ways to use cell phones when you are packed in like sardines with strangers.
Down the ski slope, we strolled around the old mining town of Telluride, now turned posh with many a photo op, like a Christmas tree made out of skis...

Telluride is the epitome of a ski town...



Whatever the season, Telluride is always a dog town...




It is actually against the law to leave your dog in your car in Telluride and there are so many dog fanatics, someone would probably break your window to free the dog before you even got a ticket from the city. 
We often head to Telluride after camping in the mountains nearby and still talk about the time we got yelled at for tying our dogs to the bumper of the truck, while, I emphasize, While....we were stuffing all the camp gear in the cab. A lady yelled at us from another level of the parking structure to tell us it was against the law to do that. Through clenched teeth, we polite told her....well, we clarified what we were doing...
The other thing Telluride is all year long is a bike town, snow and ice on the roads or not... 


The above an example of the well, old way of getting around, think that metal tube is for skis and the new way of fat tire bikes...


Something that has caught my husbands attention, where down on this side of the mountain, three fourths of the year he has his bike out to grab lunch at the market and do the mail and deposit run, But how many bikes do we really need?...

Oh... but those are all skinny tired, you see! 

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

No Plastic...


After a week of recuperating from a fast paced Thanksgiving week, highlighted here, we got down to decorating our place and for the wreath, I needed something round and one thing we have a lot of in the sheds are bike tires.
Can't take the credit for the idea, its Daughter #2's  via pinterest.com, but really from...


I didn't have to go to town or to the dreaded Suckyoursoul-Mart to get anything. Literally took the front wheel off my allotted, hand me down mountain bike, rinsed the cobwebs and few spiders off of it, its not used much since I am the non mountain biker in a mountain biker family, I just take the photos...


The boughs? Just went out to our forest, though sadly, I was a little more careful this year on which trees I snipped from, since we lost so many of our trees in the fire two autumns ago...

                  


and my husband is a little protective of the remaining trees. But I took my shears and when he wasn't around to be emphatic, very selectively snipped the ends of various pinons branches and made a bicycle tire wreath. Unlike the REI version, I did use a whole bike tire, black rubber included. My husband should be happy about that, cause it would not be me, putting the tube back on the rim, thank you very much and I didn't take a tire off one of the more used and much more expense bikes. Can you imagine, discovering your wife absconded the front wheel off your Salsa bike, to use as a craft project?
So recycled bike tire, mine not his, boughs from our own trees and well wire that was probably about two decades old, from when just moving here, to the Four Corners, I thought I would make fresh wreaths to sell at the Christmas Bazaars,  something others in my family have done rather successfully at Christmas markets on the East side of the Continental Divide.
So made a few dozen wreaths, only to find that there was not a great market for fresh wreaths around here, being informed of this at my craft booth by countless ladies who were quite happy with their plastic wreaths and garland that they just took down from the closet shelf for the season...


In fact a lot of elderly ranch ladies went out of their way to come over to my table and tell me that! 
So check that idea off the list and so for years I had a whole lot of green wire and metal hoops, buying in bulk when the idea first hit.
Plastic foliage is very prevalent over here adorning people's doors, flower pots and cemeteries. 
Not where I grew up in Northern Colorado, where there's fresh wreaths and garland at Christmas time and fresh flowers inside and outside, especially come Memorial Day at the cemeteries.



 something I talk about here, a very long time ago.

Why not here?
Well, it seems to be a regional thing. Plastic affords bright colors and no needed of water or tending, plus it is a whole lot cheaper than the extravagance of fresh at the holidays, or so the locals here seem to think, something that is really starting to fascinate me, regional-ness- why people in a certain region do what they do and a great book to read on the subject is...


The author, Colin Woodard, doesn't get into fresh or plastic flowers and foliage, but he does get into the migration patterns of the different ethnic groups that first settled the US and here, in the Four Corners, where yes Native Americans and Hispanic cultures have a strong hold, but where the most prevalent white Europeans is Scots Irish and well it has been my personal observation, after twenty years of living, teaching and working here, such a heritage leans towards well, not fresh but plastic and practical. 








Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Red and Green, Santa Fe Style...


After a fun Thanksgiving with family here in Colorado, where I got to use the squash from a friend's farm...


some of us, crossed the border to New Mexico and headed to Santa Fe...


Where the crowds for Black Friday were not bad at all....


and a couple hundred years of history surrounded us, like the old Santa Fe Library entrance...


On Saturday, to support #smallbusinesssaturday, we headed down to the newly renovated Railroad district and partook of local goods...


Of course chilies were everywhere, extra beautiful coming into this special season...


and never have I seen such a large tub of Chimayo chili, unique to Northern New Mexico, from the valley of Chimayo, where we had gone a few years back around New Years, read HERE  This gentleman and his buddy, called me over like they were selling something illegal. But once he lifted the lid, how could I not take a really good whiff of the sweetest red chilies ever. As I savored the smell, he told me how to heat it up in a skillet and make a sauce or add it to meat.I bought a half a kilo from him....


A few hours later I found the same thing, except this time, packaged up all nice for the out of town tourists in a kitchen store down at the plaza...


 and an eight of what I bought for twice as much.