Monday, August 08, 2016

What Can You Do With An Apricot?

                                 



We were blessed with an apricot harvest, the first one in like four years. At 7,000 feet, the frost often kills the blooms before they can set fruit. But this year God gave us a bounty.

The apricots ripen south to north. We are now harvesting the fruit on the last tree in the apricot grove. The trees are over a hundred years old, Mr, Linsbury who we bought the homestead from remembered climbing in them as a young boy, he passed away at 90, fifteen years ago....









So Jon picked all weekend long and I found ways to use them in the kitchen...


First we pitted the golden fruit and dipping them in orange juice, hung out two full air dehydrators on the porches. Dried apricots with orange juice is the yummiest snack through the winter.


Then more washing, pitting and this time puree-ing, I managed to put up 8 quarts of Apricot butter... 


No, fake pectin, I cooked the sauce down on the stove top, have the sugar burns on my arms to prove it. Though I have come to the conclusion it is impossible to get the butter up to the desired 105degrees C at 7,000 ft in the Colorado mountains. It just hovered around 95-100 for about ten minutes, putting a plate with a spooful of butter on it in the freezer to test when it is thick enough, works better.





 I'll not only use the apricot butter for toast and P,B, J's, but also there is are lot of recipes I started collecting on Pinterest using apricot glazes for chicken dishes and sauces.


Washing more, I made an apricot pie for dinner on Sunday to celebrate all my kiddos being home at the same time. 



We feasted on steak from our local market, Olathe sweet corn, grilled Palisade peaches, heirloom tomatoes and crusty bread from the farmer's market and even beer from our Dolores River Brewery. Don't know if the potatoes were from Southwest Colorado. 



This morning, with still a little bit of apircots waiting  in the in kithen, I got out the dish I make cobbler in and sliced apricots until I had enough for the recipes. A half a cup of orange juice poured over them, they were stuck in an old plastic bread bag and put in the freezer, to be used this winter.

Oh my goodness! I almost forgot the apricot/tomatoe salsa I made Saturday, that went in the freezer as well...

 Infact, I'm enjoying a bit of it as I write this post. It's always better a few days later.



Sunday, May 08, 2016

A Bike Race, A New Camera and Changing Skies...

The  2016 12 HOUR OF MESA VERDE mountain bike race happened this weekend under
 constantly changing skies...












Sunday, May 01, 2016

Ventura: A Bit of Propaganda at the Post Office


When we were in Ventura, California I dragged my family away from the beach and the usual touristy stuff...

to visit the Post Office, more accurately to gaze upon the 360 view of murals painted by Gordon Grant as part of the WPA's Art Program during the Great Depression.


A small part of the New Deal program, detailed here on Wikipedia that was envisioned by Franklin Roosevelt's administration to put to work many of the young men that had lost their jobs because of the crashing economy...


FDR put Harry Hopkins in charge of the WPA and Hopkins put Holgar Cahill in charge of the Arts programs. And it is a wonderful thing that Hopkins was of the opinion that "artist have to eat as well," so 15,000 to 20,000 pieces of artwork were created between 1935 and the middle of World War 2.

Gordon Kenneth Grant, came from an artist family, his father. Gordon Hope Grant, was an illustrator who worked with The Saturday Evening Post and the Boy Scouts of America. His son, painted the mural at the Ventura Post Office...


In the style of "America Scene" painting, bringing to mind the industrious farmer and worker in their orchards and fields the Ventura Post Office murals are  not that dissimilar to other patriotic works of the time to encourage a since of national pride and communal direction.


Like this painting of young steelworkers coming out of the USSR. View more Socialist Realism paintings here

But even though the panels at Ventura post office and other WPA murals have somewhat of a propaganda tilt to them, they have not become a national treasure. 




And in recent years, as the memory of that time in our national history fades away with the passing of the people who lived it, we are also losing the art as well, as new government buildings and public works are being built the painting, sculptures, and panels are being stuffed away in storage, claimed by unknown entities or thrown away. 

The effort to retain these pieces that belong to us all and protect them was recently highlighted on Antiques Road Show, click below to watch... 


Art. as I have said before, meaning nothing...
It is not necessary to live, can not sustain life or protect it.
But Art also means everything...
and does a very good job of declaring who we are and where came from.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Ventura: Mission San Beunaventura...

                                               

Now surrounded by downtown Ventura, Mission San Buenaventura, read its history here ...


that actually includes such things as relocating nuns, earthquake, tidal waves and pirates, was built starting in 1782 by Franciscan Priest and the labor of the Native Chumash tribe, including a elaborate ditch system to bring water to the mission, surrounding gardens and orchards.

Through the wonderful gift shop and "ticket booth"...


a little museum room does a great job of letting it sink in just how old a church built and used  just a few years after the Revolutionary War is, complete with wooden bells that "dinged" or "thunked" with a small bit of metal inside.


 Here, posters annoucing the celebration of the 250th anniversary of the arrival of the Francisan priest to the shores of California have now become relics themselves...


Even the rafters, an addition to the original church or possible an addition to an addition, are old, very old...




Outside, a courtyard is formed by the museum/gift shop, the chapel...


and the Rectory...


We were there the Saturday after Good Friday, and early enough to observe the clean up from the Holy Week's festivities...

and the preparation for the celebration of Easter Sunday, the red being traded out for white...



Inside the oldest part of the existing church... 



the chapel follows the style and decore' of other mission church down the coast of California and across the Spanish territories of Arizona and New Mexico...

 the chapel at the Carmel Mission...

the alter at Mission San Barbara 

and even the ornate sanctuary of  Mission San Xavier Del Bac, almost at the Mexican border in Arizona...


Which we visit a very long time ago, when the children were much younger and I took a little break from the crowds and sketched the exterior, complete with mismatched and unfinished towers...



Yes, I have a thing for churches, all sizes. Intrigued by the beautiful important missions as well as the more primitive village churches captured here, from the High Road to Taos...