20091030

Craft Story on Industrial Couch


Craft Story on Industrial Couch
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar

Wendy wrote a story for Craft about a industrial couch project for our front porch.

Making Tamales


Making Tamales
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar

Wendy decided to take on the five hour process of making tamales after dark one evening. We were up to nearly midnight and exhausted after making 40 pumpkin/squash/tomato tamales with virtually everything besides the masa are from our garden.

20091027

Tub Power


Tub Power
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar

Here is our new breaker box for the tub area. It has breakers for a few outlets, light, and the pump so we can ditch the extension cords we have been using.

First Frost


First Frost
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar

We picked up our first frost of the season this morning. The air temperature did not get below freezing, but there was ice on the grass and car windshield. Looks like we have a bit of wind followed by rain and maybe even snow later this week. We have not pulled our remaining food yet, but Wendy has actively been harvesting tomatoes, okra and watermelons.

20091026

Tub Privacy Fence Done


Tub Privacy Fence Done
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar

Wendy's fence made from scrap metal is complete. Not bad for just a few hours yesterday and today.

Privacy Fence Complete #2 Privacy Fence Completed #3

Farmer bird nest collection

We visited a nearby farm yesterday and I was curious to find there this little birds nest collection.

Truth

Bumped into an artist from holland putting this installation up today. A Metal structure that reads truth and contains one side adorned in broken mirrors and a slot for pedestrian comments on the theme.

20091025

Another Fence


Another Fence
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar

In order to add a bit more comfort to our soaking area Wendy decided that we needed one more fence. This is a small section of random metal about 8' across. Today we managed to sink the posts in concrete.

Seed Swap


Seed Swap
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar

Why are will still messing with seeds as freezing temperatures descend upon us? Why for our winter seed swap this weekend. Wendy is using used bottles to set aside the seeds which we are abundant in.

20091024

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds (New Mexico Style)


Roasted Pumpkin Seeds (New Mexico Style)
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar

After Wendy made her delicious pumpkin muffins we had a lot seed left over. She washed off the seed and handed them off to me to dry and roast. I used the sun oven for both tasks. I let the seeds dry at 150F for three hours with the lid cracked. Then I seasoned the seeds with olive oil, salt, lime juice, and chipotle. The seeds were tossed in the oven for a hour at 250F and came out delicious. It will come as no surprise that these seeds are high in protein. They are also extremely high in tryptophan (sleep aid) and have been proven to lower blood pressure.

Juicing Apples


Juicing Apples
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar

I juiced our bucket of recently harvested apples. I believe the red ones are crimson apples and they certainly are delicious. It took me about two hours to juice, filter, and cleanup all the apples. In the end we scored about three pints of apple juice. I have to say that this juice tastes so much like apple cider that I would be surprised if anyone could tell the difference.

Juicing Apples #2 Juicing Apples #3

One Fixed Tire


One Fixed Tire
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar

I was able to quickly repair our flat tire on the golf cart once Wendy came home with a replacement tire. Unfortunately, the new tire is 1/2" taller so it means we need to replace both the back wheels.

IO stuntman

Our kitty IO has a special knack for looking like he just landed from a fall from the top of a skyscraper.

Punkin' Season

I was so happy to see the first pumpkins in the garden. When I looked up recipes for pumpkin muffins I was surprised to find that almost all of them begin with "a can of pumpkin puree," as opposed to "pumpkin." I harvested three pumpkins, made a bunch of puree that I froze for the winter and then made some muffins. It was all quite easy, well except for cutting the pumpkin into 8 pieces, they're tough!

20091023

Finished Chair Looks Great


Finished Chair Looks Great
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar

Mermaid Outdoor Tub Hooks


Mermaid Outdoor Tub Hooks
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar

A little corny, but they sort of fit the soaking vibe we are looking for.

I Dig Holes


I Dig Holes
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar

We have been trying to get Sesame to dig holes in the yard for us. She helps occasionally, but we have not reached a point where we can just say "dig" and a hole appears. It would be great for tree planting and trenching.

Sesame Seeds


Sesame Seeds
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar

Here is the last of our 2009 sesame seeds. Wendy has learned how to quickly slice them open and pull the seeds. Perhaps we grew enough this year for one batch of hummus.

Apple Picking


Apple Picking
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar

I've been bugging my neighbor Brett for some apple cider. After driving out to his place I learned that he has a lot of apples, but not an apple press. We went ahead and harvested 20lbs or so anyway. I will just juice them at home or take them to a the press fest on Sunday in the nearby town of Las Palomas. Does anyone know the difference between juicing a apple and pressing it?

More Garden Space


More Garden Space
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar

Wendy ripped up the pumpkins and ground cherries today. It freed up almost 2 raised beds and will create plenty of compost.

20091022

Menla Garden Sanctuary

Our friend Brett has a lovely farm out in nearby Monticello. We dropped in and picked some apples to juice into cider and got to see some of his harvest. Sesame had a blast with the pack, Brett's doggie Cucu, Taki and Uso, and Miss Muffet. At least I think that was their names. Here are a few shots including one of the apple tree's bark. The scratches in it are from the 500lb bear who's been eating them each night!

20091020

Local Plant Harvest

I've been really into learning about the local plants and their medicinal, nutritional and aesthetic value. I was happy to have the naiveté to pick these local plants to take home and study. I say naivete because I did not know at the time that one should not pick plants from the wild. Apparently there's even a fine for doing so! I didnt know. When picking I used my intuition and I only took saplings and plants that were abundant in the area. Anyway, here's my harvest. Feel free to speculate as to what they are! I planted them all so that I can watch them grow through the cycles of the year, provided I can keep em alive. I will certainly try.

Fuschia Wow

We've finally reached the point in this project that we're doing decorative work, not just fundamental stuff. It feels good to finally consider a color palate for example. I chose colors that I observe in the natural environment here in the southwest desert. When we first moved out here from NYC I thought the desert was monochromatic. Now of course I see that the palate here is infinite and stunning. I chose a dark purple and hot prink, both which I see often in desert flowers along with an almond and grassy green.

The mid century modern chair I found in the trash the other day is coming along really well. I painted the cage of it fuschia and today I reupholstered the seat, back and arms with sand colored shade cloth. Tomorrow I'll post finished chair.

Auger: the very best way to dig

I LOVE this auger. It's not mine but I borrow it a lot. For digging holes there is no better tool. It's basically a huge drill with a 5/8" bit, totally bad ass. It busts through the 10" layer of hard clay that our property has. Now you can rip your arm off with it so you have to be very aware while working it. Here I'm using it to plant three new trees by our new hot tub: a weeping willow, a eucalyptus and a dwarf cherry tree. I have several more to do but three takes all of my strength working at my max. A day of rest and perhaps I can think about drilling another few.

Failed Raviolis


Failed Raviolis
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar

This photo of our home made ravs is a bit flattering. I made the ravis with eggs, white flour, and some mesquite flour. Wendy stuffed them full of our kefir ricotta cheese. Unfortunately we didn't have enough egg to seal the ravs well and they popped while boiling. This caused them to take on water which sort of destroyed the meal.

Upholstery Progress


Upholstery Progress
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar

Wendy's garbage chair is starting to look amazing. She painted the chair the same color as the tub and spent the afternoon working on the shade cloth cushions which have some great lines.

Tub Painting


Tub Painting
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar

Wendy has picked a color palette which matches the desert colors around us. The tub got a coat of purple rustoleum paint this morning.

Outdoor Soaking


Outdoor Soaking
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar

We finally have our outdoor tub in place. There is still some work that needs to be done around the electric and plumbing, but it is pretty minor stuff. The placement of the tub allows us to enjoy the mountain view which we had not been doing before the tub went in.

TorC and Sesame


TorC and Sesame
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar

Sesame is really into the view of downtown Truth or Consequences from the water tower.

20091018

Ephedra


Ephedra
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar

I tried collecting some mormon tea again this morning to experience the effects of ephedra. The local stuff leaves me in a slightly stimulated state with a higher level of concentration. I find that taking caffeine in combination with the mormon tea greatly increases the potency. Apparently the North American mormon tea plants are missing some important alkaloids. Regardless making a simple tea does yield a minor stimulation and is supposed to be good for headaches, colds, asthma and other breathing related ailments. I simply mix the stems with some hot water and let it steep for 30 minutes. Adding a bit of tea to help with the flavor is a good idea. I used hibiscus today.

Ephedra #2 Ephedra #3

Mullein Harvesting


Mullein Harvesting
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar

Wendy and I went out on a brief hike this morning. I found a patch of mullein and harvested plenty of it to smoke. We clip the small baby leaves in the center of first year plants (no stalk) and add a bit of chamomile. It makes for a pleasant smoke that smells almost as good as sage. Most of the mullein is to remain in paper bags for a week to dry out. I am also experimenting with drying the leaves in the dehydrator as we have an abundance of power this time of year.

Homeopathy on flu

A recent TorC transplant and friend Claire gave a very interesting
talk on the flu, vaccinations and the view and the role of homeopathy
as an alternative.