20091231

Sweet Little Snow Storm


Sweet Little Snow Storm
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar

We woke up to a inch of snow this week. It was all gone by mid afternoon, but certainly a pleasant surprise.

Sweet Little Snow Storm #2 Sweet Little Snow Storm #3 Sweet Little Snow Storm #4 Sweet Little Snow Storm #5 Sweet Little Snow Storm #6 Sweet Little Snow Storm #7 Sweet Little Snow Storm #8 Sweet Little Snow Storm #9 Sweet Little Snow Storm #10 Sweet Little Snow Storm #11

Burning in the New Year


Burning in the New Year
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar

Wendy chopped up a hundred little blocks of wood for this years new
years party. We did this last year and stole the idea from burningman.
You write on the block something from 2009 (or earlier) that you wish
to rid yourself of. The blocks are then tossed into a burn barrel we
made last year with our homesteader friends.

Wine Racking


Wine Racking
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar

We racked our wine a few weeks ago. Early in January we will rack it again and then about a month from that point the wine gets bottled up.

Wine Racking #2 Wine Racking #3

20091227

New Years Party Coming Up Fast

I'm officially busy busy busy getting ready for the new years celebration that I'm producing for our local restaurant BellaLuca. We've opened up the field a bit so that no matter the budget, all could participate and enjoy. Now there's an option for a beautiful pix fix, or the regular menu, plus the option to just come and party and dance. Well. . much to do so gotta run. If your in our neck of the woods and dont yet have plans, join us! !

BellaLuca Presents . . . New Years Eve 2010
ILLUMINATION
http://gaiatreehouse.com/posternye.jpg

Light has gathered itself in order to centralize in one spot and take us on an exploration. Come out to meet it for an evening of surprises that include mindful culinary experience, celebration decor, play, dancing, live performances, and thoughtful reflection. The nights theme, "illumination" offers gifts, thematic live performances and the discovery of light found in the stars & sun and electricity & photosynthesis. The evening also promises to light the flame of wisdom and compassion in our hearts, fuel for this coming new year.

Many ways to join us in bringing in this new year!

The night features. . . (beginning at 7:30)
* captivating live performances including shadow box theater by La Flamiliaand and Bollywood style dance by Nalini
(8pm through 11pm)
* party decor & surprises
* outdoor fire
* midnight celebration
* dancing into the wee hours

Dinner Options. . . 1) Prix Fixe 5 Course Special Menu 7:30PM
Reservations recommended
$75 per person
A 5 course creative cuisine dinner by Chef Byron featuring Butter bib lettuce wedge with pomegranate vinaigrette; Cioppino spiced with fennel, seafood and shellfish; Gnocchi with wild boar in a cabernet demi-glaze; trio of creme brulee; & champagne toast.

2) Come at any time for BellaLuca's regular menu and enjoy the entertainment & party (reservations recommended)

3) Join us at 11PM for an after dinner party with DJ, dancing & midnight toast $10.00, cash bar

Pass it on to those you'd like to bring in the New Year with. BellaLucais located at: 303 Jones St, Truth Or Cnsqncs, NM‎ (575) 894-9866‎

20091225

Use a Bike Pump to Inflate Car Tires


Use a Bike Pump to Inflate Car Tires
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar

I recently read that the car tires should be checked for pressure and topped off every month for maximum fuel efficiency. Normally I use the air compressor to fill the car tires, but it takes a lot of time to drag out the compressor, extension cord, pressure gauge and tire adapter. Today I just hooked up the bike pump which has a convenient built in pressure gauge and find it to be much faster than dealing with all the compressor nonsense. It only took a few pumps to top of the tires @ 40 PSI.

Our Cat Caught a Bird


Our Cat Caught a Bird
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar

We normally make fun of our cat for being such a indoor city kitty. Today he made his first kill. He found a injured bird and took the head off. Despite being obese and a little retarded our cat has made his first avion kill.

New Mexico Xmas

The only holiday Mikey and I celebrate during this time of year is the solstice. However yesterday we were invited to the home of good friends for a very sweet family Xmas party. We thoroughly enjoyed it and noticed some of the ways that Christmas in New Mexico differs from New York. In New Mexico the century plants large stalk has replaced the Christmas pine tree. And pisoli has replace the ham dinner. Pisoli is made with hominy and traditionally with pork too. Hominy, as I understand it, is a tough corn product that people were able to grow off season in winter here in our area. It's very yummy and the century plant adds a whimsical bit of Dr. Seuss to the mix.

20091224

$2 Liquid Fuel Stove


$2 Liquid Fuel Stove
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar

I picked up this camping stove from a local thrift store today. I was curious if I could burn biodiesel in it. Sure enough the bio burns pretty well. I cheated a little by putting a few drops of methanol on the surface to warm up the bio. I suppose this could also be a emergency space heater, humidity system and water purification via boiling/steam.

Learn to Play the Cajon (box drum) via YouTube


Learn to Play the Cajon (box drum) via YouTube
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar

Wendy's new drum arrived yesterday. She has some natural drumming skills and is trying to take them further. Youtube has hundreds of instructional drumming videos.

Alfalfa Sprouts


Alfalfa Sprouts
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar

My best round of sprouts so far. The new lids for mason jars seem to make all the difference.

Finished Lamp Refurb

Here's the finished lamp. I used manilla package paper for the shade with a stripe of heavy wrapping paper where the seam met. I reused the shades existing metal rings which are on top and bottom to hold the shape. I also cleaned and then spray painted the metal base with a rusolium silver paint. It looks remarkably like it is silver metal, which it's not, it's actually a cheap goldish color that was faded out. This was a 15 min project, not bad!

20091223

Wendy's New Desk Lamp


Wendy's New Desk Lamp
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar

Wendy picked up a lamp at a yard sale for a $1 last weekend. It was pretty beat down. She decided to paint the base and make a new paper cover.

Wendy's New Desk Lamp #2

Compost Rotation


Compost Rotation
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar

We filled one of our compost tumblers with kitchen scraps which means it is time to switch over to our other tumbler and let the original break down. I also noticed that the worm bins had been depleted to a scary degree. While showing some visitors our massive collection of worms I realized there were very few. The worms got a compost refresh as well. We will probably have to do the same rotation again in three months.

Compost Rotation #2 Compost Rotation #3

Some Rain, Not Much Snow


Some Rain, Not Much Snow
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar

We had sprinkles of rain and snow last night and into this morning. The real storm was south of us by about 20 miles. Still nice to wake up to a wet sort of warm morning. Now temperatures will drop into the low 20's and later this week even deep into the teens at night.

20091222

Surreal Jasmine Rice Bag


Surreal Jasmine Rice Bag
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar

Our bulk order came in yesterday. I am still recovering from just how cool the image on our bag of organic jasmine rice is. Our friends Libby and Tristan have blogged about the art on their local whole wheat before. They even hung the emptied bag on their fridge. Maybe
there is a scene around bulk food art that I am just now becoming
aware of.

Doggie Play Day


Doggie Play Day
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar

On Tuesdays Kaya usually comes over to practice socializing with our dog Sesame. Today we invited two immediate neighbors dogs to join in. Now we have Niko and Deena kicking it pack style. Wendy believes she has become some sort of dog whisperer.

Doggie Play Day #2 Doggie Play Day #3 Doggie Play Day #4

Asher's Ride


Asher's Ride
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar

Our friend Asher lives 70 miles from us in the town of Mimbres. The shortest path between our two homesteads is a giant mountain pass. He did his first ride and second ride this week between our homes. He wrote me after returning to his home that the temperature was so cold at the top of the mountain pass that he had to wear a garbage bag to stay warm. This ride gives me some comfort that during a fuel shortage we could still see each other.

20091221

Festivus for the Rest of Us

When CRAFTasked its writing staff for holiday articles I got to scratching my head over what to submit. I considered the root of the word religion, in latin it is reconnect. Then I considered the root of the word Nirvana = no difference. Then I realized that this was all I had to say about the matter so I took a left turn and wrote about Festivus: A Holiday for the Rest of Us. If your not familiar with Festivus, here's your very own first timers guide. Have fun and enjoy the meatloaf. LINK

20091220

Nice Tin Junk Art

I bumped into this sweet collection of tin junk art today. The pieces are mostly made of olive oil and mustard containers. Sweet!

World's on Sale

It's been a long time since I was the bassist in the band Moxie. I guess I cant help myself because I gathered up a few friends to play music with and now I'm in another all girl band called World's on Sale. I dont know if we will perform. We might. Mostly though we love spending time together playing, laughing, being creative and making noise. We're having genuine fun and enjoying the strange ranges of sounds we're getting from making instruments out of whatever is laying around. This reminds me, there's a great video on Youtube of a band that made a fantastic video and music by playing the crap that adorns the world as instruments.

Wine Progress


Wine Progress
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar

After 24 hours our wine started showing signs of pressure build up in the air lock. The water had shifted to one side of the lock. By morning (36 hours) we had a raging bubble rate of nearly 1 bubble a second. I added a 50W electric warmer to the bucket and let it run for about three hours before we went to sleep. I wanted to make sure our temperature stayed between 65-75F in the bucket.

20091219

Car Break-In


Car Break-In
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar

Just as we were starting our Saturday morning yard sale routine we noticed a problem. All three of our cars had the contents of their glove compartments emptied. It seems that someone (perhaps kids or junkie) was in need of a vehicle or cash and went through our vehicles. We ended up calling the police just to make a report. This is the first time in almost 4 years that anyone has tried to take something from our unlocked vehicles. We did not notice anything missing.

Our First Wine Kit


Our First Wine Kit
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar

Wendy picked up a Pinot Noir wine kit which can make 6 gallons of wine (30 bottles). We sat on this kit for months and finally got enough supplies together to make some wine. Our local fermentation expert Zingaro dropped in to help us get started. Everything went smoothly as far as adding the water, bentonite and pitching the yeast (step 1). Next week will rack the wine into a 5 gallon carboy and in about a month bottle it. Time to start saving wine bottles. The best part of all this is we could end up drinking a decent Pinot Noire as early as March 2010 for only $3 a bottle

Our First Wine Kit #2 Our First Wine Kit #3

Well Intended Shade


Well Intended Shade
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar

I spent almost two hours tearing down a section of framing stud shade that Wendy put up for me last year. The problem is during the winter this shade prevents my office from warming up during the day. You can see the difference of the amount of light my container receives between these two photos.

Well Intended Shade #2

20091216

A Better Bread


A Better Bread
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar

I started making bread about five years ago. I rarely change much about my recipe. As winter brings our temperatures down it becomes a little more challenging to get a good rise. As of late I have been pre-heating the water I use in the bread mix to 110F before mixing it with the dry ingredients. I find this temperature is key to getting a fast rise from the bread. I also start my bread in the morning and let it rise during the day (warmer temperatures). I do the opposite in the summer letting the bread rise overnight before sticking it in the sun oven.

Theodore Gray


Theodore Gray
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar

Looking for some interesting coffee table books? Wendy and I were both impressed with the two books that Theodore Gray released this year. His Mad Science is full of stimulating ideas and beautiful images. While his more recent book The Elements does a excellent job of explaining practical uses for each item in the periodic table. If you have a budding scientist in the family I highly recommend picking both these books up (the pair will run ~$36).