Tree Planting

Tree Planting by mikeysklar
Tree Planting, a photo by mikeysklar on Flickr.

It is mid winter and our trees are dormant. We have plenty of baby mesquite and desert willows that volunteered around our property last summer that we can now transplant. Our plan is to block out as much north-east and west sun as we can so that we can enjoy being outside during more hours during a hot summer day. Yesterday we got five little trees planted and ran some irrigation. We have many more to move.

Tree Planting #3Tree Planting #2


Yard Sale Season

Yard Sale Season by mikeysklar
Yard Sale Season, a photo by mikeysklar on Flickr.

The warmer weather means yard sales are picking up. There were three listed this week which is a increase from previous ones.

Coyote Scat

Coyote Scat by mikeysklar
Coyote Scat, a photo by mikeysklar on Flickr.

Over the last two weeks we have noticed coyote droppings in our yard. This has never happened before and we are afraid that our cats or dog might get into trouble if we let them out at night. Our neighbor Larry loaned us a coyote trap and we have purchased some cheap cat food so tonight we are going to try and catch a coyote. I'm guessing we are going to catch a neighbors cat.

Bottling Day

Bottling Day by mikeysklar
Bottling Day, a photo by mikeysklar on Flickr.

We had some of our snow bird neighbors come over and help us bottle up our latest wine. This was a kit based Beaujolais. I didn't really taste it besides what ended up in my mouth during siphoning.

Favorite Coffee Roast

Favorite Coffee Roast by mikeysklar
Favorite Coffee Roast, a photo by mikeysklar on Flickr.

My favorite coffee roast so far is the Guatemalan bean we bought from Sweet Maria's. The other four we have tried have been okay, but did not stand out .

Excited for Strawberries

Excited for Strawberries by mikeysklar
Excited for Strawberries, a photo by mikeysklar on Flickr.

This winter has been relatively wet for us. Our lettuces are coming nicely, the creosote that grows all around us is bright green (last year it was brown), and our strawberries look fantastic. I see lot's of new growth on the strawberries and I'm guessing in the next two months they will be fruiting.

Swan Lake

Swan Lake by mikeysklar
Swan Lake, a photo by mikeysklar on Flickr.

Everyone is talking about the swan hanging out by the park. We've not seen one around before and it is alone. It's incredible to see a bird this big flying around.


VW Beetle Key Fob

VW Beetle Key Fob by mikeysklar
VW Beetle Key Fob, a photo by mikeysklar on Flickr.

Looks like our first key fob for our VW Beetle has died. I tried replacing the batteries only to discover the original cells still had plenty of juice and it was the fob itself that failed. I bought a new one off e-bay for $25 with a matching FCC ID.


Farmland? by mikeysklar
Farmland?, a photo by mikeysklar on Flickr.

This once empty lot has seen a significant amount of tractor tilling action this week. I'm not sure what they plan on growing.

Cashew Cream

Cashew Cream by mikeysklar
Cashew Cream, a photo by mikeysklar on Flickr.

Next week will be the last week that we receive raw milk that we use primarily for cheeses and a little bit of cooking. This means we switch back to nut milks and creams. Since we have a large amount of cashews on hand I went back to making cashew cream to eat with berries topped with a bit of shaved raw cacao. The recipe is simple.

Cashew Cream
- 1 c cashews
- soak overnight in fridge
- rinse nuts
- place in blender
- add 1 T honey
- add pinch of salt
- bring water level to half the height of the nuts
- run blender until smooth
- refrigerate cream

Chicken and Waffles

Chicken and Waffles by mikeysklar
Chicken and Waffles, a photo by mikeysklar on Flickr.

We have been searching for a source to buy whole chickens raised in a resonable environment (eg. not factory farmed). A friend turned us onto Keller's Farm store in Albuquerque which has proven to be a valuable resource. Keller's carries a variety of wild game, grass fed beef and even organic certified. This chicken was used from beginning to end. Sesame helps with the parts we don't want to eat and once shaved down the carcass become several meals worth of delicious chicken soup.

Note that waffle maker. Oddly enough I was testing out the cast iron stove top waffle maker the same time Wendy was roasting the bird. We did not actually eat chicken and waffles together, but it would have been fun.

Chicken and WafflesChicken and Waffles #2


Plastic Bag + Tape == Less Cleanup

I saw this on Make or Craft a while back. Using a cup or plastic bag to catch sheet rock dust when drilling holes. In this case I was mounting curtains and surprised at just how much sheet rock dust four anchor screws can create.

Dark Honey Filtration

Dark Honey Filtration by mikeysklar
Dark Honey Filtration, a photo by mikeysklar on Flickr.

This mysteriously dark honey was delivered to us by a friend earlier this week. We love honey, but don't care for the comb to be mixed in with it. I used our crock pot + temperature controller to extract about 60% of the honey at a temperature of 118F. I was able to extract the remaining honey using a water bath temperature of 140F.

Today's Bread : Dark Honey Rye

Easy enough to make and plenty good. Inspired by a neighbor who gave us a mason jar of the darkest honey I've ever seen. We ate this bread with more dark honey spread on it.

- 1 c rye flour
- 2 c white flour
- 1 c warm water
- 1 t salt
- 1 T dark honey
- 2 T olive oil
- 2 t yeast

- mix honey with 1 warm water
- add yeast
- let sit for 20 minutes
- mix all ingredients including yeast/honey/water
- let rise for 1 hour @ 88F
- punch down
- let rise in baking pan for 1 hour @ 88F
- bake in sun oven 350F for 1 hour

Irrigation Repair

Irrigation Repair by mikeysklar
Irrigation Repair, a photo by mikeysklar on Flickr.

Mental Note. When passing a dumpster with solenoid valves hanging out of it after a significant freeze do not be the dumbass that brings them home and plugs them in. I lost two hours when I plumbed in a solenoid valve that was severely cracked. The new valve is in and working fine.


10lbs of Carrots

10lbs of Carrots by mikeysklar
10lbs of Carrots, a photo by mikeysklar on Flickr.

These were delivered to our home from a nearby farm today. 10lbs of carrots for $20. That is probably equivalent to the amount of carrots we managed to grow through the entire year.

Cast Iron Waffle Maker

Cast Iron Waffle Maker by mikeysklar
Cast Iron Waffle Maker, a photo by mikeysklar on Flickr.

Another yard sale find. I've been told that the cast iron waffle makers that sit on top of the stove are the best. I'm not sure about this model, but it looks like it will do the job.

Walk Across Elephant Butte Dam

The Dam has been closed to pedestrian traffic since 9/11. It was opened up today for the first time in over 10 years today. There was a excellent turn out with hundreds of friends and familiar faces.


Meet Dudley

Meet Dudley by mikeysklar
Meet Dudley, a photo by mikeysklar on Flickr.

Our new wood stove that we traded some tech works and audio cables for. We still need to score some stove pipe and cut a hole in our home.

Tom Kha Gai

Tom Kha Gai by mikeysklar
Tom Kha Gai, a photo by mikeysklar on Flickr.

I'm still recovering from a cold. Wendy tried to help by making a delicious tom kha gai soup.


Bok Choy

Bok Choy by mikeysklar
Bok Choy, a photo by mikeysklar on Flickr.

Sometimes I forgot what is growing the garden. Wendy reminded me that we had bok choy by putting it into tongiht's dinner - tom kha gai soup.

Got a Cold? Try Kimchi

Got a Cold? Try Kimchi by mikeysklar
Got a Cold? Try Kimchi, a photo by mikeysklar on Flickr.

I partied to a ridiculous degree on New Years Eve. My throat still hurts plus I'm coughing and sneezing almost non-stop. When I feel like I've come down with a cold I like to drink all the kombucha and eat all the kimchi we have on hand. We had plenty of kombucha so I've been chugging that. However, we are out of kimchi so I kicked off a 24 hour batch.

Plant Medicine

Plant Medicine by mikeysklar
Plant Medicine, a photo by mikeysklar on Flickr.

Wendy put some time into restocking our medicinals. She used the aeropress for creosote oil, stinging nettles tincture and ephedra tincture. She also processed some dry ephedra plant.

A Triage of Biofuel

A Triage of Biofuel by mikeysklar
A Triage of Biofuel, a photo by mikeysklar on Flickr.

The far containers (darkest) are waste oil in the form that I collect it from the local restaurants. The orange colored middle containers have been gravity settled and twice filtered. The closest yellow colored containers have been chemically processed to become biodiesel with the glycerin removed.


Re:seed by mikeysklar
Re:seed, a photo by mikeysklar on Flickr.

I seeded the garden with our winter favorites arugula, cilantro and kale. I did the same thing about six weeks ago, but we were immediately bombarded with ridiculously cold temperatures that stalled the growth of these greens. Now I've increased my efforts putting a many seeds in all of our raised beds and cold frames.

Re:seed #2

Candle Selection at the Grocery Store

I sense a theme.

Romano Class

Romano Class by mikeysklar
Romano Class, a photo by mikeysklar on Flickr.

I spent a little time showing our neighbors how we make a romano cheese. This particular hard cheese has turned out to be our favorite. It's fun to use our own thermophilic culture that we have kept alive for over two years. I also enjoy seeing how long we can wait before we jump in and eat the cheese. Our record so far is six months. The goal is two years.


Annual HuDost Show in T or C

When you move from a culturally rich busy town like New York City to a slower moving culturally sparse town like T or C you have to bring what you love so you no longer miss it. Once a year I bring Hu Dost, Neo-Folk World Rock Country & Eastern' band from New York. If your in town, don't miss it.

The blurb. . .
HuDost is living proof that the whole really is greater than the sum of its parts, pulling together musical styles as diverse as the jellies in Marco Polo’s kitchen cupboard, they weave a seamless tapestry that renders tears and laughter in listeners and cultivates that nameless longing that abides somewhere in all our hearts.

The details. . .
HuDost return to Truth or Consequences on
Sunday, January 08 at the Main Street Gallery 108 Main St.

By Donation

Occupying The What's Happening Board in Town

While posting flyers for the Sunday HuDost show here in T or C I bumped into this interesting hand made poster. No signature took credit for it. A sign of the times. Once at home I got a link inviting me to Occupy the federal courts later this month. Hum.

Sufi Silent Retreat

Perhaps at times it shows on the Holy Scrap blog that I view reality through the Sufi tradition's lens of unity. Each year and around the New Year I guide a Sufi journey of some sort in my community. This year it will be a three day retreat in silence. Should any readers be in the area, I have three spaces left.

When the lips are closed, 
then the heart begins to speak; 
when the heart is silent, 
then the soul blazes up, 
bursting into flame, 
and this illuminates the whole of life

The Sufi style of retreat is a process of turning away from the acculturated life and towards the ground of being, a vantage point from which we meet the part of ourselves that knows. In the Sufi view all knowledge can be obtained from within. Our acculturated life is not in the rhythm of the soul. The Sufi's say that the heart is the depth of the mind and deeper still is the soul. To experience these aspects of ourselves we must make a shift from our ordinary interest, view, pace, and priorities. The reward is understanding and peace. 

Three Day Alchemical Sufi Retreat
Jan 6th, 7th, 8th (fri, sat, sun)

Mornings 8:30am to 10am
Evenings 7pm to 8pm
Write to me if you are interested. 

A Super Time for Leeks

While much of the garden is sleepy, beige, dried out and lilted or frozen in place dormant, the leeks are still happily springing from the ground nearby carrot and parsnip tops that indicate treasures below. Tonight, risotto made with leeks, mushroom, home made romano cheese onion and organic chicken sausage. Oh la la.