Gluten Free Waffles and Pancakes

We have been getting good results using Bob's Redmill GF Biscuit and Pancake.

Bird of Paradise

Bird of Paradise by mikeysklar
Bird of Paradise, a photo by mikeysklar on Flickr.

Our first and only Bird of Paradise tree is blooming. Stunning.

Mr. Swampy Continues to Function

I'm still waiting for our swamp cooler to just fall off the side of our home onto the ground. However, until that happens this ancient swamp machine of at least 8 years continues to function. I replaced the pads for the first time this year and it's blowing some impressive cold air into our home. It's on for less than five hours a day as there is a thermostat hooked up to it. The power draw is about 1/5th that of a compressor based air conditioner. Works great until it gets humid.

Imperial Industrial Sewing Machine

We scored a sweet sewing machine from the Saturday yard sales. Wendy confirmed that it was semi-functional although we still have to do more testing to make sure everything we need it to do works. This is a 1930's Industrial sewing machine made by a company called Imperial in Japan. It's not super valuable, but for $7 it was well worth the money.


Battery Neglect

Battery Neglect by mikeysklar
Battery Neglect, a photo by mikeysklar on Flickr.

It's been a while since I filled the batteries that are part of our PV Solar system. We have 24 giant lead-acid L16's and they take about 8 gallons of water when they need to be topped off. Instead of using the old plastic watering can I decided to try a siphon system. This worked pretty well just using $3 in tubing combined with a little squeeze pump I found at a yard sale for $1. I'm transferring rain water from a 4.5 gallon plastic cubby.


Herb Drying Already! Early Spring

We had a mild early spring. The garden looks like it is mid summer. I am already drying herbs. Seen here: thyme, oregano and a new oregano like spice from the middle east called zaatar.

Trashion Show at Exploratorium Swap-O-Rama-Rama

The Exploratorium just held their first Mini Maker Faire and with it Swap-O-Rama-Rama. Here are a few pics from the Swap-O-Rama-Rama Trashion Show.


Dandelion Root

Two years ago I had to order Dandelion root from Mountain Rose, this year I've harvested my own. We've got more dandelion than I've ever seen growing everywhere so it was easy. I dried the root, chopped it and put it in a jar. Throughout the year I make tea out of it for a liver cleanse. It helped our dog Sesame get through a near death vaccine poisoning in the Fall. I hope to harvest milk thistle this year too, the two work best when paired.



While at a group lunch I learned about Gomashio, a Japanese seasoning with broad applications. I had it sprinkled on lightly cooked greens. Then I wanted to put it on everything! So I went home and made some for our kitchen. It's ingredients are sesame seeds (toasted in a cast iron skillet) mixed with salt at a ratio of about 10:1. I used black salt to give it a little color. It's delicious!


The Circus is Coming

The Circus is Coming by mikeysklar
The Circus is Coming, a photo by mikeysklar on Flickr.

We just enjoyed a great Squirm Burpee show in Socorro last night with our neighbors Kyle and Jeannie. This group is out of Denver and has a awesome Burningman / Gypsy aesthetic along with a great juggling act. They performance was complete with a juggling act of chainsaws, bowling ball and a egg.


Creosote: Leaf Curl Update

A couple of days ago we poured a creosote extraction over the soil of two beds that have leaf curl, a fungus that lives in the soil and produces a black leaf on trees. My hope was that creosote's ani-fungal properties would remedy it. I also figured all the plants in the soil would die from it, nothing likes to grow where creosote is. However, in spite of two 5 gallon buckets being poured into the soil everything there is alive and vibrant. It will take some time, I imagine a week or two to detect if the process was successful. This weekend we'll apply another batch, a second dose. Fingers crossed.


One of my favorite luxuries of gardening is making calendula oil. I use it straight for dry skin and also mix it into salve and make a tincture that's great for hangnails and small cuts. Calendula promotes healing of the skin, it's luscious and wonderful. This batch is almond oil and so I'll likely use it to mix into a salve.

Garage Sale Finds

I picked up this lovely handmade net/basket for .50 cents at a garage sale this morning. With expansion screws and a washer I hung it by the door and stuffed it with supermarket bags, if you have a dog these are called 'poop bags.' I wonder what it was originally made to be? Fishing basket? Anyone?

Fiskars : Ultimate Garden Scissors

Wendy recently picked up a pair of scissors that I find noteworthy. They are loaded with features including:

- wire cutter
- twine cutter
- bottle opener
- power notch for light rope
- pointed awl tip
- sharpener
- tape cutter
- take apart knife

First Strawberries

First Strawberries by mikeysklar
First Strawberries, a photo by mikeysklar on Flickr.

Yes, we are eating strawberries! Not many and some I pulled a little earlier as the insects had found out about the strawberries too.


Dinasaur Finding Update

As Holy Scrap blog readers know last night Mikey and I found and reported a dinosaur skeleton on the beach in an area where the water recently recessed. Since our reporting it to the state park ranger Santa Fe's state parks department was informed and they reported it to the bureau of reclamation. Photos of the find were sent to all and an archeologist for the state is due to come down and check it out. Meanwhile the sites been 'hidden," that's what an archeologist at the state parks department told me. Wanting to know what that means, and being the only one who knows where it is, we went back to look. They did hide it. It's been covered over in tarps followed by industrious amounts of sand. It's been reburied and I must agree that a passer by would not notice.

Mikey and I have both noticed our attachment to it. Having given up the find we both want to be sure that its excavation is properly handled. We want to know who and what it is. After all, a creature who died many millions of years ago remained alone and unnoticed until meeting us. There is an unusual connection. I admit, upon unearthing it I found myself rubbing the bone on my face, an odd form of connection that came quite intuitively.

The archeologist at the state level was quite nice and assured we can stay connected and receive future reports. I am wondering about finders rights to name it. Wouldn't that be neat? So Holy Scrap readers, what would you name a dinosaur? We're thinking scrapasurus.

Leaf Curl: Creosote Anti Fungal

Last year I pulled a three year old pear tree due to leaf curl. This year it's neighboring tree has it too. I read that copper sulphate is a remedy. Since leaf curl is a fungal disease that hides in the soil I am about to try my own remedy. Creosote is a local plant, an anti fungal. Just so happens its blooming right now so I harvested a bunch of it and soaked it in 5 gallon buckets of water. Tomorrow I will apply it to the soil. I also put some branches of the plant around the base of the trees. Fingers crossed. More as it comes.


We Found Something: A Real New Mexico Story

We Found Something by mikeysklar
We Found Something, a photo by mikeysklar on Flickr.
It appeared to be a dinosaur. While hanging out at our favorite part of the lake we noticed some odd formations. Upon closer inspection we found a skull, spine and maybe a really long tail. We decided to call it into the park service and let them check it out. In 1995 a T-Rex jaw had been found near this area. It is rumored that Elephant Butte Lake had once been a hunting ground for the T-Rex. The ranger who came to the call was calling it in to Santa Fe, to a department that handles these things. We'll check in with him tomorrow to find out what exactly it is. More soon. .  .

We Found Something #2

Adding the Second Super

Adding the Second Super by mikeysklar
Adding the Second Super, a photo by mikeysklar on Flickr.

We put on our bee suits and added a second super to the hive. We have had this on before, but took it off for the winter. They have never fully built out frames on this super. We feel that since the bee's are established and the weather has been mild that we will give them a chance to really shine this year.

Adding the Second Super

Learn to Make Olive Oil (Castile) Soap in 6 Minutes

We started to make soap and like so many DIY activities it is super easy and will save you money. Wendy explains how to make lovely round soap bars from olive oil, lye and water.

Learn to Make Olive Oil (Castile) Soap in 6 Minutes #2Learn to Make Olive Oil (Castile) Soap in 6 Minutes #3

Aunt Anne's Garden

Aunt Anne's Garden by mikeysklar
Aunt Anne's Garden, a photo by mikeysklar on Flickr.

My Aunt Anne lives in Austin, TX. She is my mothers fraternal twin sister. Anne sent us this beautiful video of her garden which was filmed by PBS after a major drought. The theme is habitat. Making a place for the birds, bugs and other animals to thrive.


Easy Gardening Year

With six years of unbelievable effort behind us the garden is finally easy to get going. Sure there's work to do, but nothing compared to building beds, running irrigation, digging holes for trees, making soil from scratch. With all that done I've had only weeding, seeding and putting new trellises here and there for future climbing plants. I added this one today for loofa and watermelon.


Now six years into the building of our homestead things are getting easier. Since the site of our home was landfill we faced a serious bioremediation project. But now microclimates are established and create environments to support a variety of life. This year I scattered rye to compete with the bermuda grass and also to add nitrogen to the soil. It's done wonders for the property. It's pretty and there are fields of it between soft patches where I cut off the seeding tops. It's created a soft and covered ground that's pretty and quite alive.

Sidewinder Trail

A new trail nicknamed side winder has appeared. It's about an hour's hike in then one must choose one of two further hikes. The trail is almost all uphill but it meanders and zig zags, thus the name, perfect for getting the heart rate up without over doing it. Every time we go we seem to have a social hour at the top. The return includes breathtaking views of T or C and Elephant Butte and a crystal cave. We were lucky to catch the colorful delicate flowers of spring.


Wood Box Spiff Up

I found this little wood box at a garage sale and paid fifty cents for it. Someone scribbled a bunch of inspired religious feelings on it. But I saw a recoverable wooden box. One minute with a sander and a coat of linseed oil and wala! 

Bob's Redmill GF Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix

Wendy and I have just completed one week without gluten or direct usage of refined sugar in our diet. Wendy treated us to a batch of chocolate chip cookies to celebrate this accomplishment. We used a off-the-shelf mix from Bob's Red Mill. This is a gluten-free product sweetened with beet juice. I'm digging the cookies. We also tried Bob's gf biscuit mix to make waffles which turned out to be the best waffles we had ever made. Now we are deciding on product to buy bulk gluten free all purpose baking flour. Does anyone have a favorite?

Roasted Sweet Pepper Dip

Roasted Sweet Pepper Dip by mikeysklar
Roasted Sweet Pepper Dip, a photo by mikeysklar on Flickr.

I'm still playing with different dips for our flax seed crackers. I liked using ricotta as it had a thick texture. This time I decided to try a sour cream / cream cheese blend to give it more of a dip taste. This one was a little light on thickness, but the taste was dead on.

Here is the recipe I used:

- 6 small sweet bell peppers roasted
- 2 large heads of roasted garlic, recipe follows
- 1 container of cream cheese
- 1 container of sour cream
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 lemon juiced


Favorite Juice

Favorite Juice by mikeysklar
Favorite Juice, a photo by mikeysklar on Flickr.

Still searching for a favorite juice. Today we did a mix orange, apple, kale and ginger that was decent.

Kitchen Sink Leak Repair

Kitchen Sink Leak Repair by mikeysklar
Kitchen Sink Leak Repair, a photo by mikeysklar on Flickr.

We had a slow intermittent link under our kitchen sink. It turned out that the little sprayer connection was not tightened down enough. Wendy quickly located and repaired it.

Uh Oh - Taxes

Uh Oh - Taxes by mikeysklar
Uh Oh - Taxes, a photo by mikeysklar on Flickr.

Wendy managed to get her 2011 taxes done in 24 hours. That's a record and a first for who doing it on her own (she used turbo tax deluxe under Parallels). Now it's my turn.

Yummy Chipotle Lime Flax Crackers

We are trying a diet change for a while. The primary goal is to eliminate as much gluten and refined sugar from our diets without starving. We have been doing this for almost a week and it's been smooth sailing. There are plenty of gluten free flours to choose from and when the weather is warm we enjoy having more raw foods in our diet. Today I made chipotle lime flax crackers in the dehydrator. Combined with a roasted sweet pepper ricotta dip they are delicious.

Here is the recipe for the flax crackers.

- 2 cups flax seed (soak in 4 cups water for 20 minutes)
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 1 t chipotle
- 2 t salt
- 2 limes pressed

Combine and mix in cuisinart.

Dry on solid sheets in dehydrator for 12 hours at 108F.

Flip and dry on perforated sheets for 4 hours at 108F or until crispy.

Yummy Chipotle Lime Flax Crackers #2

Mullein at the Homestead

We use mullein in the Gravity Free Tea and herbal smoke that we make and sell in the Holy Scrap Store.  In previous years each time I needed it I'd drive 45 miles into the Gila, then hike away from the roads and there was never a guarantee that catch it at the right stage of growth. After planting probably thousands of tiny mullein seeds I have about a dozen stunning mullein plants growing on our homestead. A walk outside provides for our needs.

The Giant Egg: Goose

A friend gave us this awesome giant goose egg. When I cracked it for the making of a quiche it seemed to be the volume of three regular chicken eggs. It sure is beautiful.


Gila National Wilderness Hiking Trip

We spent two days at the Wilderness Lodge in the Gila National Forest this weekend. For those who are not in the know, The Gila Wilderness is every New Mexican's apocalyptic plan. With a pristine underground river and hundreds of thousands of acres of actual wilderness one can imagine restarting life there.

For our ten year anniversary we decided not to haul camping gear and booked a room at the Gila Wilderness Lodge; a huge old lodge with a shared kitchen, living room, porch and hot spring. We enjoyed meeting the other guests but the lodge left us a bit disappointed. The folks who run it told us the place was from 40 miles from Silver City and failed to mention that because of the severely windy roads that would take 2.5 hours to drive. This sort of thing matters a lot when your driving in the dark far and away from a town or gas station and on dark windy roads. They put us in their smallest room, hardly big enough for Sesame to sleep next to us on the floor and difficult to manage; we found ourselves climbing over our luggage to get to the bed. Though breakfast came with the nearly $100.00 a night rate the high fructose maple syrup mimic product being served indicated to me the quality of the food being served. Next time we'll try out Casitas de Gila or bring along our tent.

The Gila was perfectly beautiful in spite of serious recent fires. We heard amazing stories about them told folks who live there year round; a generation of old timer fire fighters and Apache Indians worked together to protect a border that led to the homes of the small community that lives there year round. The fire came within 1/2 a mile of their door.

Gila TripGila TripGila TripGila Trip