We've reached that time of year, time to prepare for winter. The cat hunted/caught two mice, we are collecting newspapers, calculating how much wood we need to cut & burn. It is soon time to fill the propane, clean the chimney and start wearing slippers again.

We spent the last week camping near the Walnut river, in Kansas. Our annual time to see & spend time with many people we simply love to be nearby. 

Picking the flowers which are slowly fading and will soon freeze. 

Warm temperatures alluded my tomatoes this year. Picked my first big batch today, and made some sauce. Quite a change from last year's bounty. But since we still have sauce from last year in the freezer, we didn't really need as much. 

The Statice I grew has come out in blues, pinks and purples. I've been cutting it & hanging to dry on the back porch. Thinking it will be welcome color in the winter depths. 

Working full-time in town has been rewarding, but a new perspective for me. Suddenly my time is no longer mine, it belongs to work. And I'm not sure I'll ever be convinced that is really how I want to live. Am glad the job I have now is one I feel good about. 


oh, august already.

though the garden has grown more slowly than last year's did, it has grown. and I picked my first red cherry tomato this week. and last night the colors of the garden were fading in a lovely way as the sun set in brilliant orange & pink. 

the garden hasn't had my usual devotion this summer, a combination of my working full-time away from home, the cooler temps which have made for slower growth and my also just not being up to my physically best for the past few weeks. but these things will fade with this summer. I have marveled at how well the marigolds did this year. 

d. is returning today from a few days away in the mountains. the house is especially quiet, outside the window the sound of aspen leaves rustling the the breezes, and the occasionally mew of the cat. she & I will both be happy to have our companion home. with out now different schedules, we don't see each other as much as we used to, and that's been an adjustment.

and now with Fall coming, we have wood to cut and a trip to Winfield to plan.


july weekend

Last weekend we attended the Taos Pueblo Powwow for the Grand Entry (opening ceremony). The crowd seemed more subdued than our last visit, but it may have been the rain and cooler weather. We stood near the circle's entrance, which meant I got to watch each dancer as they came into the entry's dance.
I thought about how this ceremonial tradition brings together people from tribes all over, of different faiths, languages and communities. And yet they gather together for ceremony, remembrance and unity. And do any other groups of people (from different religions, communities and languages) in this country do this? 
Just as it began to get dark, the clouds broke, and a very full moon began to shine. The announcer of the Powwow stopped what he was introducing, so that he could tell everyone to look up at the moon. The moon, he explained, plays an important role in Pueblo tradition, and there it was, blessing the Powwow with its brilliant light.

Our monsoon season has begun. It clouds up and rains just about every afternoon & evening. I think we had a hot Summer for about a 1 1/2 weeks.  Because our Spring was cool, and our warm weather pretty short, the garden is not as flourishing as it was last year at this time. But it is growing, and very happily green. It is also just a bit stunted. A little bit shorter than last year. And it will probably be weeks yet before I have a ripe tomato (this altitude!). But I did pick our first cucumber today, and we munched it as I made dinner. I've been picking little bouquets of flowers (my favorite sign of summer) every other day or so. And I try to throw fresh chives, thyme, cilantro or oregano into dinner each night.

I spent my week learning my new job. Overall, I feel pretty good about things. I'm a little intimidated by all the people I need to meet and know, and I have a lot of work to learn and to do. I'll have some challenges ahead, but challenges are good for me. And I'm doing a kind of work I've been wanting to do for years. 


into July

Last weekend we took a morning hike up the Canoncito trail. It is a tree-covered, creek-crossing abundant trail. We had sandwiches at the end of the trail before we headed back down. 

I get a little bit claustrophobic on these tree-covered trails. And I find that what D. loves about these walks (the time to quietly walk & think all your thoughts) is what I have a hard time doing. But me leaving myself alone with my thoughts isn't something I've been very good at in a long time.

The garden is filling up in colors. Pink hollyhocks, orange & yellow marigolds, yellow blooming cucumbers and all kinds of green. 

And I'm quite in love with the flowering sweetpeas. Hot pink and reddish purples, fairy-like petals on delicate stems. Glad I decided to grow these. 

This morning we took a walk up our backyard. The morning sun was already quite intense, and it was a relief to drop down into the canyon and walk home along the water. The chollas are blooming impressively, and have filled the desert mountains with bright pinks. 


little patch of lettuce

The hollyhocks, which I planted last year, are about up to my shoulder now. There are dozens of buds all over the plant. Hollyhocks love northern New Mexico, they grow all over town like weeds. Very pretty summer weeds. 

Now that June is ending, the tomatoes are starting to actually grow. It takes getting slightly warmer nights for this to happen. My marigolds are getting busy, which makes me happy. I like the clusters of marigold oranges, yellows and greens throughout the garden. The self-seeded cilantro is tall and about to bloom. I've been eating fresh cilantro on my evening salads, and tonight we threw a handful into our turkey tacos. 

These are the cosmos, which also self-seeded from last year's blooms. They are so very green & whispy.

Now, the afternoon breezes are summer soft & warm. The papery Aspen leaves flutter all around the house. We've been enjoying sits on the front porch. Libby comes out with us and chases grasshoppers. 

Yesterday J. from next door brought me a bag of freshly picked salad greens, mostly kale and chard. Delicious, and considering the abundance he has planted, it will be a fortunate summer to be his neighbor.

My own little patch of lettuce is just now getting big enough to pick and eat. This first-time lettuce growing experience has not been very satisfying. 

I applied for another job, and I've been told I'm the final candidate, and have a start date of 7/14. I'll be working for a non-profit. I'll be the admin assistant for the Director--and my job will involve grant writing, organizing fund-raisers, working with the press and other basic admin stuff.  It has been so long since I've been challenged that I'm a bit intimidated, but I'm also excited to have a job that I have to really think about and care about. 

Tomorrow, a massage (last year's birthday present from T., which I'm finally taking advantage of) and some outside time, some laundry on the line time, some sewing time, some cleaning the house time. 


petunia called picasso

today I put some shade cloth over a few plants. I think the sun is draining them. I recall being worried about this last year, but I don't recall it seeming quite so bad. they just seem sapped of a happy green. some shade should help. and the garden looks like it has ghosts in it now.

I always want to buy lots of marigolds and I never do simply because it gets expensive. but this year I started them from seed, and they were the easiest thing to grow. and now I might have too many. 

I bought this petunia for two reasons, one it has flowers hot pink rimmed in green and two, it is called a "Picasso petunia". and we may officially have too many plants now. 

flowering sweetpeas are the most darling things. I'm growing some but they aren't flowering yet,  these I picked from the greenhouse. my neighbor J. offered them, and he referred to them as the "wedding peas".

I drive into work each day trying to keep a positive attitude, I drive home exhausted from trying to stay positive. the place has too much chaos, mess and lack of processes for me to deal with, either emotionally or professionally. it gets in the way of me feeling like I'm doing a good job. but I have no input on changing it. I know lots of people work jobs they aren't happy in, I know I even work with some of them. I'm going to do my best to find a better one.
for months now I've been hearing about a job from a friend, and she said it might get posted this summer. and it was just a few days ago. so I've been working on my application this weekend. This is the kind of job that would actually use my capabilities & my degrees. I'll probably be more stressed out by this job, but I'll also be happier. so fingers crossed on this one.

D. is off camping with other boys. he'll be home tomorrow. and though I used to live my life this way, alone each day & night, and I'm quite okay with alone-time,  I'm so happy to know that he will be home tomorrow. when you get used to having someone around to talk to, or just, be near, there is quite a gaping silence when that person is gone.  


june garden starts

I spend the first few weeks of my garden season fairly certain it will all fail. But then the roots begin to take, and new leaves begin to sprout, and I realize that once again, I know how to plant things. And every year something is new and something dies and something thrives.

This year, just outside the living room window, I have a bed of spinach and lettuce growing. Safe from munching bunnies.

And since the neighbor is building a house next to our back yard, our back patio isn't as inviting as it used to be. We're accommodating by making the front porch a pretty place to sit too (lots of plants and some camp chairs).  And though we have a few too many wasps buzzing around the front porch, we still find it more relaxing that sitting within view and earshot of the neighbor and his construction. 

Also outside the living room, we put in a flower bed. Though some leftover tomato and pepper plants have landed there as well. By Summer, I should be able to see blooming flowers while sitting inside on my couch. (Notice the rock wall inspired by Chaco.)

The hollyhock is already up to my chest. And last year's herbs (chives, sage, thyme & oregano) are already bigger than they ever were last year. All the garden is planted. Now we wait. And also now I have to investigate the little black bugs I'm finding on the tomatoes.