26 September 2011

Turning Towards Autumn

Los Girasoles de la Acequia (photo abstraction), San Acacia, NM, Sept. 2011
Reflection... makes me quiet. I'm resting (short break from internship), catching up on personal time, hiking, riding, doing some pre-winter cleaning up and clearing out, and resting some more. I've been photographing the change of seasons and today spent some creative time altering a photograph I took during a meandering walk one evening along the acequias down in San Acacia. These communal irrigation canals date back many generations and allow farmers to share the scarce water that flows through this land. As the season turns toward autumn these canals often abound with sunflowers, giving us a last burst of summer color before the seasons of harvest and rest. I bid you all a beautiful turn of the seasons and leave you with this evocative poem from Jimmy Santiago Baca, a New Mexico poet whose words speak to both current events and timeless themes.

Sometimes I stand on the river bank
and feel the water take my pain,
allow my nostalgic brooding
a reprieve.
The water flows south,
constantly redrafting its story
which is my story,
rising and lowering with glimmering meanings—
here nations drown their stupid babbling,
bragging senators are mere geese droppings in the mud,
radicals and conservatives are stands of island grass,
and the water flows on,
cleansing, baptizing Muslims, Jews and Christians alike.
I yearn to move past these days of hate and racism.
That is why this Rio Grande,
these trees and sage bushes
the geese, horses, dogs and river stones
are so important to me—
with them
I go on altering my reptilian self,
reaching higher notes of being
on my trombone heart,
pulsing out into the universe, my music
according to the leaf’s music sheet,
working, with a vague indulgence toward a song
we the people.
-Jimmy Santiago Baca, from Winter Poems along the Rio Grande

17 September 2011

Bead Soup Blog Party!

Harvest Dance necklace; focal and toggle clasp by BSBP partner Barbe St. John
I love this resin and brass cowgirl toggle that Barbe made!
Thanks to a LOT of hard work by Lori Anderson, the Bead Soup Blog Party is here! As always, I had a great time working with the treasures that BSBP partner Barbe St. John of Saints and Sinners sent me; above is what I made from the awesome focal, toggle clasp, sari silk, and autumn-hued beads that Barbe picked out for me. I added in some striped glass rounds I found at Michael's the day before I got Barbe's package; the rest of the beads are from her and I still have some left over! Big thanks to Barbe for being so generous and for nudging me enough out of my comfort zone that I decided to just cut loose all expectations and play. Barbe, I hope you had fun with what I sent you, too, and thank you again, especially for the extra-special Albuquerque Wanderlust pendant! (I'll be showing that off soon; I'm composing a special piece just for me...)

Thank you, too, for visiting -- now it's time to blog hop! Go here for the full list of participants and their partners -- I know, that's a LOT of blog hopping, but you will love what you see! Enjoy the eye candy!

07 September 2011

The Creative Exchange: Chile Season

Chile pequin ristras at the Hatch Chile Festival, Hatch, NM, Sept. 2011
Farmers roasting green chiles; red chile ristras drying. Hatch, NM, Sept. 2011
Time for the Creative Exchange; my theme this week is harvest season. Here in New Mexico I find the chile harvest especially enchanting because of the sight, smell, and taste of the various chiles grown here. New Mexico green chiles have a flavor unlike any other pepper; the mild ones are sweetly aromatic, and the hot varieties have a sharp heat tempered by that same aromatic flavor I've never tasted in any other pepper. Once the harvest begins in late August, vendors set up roasters like the one shown at right to blister the skins and give the chiles a smokey-sweet flavor. The scent is out of this world, and whether you thought you were going to buy some or not suddenly you find yourself craving them. Some chiles are left on the plants to ripen, then dried (in Hatch we saw roofs covered in chiles -- what a great idea) and woven into traditional ristras to be hung in the kitchen for easy reach when making red chile sauce, posole, and other dishes.

The Hatch Chile Festival draws people from all over to southern New Mexico to try the various chiles in salsas, relishes, sauces, and, my new favorite, hand-cranked ice cream with green chile. It's definitely the best place to buy ristras both for quality and for price; I only bought two of the multicolor pequin ristras shown above, but of course now I wish I'd bought some of every kind and color. Vendors sell lots of other goods too, including cookbooks (I've been wanting one with lots of green and red chile recipes, including chile jelly for canning), knick-knacks, fine art, jewelry, and chile-themed accessories. I really wanted a pair of the chile sunglasses this girl was wearing, but she had the last pair, so I asked if I could take her picture instead and she happily agreed -- her mom offered to sell me that last pair but I couldn't take them from this sweet kid! All in all it was a fun day, even if chile harvest does mean summer is almost over.

05 September 2011

...and growing, and growing...

Riley and Lucy enjoying a water break from a Magdalena mountain hike, Aug. 2011
Lucy and Riley, May 2011
Remember this little guy who was dumped on our road one night and took refuge under my dad's car? Four months later, two weeks shy of his six-month birthday, he is as long as and almost as tall as Lucy, has a bigger head and paws than she does, and is closing in fast on 60 pounds. He's still rambunctious and a bit destructive but has a happy, sweet disposition and is smart enough to learn IF we're consistent with our discipline. And he's an awesome hiking buddy, mostly running with Lucy but also circling back to check on me if she takes off after a rabbit or deer. On our first vet visit she said he was most likely a boxer-mastiff mix, and his huge feet, big bones, and heavy jowls certainly seem to be expressions of his mastiff parentage. He is still growing in discombobulated bursts; one day we'll notice his head suddenly seems huge (the wide-angle close-up image below doesn't seem too far off from reality, except that his feet are actually much bigger!), and a few days later he'll suddenly seem taller. It's a bit disconcerting because we could have a REALLY big dog on our hands in a few more months. Even so, both both boxers and mastiffs are amiable and loyal, and mastiffs do mellow out as they grow up, so I have no doubt he'll be a great companion for a long time to come.

"Whatcha doin'?" I love this funky distorted shot; it's so... Riley.

03 September 2011

I Heart Macro: Picking Pretty Purple Peppers

Purple Bell and Yellow Banana Peppers, Magdalena, NM, Aug. 2011
This year's garden has given me so much pleasure and joy, and now it's giving me gorgeous, delectable produce that I not only get to eat but also get to share. These peppers, though, I kept for myself and the kids, and of course to photograph for this week's I Heart Macro. I don't have much luck with peppers here at 6,800 feet, but this year I used black landscape fabric to both warm the soil and hold in more moisture, and that really helped. A few days ago, when I saw that the purple bell peppers were ready to pick, I took Maggie with me out to the garden to let her pick them for us. Her eyes lit up when she saw three perfect purple peppers. And when I set our harvest out for some still-life shots, Maggie asked if she could compose and photograph a still life, too. So here it is, and it sums up perfectly how we feel about our garden this summer.

Maggie's Garden Bounty Still-Life