|Claret cup cactus flower (Echinocereus triglochidiatus), Water Canyon/Magdalena Mtns., NM, April 2011|
30 April 2011
29 April 2011
28 April 2011
|Yucca, April 2011, near Magdalena, NM|
My Bead Table Wednesday contribution is a day late this week because I've had two ABQ trips (both fun) and haven't had a whole lot of time at either the bead table or the computer. I did get some pretties at Michaels -- happy birthday AND tax return day to me! -- and started a few sets, shown above, that I hope to finish up soon. Not today, though; it is sunny and not windy outside and I'll be gardening alllllllll day. The winds come back with a vengeance tomorrow, so today is it for me in the garden till next week, probably. As ferocious as our winds have been -- gusts up to 70 mph, and gritty, choking dust that gets into everything -- I know it's nothing compared to the weather seen in other parts of the country this week. So I'll send today's perfect sunshine east... and hope we get one good soaking rain to tamp everything down before the winds blow us right on over into Texas.
25 April 2011
|Tulip, April 2011|
24 April 2011
|Zucchini sprout, April 2011|
|Tomato sprout, April 2011|
|Cucumber sprout, April 2011|
|Zucchini sprout, April 2011|
20 April 2011
|Rodeo Bull by Holly Hughes, Magdalena, NM, April 2011|
18 April 2011
Time for Mosaic Monday, and I'm ready this week (for a change) thanks to a major break in my schedule that so fortuitously coincides with gardening season. One of the more surprising and fun discoveries I made last year with my DSLR (purchased on Ebay with my modest tax refund) was how clearly I could photograph bugs. It isn't always intentional; sometimes while I'm focusing on a flower, a bug I didn't notice with the naked eye will suddenly become clear in the viewfinder, as with the tiny yellow spider in the middle row, or land squarely in the frame, as the moth did on the gaillardia next to the spider image.
17 April 2011
I was going to take a day off from blogging to garden and think about concrete actions I might take about the political stuff I ranted about yesterday, but I couldn't resist joining my blogging friends who are sharing their beautiful macro/close-up photos today as part of the "I Heart Macro" blog hop that Lori at Studio Waterstone is hosting. Lori's lovely blog is new to me, and I'm glad to see another person who digs jewelry making and photography, and dedicates her blog to both without worrying (as far as I can tell from her posts) about not having a "single-purpose" blog. My contribution to the blog hop captures the simple blossom of a wild blue lettuce gone to flower; it's not terribly noticeable or remarkable until those delicate blue stamens come into view through the macro filter. This is why I let some of my greens and herbs bolt and flower, then go to seed; many of my favorite photos have come from my and a friend's kitchen garden. Speaking of which, it's time to finish the drip system for my new asparagus bed...
|Blue lettuce (Lactuca tatarica) from the kitchen garden, Magdalena, NM|
16 April 2011
|Old Timers Parade, Magdalena, NM, July 2010|
That said, the recent budget wars have compelled me to break my silence because, politics aside, the outcome will not only hurt vulnerable people everywhere but will nearly decimate life in many small communities such as mine. Those same politicians who invoke a storied "small town America" have proposed and voted to enact deep budget cuts to programs that keep many small towns alive -- not just the much maligned (unfairly, I believe) social programs such as Medicaid and other public assistance but also funding for police and fire departments, block grants for economic development and essential infrastructure improvements, funding for public health initiatives such as substance abuse treatment programs, preventive health screenings, and mental health crisis intervention, and many educational programs such as Head Start, special education, and literacy and math skills enhancement.
When the politicians stand up to justify such cuts by saying things like, "times are tough, and tough choices had to be made," my head just about explodes because of what remained untouched in all the smoke : tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, the Pentagon budget, corporate tax breaks and subsidies, and of course salaries and operating expenses of the very politicians telling us to tighten our belts and share the sacrifice. As I listened to this video, my 8-year-old looked up from playing Spore and said, "Mama, that doesn't really sound fair. Why do rich people pay less taxes but now there's not enough money for kids to go Head Start and have libraries and stuff?"
I am not about to tell my kids that "we all need to share the sacrifice" when certain entities clearly are not about to share anything with the rest of us, especially as more and more gets taken away from them in school, from their health care, from their community, and from their futures. If the budget is a "moral document," as many have stated over the years, what do the current proposals say about us as a nation? That we are hopelessly lost and morally bankrupt, or that vested interests with deep pockets are finally succeeding in hijacking the national debate and governing bodies?
15 April 2011
14 April 2011
|Female Rufous Hummingbird, Patterson Canyon, NM, Sept. 2010|
13 April 2011
|Today's bead table: Keeping it simple and focusing on wirework. (I traded textbooks for sterling wire - thanks, Amazon!)|
|(I really need to scour my bench block.)|
(That's my story, and I'm stickin' to it.)
|Gourd experiments in progress (note goggles & dust mask)|
12 April 2011
11 April 2011
Hey there... time for Mosaic Monday, my first in a few weeks. Yeah, it's been a while. I didn't intend to take a break from blogging, but it kind of came along with stepping (stumbling, staggering...) back from the computer during my break between classes. Of course, I love being able to complete a full degree program online. I'm totally accustomed to and comfortable with computers after 2+ decades of using them for jobs, school, photography, and other pursuits. But after 10 fast-paced weeks of coursework, and especially when the weather warms up, I do not want to be inside, I do not want to be looking at a screen, and God knows I am tired of trying to make myself comfortable in this chair day after day and night after night.
So when I finished my final marital/family counseling courses a few weeks ago, I pushed back from the computer and pretty much stayed away, except to check email and manage the process of getting my July internship approved. Oh, and to sign up for more courses (what is wrong with me??) on addictions counseling and support. The need is huge, and although I shied away from this area when I started my program in 2008, I find the family systems approach to addictions interesting and potentially useful in many cases. And given that so many people are affected by addictions, either their own or that of family or friends, understanding more about it can maybe help me help them a bit better. I guess we'll see -- I start my internship 3 months from today, and in addition to having the logistics all worked out, I also, quite uncharacteristically, already have my wardrobe ready. I hope that doesn't sound shallow, but I've been primarily working over the Internet since 2002 and over the years my clothing has dwindled to jeans, fleece hoodies, and ranch boots.
Now, I didn't go so far as to head to a mall (my head would explode for sure); I kept it simple and used my 35% off email coupon for Sierra Trading Post, from whence came said jeans, hoodies, and ranch boots, and which also has a particularly fetching collection of women's spring clothing this year. Of course, I can't wear the new clothes here; I live in a remote, dusty cowtown where people ask, "So, you dressed up for a job interview or for a date?" when I so much as put on earrings... no, seriously, it's literally too dusty here. So when the time comes I'll dress myself up all fancy, dash off to the car before too much dust clings to me, and zip up to Albuquerque which, around here, is The Big City.
Anyhoo. I'm sort of back; I'll be gardening more and hiking my sorry butt back into shape (Lucy is doing great after two leg surgeries this winter, so we're both finally getting back out on the trail), but since classes started today I'll be around again. I look forward to catching up on what you all have been up to, and I hope it's gettin' on spring 'round your parts!
05 April 2011
|Apple Blossom, April 2011, Magdalena, NM|
02 April 2011
|Tulip, Magdalena, NM, April 2011|
In New Mexico the spring sunshine also brings strong winds, and it has been so dry lately (2 months without a drop of rain) that any spark can quickly fan into a fire, as happened on Thursday less than a mile from my home. I watched the smoke billow all afternoon and paused from my gardening to count the firetrucks and volunteer firefighters racing up my road to gain access to and control over the fire's southern edge. Thankfully, no one was hurt and no structures burned, but the fire came within a few feet of one family's home and was only arrested by a dozen or so people, including the homeowners, wielding fire and garden hoses. My neighbors across the road, whose property backs up to where the fire was burning, were readying their horses for evacuation as the winds abated and the firefighters gained control. I would have been over there in a heartbeat to help out, if only to lead the horses over to my yard for safe keeping.
I'll try to blog more in the next few weeks, but for now, I have lots of gardening to do! I've planted all my seeds for indoor and coldframe germination (I can't set anything out till May 15), and today I need to clear old garden beds and start digging up a new section so I can grow more veggies! I hear some of you are having rotten weather, so I'll try to send some sunshine and warmth your way. Enjoy your weekend, whatever the weather!