Saturday, October 31, 2009

Halloween 2009 - Attack of the Killer Carrot!

This isn't one of John's black and white horror films... this killer carrot was harvested from our garden Halloween 2009.

To preserve our harvest, we sliced all of the carrots not destined for salad and dried them in the dehydrator. I will enjoy many months of carrot in soup!

We look forward to planting more carrots in the spring.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Canning 2009 - Rounds 2 & 3

September 25, 2009

Repeated August 16th salsa batch, made 11 pints.

October 17, 2009

Repeated August 16th salsa batch with one exception – used Habaneros in place of JalapeƱo peppers for Extra, Extra Hot version. Made 5 quarts and 2 pints.

Also made batch of Green Hell (recipe follows)

6 cups chopped Anaheim peppers
4 cups apple cider vinegar
4 tablespoons canning salt

Combine all ingredients in sauce pan and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Ladle hot into pint or quart jars, leaving ½ inch headspace. Adjust lids and process in boiling water canner 20 minutes (Rio Rancho altitude). Made 5 pints.

We like to used the Green Hell as a salsa or in dishes such as Chicken Enchiladas.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Yucky Bug 2!

I'm not a bug person. I don't like bugs. Some people are fascinated by them. On a scientific level, I agree. On a personal house guest level, I don't.

John and I were watching television one evening and I got up and used the bathroom. When I came back to the sofa and sat down I felt a strange prickly trickle run down my back. I jumped and thrashed back at my shirt and grabbed a fistful of cloth. John knew something was up. I struggled to figure a way out of my t-shirt without letting go of the fistful of shirt. Honestly I was ready to cut it off. John inspected the fistful and coaxed me to open my hand and drop the contents. Damn if a centipede didn't fall out of my hand. Quick as they are, John managed to kill it - in flip flops even. I should have won an award for the ensuing oogy-dance - it was something John won't soon forget. Naked (of course!) I went off to the bedroom and shook every piece of clothing I own. I redressed and returned to the livingroom. I no sooner sat down then felt another prickly trickle low on my back. Another shreak, another dance! This time it was a clothing label followed by a stiff drink.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Home to Maine

We went home to Maine September 16th - 23rd to visit family and attend Ray's wedding (John's brother) to Anne.

During our visit we enjoyed all of our favorites - this was truely a gastronomic vacation! We enjoyed Italian sandwiches from George's twice, had two HUGE lobster and steamer dinners (thank you again, Claire and Leo! and Mom & Bob!), a wonderfully sinful dinner of fried seafood at Ken's, a beautful family dinner with Denise, Jamie and my buddy Ethan, a classic Old Port dinner of smoked seafood chowders at Three Dollar Dewey's, and (of course) pizza at Pizza by Alex. We also enjoyed one of the best reception dinner's I've ever had at Ray and Anne's wedding.

Food wasn't the only thing we enjoyed. The wedding was beautiful! It was really wonderful to meet Nicholas and Emma, and see them not only members of the wedding party, but included in the ceremony. Seemingly thousands of photos were taken. (I'm told some of the photos of attendees were scandalous. Yes Claire, I'll keep my hands to myself.)

We also enjoyed a lovely ride through Biddeford Pool, Kennebunk, Kennebunk Port, and a drive up into New Hampshire - through Conway and on to Cathedral Ledge. We visited with friends - It was really great to see Roger, Joanne & Vic, Janet, Mike & Jane, and Jay & Debbie. We miss you all and you are all welcome to visit us here in New Mexico. It was wonderful to see all the familiar places and faces, and amazing to see how much some things had changed.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Life with John...

Once again, John mercilessly exploits Jessica's gullibility.

A couple of his favorites...

"It was sliced so thin it only had one side."
  • "My peripheral vision is so good I can see my own ears."

"The bottle says I should have used gloves." -pretending to read off a foot lotion bottle!

He claims he does it to entertain me... I think he's entertaining himself. Either way, it's funny and it only makes me love him more.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Canning 2009 - Round 1

John and I completed Round 1 of our annual canning. We purchased a full bag of roasted extra hot chilies this year from Wagner's. Processing those (removing skins and most of the seeds) took about two hours and resulted in 9 cups that we used in our salsa recipe, plus 26 cups we froze for future use. We canned 11 pints of very hot salsa and 2 quarts of dilly beans.

This year we did the actual canning in the front garden. We simply connected the grill's propane tank to our camp stove. While researching pressure canning for future projects, we stumbled on a notation about water bath canning on ceramic and flat glass cooktops that basically said we'd be risking cracking our stovetop. We can't seem to remember if we had the new stove during canning last year, but if we did, we got lucky. I actually preferred doing the process outside - it kept the house a lot cooler.

Much of the salsa has been allocated away as gifts. We figure we will make 2-3 more batches once more of our tomatoes come in. We will most likely try pickles again. I'm hoping to can some savory jellies, too. We've purchased a pressure cooker/canner and are planning to experiment in canning soup as well.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Sam's Visit

I'm sorry we weren't better about blogging Sam's visit. We were so busy trying to cram in all the different activities like camping, visiting the zoo, movies, books, riding, art projects, board games and swimming with the dogs that we just didn't really have time for the computer.

We managed to do many things. We got our portraits taken and even made cookies Sam's last day here. We played countless games of Uno, Mancala, and Find It. We snuck in a few rounds of Sorry! too. I'm not sure what Sam's favorite thing was, but I know mine... I loved riding with Sam. It was such a cool experience for me to be able to share something I love so much with him, and to have him enjoy it with me. I found myself missing him on back when I went for a ride today.

We had a GREAT 4th of July. We started with a big breakfast, then went for a ride up to the Gilman Tunnels and then to Cabezon Peak where we snacked. When we got home, we cleaned up and went out to dinner at one of the local Chinese restaurants, which Sam loved. After dinner we came home and had a brief rainshower that resulted in a HUGE rainbow, which we viewed from the back patio. Then we treated ourselves to a home fireworks display and observed the various other fireworks provided by neighbors and the larger city shows in the distance. We saw many beautiful things and had a full day!

After a week at Zoo camp, Sam attended a week of Aquarium camp. He made many art projects and studied Piranha. The last day of camp I met him at afternoon snack and we attended the eel feeding together. He learned so much at these summer camps!

We took the next week for just the two of us. We spent one day at the zoo. Sam acted as the tour guide and we managed to see just about everything without referring to a map. On the way to the zoo, I ended up behind a horsetrailer. The angle the horse was at in the trailer made for an optical illusion that made it look like the horse had no head. Sam thought it was pretty funny that I thought the trailer was carrying only a "Horse Butt" and somehow that theme carried on through our entire visit at the zoo. Every animal we saw chose to turn so that we had a great view of its butt, and not much more. With perserverance, we got a number of really impressinve pictures (not of butts).

On our flight back to PA, Sam and I build a scrapbook with all the pictures we took during his visit. He selected from the MANY photos we had, and even selected special papers, pens, and stickers from the craft store for his project. He used decorative scissors and glittery pens. We managed to build the entire scrapbook, complete with accent images and captions together with about an hour to spare.
I'm looking forward to next summer!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Sam @ Zoo Camp!

My counselor is Tiffany. My assistant counselor is Robby.

I got to feed an elephant and give it a good pat on the shoulder. Dirt went in my eye. Rosy, the elephant is pregnant. We got to see the baby move in her. In craft, we created a paper that shows animals that are nocturnal and diurnal. I got an orange Camp BioPark 2009 shirt to wear all week.

We got to prepare food for monkeys, birds, seals and others. I got to go into the freezer and prepare food for the monkeys and birds, like apples, lettuce, spinach, carrots and eggs. When I was in the freezer my hand got really cold and red. I could not move it. I had to switch jobs and I prepared the raisins instead. Next, I went in the Diet room and got to help prepare the seals food. We each got to fill up a bucket with 2 pounds of fish. You could feel the bone in the fish. I forgot my hat in the classroom.

I got my hat back! Today I made a mosaic of a mouse from seeds, glue and a bottle cap. It is a magnet. We got to feed the parakeets. One stole the cup of nectar right out of my hands. In the classroom we had three animal visitors - a hedge hog, a porcupine, and a parrot. If you said "woof" to the parrot, he would bark at you like a dog! The hedge hog pooped on the floor - oh, and he peed. We also got to visit the koala bears. Koala's eat eucalyptus leaves. I learned a new song "Kookaburra" - ask me and I'll sing it for you.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Sam's Here!

Sam has arrived for his visit. Today he opened some of his birthday presents. One was particularly exciting to him... I filmed him playing with it. Watch below.

Wait for it... Sam pops himself in the nose - well worth watching the whole video (2:17)!

Sam has received several fun toys. He's tried burning ants with his magnifying glass, and is particularly looking forward to going to Michaels to buy some art projects. We have plans to draw all over the cement patio as well. There are a couple more gifts to open yet, but he thanks everyone - he's having a great time!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Example of True Love - A Poem

John says I stifle his creativity.
He says he doesn't pull spider or rubber snake pranks on me because he loves me,
And he knows what would happen if he did.

He's very sweet...

Yet I don't understand how this same "stifling" doesn't affect his need to be

"Electrocuted" from time to time.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

"We'll just go look...."

Famous last words! 2005 Kawasaki KLR650 - the dream answer to any question. Oh the places I'm gonna go... mainly back and forth to work at 50mpg, saving both the environment and money. This will also be following John in to the southwest wilds, and eventually camping.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

"I bought a truck on April Fool's Day....?"

John bought a 2004 Toyota Tacoma Pre-Runner (faux wheel drive) in "I'm not gay" white. It has a fiberglass bed cover, and is fully lined. Automatic transmission, working AC, cruise control, CD player, remote "boop boop" entry (that "we" refuse to use), power windows, working cab light, map lights, cup holders, armrest storage, and multiple buttons that we are yet to comprehend (ECT anyone?) Even comes with handydandy debt option! Congratulations John, in 3 short years it will all be yours!

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Great "Dear Abby"

I loved it, so I'm republishing it to share...

"Dear Abby: When I was a new bride 30 years ago, my husband gave me money to buy a pair of "thongs." The only thongs I had ever heard of were those flat rubber sandals. Imagine his surprise when I got home and he asked me to "model" them. When I came out wearing fire engine red flip-flops, his expression was priceless. - THONGS ARE WRONG IN BUFFALO"

Sunday, January 25, 2009


Congratulations Josh & Molly!!

We look forward to celebrating your special day and wish you many many more years of happiness together!

Christmas 2008 - Happy New Year 2009

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Chica & Stinky FINALLY got to enjoy their Christmas toys. Santa had brought presents weeks earlier, and both were aware and eager to enjoy, but always the traditionalist, I held them for the big day. Their dear doggie friend Jack had sent a rope and ball tug toy for Stinky, which he loves to carry around, and a little chick toy for Chica, which Stinky enjoyed carrying around hidden in his mouth, until Chica felt the need to remove the wings. Santa brought a couple of other stuffed toys, which sadly had to go to the Dog Toy Hospital within just a few short days. Chica has a rather destructive streak. Fortunately, I'm a skilled toy surgeon.

John and I enjoyed Christmas dinner with our friends Hope & Steve who had recently returned from a long European vacation. It was wonderful to hear their stories and see the beautiful pictures. Their gifts of herbs from Provence and Dumon chocolates were exquisite and still being savored.

This year, like last, we chose to go on a family road trip for New Years. We both struggled with the idea at first, looking through all of our maps and tour books trying to decide what to go and see. Finally we simply decided to go and "see what we would see." John and I packed an overnight bag, dog food, snacks and a camera, loaded up Stinky and Chica (mildly sedated as we learned last year that she pants uncontrollably in the car) and took off towards Silver City. Our trip took us south on route 25 to Elephant Butte. We pulled into the Fort McRae state park and nearly got the car stuck in the deep gravel of one turn out. Thank Goodness John always has an eye on the road and realized how deep it was before I got us stuck. We stopped again further in the park to enjoy the lake views, then continued on to Truth or Consequences, where we turned off onto a long and wonderfully winding scenic road. We would both love to drive the route from "T or C" to Silver City again on motorcycles. The views, the turns, everything was simply a riders dream! We stopped several times just for the view and quick dog walks. We enjoyed a lunch of apples and peanut butter. There are a couple of camping areas I hope to remember when we plan our summer vacation.

We got a room in Silver City for the night. Stinky and Chica weren't too sure about the hotel. Apparently there was a state wrestling meet in town, and the teams staying in the building offered too much excitement. Eventually they settled down and figured out there was a whole bed just for them. John and I chose to get take out for dinner so that we could stay with the dogs as much as possible. We drove up to the local Wendy's and after standing in line watching pure incompetence for 20 minutes, we walked out and went on to a fast food Chinese restaurant. The food was delicious and the servings large. In the end the Chinese was a far better value, and the service remarkably faster.

After our "Super Starter" breakfast we loaded back into the car and began the trip back north. We picked up the return route of last years roadtrip by Magollon and back by the VLA. I enjoyed seeing the antenna again. It's such an awesome site. This time we played with the display at the visitor center that demonstrates the parabolic effects of the antenna. It was amazing to be able to stand in the antenna cones so far apart from each other and clearly hear each other whisper.

I hope to road trip again next year. We don't really need any specific place to go. It's not about where we go, it's really just the time together and the view along the way.