Monthly Archives: September 2014

Recycling Our Lives

There was a time when people used up as much as possible before throwing anything away. Old clothes were repurposed into rag rugs or quilt pieces or cleaning rags.Old blankets became quilt liners and wood was used in a myriad of ways before producing heat through fires. Bones and vegetable scraps combined into healthful broths or soup bases. Getting full value from every item, though time consuming, was often a financial necessity.

We progressed to a time of planned obsolescence where a new car ever five years was considered the minimum requirement for a life well lived. Not for everyone of course and not only for financial reasons. No matter how desirable we thought that new car smell might be (which we now know is a compilation of chemicals used in vehicle production, the idea of car payments, learning the idiosyncrasies of a new vehicle (not to mention car salesmen!) led many of us into holding on to old faithful just one more year.

Recycling has become a cultural preference as well as a recognition of the dangers inherent in an ecologically overstressed world.Better than sorting out our trash is that old idea using it up as completely as possible.

Use it up. Wear it out. Make it do.

This mantra was in the forefront of my mind as I decided to follow a dream plan of creating a micro climate..a small place on

A bird bath from a defunct garden

A bird bath from a defunct garden

our high desert property where I could have an area of plants and flowers protected from the often harsh winds, without stressing the water supply. The catalyst for this idea was numerous large cisterns placed on the property by the previous owners. The slightest moisture on the roof trickles into these containers, giving ‘free’ water for my projects.


latilla from another project and old planks

It started with a small fenced in area outside the master bedroom, along with a low retaining wall to deflect excess rain water from the house.It doesn’t rain often here but when it does it can rain heavily. When I decided to complete the area, I did so with a commitment to, as much as possible, use materials found on the property, left over from earlier projects. The fence posts were new but the wire, the snow fencing, the gates, were all scattered around, waiting to be re-used. I did purchase some landscape boundaries to keep the new soil in the planting areas but covered it over with whatever was on hand. I’ll be using flat rocks scattered I’ve found here and there for the solid areas outside the master bedroom, and will add some sort of ground cover in between.

It’s a work in progress, but I’m getting there. With the exception of my late husband’s brother’s help with setting the posts (it

gate from a heavy wire  display

gate from a heavy wire display

took three of us actually, along with a rented auger) I’ve done the work myself. Originally it was intended as a private area for my husband to convalesce; it’s now slowly growing into a place of peace for me.

Along the same lines, I ‘found’ a story I wrote several years ago and started to work on it. What the heck, I purged that sucker from one end to the other. Gutted whole chapters of drivel to get to the meat of the story about a mercenary’s daughter and a special forces vet, neither one of whom thought they deserved love. I sent it out, to be snapped up and put into the edit queue at Black Opal Books. I have more stories to be found and repurposed, as well as new stories to be written. It’s all about finding my creative self, and recycling those ideas pounding around in my head.

Gardening and story telling, both expressions of artistic effort. Both so rewarding.


what better use for a chimayo?

what better use for a chimayo?


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When Things are Even Better Than We Remember

How many times have you recommended a book or a movie or a song from your distant memories, then when you actually read or watch or listen to them again yourself you’re appalled by what your younger self thought was high quality. The book turns out to have a pathetic plot and flat characters; the movie is poorly acted, and not in a funny way; the song, oh dear the song is just not very good.

But every now and then your memories don’t prove you false and they are every bit as good as you remembered. Sometimes even better.

I’ve contemplated this post for a while, right down to the music clip. I remember when I first heard When I’m 64, and how I could not conceive reaching that age myself. My parents were nowhere near 64, in fact I’m not sure I knew anyone that old. Times do change, don’t they.

So here I am on the eve of that momentous age and I decided to see if that light, happy tune I what I remembered.

It’s not. It’s better. Judge for yourself

Tom liked to point out we were the same age for twelve days, his birthday being on the 16th. He’d have enjoyed this rendition, we were both saps for the ‘old’ music.

Getting back into the habit of sharing recipes, I needed to find an egg less sugar free cookie for a kennel club meeting, and I found with this one. Unfortunately I’m not yet finding the website, I’ll keep looking:


1 cup unsalted butter
1 cup artificial powdered sweetener, such as Equal
2 cups almond meal
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup pecan pieces


In a large bowl, cream the butter and slowly add the sweetener. While mixer is still running add remaining ingredients, one at a time. If the mixture seems too dry, add another tablespoon of whipping cream.

Roll mixture out onto wax paper and form a log that is about 2-1/2 inches in diameter. Wrap wax paper around log and refrigerate at least one hour. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove shortbread log and cut into slices, about 1/2 inch wide, place a few inches apart on baking sheet. Bake in oven 8 to 12 minutes. Allow to cool before storing.

Yields 2 dozen

They were super yummy but a bit delicate probably because I added extra cream, figuring it would be too dry. More crumbs than cookies which meant they were finished with a spoon. Which got me to thinking about a cheesecake mousse layered with cookie crumbs. Hmmmm, yeah…


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