Posted in Field Trips

Visiting Small Towns (a fun day away just down the road)


We meandered through jewelry and antique stores.  We stopped for a cup of coffee.  We walked through art galleries and stared in awe at the buildings.  We walked hand-in-hand idly down the sidewalks.  We stopped and talked to a grandmother who has lived in Trinidad her whole life and listened as she recalled memories.



They don’t build like this anymore.  The intricate details of each cornerstone and inset lettering.  The grandness of a small town.


One can learn a lot from the art and sculptures set throughout a place.  This was a town of coal miners and of ranchers.


Can you hear the sound of the horses pulling carriages down the Main street?  The eruptions in the saloon?  The sound of a bustling small town on a Saturday night?  Ghosts of people and activity over the past hundred and fifty years swarms by in my imagination and the sense of place captures me.


I wonder what the street looked like when people lined up at the grand Opera house.  Or what the lights looked like as kids lined up at the movie theater on a Friday night.  The roller rink must have been great fun at the time that I used to roller skate in the 70’s and 80’s.


There are new cafes to visit and bookstores and side streets, but alas, we started our journey down Main street too late in the day and everyone is closing up shop.


Just like the small museums I wrote about yesterday, there are probably small towns all around you, other cities, other places a half hour, an hour, maybe an hour and a half away that hold history, and art, and a different life.  There are books to look at and coffee to sip, and elders to engage in conversation with.  There are new parks to soak up the sun in, and places to see.  Perhaps this Saturday you will head out to a new town to explore, enjoy, and get inspired.  These little day trips are good for the spirit- a change of scenery and the exploration of something new.


Posted in Field Trips

Two Days in Santa Fe

I am sitting in a coffee shop on the Plaza enjoying a delicious brew in a corner booth overlooking the frost covered buildings and the vast sky that promises warmer weather today.


I read a study that compared the frequencies of people and places and how we thrive best when matched with our own similar frequency level regarding people and lands.  According to the study, if you were to close your eyes and someone placed a stone from a place that you love in one hand and a stone from a place you do not like, you would notice the difference.  This place matches my frequency.  Whether crossing the Santa Fe Plaza or eating red chile in Socorro or driving though farm land or artist towns, this is my place.  One day…

I adore the architecture and the history here.  The traditional adobe with straw sticking through its ancient walls.  The oldest house in the United States is here and was built in 1598.  Down a small street next to San Miguel church (circa 1636) is the house and free museum.  I loved seeing the tortilla press (not too different than mine) and the stone used for grinding corn into meal (a bit different than my Vitamix) and the other items of the era.

There is a distinctive look to New Mexico.  It is all about the details here.  Punched tin, kivas, adobe, bright trim, murals, and vigas create textures, history, and art in the architecture and design here.



We brought our granddaughter’s stuffed animal with us and have been capturing moments with it to the delight of Maryjane.


Now I have seen the fake stuffed animal heads mounted on boards.  They are cheeky and kind of funny from a vegetarian perspective.  In fact, I have long had a stuffed moose head we named Moosletoe hanging in our living room.  One is funny; more than that might be over the top.  However, when I saw this rooster head I started giggling so much that the cashier started giggling, than Doug joined in, and the contagious laughter prompted his coming home with me.  He is hilarious.  Perhaps he will inspire my rooster, Bob, to behave himself.


Amazing how ten days flies when on vacation.  Thanks for coming along with me, we’ll see you back at the farm!



Posted in Non-Electric

The Wide Hearth

20180206_073304As you head south from Colorado Springs and enter into the valley of Southern Colorado the weather changes sharply.  Pueblo gets far less snow than our northern brethren and the temperatures don’t hover at below zero like places we have lived.  This morning we woke to snow.  It is still too cold for us though and one day we shall live somewhere without snow.  Our dog did look rather shocked when he went outside this morning!  He, for one, does not mind snow a bit.  (Though he is currently sleeping on a giant pillow in the living room right now.)

Colonial Kitchen

It is this type of weather that makes me dream of one of my favorite architectural elements, the wide, walk-in fireplace.  The hearth that sustained generations over the years has seemingly disappeared in favor of furnaces.  There is just something so comforting about a fire in hearth, a cast iron pot hanging from a hook with supper cooking away ready for any visitor to pour a ladle of something hot and nourishing into a bowl to warm themselves.  There is something lovely and rustic about a family pulled up to the warmth on a snowy winter’s eve with knitting or books or fiddle.


I love my little house with the cast iron wood stove.  It creates such beauty and warmth to our living space.  If I ever build my own house I shall make the counters four inches higher, remove the ceiling fans, make everything in the bathroom higher (houses weren’t made for tall people!), create an open living plan, and put in a walk-in, large fireplace to warm our home on…ahem…rainy days.  Enjoy the snow!

Posted in Field Trips, Our Family

From Taos with Love


The sun is hot, it is good.  It warms the chill from my bones.  The ice from winter melting into something resembling relaxation.  Awe.  Inspiration.


Yesterday we stopped  in Taos on our way to Espanola.  There were a few sites we wanted to see that we missed on prior trips to New Mexico.  I am standing in front of the (adorably small…I would have been a giant in the 1700’s!) doors of La Hacienda de los Martinez.  A beautiful home built hundreds of years ago with two large courtyards and astoundingly simple beauty.  The kitchen was my favorite with its kiva in the corner, coals taken from it and placed under pots of food to cook, the heat rising to warm the bed above.  The root cellar was a room with a small window the same level as the rest of the house.  No fireplace, no door originally there, just a nice cool adobe room.  This is a picture of the grain room.  Large bins held barley, corn, and wheat.


I am interested in how people lived a hundred, two hundred years ago.  I want to know how they preserved food and avoided the grocery store, how they made yarn, fabric, clothing, rugs.  How did they build their homes to be cool in the summer and warm in the winter?  What a great time to live that we can avoid the harshness of the new frontier, its diseases and horror, but live as simply as our predecessors and employ some of the same techniques to care for our own families.


The art in New Mexico, the landscape, the colors, the history, the culture (something we don’t have too much of back home), the food, the spiritual vibe inspires me.  We had to stop and purchase a small notebook for me to write all of the paintings I want to create and the ideas I have.


Welcome to St. Francis de Asis, our most recent spiritual adventure.  The church itself is breathtaking, as are all the churches there.  Many of my paintings are of these lovely, handcrafted churches.  But this church holds its own gift.  A painting.  Painted 117 years ago, it has baffled scientists and sceptics alike.  There is absolutely no reason why it appears the way it does.  In the light, it looks like a rustic, old painting of Jesus.  The canvas is coming off a little on the bottom, the paint slightly cracked from years of standing solemnly in places all over the world.  When the docent turned the lights out,  it started to take shape.  The background glows, the sea moves, the figure of Jesus is a dark, billowing shadow, in three-dimensional awe.  A large cross is behind him.  Not in the original painting!  We can see the whole painting.  There are no tricks of the eye.  No glow in the dark paint.  No scientific explanation.  And Doug and I stand directly in front of it feeling like we are standing in the room with another figure.  In absolute awe.  Uncomfortable in our inability to process it.  The painting moves the very soul.

miracle painting

Today Pat and Rodney, and their son Mark, who are in Santa Fe for vacation will meet us at Las Golondrinas for a private tour.  More miracle churches, shopping, and delicious fare.  May your day be filled with inspiration!

SAM_0315 (View from our hotel balcony at dawn.)