Posted at 9:01 am , on October 15, 2019
It’s that time of year again!! Every year on the first weekend of October the Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque takes flight with 9 days of colorful balloons. Balloons of every shape and color imaginable fill the skies over our city. We were rookies last year and didn’t know what to expect. This year we planned ahead and everything fell into place for the best experience we’ve ever had! First, we decided to skip the weekend mass ascension and instead went on Wednesday for the Flight of the Nations event. This event recognizes the International balloons that participate in the fiesta as they carry their nations flags while lifting up into the skies. We found lighter crowds than on the weekends and almost as many balloons that took to the skies representing International countries, states, colleges, many shaped balloons plus any and all colors of the rainbow that you can imagine. We got up early and were out the door at 4:30 a.m. to head to the balloon field. We are approximately 6 miles away but you never know how traffic is going to be. We’ve heard horror stories of long lines, taking over an hour to park only to find that parking is already full. Not the case on this day. We were parked and inside the park a little after 5 a.m. Inside the park there are numerous places to get coffee, hot chocolate and breakfast burritos plus several tents filled with arts and crafts to walk through and pass the time. The “Dawn Patrol” begins between 5:45 and 6 a.m.. In the morning before dawn about a dozen balloons will begin to inflate. As they fire their burners, the balloons will appear to glow in the dark. One of the crew members told us that this year they were going to lift off in unison for the first time, normally they would go a few at a time. By accident we just happened to get to the Dawn Patrol balloons as they were laying them out on the ground. We watched them go through the process and had a front row view. I have never been to see the Dawn Patrol or a Balloon Glow evening event before. It’s hard to find the words to describe how beautiful it is as they glow and twinkle. If that were the only thing to see I would have gone away happy. But I hope you will scroll down and enjoy the rest of the morning as dawn breaks and balloons all around us ascend into the beautiful NM skies. Maybe you will be inspired to come to the balloon fiesta next year.
Posted at 1:50 pm , on October 8, 2019
Joe and I first tasted prickly pear jelly and syrup at the Downtown Growers Market here in Albuquerque. They were passing out samples and I loved it at first taste. You will find prickly pear cactus plants in most neighborhoods here in Albuquerque, I thought surely I would be able to find the ripened fruit in a local fruit market but so far I haven’t found any. My niece offered me the fruit aka “tuna” off her cactus and I happily took her up on her offer. So Joe and I went over with gloves and tongs and picked two bags full. It was about 6 pounds of raw fruit and made just over 6 cups of juice. I wasn’t exactly sure how to prep them but knew that the prickly splinters aka “glochids” needed to be removed. We have a small weed burner that we used to burn off the glochids. As Joe was burning them off we noticed that the fruit reacted like a roasted chile with the fruit blistering and the outer skin separating from the fruit. At that point I decided to steam them like a chile to see if that would make peeling them easier. I placed them in 3 bowls with tight lids and refrigerated them overnight. The next morning I set up my kitchen to work up the fruit. I sliced them in half and scooped out the fruit like you would an avocado. It was so easy and in no time I had a big bowl of prickly pear fruit ready to process. I pureed the fruit in a blender and strained the pulp to remove the seeds. Then I ladled the juice into 1/2 pint jars. With this juice you can make any number of things from jelly and syrup to candy or sorbet. I’ve even found pies and cheesecakes that have been flavored with this sweet nectar. I went into this as an experiment and found it a tasty adventure. This year I made jelly and syrup but next time I may try something more adventurous.
Posted at 10:31 am , on October 4, 2019
Another unique place to visit within the Gila Wilderness is the Catwalk National Recreation Trail. Just a few miles northeast of Glenwood, NM, this area is rich in mining history when in the 1890’s an ore processing plant was built. Water was needed for the plant and a steel pipeline was built to draw water from the Whitewater Canyon. They built a walkway of wooden planks through the canyon but the processing plant only lasted about 10 years. In the 1930’s the Civilian Conservation Corps rebuilt the walkway which is used as a recreational trail today. Beyond the Catwalk are more rugged trails leading into the Gila Wilderness. We had planned to go a bit further on these trails but they were closed for renovations. Another time perhaps. However, we so enjoyed the walk along the Catwalk which was approximately a 2 mile walk round trip. It’s a beautifully hidden gem that I’ve always wanted to explore. We walked the trail in the early morning when it was relatively quiet and very few people to share the trail. It was so peaceful with the cool, comfortable temperatures with only the sounds of water flowing and the birds chirping. Fall is a wonderful time of year to explore New Mexico!
Posted at 11:27 am , on October 1, 2019
Recently Joe and I took a couple days to go hiking and see the sights in the Gila Wilderness area which is located in southwest New Mexico near Silver City. Normally one would think, southwest New Mexico, hmmm . . . hot, desert, less vegetation. In fact there are several national forest areas in this region with mountains, rolling hills and valleys dotted with various pine trees, cedar trees and wild flowers. The temperature naturally feels a bit cooler in the mountains and it makes for an enjoyable hike. Silver City was a boomtown during the 1880’s as a mining community where they mined silver, gold, copper, lead and zinc. Today Silver City is still a small community and small college town, home to Western New Mexico University. The community has renovated the downtown area with local artists showcasing their art in the little shops as well as restaurants and antique consignment shops. It’s a great place to walk and visit with the locals as well as shop for unique finds that you might not find anywhere else. On Saturday morning we headed north of Silver City to the Gila Cliff Dwellings. We began a moderate hike along a trail that leads to a cave in the distance. As you get closer can see the long standing dwelling that was believed to be built by the Anasazi or Mogollon people in or around 1280’s. It’s an astounding sight to see and gives you a sense of how the people of that time lived and survived. I found it amazing that these cliff dwellings are so well preserved after so many centuries have passed. Hope you enjoy our little hike through history.
Posted at 10:06 am , on September 10, 2019
Welcome to my kitchen! After 3 1/2 month’s of demo, patience and a lot of hard work we finally have the kitchen we dreamed of. I have to give my husband Joe so much credit, he took my ideas and made it a reality. When we moved from Kansas back to New Mexico we both had our own visions of what we wanted in a home. He wanted a space to store his tools and an area for woodworking projects and I wanted an open kitchen. And we both wanted a view of the mountains. Well we got two out of three. My kitchen was big enough but wasn’t open by any means. The kitchen in Kansas was small but was organized and designed to be functional. Everything was in reach and it was easy to prepare and cook in my tiny kitchen. The kitchen in Albuquerque was not functional at all, at least not for me. I rearranged things time after time and couldn’t find a way to make it flow. So we decided to take 6 month’s to find out what worked and what didn’t work in order to design a work area with ample storage space. We started just before Memorial day and finished up on Labor day. After a few days spent moving back in and organizing things, I’m ready to get back in the kitchen!
Posted at 12:03 pm , on May 31, 2019
Three Rivers Petroglyph is located in the Southern Central part of New Mexico between Carrizozo and Tularosa. It is rare to find such a location where you can hike so close and walk among the rock carvings. There are many sites in New Mexico that have petroglyphs, in fact Joe and I live near several trails where you can hike and find many petroglyph drawings right here in Albuquerque. We enjoy getting out to walk the trails and are always excited to find something new that we’ve missed on a previous hike. Three Rivers is a treasure in that there are more than 20,000 known petroglyph drawings clustered in a this small area. You can see many of them along two trails that lead you through a 1 mile hike. It is one of the great wonders of the Southwest. Some of the drawings depict birds, humans, animals, fish, insects and plants, as well as numerous geometric and abstract designs. Some are faded and hard to make out what they are while others are still quite vivid and easy to determine what they were trying to convey. I’ve always loved to explore the petroglyphs and try to interpret the story native people left behind for us. We had a great day and made a large loop from Carrizozo to Tularosa and through Ruidoso Downs, and up to Hondo where we visted the Hondo Iris Farm. The drive takes you some of the most beautiful scenery of mountains and valleys. Hondo was our turn around point as we headed back north through Lincoln National Forest where Smokey the Bear was rescued in 1950 and now buried. For anyone who loves the history of the Southwest and Native American people who resided here, Three Rivers is an amazing place to visit.
Posted at 11:06 am , on May 24, 2019
Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument is located just over an hour north of Albuquerque near the Cochiti Pueblo. Kasha-Katuwe meaning “white cliffs” is a natural formation of weathering and erosion that forms these rocks that resemble cones or tents. The slot canyon trail is approximately 1.5 miles one way and will climb in elevation to lookout over the canyon where you can view the tent rocks from above. The climb can be challenging at times but well worth the effort. The view from above is hard to describe as anything other than wonderous. Other than the wind, which is a given in NM, the weather was quite beautiful, low 70’s with mostly sunshine and blue skies. We took our time and tried to take in every moment and of course I took way too many pictures. Follow along on our tour from the bottom of the canyon to the top and back down again. Maybe you will be inspired to visit one day!
Posted at 11:12 am , on April 19, 2019
I have an ever growing bucket list of things to see and do in New Mexico. It’s coming up on one year since we moved back to the Land of Enchantment and we haven’t been disappointed one bit. My home state is full of beauty whether it be the colorful landscapes or vivacious sunsets. We are diverse in culture and within those cultures have some of the most artistic souls. Every corner of the state has something to offer. Even in my own backyard I am in in awe of the nature all around us. A pair of roadrunners visit each day as they go back and forth hunting and making their nest. We also see quail, hawks, black crows and even a coyote that have roamed through the yard. The coyote was a bit close for comfort but I was in awe nonetheless. Last weekend we went to the Albuquerque Botanical Gardens and Aquarium. It was a first for Joe and I, it opened in 1996 when we were in our third year of Kansas life. Now that I’ve experienced it, I can say that it doesn’t disappoint, in fact it surpassed my expectations. The ABQ Bio park is a magnificent place and I can’t wait to check out the rest of the park which includes the ABQ Zoo. I hope to go back to the gardens every season as the colors change and new flowers begin to bloom. Take a walk with us as we explore the trails of the ABQ Botanical Gardens. This is the Spring edition!
Posted at 8:56 am , on October 16, 2018
It’s Balloon Fiesta time y’all! If you haven’t seen video or pictures of the past weeks festivities, I’ve got you covered. I haven’t been to a Mass Ascension since 1995, wow has it been that long! It’s much different and at the same time much the same as it was all those years ago. It’s a magical experience to walk among the balloons as they are stretched across a huge field in anticipation of launching around 550 hot air balloons. Whoever choreographed this is brilliant with so many balloons to manage among huge crowds of people. As they begin to inflate and take shape you will see them float upward in a choreographed wave. We arrived on opening day, later than we anticipated after a 2 hour wait in line to catch a bus out to the balloon field. But we were luckier than some who never made it out to the field at all. It was disappointing to see that more than half the balloons had already launched by the time we were dropped off and made our way onto the field. We had to wind our way through a virtual wall of people all trying to see the last wave of balloons. Everyone wanted to capture the magic in photos. While we were saddened in missing some of the earlier events we did manage to see some extraordinary balloons and had a wonderful time. We will be back, but next time we will plan better and get there earlier. Next time we will arrive to see the Dawn Patrol as they ascend before first light and watch them glow through the early morning air. Next time we will take more photos. Next time can’t come soon enough!!
Posted at 11:23 am , on July 17, 2018
Welcome to New Mexico! We are now officially back in the Land of Enchantment. We packed up our belongings in Kansas and moved back to NM in May. It took a few weeks to find the perfect home but are now settled into a beautiful pueblo style home on the West side of Albuquerque. On any given morning we are blessed with hot air balloons to greet us, sometimes they are so close we can almost touch them. Joe and I have gone to several farmer’s markets around the city, artist and craft fairs in Santa Fe and a memorable day with my sister Kat at the Vintage Market days where many things from the past were re-purposed into something new. This past weekend we enjoyed a day trip to the Purple Adobe Lavender Festival in Abiquiu, NM. Afterwards we ventured a little further up the road to Ghost Ranch where Georgia O’keeffe made her home and painted so many beautiful landscapes. The area around Abiquiu and Ghost Ranch is referred to as Georgia O’keeffe Country. The land is rugged and full of color. I can see the inspiration behind her beautifully painted landscapes. We had the most gorgeous day. The skies were a beautiful blue with massive clouds in the horizon. As we drove home the skies turned an even darker blue and rained over the mountains. It followed us home and shortly after we arrived the skies opened up and poured. It was a day I will always remember. It feels good to be home!