ROBINS!!! March 23, 2023…

A blustery Thursday, March 23, 2023…

About midday…the first robins of the season on their way north! They stop every year. A few years ago there was a pair that lingered for a summer, a winter, and another summer…but that was a rare event. Growing up in New Jersey, robins were nothing special…but here…they are VERY SPECIAL to me now!!!


January 2023 Garden Update … Hosted by Bruiser!

It’s mid-January and the garden is beginning to wind down. As the days are getting longer, plants are beginning to go to seed…Chinese cabbage, collards, in particular.

However…hints of Spring are already showing up…the little buds of the Autumn Joy sedums are beginning to peak through!

Here’s the video tour that is also posted on Youtube on my Secretariat Girl channel.

A Look at My Southern New Mexico Winter Garden–December 12, 2021

This video is also up at Youtube!

Winter gardening in Southern New Mexico is my favorite type of gardening! I eat all winter out of the garden…and beyond…

Chasca Aces Her Vet Visit! (September 8, 2021)

Chasca went in for her pre-winter sleep physical on September 8, 2021. She got a full exam and is very healthy!

Heart, weight, lymph nodes, ears, eyes…all in tip top condition!

The vet, Dr. Cook, has tortoises so knows about them as well as desert box turtles like Chasca.

Right now, Chasca is digging around places as she gets ready to disappear until next April or most likely May/early June, 2022.

A report on her day getting ready to go to the vet is up on Youtube now:

I have also posted a short take on a “side trip” she took when we stopped at Best Buy before going home!

The Goddess was a big hit with her admirers…yes, she did observe the COVID measures being taken in the store.

Inspecting the sanitation station at Best Buy…

I can’t believe it’s almost time to leave for the upcoming winter months and the next chilly spring…

Spring 2021: Turtles, the Kentucky Derby and Winx on My Mind

All winter I grew my greens and picked the “bunch of the day.” But it’s been touch and go the last few weeks while waiting for our full warm up…windy, raw, overcast…through it all, I nursed my seedling indoors, hardened them off outside and then started the work of getting them into pots and into the ground.

A few days ago we had a rain and I peeked under the new burrow I had constructed last spring for Chasca, my desert box turtle, and I saw part of the side of her shell glistening..I literally jumped for joy! She’s made it through another winter! Then, she was gone again, back buried under the soil. Turtles will sometimes appear after a rain or even during a warm February day, but Chasca wasn’t ready. Today, I can see her again at the back of her burrow with part of her shell visible! The nighttime temperatures will begin to rise and it won’t be so chilly in the mornings and today’s warmth in the 80’s will bring stability to my favorite reptile. Today is also the first day I saw a “big mama” lizard out, so Chasca will be officially out in the world soon! I can’t wait!

The Kentucky Derby is now in the record books and for once, Mine That Bird was mentioned, even to the extent that there were clips of his 2009 Derby win, his New Mexico people and the trailer they used to drive him to Kentucky.  There were more stories about the horses and the history of the race instead of the endless stream of personalities and cast members of NBC shows who have usually cluttered up the broadcast in the past.

Winx, of course, came to mind when we were told that “turf runners never win going wide” after exactly that happened in one of the turf races on Kentucky Oaks day.  REALLY? Winx ran wide nearly all the time and she won 33 straight times doing it that way on turf!

It’s already two years ago that she ran her last race on April 19, 2019.  She lost her first foal, which was stillborn, in October 2020 and there’s been no news about future breeding plans.  In March, the owner who named her passed away.  Richard Treweeke died at age 90.  As he told the story, “She’s out of Vegas Showgirl and if you have been to Vegas and watched the showgirls, they might flash some skin and the blokes will give them a wink. Try putting that in print!”

Happier Winx news was made when a statue was unveiled at Rosehill Gardens, her home track in early March of 2021. At 110% her actual size, it is situated so that it is the first thing visitors see when the enter the track.


Winx with Hugh Bowman in the saddle by Sculptor Tanya Bartlett

While she was racing, she may not have been the most perfect looking thoroughbred.  It’s like her front end is out of balance with her back end. Her backside slopes down.  People who know more than I know said she has terrible feet. 

She didn’t care.  She raced until she was almost 8 years old. She ran. A lot. And she won. A lot.


The Preakness will be soon, Chasca will be roaming the yard any moment now, and we’ll be looking to see what Winx does next. It’s a good start to Spring 2021!!

Fly Away Robin, Fly…Toward Spring! UPDATE 1X (new pic)


(Cross-posted from InsightAnalytical)

UPDATE   March 15, 2010

Robins faked me out….after being gone for several days….they were all back this morning hanging out!  This time I counted about 16…and got a pic of a large group frolicking in the bath!  I have no idea where they went off to…they must be floating around the area rather than sitting in my yard all day!  Still wondering why they are still here–unless the weather is cool enough for them and they also think further north isn’t so great yet!


Things have been very busy here, what with my trying to learn how to invest in the stock market with some new efforts at self-education and Slick’s bout with the vet-dentist and 10 days of tracking multiple meds.  He finished everything and his follow-up on Friday gave him the all clear, but he will have to have his teeth cleaned every year from now on.

When I came up for air on Friday, I noticed something curious.  A small flock of robins, about 12 in all that had been hanging around my yard, were suddenly gone.

Here in southern New Mexico, robins usually have come through the city lower down in the valley by the end of January, which is much more lush and a bit warmer. In past years we’ve seen a few up here (we’re maybe 1,000 higher in elevation) but most stay down lower and all pass through the area within a few days as they continue heading north.  We have had a couple up here that have overwintered in the arroyo over the last few years, but this year was not one of them.

So, it was quite surprising to see the robins appear in late February (instead of  January) and stay…and stay…and stay in the arroyo and my backyard!

A Robin Indulges…

At times about 6 robins at a time were crowded into the birdbath partying all at once!

This character was simply adorble…

Now it may not be such a big deal to most people up north, but down here this is a big deal for me.  Coming from New Jersey, I was used to seeing robins all the time but it’s so exciting to see them hanging out in my yard, which they never have done before.  But this is an El Niño year, so odd things happen!

So heads up, they’re heading your way up to all of you way up north!

Another odd sight I haven’t seen that often is this:  the peach blossoms open (way too early as usual in February), and snow on the Organ Mountains at the same time:

Peaches and Snow...

Meanwhile, this is the first spring that I’m using the porch that we enclosed last summer.  It’s doing exactly what I wanted it to do, housing all my plants in preparation for planting.  I buy “doubles” of plants and split them to get 2 for the price of one!  Several varieties of tomatoes, including a new one for me called “Solar Fire” which supposedly can take the heat, Ichiban eggplant, and basil which I still have to split, are all waiting patiently for things to get a bit warmer.   Now, I just have see if I can get pimiento peppers, my favorite for growing in these parts.


The geraniums started blooming well over a month ago and continue to look wonderful as we wait for official spring on March 20!

Oh, The Heck With It All…It’s GREEN CHILE TIME!


Things have been so incredibly busy here that my blogging at both of the sites has been slowed in the last week or so. Also, I’m in one of those moods where I just can’t stand politics anymore!  But, the one bright spot?  CHILE!!  To be specific, Hatch ORGANIC green chile peppers, roasted, rushed home, and stashed for the next year!

If you’ve never seen how it’s done, here are a few pics of what happened on Tuesday (9/1/2009) in my kitchen…

First, I went down to the co-op, Mountain View Market, with my receipt for my pre-paid chile and waited for a few moments as the attendant fired up the chile roaster.  Within about 5 minutes, wonderful aromas wafted through the air as my 25-lbs. of  peppers were tossed over the flame. When the roaster stopped, the peppers came down the chute into their box, now lined with a plastic bag.

I rushed home and began getting them ready for the freezer. In past years, I’ve spent a long time peeling the skins off the peppers, but this year, on the advice of regular visitor “ea” I just popped them into bags.  Funny, for the first time I also ran into someone while we were watching the roasting who also said that it was easier not to peel them until use.  So, here’s how things unfolded:

First, here’s the box they came in…direct from Hatch, NM, our local “chile capital”:


Here’s a picture of what the chiles looked like as I opened the bag/box when I got home:

Chiles ready to go...

Here are a couple of roasted chiles, close-up:

Roasted chiles with charred skins...

Of course, highly specialized tools are needed to process these beauties!!  I get 10 bags at a time opened and ready, then use a gloved hand to pick up about 6 oz. of chiles.  That portion size yielded 55 bags of chile for the freezer, to allow for 52 weeks of chile plus a few spare bags to make sure we have enough until the next roasting day next year.  I still have a few bags of last year’s peppers that we have to finish off before we start on the new batch.

You’ll notice a straw…since I don’t have a vacuum sealer and won’t get one (way too expensive!), I simply close the bag around the straw, suck in hard, then pull the straw out quickly and seal up the last small section of the bag. Voila!  A pretty good vacuum seal!

Tools of the chile trade...
Tools of the chile trade…

Finally, here’s a shot of some of the bagged chile ready to go into the freezer!

Packages of joy...
Packages of joy…

Just before I closed up the box to throw it out, I fished around the line and lo and behold!  a few errant chiles hiding in the corners!  I popped them into a bag and that was it!

Another year of good eating lies ahead–always something to look forward to!  I usually open up a bag on Sunday morning, then have another day of chile later in the week.

I have to say, as a transplant from New Jersey, I had no idea that I could become so hooked on green chile.  But, am I glad I picked up on this New Mexico tradition.  It’s just plain delicious!!


Related site:

New Mexico Chile

Last year’s report:

Exhausted….from GREEN CHILE!

Saturday Sanity: The Antidote to the Madness (May 16, 2009) Cactus in Bloom! Gorgeous!rtw

~~By NM-GRL (IA)

Temperatures are heating up…we went into the 90’s then it cooled and today I caught a sign saying 95.  So…summer is on its way!

Which means the desert plants are starting to come into full flower.  Before I moved here I didn’t realize how wonderful cactus plants could be when they bloomed!

But before I get to some pictures from my house, I have to report on the squirrels. One is particularly bold, heading onto our back porch a mere couple of feet from my back door!  The same guy, I think, was caught on my little “couch” (actually a storage unit) picking up corn that had spilled from the containers I use to fill the feeders.  Today, I caught one at the side of the yard and I’m betting he’ll be at the pomegranate, which is not starting to form flower buds. (Last year, a squirrel nibbled on those.)  The squirrel contingent has devoured petunias and I bought a few more hanging containers for portulacas and cardinal creeper vines, whose red flowers are also a tasty treat. Meanwhile, in the veggie garden, a squirrel has nipped at the sweet potato plants!!!  And, I found a big, unripe peach half eaten!

This is getting nasty!  I’m seriously thinking of getting an electrified fence around the vegetables at this point!

This weekend I should start bagging the grapes, which are now the size of peas…the work never ends!!

At least the cactus flowers aren’t being eaten!!!!  So enjoy!  These pics were taken over the the course of a few days, so they are in chronological order…

First, we have a few from 5/8:

Here is a cholla. I picked up a small section and planted this myself a few years ago and now it’s HUGE!

Cholla budding...

Cholla budding...

A bee wallows in the yellow flower on this cactus:

Bee in pollen...

Bee in pollen...

Another version of a yellow flower, but with a splash of red!

Red and yellow flowers in full glory...

Red and yellow flowers in full glory...

A couple of days later I took this picture with the cholla bursting into bloom:

Cholla blooming...

Cholla blooming...

Cactus Flowers

Cactus Flowers

The next day on 5/11:

A cactus pad full of flowers...

A cactus pad full of flowers...

Finally, a shot of the ocotillo now leafed out and the cholla:


Except for the ocotillo which we had planted by a nursery, all the cactus have grown from a single pad that I stuck in the ground.  Needless to say, I’m extremely please with the results!!

P.S.–that long “stick” on the left is the base that hold up my longwire antenna that brings in my shortwave radio signals!