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

~~By NM-GRL

(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.

Waiting…

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

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An Early Season Snowstorm with a Magnificent Reward…(Pics, including an adorable dog, too)

~~By NM-GRL (IA)

Okay, last time I posted it was green chile time…but hectic months stopped me from getting up a couple of ideas…but they will go up!

Today I awoke to our first snow of the season….several weeks early, by my reckoning…and quite a bit more dramatic than usual. It started yesterday afternoon with a nasty, cold rain and overnight it shifted over to snow.

The big deal here is not just getting snow on the ground (although it was already gone from the streets and sidwalks by the time I woke up!).  For me, it is watching the stormy weather clear and getting a clear view of the Organ Mountains and the snow on them!

So, here’s how it unfolded over the last 24 hours:

As you can see, Slick wasn’t particularly interested in getting up this morning! In fact, all the dogs were not going out yesterday and it was a cliffhanger for a couple of them in terms of how long their bladders would hold out. Even Slick rebelled at the cold rain late in the afternoon, although I got him out for about 2 seconds to pee pee.  Toro went out into the backyard, but Tico stayed put in the back of his crate all day until I threw him outside after things cleared today!  He is deathly afraid of storms…we adopted him from the animal shelter in February 2002. He had spent a month with people who had found him in a ditch. He was about 6 months old when we got him, so I figure he was out in some pretty cold, rotten weather as a baby.  So, I can understand his penchant for hiding under the bed, in his crate, and generally refusing to go out at all.

Slick Lingers in (My) Bed

I don’t blame him, because this was going on outside:

It was still snowing in fits and starts...

Fence Peaks

Not Even the Birds Were Out for Their Morning Meal...

Pretty icky for these parts, but sissy weather for back in New Jersey!  But, it’s so fleeting here, that this sort of raw, cold, dreary sort of weather is a shock!

Ah, but then it began to clear…the clouds started rolling away and sun came…and finally, I went out to the back…and…

The Organs Show Off Their Winter Coat...

…At least here there’s a magnificent payoff at the end of the nasty weather!

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

By NM-GRL (IA)

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”:

2009_0831CHILE20090030

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!