Monday, June 30, 2014

Taste and See

Today I had lunch at Taste and See, a unique restaurant in Wichita.  The chef is very creative, and he uses recipes from all over the world.  I have only eaten there one other time, and I don't know why - the food is wonderful!

Not only is the food good, its presentation is beautiful! Our three meals looked almost too good to eat.

Karen ordered a salad - chicken cirollo.  The chicken was a mixture of various ingredients, placed on the side of a large lettuce leaf, accompanied by corn cobs and other vegies.  Suze Anne had a different salad - more "salady"but still delicious.  I had a lamb shawarma on pita - about the best shwarma I have ever had.  Plantain chips - my first ever - were fabulous; the tahini sauce tasted SO good; and the lamb was tastily, but not too heavily, spiced.  I would have it again tomorrow.

I originally had planned to have a soup - chupe - from Venezuela, but had the shawarma instead.  But I decided to bring the chupe home for dinner tonight.  What a great choice!  It was so, so, so good.  Too many calories because it has a lot of cream in it, but it was so worth it.  I would eat it tomorrow, too!

Taste and See - my newest favorite restaurant!

Monday, June 23, 2014

New Card Games

When my parents purchased our cabin in 1960, there was a shelf of books under the stairs.  It has remained there.  Zane Grey novels, old Reader's Digest magazines, Coronet magazines, all from the 1940's and 50's.  One of the books - How to Play Canasta - has also been patiently waiting for someone to pick it up.  This past week I did.  For the first time ever.

I had heard Canasta was really hard to play, so I was never interested, but for some reason I decided now is the time to learn it.  So I began to read it and found that it is not that hard to play.  There are a lot of rules to remember - which we sometimes forget and have to refer to the book - but it is a great game for two.  Except when one of those two is Don Norton, who is very good a cards and ruthless too.  I get just enough good cards to make me think I am going to beat him, but he usually wins.

We played every night at the cabin and we now at least understand the game.  And we learned it the old-fashioned way - we read a book!

Then we learned another game - Machiavelli - from Annelle King.  It is an equally fun and challenging game, very similar to a game we play with the Dunlavys and Martis called Rumicube.  Don equates it with chess, as one has to consider many aspects of how the cards go together to win.  I found it equally as fun, and it has many fewer rules to remember.  Not a bad thing for old people!

Friday, June 20, 2014

The Problem With Art

I have thoroughly enjoyed my art classes.  Our teacher, Charles Baughman, said he could teach anyone to draw, and I now believe him.  Some of my creations actually look ike something now.

One of our projects last year was painting on fence boards.  Since Don was taking down our fence, I began to do it and loved it!  The problem is what to do with them.  It is hard to give them to people because they may not like them.  I mailed one to a woman, but the cost of the postage is prohibitive.  I do not feel I can sell them, as I am just learning and do not feel my stuff is good enough for people to buy.

While at the cabin, we replaced the stairs to our porch, so I took the boards and made flowers on them.  I really like how they turned out . . . But what to do with them.  Too big to bring home, won't fit in the cabin . . . So they are currently residing in the barn.

The trouble with art . . . 

Thursday, June 19, 2014

The 60+, Two Mile High Club

On Wednesday, we had a wild hare to hike the mountain behind us.  That is not unusual.  We have done it many times.  Steve, Carol, and Annelle King were with us, and we wanted to see what the burn scar was like high up.  Don and I had gone with the kids a few weeks ago, but we only got about 3/4 of the way up the mountain.  Then it got very steep and we decided not to go.

This time, after we picnicked at the same place where we stopped with the kids, we decided to keep going.  Leaving our backpacks at the picnic spot, we headed up.  Steve decided that it was "mountaintop or bust" and away we went!

The first part was not too hard, but soon we were at the very steep portion, rocks, loose soil, and nothing to hold onto.  There were times we were on all fours, but Carol found the safest way to hike over the final large rock ridge, and 1.5 hours later, we were at the top.

Two old people just hiked a too steep mountain and survived!

We were surprised by a few things.  After summiting the rocks, we ended up in a large meadow.  We had no idea it was so flat!  We found an area that the fire totally missed, which gave us a reminder of what the forest was like pre-fire and how it is now.  How the fire missed this one area is beyond us . . . but I guess that is the way Mother Nature operates.

We were also surprised that we could not see down into Indian Creek.  There were so many trees and so much slash that it was impossible to see beyond the meadow.

Of course, when I looked down at what we had just climbed, I was not about to go down the same way.  Scary, scary.  We walked toward the Pecos until we could find a gentler spot to descend, and then we came back toward the Holy Ghost.  Eventually we came to the backpacks and within a half and hour or so, we were at the cabin . . . hot, thirsty, and filthy with charred dust.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Just Following Orders . . . Or at Least That How It Appears

Last year after the floods in the Pecos, the government came in and erected signs warning travelers of possible hazards.  Flash flood warnings, falling trees warnings, narrow bridge notifications . . . You have seen them before!

As one approaches the Tererro General Store, this is what can be seen.

The exact same sign is erected right in front of its counterpart.  I am sure some lowly worker was told to put the sign up, and rather than argue with the supervisor, just did as he was told.

The frustrations with government are not helped by such stupidity, however.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

High Up, High On the Mountain . . .

When Kenneth, Melinda, and Diana were at the cabin, we decided to try to hike to the top of the hill behind the cabin.  We had never made it all the way to the top because of all of the downed timber, so we wanted to see whether we could this time.

We found the walking much easier.  Without all of the slash on the trees, we had a relatively clear path to the top.  The fire did not change the steep grade, however, and we still had quite a climb.  But, we made it nearly to the top of the hill in record time, despite the fact that Don and I are not exactly fast hikers any more.

About 3/4 of the way up, we noticed most of the aspens had quit sprouting and the only green was one particular plant - I believe a thistle or nettle.  I hate to think of the canyon being overtaken by nettle or thistle, but without it, the ground would wash away.

The kids and aspen trees

We also found a number of very interesting "sculptures" in the trees.  A most fascinating walk!

The top of the mountain

The fire was so hot, it melted this post
The nettle or thistle

A fire sculpture

Monday, June 2, 2014

Interesting Developments

Several days ago I posted about the Alcoa Wrap at the cabin.

Since then I have been trying to determine about how old the box is.  One way was to Google a question about how long ago that amount of aluminum foil sold at the price on the box.  What was the first article that surfaced?  My blog.

And the second?  My blog again.

Yikes!  It did not take long for the results to show up, but I was shocked that my blog was the first and second citation.

What have I learned?  Watch what you write!

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Swarms of Hummers

When my mom first brought a hummingbird feeder to the Pecos, she was told, "Diana, you know there are no hummingbirds here."  Ha!

It wasn't long before we had hummingbirds everywhere.  Over the past few years, however, it seemed as if we did not attract many birds to our feeders.  I thought it was just because we had too much competition from other cabin owners.

The competition may have been a part of it, but perhaps a defective feeder was the other part.  We had noticed that our feeder would get air bubbles.  Once they would go away, the birds would return.  We decided to change bird feeders.  Oh my!  What a difference!

I made a lot of hummingbird food this past trip.  Nearly every day I was brewing a pot or two, far more than I ever have!  And the hummers ate and ate and ate!

The one thing we noticed was that right before dark - about three hours after the sun went down - a swarm of hummers would arrive.  Sometimes we had as many as twelve birds at the same time, all vying for a drink out of one of the four holes.  We think they were "carbo-loading" for the night.  Whatever they were doing, it was noisy, crazy, and fun to watch!