Thursday, April 29, 2010

On the road...

We head out tomorrow for a nice long drive across the United States. If you missed why, you can read that post here. We accidentally packed our card reader so we can't upload any photos for a while showing you our 27' Uhaul plus car hauler. Wow - it's pretty crazy big. We requested a 17' and got bumped to this unit. Gas prices will hurt us, but the switch gave us an extra day to pack and made for much easier packing....not too much Tetrus work. All things considered, this move came together very nicely. Oklahoma is our plan for tomorrow so farewell New Mexico! As many of you know, this state enchants us (hence our moving here two times!) but we feel really good about our destination.

As Barbara Kingsolver says:

"Every one of us is called upon, perhaps many times, to start a new life. A frightening diagnosis, a marriage, a move, loss of a job...And onward full-tilt we go, pitched and wrecked and absurdly resolute, driven in spite of everything to make good on a new shore. To be hopeful, to embrace one possibility after another--that is surely the basic instinct...Crying out: High tide! Time to move out into the glorious debris. Time to take this life for what it is."

(High Tide in Tucson: Essays from Now or Never)

Till we are settled friends...

Monday, April 26, 2010

More Guadalupe Mountains Fun

Higher-than-"normal" precipitation in the Guadaulpe Mountains has resulted in high spring-time streamflow in McKittrick Canyon, one of our favorite place here:

Debris in the trees indicates the high water mark:

Deep and varied green cloak the landscape:

The trail was calling!

The wet spring means flowers - and that was the main theme of the day (besides migrating warblers and butterflies)...

Purple Gromwell (Lithospermum multiflorum - Borage Family)

Bowl Flax (Linum rigidum, Flax family):

Unknown Butterweed (Senecio sp., Aster family):

Lyreleaf Greeneyes (Berlandiera lyrata, Aster Family):

Utah Serviceberry (Amelanchier utahensis, Rose Family):

Unknown plant growing out of limestone cliff:

Fendler Penstemon (Penstemon fendleri, Snapdragon Family):

Baby Aster (Chaettopappa ericoides, Aster Family):

Blue Bowls (Gilia rigidula, Phlox Family):

Iconic Ponderosa Pine (the most widespread pine in the west) with limestone peak backdrop:

Steve and Jennifer at the end of another great day in the great outdoors:

Thursday, April 22, 2010

A New (to us) Milkweed

While wandering through the whimsical, bouldery Walnut Canyon over the past few weeks...

...Steve has been lucky to see a great flower show (here are just a few):

Of particular interest was a little guy that, at first, resembled a seedling shrub oak....

...but on closer examination was determined to be...

...a great new (to us) milkweed!!! This one is Zizotes Milkweed (Asclepias oenotherioides). "Zizotes" means "skin sores" in Spanish and refers to the general toxicity of plants in this genus. Always plenty of reason to "take only picture and leave only footprints."


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Moving Again!

I started packing boxes yesterday. I lasted for about one hour and then laid down to read, exhausted. This moving thing isn't our favorite activity, but what the moving means - that we are excited about. Steve accepted a position with The Nature Conservancy Ohio two days ago as their Conservation Volunteer Coordinator. It's a super great position for him requiring field and office time with a nonprofit that's doing great things in the conservation world.

We're excited for this permanent full time job, to be closer to family and living close to a city (Columbus) with so much going on. Another little house with some land is in our hearts and on our minds, but we will most likely start in an extended stay hotel or something of that nature. Don't you think the cats will love that scenario? We will be back in the midwest by mid-May and look forward to a bit of gardening - somewhere, somehow. We dream of next year at this time where we will reside in the same place and will be on schedule for our desired massive vegetable garden. I keep thinking of long hot summer nights in the kitchen putting away some tart cherries as jam or tomatoes as sauce. Yep, really exotic activities that get my mind whirring.

Our Etsy shop will reopen as soon as we get to Ohio so if you are looking for soap watch our blog mid-May for the shop opening announcement.

We will be in Carlsbad for another 2 weeks or so and will post updates on our hiking & packing adventures. Fun times!

Monday, April 19, 2010

What to do with an old calendar: Kitchen Banner!

We loved the 2009 Seeds of Change calendar and didn't want to just recycle it so we upcycled it....this time for a festive kitchen banner. See what you think:

So, how did we make it?

1. Obtain calendar and rip out pages.
2. Hold two pages together (back side to back side) and cut into your desired shape.
3. Use a glue stick and glue the two sides together, keeping the edge alignment in place.
4. Hang up a string and use clothespins to hang your pictures!

Let us know if you make something similar. We would love to see pictures!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

3000 Miles

It's been a wild week! Our silence is due to our absence from home...check out Jennifer's sister's post here for a peak at what we've been up to. We will be back this week with more blog posts. Have a great weekend everyone!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

The Little Garden That Could

Our little apartment side yard served us well last summer and continues to delight us as spring continues here in Carlsbad.

The Calendula is flowering...

...the sunflowers are cranking along....

...Peas are reaching to the sky...

...beets and herbs are sinking deeper roots...

...the greens that we planted last fall are still providing us with great salads...

...the Chamomile is out of control (in a good way!)...

...and Lemon Balm is soon to flower...

The wonders of soil, water, sun and seeds (not matter how seemingly small the space)!!!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

More spring flowers

Time is flying and we are spending as much time as possible outdoors. We'll take more garden photographs to share this weekend. Here's a few more Chihuahuan Desert spring bloom pictures for today:

Torrey Yucca (Yucca treculeana) - Agavaceae

Purple Groundcherry (Quincula lobata) - Solanaceae

Rose Heath (Chaetopappa ericoides) - Asteraceae

Shaggy Stenandrium (Stenandrium barbatum) - Acanthaceae

Stemless Evening Primrose (Oenothera triloba) - Onagraceae

Woolly Desert Marigold (Baileya pleniradiata) - Asteraceae

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Southern Prairie Lizard

Check out this cool looking lizard! While resting in the shade on our hike this past weekend, this small lizard ran up a rock and onto a yucca just a few feet in front of us. He did many pushups for us and watched us warily, but allowed Steve to take a couple of photographs. According to our friend John Roe this guy is most likely a Southern Prairie Lizard (Sceloporus undulatus consobrinus).

Monday, April 5, 2010

Bugs & Blooms

The color in the Chihuahuan desert is stunning right now. We received significant rainfall this past winter no doubt contributing to this great show. This past weekend we hiked at Carlsbad Caverns National Park up the Guano Trail and back down through a sunny canyon. As we identify plants and insects we will share more. Here's a snippet.

No identification on these cacti and we won't try without a flower, but the colors are extraordinary:

Claret Cup Cacti

Everybody loves these!

Algerita - the flowers emit the most intoxicating fragrance; often we smell an algerita before we see the plant.

Jennifer checking out one of these caterpillars. They were everywhere on this hike! (Ephedra, Javelina Bush, Little Leaf Sumac, etc.)

Nice expansive views up top...

Mexican Buckeye - the bees love, love, love this plant. We weren't fast enough with our camera to capture their driven flight and nectaring.

Add ImageMarine Blue on Mescal Bean. The flowers smell like grapes!

Hatched praying mantis case:

Tiny Checkerspot - many of these butterflies flitted about the canyon we hiked down. Elada Checkerspots may have been mixed in.

What fun! More soon...