This is the final picture in my set of Anniversary posts and even though it has been fun sharing all this with you I'm very ready now to draw back in and start writing about home and my darling babes again.

It was a tough call deciding the best picture to post as my last, but in the end this one beat out, amongst others, the flamenco dancers in the square and the delicious gourmet food we gorged ouselves upon. Can you believe I actually stopped my husband with his fork poised in mid-air just so that I could take a picture for my blog before he got a bite??? No, he wasn't very happy about it and shifted quite impatiently in his chair while I adjusted my settings and experimented with appropriate angles.

Out in front of a genuine one hundred percent Indian owned Trading Post was this man, delighting passerby as he performed a very lively dance to drum beats and chants projected over a large boom box. Frequently an excited holler or whoop would pierce the air, but for the main part he stomped his feet, leapt in the air and brandished a stick which was decorated on top with a large bird skull, all in the scorching >90 degree heat. Quite brave, if you ask me.

Now my boys would like a costume like this and althought I've got the face paints covered I don't know where on earth I could find that much leather, bone and feathers. Any suggestions?


The Rio Grande Botanic Garden in Albuquerque has a 10 acre working farm complete with plow horses, apple orchards and the most amazing strawberry patch I've ever seen. Chris and I toured devoured the farm during our weekend and it left quite an impression. Since then I admit I've been somewhat distracted. Added among my current stack of reading material is now Barnyard in your Backyard by Gail Damerow and most browsed site of the week would have to be Farmgirl Fare and her accompanying blog Writings from Windridge.

Although I am quite content with the home we have here it has always been my desire to live on a slightly larger piece of property with room to explore the outdoors and space for some proper farm animals. Over the past couple years my husband has also begun to share this dream. Do you also find life becomes so much easier when you and your partner both can work together towards achieving mutual goals?


Since I first began blogging I had been posting three times a week. But this week I've commited to posting every day, and it's kind of strange, this new quiet little end-to-the-day-ritual of a glass of wine and time spent browsing some of my favorite spots.

In Old Town Albuquerque there is a little cobblestone side street. The ancient shops which line its path decorate their doors with chimes and brilliant banners. We walked down this street many times during our weekend and every time I couldn't help but pause and admire this.

What a cute knobbly little stump this is!! I wonder how old it is and how it managed to be twisted into such an odd shape. This is located directly outside a small photo gallery and I can't help imagining that one of the local artists saw it while visiting the gallery, recognized it's potential and added the horns and eyes. Either way it must definitely be
the niftiest bull ever.


Water in the middle of desert is not something to be ignored.
And so Chris and I made our way out to Tingley Beach a group of 5 man-made lakes all set in a nice neat row, one right after the other. It certainly is a far cry from the clear blue tree lined lakes that I have been used to back East, but still there is a certain irresistable peace that comes from sitting by a body of water hearing voices echo across and the gentle breeze that makes it's way nearby. Whether walking along Putnam Pond nestled in the heart of the Adirondack Mountains or sitting by these well organized muddy lakes, I always seem to be making memories along the edges.

And by the way has anybody ever seen a Live Bait vending machine???
I had never heard of these things before this weekend. Quite amazing, actually, in a strange sort of way.


The past couple days as Chris and I celebrated Year Six were refreshing on so many levels.
I will be posting a highlight from our trip and some thoughts every day this week.

First off, the place we stayed.

This little Bed & Breakfast is in the heart of Old Town. Because I tend to be a bit of a B&B snob, having been fortunate enough to stay in a number of excellent spots over the past couple years, I was a little disappointed that it was on a very busy street, and it seemed the house had been poorly refurbished with little detail to authenticity or comfort. However, it was in a very convenient location and provided the perfect springboard for exploring the local flavor of historic Albuquerque.

"Guests of the Bottger Mansion are welcome to park here. Others are welcome to park somewhere else."

And does anybody else find this sign just a little amusing? Maybe it is the wording, that sweet southern charm.


If there is one thing that has really captured Isaac's interest while his grandfather is here it is the carpentry.

My father is a skilled woodworker and he has wasted no time in getting the children involved with his projects. Currently they are building a chicken coop. But when grampy is busy doing other things there is still plenty to be done. Isaac gathers up the wood scraps, the sawdust, the nails and his hammer and spends ages pounding, sifting and sorting.

Chris and I are going out of town for our anniversary tomorrow. Hopefully we will be able to spend some couple time. Not that we need a break from our little darlings so much as we just need quiet time with each other! We'll be staying at what I think may very well be the only Victorian in the entire state of New Mexico. Although I am seriously looking forward to a little quiet and relaxation with him it is starting to look like Pepper may be tagging along after all. She is nine months old and still refuses pretty much everything but the breast.

However, we will see about that tomorrow. Until then, I'll keep planning our wonderful and romantic child-free weekend.


In the mail this week, a sunny package to cheer up a dear friend.

My parents are here visiting us from Virginia for a while, which is why I didn't post at all last week. It is so nice to have them nearby again and my Mom has been hard at work cutting, sewing and brainstorming in an effort to squeeze plenty of projects in for the kids during her stay. If she had her way they would be stocked up with completely new wardrobes, fresh curtains upon the windows and quilts for all.

The kids, of course, have entirely different plans and are constantly chasing parents and grandparents alike with pleas of "Can you play cars with us? Can you read books to us? Can we all play together under the sprinklers?"

Why yes, of course we can! Because that is what time with Grandparents is for.


It has finally arrived!!! After weeks of slobbering, biting and fussing Pepper's first tooth is actually here and we are all very relieved.
Oh my, they really do grow so fast... she has already started on number two!


Since today is the final day of Low Impact Week I thought I'd post our biggest recent lifestyle change. Something that I have always wanted was to have my very own free range chickens. Finally this week we took the plunge and bought 8 little Araucana chicks. They should start laying blue and green eggs sometime around late September and I am so excited! Chez Pim blogged back in January about fresh local eggs and the hens that laid them. She has some gorgeous pictures of her diverse dozen that inspired me to look for this particular breed.

They are very cute and cuddly. I find myself escaping outside to their pen during the day for little moments of peace and relaxation. I sit on the grass and watch them scamper and scratch. I lay on my back and stare at the tree above me as they peep near my head. I think about going out there while I am changing diapers and washing dishes.

These hens should provide us with delicious nutrient rich fresh eggs for most of the next 2-3 years.
After that they can go in the pot and provide us with good food there.
They will make excellent natural pest control in the yard and garden.
They will leave nitrogen rich droppings that can be composted and turned into wonderful dark soil which will go back into the garden, make my plants healthy and attract more bugs for them to eat! It really is a wonderful cycle.
They will also provide hours of entertainment for my homeschooled children and teach them many useful lessons about responsibility, natural sciences and an appreciation for where our food comes from.


As I was thinking this weekend about Low Impact Week and what it means to my family, and myself in particular, I began mentally listing changes we have made over the past couple years to reduce our footprint on the environment.
Here are some practical things we have integrated into our lifestyle. Some of them are big (like choosing a home near the places we frequent in order to be able to ride our bike or walk), some are small. But I think that each choice serves to streamline our vision and clarify our thinking, so that in each decision whether large or small, we are more conscious of the bigger picture around us.

Currently we are:

Using cloth diapers & wipes
Buying biodegradable detergents & cleaners.
Push lawnmower instead of gas driven.
Eating organic/local produce whenever possible.
We make all meals from scratch (not pre-packaged or prepared)
Turn off lights we aren't using.
Only buy what we *need*
No battery operated toys.
Use rechargeable batteries only.
Replacing appliances and bulbs with low energy ones, when needed.
Riding our bike or walking instead of using the car (this includes grocery shopping)
Wearing only natural fibers.
Using cotton bags when shopping.
Not buying garbage bags but instead re-using plastic shopping bags for trash.
Keeping heater as cool as possible in the winter (wearing sweaters when necessary)
No Air Conditioning.
Running a small wholesale natural products co-op to encourage other people in the green lifestyle as well.

I encourage you to evaluate your own lifestyle and see where you can make changes. We live in town on 1/5 of an acre, and yet we find space to garden and do other things that are important to us. You don't need 40 acres to live well. Crunchy Chicken has listed many areas where changes can be made and awareness increased. Good luck!!!


Can you see it? That future juicy sweet plump golden apricot right up there in the left corner?
What you are looking at is the very first of what I am hoping will be a bountiful crop. We did have a couple pretty hard frosts late in the season this year, but after waiting all that time, with only the expectation of, come spring, being able to sink our teeth into delicious fresh fruit to get us through ... you can see the type of pressure that poor tree is under to perform nicely.
And if only you could see our little strawberry patch, green and brimming with blooms, your mouth would surely water.
This is what I love; the expectations and excitement, the two (or three or four) daily walks out to the apricot tree to count how many little green balls we can find hiding amongst the green, green leaves. Watching them grow and form, and the conversations my children make with me about when they will be ready and how they will taste and what delicious foods we can dream up to put them in.

Today marks the beginning of Low Impact Week, bravely organized by Crunchy Chicken . I'll be sharing on Monday what we personally have done to lessen our impact on the environment.
Have a wonderful weekend!