Saturday, June 28, 2008

Our Trip to the Big City

On Thursday we went to Albuquerque to visit John's cousins who live there. We had a great visit, and it was fun to get around Albuquerque a little bit. We went to the quilt shop where Barbie works, and it was in the Northeast Heights. From there we went across town to meet the guys at The Flying Star Restaurant on rio Grande Blvd. in the Valley. (It helped that Barbie took the wrong road, so I got to see even a little more of the North Valley.)

Albuquerque has grown since we lived there in 1970; I think it is twice as big now. Parts of the city are somewhat run-down, parts look just like any city anywhere, but there are areas of wonderful homes and southwestern touches that remind you where you are. Great city!

The Flying Star is an interesting restaurant, quite different than the New Mexican restaurants that fill the city. I think I would have preferred a good New Mexican meal, but the food we got was good. (I was informed by the cousins that I was not in a restaurant where people come to eat New Mexican.) So I got a Chicken Oriental Salad and I liked it, but I could have gotten one just like it in Kansas. Next time I ignore the advice and go with the NM Enchilada plate. We sat out on the outdoor patio with large cottonwood trees for shade and it was very relaxing.

Afterwards, Barbie and I browsed through a little paper goods/gift shop, and I bought some exquisite lavender lotion and shampoo from Los Poblanos, right nearby in the ABQ North Valley.

It was a lovely day in the big city.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Santa Fe Greenhouses

We made our first trip on Wednesday to Santa Fe Greenhouses and it won't be our last.

The place is incredible; huge grounds; an extensive inventory of plants, shrubs, vines, bushes, trees, soils and additives, gardening accessories.

My favorite thing was that plants are clearly labeled if they are "xeric" so beginners like me can immediately know what varieties are good to plant in a xeric garden.

Not knowing if it is too late in the season we got only a few plants to baby along through the hot summer; in the fall or next spring we can go more crazy buying plants. We bought two coreopsis, two French lavenders, and one agastache(hummingbird mint).

The coreopsis are my favorite garden flowers (see below); I had good luck with them in Kansas and am anxious to see how they do here. John planted them Wednesday night and said we have the worst soil he has ever seen - rock hard clay, even worse than the caliche in Texas. I guess it is a good thing for us there are desert drought-resistant plants that can develop root systems in this soil.

(Photo from Flickr)

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Our neighbor

This is who apparently is living between our house and the house to the west.

We see him out feeding and jumping around in the mornings. Then he is gone for the rest of the day.

He's a very quiet neighbor.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Desert in bloom

I have never been in New Mexico in June and seen the cactus blooming.

WOW! I never knew the cholla cactus had such brilliant pink blooms!

John took all these pictures on our property:

Monday, June 23, 2008

Waldo Canyon Road

Yesterday we took a ride the length of Waldo Canyon Road, from Cerrillos west to I-25 near La Cienga south of Santa Fe.

What a lovely road through the Cerrillos Hills - just wonderful scenery. The pictures will not do it justice.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

St. Joseph's Catholic Church, Cerrillos, NM

This church was built in 1922, in Cerrillos, New Mexico, on the Turquoise Trail just off NM 14.

Our first month in

Well, we have just completed our first month in New Mexico.

The main focus for the past month has been unpacking all of our belongings and getting the house settled. We are probably about 90% unpacked now, and have found a place for everything. The house looks good.

It’s a great house – open and airy and spacious and very southwestern. It fits our lifestyle very well – and it feels right.

John’s big focus has been adjusting to retirement, realizing that life from now on will be much different than the past 40 years. I know some days he misses his work, but he will learn new ways to fill his life. My own lifestyle has changed a lot as well – from the constant go-go-go of life in Kansas, to a much slower pace.

We are adapting to life here. Because of the high gas prices and the fact that Santa Fe is 12 miles away, it means that trips into town have to be planned out … and we try to go only a couple times a week to do all of our errands.

So far we have stuck to the restaurants which are old favorites. But soon we will branch out to try others on our long list. There is never a lack for good places to eat in Santa Fe – and the problem is deciding which one to go to next!

I’ve been spending a lot of time in the two yards, working on my flowers, and learning what I have there – identifying all the perennials and bushes and trees, watching to see what is going to bloom next. I am amazed all the time at the tenacity and resilience of xeric plants which bloom – thrive even – in this desert climate with little water. Monsoon season is coming soon, and I am anxious for our lawns and gardens to get some water.

Yesterday John hung two hummingbird feeders in trees in our lawns, and we are awaiting our first visitors.

Best parts of the day? Early morning – sitting out on the front portal, drinking my morning coffee and listening the birds chirping – and realizing that other than the birds, everything is quiet here. It is relaxing and rejuvenating.

Other best time of the day – the evening – eating supper out on the portal, then sitting outside with a good book or watching the sun set behind the Jemez Mountains to the west. And listening to the quiet.

I guess the main word for our first month here is: PEACEFUL.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Watching the sky

We need rain. It's in the forecast.

The sky looks promising. We're watching the sky.

We're hoping...

My flowers would love it.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Second Rule of Life in New Mexico:

Watches are optional.

I have not had a watch on in the month we have lived here.

(Photo by Katushiro on Flickr.)

Sunday, June 15, 2008

The First Rule of Life in New Mexico:

Never miss a sunset!

These pictures were taken from our house looking west towards the Jemez Mountains.


Saturday, June 14, 2008

The Friday Farmer's Market at Eldorado

Yesterday was our first visit to the Eldorado Farmer’s Market, which takes place every Friday afternoon from 4:00 – 6:00 p.m. in a parking lot across from the Agora Shopping Center.

Not too many vendors there yet – only half a dozen yesterday. I think there will be many more when the veggie harvest starts coming in. Yesterday we saw lots of herbs, flower and vegetable plants, early lettuce, other salad greens, and radishes, some really huge beautiful tomatoes, eggs, cheese, and even live baby turkeys!

More fun for us was being a part of the crowd – people watching and feeling our beginning ties to the Eldorado community.

Note to selves: next time bring camera.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The little church at Cañoncito, NM

We saw this little church yesterday when we were out driving around. It's just off I-25, in Cañoncito, just west of Glorieta, NM. There were no signs on it, so I don't know if it is still an active church or not. There were some newer gravestones in the churchyard, so apparently parishioners are still being buried there.

I love getting pictures of cool churches, and New Mexico is full of them.

The Eldorado Wilderness

Yesterday John, the dogs and I located all four trailheads of the Eldorado Community Preserve. What a great place!

The Eldorado Community Preserve consists of 4,094 acres of wilderness land adjacent to the subdivision of Eldorado at Santa Fe, and stretching all the way down to Lamy, NM. The land was deeded in perpetuity to the Eldorado Community Improvement Association (ECIA) as long as it is used only as a nature preserve.

One of the best amenities in Eldorado is this wilderness area, which is only for the use of Eldorado residents and our guests. It is a place of natural vegetation and wildlife. There are hiking trails and horse paths. We will be going there often!

The view from Starman's perspective:

Saturday, June 7, 2008

We have a buyer!

After several days of negotiations back and forth, we have agreed with a buyer on terms to sell our house in Kansas.

It was on the market for 17 days, so we feel like that was extremely good based on today's market.

I think we will still hold our breath a little bit and not celebrate too much until we close on July 24. Then we will cheer!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

A season of firsts

Here in a new home in a new state, it seems like everything we are doing is a "first".

First time to go to the local grocery stores (we have Albertson's and Smith's, and so far I like them equally.) First time to see my new endocrinologist as well as my new ophthamologist. First time to pick up prescriptions at the local CVS Pharmacy. Today was my first time to buy any plants in New Mexico - getting ready to start my herb garden. We've seen our first tiny lizard, our first robin, and heard our first mourning dove.

Two days ago we went to the Vista Grande Public Library for the first time. What a good amenity this is right here in Eldorado. It's a small library, but it looks more than sufficient to meet our needs. The building is new and staffed by volunteers from the Eldorado area. It has a small community friendly feeling. I grew up in a tiny town where the library was one of the anchors holding the town together and providing a hangout for local residents. I hope the Vista Grande Public Library will turn out to be like that library of my childhood.


(Photo from Vista Grande Public Library website)

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

The roads to Taos

My son and daughter in law were here to deliver my car from Kansas and spend Memorial Day weekend with us. We took a ride up to Taos to show them the scenery. We went up by way of the low road and back along the high road. They thought the scenery was just gorgeous. I never get tired of the views in this part of the state.

"Looking at this sudden, definite, precise earth form, that towered there so still, I saw something again that I had never noticed in nature.It seemed to me that the mountain was alive, awake, and breathing. That it had its own consciousness. That it knew things .... The mountain seemed to smile and breathe forth an infinitely peaceful, benevelont blessing as the light faded away from it."
~~Mabel Dodge Luhan

"My eyes, and the eyes of all Taoseños, are forever attracted to the mountain. Nobody can travel the valley without centering off to its bold presence. It is the central symbol in our lives to which the eye is always drawn. Some of us may take it for granted, yet in our subconscious it breathes heavily, an exclusively solid shape in the otherwise ever-changing, sometimes ugly, often beautiful, and too often unfortunate landscape through which we travel."
~John Nichols

"Taos is not a city. Taos is not a town. Town is not even a place. Taos is a state of mind and a power center of the universe."
~Taos Mayor Phil Lovato

Monday, June 2, 2008

Moving Day

Our moving in day was Monday, May 19. The moving van could not back up our driveway, so they had to use a UHaul shuttle to transport everything. Long day!

Our large leather reclining sofa was a big problem for the movers. After consulting and trying several things to get it into the house, they finally decided to lift it over the courtyard wall. That worked!


The question now is ... how long will it take us to unpack ALL THIS STUFF?