Greetings, Have not posted for awhile. We have been traveling and then the internet in our condo has been out for three days. Our landlord contacted their friend who lives next door who graciously allowed us to link on to her system. We have had a great time with Chat and Jean. Last Saturday we drove to Madrid, about a half hour south of SF. We started with lunch, Cuban sandwiches all around, at Babalu's The French Fries were topped with a sprinkling of green and red chili powder. Yum. Madrid is an old mining town, a biker destination and it likes to think of itself as an art center. A bit of stretch. Year to year the experience is always different, depending on who has opened and who has gone out of business. Never boring and a beautiful drive. Marty and I then did a two day trip with our friend Jim, heading south to visit his brother and wife who live about fifteen minutes from Truth or Consequences. Seriously, they convinced the game show, years ago, to pay them to change their name. His brother has a pecan farm. Nice, interesting people who are trying to reduce their foot print. They have slowly built up their farm, with a variety of outbuildings and added new things, such as chickens and turkeys, to help them be more self sustaining. We stayed in their line shack, about a mile from their home. Wide open views. What is a line shack? A small cabin built on the range to shelter cowboys. You can see how they have reused things and creatively structured a very interesting place to stay. On the way home, we took a slight detour, that being relative when you are in the West. VLA stands for Very Large Array. These are giant radar devices, which not only send out signals to the universe but are also listening for return signals. There are about 27 of them lined up in an open field. You can see tracks in one picture which allow them to be moved and turned. Sorry the gift shop was not nearby as it looked like they had some pretty cool souveniers on line.
The day before the Whitmore's left, the boys played golf and Jean and I took a cooking class. Wow, we both learned a lot, from specifics about the heat of various peppers to how to take care of knives. We are going to do some NM/Southwest cooking this fall and shopped afterwards to see what kinds of things we may need to bring back with us. Last year we brought back five pounds of NM roasted Hatch chiles. Will need more this year. All of Santa Fe will smell like chiles soon, as people roast them in their yards and grocers and restaurants set up roasters in their parking lots. Hatch chiles look like Anaheims, which was germinated from the Hatch seeds, but they have much more flavor and depth. Growing chiles is like growing grapes for wine. Soil is a big factor and so is weather, which can affect their heat from year to year. NM has set up a way of protecting their chiles and categorizing them, just as the French have done with wine. Bon Appetit!