Thursday, April 15, 2010

I've bought seed futures

The green chilies from my garden last year were disappointing, very weak, but I learned chilies don't like a lot of water. I grew them amongst my herbs and the herbs were lush and wonderful while the chilies flavorless. Sadly, that is about the only space I have for them.

This year, I've enlisted the help of a neighbor with more gardening space and a penchant for my salsa. I also went to the source and invested in seeds from New Mexico. A few years back my sister brought back the best dried ground green chilies I've ever had and now I'm giving the University of New Mexico a chance.

They have lovely names such as Sandia, Big Jim, and Barker Hot. I've also ordered an Ancho Mulato because the flavor of the Ancho interests me. Being new to this I went to the Internet for ideas to germinate my new friends. I chose two ways, soaking the seeds and planting in soil and placing the seeds on a wet paper towel in a plastic bag. Set in a sunny location in my kitchen the bag acted like a mini-greenhouse. Those were the first to sprout and now I've moved them into tiny peat pots to grow a few leaves before I hand them off to my neighbor to plant.

The seeds soaked and planted seem to be doing better as to producing tiny green leaves. I can only imagine lovely green chilies attached to those plant, well, when they get stronger. For now, I am treating them like the infants they are. They get special food and time outdoors in the sunshine, if it's warm enough. I also whisper words of encouragement to their future outcome. Grow Baby, grow!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Yuma, YPG and life in the desert: part three

My sister and brother-out-law scouted a few things to visit before we came and all made for a fun day. A trip through the desert to a silver mining ghost town was made even nicer with blooming wildflowers along the way. That and the air conditioning on the dusty road. The weather was just beautiful and my sister offered to sit with our doggy outside in a sheltered picnic area so we could tour the ghost town. We'd packed our lunch for later and when done poking around the town enjoyed a pleasant picnic.

The Castle Dome Ghost town was an odd collection of weathered original buildings brought together to make appear as a town. The collection of items found in these building was worth the trip. Old everyday items become museum pieces after they've been in the elements and walking through this town gave you quite a good idea of life of a miner in this harsh climate. It wasn't even hot, only in the low 80s, and it seemed unbearable. I can only imaging trying to exist in 125 degree days. The perfect thing about this museum was the ability to handle everything. Paging through a cookbook in one of the houses was charming.

It might be unnecessary to say they lived simply but there was a completeness about what was left behind. The buildings housed a variety of different business opportunities; a bar or three, a mercantile, where you could buy almost everything from dynamite to dresses, hotel, and a few eating establishments, there was even a church and a dressmaker. An information plaque made it known that women had more than one job in this mining town.

On one of our drives we did come upon quite a site; military training for paratroopers. Nothing like young men falling from the sky to brighten your day. Past there was a dingy little town that supports a small lake on the Colorado. Calling it a lake is generous since I think I could swim the length. Oddly, not far from the lake were about seven beautiful mansions. Some on the water but most not. These huge houses and compounds were not old at all, most likely built in the last few years, but it strikes you as out of place to find them here. You are literally miles from anything else and Yuma, more than an hour away down a filling jarring dirt road, where you'd likely have any civilization such as a doctor, would be the closest town. I so wanted to knock on the door and ask them what made them decide this was the place to plunk down a mil or two on a house.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Yuma, YPG and life in the desert: part two

Yuma, the closest city, was 45 minutes away and worth the drive if only to see the Territorial Prison Museum and the Quartermaster Depot. Bonus was a fantastic Mexican restaurant called Mi Rancho. So tiny but so authentic I could hardly wait for our next meal. We had lunch then dinner a few days later. Why are these fantastic restaurants so out of the way?

The boring part of Yuma is you need to drive there to do laundry or buy food. There is a small convenience store about ten minutes from the campground at the Yuma Proving Grounds base. Gas, ice, and a few necessities can be purchased there but anything serious needs to be picked up in Yuma. Their paramedics respond to local emergencies around the YPG base which eased my fear for my sister and her husband. Not that anything is wrong with either one of them but a bumpy 45 minute ride to Yuma with a broken arm would be unbearable.

The good part of Yuma was the prison museum and the park that once was the Quartermaster's Depot. If you thought life was difficult in 1863 in the southwest corner of the US it was even worse if you were a prisoner. Finding a need for a more secure place to keep felons, rapists, bank robbers, and murderers they built this fine prison. What was amazing to me was prisoners did escape from this fortress; but to what? Yuma was a tiny spot on the map, far from an other city, and the rest of the area was a harsh desert devoid of anything except snakes, coyotes, and a few natives. Your only hope to survive was the Colorado and Gila river but even that was wrought with danger. Yuma was built as a depot to move goods from California to all the other godforsaken outposts in the California/Nevada/Arizona territories and needed a steamboat to make the crossing. The Colorado, before us Californios sucked it dry, was a formidable river to cross.

The park that now surrounds what's left of the Quartermaster's Depot is quite lovely. A green expanse of a lawn is a welcome site from the rocks and sand of the desert and sitting on the edge of the river afforded us with a lovely breeze. The Depot was the hub of excitement of it's time and, though the commanding officer's wife was less than happy with her situation, it must have been better than other posts. Her writings complained bitterly of the smell and heat but I'm assuming it had something to do with the Victorian modesty of wearing those hideously hot clothes and high button shoes. And the fact that bathing was not a daily ritual as it is today.

The city of Yuma, growing outwardly from the Depot, is very logical, if not boring, in it's street planning. The streets going east and west are numbered as well as the avenues going north and south starting with Main Street. I'm only assuming some tired little man with a pince nez and a heavy wool coat over a waistcoat came up with that idea for lack of the imagination to create names for the newly burgeoning township of Yuma. It is logical but might cause a bit of confusion to an outsider. Always remember to ask if it's fifth street or avenue.

Yuma also is a huge agricultural area irrigated by the tail-end of the Colorado River and is said to keep most of the US in lettuce. I can attest to the fact they are trying. We drove through lots of fields before getting the Yuma proper.

Part three; coming soon.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Baseball season; it can't come soon enough

There are times when I just can't stand people in general. No one person, just the idiots who seem to make it on the six o'clock news for some ridiculous reason, or cut me off trying to get one stupid car length ahead or, are just plain rude; rude on purpose. To combat this ugly mood I was in I decided to be over patient and kind to folks.

While in a department store a woman nearly knocked me over trying to get her cart in front of me and instead of causing a scene I smiled and commented her choice of Easter decorations. Not my choice but then I hardly decorate for Christmas. "Gee, what a cute rabbit," I said. Her response took way too long and included an inventory of everything she was planning to purchase. Did you know you can actually bite your tongue enough to draw blood? Strike One

My next stop was the market and though I had a small amount in my cart I let the woman behind me, carrying just a few items, go ahead. She was wearing a Dodger jacket and being a fan myself I thought I'd have a little conversation; not my usual thing to do in a market but I was trying. "I bet you'll be glad when the season starts," I said brightly. She frowned at me told me her husband buys crap like this in hopes I go to a game with him but I don't because I hate baseball. Strike Two.

People who know me are well aware I have no trouble with the F-bomb; it just rolls off my tongue but since all the kafuffle over some people in our government using it I thought I'd amend my ways. Now, when forced to swear, I'll be saying things like "What the Joe Biden?"
"Oh, Joe Biden, I broke a nail." or, my favorite, "Get the Joe Biden out of my way. Home Run.