Archive for family

Presumptive resumption

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on October 14, 2012 by bosquechica

Image

Having been gone for almost 18 months from Trees, I hesitate to say I am back. But I find myself thinking about this site fairly often, so here goes.

My mom died on September 27th. My handsome barn cat, Chipper Jones, died about two months ago. We went to Spain in September, for 17 days. I’ve taken to working out 6 days a week, with dramatic improvement in fitness, health, mental, emotional and spiritual balance. I’m leading meditation group(s), and developing meditation and yoga classes for people with neurological disorders, for families of children with autism, and for caregivers and teachers to manage stress. I’m working on the road still, doing rehab therapy with home-bound people from Albuquerque to Santa Fe and points north. It’s still a great job, in spite of the heavy driving and the long days. I learn a lot.

The little farm continues apace. We have had a record year for fruit – apples, pears, plums, apricots and grapes in abundance. We’ve got half grown guinea keets just learning to get along safely outside of their coop. It’s almost November, and yet we haven’t yet lit the heaters, or put the swamp cooler to bed for the year. Tomorrow begins the real first baking of fall. Beef stew, apple pies, extra for friends and family. I made green chile stew on Wednesday, with mild green chiles from Wagner’s here in Corrales, and it was a fine batch. Recipe, perhaps?

All in all, this has been a challenging time for me and for us. The stress of aging parents and aging self carries significant weight. What I see and feel is that taking good care is what keeps me sane and loving. I am fortunate to have the strength, the resources and the support to set myself on this path.

And perhaps to write again here in this little corner of the blogosphere.

Pictured above is a plate of roasted veggies, taken last fall. Inspirational, innit?

Huevos Rancheros like nena used to make

Posted in family, food, recipe, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on May 3, 2011 by bosquechica

Only better. I’ve modified this recipe to suit my own taste. No relatives are allowed to complain about these changes unless they’ve tried it. Consider that either an invitation or a threat.

So. “Huevos Rancheros” is Spanish for “Ranch Eggs”. That’s all. It means different things in different regions, and this version comes from my great-grandmother, Isidra Ybarra y de Valle, of Sabinas Hidalgo in the state of Nuevo Leon, in northern Mexico. I think she made it up, though – per family report, she had no domestic skills at all until the family moved to the United States in 1915 and, apparently, did not bring their cook with them.

Ingredients:

  • 6 tomatoes
  • 1 sweet yellow onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 5 guerito chiles, bottled in vinegar
  • cumin
  • oregano
  • eggs
  • olive oil
  • 4 cups water
  • shredded Mexican cheese (cheddar, jack, asadero blend)

Directions:

In a large skillet, heat oil. Add diced onions and garlic, sautee until clear and soft. Add diced tomatoes, sliced guerito chiles. Cook on medium heat for about five minutes. Pour some of the liquid from the bottle of gueritos into the skillet, add four cups of water. Bring to a full boil, then reduce to a medium heat. Add cumin and oregano. Reduce to a fresh vegetable soup consistency – brothy and chunky, but not thick! When your kitchen is steamy and smells of chiles and vinegar, drop the eggs in the broth and poach them. Spoon the warm broth, the tomatoes and chiles over the eggs to seal in the heat while poaching. Turn gently once for a fully poached egg white.

Heat corn tortillas in skillet. When warm and soft, place tortilla(s) in a pasta bowl, spoon the eggs and huevos over the tortillas. Top with cheese, and pour the rest of the soup over the eggs.

 This is a very spicy version of Huevos Rancheros; the gueritos are sharp and quite delicious, if you like heat and you like vinegar. They can be found in many grocery stores in the Mexican food section or sometimes in the condiments aisle.

The changes I’ve made have included taking the time to reduce the broth, and the cheese is an addition that complements the chiles and restrains the heat just slightly. For some reason, my mom has always served this with rye krisps instead of tortillas. This makes no sense to me, and I can’t imagine what she was thinking. Corn tortillas – that’s the way it ought to be done. This recipe makes 2-4 servings.

Try it, let me know what you think. I assume I will not be sent to family recipe hell for my changes, or at least not for long.

Salud!

Welcome back

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on April 23, 2010 by bosquechica

This Sunday the Corrales Grower’s Market resumes. My yard is greening, the lilacs, tulips and grape hyacinth are in bloom. The apple tree is bright white.

Now that spring is more than just a date, I am ready to resume talking about life, about food, about the little farm (such as it is) and the challenges of living both as an urban professional and a weekend farmer.

Look for new recipes, announcements of new arrivals, and a little commentary about life in the world at large.

My grandparents

Posted in family, history, life, life-n-death, marriage, true story, writing practice with tags , , , , , , , , , , on May 13, 2009 by bosquechica

My grandfather had a thin mustache, my grandmother good legs. My grandparents spoke Spanish and English and a little Italian but the Italian was not sincere. My grandparents smoked and went to theatre and galleries and lived in Texas and Mexico and Colorado and New Mexico and Canada and California and then back to New Mexico where they lived for most of their elderly years. My grandparents were runaways and liars, and cheated on each other for as long as they were young and could get away with it. My grandparents were married for 70 years, but divorced for 10 of those. My grandparents had smooth beautiful voices and liked books, and vino tinto, and chile, and they used olive oil to keep their feet smooth and soft, and they drove very big cars and voted Republican in the 80s but were socialist in the 30s, and they planted corn in their backyard with the great grand children, and they walked in the Organ Mountains looking for a place to scatter their ashes, and that’s where they are now, in an arroyo in southern New Mexico, on their way down to the gulf of Mexico by way of flash floods and monsoons, however long that might take.

This was a 5-minute writing practice in group this Monday. Got some great photos, but not the ooomph to scan them right this second. I’ll add in a separate post.

Whisky sachet

Posted in family, personal history, writing practice with tags , , , , , , , , on October 14, 2008 by bosquechica

I’m going to take you out behind the woodpile and whup your sorry ass.

 

That’s a likely quote from an old grand-dad. Or maybe it was from an episode of Hee-Haw or The Beverly Hillbillies.

My grand-dad on my mother’s side died before I ever remembered him. Other than his soft belly and his light white summer shirt. I can see his cotton undershirt underneath. Wife beater, that’s what those are called. I don’t know any other name for them. My mother calls him “my daddy,” even now, when she is almost 80. She had the perfect childhood, she says. Her mama and daddy divorced when she was in high school. That was in Fort Worth, Texas. She filed for divorce based on repeated infidelity.

My grandmother’s second husband, Howard, was a broad-faced Cherokee railroad man who looked like a bulldog. He drank whisky, smoked cigars, and carried a wad of money in a silver money belt. He hid whisky bottles everywhere he went. He took us out and spent crazy wild money on all of us. He drove us down long Texas highways going on big adventures, weaving all over hell and gone. He bought us roast beef sandwiches that we were too queasy to eat. He scared the bejesus out of us. He told dirty stories to us. He showed us his WWII playing cards with the pictures of naked ladies on them. He sang songs and smiled all across his face, from ear to ear. He scrambled eggs with chorizo for us, whenever he was able to get out of bed in the morning. Truthfully, I never could see my grandmom with Howard there entertaining us, weaving and falling around like a drunk in a Disney ride.

I’m eleven and Howard and Mary are visiting. They are sleeping in my room. Where am I sleeping? I don’t know, I don’t remember. I just remember road trips and whisky bottles, and whisky bottles under my bed and in my closet after they left, and whisky bottles and weaving on the Pacific Coast Highway, and spare ribs and macaroni, and whisky bottles under the front seat, and snoring. Big, loud snoring, and my room with its dusty rose Victorian wallpaper and old oak bedroom set, and the smell of whisky lingering for weeks afterward. A drunken sachet.

Marshmallow Creme Sandwich on Wonder Bread

Posted in home, how to, life, personal history, recipe, this-n-that with tags , , , , , , , on July 10, 2008 by bosquechica

  

When I was a kid, I had a friend named Kitty. She was Dutch, and had a glass eye. This worked in favor of our friendship, since I was slightly funny looking too, but mostly okay in the ways that count when you are a kid. I think her mom must have worked outside the home, because when I went to her house after school a few times, it was always just the two of us. This was Kitty’s favorite after-school snack:

  • 2 slices Wonder Bread
  • Marshmallow Creme
  • Miracle Whip
  • Sprinkles

How to prepare: Take one slice of bread, spread first with Miracle Whip, then with Marshmallow Creme. Cover with sprinkles. Put second slice on top. Squish flat. Wash down with chocolate milk.

I wonder if this was a mom-sanctioned snack. I can’t imagine that it was. I can say for sure that it was a memorable recipe, if nothing else.

How to eat like a millionaire

Posted in family, food, garden, home, how to, nice things, recipe, seasonal, this-n-that, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on July 9, 2008 by bosquechica

Wow, I love this headline.

I’ll interview all my millionaire friends and let you know. Back soon.

Well, first of all, they tell me billionaire is the new millionaire, so I’m going to raise the bar.

Second — I was thinking it must be all about eco-friendly, sustainable, local food. Rich folk are locavores this week, right? Here’s the food-for-the-rich scenario as I had imagined it (turns out to have been entirely wrong):

“I’ll have my au pair drive to the farmer’s market to buy all the freshest just picked vegetables – the lettuces, the leeks and onions, the rainbow chard, the homemade pies, the early baby creamer potatoes, the hand-salted goat cheese. It can be a lesson in sustainable farming for my seven-year-old. Truffles dug up by my yard man’s farmer friend Joe. Corn and raspberries are hand-picked and delivered to my home weekly.”

As I looked into it, I realized actually that’s how I eat, and I am not a millionaire. Or billionaire. Plus, I don’t have kids, an au pair or a yard man. Wish I did – at least a concierge or something.

How do the very wealthy eat? I did some light reading, and this is what I found. Let’s go look at some of the finest restaurants in the most expensive cities in the world:

According to selected menu items listed in the SPellegrino 50 Best Restaurants in the World, the very wealthy might be eating at this very moment:

Snail Porridge
Bacon and Egg Ice Cream
Warm lettuce hearts soaked in vanilla brine
Sheep’s milk curd seasoned with hay and toasted fern
Beef roasted with the embers of vine cuttings
“Macaroni and Cheese” (butter-poached Maine lobster with mascarpone-enriched Orzo Pasta)
“Oyster and pearls” (a sabayon of tapioca with Island Creek Oysters and White Sturgeon Caviar)

This convinces me that I am not a billionaire. However, thanks to the beautiful farmer’s market in the small village where I live, I do eat like a millionaire of home-grown tastes. Very sensible of me. Only without the yard guy or the au pair.

With that in mind, here is a recipe for your basic pasta primavera:

Pasta Primavera

Ingredients:
Pasta
assorted fresh spring vegetables
goat cheese 
herbs de provence:

Preparation:
Set your pasta water on to boil. Prep your vegetables – chunky or thin sliced, as you prefer.

This is what we had yesterday:

  • Onion
    Garlic
    Yellow bell pepper
    Yellow squash
    Zucchini
    Fresh oregano
    Herbs de provence – chervil, rosemary, savory, lavendar, tarragon, marjoram, mint (variations are common)
    Goat cheese

Sautee onions and garlic in olive oil at a medium-high temperature. When these are soft and clear, add each vegetable in turn. Denser vegetables first. Don’t abuse your vegetables by mashing them about with a spatula or boiling them to death. Add a generous splash of vermouth or white wine. 

Drain your pasta and dress lightly with oil or butter.

Plate the pasta, sprinkle an ounce or slightly more of goat cheese on it. Spoon the sauteed vegetables on top of all that. Add salt and pepper.

Serve hot, with a glass of chilled white wine. Have some while you are cooking, too, if it seems advisable.
Light mixed green salad on the side.

Life can be relatively easy, can’t it?

Wee babies

Posted in family, goose talk, home, life, nice things, pets with tags , , , on July 8, 2008 by bosquechica
Goslings in a basket

Goslings in a basket

Here are the goslings I brought home from a feed store last week. They are half grown already, but in this photo they are still peeping fuzzballs, sitting in a laundry basket on a rug in the kitchen.

We’ve named them Abelard and Heloise. Pointers for new farmers: don’t name your goslings until it’s clear that they are strong and likely to survive. They are fragile when first hatched.

They’ve more than doubled their size since then. Today, they chewed on my shoes, ran around the coop flapping their short awkward wings, and made whooping sounds that sounded a lot like adolescent giggles.

Their favorite food right now is grass. Stomped upon. See green carpaccio for more on that.

Summer fruit in Tuaca

Posted in chickens, community, family, farm, food, garden, geese and guineas, how to, nice things, recipe, seasonal with tags , , , , , , , , on July 6, 2008 by bosquechica
melon boat

melon boat

Choose a variety of ripe summer melons:

Cantaloupe
Watermelon
Honeydew
Crenshaw

Add some other fruits:
Strawberries
Grapes
Cherries

Other ingredients:
Tuaca
Fresh mint
Juice

Cut one watermelon lengthwise in half to be a melon boat.

Using a melon baller, make a colorful selection of balls. Place in melon boat. Slice and add your other fruits. Add juice (orange, mango,  or watermelon) and a small amount of Tuaca (or Triple Sec, the usual choice), just enough to enhance the flavor of the fruit. Chop the fresh mint and sprinkle on top. Serve chilled in small bowls, on your patio, with your family and friends at a weekend barbecue. Save some for brunch on Sunday morning. Give the melon rinds and other fruit scraps to your geese and chickens!

Uh-oh, it’s July already

Posted in bird talk, chickens, family, farm, geese and guineas, home, life, nice things, this-n-that with tags , , , , , , , , on July 2, 2008 by bosquechica

Well, the chicks, guinea keets and goslings are all peep-peeping in their new coops. The grown geese and ganders are standing guard. All is secured. The goslings grow inches overnight. They are two weeks old — the guinea keets and the chicks were just hatched Tuesday. About the size of a golf ball right now. 

I’ve made a commitment to blog every day in July. Maybe twice today will catch me up?

The topic on nablopomo (huh?) dang – let me get back to you on that, with link – anyway, for the month of July, is food.

 

who eats who

I can write about food. No problema, chicos y chicas. I can write about food chains, about predators, about bechemel, making a proper roux, about grilling fish, about what chickens eat. Ah — a starting point!

Today: food for hatchling chicks

Ingredients:
Starter scratch
Water

Preparation:
You’ll need tiny little watering jars, usually a standard mason jar with a lid that has a specially designed lip to provide water for the peeps. Fill the jar with water and turn it over. chick watererIt must be teeny-tiny or new-hatched chicks will fall in and drown. Do not assume instinct will inform them. It does not.

Notice:
Keep hatchlings separate from your other birds. They need more heat and protection. They are easily stomped to death, and are prone to die with very little provocation in those first few days.

Next:
You will also need little feeding dishes, also made with mason jars and chick designed lids. You can buy these at your neighborhood feed store. They will also sell you incubator lights and guide books on how to raise chicklets. Now, if you live in a city, don’t assume that you can’t have chickens. In most cities, hens are fine, but roosters are not. You can order your chicks sexed (funny job, that), online or through your feedstore, and even hens who do not have roosters will lay eggs every spring. They will also eat bugs and provide manure that can be used in your garden (another topic for another day).

Pics of chicks as things evolve.

I’ve got a new job and a bunch of other stuff too, but for now, think about baby birds. Peep-peep!

Goslings from the cacklehatchery.com gallery!