2011 – A Photo Review

Happy New Year! It’s that time when we dust off our desks, focus on the future and decide where 2012 will take us. I find it helpful to consider the year that I’m closing out but not so much that it limits my invention of the year to come. What worked well? What didn’t? What will I commit to do in the year to come?  Here’s a glimpse into our 2011.

Gratitude to My Friends and Readers


Tidings of Joy

There are some who find it difficult to celebrate Christmas in the desert. The lack of snow, constant sunshine and cactus tax their childhood visions of sugarplums and pines. So is this a Christmas post or just coincidental? I invite debate. It began months ago. In my desire to engage locally,  I was exploring an opportunity called Donors Choose. Their focus is education – something our family believes can be an essential determinative in quality of life.

Christmas on a Desert Hike


Tammy’s Top Ten (t3 report) Holiday Ideas

I won’t say that I’m doing all ten of these this year. In fact, I’m not. But given that I have a 15 year old, it does mean that I’ve assembled a relatively fruitful portfolio of things that we’ve done during the holidays. I hope one or more of them will stimulate a fun idea for you.



Saving Thyme

A couple of years ago, I transplanted the thyme growing in my garden to the small patio just outside my kitchen. It was a purely selfish move saving me a few steps when I was cooking and needed a few sprigs.

Thyme on the Patio


Kitchen Tradition

Every now and then I hear a story about the secret code of ancestral DNA and how it shapes our being and I’m fascinated. There are sad tales of sickness and addictions handed down through the generations, remarkable stories of exceptional talent running deeply through a family line and quirky bits where relatives separated by years or lineage learn that they share a common habit or interest.

A Kitchen Tradition



Some scholars believe that the first use of the term Pot-luck appears in the work of an Elizabethan poet named Thomas Nashe. While that might be true, given that his fame was largely driven by his erotic poetry, I hesitate to consider what Pot-luck may have meant to Nashe. Instead, I favor the Irish and the sense of a communal meal where friends and neighbors brought whatever ingredients they had to place into the one pot – hence, the food they enjoyed was literally the luck of the pot.


Green Washing & Washing Greens

The grocery store on our corner is part of a national chain yet the cloth banner that beats in the breeze makes claims of local produce inside. I believe they do have local produce but I have little confidence that it came directly from local production. I suspect that despite it’s nearby habitat, the produce went from here to some distant warehouse and back again.

flicker.com.cc.2.0 jenorton


Ask a Fool

“When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” This quote by Wayne Dyer perfectly describes my Sudoku prowess. After agonizing over one of the most difficult, I often walk away for a few minutes, come back, turn the puzzle upside down, and am able to finish it off.  It also describes my latest eggplant strategy.

Coming to the End of the Season


Awaken Your Inner-Nutella

“Whoever invented this has a straight shot into heaven for making so many people happy.” Those are words from my teenaged son as he sat with a spoon and a jar of Nutella. The “this” was in fact, the Nutella.

Nutella and the Attainment of Heaven


There’s an Autumn Chile in the Air

Here in the Southwest, autumn sets in with a peculiar scent. It’s smoky but not unpleasant and if you’ve experienced it before, it’s certain to bring a smile. This is the smell of roasting chiles – stronger as you approach the New Mexican border but lingering in the parking lots of every Latino grocery and festival. The roaster stands hard at work, sweat on his brow as he throws back an iced horchata. One gallon ziploc bags are sold out everywhere.

Anaheim Chiles from Desert Roots CSA