Saturday, March 29, 2008

Computer Repairs, Gardening and Much Needed Rest

This week was spent doing many things so very different from my usual routine. It was spring break in this part of the country, and I had a week off from teaching. It was also a week of limited access to the internet community - our primary computer was being repaired. I've missed blogging, but the blogging life is not the center of my existence either.

I spent a lot of time in my little organic garden. Vegetable growing is one of my hobbies. The southern New Mexico climate (zone 9) permits the planting of summer crops earlier than most region. My readers from the cooler climes will be surprised to know that my tomatoes and peppers are planted and thriving. (Early Girl, Beefsteak, Heatwave, California Wonder and Big Jim chile peppers!) Today, if all goes well, I'll be planting green beans, yellow summer squash and zucchini.

I planted my spring crops in January - several varieties of lettuce, spinach, radishes, peas, potatoes (red potatoes from the store that had sprouted) and turnips. We are harvesting the lettuce now. The radishes should start bulbing out soon. The peas are not blooming yet and the turnips look healthy. I forgot to mention my red onions. They did not get planted until about a week ago, but I could not find good onion sets until then. (I still have some yellow onion sets to plant today as well!)

My little herb garden contains rosemary, spearmint (good thing it's in a contained raised bed), basil and coriander.

As my garden is fairly small, I use a modified version of Square Foot Gardening to maximize yield. Vegetable prices are high nowadays, and whatever I can do to help keep our food costs down and provide healthy food for my family is a bonus!

The biggest expense of gardening in the desert southwest is the cost of water. I like to use a lot of mulch to retain moisture in the garden, and I spot water my plants and use a soaker hose to target watering. How I wish we had a grey water system to recycle laundry, sink and bath/shower water! Such a system is high on my wish list if we were to move from here.

Interested in organic gardening? My favorite resources are the "Mother Earth News" and "Organic Gardening" magazines. Yes, yes, I'm a political conservative who reads "Mother Earth News"! I believe in responsible stewardship of our natural resources, and have NEVER believed the "Progressives" and "Liberals" have had a corner on the market of environmental responsibility!

There are two days left of this blessed spring break, and then I go back to the very busy life of teaching choir at one of our local schools. Large group festival is looming, as well as our spring concert and other opportunities for my honor choir to sing.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Taste of India

My dear husband and I wanted to eat something different after our very busy work week. I convinced him to try the Taste of India. We were not disappointed!

Taste of India has a wide variety of dishes, both vegetarian and non-vegetarian. All their meats are kosher, and they have a tandoori oven in the kitchen.

My husband tried the Tandoori Combination Platter, and I enjoyed the Non-vegetarian platter (carnivores are we!) Our waiter gave us the choice of mild, medium or hot for our dishes. My dear husband choose the very hot as he has a cast iron stomach (or at least claims to) while I chose medium. The combinations platters included chicken and lamb. The curries were delicious and creamy and a homemade cheese was part of the dish. We enjoyed a condiment made up of home grown mint, jalapeno and, we think, cucumber.

If you come at lunch, there is a rich buffet prepared, and you can choose whatever you want to eat.

If you are in Las Cruces and want to try something different than the ubiquitous Mexican fare, try A Taste of India. Here is the address and phone number:

Taste of India
1001 E University
Ste F3
Las Cruces, NM 88012
(505) 532-1700

Sunday, March 9, 2008

The Engine Behind Change

Mike Huckabee is no longer officially running for President (although if McCain were to have some problem with his health or other issues and needed to drop out, the convention would be brokered and all candidates would be back on the table.)

Despite the withdrawal of Huckabee from the presidential race, the energy behind his supporters has not waned - merely been redirected. HucksArmy is still a viable force on the political scene. This time, though, their energy will be turned toward supporting those candidates who share Huckabee's values. A new group has formed as well - the F3 Coalition - an action site based on Huckabee's slogan FAITH, FAMILY, FREEDOM.

These forums are worth looking at, and , if you want to get involved, please sign up. A change needs to be made in the Republican party as it continues to drift away from its base. Conservatives are about ready to say, like Reagan said of the Democrats - "I didn't leave the party, the party left me."