Monday, January 31, 2005
ALBUQUERQUE CONVENTION CENTER--My daughter attended the Hispano Chamber of Commerce Ball last weekend. While she partied into the night, MaryAnn and Yours Truly, Johnny_Mango got to babysit grandson Robby. We took him to Yanni's where we were joined by Carol and Mike Moye. He feasted on souvlaki and a bag of goldfish. Then back to the house for the Scary Saturday Nite Sleepover on the Discovery Kids channel.
Here, in her gown with accessories, is my daughter: Simone Sofia Armijo Knudsen. We love you Simone!
Sunday, January 30, 2005
Yale & Kathryn SE--Rolling up on a fire is one of the scariest things ever. You never know what you are going to find. This fire was at La Vida Nueva Apartments. I thought that these were city-owned units, but apparently they are not. They are, nevertheless, low-income housing.
Saturday, January 29, 2005
How it all Began
Seed Savers Exchange was founded in 1975 by Diane and Kent Whealy, after her terminally-ill grandfather gave them the seeds of two garden plants, Grandpa Ott's Morning Glory and German Pink Tomato, that his parents brought from Bavaria when they immigrated to St. Lucas, Iowa in the 1870s.
Seed Savers Exchange is a nonprofit organization that saves and shares the heirloom seeds of our garden heritage, forming a living legacy that can be passed down through generations. When people grow and save seeds, they join an ancient tradition as stewards, nurturing our diverse, fragile, genetic and cultural heritage.
Compare the above statement with the alarming article that follows. I have seen the Seed Saver's catalog. It does make for fascinating reading. They go into the history of every seed they carry!
Monsanto Sues Over Piracy Issues After Radically Altering Farming With Single-Season Seeds
The Associated Press
SAN FRANCISCO Jan 13, 2005 — Monsanto Co.'s "seed police" snared soy farmer Homan McFarling in 1999, and the company is demanding he pay it hundreds of thousands of dollars for alleged technology piracy. McFarling's sin? He saved seed from one harvest and replanted it the following season, a revered and ancient agricultural practice.
"My daddy saved seed. I saved seed," said McFarling, 62, who still grows soy on the 5,000 acre family farm in Shannon, Miss. and is fighting the agribusiness giant in court.
Saving Monsanto's seeds, genetically engineered to kill bugs and resist weed sprays, violates provisions of the company's contracts with farmers.
Since 1997, Monsanto has filed similar lawsuits 90 times in 25 states against 147 farmers and 39 agriculture companies, according to a report issued Thursday by The Center for Food Safety, a biotechnology foe.
In a similar case a year ago, Tennessee farmer Kem Ralph was sued by Monsanto and sentenced to eight months in prison after he was caught lying about a truckload of cotton seed he hid for a friend.
Further down in the article one finds this incredible statement:
Some 85 percent of the nation's soy crop is genetically engineered to resist Monsanto's herbicide Roundup, a trait many farmers say makes it easier to weed their fields and ultimately cheaper to grow their crops.So it turns out that one of the BIG dangers of using genetically engineered crops is that it allows farmers to spray them with Round Up. My God.
NORTH VALLEY--Evelyn Loose nee Wing was born in 1910. This picture was taken when she was 18. What a beauty. She was voted Best Looking Brunette, Best Looking Blonde, and Best Legs. I wonder how that worked. She is no longer a brunette or a blonde...and I haven't seen her legs, but what a beautiful person (inside and out).
Still pretty as her picture, Evelyn Loose celebrated her 95th birthday with friends Friday afternoon. Almost everybody from my china painting class was there. Evelyn still attends the class, although arthritis in her hands makes painting impossible. She just loves the people there. So do I.
What a wonderful get-together here in Evelyn's north valley home. We have a perfectly composed scene, except for my jacket hung over the back of the chair. There were 11 women and Yours Truly, Johnny_Mango. We played two party games: Guess What's In the Bag, and Who Am I? Donna Dolittle won the Guess What's In the Bag. I actually won Who Am I. I was Eleanor Roosevelt. A luncheon followed the games. A visit to the goats followed the luncheon.
Thursday, January 27, 2005
NOB HILL--Boy did it rain today. Just ask these two pigeons, trying to dry out, perched on the gas meters in front of the Nob Hill Barber Shop. What kind of downpour did these two get caught in? Whatever it was, it left them unable to fly any higher than 2 feet off the ground. They face the wall probably out of embarrassment. Remember, my wet warblers, my soaked squabs, this too shall pass.
Wednesday, January 26, 2005
NOB HILL--It was foretold at the Counter of Time that something big was ready to pop out of the oven. Maybe a cake...maybe meatloaf...maybe a God. Nobody knew. But when your number is up, your future is now. Thus were the stories that began to circulate among the tables in the temple. You have to be careful about serving up a God. For instance, how hot is too hot? How gorgeous is too gorgeous? There are different opinions. At any rate, nobody was ready for the bearded son of a nail pounder.
They strung Him up on a cross between two thieves. They looked pretty much alike, but apparently a lot more people paid attention to the one in the middle. People later said he actually was going to transform himself into a kind of spiritual energy. No one has that kind of power, most thought.
Good News! He really didn't die! He was kidding! But nobody seemed to believe that story. At least it wasn't carried in any of the journals of the time. However, about 60 years later, some people (who weren't actually witnesses to the events) did write about it and their adventures.
At any rate, the people who were listening to those inner voices thought that they were a little bit clearer in the head than everybody else. The other people said, "Well that's only your opinion." That must have made the listeners mad because they made a major effort to get everybody to hear voices. It is sort of like the difference between the two guys in "Sideways." One guy spent hours talking about a fleeting momentary sensation...they other guy just drank the stuff and said it was pretty damn good. Well, some people said life itself was pretty damn good, and the others said, "No, you just don't get it!"
"Getting it" came to mean that nobody gets to rest until everybody "gets it." And the world became a battleground and has to remain thus until all the creatures of earth with opposable thumbs agree on the little voices thing. And a kind of evolution did take place..so now and forever more the people of the Christian nations feel themselves caught between the worlds of good and evil, of light and darkness, of having to choose what God really wants on that hotdog of His: catsup or mustard.
And now it comes to this...we will kill...yes we will kill in that War of Condiments, and our sunny, mustard souls are splattered with the catsup colored blood of heathens. Who will pay the bill for THAT one?
Monday, January 24, 2005
NOB HILL--Time to use that cold frame and plant some seeds! Yesterday I planted beets, snow peas, carrots, chard, radishes, and winter lettuce. I got these seeds from three sources:
- Pika generously gave me six different varieties of seeds from her own personal stock. We sure looked funny in the Flying Star sorting out these tiny tiny things and folding them up in pieces of a paper menu. Thanks Pika. This sort of spontaneous offering goes right along with your blog...so positive, so alive, so ardent in your quest for the best seed.
- Bob Evans, my Tuesday/Thursday riding partner gave me some snow peas and borrowed my chard! Now this particular variety of chard is called "Bright Lights." Pika said it was so beautiful that in Chicago they planted it in the median of Michigan Avenue! "The Magnificent Mile, for crying out loud." It has gorgeous red stems and bright green leaves.
- Pinetree Seeds is a wonderful CHEAP place to buy all kinds of seeds and things. They carry a lot of heirloom and "open polinating" varieties as well as hybrids. Let me quote from their catalog regarding "Bright Lights" chard:
94. BRIGHT LIGHTS (50 days)
A 1998 All-America Award Winner. Bright Lights is almost neon in appearance and has been the talk of our trial gardens. The leaves are green, moderately savoyed with veins of vibrant color, red, orange, or yellow running through them. The contrast is outstanding. Use young raw leaves in a salad (30 days) or briefly cook mature leaves (50 days) to maintain their color. If started indoors 5-6 weeks before setting out they can be planted by color for effect in an ornamental edible garden. Developed by Johnny’s Selected Seeds.
Sunday, January 23, 2005
LOS LUNAS--Mike and Carol and MaryAnn and Yours Truly, Johnny_Mango went out to the Luna Mansion tonight. Sorry to have missed the AFC Championship game, but that lopsided Patriot victory could not compare with our great evening. And speaking of contests, I was involved in an epic struggle with two catfish filets. I won.
Great food, reasonable prices, and wonderful ambiance were what we found at the Luna Mansion in Los Lunas. Total cost of dinner for two (Mansion Mexican plate and two Cajun grilled catfish filets) with coffee and a shared dessert was $35 plus tip. It was the best catfish I have had in New Mexico.
SMITH'S ON YALE AND COAL SE--Though good food is to be found at the grocery store, it doesn't seem to pay to promote it. They always try hardest to sell you what you don't need. Here potato chips, Pepsi, Coke, and cookies compete for your attention. The end of every aisle was like this: PILES OF JUNK. Remember, in these times when we are all attacked by corporations and unresponsive leaders, "Don't Buy Crap!"
The article concludes with Kooser's poem "Selecting a Reader." This is a very interesting article and well worth taking the time to read it. I would be excited to see Kooser come to Albuquerque this year for a reading. Maybe we could find someone to put it on.
NOB HILL--Update on the Raised Beds post. For less than $10 and some stuff hanging around in the backyard, MaryAnn and I made this coldframe to fit over one of the beds. We're still experimenting with it but it does look promising.
Thursday, January 20, 2005
- I don't like to eat vegetables all that much. However, once I grew carrots (a food that had gagged me since childhood) and found that my home-grown carrots were delicious. I think that if I grow the veggies, I might eat more of them.
- If you grow your own, you know exactly how they were grown. More and more, our food is grown god knows where and looks so beautiful in the supermarket you know they did something funny to it to keep the insects at bay and to help them grow. At any rate you know it isn't organic.
We decided to put in raised beds. We raised them a lot: 2 feet. This is because I have trouble with my knees and getting up and down is difficult. Also, raised beds waste less space because you don't need rows to walk among your plants. I figure it doubles the yield. Of course I could be figuring wrong.
We made the beds out of roughcut lumber: 2x12's. Roughcut lumber is cheaper, stronger, and looks better than kiln-dried lumber. But it can be a little green when you get it. In that case stack it up so air can get to it and go watch TV for a couple of weeks. The cheapest place to get it is Adobe Building Supply. After cutting the lumber prior to assembly I sealed each piece all around with a sealer from Olympic. This necessitated my using plastic to line the beds, but I figured it was worth it. I could be wrong.
I put the beds together with 3 inch exterior screws. They worked fine, but you do need to clamp the wood pieces together sometimes for a tight fit.
The dirt I got from Barelas Landscaping Materials in the south valley. They were the cheapest at $16 per yard plus a delivery charge of $40. There are three suppliers of topsoil located almost right next to each other on Bates Rd. SW. You should visit them before you buy.
Here is how to use a pipe clamp to hold two stubborn pieces of wood together when there is nothing to grab onto with the other end of your clamp. Screw in a cleat. This is real easy as well as necessary because the threads on the screws hold the wood pieces apart if they are not drawn tight. A second or third screw will not help tighten them.
Because I treated all sides of the wood before assembling the beds, I felt it was necessary to line them with black plastic. A 3 foot wide roll was perfect. I used a staple gun to tack down the plastic inside as well as the outside flaps to keep the wind from blowing them around while I worked.
I finished the top off with 2x4's. Using a sureform to knock off the sharp edges made everything a little safer my our grandson as well as our own tender bottoms. A pipe clamp was used to hold the pieces together while I screwed them into place. A pipe clamp is really a necessary tool when using screws with roughcut lumber. Screws aren't strong enough to draw two pieces of wood together tight; you need to clamp them first. The staples were removed form the flaps of the plastic, the plastic folded up over the 2x4's and cut off under the outside lip.
The raised beds form a maze in the backyard that has confused my dog. But I was careful in using graph paper for planning. Everything fit like it was supposed to, and the aisles between the beds are plenty wide. Wide enough for a cart or wagon, but not quite wide enough for my wheelbarrow. MaryAnn and I will start planting early vegetables before the end of the month. These would include carrots, radishes, chard, and snow peas.
Wednesday, January 19, 2005
I actually think he is taking prozac. Really. He acts so disconnected from things that should evoke an emotional response, like the tsunami. Like 911. Like war. He walks around as if in a daze.
Tomorrow is Not One Damn Dime Day. Usually you would find me drinking coffee in the Flying Star. Not tomorrow. MaryAnn and Yours Truly, Johnny_Mango will be brewing lots of coffee at our house. And serving those day-old muffins from the basket at La Montanita Co-op. Free. Most of our Flying Star coffee drinking team buddies will be here. You are also invited. We will open at 7:00AM. If you are need morning coffee in a public place, consider dropping by. Email me and I'll give you directions.
Tuesday, January 18, 2005
The Bird Below Is an American Kestrel...Not a Red-Tailed Hawk ...Which Makes the Story Even More Amazing
Monday, January 17, 2005
SOUTH VALLEY BIKE TRAIL--This baby red-tailed hawk lay in the diversion channel next to the bike trail. It was hurt and flopped away. It was unable to fly because of a broken wing. How this little raptor came to such grief is unknown, but overhead are several high-power electrical lines.
The broken pillar of the wing jags from the clotted shoulder,
The wing trails like a banner in defeat,
No more to use the sky forever but live with famine
And pain a few days: cat nor coyote
Will shorten the week of waiting for death,
there is game without talons.
He stands under the oak-bush and waits
The lame feet of salvation; at night he remembers freedom
And flies in a dream, the dawns ruin it.
He is strong and pain is worse to the strong,
incapacity is worse.
The curs of the day come and torment him
At distance, no one but death the redeemer will humble that head,
The intrepid readiness, the terrible eyes.
The wild God of the world is sometimes merciful to those
That ask mercy, not often to the arrogant.
You do not know him, you communal people,
or you have forgotten him;
Intemperate and savage, the hawk remembers him;
Beautiful and wild, the hawks, and men that are dying,
I'd sooner, except the penalties, kill a man than a hawk;
but the great redtail
Had nothing left but unable misery
From the bone too shattered for mending,
the wing that trailed under his talons when he moved.
We had fed him six weeks, I gave him freedom,
He wandered over the foreland hill and returned in the evening,
asking for death,
Not like a beggar, still eyed with the old
Implacable arrogance. I gave him the lead gift in the twilight.
What fell was relaxed,
Owl-downy, soft feminine feathers; but what
Soared: the fierce rush: the night-herons by the flooded river cried fear at its rising
Before it was quite unsheathed from reality.
by Robinson Jeffers
NORTH VALLEY--MaryAnn blinks, but David R. Johnson and Harvena Richter seem wide awake in Ms. Richter's north valley adobe. Ms. Richter, author and poet, is the daughter of Pulitzer Prize winning novelist Conrad Richter. He was a former Nob Hill resident, living on Carlisle NE just a little north of Campus Blvd. David Johnson is a Conrad Richter scholar and friend of MaryAnn from their days at Penn State. Dr. Johnson works at Lafayette College in Easton, PA. David, MaryAnn, and I later went out for dinner at the Prairie Star.
Saturday, January 15, 2005
EBAY--Please excuse the scatalogical drift of these posts, but I just couldn't resist. Somebody is selling their toilet paper collection on Ebay. This is a worldwide collection, containing tp from such places as China's Forbidden City, the house of Anne Frank, and Bill Clinton's boyhood home.
I know...I know. You're thinking, "Right, this guy got regular toilet paper and just made up where they are from. Well, he asks us to trust him.
Never have I "made up" a story on any of these pieces or substituted some plain ol'e TP and suggested it was from somewhere far away. Furthermore, I am a licensed Southern Baptist Minister and son of a retired United States Air Force Chaplain (who, incidentally, collected some of the more amazing pieces for me). I simply ask you to trust me. If you would like references, I would be happy to supply those to you.This is a huge collection. It is listed with pictures. And all his paperwork seems to be in order.
NOB HILL--Nothing is ever simple when you own an old house. This little project entails raising the ceiling over the tub, installing a fan, and putting in a new tub surround. Cost: materials, $200...labor, "comp" time to be redeemed when the weather warms up enough to camp.
Friday, January 14, 2005
THE PIT--It was another laffer in The Pit. My mind began to wander again. So did everybody else's. We can't help it if our observations wander as well.
The consensus from our section of the Pit crowd was that these two players, UNM's Abbie Letz and UV's Rebekah Fales (#23), have a kind of star quality beyond basketball. Whoa.
NORTH VALLEY BIKE TRAIL--What a lucky shot: a seagull over the Rio Grande and a bald eagle circling above him. You will have to enlarge this picture to see them but what a rare occurrence here in the desert southwest. And to those people in Corrales who are worried that a bike trail will destroy their wildlife viewing, you might want to reconsider after viewing these two photos.
This is the second bald eagle I have seen on the bosque bike trails in the last couple of weeks. There are all kinds of birds everywhere along the river...cranes, ducks, geese, hawks, roadrunners, and others. Now is a wonderful time to get out there and enjoy the wildlife.
Wednesday, January 12, 2005
NOB HILL--Fame is indeed a fickle mistress. In all of my recollection of Albuquerque history there are only two men who have had the distinction of having a sandwich named after them. You are looking at one of them. The other is former Lobo coach Norm Ellenburger. The "Stormin' Norman" graced the menu at the old Ned's when it was on Central Ave. just east of Nob Hill.
David Stuart, seen above moving his water away from the froth of his double cappuccino, holds the honor for having the other Central Ave. sandwich named after him. His, named the David Stuart, is high on the menu at Mannie's Restaurant on the western end of Nob Hill.
Nobody else has this honor: not the mayor, governor, nor bishop. Not Don Flannegan. Not even Don "Naked Man" Schraeder. Just two: Ellenburger and Stuart. But believe it or not, what he is famous for is not the sandwich--cucumbers, sprouts, and turkey in pita bread. No...he wrote a book called The Guaymas Chronicles, judged the best book in the Southwest in 2003. Stuart, known in the book as "el guero" (whitey) details his life in Guaymas in the 60's. But here in the cafes on Central Ave., for better or worse, his name is synonymous with cucumbers, sprouts, and turkey.
EAST CENTRAL--Today was the holiday luncheon for my china painting class. As some of you know, every Wednesday I go up to the Highland Senior Center for china painting. Today I got invited to a birthday party . Evelyn Loose (right side middle) is turning 95 in two weeks and I get to go to the party! There is one condition: every guest has to bring 95 of something. Yikes.
Tuesday, January 11, 2005
SOUTH VALLEY BIKE TRAIL--Just north of Bridge St., behind an unlocked gate, a pet cemetery is nestled between the bare limbed trees and dry brush. It is surrounded by a little wire fence. There are half a dozen graves here, each one bearing an inscription painted on tin markers made from old metal shelving stuck upright in the ground. The site has been cared for and each animal has a stuffed toy to play with in whatever yard or field lies beyond this one here.
I have buried pets...wrapped my son's little dog up in my bedspread and dug a grave in the middle of the night. Covered her with stones. Cried. Cried for the dog, for my son, for me...for my parents, for all the sorrows and indignities I had never been able to cry for. Somehow, in the death of Ivan's little Chihuahua, I finally let it out. Thank you, Pinkie. I guess there was a tiny bit of good in all that grief.