Monthly Archives: July 2011

Where there’s an arroyo, there’s a way

July and August are called “monsoon season” in these parts, which was funny to me at first because it’s the desert so how can there be monsoons, right? But where “the skies are not cloudy all day” any hard rain can cause flash floods. In fact, a few years ago such floods took out houses and businesses down the road in El Paso. Most areas have culverts to divert rushing water away from the homes, and there are naturally occurring arroyos – Spanish for washes or dry river beds.

Jackrabbits, lizards and mesquite trees thrive in a neighborhood arroyo.

My house lives at about 3,800 feet in an area of Las Cruces called High Range. The neighborhood sort of meanders north to south on slopes that run east to west into the Mesilla Valley and the Rio Grande. Before I left for Indiana in May the city was reconstructing a major culvert running under Roadrunner Parkway just down the street. Looks like the work has since been completed, and this weekend Aw’gy and I will walk down there to take a look. Then we’ll see what’s new in the nearby arroyos. (Could be new plants and critters, but could also be a computer monitor shell or ripped up sheets or other human detritus!)

This time of year the usually dry washes are damp and fragrant. Rabbits of all colors and sizes nibble on the new vegetation that’s made its way into the beds. Quail scatter, the occasional lizard dares to dart across the sand and Aw’gy fills his houndy jowls with earthly smells. Sometimes he’ll happen upon something that must be incredibly dense because he’ll plant his paws to linger over a spot. I get to watch his whole muzzle taking in the news. In fact, people say that walking your dog is akin to letting them read the morning paper. For at least this houndy-lab, it must be like visiting the Library of Congress.

Southern New Mexico sits in the Chihuahuan Desert where the annual rainfall averages 13 inches so rain is most welcome here. We would never wish flooding conditions on anyone’s head, home or horse, but I do love when it rains really hard. Not only does it smell and feel wonderful, but then we get to rediscover life anew in the arroyos.



Fish tacos – yum!

If you’ve never had fish tacos, you’re in for a treat.

Thanks to Elise at Simply for this summer recipe.

Of course, you have to like fish and be open minded about a nontraditional filling such as meat or chicken. But on these hot summer days, a fresh, crunchy, tangy fish taco or three – paired with a crisp white wine – make for a great summer supper.

One day recently I had a hankering for fish tacos. For me, that “hankering” builds up over time – maybe only a few days, or if it’s fattening I may think about it for months – and then I’ll go on line, type in the key ingredients and wait for the options to unfold.

In this case, Simply Recipe’s Fish Tacos with Mango Salsa won. (Link to Simply Recipes) I made the salsa first so all the juices could mingle, and I put it in the fridge for at least an hour before dinner. The cool mango and spicy hot jalapeño work great together.

Even though I usually find better fresh fish in the midwest than here in the desert (no duh, right?) the fresh fish just didn’t look great that day. But I did find frozen talapia on sale – individually wrapped fillets, and they were great.

With fish, grain, fruit, vegetables and wine – this dinner covers all the food

Try these chocolates paired with red berries.

groups! For a quick dessert, serve fresh strawberries with Lindt’s dark chocolate squares. My favorite combination is Chili and Intense Orange. Yes, chili-flavored dark chocolate. Believe it or not, I buy them at Walgreens.

Yum. When’s dinner?

Trees, no trees? It’s a matter of perspective.

Just a typical Las Cruces view

While updating some business cards after my move to Las Cruces a few years back, the woman behind the counter noted the old Illinois address. “That’s back east. Oh, I could never live there.”

Really? Why’s that?

“I was driving through Tennessee once, on the Interstate, and you know – THERE WERE TREES ON BOTH SIDES OF THE ROAD. Continue reading

Yule be too cool

Cool dog, Awg.

Yesterday, my hot dog Aw’gy and I were motating in my spiffy new Outback from Crown Point, IN through Kankakee – where, just two months ago, my then-EOS contracted an immediate flat – to B’ton/ Normal, IL. to visit my brother and his wife.

Hitting “play” on the iPod was akin to being launched through the freeway door on the Rockin Roller Coaster. I bounced through favorites from “Born to Be Wild,” to “LA Goodbye,” along with a few measures from Vivaldi and Faure.

Had to blow past those old boys. It was just too hot for a requiem. But amidst great old rock from the hot summers long gone, were some cool tunes that – Continue reading

Think cool thoughts

Much of the country is suffering 90+ degrees temps, and east of the Mississippi we’re looking at equal or better humidity. What the heck? It’s summer, global warming aside, it’s hot in the summertime. What on earth did we do before the “XR15 HIGH EFFICIENCY AIR UNIT WITH VARIABLE SPEED HANDLERS, COMFORT COILS AND 1.5 – 5 TON CAPACITY?”

It was simple, really. My brother recalls a time before AC when we slept on the floor – three of us – in front of the oscillating fan. What a great word – oscillating. Sleeping in front of the oscillating fan, waiting for the blade to move coolish air our way. Funny to think we were three hot dogs on sheets, anticipating the rhythmic breeze that would lull us to sleep.

It was Indiana in the summertime. It was hot, humid, we survived. And the thought of the oscillating fan is pretty cool.