And Christmas is in the air. How I love it!
And oh how the cookies are piling up around here too... More on that later, tomorrow is cookie day for me and my neighbor Melissa. So I think I'll take some pics and bring you up to speed on that then.
For now I wanted to share with you a letter I wrote my family today. Here goes...
What started out as a simple day drive with friends to a local outpost arts and crafts event turned into a real live adventure.
We had asked our neighbors, Melissa and Scott, to go with us again to the annual crafts fair at Montecello. But to call it an arts and crafts fair is really not the ideal image I'd like you to have though. You drive through the foothills into a seemingly ancient little mexican village... adobe homes and split wood fence. Lazy cows and disinterested horses. You know the drill. think Bonanza...
So the event is in this sweet little adobe building on the main drag, you step up onto a wooden porch with indian blanket covered couches. When we arrive they're occupied by a couple of older guys sitting in the fresh winter sun, being perfectly warmed into a state of lazy Saturday bliss. It was about 68 degrees or so. Inside, a slow burning fire in the raised adobe fireplace gently warms any chill that might have hit our sleeveless arms and sends the smell of mesquite and somewhere simmering Posole wafting through out the space. Dear friends of ours run the thing, so we know half the people as our sunsoaked eyes adjust to the low light within. The most lovely crafts and foods and mittens and slippers and ornaments,etc. etc. surround you and Jane gathers a group around her to test their Nationally recognized 'Older' balsamic vinegar, aged in oak barrels for god knows how long and going for the locals, half priced at only $75/ for an elegantly tiny bottle. I think Melissa sprung for the $45/bottle and the $75 one as I, only momentarily wished I had her paycheck. the taste in my mouth a kind of ambrosia I couldn't describe without using the word heaven.
I was going to buy some regular things until I found them... fingerless gloves as soft as the lamb they came from, made by my friend Lalynn. I had to put everything back to afford them, and promised myself I'd eat from the pantry this week. They weren't even a gift. More like an investment in my future... and a support for my friend's lifestyle. She'd shed the lamb herself only two years after naming her and spends her winters home schooling her boys and spinning the yarn. My dolls hair is hers and now my gloves.
The guys soon joined the other guys on the porch with big styrofoam cups filled with posole, gringo style with half the red pepper powder I'm used to in this area. Bland even. But they didn't care. They were lovin it. I bought a hand pie with just too little filling to please me and took a big bite of the stew Bill offered. Pork and hominy, those big dried corn kernals, and onion and as much NM red chili as you can stand. Claudia was the cook, catering to who knows who, were we wimps? It usually burns the inner layer off a decent stomach lining.
Once we finally removed ourselves from what felt more like a Christmas party than a sale, Bill took us further along the road to show us where Jane and Steve brewed vinegar and Lalynn sheered her sheep. it was so pretty we kept going and he asked if we'd like to see Box Canyon. oh my Gosh, luckily we said yes... Before we knew it we were forging creeks with rushing water. And not just once or twice but dozens of times, Bill kept telling us, "and they call this a county road!" Our new Jeep was proving herself a real stallion. I think she actually loved it. Once in a while the road just became the creek and we would head down the river, us proclaiming to Bill, "how did you not just turn around?" You see Bill had been told to take this route when he had done the census years ago. He had to go investigate a couple of properties that hadn't been reported up in that canyon. He had told me about it then and I'd always wanted to know what it was like but was kind of scared too. The 'box' refers to the fact that you're completely surrounded by steep rock walls that come in and go out but are always there, boxing you in. At times its a bit claustraphobic, but my fears were more about getting stuck. It took almost two hours to drive through it and when we came out and looked back we could barely believe that Bill would have been brave enough to take it on. From the top it looks like your just driving right into a canyon river. amazing. I think Bill impressed us all just a little bit more yesterday. It was so cool.