31 December 2009
29 December 2009
My buddies Dale and T-Rob have sent me some pics of the winter they are experiencing, one in Maine, one in Oklahoma.
What started out as a possible big snow season here in the southwest has for now fizzled out; however, we do sometimes get our worst storms in January and February.
As far as I'm concerned, spring is only 80 days away. I can't wait!!
21 December 2009
Took a few days off to visit my aunt and grandfather in Arizona and drop off their Christmas [yes, I said CHRISTMAS!] presents.
Here's a couple of snapshots...
My aunt made her own tree ornaments. She is pretty damn good with crochet.
My sister joined me... we even took time to help my aunt with her jigsaw puzzle, just like the old days.
We took her out to the casino in Pinetop in eastern Arizona. Luckily the roads were clear.
The drive home took a little longer as there was a propane truck accident and it backed up traffic for miles. Luckily we were diverted and lost only an hour.
Over all a great weekend trip.
17 December 2009
Per my friend Dale's request, here is a recipe for the Official Cookie of New Mexico, the anise flavored shortbread cookie we call biscochitos (bis-co-chee-toes):
Biscochitos were first introduced to Mexico by Spanish settlers who brought the recipe from Spain.
Stored in a tightly sealed container, they can be frozen up to six months.
1 ½ cups lard, chilled*
1 cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar, divided
2 teaspoons anise seeds
4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
About 3 tablespoons brandy, apple juice, or milk*
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350°F. Beat lard and 1 cup sugar in a bowl until fluffy. Add eggs and anise seeds, and beat until very light and fluffy. Sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Add to creamed mixture along with the brandy. Mix thoroughly to make a stiff dough. Place dough on a long piece, about three feet of waxed paper at one end. Bring the long end over the top and press to about one inch or slightly less in thickness and refrigerate until chilled.)
Roll out dough between waxed paper to just under ½ inch thickness. Cut with flour dusted cutters into the traditional fleur de lis shape or into 3-inch rounds. Combine the 3 remaining tablespoons sugar and the cinnamon in a shallow bowl; dip unbaked cookies into the sugar-cinnamon mixture on one side. Place cookies on ungreased baking sheets. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until tops of cookies are just firm. Cool cookies on wire racks.
*Notes: Butter or margarine can be substituted for the lard, however the cookies will not be as crisp and moist. Apple juice or milk can be substituted for the brandy, however they are not quite as good.
Makes 4 dozen cookies
13 December 2009
It is the 911 call Donna Jackson made to authorities as Billy Dean Riley tried to break into her home. This is a VERY intense and riveting call.
It plays out like a Hitchcockian thriller to the very end [think REAR WINDOW]!!
So grab some popcorn and turn out the lights.....oh and LOCK YOUR DOORS!!!!
07 December 2009
My brother is a baker by trade so you can bet that when Christmas rolls around I REAAAALLY look forward to his gift bags....mmmm
My sister also has her specialty....home made cookies. Here in NM we call them 'biscochitos (bis-co-chee-tose), basically short bread cookies with cinnamon and anis that are generally made around Christmas.
I am gonna have a reeeeal hard time leaving some for Santa....
06 December 2009
03 December 2009
30 November 2009
Greetings everyone. I truly hope you all had a good Thanksgiving. Mine was fine. Spent it with my dad. My older brother and sister were here to help out.
Anyhow, while I am gearing up for the premiere of Land of the Zia: Season Five [tentatively scheduled for February 19th-ish...featuring a special appearance by....ah ah ah you'll have to wait and see...], field reporter T-Rob - who was gracious enough to ride shotgun with me on a few adventures - has filed this report from the Witchita Mountains Wildlife Refuge in southwestern Oklahoma near Lawton.
The refuge was established in 1901, comprises over 59,000 acres and provides habitat to such animals as American Bison, Rockey Mountain Elk, white tailed deer and Texas Long-horn cattle. The black capped verio, an endangered species, resides here as well [I threw that in for K-Mo, woo hoo!!] .
This looks like a beautiful area and it is probably quite something in the spring.
Thanks again to T-Rob for a cool report.
Here's wishing ya'll a great holiday season!!!
26 November 2009
20 November 2009
15 November 2009
11 November 2009
He was 17 when he went into the Army/Air Corps at the end of WW2.
He was sent to Europe where he fell in love with Deutschland and its people despite the war.
When the war ended he became a member of the search and rescue unit off the coast of Florida, visiting Cuba many times in the years before Castro took it over.
After his tour he got out of the military and became a business man operating a bar/restaurant called the Desert Winds in Winslow, AZ where he met a young woman named Alice, who he would marry.
Although out of active duty for a few years he joined the Army National Guard [the Army Air Corps had been merged with the Air Force].
He missed Korea; however, his unit was activated during the Vietnam War. He would do two tours of duty, one of which he became a POW.
The price he paid in Vietnam was exposure to Agent Orange which led to the failure of his kidneys later in life. He has been on dialysis now for over five years.
This GI's name is John. He, is my father.
The past few days my dad has been laid up in the VA hospital.
I've spent the past few days there with him and the three other veterans who shared a room with him: Don, Ray and Paul. Nice fellas all.
It is amazing how close you can become to some people in just a few days. How men in an enclosed room can share their life story in just a few hours. Talk of regret. Talk of duty. Talk of fear. Of hope.
Of how close they have come to death.
"What ever you do," Ray said to me, "don't get old."
"Too late...I'm half way there", I replied.
While they were there, a group of elderly women came into the room and presented hand made American flag blankets to all four men.
To these ladies I say, Thank You!
To Ray, Don, Paul, veterans and active duty men and women and especially to my dad I say not only thank you, but that I am eternally grateful for your service and the freedom you have given me.
To my dad I also say I love you and will do whatever I can to take care of you and make sure the time we have left together are good times.
07 November 2009
Another year has come and gone.
All my adventures are linked at the right, the highlight being Walkabout 2009 when I toured the southwest, what an amazing trip.
I'd like to thank my guests T-Rob and Dale for stopping by and musical guests Angus and Julian Stone, Brett Dennen and of course the Drive By Truckers.
I have a couple of ideas planned for next season, including Walkabout 2010
For now, feel free to browse the archive links at right.
I will post a few blogs between now and the spring so keep checking back. Winter can be harsh here in central New Mexico and road trips can be dangerous, especially on roads into the north country.
One of my favorite journalists was the late CBS Sunday Morning host, Charles Kuralt. He would always end his program with a few minutes of sound and images. A moment of tranquility.
In homage to him, I leave you with the following.
31 October 2009
My last major trip of the season took me again to Oklahoma. Having found a great cabin on Keystone Lake and searched for buffalo we had a great meal at McNellies Public House in Tulsa. I highly recommend the grilled and seasoned salmon!!
Saturday night was a lot of fun! My main reason for going to OK this time was to see the DriveBy Truckers LIVE at Cain's Ballroom in Tulsa.
Cains is noted for being the 'Home of Bob Wills' and if you don't know who Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys were you're missing out.
The opening act was James McMurtry, son of Larry McMurtry of Lonesome Dove, Hud and Brokeback Mountain fame.
He put on a smokin' show.
The main event; however, was the DriveBy's and they rocked the house.
The other main event of the trip was to attend the Oklahoma City Halloween Parade aka GHOULS GONE WILD!!
My buddy T-Rob reported on it last year for this blog but I wanted to see it first hand.
There were plenty of classic cars and bands playing live on rolling floats. Lots of costumes, food vendors, souvenir tents....
...and of course...ZOMBIES!!!
The main event being the march of 1000 Flaming Skeletons. This was VERY cool to see. The end of the parade had Flaming Lips front man Wayne Coyne in his infamous giant bubble.
The parade took place in downtown Oklahoma City.
We decided to walk a street over to the Oklahoma City Memorial where Timothy McVeigh blew up the federal building. For a full report see my link to the right from my last visit to OKC.
The chairs represent all the lives lost in that tragic event. The smaller chairs represent the children lost.
And so ends season four of Land of the Zia...can you believe it??
It has been a GREAT year and I'm very glad you could come along with me as I explore the great southwest.
Winter in northern New Mexico can be rather harsh but southern New Mexico can be nice. Although I don't have any major excursions planned...you never know when I might get the itch to just....drive....
Next up a recap of the year.