Knowing the heat was coming, I got out right after coffee for a bit of pruning, then we went to town for a few groc necessities. I suspect this is an Asian honeysuckle that escaped from the great-grandmother garden, and not a native species. This branch survived the pruning.

Neighbor lettuce

Late in the afternoon, we walked across the road to visit with the neighbors at a social distance (plus), and to pick some of their lettuce—lovely and tasty.

Between these two, I just soaked in the heat, from a seated and decidedly un-lively position. [I call that afflicted by the heat/humidity combo.]


Berry blossom

Hands down, the most exciting happening in my day was finding this blossom, and its family. Because I knew it was a berry blossom. And a signal….


So I kept looking. Eeee-heeee! Berries! Hmm, any ripe ones? How ’bout ripe-enough ones? Gentle twist on one with color. Nope. So I try another, hmmm, add a bit to the gentle on the twist…thinking, well, I’ll try it, probably a bit…not-quite ripe. Sure enough, not full tasty, but…mmm…sun-warmed berry! Yay! Fortified, I keep looking. Back there, way behind the close distracting berries, a fully ripe berry…mmmmm. A new season…berry-season! Yeah. Life is darned good. Ripe. Sun-warm. I’m so lucky.

Artsy grass

Artsy picture. Not sure why this grass has not greened up…must be a stay-brown a LOOOOONG time species.


Jay commented not that long ago that a V-marked marker probably announces a valve. Duh. She is so right…as I expected. Here’s a different V-marker, a hydrant, and a valve cover. Done and done. Thanks for the tip, Jay.



On the move….

Hum bao

Hum-bao*. Best of the west.

Faded rose

Faded rose. Still gorgeous. Still smells rosy.

* Bao is Chinese for stuffed bun, usually steamed. Mmmmmm.

Scale can be elusive

Galisteo Basin

We departed early, heading south through the Galisteo Basin. Cool archaeology is here, but we didn’t stop.

Trains crossing

We spotted trains crossing—enough train action here to merit the two levels of tracks….

Cowboy faceoff

Strange giant cowboy cut-out face-off or smack-down.

WhitesCity sample

At the entrance to Carlsbad Caverns park, there’s a multifaceted business called White’s City, a commercial undertaking with many buildings that seeks to get money out of your pocket and into theirs. Look at the critter-statues…bison, alien, etc., and a big USA flag flapping above.

Lacet in space

Road to the visitor center…hairpin turn that looks like it may hang in space. Turns out it’s on solid ground, however.


We took the sissy elevator entrance. The elevator has a top and a bottom stop, nothing in between. And the distance is measured in feet. We dropped smoothly several hundred feet. The walking tour is of the Big Room. It goes on and on. And on and on.

First view

First view. Shiny handrails are on both sides of the paved path.

Space cavern

Handrails left. This is a big space. Even standing there it is difficult to grasp the size of the open space around you.

Big view

More big stalactites, stalagmites and perhaps speleothems.

Big decorations

I was fascinated by this well-decorated passage to…dunno where.

Green pool

I was also fascinated by the few pools of water we could see. This one had drips falling into it, making the “wrinkles” in the water.

Winds here

We elevatored back to the surface, had a snack from our abundant food stores in the cab, and headed south-ish below the Guadalupe Mountains. Signs every few miles warned us about the wind. It was always there this afternoon, and for maybe fifty it was straight at us, spoiling our mileage.

Blimp d border

We crossed into Texas and had this confirmation that we were approaching the US–Mexico border. We frequently hear about walls, but these things are perhaps far more effective. When airborne.

Cochineal dinner

We had a fancy dinner way out in the relative boonies, very delicious, at Cochineal in Marfa. I had a pricey and yummy steak, and the Guru had schnitzel. With veg for both of us. Recommended.


Layers and graduations

Juniper layers

Nature of course offers harsh edges and lines. Today I kept seeing subtle changes of many sorts. Notice how the variations in juniper dimensions help your eye note the landscape’s folds and creases.

Juniper vista plus

Add some snow-dusted high elevations to a steeper juniper plus pines landscape.

Tall pines mtns

And tall pines! And more snow…blanket more than merely dust.

Brussels honey mustard

Even these amazingly tasty Brussels sprouts have layers. And that honey-mustard sauce…otherworldly. We lunched in Taos on not-New Mexican cuisine.


Real verticality. Meadow/pasture at base….

R Grande gorge

And a gorge! Downward verticality. That’s the Rio Grande.

Valley to peak

Meadow-to-peaks verticality again, this time with a line of fence-posts angling across.

High meadow

We climbed to higher elevations, and thus more snow accumulation. Even lines of animal tracks crossing the white.

Road n landscape

Always, since we were driving and the road was plowed, the road wends across the landscape, a scar in the snowiness.

Frosted trees

Hoar-frosted trees. Layers here are branches and between-branches.

Basketball mtns

This town is named Los Ojos, which means eyes, but is also used for springs. If you were an anciano*, wouldn’t water emerging from the ground be pretty darned special?, an addition to the complexity of the Underworld.

Erosion remnant

Erosional remnant…all about layers. And graduations of color.

Dusk colors

And dusk…on a clear night. With a big moon, off to the way left, to be imagined. Full tomorrow night….

* anciano = ancient one in Spanish.

No driving

Dawnish sky

While the coffee was brewing, I stepped outside. The birdbath was frozen solid.

Perhaps miniapples

We’re somewhat overdosed on driving, so we didn’t today. Walked to do our errands. Mini-crabapple?

Neighborhood architecture sample

Sample of the residential architecture in our neighborhood; these units are a bit larger and fancier than ours. Same feel, however.

Watermelon raddish

First chore trek took us to the Farmers’ Market. I talked to a bean guy, and bought some black beans from him. Also got a turkey leg, butchered yesterday (TMI?), the grower said. Stew to come. This is a watermelon radish, the sign said, with black radishes on the left edge. Did not buy or taste either one.

Railrunner full runner

Near the FM is the northern terminus of the Railrunner commuter train that goes down to Albuquerque and beyond largely in the Rio Grande valley. Love the roadrunner graphic that flows from the locomotive across the trailing cars.

Urban cementario

During a later errand trek, we found a largely untended urban cemetery behind a Mickey’s and similar fast food places, nail salons, and the like. On a slight hill.

Dusk sky

Companion shot to the first one from the cocktail hour.

Apparently this sky warns of ❄️. The highest peaks nearby are already 🏔.

Feasting: not yet

Sweet potato pile

Raw materials are in place…

Turkey roasted

…and some have been prepped. Or partly prepped.


Acorn flour

Acorns becoming acorn flour and being blown to the curb on a street. From passing tires. Big waste of protein. If not people food, would be quality pig-food.


Some brickwork remains, but little of the wood structure above the floor (will they keep the floor even?). Wonder how much of a McMansion this will become.


Kroger front

Yesterday our neighborhood Kroger re-opened. Or, at least, there was a Kroger here, but there’s a totally new building now, complete with two parking garages (one underground), and a high-rise apartment building. Far right is an old building on a different property. We made our first visit this morning. We passed on the Halloween swag, tasted a few of the offerings scattered throughout the store, and talked to several kindly and helpful employees. Two of three referred to a map to tell us where things were—Bob’s Red Mill dried-bean soup mix (one only, but not the one we like); organic fresh Italian sausage (none).

Beltline sign

They are trying for a new identifier. Locally this used to be called the Murder Kroger (after a parking lot event, if I have it right), or Wino Kroger by the Guru. One edge of the store is the Beltline, so: Beltline Kroger.

Beltline view

Here’s the view from the Beltline. Note the blue bow on the column, left.

Empty case

While most bins, shelves, and cases were nicely filled, with all items tidily aligned, this prepared-food section was empty. Someone decided that empty containers with post-its was better than totally empty. If the handwriting had been clearer, I could have browsed the offerings-to-be.

The checkout lady—we did serve yourself—was very helpful with corrections…five packages of 12-oz Starbucks coffee were supposed to be $5.99 each, but they rang up at the regular price ($7.99), not even the sale price (apiece)—$6.49. Plus, we were gifted some onions that weren’t in the menu at all.

We came out with assorted fresh veggies (salad stuff mostly), some uncured pancetta, and a few other grocs (e.g., coffee!!), plus their idea of a “Hawaiian” poké salad (fine, not exceptional; made for a more interesting lunch than we were going to have). We’ll go back….

Bucolic moments

Soooo bucolic

A tractor is pretty darned bucolic. In the modern industrial sense.

Grapes still green

Grapes…still green and still not eaten by the birds. In my experience, avian beings eat grapes, cherries, whatever, about three hours before I figure out they’re ripe.

Sandhills flocking

You’re forgiven if you think these are Canada geese. Nope: sandhill cranes.