Last month, my husband and I set off for our annual road trip north. Instead of heading straight to South Dakota, we swung west to New Mexico. I'd been wanting to see Santa Fe for some time and we both yearned to be in the true West again, with its dry air, varied landscapes, and huge spaces. We were not disappointed. One particular goal was to visit the Georgia O'Keefe Museum in Santa Fe. I have admired her work since high school and had only seen a handful of her works in person. The museum was our very first stop in Santa Fe, and I was treated to a few dozen of her paintings. I spent much time admiring a series of three seashells, the canvases only about 8x10 inches. Their smallness surprised me, given how bold her work is. And I was delighted to see her portrayals of cottonwood trees, landmarks in the West, and a favorite of mine. Outside the museum, I smiled to see lilac bushes blooming against the adobe walls in the town. (They don't grow in Houston.) The next day, we drove out to Ghost Ranch, where O'Keefe lived and painted for many years. My husband took these photos of the scenery at the ranch. The sources of her inspiration were clear. An artist/retreat colony is now found on the grounds, and perhaps someday I'll be able to return for a workshop. It was fulfilling to finally see these places, after years of wanting to. Unfortunately, there wasn't much time to drink tea in New Mexico, but I'm enjoying my old standby jasmine vanilla now that I'm home.
I was fortunate to take a solo writing retreat early this month out on the South Dakota prairie with a well-known regional writer (more on that in another post.) I stayed all alone in an old ranch house for three days, with twice-daily visits from Linda to discuss writing. I was surprised at how comfortable I was staying alone at night with the nearest neighbor a half-mile down the road, the rest of the neighbors being cows and numerous species of birds. But I think much of the reason of why I was so comfortable was because of how familiar much of it felt. There were many little things that reminded me of my mom and my early childhood years: blue flax growing by the front door, windchimes, a birds nest sitting on the bookshelf, prairie flowers in the yard. All these were things my mom loved and that were little parts of my early years. When I was small, our house was on the last block in the neighborhood, the undeveloped prairie stretching out south. We would take little walks out in the grasslands, handing grass to the horses over the fence, watching the birds, gathering flowers. It was delightful to find these things again, decades later, in another place. What small things remind you of your early years?
Where have I been and what have I been doing? Driving through the West and now enjoying being home in the Black Hills again, staying with my sister and her family, for one. There are several adventures I hope to share here in the next month or so. We haven't been doing as much cooking together as usual during this spring's visit, but last night I did make soup using French green lentils for the first time, combining this and this recipe for a final dish that was quite yummy. We found these lovely spring onions at the farmer's market and used them as a garnish on the soup. Also at the farmer's market: little radishes and lots of canned goods, including chokecherry jelly, pumpkin butter, and raspberry rhubarb preserves that I look forward to using in Houston later this summer.
My brother-in-law is usually the one who whips up some of our Grandma Helen's Swedish Pancakes (really crepes) now and then for breakfast, but I also attempted them for the first time this trip. I'm thinking some of these green onions would be tasty in them! My sister and I fondly remember eating them at her house when we stayed overnight as kids, sprinkled with plenty of sugar. Here's the recipe - we now eat them with sugar and lemon juice or Nutella.
1 1/4 C milk
3/4 C sifted flour
1 T sugar
1/2 t salt
Beat eggs 'til thick and lemon-colored. Stir in milk. Sift dry ingredients; add to egg mixture, mixing 'til smooth. Drop batter by tablespoons (I used quarter-cup measure) onto moderately hot, greased griddle. Spread batter evenly to make thin cakes. Turn when underside is light brown.