Sunday, December 14, 2008

I just have so much to say!!!

I have failed to update this blog for a while - I was too busy and so overinvolved in too many things, so the blog was unfortunately a victim. . . so here goes:

The Wellers (myself, Mr. Weller, and Lucie Weller) took a much needed vacation recently to Santa Fe. We drove, by way of Amarillo and Lubbock, stopping for a quick drive through Palo Duro Canyon. In Amarillo, we stopped for dinner at the WORLD FAMOUS Big Texan Steakhouse. (If you are not aware, the Big Texan is the home of the free* 72 ounce steak.) *Free= eat the salad, baked potato, roll and all 72 ounces in an hour or less, and it is on the house, or pay around sixty bucks and if you get sick you have to clean up after yourself.

Palo Duro Canyon, in case you didn't know, is the second largest canyon in the United States. Neat! (and it is here in Texas, as part of a Texas State Park.) The canyon is beautiful, lots of colors in the rock walls, and full of interesting animals. This time of year, many of the animals are hiding, because it is stinkin' cold. . . it was in the low twenties when we were there. We did get lucky, however, and saw a flock of wild turkeys in the canyon, just off the side of the road. We rolled down the windows, Lucie peered out, and in their hurry to get away from us, we could actually hear the gobbling. I took a photo with my camera, but it isn't the best quality from far away. . .

In Santa Fe, we rented a cute little casita on Artist's Road. We enjoyed seriously large amounts of food containing green chiles. We ate at a number of recommended restaurants, including the Shed, Maria's, and the Pink Adobe. We drank fabulous margaritas at La Posada's bar, and the Dragon Room. We shopped on the plaza - I bought a cookbook and a few little things but nothing big. . We enjoyed the galleries on Canyon Road. We went to the flea market on the edge of town and promptly left. . . We visited the Georgia O'Keeffe museum, and built pinyon wood fires every night in our kiva fireplace. We came home with a little bit of leftover firewood, and hopefully, sometime soon, it will get cool enough to actually burn something in our fireplace.

A note on making fires: Thank you, Mom, for teaching me how to make the ultimate firestarters that work like a charm.

Recipe for firestarters:

one pressed cardboard egg carton (NOT styrofoam or plastic)
dryer lint, enough to stuff and fill all of the egg carton holes
clear or white paraffin or clear/white old candle nubs
candle wicks

1. Melt the paraffin or old candles. I do this by placing a coffee can or jar in a small pan of simmering water on the stove. (Melt that stuff in a container that won't melt itself and in a container that you are okay sacrificing)
2. While the wax is melting, stuff the dryer lint in each of the holes of the egg carton.
3. Cut a one inch wick for each separate hole/cell of the egg carton. Place an end of the wick into the dryer lint in each cell, working it down into the lint.
4. When liquified, slowly pour the paraffin over each cell of dryer lint. Fill as much as you can without overflowing.

Allow these to solidify. When ready to build a fire, rip off an individual cell and light its wick, placing into your pile of logs. These are long and steady burning little things. You will be surprised! A couple of notes: Do not use colored wax. If any of the wax doesn't completely burn away, it will drip onto your fireplace andirons or floor, and colored wax stains the brick. . . Also, don't leave these someplace where your husband will find them without explaining first what they are. (They aren't pretty. Dryer lint has hair and fur and weird particles in it. .) I left a full carton (having used blood-red candle wax) in our pantry. Mr. Weller was packing the pantry for a move, found the carton, opened the carton, and was entirely horrified. He believed that he had stumbled across some sort of largely out of date rotten and decaying eggs.

More later. Mr. Weller wants the laptop.

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