Every day is a winding road...

The view toward Abiquiu.

The house deal fell apart due to a particularly sticky wicket of disclosure. A long neglected well contaminated with fecal bacteria started the oozing slide into disaster. Not to mention the fantastical estimate to fix the invisible enemy.

And then there was the former semi-owner cum neighbor [possessed by her own dark brew of ancient familial entitlement and alcohol infused paranoia] who wielded her pork-greased pans and patchy dogs and shotgun, and controlled the gates of the irrigation ditches with grim satisfaction and a smile the color of tobacco. Her warnings and stories of feuds with every neighbor were shouted along a sudden rising wind that lifted my jean jacket like wings under a sky that turned as dark as the shadow beneath a priest's mud spattered vestments. Maleleche, I thought as I listened to her words. 

No milagros and bean fields here.

So the search begins again. And I for one am glad. A month of dreaming in one direction has eclipsed other avenues. So I pay attention now as a big striped butterfly arcs above me in the middle of a traffic jam on six-laned Cerrillos. Orange against a bright cloudless sky. And I turn to my husband and ask, Did you see that? See what? he asks, dreaming his own dreams of where to navigate next. And I say only, The sign.

We're going to be all right, I murmur to the beat of a Coldplay song. And we turn at the light to go look at an apartment to rent in the Santa Fe hills.

Santa Fe Farmers' Market

This morning we walked to the Santa Fe Farmers' Market under cool cobalt skies lit by the morning sun, navigating our unsure path between elbow-nudging  shoppers glued to their cell phones and tiny women with big Indian earrings scooping up armloads of bagged organic mesclun greens, radishes, bok choy, and glistening spring onions like they were going out of style.

There were plenty of cherries, some beautiful twig furniture, and a kilted soloist playing bagpipes [a woman in a straw gardening hat held her cell phone aloft shouting to her connection, Can you hear it?].

We ignored the seductive displays of freshly baked herbed foccacia, brown sugar-cinnamon smothered muffins, country-style oat breads, and white chocolate chip cookies the size of dessert plates [it's only at times like these I chafe against the limits of living gluten-free] and admired instead the baby goats for sale, some impressive pots of sweet basil, one shopping couple's matching waist-long dreads, and the dexterity of a ten year old girl playing country fiddle.

There were giggling women in orange yoga-wear, and pale white turbaned Sikh's eating bread and homemade jam as they bought organic garlic and bunches of squeaky spinach. The breeze smelled like mint from Mexican baskets brimming with handmade soap, and I overheard a bearded cyclist say, If I don't get a girlfriend by the end of the year, I'm marrying the first woman I date in January.
 All this played out to the deft ranchero stylings of a young Mariachi band from the local high school.

We walked back to the casita empty handed, silent, me, mildly overwhelmed by the jostling crowds and ruminating about the intricate diversity of Santa Fe, and the absorbing book I'd just read about the sixties by Bob Dylan, Chronicles: Volume One, hyper aware of my introverted nature.

Santa Fe Style

Walking after dinner is a pleasure here in Santa Fe. The light is magic. The adobe walls throb with the heat of the day [you cannot resist raising your palms to it]. Solar power.

In less than two weeks we'll be moving north. Out of the city. Into the country. A place - once a pueblo- called Abiquiu. A tiny village. We'll have llamas and horses for neighbors. And two sour cherry trees and an apple tree to frame our view of the distant bluish hills beyond the Chama River. I'm itching to be there now. To breathe the sense of peace I feel when I turn down the county road and drive along the bosque, green with old cottonwoods.

We've picked out a carved Mexican bed two roperos (there are no closets!), and a couple of tables - a kitchen table carved from New Mexican juniper, and a beat up old wooden table with worn blue paint, perfect for a desk Two generous leather chairs. Some pottery made by local hands. A few mismatched dishes in violet, deep red, green and turquoise. Mexican glasses in various shades of green, blue and teal. 

I still can't decide on a KitchenAid color [or if I'll even need a standing mixer here at high altitude - baking here will prove a double challenge - gluten-free + high altitude = potential for baking disasters].

Any tips on baking gluten-free in the high desert are welcome.

Easy Guacamole Recipe with Lime

The easiest guacamole recipe- with fresh lime- non-dairy

In three and a half weeks we’ll be in our new home. In the meantime, we are as patient as humanly possible, making do in our tiny rental kitchen, and adjusting to living at a higher altitude. We're indulging in freshly mashed guacamole laced with lots of lime and garlic.

We're making almost instant pizzas with Kinnickinnick gluten-free crusts [Dear Reader, they’re not bad- drizzled with extra virgin olive oil and pre-baked with copious amounts of minced fresh garlic, then topped and baked again with sliced tender Roma tomatoes, balsamic-sautéed yellow pepper slices, and a creamy organic mozzarella- but then, what isn't?].

We’ve been slinking into art openings with the calm detachment of non-featured artists and enjoying the mixed eclectic bag known as the Santa Fe art scene– wondering how, when and where we’ll fit in. If at all.

And of course, I am dreaming of my new cocina. And rustling up platters of green chile enchiladas and Thai peanut stir-fries. The kitchen sports copper counter tops and birch latilla doors. There are hand painted accent tiles embedded in the thick adobe walls. Classic New Mexican style.

I am sipping a peachy Riesling as I write and contemplating just what color my new Kitchen Aid mixer should be (having sold my old custard yellow beast at our estate sale back on the Cape). I’m leaning to cobalt blue today; as the hand painted accent tiles feature a blue bird-like design that reminds me of why I love this high desert country, its deep and penetrating miles of skies, and air that sparkles with the hair-raising urge toward flight into unknown territory.

*Note- this entry has been edited since the house deal fell through.

Easy Guacamole Recipe with Lime

This guac is as easy as uno, dos, tres. Simple. No onions. Clean and fresh tasting. And laced with plenty of lime.

3 ripe avocados, peeled and pitted
3-4 garlic cloves, crushed, chopped
10 sweet grape tomatoes, quartered
Juice from 1 large juicy lime, more limes for garnish, if desired
Finely chopped fresh cilantro, if desired

Using a potato masher (or if you're lucky to have a mortar and pestle, grind guacamole the traditional way), smash the avocados and the garlic in a bowl.

Add the lime juice, and mix until well blended. Taste for seasoning adjustments. Stir in the tomatoes; reserve a few for garnish on the top.

Best served fresh.

Serve with organic blue and yellow corn tortilla chips.

This easy guac is mucho tasty as a condiment to quesadillas, enchiladas, omelettes and frittatas, and other southwestern and Mexican-inspired dishes.

Serves 4-6.

Need a fancier guacamole with tomatillos? Try Joey's Kicked Up Rockin' Guac recipe.