Sunday, February 08, 2009

Spring comes to Albuquerque

It seems to be gearing up for some rain but this afternoon has mostly seen lots of wind and dust storms. As I drove to brunch with my friend Kathy I could look down and across the city and see dust swirls rising in every direction. There is a lot of dust in my part of town, the southwest corner. South and west of my house there are vast stretches of undeveloped land.

Fierce winds and dust storms are the hallmark of springtime here. I expect a lot of this for the next two months.

Tumbleweeds are rolling about everywhere. There is no sense trying to dodge them as you drive lest you cause an accident. Whether on a city street or the freeway, one sees them rolling along in the wind, gathering against fences and dividers. Leaves, scraps of paper or sundry detritus, plastic bags, cardboard cartons - all these can be seen driven hither and thither.

While reading recently about the soil here I came across the word "blow sand." I instantly knew what was meant. It is the soil of my yard: fine sand that gets picked up by the wind and tossed about. Whatever I do in my yard will repeatedly be covered with more sand until this part of the word gains established vegetation.

Since I live in a new tract (my house was only completed at the end of June 2006) every back yard for miles around consists of blow sand. Front yards are landscaped with drought-tolerant plants, drip irrigation, and pebbles. This is not a neighborhood of lawns (which are incongruous and wasteful in a climate like this) and I don't mind xeriscaping. I just want my back yard not to be buried under blow sand.

Since I got moving late yesterday and then baked and today is sucky weather, you may conclude that the rest of the roses did not get planted this weekend either.

As for baking, I had not made a pear tarte bourdaloue in, probably, a decade. It is a somewhat labor-intensive dessert involving the baking of a shell from pâte brisée, making a cream filling, poaching pears, glazing them, and any additional decoration. I noticed in the morning that I could not find my tarte pan, so I drove to the opposite end of town to buy a new one. Then there was the cooking, and I was a bit rushed. The pears were rather crisp to start with and poached unevenly, so some were still crunchy (not the desired effect) and others just right. Still, our dinner group had a nice meal together. And I returned to the world of baking.

Who knows? I may cook more. Let's hope so. It's a shame to have a large kitchen with good cooking utensils and vessels, a large supply of staples, and not be making delicious stuff. Inherent laziness and reluctance to cook for myself are not a good combination. TCR feeds himself well and I rejoice to see it. So do Jane R and Johnieb. I need to take a clue from my chums.

That's the weekend report from Desert Farne.
--the BB


it's margaret said...

that blow sand will take the paint right off the car. I got stuck in a sand storm once, and had to pull over--even with all the windows shut had to cover my mouth and eyes until it had passed.

I do hope your backyard does not become a sand bowl...!

Paul said...

It's nasty stuff, indeed, Margaret. I have watched the road vanish before me, not a pleasant sensation.

I fear I shall have to battle annually to reclaim my little yard. I wish more of my neighbors were into gardening. Sand lots to the right of me, sand lots to the left of me, back in the middle again....

susankay said...

Paul -- I have always felt that spring in Albuquerque was when Arizona tried to blow into Texas and we were in the way. Fortunately Corrales, where I used to live, and downtown Nob Hill where I sometimes live are old enough that the sand but not the wind miss us.

Andrew, our rector here in Colorado avoided the "why did she have to get up and serve" issue by talkin of the Hebrew Shabbot and what importance the meal was accorded. And so I love that we Episcopalians have "eat togethers" under one name or another to extend our Sabbaoth communion meal in church.

FranIAm said...

The dust, the tumbleweeds - I remember it well!