Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Poker run

Hidden Valley Ranch, Deming, NM  
Mon. 11/25/13  Fri. 11/22/13 - Wed. 1/1/14 (5 weeks)

HVR (Hidden Valley Ranch) organized a Poker Run to raise money for the local needy families and the local animal shelter. And the local grocery market, Peppers, will match whatever is raised! Good deal!!! Peppers even features in their weekly circular and on their website, Pet Corner showing a pet in need of a home. Wow!
Lianne and Dick, long time (11 years) residents here at HVR have done it again! We didn't think we'd be participating since we do not have an ATV, or 4 wheel drive vehicle. But Lianne knocked on our door and asked if we had signed up for the Poker Run. We had tried to rent an ATV, but surprisingly, there are no rental places around. Sigh. Lianne offered up her own ATV to us, since she had to stay behind, since she volunteered to help organize. Yipee! She did the same back in February of this year after only meeting us at the pot luck. Such friendly & trusting people here at HVR.
It was a cold day, but luckily, not one of the coldest and also no wind. The sun was shining which gave us the false impression that it was nicer out than reality. We all bundled up in hats, scarves, and gloves. I even had a blanket draped over my legs. For the most part, it was not too cold as long as you were bundled up. Dick (Lianne's other half), led our group of five vehicles. He said he hasn't worn this heavy coat since living in Minnesota!

We drove the back paths through the desert for 18 miles with 4 stops along the way to pick a card...any card.
 Lots of old mines back here and the ruins of some homes from a previous erea.
Lots of flat land, with mountains in the background
Love seeing the free grazing cattle
After the third stop, I was pretty chilled and ready to head back. But, I had no choice but to continue. It sure felt good to enter the warm clubhouse and lunch of BBQ sandwiches. We had a great time.
Oh, did I win anything? Nope. I only had two pair.

Although I love the family atmosphere here, I am once again missing green. But not too badly. There is something about this park, that even though it is desert and open, I am relaxed here. It is quiet and clean. Plenty of areas to walk the dogs and even let them loose if trustworthy. I've been reading Cozy Be Gone and Beluga's Excellent Adventure blogs. Cozy is on the Gulf Coast of Alabama and Beluga is on the coast of Florida. Both enjoying beautiful weather. I wouldn't mind being in one of Florida's wonderful State Parks right about now. If we could take HVR and put it in another part of the country, I think we could settle there...but it's in the desert, so not an option.

Thank you to Tom, our driveway host in Tijeras, NM for introducing us to "Cuties". I'd seen the commercials on TV, but paid no real attention. Little oranges that are seedless and sweet. Yum! So we look for them here in Deming, and all we see are "Halos". They look like Cuties. We'll try them. Yum!
Seems there is a big controversy going on between the producers, distributors and who knows who else. Rumor has it, Cuties are being weaned out and Halos are in. Then there is the question, are these delicious little mini oranges, Clementines? or Mandarines? or Tangerines? I don't know, I really don't care. I just know they are a satisfying little snack that are good for you.

HVR had a cookie exchange this morning. Double Yum!

I kept my contribution simple. I made two different batches, but both drop cookies. One was Chocolate Crackle cookies made from packaged chocolate cake mix and the other was Lemon-Ricotta cookies. I didn't expect much from the cake mix cookies, but they were really good and chewy. A VERY easy recipe. The ricotta cookies were from "scratch". The cookie itself had very little lemon flavor, but the lemon glaze made up for it. These cookies grow on you. They are not very sweet except for the glaze. A very cakey texture. After my second cookie, I decided I like them, but probably not enough to make again.
We had good participation.
Nice variety.
 See the red chili pepper cookie on the left? Well, we ARE in New Mexico only 30 miles from Hatch, NM, known for their hatch chilis.
And dear to my heart, the doggie cookies. These bakers took extra time and care. Thank you!

My take home platter!
I'm not so patiently waiting for the final clue for the Mystery Knit-a-long Scarf.  It comes out tomorrow.

Home Improvement (Pajaro Bay Short Story)Home Improvement by Barbara Cool Lee
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I like the continuation of characters through the series, but you can read each book on it's own. This was a short story that was still able to have good character development.
This is only my 2nd Barbara Cool Lee book and they are definitely "Harlequin Romance" type books.
I really enjoy the Northern California small town coastal setting, where everyone knows your name...and business. Sweet books.
The Shell SeekersThe Shell Seekers by Rosamunde Pilcher
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

From the book (not audio) reviews, this is an excellent book. The 600 page book condensed to a 3 hour audio book is a total disappointment.
I think I've finally learned my lesson and will not listen to abridged books any more.
I suppose there was not enough time to really develop the characters. The family dynamic was there, but just passed over so you got the idea, but not enough to be really invested in them. I will read the  book to do this author justice.
Narrator, Lynn Redgrave did a fine job.
Thursday, 1/2/13 - 1/8/13 (1 week) Oliver Lee State Park, Alamogordo, NM (White Sands)

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