Grab a cup of coffee, a biscuit and pull up a chair it is show (less tell) time.

As you may last remember we went on vacation:

We backpacked in Colorado where we came very up close and personal with a moose…but I waited to take a picture until we were a bit farther away.  What is also not captured is the fact that across the water there was a baby amongst the small trees/bushes.

And we almost found a new home, a little rickety ole mining shack.  The mine entrance was across the way and I tell you, the view from the shack was AMAZING.

It’s remote location might stave off would be visitors and the accommodations would be quite drafty.  The scenery might make up for the inconvenience.

After dramatically feeling the effects of altitude in CO we next visited Kate and Karen in New Mexico.  We were in time for the green chili season and to experience the local culture we got us a bushel of Big Jims, “medium” heat, and had them fire roasted.

After roasting you let them steam in their bags and then with plastic gloves on you peel’em and deseed them.  Karen and Kate were kind enough to share some from early in the season which were really mild.  Our batch were so very wonderfully tasty but so very burn out your throat that even after freezing and eating them months later in the comfort of a WI/OH winter I was nearly rolling on the floor in tears.  I wanted to keep eating but just could not.  It might be worth a flight out there again early in the season if we could get ourselves a whole bunch of less hot Big Jims.  I’m drooling at the memory right now.  They are THAT GOOD.

As K+K are in their residency we had a fair bit of time to explore.  We went for a hike in a local park where a few things were in bloom.

And you know what I think of when I think of the desert….massive amounts of rain.

The above photo was taken just as it was starting to rain.  We had about a 2 mile hike back to our car and we were soak straight through.  It then continued to rain for days.  Which seemed to be a theme of our vacation, come to think on it.  Where ever we went, inclement weather would follow…for about 50% of the time.  When we were in Fort Collins, CO, that made for a great reason to go brewery tour hopping.  Can I say, “New Belgium”…why yes, yes I can, we did and it was every bit worth the wait.

After NM we headed back through CO and climbed the Third Flat Iron:

And made it to the top without falling.  Of course, par for our course, we took many a wrong turn our way up.  Yup, our vacation was full of wrong turns in way-finding.  We always found our way but sometimes in a creative fashion.

On our drive back east we stopped in the Dakotas and climbed at Devil’s Tower.

Here’s our main climbing gear related route to the sumit…Soler (it is the shadowy dihedral:

And if you got an xmas card you saw a picture of us on the summit, which is quite like a small field and until other towers I’ve summited in its large circumference.  The register was in a heavy as heck iron tube which I found quite fascinating in appearance.

Somewhere in that whole shebang on our way home we revisited Ryan’s hike on his way out.  It is an old CCC project that served as a fire look out over the vast area.  I can’t remember the name of the place but it is the highest point east of the Rockies and West of an European mountain range.  How’s that for specific? errrr….

We did a ton of other things on vacation as well, tried to climb in the needles (but they closed), went to Mt Rushmore (cooler than expected), visited with friends from back in the day of living in the Red (as cool as remembered and then some), drove through the badlands (uber-windy), and a lot of other details.  But as this is a marathon catch up lets move on the WI homefront.

I think we can safely say that our plants indoors were a success.

More red pepper sweetness:

And habanero awesomeness:

And jot jot jalepenos:

Boat loads of basil (in a ghostly bowl picture…not quite paranormal activity, but I think we can agree that I am not normal).


That was turned into pesto power punches.


I have a whole schlew of other photos to share but can’t at this time.  We’ve moved to near the beaches in southern Florida for my continued education and there are things I probably should attend too to get myself back into the student-y mode.  Our new apartment is another story too.  There is plenty of good light, but as our windows face primarily northeast not as good as we had it in WI.  I’m sure I’ll appreciate that change when in the middle of summer we don’t have to crank the A/C as much.

Ryan and I are extending invitations to visitors.  We may not live glamorously, and I won’t have a lot of visiting time, but you’d have a free place near some pretty awesome beaches.  My Ryan is pretty dang awesome, doncha think, and must love me a whole lot if he has, without reservation, moved to Florida.  Next move though, he gets to choose…assuming I can get a job.

Cheers to all of you!