Odds and Ends from Home

Here’s a few items that I thought I’d share with you, mostly this post was driven by people requesting the recipe for the “coctel de nopalitos” or in English, prickly pear pad salad with a lot of juice.  So I thought instead of emailing it out repeatedly why not do it once and for all here. 
Coctel de Nopalitos

Prickly pear cactus pads being cleaned, spine stubs removed and ready for chopping.

–  1 1/2 kilo of spineless prickly pear pads that are cleaned, chopped and been either boiled in water until tender or sauteed til the same.  Basically you want to cook until the gel or gooey substances are gone.  These are available these days in a lot of grocery stores catering Mexican shoppers such as Food City in Arizona.
–  1/2 cup of lime juice, best if Key limes or the other will work.
– 1 cup of whole wheat berries, well cooked, in Mexico the ones in the dish we ate had a round shape.
–  1 cup of finely chopped white onion.
–  1 cup of chopped tomatoes.
–  1 1/2 cup of chopped cucumber.
–  1/2 cup of cilantro chopped.
–  2 jalapenos that you buy in a can that have been cured in vinegar (escabeche).
–  1 liter of Clamato
–  1 small can of tomato puree.
–  salt to taste.

Chiles and Climate Change

The part of the prior blog post where I talked about our visit to Casimiro Sanchez, the grower from the town of San Ignacio, is referenced in a New York Times article about our friend Gary Nabhan.  Here’s the link:

The article is plug for Gary’s Book done with Kurt Michael Friese and Kraig Kraft about their odyssey to evaluate the effects of climate change on assorted crops, most notably chiles.

Chasing Chiles: Hot Spots Along the Pepper Trail [Paperback]
Kurt Michael Friese (Author), Kraig Kraft (Author), Gary Paul Nabhan (Author)


An Art Book about the Border

This is what I would call a simultaneously beautiful and very cool book about the border.  It’s done by Philip Zimmerman, a professor at the University of Arizona, who describes himself as an artist working primarily in the medium of artists’ books.

It’s entitled “Sanctus Sonorensis,” a book of border “beatitudes” commenting on the complicated attitudes of Americans on illegal immigration from Mexico.  The title refers to a hymn that forms part of the Catholic mass that is sung.  This is a large book weighing 4 lbs on board stock with rounded and gilded edges such as breviaries or missals of Catholic literature.

Price is $50 plus shipping, details can be found on Philip’s blog as well as a good amount of info about the book.  The link for that would be:



Were here at home through early May with the possible exception of a trip to Sonora to check on our building that is currently going up in San Carlos under the guidance of Emiliano Lopez who was the main person we worked with on the Save the Children project in Obregon, Mexico.

Starting Saturday is our week long Straw Bale Comprehensive, then a week off and April 30th through May 7 is the fun course – Artistry with Clay and Lime which is basically a whole bunch of stuff about clay and lime in many different applications.

Photo Processing

I frequently get asked about how I process the photos that appear on this blog.  I thought it perhaps interesting to put up a before and after, in this case a rather extreme and playful one.  What I do is not all that complicated, but in short, I start in Photoshop and rely on a few simple and easy to use tools called plug-ins that I have installed in the program.  The main one is a suit of products by Topaz Labs – www.topazlabs.com

I have a number of requests for a photo class in the Rio Sonora area and am considering it for next year.  I certainly don’t consider myself well qualified to teach Photoshop, but what I can do is show others what I do and how I work.  And of course, I’ve identified a whole lot of interesting things to photograph in that part of Mexico.  If you’re interested let me know.

This image was taken at an old house in Banamichi, Sonora.  You will notice a rather significant difference that deviates somewhat from what some call reality.  And that is something that doesn’t particularly interest me when it comes to creating images.  I want enough of the original to be able to identify it and yet I can lean heavily in the “painterly” direction for some images.

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