Friday, February 25, 2011

A day in Las Cruces and Mesilla

We took a day off from our labors today and headed to Las Cruces for some shopping and pizza. This time we tied in a little sight seeing too. We started by stopping at the rest area above the city. This is the view from the top of the hill showing I10 and the city against the mountains.

Also at this rest stop is this giant road runner sculpture (I am standing by one of the legs). It is a wire frame filled with junk. The breast is all shoes.

People have added graffiti (of course) and other junk like these yellow duckies. We go by this stop each time we go to Las Cruces, but this is the first time we stopped. Very interesting. We like giant sculptures and junk art.

This sign was posted on an old adobe building in old downtown Mesilla. It is a store now (I added to my wild sock collection with a purchase here), but the sign tells its own story. From here the kid went to Lincoln where he escaped. We stopped at the Visitors' Center, then walked around downtown. This little town is interesting historically. The buildings are all one story adobe except the church. Most of the buildings are original. There are several little shops in the square. The streets are paved, but the sidewalks are bricked. We found a chocolate shop and got some yummy stuff, but otherwise left empty handed.

Here lies sheriff Pat Garrett, slayer of Billy the Kid. He and his family are buried in the Masonic Cemetery on the south side of Las Cruces. He was originally buried across the street in the tiny Catholic cemetery, but someone stole his headstone, so now he is here. He is said to have shot Billy in the back. Interestingly enough, Garrett was also shot in the back--in a dispute over goats!
In between this stop and Mesilla, we tried another restaurant in our ongoing search for good pizza. This time we tried Red Brick Pizza. Pretty good, but we still put Dion's first for now. Next time we want to try Chicago Uno. We shopped in the mall. Barnes and Nobel didn't get our money this time, but Penney's did. I got a new pair of casual pants for work and a new pair of jeans since mine are literally coming apart at the seams.
To round out our sight seeing day we stopped on the way home at Akela. Just off the interstate there is a little shopping strip with all kinds of stuff. We got some prickly pear jelly and some saguaro honey. THEN we went home!

Basta por hoy!
Louise and Duane

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Our crafts and Fort Cummings



Duane's latest

History in the desert

I know, it's hard to believe, we are actually touring. We sought out another stop on the historic Butterfield Stage mail line across the southwest. We drove several miles down a Jeep trail to find Fort Cummings--at least what's left of it. There is a cemetery ground, though all the graves are supposedly removed to another site. There are a couple of stone or adobe corners here and there. The spring still exists, covered so we couldn't see it. That is the reason for the fort being built there, and the fact that it could guard the pass nearby. The fort was built twice, once to protect the stage line from Apaches and once for the railroad. After wandering around awhile and eating lunch in the truck, we headed back down the road to our favorite carnelian hunting grounds for a couple of hours.
Above is the fifth quilt. This was made for daughter Stacy, who wanted a patchwork quilt. This quilt is made of 6 inch blocks scavenged from the scraps of every one else's quilts--adults and children's'--some new fabric we picked out to represent her various moods, and some fabric representative of some places she's been. The back is olive green and red leaves on a vine. The quilting is simple stitch in the ditch with family symbols scattered around.
Duane's latest is a cabochon made from the inside of a nodule. We learned that if a spherical rock is hollow and lined with crystals, it is called a geode. If it is solid with minerals or mud, it is called a nodule. He had it cut in 1/4 inch slabs then cut out the design from the surrounding junk. Then he polished it and set it in a silver pendant setting. The stone is about 1 1/2 inches long.
That's enough for now.
Louise and Duane

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Road trip

We took a couple of days for a road trip to Tucson, AZ for the big Gem and Rock show on Wednesday and Thursday this past week. The show is one of the largest rock shows in the country. This was the first time we had gone to the show and may be the We had a good time and glad we went. The problem.... this show is BIG and spread out all over the city. It was very hard to find the dealers that were selling what we wanted to see. There were at least 35 different venues, some wholesale only, some open to the public. Of coarse, the first ones we went to were the wholesale ones, couldn't get in to them. We finally got a map of where the "open to the public" venues were. This helped a lot, but didn't have a list of dealers or where they were located. We wonder around looking and looking and looking. Found some dealers selling what are called slabs, rock cut in 1/4" thick slabs so you can mark and cut out the pieces that you want to turn into jewelery. I bought a few slabs, ones that we can't find around here. I prefer to make my jewelery out of stuff we find, but these slabs were to pretty to pass up. I was able to find the tool sales that had everything I was looking for. After a day and a half of walking and looking, we decided it was time to head back to Deming. I as said in the beginning, had a great time, but would not drive the 3 hours to go again. If we are in the area during the show, I would go, just would not drive that far again.
Stalactite's 10 feet tall from China
Geodes from Brazil

More rocks

Dale and Shirley
We spent all most a month running around the desert hunting rocks with Dale and Shirley. They have since moved on to hunt rocks in Arizona. We had a really good time visiting and hunting with them. I hope we can meet up down the road some where to hunt some more.
Before we left for Tucson, a couple came into the rv park asking about rock hunting in this area. The boss came and got me to talk them. I told them we were going to AZ. for a couple of days but would be glad to take them out hunting when we got back. Low and behold they waited on us to get back. We spent Thursday hunting with Bob and Ada from Nebraska. They are farmers that enjoy rock hunting and Indian relic hunting. They invited us to come visit them at their farm and hunt around there. Maybe next year we can take them up on it.
I have been working on getting stones ready to mount into jewelery, Louise has been quilting. We have about 4 more weeks left here before it's off to Arizona and carving week. Looking forward to moving on and heading to CA. to see the kids there.
This is the quilt that Louise made for son Duane Jr. He lives in Texas and was my roping pardner in days past. As you can see, the quilt was done in western pattern material and quilted with Texas stars. This was the forth of 6 quilts Louise has made for our 6 kids. Louise makes one a year and is working on the last one now. The 5th will be posted on the next post. She couldn't post the pictures till they had recieved the quilts, so the 6th one won't be seen on here till after Christmas this year. Something to look forward to for all our readers.

Till next time
Duane and Louise

Friday, February 04, 2011

Sorry Ohio friends

Ok, SORRY Ohio friends!!!! Seems I have been calling friends in Ohio telling them how warm it has been down here in New Mexico. Pay back time has arrived. It has been COLD here!! The last few days have been around "0" with the wind blowing 35-40 miles an hour. I had heat taped the hoses going to the trailer from the ground all the way to where it hooks into the house. NO freeze there.... The lines to the kitchen sink did freeze for one night, running today. We are one of the Lucky, or should I say smart ones, that still has water flowing in the trailer. Most here did not wrap there lines and are frozen tight. I'm sitting here at the computer watching people carrying water from the club house to their rvs while Louise is doing the laundry in our trailer.

We spent yesterday in Las Cruces doing some shopping to prepare a little for the next cold snap. We bought an electric blanket for the bed and some matting to cover the floor in the workshop to try and keep some of the cold down. It has to cold to work out here for a couple of days. I had moved the computer into the front part of the house to stay warm. This morning I am back in the shop working and typing. It had been as low as 37 in the shop, not a pleasant temperature to work in. This morning it'65, the new flooring is working pretty good.

The park had a garden sprinkler freeze and break on Thursday morning, luckily I was at the rock shop so didn't have to get involved in the repairs of that. It flooded the main entrance into the park and froze solid. They had to close off that drive because of the ice. I have not been out there to take a picture of that, sorry, to

Now for the continuing saga of our craft work. First is a small ring I just finished. The setting is turquoise that I shaped and then fit into a silver mounting. The steps are, shape the stone, shape and solder the band around the stone, solder the band to a back plate, solder the back plate to the finger band, then set the stone and crimp the silver around the stone to hold it in place. The mounting and is all sterling silver. I hope to be mounting some of the stones we have found in the near future. Stay tuned.....

This ring fits Louise's little finger
Now for louise....

This is my third quilt. I designed it for our daughter Rachel in Ohio. The pattern is called Ohio Stars. The white has sparkles, the green has a tiny leaf pattern, and the red has dark red roses. The back is light mottled green. The stars are quilted in the ditch as are the sashings (green separating lines). The dark red blocks are quilted with Celtic knots, a favorite motif of Rachel's. The knots weren't big enough, so the corners have 4 point stars. In case you're wondering, I tried the pattern with green points and middle squares with white and red backgrounds, but it wouldn't work, so this is the finished product. As with all the quilts, the family symbols are scattered around. I just can't help myself. I love puzzles!
Halfway through our bragging,
Louise and Duane

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

More good stuff

Detail of quilting

Back of quilt 2

Quilt top

Baker mine geode

Duane's latest effort

Well, here we are once again showing off. First pix are of my second creation made for our puzzle loving son. It is a replica of an actual English garden maze, to size: 1 inch = 1 foot. The light green is fabric printed to look like long grass, the dark hedge lines are leafy foliage. The outer edge is printed to look like a stone pathway or the top of a stone wall. The very outer borders are supposed to look like dense forest foliage. The back is made up of scraps of green. The whole thing is quilted in a jigsaw puzzle pattern.
Duane's latest creation is made up of a piece of natural turquoise which he purchased as a rectangular piece. He spent a couple of hours to shape and polish the stone, and another couple of hours to silversmith the ring and mount. Not bad for an amateur, huh?
The middle pic is of a geode we found on our foray to the Baker mine. To find the mine, you get directions from the owner when you ask permission. It takes about an hour to reach it. Then you get your shovel or pick and start digging in the tailings. This is a mining term for trash pile. The tailings are constantly picked over, but with a little persistence, there are still treasures to be found. When you say geode, most people think of the ones that have a hollow center with crystals. In fact, geodes contain any number of minerals in any number of combinations, including mud which has turned to rock. As rockhounds we look for the ones that are not hollow, like the one above. In these, we can cut out the centers to make into jewelry settings.
Enough bragging for now,
Louise and Duane