Rootin’ tootin’ summer salad

When we left off last we were cooking, but raw foods are important too. Many health experts agree you should eat some raw food every meal.


Here’s a simple salad that doesn’t involve washing lettuce!  And it’s packed with health-enhancing phytonutrients. You’ll need:


3 medium carrotsBeets+

1 green or other tart apple

1 big lime

2 tbs fresh ginger root

1 medium-small beet, peeled

Sea salt


I use a regular old grater for this and add the ingredients to a salad bowl in order. Grate the carrots first using the coarse holes. Then core and grate the apple coarsely. 


Using the fine grate, zest all the peel off the lime and add to the salad. Then cut the lime in half and squeeze all the juice over the grated apple (this will help keep the apple from turning brown).


Grate the ginger fine, then grate the beet coarsely.


Toss, season with sea salt and set aside for a few minutes. After the salad rests the lime and vegetable juices will accumulate on the bottom of the bowl, so stir it up again before serving.


My friend Tim Van Riper caught this great sunset photo from his cabin overlooking the Wet Mountain Valley last weekend. Tim manages the Pueblo Chieftain’s website and is a talented photographer as well. For several years he’s been my crew chief for the pack-burro races.



Photo by Tim Van Riper
Photo by Tim Van Riper

Milder winter doesn’t mean drought

Winter came late to the Wet Mountains this season, but from early December to mid-January it had some truly Arctic moments. Now with milder weather the past few weeks, some local residents are freaking out about moisture and the possibility of a drought.

I’ve lived here in the Wet Mountains for 18 winters, and from what I’ve seen winter snowpack at moderate altitudes (under 10,000 feet) is vastly overrated. In very few years has January-February snow cover at these altitudes provided significant amounts of moisture. Moreover, it’s been the big spring storms in late March, April and even May that make the grass grow in May and June.

There’s usually not much water content in the snow that falls in the coldest months, and often the process of sublimation literally sucks the moisture out of what snow we do get. Moreover, the ground is frozen, the snow insulates the ground from the sun, and so when it melts it runs off and does not soak in.

It’s quite different when a heavy wet snow falls on the bare ground in late March or April. In 2003 we had very little snow all winter but a storm dropped a whopping 7 feet of snow starting March 17. I think we’re still drinking water from that storm. Likewise, we had more than 2 feet April 23, 2004.

colonyNow when it comes to snowpack in the high country it’s a different story. This snowpack at higher elevations does add up, and when it melts in late spring the water feeds the streams and the ditches that irrigate hayfields in the Wet Mountain Valley. Evaporation from this moisture also helps fuel summer thunderstorms.

When it comes to this snowpack, we’re actually ahead of the game. The South Colony SNOTEL in the Sangre de Cristo range registered 117 percent of the Feb. 3 average. The water content is already 71 percent of the average peak, which occurs on April 15. That leaves two months to make up just 29 percent. One or two good spring storms could push the snowpack over that average.

Better than summer, writer’s block, ‘Between Us’

Golden November — Unusually warm weather has settlled in this november making for rich evening sunlight. Here, Hereford cattle graze in a view looming north from the Wet Mountain Valley.
Golden November — Unusually warm weather has settled in this November making for rich evening sunlight. Here, Hereford cattle graze in a view looking north from the Wet Mountain Valley. Click on photo to enlarge.

Writer’s block, anyone?

There have been comments about the lack of anything new on the site this past week. I suppose there’s plenty of excuses, including not wanting to be handcuffed to a plastic box while the weather is this nice. Consider these November conditions: Warm days and cool nights, little wind, no lightning, no rattlesnakes (well, I haven’t seen one since early October, but I suppose there’s no reason they couldn’t be out on these warm days). So I’ve been trying to spend as much time as possible enjoying this lingering autumn.

I suppose I’m a little bit blocked. This happens from time to time with writer-types. It sometimes feels like there’s all sorts of stuff racing around in your head but few of these things represent actual coherent ideas that can be put on the proverbial blank page. Sometimes an idea strikes that’s worthwhile, but slips away before it gets bookmarked in my brain.

My health adviser Dr. Phil Maffetone attributes this to stress. Maybe he’s right. I’ve worked with Phil since 1998 and he usually is right about these things.

Today I ran in the sunshine and rounded up our cattle from the back of a burro. Perhaps the cobwebs are breaking loose.

‘Between Us’10044-thumb

Speaking of Phil, he and partner Coralee Thompson have a new and wonderful music album out. It’s called “Between Us” and is available for download or purchase from his recently reworked and much improved website, where you can also find useful health and fitness information. On this new album I especially like the tune “Garbage,” but it might just be that the opening line has certain implications to my present career situation: ”Oh Lord please get me out of the garbage.” I also like the guitar track on that one.

Coralee’s vocal on “A History of Secrets” is strikingly beautiful, and who can’t apppreciate a song about “The Middleman” these days.

One disappointment is that my favorite of their songs, “If I Become the Wind,” is not on the album. However, you can listen to it directly from the site. Go to “Music” and pull down to Phil and Coralee; you’ll find the player near the bottom. When Phil and Coralee were visiting here summer before last, they played this song in my livingroom and I got to play the chords (with instruction from Phil) along with them on the keyboard.