From Berries to Museums

So “weekends” are a bit of a strange concept when you run a family business, but it gives you a lot more flexibility.These days my grandmother stays to run the family gallery, she doesn’t really want to go out much, and since she lives on the premises, it works well. My mom and I try to make sure that one or the other of us is there with her every day.Yesterday was my “weekend”, so I got to take care of stuff around the house, yay! Ok so that includes laundry, and dishes, and cleaning, but yesterday that also included a few more fun things.Like canning prickly pear cactus berries

This is after we had already processed two bowls of berries. Our cactuses were plentiful this year. So you would think that we would have a whole lot of stuff to can from that right? Nope. Two bowls made 4 cans and one bonus syrup can.

And yes, those aren’t even all that full.So what’s the deal? They aren’t made of so much water that there is little to preserve, like watermelon, no. These poor prickly little devils are mostly seeds. Rock hard little tiny seeds fill most of the berry. Outside of the seeds is a layer barely a quarter of an inch thick of the tasty juicy, pinky purple fruit that is worth the battle with the prickles on the outside.To give you some idea what I’m talking about, here are the ones we dehydrated.

Each one of those pieces is the result of a single berry.I’ll get more into the prepping process when we do the rest, but suffice to say that prepping the two bowls we already did took two people the better part of a day.Oh and as you may have observed in the pictures, these berries have a very distinctive color. They can be used as a dye. We completely forgot we were going to squeeze out the compost to retrieve some, and I put it outside to await burial. It unfortunately dried out before I remembered.So after all that fun canning in the kitchen, I took care of the boring stuff. (A lot o dishes from that project, bleh!)But when Big got home from school, I took the kiddlets for a treat.

The Tinkertown Museum in Sandia Crest. I didn’t take a lot of pictures, but I’ll try to give you some idea of why I took the chillens there.

The first thing you notice is either the goofy lion or the bottle walls.

This is my kids pretending to be scared. Not so convincing my dears.

Inside you find elaborate hand carved displays representing several scenes, most notably the old west, and a magnificent circus. As you walk along, you find that there are many buttons to press which each trigger some of the characters to move. They are nothing fancy, but they are most charming. There is a Navajo silversmith who begins to hammer, a Mary Poppins rising with her umbrella, and a bar maid serving her customers. One of the most fun things is that each button can trigger several unrelated actions, and as if the intricately overcrowded displays weren’t enough of a treasure hunt, you get to search for the little movements triggered by the buttons.

These displays have always been my strongest memories of Tinkertown, but I think the kids had more fun with the old machines scattered around. There is a fortune teller, several tests of strength, and my favorite, the automatic one man band, all in working order ready to trade your quarters for a bit of fun.

Outside there were some recent additions, this was the big hit with my chillens.

I also did not remember the art car, but it may have been there before. Round out the trip with a visit to a miniature horse and off we go!

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