Author Archives: Lara Harriger

Going Home

July 21st. The big day.

He was just wait­ing for us to come for him.

yup, it's me.

Just Wait­ing for You to Say the Word

There was some play time. All the young­sters get­ting in on it. There’s a pile of chew toys under there some­where.

all those puppy butts!

Pup­py Play­time

Susan showed us a lit­tle of what the boy could do. Here he’s start­ing a Down.

um, it's going to where?

Down, Fol­low­ing a Treat

He sits so very hard. As if sheer deter­mi­na­tion will get big­ger, bet­ter cook­ies.

i'm sitting, i'm sitting, i'm sitting


It was a long ride home. Giz­mo gets car sick. He’s a pret­ty good sport about it, but it’s not how he likes to spend the day.

Once home he had a good run around the work yard and got some treats.

really? aren't all four paws supposed to be on the ground?

Gimme, Gimme, Gimme

Met the old dog.

hey, what's that big floppy thing you brought home?

Meet­ing Dee-Dee

Posed for a nice por­trait. My Two Dudes


Jim and Giz­mo

Had a real­ly wild run from the barn to the rock wall and back and forth chas­ing Jim.


Run­ning Laps

He can real­ly get the ears and lips and tongue fly­ing.


Def­i­nite­ly Some Sort of UFO

Then got to wade in the buck­et.


Buck­ets are for Wad­ing…

drink it? nu huh.

Right? Oh, Drink­ing…

That wet dog look is one that we’re get­ting used to.

i wanted to be a water dog

All Wet

This isn’t going to be quite as cute in Jan­u­ary. No, he isn’t going to give up play­ing in the buck­ets just because it’s 30 degrees out­side instead of 90.



At the end of the day — at the end of almost every day. He smiles.

and I like your tile

Hap­py Pup­py Smiles

Hello, my name is Gizmo.

This is my baby pic­ture.

I will, no doubt pay for this when he's 3 years old.

too damned cute for school

Lara took it a cou­ple of weeks ago when she and Jim came to vis­it us. No doubt when I am old­er I will wish that I hadn’t post­ed it here. But for now I hope you enjoy it and all of the oth­ers.

Here’s some video of us play­ing tug.

Pups play with tug toy from lar­isa har­riger on Vimeo.

We sent hours play­ing and chas­ing each oth­er and hav­ing our pic­tures tak­en. Boy were we all tired by the time the sun was going down.

who requested turn-down service?

all fall down

In a cou­ple of weeks I’ll be at my new home on the west side of the moun­tains where it is cool­er and there is a lot more grass. I’ll have to share the house with some cats, but there will only be one oth­er dog and there will be inter­est­ing ani­mals in the pas­ture and new places to go and new peo­ple to meet. I think it will be fun. And maybe a lit­tle scary. I’m sure my folks will take good care of me.

New Cat

In the  spring I lost my faith­ful min­ion Trip. Ear­ly this sum­mer we added Peach to our menagerie.

Peach — typ­i­cal goofy expres­sion

As much as I love the big orange doo­fus, he’s just not min­ion mate­r­i­al. (Also, he prefers Jim’s com­pa­ny to mine. Curr.)

So… to rec­ti­fy the lack of a min­ion for the Mag­pie Cen­ter for World Dom­i­na­tion. We have added a sec­ond cat.

Meet Diesel. Most often known as Izzy.

Diesel — pon­der­ing the great out­doors

Peach and izzy­have learned to get along, sort of. There’s a lot of chas­ing and steal­ing the best sleep­ing spots going on. Until they’re both tired, then they set­tle down togeth­er on the back of the couch.

stop fol­low­ing me already

Playing Catch Up.

A new toy.


1966 Honda 305 Dream

The newest toy and our next project.


But before we can do any­thing about that…

We have to fix this.

Yeah, that’s pret­ty much half of the dash pulled out. Tomor­row night the oth­er half comes out. All because I don’t like cold feet.

um, that kinda exploded huh?

There are bits of this truck that are waaaay too far behind oth­er bits.


(Update to the update — Jim got it all done and but­toned back up on Sun­day. Good thing too, because there’s snow fore­cast for tonight.)

 A lazy cat.

lazy cat

Peach in his pref­ered win­ter spot.

Work — or not.


You can find it here.

I’m not actu­al­ly signed up. Because I’m chick­en shit and all that. Most­ly because I don’t write nov­els. At least not with any suc­cess. I write short sto­ries. And I plan to write 4 this month. It’s my own lit­tle ver­sion of NaNoW­riMo.

Weekend Picture Taking, Part II

Hm, the week­end pic­ture-tak­ing didn’t end Sat­ur­day morn­ing, though that was my plan. We head­ed out Sat­ur­day, late after­noon, to hit up the lum­ber yard for 2x4s and grab some din­ner before head­ing back home to fin­ish the chick­en aviary improve­ments. (more on that lat­er) I grabbed my cam­era and threw the 50mm lens on it just in case we were out late enough to catch the pic­ture of our lit­tle town at sun­set that I’ve been see­ing but not get­ting for a cou­ple of weeks now. That wasn’t the pic­ture I got.

Bad news, the white truck spit the binkie — or rather a fuel pump. Luck­i­ly in a con­ve­nient park­ing lo. But not the hard­ware store lot, which was prob­a­bly a good thing.

For some rea­son yes­ter­day was a ter­ri­bly busy day for the AAA and tow truck guys. (There’s a long sto­ry here but only those involved care 🙂

So I had a cou­ple of hours to sit around and cool my heels. But hey, what luck, I had my cam­era with me and it was get­ting to be late and the light was get­ting inter­est­ing and well here you have them. A hand­ful of things that I shot in a sub­ur­ban park­ing lot. Just goes to prove that you real­ly can find some­thing to look at no mat­ter where you are.

[nggallery id=1]

I’m also using this post to try out the NextGEN gallery plug-in. I need some­thing for using on this blog. I also need some­thing to build a port­fo­lio site in but that’s tak­ing way too long and has been way too much of a mess. Be warned — there are a lot of crap Word­Press “port­fo­lio” themes out there. Expen­sive ones too.

Weekend Picture Taking

It’s been a long week­end already and it’s only noon on Sun­day 🙂 Of course I start­ed it on Fri­day.

Ear­ly fri­day morn­ing I head­ed out to take some flower and yard pic­tures and to start get­ting the birds at the new feed­ers used to my being around with the cam­era. The yard is a mess after a long wet coll spring. But A lit­tle close up work hides the jun­gle and just shows some pret­ty thing.

There’s pur­ple vetch grow­ing next to the ash trees in the front bed.

yeah it's a weed, but it's a pretty weed

pur­ple vetch

more weeds, love the bright green and the dark purple

yup, more vetch

The blue flower whose name I always for­get is bloom­ing by the house. It is a most reli­ably self-seed­er. 😉

I can never remember the name of this plant

very pret­ty blue

a little more detail

clos­er still

Then there’s the shot of the wood sheds that I always see but can nev­er get to work out. I think I should start by mov­ing the yel­low milk crate. Then maybe turn the wag­on, but only if the side is as per­fect­ly fad­ed as the back is. (And I’ll move the fad­ed orange clip as well.)

next winter's fire wood

the wood shed and the wag­on

And then there are the new bird feed­ers. They pro­vide plen­ty of enter­tain­ment when we’re soak­ing in the hot tub, and I can see — but more impor­tant­ly hear — the birds from my office win­dow.

planted be with maple tree

the bird feed­ers hang in the cen­ter of this bed

the new set up ready for diners

a seed tube, a tray, a small sun­flower tube, and a very stur­dy pole

I’ve been spend­ing some time sit­ting out by the tub every­day to get the birds used to me and my cam­eras. So far it’s been the usu­al sus­pects, jun­cos and chick­adees and the stellar’s jays. But we’ve had a few oth­ers, there were purple(ish) finch­es for a day or two but they seem to have moved on. The gros­beaks are abun­dant this spring. And my favorites the goldfinch­es have been mov­ing in.

Lots of activ­i­ty and lots of bird song. But the pic­tures aren’t mak­ing me hap­py. I get a few out of every ses­sion that are okay. Like these of the pine siskins.

some more pine siskins

note the messy eat­ing habits of the guy at the top

a couple of little brown jobs, pine siskins?

not a bad pic with a lit­tle post-pro­cess­ing help

But okay is as good as it gets. Most are like this one. Over exposed — the dark trees in the back­ground fool the meter­ing. And not very sharp, in spite of using a tri­pod.

pretty bird, icky picture

cer­tain­ly the bright­est bird of the morn­ing, too bad about the pic­ture

I’m get­ting fed up enough to con­sid­er tak­ing a lit­tle card­board cut out of a bird and tap­ing it to the feed­er while I fid­dle around with the cam­era. Or maybe the small plush-toy roost­er that a friend brought me back from Hawaii.

Still, how bad can a day be when it starts with sit­ting in the yard drink­ing tea and hav­ing the jays scold me?

Red Chili in a Slow Cooker


  • 2 lbs lean ground beef or stew meat
  • 32 oz chunky sal­sa
  • 28 oz diced toma­toes (1 big can)
  • 30 oz red kid­ney beans or black beans (2 cans)
  • 2 tbs chili pow­der
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp gar­lic pow­der
  • 2 tsp dried oregano


  1. Brown the beef in a skil­let, drain the fat. Add the meat to the slow cook­er.
  2. Open cans and add rest of the stuff.
  3. Add the spices, stir well.
  4. Cook, cov­ered, on low for 8 hours.

(If you 1.5x this recipe it will total­ly fill a 6 quart crock pot but it won’t bub­ble over.)

Day 7 — In Which There Are Very Old Churches

Well, there we were, on vaca­tion, tak­ing a cou­ple of days off for fire­works and parades. But that’s all over and only the con­fet­ti and red, white, and green bunting are left. So it was time to get mov­ing again.

Out to the Mix­te­ca. Once the cen­ter of cochineal pro­duc­tion and the Span­ish Empire’s new world eco­nom­ic engine. Now a sleepy agri­cul­tur­al back­wa­ter.  The last time we were out here it was Feb or Mar — the height of the dry sea­son. The hills were spec­tac­u­lar­ly red. Now it’s Sep­tem­ber and the end of the rainy sea­son. every­thing is green and grow­ing.

kinda like the columbia valley

broad val­ley, low clouds

We start­ed with the old­est and largest of the colo­nial church­es. Yan­huit­lan.

really big

look­ing up the stairs at the main door

There has been a lot going on in the church. Inte­ri­or restora­tions, roof repair, stonework.
The huge retablo are being moved away from the walls and restored from the back out.

work in progress

three of many

Some of the details are inspir­ing. Like this nat­ty fel­low.

fine looking fellow

nice clothes on this gen­tle­man

Much of the stone work is repairs — done in such a way as to pre­serve as much of the exist­ing work as can be saved and them adding new work that looks like the orig­i­nal would have 450 years ago.

appealing in it's honesty

some new, some old

Yan­huit­lan was once the cen­ter of the Dominican’s pow­er and the church prob­a­bly seem more in scale 400 years ago.  But now Yan­huit­lan is a farm­ing vil­lage and the church looks like a UFO hangar dropped into the mid­dle of Iowa.

image what it must have looked like when the valley was bustling

the biggest build­ing for 50 miles (or so)

We took a lit­tle dri­ve out of the vil­lage to find a spot to take that pic­ture. We met a cou­ple of charm­ing folks who were pleased to make some new friends. Even if we were a lit­tle odd. (And not Catholic, but Nico, who is, was hap­py to accept their gift of a mila­gro.)

reminder of a special saint's celebration

we seem to make peo­ple gig­gle uncon­trol­lably

We talked a lit­tle about the weath­er and a lit­tle about where we were from and a bit about the bean crop. Jim took this pic­ture of their farm yard from the top of the hill.

home and farm buildings

small farm­ster­ad and hill­side plant­i­ngs

We moved fur­ther out from Oax­a­ca to Coixt­lahuac and anoth­er church that is near­ly as old. This church is small­er and in much more fre­quent con­tem­po­rary use.

lovely yard

approach­ing the church from the main street

The inte­ri­or is still bright­ly paint­ed. This is part of the arch­way around the entrance to a side chapel.

a small part of the arch­way

Oth­er parts of the clois­ter haven’t fared as well as the main church but there is restora­tion work in progress.


no paint yet — just per­fect­ly smooth plas­ter and restored win­dows

This stair­way was fea­tured in a PSA for the fed­er­al arche­ol­o­gy and his­to­ry insti­tute.

Day 3 — Marching Bands and Plants

Oof. It was late last night and I post­ed this entry to the wrong blog. So here it is about 12 hours late.

For break­fast this morn­ing we had march­ing bands. One of the largest of the local high schools had their parade to the zoco­lo in hon­or of the Bicen­ten­ni­al.

First there was a bit of a pro­fes­sion­al band (bor­ing) and then the school ban­ner.

Moises Saenz Garza

Moi­ses Saenz Garza High­school

Fol­lowed by the school’s drum corps…

they love drums here


… and then the stu­dent body. Loose­ly orga­nized, and very hap­py to wave and say hel­lo and make fun­ny faces at the folks peer­ing out of the Casa’s front door.

peace to you too

smiles and hel­los for every­one

The bulk of the day was tak­en up with a tour of the botan­i­cal gar­dens at San­to Domin­go. Jardín Etnobotáni­co de Oax­a­ca.

I’m still work­ing on get­ting all the pic­tures sort­ed out. There will be a nice big gallery of them lat­er this week. But for now here are a hand­ful to give you a feel for the gar­den and its plants.

The tour starts with a dis­cus­sion of the native food plants. The tri­umvi­rate of squash, beans, and corn. These are squash plants.

squash growing in the foreground

squash, beans, and corn

In the back­ground are bunch­es of the large marigolds that dec­o­rate the altars at Muer­tos. I am death­ly aller­gic to them.

This lit­tle red flower on the oth­er hand doesn’t make me sneeze. It’s a dahlia. Seri­ous­ly. All those fan­cy gar­den flow­ers (Hi Elise!) have been bred from one lit­tle red flower.

awfully nice for a single

the orig­i­nal dahlia

Of the com­mon trees in Oax­a­ca the one that I can always iden­ti­fy with­out a doubt is the pochote. But when you’re look­ing at some­thing with points like this…


unmis­tak­able thorns

The gar­dens are locat­ed behind the build­ings of the Monastery of San­to Domin­go. The church’s walls pro­vide a back­drop for the large col­lec­tion of dry eco-sys­tem plants.

straight lines

typ­i­cal water chan­nel

Maguey cac­tus. The source of mescal/tequilla. Also just plain pret­ty.


As we were leav­ing the gar­dens and head­ing toward lunch we ran into anoth­er march­ing band. This one was fol­lowed by dancers.

dancing ladies!

the flow­ers are par­tic­u­lar­ly nice

Mean­while Jim would like you to know that he is hard at work cat­a­loging the var­i­ous motor trans­port options in the area. Today, I think it’s work­ing bikes.