The little bit of Martha Stewart in me rose this morning like yeasty dough and grew into a couple of half-baked theories for practical living in New Mexico — namely cheap art and waterless landscaping.

Actually, I was up earlier than usual to deal with a community well problem and the sunrise illuminated my habitat. I’m not waving a finger at anyone. I have friends with green thumbs who are conscientious about water. I have artist friends who skillfully wield paint brushes and even more who are photographers. I’m not arguing against people buying art they like, especially local art. I am only noting options in home decoration and alternatives to outdoor irrigation.


The photo above reflects my interest in this Georgia O’Keeffe “Door” painting, hanging next to my fireplace. And since I am not in the O’Keeffe acquisition class, it is a framed postcard. It is enough to remind me of the concept — and O’Keeffe’s genius — every day.

I do not, however, share O’Keeffe’s affection for home decorating with animal bones and I have fun collecting pieces of piñon, juniper and cholla that resemble antelope horns. Thus, my fireplace adornment is part of a rotating and always affordable collection.

As for landscaping, I admit that I may be as inherently lazy as I am environmentally aware. But, I guess because of the fragility of pumping equipment and secretiveness of southwestern aquifers, it goes against my grain to apply potable water to plant life that thrives — in a desert sort of way — on our annual precipitation of 11 or so inches.

Here are some examples in this morning’s early light. Left to right: Russian sage; cliffrose; Apache plume; and autumn, or cherry, sage.

I water none of these, and maybe you think it shows. But they bloom plenty for me; you just have to wait for the season. I also find that the red flowers on the cherry sage attract plenty of hummingbirds. During dry spells, I throw my dishwater on them to keep them blooming.

Next is an example of full-blown lazy, except for the two pots, which I am trying to remember to water for an absent neighbor.


Here you will see desert olive, Russian sage, big sage, Apache plume, wild penstemon, Spanish broom and this year’s second crop of blackfoot daisies. I guess you have to like the shaggy look, but no irrigation, folks.

A couple of other notes: I confine my aspen at this 6,500-foot elevation to Gustave Baumann prints,


and for the ultimate in waterless and effortless landscaping, I have a Jerry West proof and a tree mural inside, neither of them costing me much green.


At the end of the day, I throw my leftover drinking water or coffee on the pink-blooming Christmas cactus that never dies. This always reminds me of Bruce King telling me about cowboys on the move with no milk, dousing morning corn flakes with coffee.

I wonder: Was there a little minimalism and a bit of Martha Stewart in our late governor, too?

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