Life in the Mountains

     Every one always asks me how do I live this mountain life? How do I deal with the snow and the fires, and the fire storm evacuations and the bears and the cougars? The same way they deal with the smog, the heat and the gansta’s in the valley below me. I love my mountain life up here “on the hill”
    I wasn’t born up here in a field some where as everyone who know me suspects. I was born in the smog, crime and despair of Whittier, California a suburb of the sprawling city of Los Angeles.  Praise the Lord (PTL), my family decided to get the hell out of L.A. when I was just a little kid. Other wise I would have grown up in Norwalk, one of the most ghetto areas of L.A. Its pretty close to Compton. What would my gansta skills be? Farting on rival gang members?
   “Yo Yo Yo! My ass is gonna bust some stink in yo mouth!” That would be my cry, me and my gang the P U Crew. All I can say, is thank god we moved to the mountains before my gang and I got on the loose in Los Angeles.
    Thank god we left Los Angeles because I speak very little Spanish for a native Californian. Sad I know. I think every one in Cali should learn a little Spanish, I mean Mexico is our neighbor. In Europe border countries are bilingual, why can’t we be? Oh yeah, because Californians are to stuck up for that. We just want to drink our four dollar lattes, drive our Cadillac SUV’s belching smog and smoke into the atmosphere AND complain about how much gas costs, not to mention how we don’t want to even THINK about buying produce from our neighbors to the South. Most Californians are ridiculous; living in the mountains I feel separated from that idea of California. This area is more rural, the people are more down to earth.
     When I was a child I grew up hiking the banks of the creek by my house. It was a beautiful leisurely hike down to the cool creek with little trout swimming lazily. We would spend hours down there hanging out in the cold water.
    Then there was the hike back. Pretty much straight up hill it seemed for two hours. In the hot sun. By the time I reached home, I was always almost ready to pass out. This is what made me the hiker I am today. Instead of watching T.V. my mom would kick us out of the house every day and we would have all our cats and a bunch of squirrels to chase, or we could just go to the creek and swim the day away. I feel like my child hood was summer every day. Well except when we would get four feet of snow in a blizzard like storm and school would be closed for days.
    Days like this we would walk a mile to the nearest store in the snow to buy food. My mom was just so happy to get us kids out of the house for a few hours! She would either kick us out to shovel the huge driveways we had (Filled up with the eight or so cars my Dad collected) or convince us to go play in the snow. We spent “snow days” making elaborate snow castles and snow race tracks for our sleds. Winter in the mountains was awesome growing up. Maybe this is why I still love the cold snowy days of February?
    Okay, I don’t LOVE driving those cold snowy, icy, slippery, sliding into snow berms, oh god the side of a cliff, kinds of drives, and believe me I have those kind of commutes many times a winter. More times then I can count I’ve managed to get my car or even one of my Broncos  stuck on a snowy hill on a freezing cold winters day.
     Mountain living is worth every minute of icy road nonsense when I spend my day off making a pot of cheesy corn chowder with cheddar sour dough scones, while sitting beside a roaring fire watching the snow fall outside my windows. Man, I can’t wait for winter!

Amber’s Killer Cheesy Corn Chowder with Poblanos

3 ears corn, cut off the cob
4 pieces of bacon
1/2 sweet onion, diced
1 can fire roasted tomatoes
6 tomatillo
2 jalapenos
2 poblano chili’s
1 tab chipotle chili’s in can with juice
juice of 1 lime
3 cups turkey stock
5 small red potatoes
4 cloves garlic
sour cream
2 tab chili powder
1 cup sharp white cheddar cheese

Cook the bacon in a sauce pan. When it is close to being done, douse with chili powder. Fry up the onion in the bacon grease. Set the bacon aside.
In the oven, roast the tomatillos, the garlic and the peppers together at 375 for 25 minutes. Set aside to cool. When cool, put that mixture in a blender until smooth.
Microwave the potatoes three minutes, than chop into pieces. Add to the onions. Cook for two minutes than add the stock, and the tomatoes. Cook for twenty minutes, than add the tomatillo puree. Add the adobe chili’s and the corn. Cook for twenty minutes. Stir in one cup sour cream and the lime juice. Add one cup cheddar cheese.
Serve with extra sour cream, the reserved bacon and with cilantro on top.


  1. Daniel Nest

    Actually sounds quite awesome to live in the mountains. And most importantly, you can even try to claim the title of The Highlander – there can be only one!

  2. Natalie DeYoung

    Mountain living sounds nice. I’m from an LA suburb, so I get the gangsta talk, and I DO speak enough Spanish to get by – or at least, to read the billboards. 😉

  3. Peach

    I want to eat this soup by a roaring fire with a snowstorm happening outside! Lovely tales of mountain childhood and living. (Though you can keep those cliffside drives, eeek!)

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