Hello, I'm Richard Whitmer and this is a site I've maintained since forever as a place to practice technologies I'm learning while I share things I'm making and discovering. Have a look around, say hello.

Photos · · Tucson

Wintry Panache

branch and red berries of a Chinese Pistache tree against a blue skey

In this photograph, I am apree-see-ating nature with the wintry panache of a Chinese Pistache.

Notes · · Tucson


Cuando andábamos cortando rábanos unos comíamos y otros dejabanos

White icicle radishes
Red radishes

Six months into this urban gardening busyness and all I know for certain is if you want a quick “win” (as they say), plant radish seeds in the ground or in pots, water regularly, and in five weeks you’ll have more of the crunchy taco condiments than you have refrigerator for. 

Photos · · Tucson

Do acorn squash taste like acorns?

Three acorn squash against an orange background

The cashier wanted to know if acorn squash taste like acorns and I said more like pumpkins. Later I thought who am I to say when I don’t know what acorns taste like?

Recipes · · Tucson

Crock-Pot Cowboy Beans

You could draw a Venn diagram for how easy, inexpensive, fast-to-prepare, tasty, and satisfying this recipe is and it would resemble a single ring staining the surface of your treasured mesquite wood desk. It could happen one day when you are working from home and are so hungry and the beans smell so good and you hastily ladle a sloshy bowl and eat them right there in front of your monitor because you don't think to use a placemat.

That might be a costly mistake – handcrafted mesquite furniture isn't cheap – but at least your diagram would never be mistaken for the rings of the International Olympic Committee because trademark infringement like that could be even costlier.

Which is to say, this is just about the best recipe in the world. There are only a few ingredients and you can prepare the whole thing in three minutes in the morning and it's ready just in time for dinner.

In fact, getting the cowboys to take their boots off before getting into the pot is the hardest part. Har!

Also, this is just as tasty if you substitute liquid smoke and a spoonful of coconut oil for the bacon. Honestly though, if you don't have bacon or liquid smoke or coconut oil, don't worry and make it without. Who needs them, really? Not you and not this recipe.

  • 1 pound pinto beans
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon salt-free Southwest Chipotle Seasoning blend
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 8 cups water
  • 1 strip bacon OR 1 tablespoon coconut oil and 1/4 teaspoon liquid smoke

Sort through the beans to be certain there are no rocks or dirt clods.
Rinse the beans and place in the slow cooker.
If including the strip of bacon, cut it into half-inch strips and add them to the beans. If not, add the coconut oil and liquid smoke.
Toss in the salt and pepper, add the water, cover and cook on low for 8 hours.  

A bowl of these are yummy enough on their own, but more often than not, we'll eat this with little tacos we make with chopped onions, cilantro and avocado slices rolled up in street taco size corn tortillas.

Notes · · Tucson


Do you ever google how to make a baked macaroni and cheese and all of the results require you to read a short story about a destination wedding before giving you the recipe? Then you discover the writer neglects to say how hot the oven needs to be?

Last year, years after people stopped bothering with personal blogs, I finally got to meet in person a friend I made because of the blog I had a lot of fun keeping at the turn of the century, before we all moved to the walled gardens of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and the like, and the constant blah, blah, blah. He shared with me some of the important work he does and the beautiful images he was making. I wanted to do the same, but mostly I just fretted about frustrations and insecurities. Partly because that’s what I do, and certainly because at the time I needed to talk to someone and he opened the door. (Sorry and thank you!) He encouraged me to write down something I’m grateful for every day, which is something I’ve tried to do ever since, usually when I first wake up and I’m waiting for the coffee to brew, which is probably why half the time I write: “I’m grateful for coffee.” Because I haven’t had any yet and it’s all I can think of.

Today it was zinnias. It’s been a summer fraught with disappointments and things to be anxious about, but the scruffy zinnias really came through for me. They didn’t care about the heat or the bugs or the rains that never came. They weren’t deterred by people not rising to the occasion and doing the right thing. They didn’t wrap selfishness in a flag and pretend it was something else. They persisted. And if I were better at this and maybe if I weren’t typing it all out with my thumb on this tiny glass anxiety rectangle, I’d find the paragraph breaks and transitions to say persistence is what I’m grateful for.

But actually, right now, it’s zinnias.


zinnias in a window looking out to a container garden and birdbath