Sunday, October 14, 2012

How Much Wood, Can a One Ton Truck Haul, if a One Ton Truck Hauls Wood...

... a ton and a half if you over load it just right. It is a weird feeling to have a truck like mine bottoming out on the bumps. The Cummings didn't even flinch. See that saw? That is a beast too. She has cut close to 60 cords of wood since I bought her ten years ago. I don't have any clue how much she has cut for Ralph who borrows her twice a year. Load two of five.

Friday, October 12, 2012

With Every Season

And thus it begins. Load one of five...

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Shopping Santa Fe Style

With one last day left in New Mexico we needed to do a little shopping. My number one agenda was obtaining some Hatch chilies to take home. It is near the end of the season, but just about every town has a roaster going full tilt. A couple more weeks and the roasters will all be gone until next year.

That is my bushel going round. Yes, we brought an entire bushel of roasted peppers back in our suit case. When we got home at 10:30 they were still toasty warm. When the roasters start up in early September the peppers are very crisp and have a sharp taste. They are all green,  however these from the late part of the season have a deeper flavor of the chili. Many red ones are in the batch and most are kissed with a blush of color. They are not all truly green chilies. I bagged them up into six per bag holding the red ones separate. I horde those for myself. On top of the bushel of roasted Hatch chilies, we also bought a dozen quarts of red chili sauce. One cannot have enough chilies!

Once the green chilies were taken care of we headed to Jackalope. They have just about anything to decorate your house and a lot more. There are items from all over the world for sale here. Beth loves to come to Jackalope to shop. Myself, I like to walk around and look through my camera. There is a lot to look at. I won't comment, I will let you make your own observations.

Beth and I wanted one last walk before we left my favorite State so we headed over to La Cieneguilla Petroglyph site. If you want to see petroglyphs, come here. It is far better than Petroglyph National Monument outside Albuquerque. We stopped there before we went to Bob's Burgers our first day here.

The site contains thousands of petroglyphs and a large pueblo complex that still lies buried. Two years ago I visited this site and posted dozens of the 500+ photos I took of the petroglyphs there. I won't bore you with more of the same, but this tree needs a re visit. It looks like some hippie artist type started hanging bottles and cans but it actually goes much deeper. The bottles and cans are to give a home to the spirits of the ancestor who were here when the pueblo still stood here. Think of them as a FEMA trailer for the spirits of the ancestors.

I did my part by adding a new can and re hanging some of those that had fallen down. Ironically, the tree died this past year. It died at the same time the site was begun to be improved. No real re development has taken place, just new trails have been laid out and marked. There is also a new fence and a giant sign telling you to do the things you should already know, like being respectful.

I hope you enjoyed this glimpse into my vacation to my favorite state. I have had the great fortune to have visited all of the lower 48, and hands down, New Mexico is the one I am the fondest of. If you have not been to New Mexico, I high suggest you go there. You might not be as enchanted as I am, but I promise, you will love it.

Still Listening For The Hum

For years now I have been hoping to hear the Taos Hum. No such luck on this visit. I did hear Perry, our friends youngest, humming a little while he was putting on his shoes to take me to see the tee pee down the lane from their house.

Their neighbors have created a sanctuary of quiet in the willows covering their property. Sculpture line the pathways leading through the willow forest. We were never told to keep it quiet, but everyone whispered while walking through the property. It was kind an unspoken thing...

The world needs more places like this where naturally, without being told, we quiet ourselves and soak in the tranquility. The road to the the house is called Tranquilo Lane.

Most people think New Mexico to be all rock and sand. They could not be more wrong, especially in Northern New Mexico. The part of Taos, El Prado, where our friends live, is actually very lush and verdant. The water flows out of the Sangre De Cristo mountains year round and passes through Taos on its way to the Rio Grande. Little streams like the Rio Lucero join together to form a mighty river that becomes a border for our country. This water will be swam across by many people hoping for a better life on this side of the border.

Last year this same road was all dirt and gravel. This is called the High Rim Road and connects Taos with Pillar on the West side of the Rio Grande. It was paved this past Spring as many people have moved out in this direction. Living out here on the Mesa is 100% off the grid. There is electric along the road, but it is not utilized by many of those living out here. The cost of getting it from the road up onto the mesa keeps folks from doing so. Most that live out here use solar panels to run everything they need. Out here you find every level of living. There are people in beautiful build homes, Earthships, and even some people living in busses. Most folks live pretty close to the land.

New Mexico is a great place to find old cars. They are every where and most are in remarkably good condition. I wanted this Chevy truck real badly. It was painted once but is all original, runs and drives perfectly. 58,000 miles, $3500.

A prerequisite for us is a visit to the hot springs at Ojo Caliente. Our visit is always planned around a stop here. 

For centuries, people have come here to take in the Springs. The mud pool is a great way to get all the nasties out of your skin. As it dries, you feel it stretching your skin tight. Okay, it might not do jack, but it sure is fun to play in the mud.

The people at Ojo have been really building the springs up. They have added portals with lounge chairs and hammocks all over the place. Soaking in the 101, 103, 105, 107 degree water and then reading for a little while, followed by a nap and more soaking is a really soothing way to spend the day. This is a full service spa offering massage and all kinds of treatments. They have a really nice hotel and restaurant here now too.

Not all the pools are hot. This big one is 87 degrees. I like to go from a hot spring to this warm pool and back again. Hot, cold, hot, cold. If you have kids under 12, this is the only pool they can swim in. At Ojo, the rule is "whisper please". It is posted every where. Sometimes we need a reminder.

After Ojo, we headed back to Central New Mexico. Tim's house on top of Waldo Mesa is just so inviting. In my next post I will tell you all about shopping Santa Fe style.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Bury Me in Green Chilies or Madrid

As many of you, who have read this blog over the years know, I have a serious thing for New Mexico.  We manage to go there at least once a year to visit some very close friends, get our inner batteries charged, and eat our fill of fine New Mexican cooking. This past weekend we put out an extra large bowl of water and kibble for the kids. Beth and I headed South by Southwest.

Since our marriage, 18 years ago, Beth and I have made a point to go away at least once a year for a vacation just "for us". We love our kids, but we find it very important to have a little one on one time, away from the stresses and responsibilities of being parents.  New Mexico is one of our favorite places for us to escape to. The solstice had passed, so why not head South?

One of the things I love most about New Mexico is the infamous green chili cheeseburger. I try to eat one a day while there. The guy at the car rental recommended we try Bob's Burgers. It did not take much arm bending to get us there. 1690 Rio Bravo Blvd, SW Albuquerque is this location.

 Beth was feeling adventuresome so she had the Taco Burger, well, she was feeling real adventuresome and had two. A burger in a taco shell with everything you would normally put on gringo style tacos. New Mexicans got it going on dude!!! I had the Ranchero Burger (meat, cheese, green chili, lettuce, tomato). Sorry, no photo, I was too busy wolfing it down.

 Our friends joke about needing us to come down more often. Most people bring a gift of wine or some other thoughtful item, we bring much needed rain as our gift.

On previous visits we had never walked down the mesa to the Madrid(mad rid, not ma drid) Cemetery. I have never felt a desire to be put in the ground once dead. I have never really understood why people are buried. Well, that was until I went to the Madrid Cemetery. 

Before the Pilgrims landed on Plymouth Rock, there were other non native people already claiming this land as their own. Unlike the Pilgrims however, the Spanish were not very interested in learning from the native people, they were to be exploited. They were viewed as the animals to be used in the mining of the vast amounts of gems, minerals, and precious metals found through out this area. Some of those Spanish conquerers were laid to rest in this same plot of land as today, the locals are.

Being a boom town brought out all levels of society. Their graves reflect their status in life.

 Some graves are very simple affairs. A photo of the departed is usually in the frame. The elements and lack of living kin have stripped the images out of most of the markers.

Home made markers are very common in this grave yard. No marble for a head stone? Cast some concrete instead.

Some families had the money for marble. Unfortunately every angel, saint, or figure had it's head whacked off. Somewhere in the surrounding area are a bunch of head stone heads, probably stollen by someone a little out of their own head.

There were a lot of these simple wrought iron crosses. 

Also the simple wooden cross was well represented. Funny thing, not one cross in the entire cemetery stood straight upright. 

Most of the head stones are home made. It must be hard burying your darling son...

On July 23rd, 1878 a dozen people died. I can only guess there was an accident at one of the mines. Virtually all the Madrid mines were coal mines. Coal mines are deadly places to work. 140 years ago they were really dangerous places.

The newer parts of the cemetery is what moves me the most. Each and everyone of the graves is very personal and shows a great deal of creativity


Some are very simple.

Some are more elaborate. I used to drink a lot of that Arizona iced tea. It only comes in plastic or a can now.

If ever in Madrid, ask a local where the cemetery is and pay it a visit. 

The real reason we go to Madrid is to visit with Tim. Tim is a fascinating person who has lived a large life. He has never let it pass him by, instead he embraces it with all his being. I am truly honored to know Tim. He is kind of like the older brother I never had. We look kind of like brother don't we? We might not be family, but Tim always treats us like we are. 

This is Tim's Madrid Cruiser. As I said, Tim grabs the bull by the horns!

Tim is  a very rounded guy. He loves to prospect for all kinds treasures and then turn them into even bigger treasure. Here he is working some turquoise from his own mine in Cerrilios, just North of Madrid.

These will become some earrings for Ava. She wanted blue as her color, but Tim's mine produces turquoise of all colors. There is the blue you see here and also a dark blue, light green, dark green and white. The amount of copper in the stone effects the color. Cerrillios turquoise is highly prized for it's variance in colors often on the same nugget. It was so prized, it graced the nobles of Spain. They saw it looked good on the emperor of the Aztec empire when they conquered him and decided they needed some for themselves. A cave in at a turquoise mine in Cerrilios is what lead to the start of the Pueblo Revolution. Tim's mine is a 1/4 mile as the crow flies from where that mine collapse took place in 1680.

The land where Tim's mine is has been exploited for centuries. Old workings and dwellings dot the landscape in the oddest places

Many of these dwelling offer very little comfort. I cannot imagine what it was like living in there on a below zero day. 

But in those hills right there is gold. Gold is a strong motivator. To sweeten the pot, those hills contain coal, silver, lead, tin, turquoise, and dozen other valuable gems or minerals. Those are some very rich hills right there. 

It takes very little effort to find evidence of man having been here. Even in the most remote spots you find tell tail signs. Broken glass shows where the new settlers were. Pottery shards litter the ground where the original settlers were.

An other give away is the many walls falling back into the landscape.

This was a town of 300 families at one time. The last house has almost fallen to the ground.

You have seen this ore shoot in a previous post. It fed a stamp mill that processed galena for it's precious metals. Some of the galena contains lead, silver, and or gold. Sometimes the ore has free milling metals you can see right on the rocks surface. A lot of material was spilt at this site as it processed ore for a number of mines in the area. I love searching where ore was spilt. The gold sings to me and often it ends up in my pocket.

I just have to make it fully clear, I love this place. In my next post, I will post about northern New Mexico, another place I love.