Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Wagon Mound, New Mexico

Wagon Mound is a butte and village on I-25 in the northeastern part of New Mexico, in Mora County. Wagon Mound was a familiar landmark for wagon trains and traders traveling down the Santa Fe Trail in the 1800s. The distinctive shape of the mound is said to resemble a Conestoga wagon. The site is a National Historic Landmark. As of the 2000 census, the population of the town was 369 people.

As in the days of the wagon trains along the Santa Fe trail, Wagon Mound is also a landmark for us whenever we enter New Mexico at Raton Pass, and travel down I-25 to Santa Fe.

We went by there yesterday on our way home from a trip to Missouri. Whenever I see Wagon Mound in the distance, set in the vast plains of the area, I feel the sense of history and timelessness there.

Monday, September 21, 2009

The cotoneaster in my backyard

The former owner of our home planted three cotoneaster plants in the backyard. I am so glad he did, because this unobtrusive little shrub has become one of my favorite parts of our landscaping, especially in the fall, when the bushes become covered with bright red berries, right at the time that most other of my flowering shrubs are declining.

Cotoneaster is a compact horizontally spreading shrub with tiny leaves which form in a herringbone pattern. At the very most the plant will reach 3 feet in height but the width may spread to 15 feet. They grow well in New Mexico because they are considered drought resistant and like full sun. The red berries, which appear in the fall will last into the winter, and will attract birds, bees and butterflies; the birds may use them as an emergency food source in the winter.

Here’s a few pictures of the cotoneasters in my backyard:

Saturday, September 19, 2009

A Trip to Dixon Apple Orchard

Yesterday we went to opening day for this fall's apple crop at Dixon Orchard in Peña Blanca, New Mexico, northeast of Cochiti.

The setting is breath-taking - in the 6,200 foot-high, Rancho de Cañada, on the east side of the Jemez Mountain range, where the southern exposure and the lava rich volcanic ash soil provides a wonderful climate for growing apples.

The orchard is 50 acres in size, and has been in business for over 60 years, since 1943 when Fred and Faye Dixon discovered that the failed dude ranch they purchased was a perfect site for growing apples. It's not been an easy 66 years - the weather is always a factor in a good crop, and the orchard has been affected by droughts, frosts, and hail storms. The spring-fed creek of the cañada, aided by a system of acequias(irrigation ditches) has fed the orchard for many years; irrigation is now provided by high tech micro irrigation.

Every fall the Mullanes open the orchard to the public to purchase apples - and the trip to Dixon has become an annual tradition for many New Mexicans. This year's apple crop is very good, and the trees we saw were absolutely full of apples.

Yesterday was our first trip to the orchard to buy apples. It was a perfect crisp sunny fall day, and we waited in creeping traffic a mile long until we reached the orchard and were allowed in to park. What fun! There was a huge crowd there, lined up with the wheelbarrows the orchard provides to fill up with purchases. They had their specialty, Champagne apples, as well as Red Delicious, for sale, as well as cider, pumpkins, apple firewood, and a food stand with hot dogs and apple fritters. The mood was festive and we talked to some friendly New Mexicans.

Later in the month, their Sparkling Burgundy apples will be available, and being a small orchard combined with the huge crowds that make their way to Peña Blance each fall, they will sell out very quickly, and in a few weeks, the orchard will be closed again until the fall of 2010. And in 2010 we will go back again!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

I'm published!

Earlier this week, I wrote a letter to the editor of our major local paper, The Santa Fe New Mexican, and today they published it in the paper. It was the first time I have even written a letter to the editor, and now that I am on a roll it will probably not be my last.

I was a little annoyed because they tinkered with my letter and made some minor changes, but I am told that often happens. They left the content of my message pretty much intact. A few of the comments following the letter were a little nasty, but I know that also comes with the territory when politics is being discussed.

Here is the text of my letter:

Last Saturday, I attended a "Tea Party" here at the New Mexico Capitol, which coincided with a huge march on Washington, D.C., and tea parties all across the country.

Here in Santa Fe, we counted 800-plus people from all over New Mexico gathering to protest some recent actions by our government: enormous spending, loss of our freedoms, elected representatives who do not respond to us, and a health care plan that is unacceptable to many of us.

These issues are very important; before this year, most of us had never attended a rally to protest anything in our lives. In the presence of this growing grass-roots movement all across the United States and in New Mexico, why did The Santa Fe New Mexican choose to ignore this event? There was not one word or picture of the rally in Santa Fe or the one in Washington. Why?

Sharon xxxxxxxxx
Santa Fe

Santa Fe New Mexican Letters to the Editor, September 17

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Posa's (Santa Fe)

Today we went to Posa's Retaurant on Rodeo Road in Santa Fe for the first time. It was our little celebration after signing the final papers to sell our vacant lot.

Great place! Excellent red chile and pork tamales. Spicy! The place has quite an extensive menu for a small nothing-fancy restaurant. Looks like we will need to go back many times to try everything.

Behind the restaurant is the tamale-making factory. You can watch them working from a window in the restaurant.

Keeping our lot in the famlily

Today we signed the final closing papers to complete the sale of our vacant lot just down the road from our house.

It would have been a very sad day for us, except for the fact that the property will be staying in the family; my daughter and son-in-law are purchasing the property.

John told them he hopes they will enjoy being property owners in New Mexico as much as we have been for the past 17 years.

First snow in the Sangres

When we got up and looked at the mountains today. we could see the tops were covered with the first snow of the season.

BUT...when we got into town and were in a good position to photograph the mountains, the peaks were covered with clouds.

Looks like we will need to wait until the second snow of the season to get our picture.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Sunday afternoon

It's been a busy couple of weeks, and we are tired.

I think I am just going to spend the rest of this Sunday afternoon sitting out on my portal, drinking lemonade, and looking at the Sangre de Cristo Mountains beyond my courtyard wall.

Aftermath - Tea Party Rally in Santa Fe

After the tea party ended, many many of our local volunteers pitched in to tear down the site, pack things up and clean up. With so many people working to get it done, it went fast, and the last three pictures will show you how conservatives leave an area after their rally is over.

The 9/12 Tea Party Rally in Santa Fe

These pictures were all taken during the rally itself -- there was great recorded patriotic music, some amazing rallying speakers, a salute to active duty military and veterans -- and as you can see from the following pictures - signs, flags, and lots of people! (The only thing that is impossible to post is the excitement and enthusiasm that was in the air ... I hope some of that is evident in the pictures.)

9/12 Tea Party, Taking it to the streets

People gathered with their signs and flags along Old Santa Fe Trail and Paseo de Peralta and waved at passing motorists for about an hour before the program began.

This was so much fun! Lots of response from passersby -- lots of thumbs up and thumbs down and many drivers honked and waved at us.