Thursday, May 26, 2011

New Mexico, Una Parte

On our first day in New Mexico Heather and I drove from Albuquerque to Truth or Consequences, a town known formerly known as "Hot Springs".  Decades ago they changed their name to that of a popular quiz-show that promised to fete any town willing to do so.  The show did so for many years and the town still has a festival every year to celebrate the name.

On our drive to T or C we stopped at a rest area and found this sign:

And this spiny, lovely, and also edible, prickly-pear cactus: 

Both served as reminders that we were about to go trodding through a desert and should be sure to mind our tootsies. (Unfortunately the closest I ever came to a live snake was at the Living Desert Museum. My oldest son was very disappointed.)

The farm in T or C was fascinating.  It's owned by a man whose goal is to one day make it completely self-sustaining and they're making great strides toward that goal. Currently they have a windmill that pumps water from a 200 ft deep well they drilled themselves, solar panels that provide more energy than they currently consume, and an Earthship that could weather almost any natural disaster: 

The picture above is of the inside of the Earthship.  Earthships are buildings made of discarded tires and rammed earth, usually set into a hill. Seen from the outside it looked like a hill, in fact, rather like a hobbit the desert.  The interior ceiling, as you can see, is decorated with a beautiful lava rock collage and formed of a cement-mix the owner created himself to withstand just about any sort of doomsday.  The floors are made of papercrete molded over more tires filled with rammed earth.  It was a comfortable place brimming with artwork, painting nooks, and collections of odds and ends picked up at various places around the property, such as seashells, Native-American pottery shards, arrowheads, and fossils.

There was also an ancient mortar and pestle as well as another grinding stone both found on the property. As demonstrated by Heather:

The garden there is currently being planted and it was amazing to see how they've managed in a desert: by uncovering fertile soil beneath the sand.  They are right now working to install a drip irrigation system to make it more efficient and less wasteful.

As you can see by the bench pictured above, and the very usable stairs (not to mention the Earthship) they've found old tires to be an extremely useful and frugal commodity!  

For meat and milk, they keep goats. They make cheese and yogurt as well as a delicious and healthy shake (we very much enjoyed) made from whey (a byproduct of cheese-making). 

We arrived at the goat enclosure moments after a pair of baby does (female dairy-goat kids) were born.  Their plaintive bleats were captivating--perfectly pitched to tug at heart-strings. You can see the babies cuddled up between the fence and the trough in the picture above.

There is so much more to tell, but since Blogger is being troublesome (I couldn't even log in the past three days!) I'm going to save the rest for another post (or 2 or 3).  Thanks for reading! :D


  1. How fun! Great pics, Alina:) Thanks for sharing them.

  2. Awesome! Looks like you are having a ball!

  3. How very fun! I love that Cuidado sign. :) You mean you guys don't have snakes on your own property? ;) We have copperheads, black rat snakes, and, of course, the ubiquitous garter snakes. I love snakes; they help keep the chipmunk population in check. Surely you must have the same species we do.

    I guess I missed the post about why you're in NW while I was on my own blogging vacation. Will have to see if you mentioned it previously.

    I'd love to get some goats one day to make cheese, but it's so much work to milk them (and keep them in milking condition).

  4. Thanks, Michele and Julia! It was great. Thanks for visiting. :D

    Teresa, we do have snakes, though we don't see them often! I've only seen garter snakes, though, none of the other more exciting ones you mentioned. Yesterday Pat actually found one that I was able to grab hold of and pick up! That made my boy very happy. I'll have to post a pic on here. (I already did on Twitter!) After seeing how quickly they milked their goats--and how excited the goats were to be milked--I think having just a couple would be manageable. A herd would be daunting, but maybe a doe or two for milk and a couple whethers to eat the poison-ivy? ;) We'll see if Pat goes for it.

  5. If goats really ate poison ivy, I'd keep a herd of them! LOL!

    Speaking of snakes, we had one in our tool shed today! Was yours a garter snake or ? Yes, please post a pic...I'm on Twitter so seldom, I miss all the good stuff!

  6. Yep, just a little garter-snake. :) And, seriously, goats eat poison ivy! They supposedly love it. There are even goat-rental programs for that purpose. :) Here's a link:


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