Tuesday, March 31, 2009


It has come time to write about bats. Yes bats. We have our very own bat crack! Who needs Carlesbad Caverns to see bats? There is a colony that returns every spring to inhabit a slender crack between two old buildings here. The dusk brings them out to look for bugs and they come out in droves. It is the sound you hear first. The high pitched chirps as they begin to stir, then the rustling as they make their way to the dying light. Just before nightfall they begin, only a few at first, then they begin to spill from the crack and fill the sky. Last summer it began to attract a following and many people gathered to sit on their tailgates to watch the show or photograph the hundreds of bats that appear nightly.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Spirit Gates

In New Mexico you will see a lot of gates that are painted blue-or more precisely, turquoise. The belief is that the blue gates keep the evil spirits out.

Sunday, March 29, 2009


I found my self alone for the whole day today! I rarely have a free day, so I called my sister and we decided to drive up Laborcita Canyon. Up past Burro Flats we encountered a sign that intrigued us.

A bit further we saw the second sign. On a whim we stopped and discovered a great new little place! They had just opened last weekend. Luckily for us we had not had breakfast. It is VERY off the beaten path. They explained that they opened to serve the canyon residents and were going to put in a small store also. We were treated to gourmet coffee ( a rare find indeed in these parts) and a plate of fresh fruit while we examined the menu. After deciding upon a veggie omelet and biscuits with gravy, we took a look around..

What strikes you first in the small mobile home turned restaurant is the amazing tables!
(see Jennifer at one) The owner told us that they had discovered them in a shop in Hondo. The man made them from teak trees that had been blown over from the Tsunami in Indonesia. They are beautiful thick slices of a rich red. The staff was wonderful and while were there, the small dining area was full. The owners told us that it was their second weekend open and they had not advertized yet . Word is echoing down the canyon and more people came in for lunch. They grilled the burgers out on the porch and it smelled wonderful. It was fun to discover and we will definitely be back!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Rock Fountain

This is an old rock fountain on the main road through town, Hwy 54/70. It worked when I was a kid-Ok I admit the late 60's? Anyway, it stands, mostly ignored. If you take a closer look...

There is a myriad of wonderful stones imbedded in the old fountain. Petrified wood, chunks of green that may be Trinitite, geodes and brilliantly colored rocks of all sorts. If you are driving through Alamogordo, take a look. The building where it is located was an old motel in the 1930's I am told. It morphed into several businesses and parts of it were torn down. My earliest memory of it was a bunch of shops, one a hippie sandal store. More of it was torn down until only one side of the u U-shaped building remained. It was a post office, a leather store and yes, a rock shop. It currently houses a real estate company and alteration shop.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Stealth Rock Art

Since I mentioned the Air Force and our planes yesterday, today you get to see a left over tribute to the Stealth fighters. If you look around you do see traces of the past.. This rock art would not make any sense if you did not know about the Stealth. They were beautiful in the sky and I miss their distinctive shape. They always seemed so cutting edge that it was hard to believe the planes were 25 years old when retired.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

View over Alamogordo

I took this picture this morning from the Space Hall looking over Alamogordo towards the southwest. It looks peaceful. We have about 40,000 people here including Holloman AFB. We are a military town. Along with Holloman we have White Sands Missle Range, HELSTF and a bit of army lurking from Ft. Bliss. We are isolated somewhat, with the nearest airport being in El Paso about 90 miles away. We were home to the Stealth fighters before they retired and now they are in the process of bring in the Predators and the Raptors.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Ink Well

An Alamogordo institution has gone the way of the dinosaur. We will miss it. The Ink Well has been in business here for 53 years. A true family owned small town store where you could buy one envelope, one sheet of pink paper, and any color of pen you desired. They sold all office supplies and fixed machines. They were great to their employees and had several that had been there 30 and 40 years! I guess I am also at the end of a generation that would even have an inkling of what an ink well was. Good Luck and Farewell.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Worlds Largest Pistachio

Well here you have it---Ta Dah... The worlds largest pistachio. Or as my sister named it "Little Audrey" after the Little Shop of Horrors. One of the very newest additions to our basin it is impressive. Just off of the road on the way into town... We have about 30 growers in the area and they make mouthwatering flavored pistachios such as green chile, red chile, garlic and lemon. They split open naturally on the tree and are that lovely green!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Strange tree

I was given this little tree by a friend who had succumbed to the wiles of a mail order garden catalog (short one to the left) Beguiled by the wonderful photos of trees and plants she ordered. She brought me a 3 inch stick and told me it was a fast growing tree that would have glorious purple flowers. I dutifully stuck it in a pot and put it outside. I know most pretty and lush plants are not made for the desert southwest. I watered it and ignored it. It grew to about 18 inches that first year and I started to like my stick, but being pragmatic I left it outside all winter and dared it to freeze and die. I wasn't willing to baby it indoors all winter, after all you dont pet wild animals and trees are not for indoors. Lo and behold it only froze back 6 inches and I admired its' tenacity. I gave the tree its' very own spot in the yard last year and it responded by growing several feet AND putting on leaves the size of large dinner platters! I am by now very attached to it. I ended up with a sling shot looking tree because of the freeze the year before it sprouted another stalk. It grew so much I didn't have the heart to lop off the second branch after that much effort on the part of the tree. I was still wondering about the glorious canopy that was supposed to sprout. I only had 2 sticks with leaves. This spring it seems to be sprouting branches. It is going to be fun to watch how it grows. I have never seen anything like it, so if someone knows what it is and where it normally grows, I would LOVE to know. Naturally, my friend has no memory of what she ordered. It only froze back about 3 inches on the top this year so I think it is becoming large and hardy enough. We will see on the water requirements. I am posting photos from the beginning and end of last year and the new buds I just photographed. This thing grows FAST.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Wisteria Spring

I have realized that the early spring flowers are out in full force! I also notice that they seem mostly purple for some reason. Lilacs, wisteria, iris, petunia, and a strange little plant in my yard that I have as yet to identify-although it looks lovely. The smell is mesmerizing. I linger and drink the scent into my soul, holding it for later when the blooms have faded. I want to remember spring.

White Sands

I figured I'd put White Sands in here early on because it is such an obvious attraction for the area. It is pure white gypsum dunes and no matter how hot it is, the sand, once you dig down a bit it is cool. It is the full moon nights during the summer that are the best, when they leave the park open and you are guided by the glow of the moon that illuminates the dunes. It becomes silent and otherworldly. There is a ghost story associated with White Sands that at dusk when there is a breeze you see a bride in her gown searching for her betrothed who had been lost at the white sands. Her long gown swirling with the sand as she searches for eternity... Her name is Plava Blanca and her story goes back to the Conquistadors. The park rangers give great talks out on the dunes. Bring a blanket, some munchies, sun screen, sled/saucers for sliding down the dunes and WATER. A local gent owns a camel (yes camel) and goes to White Sands to walks his camel daily. Stay until dusk when the dunes change from brilliant white to pinks, purples and oranges.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Alamo Materials Building

Today I took some photos around the area. I really haven't decided exactly which direction to go with this blog. I suppose it will sort itself out as time goes along. I came across this building juxtaposed in a new housing area. I have no idea of a history. I will add to this if I come across any information. It has captured my imagination for months, squatting beside high end homes, a remnant of our past. I suspect it has to do with a quarry or mining.

First Day of Spring

Happy First day of Spring! or Autumn if you are in Australia.... Here the signs are visible, mostly the willows. The pomegranate is putting on leaves and the rest are trying to bud out. The Mexican Elder in the left of the photo stays green all winter as does the Spanish Broom to the right. All of the trees and plantings in the yard are no more than 4 years old. I started with a blank slate except for the pomegranate in the far back righthand corner. We have Bermuda grass which turns brown in the winter. The temp is up in the seventies during the day and the spring winds are starting to blow. I have always been fascinated with the names of winds. The Santa Ana's, Scirocco, Chinook... and of course Banana Wind :). I have heard a glacier wind referred to as a Winnewaw? or willowaw? Jack grabbing a few rays this morning in the labyrinth. I personally think he looks sorta like 3 day old roadkill.

Sky Play

The skies here are a play of light and shadow when we have storms rolling in and around you. There is nothing like a New Mexico sky. On any day it is dazzling and awesome. It is not washed out or pale, not a lazy sky that merely shows up. Our sky demands attention with brilliant blues, dust devils, towering thunderheads and unparalleled sunset displays. The winter grass here plays against the storm-strewn horizon somewhere around Corona New Mexico in late December.

Snowy Back Road

Snow 2

The road would be clear and sunny and then change in a mile or so...


We don't get much snow here and this was the extent of what I experienced this year. These were taken north of here on a short Christmas time trip. We hit a cold front and the temperature dropped 30 degrees in 2 miles! We went from being in the 50's to the 20's. We stayed in the snow-like weather for a few hours and then dropped back down out of it fairly quickly. (I say snow-like in deference to those of you that actually have to do things like shovel walks). It is a moody painting on days like these.

Thursday, March 19, 2009


Welcome from 32.90 N 105.96 W! The name of this blog comes from the geological area of New Mexico where I live called the Tularosa Basin. It is a true basin with no outlet for water and we are surrounded by the Sacramento mountains to the east, the San Andres and Oscura mountains to the West, the Chupadura Mesa to the north and the Franklin and Hueco mountains to the south. Most people have heard of Santa Fe, Taos, Albuquerque and not much else. (aside from the Roswell Aliens) I hope to bring you bits about the area, things about home, things that catch my eye, things that I am interested in and anything that someone would like me to check out. I enjoy the forgotten and the obscure, things that have been around so long that no one sees them any more. This is a photo I took today of the old water tower on the west side of town. There are odds and ends left to hint of a distant past and humble beginnings. Sometimes when things seem mundane and boring you have to look beyond the chain stores.