Monday, August 31, 2009


This was a typical shower, black over the mountains, and sunny over the basin. I caught the beginning of this rainbow and the faintest hint of the double one.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Hot Air Balloons

Yep, another sign of fall for me... Caught this one on the way to work this morning.
The White Sands Balloon Invitational will be soon and it is amazing! I cannot wait to see all of the special shapes and new ones I haven't noticed before. The weather is turning and it is just right for them to enjoy a New Mexico morning. The sky is this amazing deep blue in autumn, just as clear and crisp as you could want.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Roasting Chiles

We are in the full swing of chile season! I mentioned before that stores roast for you. You buy a burlap sack of chile and they roast it and put it into the bags. Well here are a few pics I
snapped at the grocery store a couple of days ago.
You can see the flame licking the chiles as the cylinder turns. It smells heavenly.

This batch has quite a few that are already turning red. Later in the season I will get a bag of red and make the red chile sauce that is used for enchiladas and pasole. I LOVE this stuff!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Oliver Lee State Park

As you near the top of Dog Canyon, you enter Oliver Lee State Park. Oliver Lee was a huge name in these parts and it is said that at one time he controlled all of the water rights between here and Sacramento Ca. He was a local rancher that at one time had a million acres on his ranch. In the 1880's and 1890's he was very influential and very into the local politics. He became embroiled in them and was indicted for the murder of Col. A. J. Fountain. Colonal Fountain and his young son Henry were taking a buckboard across the basin to Mesilla and disappeared around White Sands. Rumors persist to this day as to the fate of them. Pat Garrett was brought in, and ended up in a gun fight with Oliver Lee when he refused to surrender.
Today, there is a visitor center filled with artifacts relating to the area. Dog Canyon has water and is a natural fortress, easily defended, so people have come here for 6,000 years. The visitor center has displays of ancient arrowheads and tools of the native populations. Along with these are items that belonged to Oliver Lee and were donated by his family and items excavated from Frenchys Cabin. Frenchy is the one we always heard about growing up. He lived here and had an extensive orchard and vineyard. His name was Jean Rochas but is still known as Frency. The remains of his cabin are still visible. He was found dead in his cabin in 1894 from a gun shot wound to his chest and it was concluded that "he shot himself with his own rifle."

Today, along with the visitor center there are overnight camping spots. You can come and picnic or stay. It is peaceful and affords panoramic views of the Tularosa Basin. There are trails to hike and explanations of the desert flora.

After you turn onto Dog Canyon road, about a mile up, there is a small store that has curiosities and minimal drinks and snacks.

The view up the canyon beyond the paved road. You can see where the water flows at the bottom.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Dog Canyon

Dog Canyon is about 9 miles south of Alamogordo off of Highway 54. This first photo is taken from the top of Dog Canyon road looking west back over the basin. The mountains that you see in the distance are on the far side of the basin about 100 miles away.

This is one of the native desert cacti. The ocotillo. It has orange-red blooms early summer then leaves into this green.

This is nearing the top of the road where Oliver Lee State park begins. You can see the cresote and mesquite as well as yucca and cacti. It is a good representation of our High Chihuahuan desert. I love the shapes of these particular mountains and how they are accented with shadows.

As you near the gap between the mountains, and enter the park, the road ends and off to the left is a stream that comes down from the mountains.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


I took this at the blind school also, I love the way the thunderheads are building in the east.

Monday, August 24, 2009


The New Mexico school for the Blind and Visually Impaired is an oasis as you drive through Alamogordo. It was founded in 1903 on granted land. Elizabeth Garrett, the blind daughter of Sherriff Pat Garrett was the teacher. Helen Keller supported the expansion of the school. Elizabeth Garrett penned our state song-"Oh Fair New Mexico".
There are some gorgeous old buildings on the property along with beautiful landscaping.

There are lots of amenities for the students and is self-contained in the fact that the students live on campus during the year.

Many of the older buildings are registered and this is one of our cultural markers sporting the zia sun symbol.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Peter Hurd Mural

The name of the mural is "Come Sunlight out of the Rain to Bring Green Life out of the Earth." It was painted in 1942. Mr. Hurd was born in Roswell NM and used local people as models for his work and there are still people around that posed for him. He lived for years in the Hondo valley about 50 miles from Alamogordo.

His work hangs in musems in New Mexico, Chicago, New York and as far away as Edinburgh Scotland.

Friday, August 21, 2009

County Building

We call it the Federal building, but it says county building. The Forest Service was here for many years and now it is back to the county. One of a kind in many ways.
I love the traditional architecture displayed here.

Behind these doors is a treasure, a Peter Hurd mural.

The vestibule where the painting is has the vigas and latillas as well as beautifully carved doors.
You can tell it is true adobe due to the thickness of the walls. They are over a foot thick and I have seen them at two feet thick. Makes for good insulation!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Little Green Addictions

Thats what my friend Jennifer calls them! Here are the little lovelies... All roasted and tucked into bags to take home. All of the grocery stores have the roasters out at this time of year, even Walmart. You buy by the gunny sack and they roast it for you.
It is a messy job after you get them home, they are still hot and they need to cool. The conventional wisdom is to freeze them unpeeled for a couple of reasons. One, they peel easier after they have been frozen, and two, it keeps the flavor better. I used to peel them first, so they would be ready when I defrosted them, but now I do not. I just de-stem and pull out most of the seeds before freezing.

Here is one of the beauties peeled and ready to eat! I LOVE green chile!!!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


Alfredos means alot to me so I saved it for my 101st post. Alfredos is a restaurant that has been in Alamogordo for over 38 years. I remember going and getting their mexi-burgers for 75 cents. Alfredos-home of the famous mexi-burger. Mexi-burgers- like a fried meat pie. Yum!
The old adobe building was a tamale factory in the 1940's. It is also home of my first job at 16. I have many fond memories of this place. It is another sign of the times, and sadly closed a couple of months ago. Not many small businesses can make it five years let alone thirty eight.

Who knows what is in store for the old building, demolition, at some point I expect. But it will always be in my heart. I learned to make guacamole, enchiladas, sopapillas and much more here. I know I am not the only one who will miss Alfredos.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Livestock, Square Dancing, Bingo and 100 posts

Today marks my 100th post! I did not know I would end up having as much fun as I have doing this blog! Thanks for all the feedback! I love the animals at the fair. This girl has decorated her lamb for the livestock auction. I imagine if I had been her I would have decorated just as much!
This pig needed a bit of encouragement..I liked the shamrocks and green glitter. I'm not quite sure what the cheez whiz in the back pocket is for, maybe to entice reticent animals.

The Basin Squares were out in force. I remember sitting at the Oddfellows hall as a child watching my parents square dance. They even taught us in school. I am sure they don't do that now!

The Noon Lions club runs the bingo at the fair each year and the boys were serious about winning something-anything!

Last but not least by any means, fair food! Kettle corn, teriyaki steak on a stick and funnel cakes!!

Monday, August 17, 2009

County Fair

I love the old fashioned aura of the carnival rides. The multi-colored bulbs instead of the glaring LED lights of today. The first Ferris wheel was built for the Worlds Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893 by a gentleman with the last name of Ferris. It was powered by two steam engines.
I went on the hammer with my sister as a kid. Once.

Most all rides involve spinning and I get terribly sick, but I love the atmosphere

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Otero County Fair

I love county fairs! I remember the anticipation when we were young. It wasn't like today with all of the theme parks, regular carnivals and video games. It was a HUGE once a year event for us. The fair hasn't changed, we have. We have grown numb to simple pleasures, it is nice to go back to a different time and I think with a county fair you can. We started our evening at the Wade building and the exihibits. .
Our parents always drug us through the exhibit hall first while we chomped at the bit to be out where the rides were.
I don't know that I have seen purple beans before. It was pretty neat! I think the garden produce is my favorite.

My friend Terri won this ribbon for a photograph of her grandson. I am very proud of her.
The flash is my fault! The exhibit halls have the garden produce, canning, quilting, all sorts of hand work-wood, metal etc., paintings, photographs. There is a large section with group booths also, the Forest Service, The Otero County Cowbelles, the Girl Scouts and many more.

Saturday, August 15, 2009


One of the few easy things to grow here. We call it bamboo, but it is technically carrizo, a perennial cane, not a bamboo. It grows really well here in the desert which is strange for a plant that by all reports wants water. It blooms in late summer, tall plumes. It spreads underground and has very dense roots all connectied. It grows very quickly, forms a good privacy and wind block. However it is VERY invasive and will push down block walls in the matter of a couple of years. It is best planted in the country where it doesn't matter how it spreads.