Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Summer Dahlia

I wanted to post a last remainder of summer... This beautiful dahlia.
The grass is fading but leaves won't fall for at least another month. This simple gate is poetic to me in it's simplicity. It makes me think of the old west.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Enchilada Fiesta

I am finishing up the Whole Enchilada Fiesta today. starting with this view of the Organ Mountains in the distance.
This is Enchi, the mascot of the festival. A combination of a couple of my favorite subjects, chiles and balloons!
There were a bunch of vendors, and frankly we paid much more attention to the food vendors than others, but there were some nice jewelry and handmade product booths.

Boy, this is New Mexico livin' at the best! Roasted turkey legs, sausages, chile rellenos, gorditas, nachos and 3 kinds of chile to slather on your choice!

This booth took a potato and somehow curled it with that big machine and made these huge plates of homemade chips, please note 4 kinds of salsa at this booth!

Monday, September 28, 2009

The Whole Enchilada Fiesta

Yep, that time of year! Yesterday we went to watch the yearly making of the worlds largest enchilada. Las Cruces hosts the festival each year. It was a perfect day although I had spoken too soon and it is apparantly not fully fall yet. It was 92 degrees coming across the desert. Oh well, it made the shaved ice all the better!
The enchilada is made by Mr. Roberto Estrada owner of Robertos Mexican food. His staff works to help cook and assemble the 10.5 foot diameter enchilada. Check out how many men it takes to transport the tortilla from the fryer to the plate!
This is Mr. Roberto himself wielding the ladle of red chile sauce. It takes -
175 lbs of red chiles to create the 75 gallons of enchilada sauce, 750 lbs of corn for the masa to make the tortillas, 175 lbs of cheese and 50 pounds of onions. AMAZING!
Here a couple get their taste of the finished product! The fiesta goers all get to try the enchilada when it is done. The masa makes a thicker tortilla of course, but the rest is the same! Thanks to my sister for a couple of the photos!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Gifts of autumn

One more random balloon picture. The days have equaled out and my senses come alive as the temperature finally dips below the 90's and the sky deepens to the distinctive blue of fall.
Ah, this perfect time of year! My favorite time inbetween, where the grass is still green, the days have cooled, the fall flowers are blooming and the pumpkins are almost here! I can hear the high school band on Friday nights, the Tiger fight song floats accross town faintly accompanied by the distant sound of drums. For me, fall all is all about mums, homecoming parades, football games and harvest.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Strange Tree September

Here is my little tree. It might be the last photo of the year. Maybe one more for October. It depends on when the leaves drop...
The leaves are a bit bedraggled, some creature has found them yummy and made lots of holes in them.
It has grown quite a bit this year. I have watched it closely, and we will prune it this winter, and make it a single trunk. The one limb is much more puny, so off it will come! It is starting to make shade, so I am excited for next summer and when it will begin to shade the house!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Raptor Lake

Tucked away from view sits this lake that is outside of base. If you look at the right hand bottom of the photo, you can see where I caught a rock splooshing into the water.
The lake is one mile long and a half mile wide. No motorized boats are allowed, but you can put row boats, kayaks etc .on there. It is a quiet suprise as you come upon it. Lots of birds as you can imagine, if you look closely, I am sure there is a duck or two in the photo.

The mountains you see in the distance are across the basin close to a hundred miles away. It is called Raptor lake and the military is in charge of it, but it is open for public use.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Balloons of autumn

I snapped these two in town, it is really neat to see random balloons landing where ever.
You can hear them over head, blowing the propane. It is a great time of year!
Happy autumnal equinox and welcome to fall!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Champagne and Propane II

The Giant Saguaro is up and going! It is so massive, it dwarfs the other balloons. There is a special shape that is a chile Ristra that is about the same size as this one. I didn't see that one this time. It shaped up into a beautiful day.
This shot shows my favorite one from a distance, Smokey Bear.

These were the last ones to get up and going. I feel like it is old friends when I see the same balloons year after year and pick out newcomers.

The witch and cactus travel together and are two very popular ones. I liked the reflections in the puddle and seeing how tiny people are in comparison to these balloons.
One last shot as they head out over the dunes. Another gorgeous day for an adventure. I missed the Tularosa Basin Wine Festival that was also going on the same weekend as well as the Golden Aspen Bike Rally in Ruidoso that brings in thousands of bikers.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Champagne and Propane

We had a great weekend! There was alot going on and we did not make it to everything, but we did make it to White Sands this morning for the second day of the balloon fiesta. We got there in the pre-dawn light and the softly colored sunrise was just beginning to illuminate the sands.
We topped a dune and saw the crews beginning to unpack and lay out the balloons. We have had this festival for several years and 50 plus balloons attend. Half of them launch from around town and half from the sands on the first day and then they switch launch sites on the second day.

We got there about an hour before launch, and it was about 55 degrees outside, colder in the sands. Even in the heat of summer when it is over 100 degrees and brilliant sunshine beats down reflecting off the dunes, they are suprisingly cool just a few inches down.

The Wells Fargo balloon was the first to get up and going this morning. there were puddles in the flats of the dunes so they had to work around that. The kids all played on their saucers, sliding down the dunes.
The sun is now up and more balloons are being inflated. Albuquerque has their HUGE balloon fiesta next month, and we are very lucky to be able to host as many as we do and to have such a amazing setting.

Saturday, September 19, 2009


The bush is loaded and it will still be a couple of weeks until they are truely ripe. Pomegranates do well in our climate just like pistachios. We have the same climate as the middle east, so it makes sense that figs, pomegranates, pistachios etc. all do well here.
They are just gorgeous and I love looking at them! I think of the story of Persephone, the daughter of Demeter and Zeus who was kidnapped by Hades the king of the underworld and because she ate 6 pomegranate seeds while she was there, she had to return for 6 months a year. Greek Mythology is fascinating...

We have had some rain this past week and when they get too much water too fast, the thick skins break open before they are fully ripe. Not too many have split so far and I am hopeful the rest make it to full ripeness.

If you have EVER tried to juice one of these bad boys you know what an arduous task it is, along with a huge mess! My brother-in-law has invented this. It is called the Pomxpress.You can purchase one at It does a fabulous job of juicing them. A hose attaches to the bottom and the juice flows into your container. If you have seen the price of pomegranate juice in the stores you will appreciate this! I am sure it would work well for other juicing needs...

One last lovely picture...

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Virgin de Guadalupe

I have several images I have been collecting from around the area. SO I will be posting some of them...

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


Washington Park has this old amphitheater that occasionally used for plays and concerts, and mostly by kids. It has been here since the early 1970's.
View of the Lady on the Mountain to the south of the Amphitheater.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Desert Foothills park

The top of First street dead ends into this park. It is kinda tucked away, but it has a nice walking trail and makes you feel miles from town.
Here is a view from the park to the south. The mountain image you are seeing is called "The Lady on the Mountain" by the locals. If you look at the highest peak-in the shadows, that is here head with her hair flowing back~ you can see her nose and chin, then down to her breast.

Saturday, September 12, 2009


To get to Santa Fe, we rode the new Railrunner train from Albuquerque. They had extended it to run on Sunday for the Bernalillo Wine Festival and the celebrations for the 400th anniversary of Santa Fe. The day pass was only five dollars and it was a great ride! I love trains!
They have refurbished much of the old tracks and it is so great to see passenger trains again running here. These were not the railrunner cars, those are new trains. These interested me, cobbled together from leftovers. The second car reminds me of an Airstream trailer, or the diners you see occasionally made from those cars.

They have built up around the station and it is beginning to take on the feel of Durango or Silverton where the narrow gauge trains stop. It was fun to wander around for a few hours then get back onto the train and ride back. They are talking about extending the railrunner trains all of the way to El Paso. For now it is mostly a commuter train, but I will hop on any chance I get!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Loretto Chapel

I know we are out of our blog area here, but there is a reason behind it. We went to Santa Fe this past weekend for the kick off of the 400th anniversary celebration. Santa Fe was founded in 1610 by the Spainards. It is the capitol of New Mexico and very rich in cultural history. Near the plaza stands a gothic building called Loretto Chapel.

Inside of the chapel is a miraculous staircase. The stairway is a mystery to this day as it makes 2 complete 360 degree turns is over 20 ft tall and has no center support. There are 33 steps of all the same height. The staircase rests solely on the base and the choir loft. It was constructed with only square wooden pegs and no nails or glue. It is also made from a rare wood, that was as far as anyone knew, extinct.

The chapel was built in 1878 and the choir loft, 22 feet above, had no access. The sisters said a novena to St. Joseph, the patron saint of carpenters. On the ninth and final day of the novena, a man appeared with a donkey and tools looking for work. Six months later, the man had completed the staircase and disappeared without thanks or pay.
The sisters searched for the man and no one could ever find him. Stories throughout the years claim that it was St. Joseph himself that came and built it for them. The original staircase had no bannister and the next photo represents that.

In the last few years a new theory has come to light and it is now said that it was "Frenchy" of Dog Canyon that built the staircase. He was in the area at the time, had skills, was from a foreign country that might have given him skills and access to the wood. No one knows for sure, but it ties Loretto to our corner of the world, and no matter what, a miracle.