Monday, January 18, 2016


I live down in by the border in New Mexico. Sometimes it is bleak, sometimes the magnitude of the landscape is amazing. Having a sixty mile horizon can humble a person. Sunsets can be a gift from God if the skies are a bit cloudy.

The Native Americans, we call them "Indians" since that's what they call themselves, they can get real spiritual here. The Anglos, sometimes referred to as Gringos, the land could break their hearts. The Hispanics, mostly Mexicans, they get called Meskins but not in a derogatory way. They're more used to the environment down here. When I think about it, what we call each other gets pushed aside since there are Mexicans that go back three or four generations and Anglos that grew up side by side with them, fighting Nature, rejoicing it, simply being ordinary folks. During WWII all the able-bodied men went to war and none of them were even aware of ethnic differences. They were Americans.    

I can't imagine what the Spanish monks and Conquistadores must have felt back in the 1600s. Humble maybe.

One feeling I want to convey is the vast flat hostile terrain. Distance perception is warped. Look at a thing and think it is close and it is 20 miles away. It must have broken many settlers or soldiers that had to travel. "Oh, look honey, there's the mountains" and they'd see them all day for a week before getting to the foothills. Twenty-five miles a day was typical unless the mule died or a wheel came unstuck or some Injuns objected to the intrusion.

 I used a Canon Power Shot SD770, one of those PHD (push here dummy) cameras that fit in pocket or purse and do well for us grabbing quick pictures at Eastern Star meetings. The Brocker likes it because she don't have to do anything more than point and click the thing. I use the macro function when I take pictures of some of my shootin' irons. I think I screwed up the setting for these three pictures. I got into the settings, chose the little mountain icon that means landscape, or infinite or something and the shots came out clear but the color washed. Hmph, where's Eisenstein or Arbus when ya need 'em? Anyway I will go back to the default normal standard typical chimpanzee settings and leave my creativity at home. Using a camera is not something I want to go to school on. I left these pictures high resolution so you can clip 'em from me. Send ten dollars as a courtesy, er, fer each pic.


Well pump: out here nothing grows unless you water it. Unless you count the cactus which will grow anywhere, anytime. When SHTF, never mind gold coins or SUVs or even ammo, water trumps all else. Unless you use the ammo to steal the water, but it would be a fight to the death. I gots the rambles, hang on: Our water table was maybe 90' twenty years ago until some farmers got too clever and planted alfalfa, they can get three mebbe four cuttings a year, and the water table fed from underground aquifers that originate in Colorado, the level dropped to 250-300'. When the county proposed putting meters on the wells they were considered as Revenuers and you know what happens to them.


This guy powers his pump with electric, most common, and he has a diesel back up. There are a lot of windmills around here and none of them are painted all kindsa queer colors. They are working windmills that usually keep cattle tanks topped up. Some are used for household. Interesting, when you scan the landscape wherever you see trees there is water. Believe me, 40' trees do stand out in all the busted-ass flatlands. Older technology has ditches along the borders of the fields and a siphon system conveying into open furrows along the crop lines. This is of course inefficient due to evaporation but cheap and simple. Think: 100 year old method. Newer fields have underground drip lines, soakers. A lot of the ground, you have the topsoil, a foot or foot and a half, and then you got caliche, which everyone down here thinks is a clay but it is, of course, calcium carbonate which binds clay, sand, rocks, beer cans, whatever into a miserable hard heart-breaking (back-breaking too) layer which discourages digging. Them poor bastards a hunnert years ago would have all they could do to scratch out seed furrows let alone dig down. Of course when you get past about a yard down it clears up some. Imagine doing work like that in hundred degree weather with the wind blowing and the 'yotes got your chickens and the mule is on a hunger strike and pa, pa, junior got bit by a rattler and ... um, rambling, yes.

When I first came down here I admit I was a bit prejudiced toward the migrant workers, lined up in the grocery store to buy a bag of fried chicken and a six pack to have on the shuttle bus back across the border. Then I laid hundreds of feet of 2" PVC for computer communications, had to bury it 18" and a dinky little Ditch Witch to help; I erected a few service masts and so forth ... you see the punchline don't you? My attitude changed for these migrant workers out there all day picking chiles, cotton, melons, onions, and other truck farm veggies all day every day hunnert degrees and wind and scorpions and caustic all over their hands they don't even wipe the sweat or they'll go blind. Sigh, learned a huge lesson in giving respect where it is earned.

Some local mountains: 20-30 miles away, of some minor fame and attraction; ibex, some cats, goats, there are some caves, misguided miners thought the hills were full of gold, bust yer ass for six months and end up with an ounce. One town guy killed his wife, bashed her head in with a table lamp (maybe the winds drove him nuts, like in France when they got the Mistrals and murder is exempt from capital punishment, under Napoleonic Law IIRC, anyways he wraps her body in some carpeting and carries her up in the Floridas mountains and dumps her in an abandoned shaft. Problem was, the parcel got stuck about 20 feet down and it was not long before it was discovered and gave the fuzz evidence to convict the mook. He was all "What? what? She up and ran off on me" and people figured, he's such an asshole anyway she prolly did. Until they found the rug-wrapped corpse. Some Boy Scouts or something, up there sneaking around, gonna go down the mine shaft just like their Scoutmaster told them never ever to do. Also rumors of finding small cannons and gold stashed by Conquistadores travelling through. Rumors.


Irrigation: water being the lifeblood of the area, many different methods of irrigation for the crops. Here a wheel configuration, pivots in a 200 foot circle or so, well at the center. Be interesting overhead, see the green circles and dead zone all around the perimeter.

There will be the rest of the story in a day or two.


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