Tag Archives: Santa Fe New Mexico

Wait for the wind to stop? You’ll never get anything done in Texas!

I worked a lot yesterday on clearing my two-horse trailer of camping gear and storage boxes.  I have this reluctance to store things in the attic because of spontaneous combustion, so I am careful about what goes in the attic — hardly any cardboard boxes, mainly plastic storage containers that are tightly sealed.  The main focus of work, however, was to reclaim the two-horse trailer for hauling Star, hay and camping gear.  I have a larger stock trailer, but I like the shorter trailer for maneuverability.

There’s an old Irish saying:  If we wait for the rain to stop so we can work, we’ll never get anything done.  Transposing that old saw:  If we wait for the wind to stop or the weather to cool here in Texas, we’ll never get anything done.  So I worked with barn doors banging, dust about me, and wind chill in the 40s.  The wind blew a gale, upwards of 40 mph gusts during the day, and when night fell, I parked the trailer and F-250 inside the barn beside the tractor.  The photo shows the interior of the barn with trailer, truck, tractor and in the background the ever-present Stihl chainsaw (orange casing next to back wall).  The Stihl needs a workout on windfall oak in the grove.

In Santa Fe, Mr. Rios, of the Rios Woodyard in back of Geronimo’s Restaurant on Canyon Road, told me last winter that he would trade me even-Steven for oak and pinion.  I need pinion, he needs oak.  I won’t make it to Santa Fe this holiday, so I have time to cut the oak into proper size to make the trade in the summer.  The Stihl chainsaw is just about the most reliable chainsaw I have ever used.  I have many “safety issues” with using a chainsaw, but that’s for another post.  (I beginning to feel like I am writing a column for safe behavior in the modern Wild West.)

The wind did not cease until 10:30 p.m., but the trailer is clean.  I got a few things done in Texas today.

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Ristra Thoughts

Pepper ristras adorn roadside markets in New Mexico before the Fall equinox.  Bundles of harvest, early-arriving gifts from Christmas future, ristras symbolize the product of good growth in the high desert country, the earth’s abundance with green and red eruptions.  Unlike other harvest food, the red and green pepper wreaths are hung for celebration as well as convenient spice for stew, meat and vegetables.  When I see ristras, I see New Mexico, the American Southwest and callused hands nurturing soil and weaving garlands, farmers sitting under arbors beside the highway in a hundred places.  Entering winter’s cold after equinox, I know the fruit of the ristra will warm me, warm us, into the day and night on both sides of Christmas with sight and taste for the holiday, table and heart.

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Notes:

I am not getting any kickback from this link The Real Southwest Hatch Chile Pepper Ristras, but it was too good to let pass with this post.  There are probably a number of other links and articles on the web.  I will try to list more ristra links under this post.

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Santa Fe Farmers’ Market

Over the Labor Day holiday, we took a mini-vacation to Santa Fe, stopping on the way to visit my daughter in Lubbock, Texas.

Roasting Peppers

From the first hour we were in Santa Fe, my wife, Brenda, said that we must go to the Farmers’ Market in the Santa Fe rail yard.  I was glad we went because the Santa Fe plaza was  filled with white-tented craft booths and in the evenings we could not enjoy strolling in the plaza.  There was a pleasant display of crafts, but no opportunity to stroll on the plaza.  Another evening, another trip for that.  So it was off to Farmers’ Market early Saturday morning.

The Farmers’ Market meets all expectations for food and merriment and good all-around fun for a Saturday morning!  I took photographs.  Brenda purchased garlic oil, leeks, dried apple chips, basket, a garlic chain and sage-lavender soap.  We put the leeks in our cooler in the room under ice so that we could have leek soup when we returned to our ranch.  Chili peppers?  Well, we had them at every meal in Santa Fe, from Cafe Pasqual’s to Lumanaria.  Oh, boy, how great it is, a movable feast in Santa Fe.

Here are few more photos of the market.  I’ve read some of my blogger friends lately that have hankered for chili and New Mexico.  So, for you, here are some photos to whet you appetite before you book for travel.

Shallots at Santa Fe Farmers' Market

Santa Fe Farmers' Market Stroll

The Chef at St. Francis Hotel looking for fresh ingredients.

Roasting Peppers

Brenda at Cafe Pasqual's before we went to Farmers' Market. Pasqual's did not open up until 8:00 a.m. We were there early, thinking it opened at 7:30 a.m. We went in and had a fine table because we were early.

This is our table at Cafe Pasqual's. We had arrived early and were one of the first to be seated. We like the sparkling water and often take the bottle home to put fresh plants in so as to conserve the bottle and the energy spent to make it. Geraniums. Yes, geraniums. I have always had them around me. Mother grew them for as long as I can remember.

Chili Peppers, Farmers' Market, Labor Day Weekend, 2010

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Fine Sentences February 14-20, 2010

These are some fine sentences from blogs I read during the week of February 14-20, 2010.  If a writer has not composed during the week, I do not make a selection.    As a general rule, I read the blogs listed here on Sage to Meadow and The 27th Heart, my other blog, and pick fine sentences.  The 27th Heart is almost identical to Sage to Meadow in content.  You can read the full posts of these fine sentences by clicking on my blogroll here on Sage to Meadow or The 27th Heart.

I’ve got to get out of here, if just for a little while. I’ve got to breathe some fresh air!  I headed for my room and got dressed in some warm clothes. Heavy socks, shirt, sweater over the shirt and breeches. Headed for the garage, found my riding boots, fingerless gloves and jacket, hopped into the car and took off for the barn. Now this might sound strange to some, but for me, this was therapy.  –Turquoise Moon, Daily Om, upon getting out of the house after the death of her husband.

I’m shifting, branching out into more modern art pieces. I’m not happy with the place I am right now, my work is not fulfilling me in the way I want it to and I’ve been increasingly frustrated.  –Katie Johnson Art, on going in a new direction in her painting.

Cerillos is the Yin to Madrid’s Yang, the definite shadow city on this trail of powerful contrasts. There’s a heaviness here. A quiet darkness.  –Kristy Sweetland, Stark Raving Zen, on photographing Cerillos, New Mexico, the Turquoise Trail.

She is not sitting around wondering if you’re going to make the right decision for her. She wants your comfort, your company, your love. Give her that — give yourself that — and the rest will follow.  –Coyote Crossing, Chris Clarke, on knowing when it’s time to put your dog, your companion, down.

We only ask that you help us to compete as honest as the horses we ride and in a manner as clean and pure as the wind that blows across this great land of ours. –Evangeline Chavez, Evangeline Art Photography, from “A Rodeo Cowboy’s Prayer.”

My grandparents married in 1912, and their love story is a blog post (or two or three) in and of itself, but my Grandma Ayres never let a day, if not an hour, go by without talking about how much she missed her husband, Frank, after he died.  He was born Benjamin Franklin Ayres, and he is buried next to his brother, Thomas Jefferson Ayres. –I Love New Mexico, Bunny Terry, on attending a funeral in Tucumcari.

At this, the factory hushed. I stood in silence while others awaited my answer. “Tell us your problem,” Yosi insisted. And, realizing that all of this factory work that helped support an entire kibbutz had come to a halt, I finally understood what a kibbutz was all about. An individual’s well-being trumped money made and money spent. For the unit was only as strong as the weakest link.  –Kittie Howard, The Block, on her laundry and losing weight at the Plason kibbutz.

This is really a nice escape on these grey winter days…and once again is stirring up my desire to visit the town in Mexico where my father’s family came from. Con tiempo.  –Taos Sunflower, Martie, on reading “Mexican Time,” a book on her nightstand.

I had arrived here, in the late fall of 2001, in a fog of emotions and with an empty gas tank. I had run out of gas, in every way, just before the first exit.  –Teresa Evangeline, on arriving in Santa Fe in 2001.

This section of the Pedernales River runs through one of the most prominent uplift regions of the Edwards Plateau resulting in stair-step waterfalls running for over a mile. –Jeff Lynch, on photographing the Pedernales River in Texas.

It caught my breath at the rise of the arched bridge. We, the mass of morning migratory workers, moved at procession speed, paying reverence to that glorious sight. A vivid sky painting lingering long enough to fill our vessels for the day ahead.  –Sea Mist and Sunsets, Chris Schutz, on the commute to work, crossing Puget Sound and the bridge.

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Andrea of Santa Fe

Andrea of Ortega's and Brenda

Going to Santa Fe entails many activities, including that all-important task of shopping.  In this age of over consumption, we must be conservative in our use of finite resources and be especially attentive to the labor that produces goods we admire.  To that end of being sensitive to the environment, even in the purchase of jewelry, one must discriminate between what one can live without and what object will bring admiration and be regarded as an heirloom or treasure by one’s descendants, hopefully passed on for several decades if not a century.  My wife, Brenda, has been given and she has purchased for several years, silver necklaces made by Maggie Moser.  Buy quality, keep quality.

Ortega’s of Santa Fe purvey Maggie’s work.  Brenda is wearing necklaces, five strands of them, purchased over the last five years, and pictured with her is Andrea of Ortega’s. Andrea is modeling some of Maggie’s necklaces.  Andrea is a persuasive salesperson and devoted resident of Santa Fe.  This year, for the first time in twenty years, she went to the farolito evening along Canyon Road on Christmas Eve.  “Oh, it was so beautiful!” Andrea said.

Brenda will be pass her necklaces down to our grandchildren along with lessons of conservation because this year we did not purchase any new items from Ortega’s.  We looked, but did not buy.

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Inn at Loretto

Inn at Loretto

I am not paid to write this post.  Living with the land and people in the American Southwest has included camping at Holy Ghost Canyon near Pecos, New Mexico, as well as staying in a hotel near another holy site, the chapel at the former Catholic academy, Loretto Academy, now closed.  During Christmas, we stayed at the Inn at Loretto, December 24-26, Room 445, overlooking St. Francis Cathedral and the La Fonda Hotel.  The restored bells of St. Francis rang at midnight, Christmas Eve, for ten minutes.

I am not a tyro in evaluating lodging in northern New Mexico.  Since 1967, I have stayed in hotels and motels in Grants, Santa Fe, Taos, and Raton.  When I taught at Amarillo College, I conducted field trips to New Mexico with students, sometimes twice a year.  Taos Inn, Dreamcatcher, Sagebrush Inn, Inn of the Governors, La Fonda, La Posada, the Holiday Inn at Grants, and Jack Something’s Trailer Park in Taos (now gone) have all been my rest after eating, drinking, touring, and climbing mountains.  The only time I have been frustrated beyond all reconciliation with the proprietor was at the Inn of the Dancing Bear in Santa Fe, some three years ago.  I got my money back.  The Inn of the Dancing Bear is out of business now.

Our stay this Christmas at the Inn at Loretto (it’s “at,” not “of”) was predictably hospitable, comfortable, and restful.  I think the only way our stay could have been improved upon would be if an attendant had been stationed outside our door.  And, I’m not so sure that if we had asked for one, and had been willing to pay extra, we could have had an attendant.

The Loretto Inn encourages conservation and sustainability.  “Destination Earth,” they call it.  The restaurant menu prints a green leaf beside items that are organically grown or products regionally acquired.  They have a special sparkling water in a reusable bottle that is obtained locally, cutting down on the carbon footprint.

Further, although the Inn at Loretto will change linens everyday if you ask, their rotation for extended stays is to change linens every fourth day.  Obviously, new guests, new linens.  This is due to a Santa Fe water conservation ordinance.  Towels left on the floor will be changed, but if you hang up your towels, they will be folded and left for reuse.

We arrived Christmas Eve after driving through the Texas blizzard.  We checked in and went to the Living Room, their large bar area near the swimming pool, to have Santa Fe Ale and Mistletoe martinis.  We also feasted on burgers served in the Living Room.  We had arrived late and missed our Casa Sena seating at 9:30 p.m.

The next day, Christmas, we had reservations to dine for lunch at Fuego at the Posada Inn.  The reservations were made through Open Table, an internet reservation site.  Open Table and Fuego boggled our reservations and when we arrived at Fuego for our lunch seating, Fuego was not open.  Our mistake not to call ahead and confirm reservations, but Open Table and Fuego lacked coordination of their schedules.  Much more can be written here, but this post is about Loretto Inn.  Why use Open Table if you need to confirm by telephone anyway?

We tracked back to the Inn at Loretto and made reservations for 4:00 p.m., Christmas Day dinner at their restaurant, Luminaria.  All would go well, spirits restored.

As we sat in Luminaria’s bar area, we were cordially engaged by the Executive Chef, Brian Cooper, and the Director of Food and Beverage, Dennis Marcinik.  The chef, harried as he was, spent a minute with us and Mr. Marcinik chatted amiably for several minutes.  Sergio, the bartender, poured us a Brut Reserva, Segura Viudas estate.  Erika Cooper, Restaurant Manager, frequently asked if our needs were being met.  We forgot about our Fuego problem and enjoyed the Inn of Loretto.  I told them of my first stay at the Inn back in the 1970s, when I took my daughter to Santa Fe.

The waitress for our dinner seating was Wendy, tall, brunette, former resident of Taos, now Santa Fe.  My wife had Blue Point oysters with guacamole sorbet as an appetizer, then onto turkey and dressing.  I had both the Blue Point oysters and the “crispy ancho ravioli stuffed with foie gras and oyster mushroom duxelles” for appetizers.  A grilled Pecos beef tenderloin was my entree.

For wine, a merlot by Pine Ridge, Crimson Creek Merlot, Napa Valley, 2006, was served.

On the center table of Luminaria (which was never seated), rose petals were strung about the surface.  We would look over at the table and see rose petals and seating for six as we dined.  Gracious and elegant.

Wendy, our waitress, was attentive, warm, and personal.  She had several tables to work, but seemed always ready to grant our requests.  By the end of the evening, my wife and felt like we had made a friend.  I am well aware that waiters must attend in style and respect to their guests, but Wendy excelled at a style that was engaging and joking, scoring smiles and laughter at her tables.  I watched her with other tables and she was personable and specific in repartee, conversation, and banter.  Wendy seemed to enjoy her work and hid whatever frustrations she had.  She knew I was taking notes, and remarked that she had been given a journal recently and wanted to join in the pleasure of writing.  I believe her.

The behavior of Wendy and Sergio personifies a dynamic of service, a culture of attendance to guests that is the Inn at Loretto.  Room attendants stand out of the way when we go down the hall, waiters stand aside as we arrive and depart.  Even Chef Cooper shook our hand and briefly chatted, stressed as he was.  I know it must be hard to be courteous all of the time, but the Inn of Loretto staff did just that.  Sergio said to us at the Luminaria bar, before we sat down for Christmas Day dinner, that the staff was trying “to create a pleasant memory for their guests.”    Yes, a theater and acting, but plainly, in my view, successful to its audience.  Sergio, it worked, you created a pleasant memory for us.  And, yes, we will return.

Further, our valet knew how to start a diesel F-250 truck, waiting until the coil light on the dashboard went off.  Paul, the valet for the Inn, has worked there for twenty-five years and knows us, our pickup trucks, even the history of our horses and pets back in Texas.  Paul is happy working for the Inn, it seems, and we know that when we get to the Inn, after a trip of 570 miles from Mingus, he will be there to help us settle in.

The Inn is not all perfect, but what is?  But, the Inn at Loretto is the least imperfect of all hotels in Santa Fe.  There will be room at the Inn on Christmas if you call ahead, and the staff in all areas will provide that memory:  warm, helpful, friendly.  Could strangers to the city of Holy Faith ask for more?  I think not.

To repeat, I am not getting paid to write this.  I promised Wendy at the Inn at Loretto that I would write something on my blog.  And, I have.  As a friend, she deserves a pleasant memory from me, just as she gave us on Christmas Day.

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