Archive for April, 2009

Meteor Sighting

by John Weckerle

Just a few minutes ago, I observed a spectacular meteor  moving in a southwest to northeast direction – more or less – and we’re wondering whether anyone else has observed it and has any information.  Based on the angle and the apparent velocity, it would appear that the meteor made it relatively deeply into the atmosphere – and it faded out while still in the western portion of the sky.  We have not yet found any references to the event online, but would welcome any information from our readers; it was – again – a spectacular sight, and I hope that others in our area enjoyed the show as much as I did.

Public Service Announcement: Coming Up in Mountainair

Our friend Vanessa from Mountainair Arts has informed us that the Mountainair Spring Fling – to include the Town cleanup, a community yard sale, and evening bingo will is scheduled for May 9, 2009.  For more information, see the Mountainair Arts article.  Also on May 9, Salinas Pueblo National Monument will hold an all-day event at Quarai in cooperation with International Migratory Bird Day.  Vanessa is awaiting a copy of the flyer, and we’ll post it as soon as she receives it and passes it on.

Edgewood Kite Festival and Green Energy Fair

by John Weckerle

Kite Festival PhotoThe Town of Edgewood will hold its annual Green Energy and Kite Festival at Wildlife West Nature Park this Saturday and Sunday, May 2-3, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.  The event includes kite flying contests; stunt kite demonstrations; and remote control gliders.  Green energy and sustainable living demonstrations will be given including solar electricity; renewable energy; water harvesting (tours of Wildlife West’s water harvesting features); wind energy; biodiesel, hybrid; electric, and fuel cell vehicles; a solar oven; and solar-powered car kits.  Workshops will be conducted on the T. Boone Pickens plan for restructuring the nation’s energy system, permaculture, and more.  The Albuquerque Astronomical Society will be providing stunning views of the Moon and Sun, and there will be music from Trombone Troubadours and the Messangers Choir.  The event also marks the debut of Wildlife West’s new Disc Golf Course.  All the aforementioned events are free to the public and vendors.

In addition, inside the Park’s enhanced zoo (see the Park web site  for admissions information), Artists for Wildlife West will hold their Pre-Mother’s Day Artistfaire.  For more information, see the event flyer and the Wildlife West site, or contact Roger Holden, Edgewood Parks and Recreation Director, at (505) 286-4518 (e-mail:

Public Service Announcement – Future Land Use Alternatives Evaluation Available for Comment

From the Estancia Basin Water Planning Committee:

The Evaluation of Future Land Use Alternatives for the Estancia Basin Water Planning Region, prepared in support of the Regional Water Plan Update, is now available for review and comment. Comments and suggestions on the report are now being accepted until May 20, 2009. Comments can be sent to Dan McGregor at or mailed to Estancia Basin Water Planning Committee c/o Dan McGregor / County of Bernalillo 2400 Broadway, SW Bldg. N,, Albuquerque, NM 87102.

Copies of the report can be requested from Cheri Lujan at 505-384-2272 ext 103 / 715 South 5th Street, PO Box 58, Estancia NM 87016 or can be downloaded from the Estancia Basin Water Planning Committee web site at

So, You Want To Be In Pictures?

by John Weckerle

A background casting call for “Did You Hear About The Morgans?” starring Hugh Grant, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Sam Elliot will be held in Santa Fe this Sunday at The Lodge at Santa Fe from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.  Shooting will be from May 5 to June 5, in Santa Fe, Galisteo, Los Alamos, and Roy, NM.  Pay is $9.50, with overtime after 8 hours.  The producers are looking for Western/cowboy/cowgirl/rural/rodeo types, and I imagine that a good bunch of our local folks fall into at least one of those categories.  They’re also looking for pictures of pickup trucks and horse trailers for potential participation in the film.  For more information, see the announcement.

Grow Your Own – Happy Earth Day!

by John Weckerle

As a sort of celebration of earth day this morning, I took some time to spend with the plants, trees, shrubs, etc. Things are looking excellent!  The Tartarian honeysuckle is about to burst into bloom, and the chokecherries are showing flower buds.  The Nanking cherries are also putting out leaves, and the lilacs have already done so.  All the strawberries – even those not protected from the rabbits – appear to have survived the winter and are flourishing.  The butterfly bushes are looking good, as well.  The “mini-greenhouse” experiment has shown great promise, and it looks as if I’ll be able to start putting vegetables into it within a week.  We’ll start with cool weather vegetables there – kale, chard, lettuce, snow peas, etc.  We’ll need to make another cover for the north bed, so that tomatoes, etc. – already flowering – can get settled in and ready to add zest to my salads and sandwiches.

As part of the celebration, I watered everything – including the approximately two dozen red hot poker “splits” I planted Sunday – with water from the rain harvesting system which, while not entirely full after the winter, still holds a good bit of water.  The red hot pokers are great for the hummingbirds and, as a special Earth Day treat, I saw my first hummingbird of the season this morning, taking a bath in the fountain.

Sometime in the next couple of weeks, we’ll be building the third bed – and going through it step by step here in case any of our readers are interested.  This is a surprisingly easy task, and well worth the effort.  Happy Earth Day!

Up To The Minute Reporting With NM-Central’s Eyewitness Weather…

by John Weckerle

…in which, “eye” go outside and witness the weather (a free case of notoriety to the first person who correctly identifies the reference, which is deliberately altered in the hope that we can get an honest answer with no Googling).  Snow has continued to fall – and pile up – and we may be looking at the beginning of a short but sorely needed Mud Season.  It is letting up now – but we’re not seeing any stars, either.  Depending on where we stick the ruler, we measure 3.5 to 5.5 inches, with 4.5 being a reasonably common measurement.  We will bring you more information if and when the situation warrants additional reporting.

 Quoth the - oh, well, never mind...

Let It WHAT??

by John Weckerle

Breaking news – it’s mid-April, and it’s snowing like the Dickens (incredibly weak pun intended) here at New Mexico Central headquarters.  For our international readers, this is a little unusual – though not unheard-of – in our area.  We have broken out the Dean Martin, Gene Autry, Manheim Steamroller, and other Christmas musical favorites.  Well, at least until the other residents of the compound mutiny.  Merry – er…Friday.

Photo - New Mexico Snow In April by John Weckerle

Photo - New Mexico Snow In April by John Weckerle

When A Barking Dog Really Bites

by John Weckerle

This has been one of those weeks – one minor catastrophe after another, each lending a unique flavor to the next.  We’ll spare the details on most, but by way of warning our readers and possibly protecting them from physical harm, we’ll share a cautionary tale.

As my wife pulled into the Presbyterian Urgent Care lot last Tuesday, the brakes on her van made a terrible noise.  As it turned out, she ended up riding shotgun on a transport to Presbyterian Hospital, so we had to pick the car up Wednesday.  Not wanting to drive it far without knowing what was wrong, we took it to Brake Masters on San Mateo Blvd. in Albuquerque and, given that it was going to take  a little time, we popped over to Jackalope to look around.  We were, as always, very aware of how the Jackalope franchise has risen above its humble beginnings, but it’s always disappointing to see a source of reasonably-priced merchandise become gentrified. »» When A Barking Dog Really Bites

Coincidence? We Think Not.

by John Weckerle

Update: I met with Wally Gordon after this article was written, and Mr. Gordon explained that the appearance of the subject material was inadvertent.   The Independent printed a clarification of the source in their next edition. 

We would like to point out to our readers the striking similarities between the story titled “Free concerts in Mountainair” on page 10 of the April 15, 2009 edition of The Independent and our article, “Spring Must Be Here…,” published a week earlier.  We’d like to point out specifically that the similarities are very striking – as striking as striking can be.  Apart from  deletion of a couple of phrases and insertion of the word “concert” which was inadvertently omitted from one of our sentences, one might be tempted to think that The Independent’s article was simply lifted from – without permission.

There is an old saying: “Imitation is the most sincere form of flattery.”  In the case of published material, however, that particular brand of flattery is illegal.  We’ve sent a “cease and desist” message via e-mail to The Independent’s editor, Wally Gordon, demanding payment and an apology.  We will keep our readers posted (pun intended) regarding The Independent’s response.   We’re not sure whether they’re reading their e-mail today, but we think it’s a pretty good bet that they’re reading this.  We’d like to suggest that The Independent be a little more careful in this regard in the future – or similarities may not be the only things striking.

Watch It, Dude.

What’s In A Name?

by John Weckerle

Today, we received the following response from Tom Sievert to Chuck Ring’s December 22, 2009 article about naming the Edgewood public library (we subsequently endorsed Mr. Ring’s position that the library should be named for Mark Jensen and his mother, Alta Mae Jensen in our January 6 article):

“Alta Mae was My mom’s baby sister. Mark was my cousin. Both deserve and should be honored. Please, though, don’t tag my beloved Altamamma with the moniker Ms. She was devoted to her husband Maurice. If you knew Maurydad, you know the nut that was Mark did not fall far from the tree. I do believe Alta Mae would want to be remembered as Mrs. Alta Mae Jensen. Missing Mark, Altamama and Maureydad.

We will postpone discussion of the distinction between the honorifics “Ms” and “Mrs” for the time being, although we understand Mr. Siefert’s point and intend to discuss it further in a future article. We would prefer to address the issue of naming the library, for now. We understand that the Edgewood Town Council has, in the past, wrestled with the issues surrounding naming of public assets, and that there are issues to be resolved on that front.

In this particular situation, however, we think the Town Council can act without risking impropriety.  We call on the Town once again to name the library after Mark Jensen and his mother, Alta Mae.

Grow Your Own – Go Ahead, Snow All You Want

by John Weckerle

Salad on the hoof
Salad on the hoof

We’ll take all the moisture we can get.

As Winter wraps her lovely white arms around us once again, we take some time to enjoy the indoor gardening as well as  preparation for the upcoming transfer of plants to the southernmost of the two beds we installed last year.

It’s harvest time here, with plenty of lettuce available for salads and sandwiches.  Two pots full of mixed lettuces should hold us for the time being, and the arugula is similarly ready for use.  The hanging tomatoes have adapted well to their suspended existence, and both the hanging and traditional cherry tomatoes have flower buds.  One of the kale plants is now in a larger pot, as well, although it’s just a bit early to start harvesting it.  The cilantro is ready for a bigger pot, as well, and the basil – while small – now looks as if it will survive and grow nicely.  Petunias, zinnias, and some of the impatiens have been removed from the starter trays, and we hope to see some real growth on these soon. »» Grow Your Own – Go Ahead, Snow All You Want

The Soul Of A Dog?

by John Weckerle

In a letter to the editor in April 8 edition of The Independent, area resident Jean Pucket states: “And no, animals are not people.  They do not possess a soul.”

By coincidence, I recently received an e-mail message from a theologically minded friend that demonstrates the ongoing nature of the debate over whether animals have souls.  As the information below indicates, Catholic and Presbyterian authorities remain sharply divided on the issue, and it does not appear that a conclusive end to the debate is coming any time soon. »» The Soul Of A Dog?

Meetings, meetings everywhere…

by John Weckerle

In June 2008, the Office of the State Engineer (OSE), Interstate Stream Commission (ISC) published its first review and recommended update of the New Mexico State Water Plan.  Published in December 2003, the Water Plan established priorities, developed strategies, and identified issues and solutions associated with water planning and policy throughout the State.    Our region – Region #13, Estancia Basin – was the first of the State’s 16 water planning regions to complete its regional water plan, which was prepared and has since been updated by the Estancia Basin Water Planning Committee.

The ISC is currently working to update the Water Plan, and is holding a series of public meetings (schedule) to gather input on such issues as population growth/water demand,conservation, climate variability, and water projects needed in each of the regions.  The meeting for the Estancia Basin will be held at the Moriarty Civic Center, 202 Broadway, on Thursday, April 23 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.  We encourage those interested in water resources and associated State policies to attend the meeting and let their voices be heard.  For more information, contact the ISS at (505) 764-3864.


by John Weckerle

Hawk at Fountain by John WeckerleWe were delighted by a rare treat this morning when we looked out and saw this hawk stopped for a drink from our backyard fountain, one of the three to four water sources we maintain for local wildlife: this fountain, a trough out front with rocks and a pump, a shallow birdbath and, during the warmer months, a small fountain on the front porch.  The backyard fountain is a general bird magnet, with all types visiting. The trough is a favorite of the deer, and all the birds seem to love bathing in it.  The shallow birdbath is new, and near the backyard fountain, so it’s hard to know who’s showing up for it, and the front porch fountain is a big hit with the lesser goldfinches, house finches, nuthatches, and other small birds.

The first reader to identify this hawk will receive a free case of notoriety.