Archive for August, 2010

One More Chance…

by John Weckerle

Just one more event remains in Wildlife West Nature Park’s Chuckwagon Supper series for this year.  The season finale this Saturday, September 4 will star Holy Water and Whiskey, a regional favorite specializing in “traditional, folk, bluegrass, gospel, western, and some select “whiskey” tunes.”  The night’s entertainment includes a free-flight falcon show as well as dinner, and admission to the Park.  This is a lot of fun, and a great deal; both shows and the dinner are just $20 for adults, $19 for seniors, and $10 for kids age 5 to 11.  Kids under 5 are free!  Reservations must be made by 2 p.m. the day of the show.

Pete’s Mexican Cantina Shows Promise, But The Jury’s Still Out

by John Weckerle

This evening, the NM-Central staff (minus Chief Staying Home For Dinner Correspondent Wilson) took the evening off and went out for our evening meal.  Our first choice for the evening was going to be Sandia Crust Pizza, which serves a noteworthy eggplant rollatini, but after a neighbor asked us if Pete’s Mexican Restaurant and Cantina – Home of the Halfbreed – had opened yet, we decided to take a peek and see if they had started operations.

Boy, had they.  Your editor dropped the rest of the party off at the door and ended up parking on the shoulder of North 14.  We were seated immediately, despite the fact that the parking lot was completely full.

The prospect of once again being able to have a margarita (or, for that matter, any mixed drink) before or with dinner was apparently a draw; there were a lot of people in the place, and a lot of margarita glasses on the tables.  Unfortunately, after waiting more than 10 minutes for our drink order, our waiter returned to tell us that they did not have the tequila we requested (the very popular Jose Cuervo 1800 Silver).  Now, there are those who will say that it doesn’t matter what kind of tequila one puts in a margarita.  Such people are not to be trusted, voted for or, for that matter, allowed to vote.  Or reproduce.  Under such circumstances, one expects the waiter to suggest another middle-shelf tequila.  He didn’t.  We got regular Cuervo Gold instead.  Strike one.

Chips and salsa were on the table before the drinks.  That is to say, some very tasty salsa and some whole chips on top of a bunch of smashed ones.  This is the sort of thing that does not go over well in other states, but in New Mexico, it’s nigh unto treason.  Strike two.

The menu at Pete’s contains a mix of regular favorites – New Mexican foods, steaks (Lucy says they need to add an 8-ounce steak; 12 ounces is too big for a lot of people), and so on – and other things we don’t see in some restaurants.  Shrimp Veracruz is one of the selections, and shrimp fajitas are another.  A green chile pasta dish was also featured, and that could be ordered with shrimp. Your editor was delighted to be able to get something with some protein that didn’t involve meat or poultry.  With great enthusiasm, I ordered the pasta with shrimp – and at almost exactly 5:45 in the afternoon, the waiter replied, “We’re out of shrimp.”

Strike three.

»» Pete’s Mexican Cantina Shows Promise, But The Jury’s Still Out

Harvest Festival This Weekend At Wildlife West

by John Weckerle

Those looking for a little food and entertainment can find it starting tomorrow at Wildlife West Nature Park in Edgewood.  The Park will be holding its annual Harvest Festival celebrating the area’s agricultural heritage.  Locally grown products will be available for sample and/or sale, and an opportunity for wine tasting will be provided by Anasazi Fields Winery.  Other attractions include blacksmith demonstrations, antique cars and trucks, old iron tractors and machinery, historic ranch equipment, and artists and vendors.  Tractor-drawn hayrides around the park will be available.  Entertainment will include music by Jimbo, blacksmith demonstrations, and games and stage shows for children.  Events include the 5K Pronghorn Run and a 1/4 mile “run” for kids on Sunday morning.  The Park will also hold its regular weekly Chuckwagon Dinner, including a free-flight falcon show, on Saturday night.

A Letter From Sandia Mountain BearWatch

Editor’s Note: This is a little late in coming, but well worth passing on.  The problem of bear-human interactions is complex, and not likely to be solved by shooting the bears or, for that matter, the people.  A more balanced and well-researched strategy than that proposed by New Mexico Game and Fish might go a long way toward solving the problem with the minimum ecological disruption possible.   For information, see the Sandia Mountain BearWatch web site.

August 1, 2010

Dear BearWatch Member,

If ever our bears needed your help in the last seventeen years…it is now.

The New Mexico Game and Fish (NMG&F) is proposing an incredibly destructive statewide bear hunt starting in 2011 through 2014.  They are proposing to kill 733 bears… or more than double that of the 2009 bear hunt (335).  They are also proposing a kill limit of 318 sows out of that 733. Sows are the future. This proposed hunt will do a good job of destroying New Mexico’s bears with intervening chaos in our bear population.

Last year NMG&F raised the 2010 bear hunt to 406; that hunt hasn’t occurred yet. But they plan to raise the hunt yet again, without seeing what this year’s hunt will bring.  They’ve had approximately 150 bear complaint calls this year along with one mauling of the illegal camper in the Sandias and two Scouts at Philmont Scout Ranch. No one had severe injures, just bites.  NMG&F is telling the media that there are just too many bears in New Mexico when in fact; we’ve had a statewide food crisis.  Harsh late frosts with no spring rains have devastated the forage that bears need at this time of the year. »» A Letter From Sandia Mountain BearWatch

Wyngette Soup

by John Weckerle

As outlined in Saturday’s article, we are awash in squash, and decided to take the time yesterday to make some wyngette soup (to make wyngette soup, you take whatever vegetables you have on hand, and wyngette).  Yesterday’s variety contained onions, garlic, zucchini, carrots, parsnips, celery canned diced tomatoes, lentils, and green bell peppers.  Today, we’ll share the “recipe” – such as it is – and some thoughts on wyngette soup making.

The first thing to understand about spontaneous soup making is that any “recipe” is really just a guideline.  There’s no real right or wrong way, and if you want to make a change, you’re probably not going to hurt things much: if you don’t like parsnips, leave them out, and if you want more onions, then toss in more onions.  So here we go (and remember, quantities are “give or take”): »» Wyngette Soup

Grow Your Own – Lurking Beneath The Foliage

by John Weckerle

Photo - Today's Harvest

Today's Harvest

Vegetable gardeners always wonder what’s going on while they’re on vacation.  We had our good friend, Russ, watering while we were gone, and the beds came through with flying colors.  Well, mostly one color – green – but we’re sure our readers get the picture.  In fact, the foliage had developed to the point that several zucchini were hiding in Bed 3 well enough to grow to extra-large status (forearm length in two cases).  Growing zucchini large is generally not recommended, as they taste better at about medium size.  Bed 1 gave us another three green bell peppers this morning.  Eggplants are still relatively small.  There is also a mountain of kale and a good bit of chard in Bed 1, so we’ll definitely be eating our greens this week.  Hmm… Zucchini, yellow squash, kale, bell peppers; some of this could be the beginning of another batch of wyngette soup.

As for Bed 2, tomatoes are still small and green, and it looks as if we’re losing one (but only one as far as we can see) to blossom end rot.  We may yet get some out of the deal.  Bed 2 is also home to the winter squash, and we can see an acorn squash and two spaghetti squashes hiding in there already.  The parsley’s looking good, as are all the other herbs over in Bed 1.

Next year, we’re thinking of doing something different and creating Bed 4, which would be a more traditional double-dug raised bed.  This would allow for a greater rooting depth for crops like tomatoes and eggplant.

Edgewood Chamber On The Lam?

by John Weckerle

The local newspapers are abuzz this week with news and commentary on the recent move on the part of the Edgewood Chamber of Commerce to – well, move.

At the heart of the issue are expressions of concern from a number of sources, including, that the Edgewood Chamber has been perhaps more involved in politics than some might consider appropriate.  Much of the current brouhaha seems to revolve around recent concerns associated with a “meet and greet” function for Republican candidates – Jim Smith and Tom Mullins – running for State Representative and Congress, respectively.  Some current and past Town officials have expressed reservations regarding these functions, suggesting that the Edgewood Chamber’s actions in this arena, and actually conducting events supporting those candidates in office space provided by the Town, represent a de facto endorsement of the candidates by an organization that is receiving public funding in the form of free office space.  One of the candidates counters that the Chamber announced a “meet and greet” event for his opponent.  A local Tea Party activist and Chamber booster alleges violations of the Chamber’s First Amendment rights.  A person or persons unknown attach a not-too-recently deceased skunk to the Town office with what appears to be 50 tubes of Krazy Glue.  Panic ensues.

Only some of this is true (the skunk part and mass hysteria aren’t), but there’s much more to the story(ies)… »» Edgewood Chamber On The Lam?

Southern New Mexico Resource Advisory Committeee to Accept Project Proposals

Editor’s Note: We received this just today from Karen Takai.  It’s a little outside our usual coverage area, but if anybody knows of anyone wanting to do projects in the referenced counties, please pass this along.

ALAMOGORDO, NEW MEXICO…The Southern New Mexico Resource Advisory Committee (RAC) is seeking proposals for projects that enhance forest ecosystems (environment functioning) or restore and improve land health and water quality on the Cibola, Gila, and Lincoln National Forests and other adjacent lands in Catron, Grant, Lincoln, Otero, Socorro, and Sierra Counties.  The RAC committee has nearly $2,005,000 to allocate to projects this year, made available through the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act for fiscal years 2008 and 2009 Title II monies (  Proposals and Title II monies will be recommended by the RAC to the Designated Federal Official (DFO), Al Koss, based on each affected County’s Title II monies allocation percentage.  The RAC will be funded annually for an additional two years with slightly declining amounts each year. »» Southern New Mexico Resource Advisory Committeee to Accept Project Proposals

Music Festival Hits Edgewood

by John Weckerle

For those who may have forgotten, the Wildlife West Music Festival begins tonight with a barn dance and other festivities at Wildlife West Nature Park in Edgewood.  Tomorrow’s headliners includes two-time Grammy nominee Claire Lynch, Grammy Winner Pat Donohue, Spring Creek, and Small Potatoes.  They will be joined by Hot Club of Santa Fe, Syd Masters and the Swing Riders, Cheap Shots, Atomic Grass, the Martin Family Band, and the Muddy River String Band.  This is a wonderful event for the whole family, and tomorrow promises to be a great experience.