Archive for October, 2010

Woodchip Berms

by Dr. Christian Meuli, La Resolana

Berms of wood chips slow rainwater, allowing it to infiltrate.

Wood chip berm at La Resolana

Woodchip berms are the easiest and most useful rainwater harvesting practice I use. The evolution of this method began in 2002 when the risk of wildfire in New Mexico became extreme and the pine-bark beetle became epidemic in our pinon-juniper forests.

At La Resolana in Edgewood, thirty miles east of Albuquerque, the forest had grown so thick that little snow and only some rain could reach the ground due to the extremely dense tree cover. These trees also shielded the ground from the sun so that few grasses and shrubs could grow beneath them.

»» Woodchip Berms

Wildlife West Seeks Volunteers for Wolf Roundup

by John Weckerle

Next Monday (November 1), Nieta, one of the Mexican gray wolves at Wildlife West Nature Park in Edgewood is scheduled to move to a new home at Wolf Haven International in Washington State, where she will go to live with some older males.  Because the habitat is large and Nieta is shy of human contact, numerous volunteers are needed to help herd Nieta into her transport carrier.  There will be a brief orientation for new volunteers prior to the roundup, which is currently scheduled to start at about 6:30 a.m.

From Wildlife West, Nieta will travel to Truth or Consequences, where she will be joined by another wolf from the El Paso Zoo.  Both wolves will be flown to Washington by LightHawk, an organization of volunteer pilots who have been “flying for the environment” for 31 years.  Volunteers who would like to assist in the roundup should contact Park founder Roger Alink at (505) 263-9453.

Mountainair Ranger District Press Release: Fall Prescribed Burning To Begin on the Mountainair Ranger District

Mountainair, NM – October 25, 2010: As fall colors come to an end and temperatures drop, it’s time for the Mountainair Ranger District to continue its prescribed burning program.  According to District Fire Management Officer, Mark Bernal, the district currently has two burns planned.

Currently there are 2 burns planned on the district.  The first burn is the East Thunderbird Prescribed Burn.  The East Thunderbird burn began last winter, but due to early winter precipitation was not completed.  The fall conditions have given us the opportunity to reenter the 190 acre area and attempt to complete the burn.

The burn will be in a forest area locally known as the Thunderbird area.  This area was thinned within the Thunderbird Ecosystem Management area, along both sides of Forest Road #275.  There are no set dates for the burn but district fire personnel will be watching weather patterns closely during the next few weeks to determine when it is safe and advantageous to conduct this burn.  The burn will be conducted only if and when weather patterns and available fire personnel are conducive to burning.

The second burn planned is the Barranco Prescribed Burn.  This burn is also within the Thunderbird Ecosystem Management area and is located South of Forest Road #275.  This burn will also be conducted as weather conditions and personnel allow.

If you have questions regarding the planned prescribed burn or any other Mountainair Ranger District questions, please call 505-847-2990 or email Adrian Padilla at or Arlene Perea at

If You Can’t Stand The Heat…

by John Weckerle

…Eat your food raw.

There are of us, though, who do eat our food cooked from time to time.  Your editor, who does not eat terrestrial meat and occasionally does eat seafood, is one of them – and he does also occasionally cook it in person.  An important part of cooking is having an appropriate appliance in which to heat the food, especially if one is baking or broiling. We picked up such an appliance – the Cuisinart Convection/Broiler Toaster Oven currently on sale at Costco for $99.99 –  this weekend, and gave it a run for its money.  Not that much money, given the nature of the appliance, but it ran well on its first test – Pine Nut Crusted Halibut (yeah, right…like we’re giving you that recipe).

»» If You Can’t Stand The Heat…

Congressional Press Release: Energy Jobs For Veterans Act

by Congressman Harry Teague

It is an honor to be able to represent the many veterans across southern New Mexico.  The courageous men and women who fought to protect our country deserve the opportunity to have a successful career when they get home.  That is why I am pleased to share with you that my Energy Jobs for Veterans Act (H.R. 4592) was signed into law last week.  This important legislation, which passed as part of the Veterans Benefits Act of 2010, will create state-based programs to provide veterans with on-the-job training, apprenticeships, real experience, and long-term employment in all fields of the energy industry, including oil and gas, renewable electric power, biofuel production, and energy efficiency.

This law will encourage eligible employers to hire veterans by offering them reimbursement for veteran employee training.  In fact, many energy businesses and veterans organizations praised the legislation and put their full support behind it.

John Garcia, Secretary of New Mexico Department of Veterans Services (NMDVS) praised the bill, saying “The men and women who proudly and bravely served our country deserve all of the opportunities possible when it comes to job creation. This program will give New Mexico’s veterans the critical training and resources necessary to help them join our growing energy industry and combat the high unemployment rate in our veteran community.”

»» Congressional Press Release: Energy Jobs For Veterans Act

Press Release: USDA Forest Service Builds on Recovery Act Investments to Create More Jobs in FY 2011

Editor’s note: FY 2011 began October 1, 2011

Forwarded by Arlene T. Perea, Mountainair Ranger District

WASHINGTON, October 19, 2010 – USDA Forest Service Officials announced today that the agency will build on job creation efforts through American Recovery and Reinvestment Act investments during the upcoming fiscal year by continuing to emphasize job creation and new partnerships with the private sector to create sustainable, green jobs.

“The Forest Service has been making investments in communities around the country and creating great new jobs in rural America,” said Tom Tidwell, Chief of the U.S. Forest Service.  “By focusing on new jobs and private sector partnerships, the Forest Service will continue to build a forest restoration economy to achieve Secretary Vilsack’s and the Forest Service’s forest and rangeland restoration goals.”

Recovery Act funds expire at the end of fiscal year 2010, but Tidwell explained that the Forest Service will retain its “Recovery Act focus” as part of its regular program of work in FY2011.  This will be accomplished using unobligated balances from FY 2010, along with FY 2011 appropriations, allowing the Forest Service to continue to restore forest resources while meeting the needs of rural economies.

»» Press Release: USDA Forest Service Builds on Recovery Act Investments to Create More Jobs in FY 2011

The Right Wing Nuts

Editor’s note/update: One of our readers, Dick Pledger of Edgewood, e-mailed us to let us know that we missed a detail here with respect to the size drill we used to make the holes for the bolts.  It was a 5/16-inch bit, just a bit bigger than the 1/4-inch bolt; this makes it easy to get the bolt through but doesn’t allow any play that might throw off the level.  We’ve added the detail to the body of the article.  Thanks, Dick!

by John Weckerle

That does it; we think it’s high time to expose these wing nuts for what they really are…

»» The Right Wing Nuts

A Bright Moment On A Cloudy Day

by John Weckerle

Wednesday morning has brought us unexpectedly grey skies.  Fortunately, one of the neighbors popped by to brighten up our day.

Mule Deer

Tijeras Arts Market End-Of-Season

by John Weckerle

This weekend brings the season’s closing to the Tijeras Arts Market, located at 488 East Highway 333 (Route 66), just west of the intersection with NM 337.  The Market will be presenting an All Hallows Festival with arts, crafts, and live music from Breaking Blue, Big Sky, Lee Tyler Post, Dan McDermott, and Fonn Sona.  Anand Naren (Oma) will be on hand with his trained goose.  For more information, visit the Tijeras Arts Market web page.

Public Service Announcement: Free Food, Admission at Wildlife West Nature Park

Editor’s Note: Your editor’s company, WeckTech, is donating a 200-gallon rain barrel for the raffle to be held at this event. This is a great opportunity to see the zoo, enjoy some free food and, with temperatures projected to be in the low seventies, enjoy a very pleasant afternoon – free!

by Jo White

What do you do when you have free food for 500 people and a Nature Park filled with games, costume parties, terrific animals, and the first Edgewood Idol contest?  You go to the first Fall Extravaganza at Wildlife West Nature Park in Edgewood, Saturday October 30th from 12:00 to 6:00, all for free.  Did we mention FREE!  There will be games of chance like Bingo, a blast from the past with kid carnival games.  Tickets will be sold for these for a very small fee.  If you are having the economic crunch everyone is, this is the place to be.  JR’S BBQ is supplying the food, like turkey legs, corn on the cob, yummy!  Wal-Mart is giving candy for little trick or treaters.  Edgewood F.O.O.L.S. Friends of our Library Society will have free books to give away and Edgewood Leos and Lions will host the Edgewood Idol contest with trophies and prizes.  For a donation, you can have your photo taken by that noted local photographer, Roger Holden.  Raffle tickets and a silent auction will round out the day’s activities.  It is tough to feed the park’s animals in the winter, so if you would care to make a donation, it would be gladly taken.  There is a new baby deer Velcrow, (because she sticks to you,) and a new baby raccoon.  This is an old fashioned Fall Festival in the style of sixty years ago when folks came together for a good cause and had a great family time.  Mark your calendar now and don’t miss out on this great time.

Public Service Announcement – Star Gazing Party in Edgewood

by John Weckerle

The Albuquerque Astronomical Society (TAAS) will sponsor a free Star Gazing Party this Friday, October 15, from 8:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m at the Edgewood Community Library.  The library is located at 95 State Rd. North, Edgewood.  For those unfamiliar with Edgewood, the library is just over a mile north of the I-40 Edgewood exit on NM 344.

Your editor has attended TAAS Star Parties in the past and found them both enjoyable and informative.  As it stands right now, weather is predicted to be clear, with a low temperature in the low forties that night, so bring a jacket and get ready to see some interesting celestial features.

For more information, contact (505) 281-0138.


by Senior Permaculture Correspondent Wilson

Photo - Sponge Pit for Tree

Senior Permaculture Correspondent Wilson, dressed for work, showcases his sponge pit, organic material to be deposited therein, and proper tool stacking.

Well, the Pack Leader went off last Saturday and came back with some pretty unusual ideas.  He, the Boss Lady, and Grandma took off the next morning, and came back with a new turning fork and mattock (yes, I know what that is – it’s a pick with a blade on one side.  I may be a dog, but look who I live with).  The Pack Leader pointed out that the handle on the mattock was plastic, and said that somebody named Dr. Meuli suggested that would be better because there might be less bounce-back and potentially less risk of carpal tunnel syndrome.  Not having thumbs, I don’t worry much about that last bit, but the Surprise Ball In The Face Incident of 2010 sure makes me appreciate the former.

»» Spongeitude

Politics, “Media” Accuracy And Global Climate Change

by John Weckerle

Your editor is participating in a bit of a disagreement on media accuracy (in this case, associated with EPA carbon dioxide regulations) with Edgewood Town Councilor Chuck Ring here.

Congressional Press Release: New Resources for New Mexico Small Businesses

Editor’s Note: Our readers by now will notice that we have been posting the occasional press release from New Mexico’s congressional delegation.  This does not represent an endorsement of any candidate currently running for office.

by U.S. Representative Harry Teague

It has been a top priority of mine in Congress to make sure that small businesses have the resources they need to thrive, even in tough times.  In fact, I was recently humbled to have my efforts on behalf of small businesses recognized by the National Federation of Independent Businesses, which presented me with the “Guardian of Small Business” award.  I believe that small businesses are the backbone of our economy and if we want to ensure a strong recovery from the current economic downturn, we must make sure that our small businesses have access to the credit they need to expand their operations and hire new workers.

Because I know how important small businesses are to our economic recovery, I am proud to have supported the Small Business Jobs Act in the House of Representatives and was pleased to see it signed into law by the President last week.  This new law addresses many of the concerns I have heard from New Mexico business owners across the 2nd district by cutting small businesses’ taxes and increasing small business lending.  This law is projected to create 500,000 new jobs and provide tax relief to small business owners so they can effectively expand their businesses.  It also ensures that new jobs will be created right here in America, instead of in other countries, by closing tax loopholes that reward corporations for shipping our jobs overseas.  As your Congressman, I refuse to look the other way when corporations ship jobs overseas in an effort to turn record profits, even as plenty of honest, hardworking New Mexicans are looking for work right here at home.

Please know that I will continue my efforts to help small businesses succeed and prevent jobs from being shipped overseas while doing my work in Congress.  It is a true honor to serve you and please do not hesitate to contact me if I can ever be of assistance.

Public Service Announcement – Cut Carbon Rally

by John Weckerle

We have received word from Jay Spang that this Sunday, October 10, will hold a Cut Carbon Rally at the Albuquerque Academy from noon to 2 p.m.  U.S. Senator Tom Udall will be on hand to speak, as will Senator Jeff Bingaman, founder Bill McKibben, and climate Expert Dr. John Fogarty.  For further information, see the event flier.