Archive for August, 2011

An Article About Articles

by John Weckerle

It’s been a while since we checked in on the folks at the Sandia Tea Party.  In our last article on the subject, we examined two posts on the Sandia Tea Party site: one which we felt was a slap at minorities, and another on global climate change on which we thought it appropriate to clarify the source.  Predictably or not, both articles vanished from the Sandia Tea Party site very quickly after our article was published.

Since then, we’ve been busy with other things, but have been keeping an eye on the site from time to time.  There have been a few times where we’ve considered taking the author(s) to task on disinformation and other issues.  It is rife with “the usual” – branding people with different opinions as “socialists” (even those who advocate sustainable development are now included in this ever-broadening category); suggesting that widely accepted scientific postulates are a) false, b) stupid, c) the result of dishonesty or myopia in the scientific community, or d) all of the above; and peppering all this with vague (or sometimes not-so-vague) scatological references that are certainly more enjoyable to write than they are to read.

We find ourselves currently amused by several posts on the site dealing with issues associated with carbon and anthropogenic climate change.  The first of these consists of a doctored (we hope) photograph depicting a child urinating off a pier with the caption “After rising CO2 levels were blamed for increasing ocean acidity, a new theory emerges.”  Apparently, this is supposed to suggest that it is foolish to believe that an increase in atmospheric CO2 lowers the pH of water.


»» An Article About Articles

Announcement: Flood Maps Changing for East Mountains — Public Meeting Scheduled

by Catherine Lopez, Bernalillo County Public Information Department

Bernalillo County – A couple of weeks ago, letters were mailed to approximately 730 East Mountain residents notifying them of the revised flood zone maps and the direct effect it will have upon them.  As of August 11, the county entered the 90 day appeal period when residents can appeal the technical aspects of the new mapping or protest the information presented on the maps themselves.

“It’s very important that homeowner’s understand that if they have a mortgage, they may be required to purchase flood insurance. Doing so before the maps take effect will save them significant money,” states Commissioner Wayne Johnson.

A public meeting is scheduled on Wednesday, August 31, at the Los Vecinos Community Center beginning at 6:00 p.m. Bernalillo County Public Works staff will talk about the flood zone changes, answer questions about the appeal process and insurance requirements; and discuss the next action steps for East Mountain residents.

For more information, residents can contact the Bernalillo County Floodplain Administrator, Don Briggs, at 848-1511 or visit our website at

Announcement: Open Burning Ban Lifted in Unincorporated Bernalillo County

by Larry Gallegos, Bernalillo County Public Information Specialist

Bernalillo County – Today, Bernalillo County Fire Marshal Chris Gober lifted the last of the burn bans and restrictions that have been in place since June.

“We thank everyone for following the burn restrictions and making this a fire safe summer,” says Fire Chief John Garcia.  “The recent rains have finally brought the fire danger down enough to lift the ban.”

Bernalillo County Fire Marshal Chris Gober reminds everyone that only tumbleweeds and dry weeds can be burned and only in piles of no more than three feet tall by three feet wide. Burning of tree limbs and branches, other wood products, leaves and trash is always prohibited.

Reminder: Harvest Festival This Weekend at Wildlife West Nature Park

The Wildlife West Harvest Festival, including the grand opening of the Historic Pinto Bean Museum, will be held this weekend!  For more information, see the previously published press release.

Announcement: Annual Permaculture Gathering At La Resolana In Edgewood, Saturday, October 1, 2011

Editor’s note: This is a great event, with plenty of practical information on strategies for living in our New Mexico environment.  We attended last year’s gathering, and learned a great deal (article here), and the food at the potluck was outstanding.  We encourage all to attend.

by Christian Meuli

12:00 PM        Site Tour
2:00 PM        Potluck
3:00 PM        Tom Smylie — Human Effects on Wildlife and Wildlife Dynamics
4:00 PM        Jan Daniels — Using Cover Crops as Green Manure in Your Garden

This free permaculture gathering will emphasize using what is available in this difficult drought in New Mexico. We will observe the effects of drought during the site tour and share  ideas about designing and implementing sustainable and nourishing landscapes. I invite everyone to discuss the variety of possible approaches to dealing with drought and with the increasing effects of global climate warming in this high plains desert.

I think that there is a high probability of longer periods between moisture events (summer rains and winter snows) interspersed with rare and drastic moisture events. The site tour will include path-making, rock terraces, sponge ladders, and possibly rainwater cisterns (allowing time for good food!).

Tom Smylie has been instrumental in the revival of the peregrine falcon in North America and has an amazing breadth and depth of knowledge about our changing environment. Jan Daniels is in the Design Review Department of Santa Fe County for landscaping, rainwater harvesting, and open space and trails and is an avid gardener.

Invite any interested friends and children, and bring your finest sun hat! Please bring a tasty dish that you would be proud to share with others; providing an ingredient list will invite more folks to enjoy your dish. Please car pool and leave pets at home.

Take I-40 to Exit #187 in Edgewood (25 miles east of Albuquerque and 8 miles west of Moriarty). At the end of the off-ramp, go south two blocks to the stoplight at the intersection with Highway #333 (Smith’s Grocery will be on your left and Walgreens to your right). Go straight up the hill on Edgewood Road #7 and in ½ mile turn right onto Moriarty Road (gravel). Go ¼ mile to #24 and turn right into my driveway or go straight ahead and down the hill and park on your left.

I look forward to seeing everyone and meeting new friends! If you need a map or a timely voice message update, please call me at 281-4871.

Looking forward to seeing everyone !

Christian Meuli

Grow Your Own – Quit Playing With Your Food!

by John Weckerle

Yesterday's harvest - Mondays aren't all bad!

Er… No.

Yesterday’s harvest was perhaps our biggest daily haul yet, apparently thanks to the greater-than-one-inch rainfall we got Sunday and the full day of sun yesterday.  There was, in fact, so much of it that for the first time we decided to weigh it.  The day’s total: 15 pounds.  No kidding – that was our single-day harvest yesterday evening.  It was such that we were inclined to arrange the food for photographic purposes prior to putting it away, although we did toss in a few of the previous day’s items (two yellow squash, a zucchini, a cucumber or two, and a few grape tomatoes) foreaesthetic effect.  A couple of the zucchinis went from not-so-big to arm size in just a day, meaning we’re looking at more bread and/or fritter making in the foreseeable future.  Today’s harvest, not shown, was probably about five to seven pounds and dominated by cucumbers (although we did get a few zucchini and some grape tomatoes, as well).  The two snow peas were a surprise; we didn’t think they’s survive the heat, much less drop a couple of pods on us in August.  We certainly aren’t complaining, though!

Moisture At Last

by John Weckerle

Recent storms have left New Mexico Central headquarters high and dry, passing to the east and west as they bring moisture to – well, points east and west, and north and south for that matter.  That is, until yesterday, when the skies opened up and dropped a greatly appreciated 1.1 inches of water on our location in 24 hours.  The rain barrels are full, and we suspect that there’s much more water in the big tanks today than there was yesterday at this time.  The weather forecast indicates we’ll have a couple of relatively sunny days, and we’re hoping for more rain before too long; if we’re lucky, it’ll be in time for one last burst of wildflowers. In the meantime, we’re enjoying the early morning “special effects” left behind by the storm.

Woofstock A Doggone Good Time

by John Weckerle

Senior Animal Events Correspondent Wilson takes a crack at lure coursing...

Yesterday’s first annual Woofstock festival – a fundraiser for a new animal shelter sponsored by the Town of Edgewood, Petco, and the Estancia Valley Friends of Animals – in Edgewood brought pets, people, and vendors together for a fun-filled outdoor experience.  The weather cooperated, with partly cloudy skies and reasonable temperatures, although it was beginning to heat up just a bit by about 11 a.m.  Senior Animal Events Correspondent Wilson attended with your editor, ensuring that the day’s offerings got an expert assessment.  He gave the lure coursing a try, and made numerous friends as we moseyed through the booths and attractions.   Your editor stopped for a very well-executed chair massage by local massage therapist Beth Dennis, with proceeds donated to the shelter’s construction fund, and then purchased some raffle tickets from Edgewood Town Councilor Chuck Ring.  We did not participate in the Dunk the Dogcatcher activities, although we did spy a rather wet-looking Vicky Murphy in the vicinity of the tank.

»» Woofstock A Doggone Good Time

Grow Your Own – Mutiny Among The Bounty

by John Weckerle

The garden has been giving us substantial yields pretty much every day.  We’ve now dined on the green beans, zucchini, yellow squash, tomatoes, lettuce, radishes, peppers, and cauliflower.  Today’s harvest was special in that we brought in the first four heads of broccoli.  These may well end up as cream of broccoli soup, using a recipe from Martha Stewart, that uses a veloute instead of bechemel base.  The “test carrots” are noticeably bigger, and I suspect we’ll be hauling those in before long.

However, we’ve been finding some compromised tomatoes and the occasional slightly-chewed green bean, and there are holes in the broccoli leaves – ditto for the cabbage and kale in Bed 4.  We suspect that mice are behind the mangled beans and tomatoes, and caterpillars would be the prime suspects in the cabbage/kale caper.  We have not yet found any on the affected plants, but we’re keeping an eye out.

Today's harvest, minus the lettuce and green beans.

Woofstock Reminder

The first annual Woofstock event will be held in Edgewood tomorrow, August 20.  For more information, see our previous article.

Santa Fe County Press Release: Santa Fe County Burn Restrictions Lifted

Santa Fe County – August 17, 2011 – Due to recent rains and an increase in precipitation the fire danger level for Santa Fe County has dropped and Open Burn Restrictions established with Ordinance 2011-5 have been lifted.

Burn permits obtained from Santa Fe County Fire Department prior to the implementation of the Open Burn Restrictions are void and a new permit must be obtained.  Permits can be obtained from your local fire district or from the Santa Fe County Fire Prevention Division.

“Despite the recent rains, precipitation levels are still below normal for this time of year.  We ask that residents use caution when burning and follow the terms and conditions of the Open Burn Permit to avoid a wildland fire or a fire on their property,” said Interim Chief David Sperling.

If residents have built up a large pile of vegetation during restrictions, they will need to break that down into smaller controllable piles prior to burning.  Residents are reminded the burning of trash is illegal in Santa Fe County and can be reported by calling (505) 428-3730.

For more information on Open Burning in Santa Fe County, please contact the Fire Prevention Division at (505) 995-6523 or visit

Announcement: Forum on Rural Small Business Health Care and Development Resources

The Estancia Valley Economic Development Association, USDA Rural Development, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will host a forum on Rural Small Business Health Care and Development Resources this Friday, August 19, from 3:00 to 4:30 p.m. at the Moriarty Civic Center at 202 Broadway in Moriarty.  The forum will also discuss how the health care reform act will affect the rural resident.

Press Release: Harvest Festival & Grand Opening of Historic Pinto Bean Museum at Wildlife West

Editor’s Note: We will have more on the Historic Pinto Bean Museum in an upcoming article.

It’s a weekend of delicious locally grown food, tractor parade, 5K Pronghorn Run (links to information and online registration can be found on the Park’s home page), music and fun for the entire family at the annual Harvest Festival on August 26-28 at Wildlife West Nature Park in Edgewood.  This three-day weekend event celebrates the area’s culture, traditions, and agricultural heritage with the grand opening of its newly developed historic Pinto Bean Museum.  The museum was funded by a grant from the Northern Rio Grande National Heritage Area, Inc.

The Festival opens on Friday evening at 7:30 p.m. with free admission to a documentary film about Aldo Leopold, the internationally-renowned conservationist.  Saturday morning starts with a tractor parade beginning at 9 a.m. at Wildlife West.  The parade proceeds along Horton Road, east on Dinkle Road, then turns south along Highway 344 and ends back at Wildlife West.

Throughout the weekend visitors can sample and purchase locally grown products–fresh cut sweet corn, raspberries, honey, pumpkins and other yummy treats.  Anasazi Fields Winery will be on hand on Saturday for wine tasting.  Plus free hot dogs for everyone!

New this year are behind the scenes black bear tours, two young elk calves, and presentations about endangered Mexican grey wolves by Elke Duerr, filmmaker and conservationist, and Susan Dicks, DVM, U.S. Fish and Wildlife. (Editor’s Note: Ms. Duerr and Dr. Dicks were featured in our article A Wolf Adventure: Bringing Lobos Home to Wildlife West Nature Park) Renowned chainsaw artist Mark Chavez will demonstrate his artistic chainsaw techniques.


»» Press Release: Harvest Festival & Grand Opening of Historic Pinto Bean Museum at Wildlife West

Good Morning

by John Weckerle

It’s been a while since we posted a sunrise picture; for what it’s worth, the opportunities have been a little limited of late, but this morning afforded a good one.

Sunrise over the Estancia Valley this morning.

Grow Your Own – Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na…

by John Weckerle

On Wednesday morning of this week, while harvesting yet more zucchini (as well as yellow squash, string beans, a couple of Roma tomatoes, and a gigantic bell pepper), your editor did the unusual and set his mini-pruners (great for cutting zucchini off the plant) on the ground, and left them there.  Late that afternoon a few clouds appeared on the horizon, and it became clear that a trip to the garden to collect the nippers was in order.  I moseyed on up to the bed of plenty, and noticed that the tomato plants looked much different than they had just that morning – a lot of leaves were missing, and some of the branches looked wilted on plants that had looked healthy just hours before.  Given that we’ve all but critter-proofed the garden (it’s now completely covered with bird netting), such damage was hardly expected.  I proceeded cautiously toward the tomatoes, ready for anything.

Suddenly, the whispering sound of leathery wings filled the air, and I froze in place.  There could be only one thing that could have wreaked the havoc that lay before me…


»» Grow Your Own – Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na…