Saturday, September 30, 2006

Tree Regal

I think this is the oldest tree in Mesilla, perhaps the oldest in the valley. Why it's growing in regal isolation on the edge of town, I do not know. Nor do I know how old it is.

This tree has lived so long, survived so much -- it should be recognized as the majestic living thing it is and protected. Vivat rex!

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Friday, September 29, 2006

Flood Irrigation

Pecan trees are irrigated by flooding, which is the only practical way to get water to the roots of the trees. Flood irrigation may appear wasteful, but it actually encourages deep root growth, which in turn reduces the amount of irrigation water required by the crop.

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Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Quiet Lanes

If you're looking for a place without traffic jams, where life is still delightful, consider these tree-lined Mesilla lanes:

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Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Cotton, Chile, Corn, Cabbage

Cotton is the number one crop around Mesilla. Here's the Organ Mountains viewed over a cotton field just north of Mesilla:

Mesilla grows excellent chiles. Here's the Organ Mountains viewed over a chile field just south of Mesilla:

Here's the Organ Mountains viewed over a corn crop:

And finally, here's the Organ Mountains viewed over a cabbage crop:

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Sunday, September 24, 2006

Welcome and Adios

One sign, two sides.

Welcome to Mesilla.

Thanks for Visiting Mesilla. Adios.


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Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Whole Enchilada Fiesta

The Whole Enchilada Fiesta is held annually "next door" in Las Cruces. It's a huge area event that typically attracts 50,000 or more visitors.

The Festival begins Friday, September 22, and runs for 3 days.

The location is the Meersheidt/Hadley Sports Complex in Las Cruces. Here's a map of the location:

The events include food, live entertainment, pet parade, carnival, motorcycle and car show, and the making of the world's largest enchilada.


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Monday, September 18, 2006

Organ Mountains

If you look east from Mesilla, you can see the Organ Mountains. The highest peak in the range is 8,990 feet.

Here's a view of the Organ Mountains from the north end of Mesilla, across an alfalfa field.



Sunday, September 17, 2006

"Fall Getaway"

The October issue of Sunset magazine recommends Mesilla as a top getaway location for a weekend trip.

The article in the magazine covers many of the obvious things to do in Mesilla, including the restaurants and shops.

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Friday, September 15, 2006

18,000+ Acres

There are 18,000+ acres of pecans in this county (Doña Ana).

How many trees is that?

I don't know, but you can get some idea of the miles and miles of trees from these satellite photos of pecan groves just south of Mesilla.

In a mature grove, trees are spaced about 30 feet apart, resulting in about 48 trees per acre.

The average yield for a pecan grove is about 600 pounds an acre.

This area produces higher than average yields, but most importantly, the quality of pecans grown here is unmatched anywhere else. High quality pecans require cold in the winter and heat in the summer, but not too cold or too hot. The climate here is just right for pecans.

Most growers in this area do not use chemical insecticides to control pests -- instead, growers use natural predators like ladybugs and lacewing flies.


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Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Adobe Pulled Down

Yesterday afternoon, several miles south of Mesilla, I watched the last wall of an adobe structure pulled down. There were several good reasons the old home had to be demolished, including public safety.

Here's the wall about to go:

I spoke with the owner, who told me the structure was not that old, having been built about 1950.

How do you date adobe? Here's one way:

Notice that the mortar used between the adobe bricks is cement. That is a practice that began in the late 1940s and largely defeats the advantages of adobe, because cement is an excellent conductor of heat. An adobe structure that uses cement mortar instead of the traditional mud will be hotter in the summer and cooler in the winter.

Here's the wall going down:


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Saturday, September 09, 2006

Thunderbird de la Mesilla

This is believed to be the oldest brick building in New Mexico. It sits at the southwest corner of Mesilla plaza. The sign on the front wall gives a quick history of the building.

"This is the oldest documented brick building in New Mexico.

Augustin Maurin (of French descent) initiated construction in 1860 using burned brick from his own kiln. He was murdered by robbers in his adjoining apartment in 1866.

The heir, Cesar Maurin, came here from France to claim the property. He died of natural causes in 1868.

Frenchman Pedro Duhalde, a former Mesilla saloonkeeper, moved in and was himself murdered by robbers.

Now owned by Tiburcio Frietze, after having been used as a general store, residence, saloon and town hall, the building remains in good condition.

Original, hand-hewn vigas, supporting a low, irregular ceiling, join with the old brickwork in creating a fitting background for the gift items displayed.

The Dona Ana Historical Society finds this building worthy of preservation and commends Mr. Frietze for his part in its care."


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Friday, September 08, 2006

San Albino Skyward

San Albino
Another view of San Albino.


Wednesday, September 06, 2006

The Skilled Irrigator

Irrigation existed before civilization. Irrigation was one of the fathers (or mothers, if you prefer) of civilization.

The Skilled Irrigator was already a model of righteousness at the beginning of Sumerian civilization, around 8000 BC. The highest god in many early agricultural cultures was praised as "irrigator of all things."

The root of irrigation means "to lead water to, to refresh."

Unless you are in agriculture, you probably ignore irrigation, or maybe think about it only as a "consumer of water."

But you are dependent upon irrigation for what you eat, and for much of what you wear.

Irrigation is close in Mesilla, which still has its partnership with the land. Many houses have 15 to 30 pecan trees and irrigation rights from the Rio Grande.

Irrigation canals thread the Village. Here's some of what you can see if you look.

Cement canals prevent water loss into the ground, one of the goals of a Skilled Irrigator.

A control gate.

Canal and gate.

Gate control.


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Sunday, September 03, 2006

Old Mesilla Courthouse

The Old Mesilla Courthouse is now a gift shop.

As indicated by the sign, the Courthouse dates from 1850.

Some historical sources describe this building as adobe. That's wrong. The building is brick with a relatively recent plaster surface, as shown by this early photo.

You can see the distinctive decorative brick along the roof in both the old and the new photographs. Notice also that the corner of the building has been sliced off to make the current entrance.


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Saturday, September 02, 2006

Mesilla Plaza -- Satellite View

Here's a satellite shot of the Mesilla plaza.

You can see clearly the octagonal bandstand located in the center of the plaza. San Ablino is located north of the plaza, just above the three rows of parking cars.

Mesilla bandstand.


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Friday, September 01, 2006

Hatch Chile Festival

In spite of the rain and flooding, the 2006 Hatch Valley Chile Festival will open as planned. The cost of the Festival is $5. One dollar of the fee goes to a non-profit fund for the victims of the recent flooding in Hatch.

Here's the Saturday schedule:

Saturday -- September 2
10 am -- Parade Downtown Hatch
12 noon -- 2006 Queen Coronation
1-3 pm -- Music by Ginny Mac
All Afternoon Various Chile Contests, Booths, Food
4-7 pm -- Music and Dance to "The Silver Bullet Band"

Here's the Sunday schedule:

Sunday -- September 3
12 pm -- Cobre Folklorio Dancers
All Afternoon Various Chile Contests, Booths, Food
1-2 pm -- Music by Scotty Fitch
2 pm -- Queen's Auction
3-5 pm -- Music & Dance by Cameron the DJ

This is the 35th annual festival.


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