Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Rain Today

We've had about 20 hours of slow rain. It's welcome and very pleasant, but comes at a bad time for local farmers.

San Albino this morning:

The Fountain Theater:

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Monday, October 23, 2006

Billy's DNA

Part of the myth of Billy the Kid is that he "somehow" escaped being killed by Pat Garrett in 1881 and lived out his life quietly and (mostly) honestly.

Not very likely.

One of the supposed Billy's is a John Miller, who died March 12, 1937 at the Pioneers' Retirement Home in Prescott, Arizona. It is said he never claimed publicly (except when drunk) to be Billy, but his friends identified him as such.

Here are Billy (left) and John.

On May 19, 2005, Tom Sullivan, former sheriff of Lincoln County, New Mexico, and Steve Sederwall, former mayor of Capitan, New Mexico, exhumed Tom Miller's body from the cemetery at the Pioneers' Home.

Miller's grave was unmarked. When they dug it up, they found 2 skeletons. The second one was William Hudspeth, a cattleman who died 3 days before Miller.

They were given permission to dig up Miller's grave by the former superintendent of the Pioneers' Home, but not to remove the remains, which they did. Sullivan and Sederwall took the remains to get a DNA sample and to separate Miller's remains from Hudspeth's.

Arizona authorities had threatened to charge Sullivan and Sederwall with grave robbing, but announced today that the two would not be charged.

The results of the DNA tests are not known at this time.

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Sunday, October 22, 2006

Standing Cow

In a pasture south of the plaza...


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Friday, October 20, 2006

Adobe House

All the early structures in Mesilla were adobe, and many, many adobe structures remain in use. Here's an adobe house a couple of blocks off the plaza that's being renovated.

Before the arrival of Spaniards, Native Americans were building using dried mud. But they didn't use bricks. They built by drying the mud in layers. Building with mud bricks was introduced by the Spaniards, and it's structures built with these bricks which are called adobe.

Almost all the early adobe houses are long and narrow, or L-shaped like this one.

Two features that characterize adobe structures are recessed doors and windows with wooden lintels, as you see here. The recessing is due to the thickness of the walls, which can be two feet or more. The thick walls keep the interior cool in the summer and warm in the winter.

Before hard plaster was available, the external and internal surfaces were plastered with mud. Hard plaster is vastly superior, providing a water-proof, durable surface.

In this case, it appears that the outside plaster below the top cap has been removed, probably because it was in bad shape. This will certainly be replaced during the renovation.

The smoothness of this wall, and the rounded corner, show it's been exposed to the weather a long time


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Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Best Coffee

The best place in town for coffee:

The Bean coffee shop is located on the east side of Mesilla, across the highway from the old town.

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Monday, October 16, 2006

Cafe Don Felix

Chile rellenos any one?

Cafe Don Felix is located opposite the southwest corner of Mesilla plaza. Sit on the patio at night and enjoy our great fall weather and great food.


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Sunday, October 15, 2006

Cabbage Harvest

The harvest begins.


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Monday, October 09, 2006

Mesilla Chiles

The local chile harvest is almost over.

Chile pods can be picked green or red. The pods, green initially, turn red when older.

Green chiles are eaten in many ways, chile rellenos being perhaps the most famous. Red chiles are used for spicing and sauces.

Here's a green chile two days before its harvest:

Here are red chiles from the same field. Because the pods mature at different times, a field will have both green and red.

Here's a banana pepper:

Here are cherry peppers:

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Saturday, October 07, 2006


The "harvest" moon rising this evening.

The moon tonight appeared 12 degrees wider than usual, due to moon's position in relation to the earth.
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Thursday, October 05, 2006

Freight Wagon

Before mechanical transport, hundreds of thousands of tons of goods were transported to Mesilla using freight wagons like this.

One early pioneer account, for example, relates an instance when 400 freight wagons were used to transport $100,000 worth of stores to Mesilla. These wagons were pulled by horses or mules.


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Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Mesilla Mariachis

Sunday at 4 pm at the Mesilla Plaza is the place to be if you like music and folk dance. That's when the free Mariachi concerts begin, to be held every Sunday until November 5.

Mariachi - what does it mean? Oddly enough, no one seems to know for certain. The most accepted theory is that it comes from one of the languages native to Mexico before the Spanish invasion and conquest.

A Mariachi band consists of multiple violins, two trumpets, several kinds of guitars, and usually a folk harp. Besides a standard guitar, a Mariachi band has a high-pitched guitar and a base-rhythm guitar.



Sunday, October 01, 2006

Irrigation Gates

Mesilla is criss-crossed with ditches and canals. This irrigation system goes back to the founding of Mesilla.

The Rio Grande is the source of the water. The gates enable the water to be directed to specific places at specific times in specific amounts.


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