Sunday, December 31, 2006

Happy New Year!

2006 ends in a few hours and 2007 begins.

A traditional way to celebrate the start of the new year in this former Spanish colony is to set off fireworks.

The City Fathers have been trying to squelch that behavior for years. Here's a lone fireworks stand in Mesilla, selling the bland, "safe" fireworks permitted by current law.

Best wishes for 2007!

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Mesilla Plaza - Christmas

Taken this evening on the Plaza, looking toward San Albino.

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Friday, December 22, 2006

Mesilla Post Office

Sunday, December 17, 2006

No Trespassing

As you drive the backroads around Mesilla, through the 18,000+ acres of pecans in the county, you will see these little signs every where:

Why such concern about trees? They are not going to be damaged by people walking under them.

Here's the reason:


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Friday, December 15, 2006


Here's the old Mesilla blacksmith shop, which was built before 1900. It's been closed for 40 years.

The structure is unplastered adobe.

Here's a closer view of the weathered front and the sliding horse door.

The human door:

The inside:

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Thursday, December 07, 2006

Adobe Embeds

Here's a well-maintained adobe building co-habitating with the remains of an old adobe structure.

This kind of thing can be seen around Mesilla because most owners don't want to demolish this historical heritage. In recognition of this preference, Mesilla has a city ordinance against removing old adobe structures.

This tree was undoubtedly alive when it was incorporated into this adobe wall.

So we have duple embeds: tree in wall, wall in building. Or do we have tree in building, building in wall?

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Sunday, December 03, 2006

Pecan Harvesting

The 2006 pecan harvest is almost finished.

The trees are ready for harvest when most of the protective shucks have split. You can see the open shucks and pecans here:

Pecan trees alternate between high yield and low yield years. This year is a low year for this area. Production in a low year can be as little as 1/3 of a high year.

Here is a tree from an orchard with an excellent yield this year, perhaps because the trees are younger and were recently transplanted.

The first step in harvesting is getting the nuts out of the tree. This is done with a shaker:

The trees are shook for about 2 or 3 seconds and you can feel the shaking in the ground 20 or 30 feet away. The going rate to get your trees shook if you don't own a shaker is $5 a tree.

Sometimes it is necessary to shake several branches of a large tree.

Here you can see pecans falling as the tree shakes.

The shaker shakes out anything that will fall, including shucks, leaves, and twigs. All of this joins the leaves which have already fallen from the tree, so the second step is to use a windrow machine to rake this material into rows.

The last step in harvesting is to use a sweeper to pick up the leaves and debris and pecans and separate the pecans. Here's a sweeper in action.

The sweeper stores the nuts in a bin and grinds the leaves and debris and returns it to the soil.

Here are what trees look like after harvest.

Doña Ana county produces more pecans than any similarly-sized area in the world.

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