Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Old Adobe

Snow Road, west of Mesilla, NM.

Very few old adobe ruins like this still exist.  Most of them have been bulldozed back into the dirt from which they came.  Notice the lack of windows.  Glass was expensive back then, and windows were considered a luxury.

It's unusual to have the opportunity to enter an old house like this, so we availed ourselves of it.  This shot shows the shadows of the vigas and latillas on the back wall, which is on the verge of collapse.

Here's a well-preserved section of ceiling showing the large vigas, and the smaller latillas.  It looks like they laid yucca leaves on top of the latillas.  On top of that they would have put dirt.  This would have worked well to shed brief summer showers, but the roof probably would have leaked during heavy winter rains, which can last for a day or more.  Waterproof membranes (like sheets of plastic) were unvailable back then. 

The interior wall was covered with mud plaster and whitewashed.  The house is slowly eroding.  This is the pattern the eroding mud makes as it runs down the wall in rainy weather.

Eventually this house will be torn down as a "safety hazard," which it no doubt is.  Another piece of history will disappear.  But all is not lost:  there are doubtless other old adobes like this one which were maintained over the years and are still willing to share their secrets with anyone who cares to ask.   

Sunday, March 28, 2010

What To Do With An Old Stump

Turn it into an eagle, bear, etc.  A mailbox sticking out of the middle never hurts, either.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Old Farmhouse

Calle del Norte, west of Mesilla, NM.  The steel casement windows on this abandoned relic date it to whenever windows of this type were most popular.  I leave it to architectural historians to determine the actual time period -- probably post-World War 2.  These windows were very common at one time in southern New Mexico houses.  You opened and closed them with a little crank.  Their main disadvantage -- they invariably leaked cold air during the winter, which is why they were ultimately replaced by aluminum sliders.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Crumble Rock Demo

Laura crumbled a rock to show how it's done.  She used her hands, but Nature uses repeated frost/thaw cycles.  The effect is the same:

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Thought for Today

The human mind has no reverse. It doesn't even have a steering wheel.
-- Ilargi
The Automatic Earth


Late winter is when the Chinaberry trees are conspicuous.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Dona Ana Apartments

Dona Ana, NM.  Classic urban adobe look -- right next to the street, barely enough room for a sidewalk, no landscaping.  Life was basic back then.  The big deal was having protection from the Indians, and a roof that didn't leak too much.  Dona Ana is the oldest non-Indian settlement in southern NM -- older than Las Cruces.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Welcome Co-op Shoppers!

There might be some Co-opers checking out this blog after reading the profile about Laura and me in the latest Co-op newsletter. Writer Randy Harris described this blog as "an unusual mix of photography, fiction, spirituality, social commentary, micro-farming, science, history and more. It's informative, insightful and fun to follow."

With that kind of buildup, I feel the need to explain that I'm in a writing hiatus right now. Something is building up, no doubt about it. Sooner or later I'll be posting something interesting to read. In the meantime there are plenty of archives to keep a reader (or photo viewer) busy, if one is so inclined. (I always recommend the "diving in at random" technique.) I'll continue posting the photographs that Laura and I take, since we enjoy taking pictures of whatever catches our eye.

Speaking about Co-op shopping, what do you think about the new bee in the "honey corner?" I'm getting a real buzz out of it!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Adobe Fixer-Upper

Dona Ana, NM.  They don't make them like this anymore.  There are fewer of these old adobes all the time.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Thought for Today

Everything we know... seems to indicate that human beings happily go along with the program -- whatever the program is -- until all of a sudden they can't, and then they don't.
-- James Howard Kunstler

Giant Cactus

Near Dona Ana, NM

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Plum Blossoms

This Purple-Leafed Plum was in full bloom at Farmer's Market yesterday.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010


Our finch feeder has been very popular with the finches this winter.