Howdy Blogger buddies! Thought I'd greet you today with the traditional "Howdy" of Texas A&M. My son graduated from there in '99 and was in the corp of cadets band for four years, playing the trumpet. The school is steeped in traditions, I just don't remember them all. I was in the local Aggie Mom organization for about 3 years and had a blast with most of these women, but as their kids began to graduate, those old members left the club for other distractions, and the incoming membership was a bit stiff...as in major sticks up their "nose!" So I left for a couple of reasons, was going through a hellish separation and I returned to college and the old fun and crazy Aggie guard were gone , oh, that's 3 reasons!
Yesterday, DH and I decided we'd enjoy lunch at one of our favorite eateries, the Riviera. It's been around for years and I just love their enchiladas, both red and green, so I had a combo platter....finished half of it since we had decided to take a nice drive up to Mesilla, NM and I just didn't want to feel that bloat on the ride up. Mesilla is this lovely little community outside Las Cruces, NM. We love taking the drive on the "old road" as it's referred here or the historical "Onate Trail." Onate was this New Spain (Mexico) born Spaniard explorer back in the 17 c. who was looking for the proverbial Cibola, one of the legendary 7 cities of gold. A side, he was also married to Hernan Cortez granddaughter. Anyway, this guy was not very popular among the residing tribes and got into some big trouble with the Acomas...if he didn't like you, he'd lop of an arm, leg, whatever...really nice guy! Ok, so I digress, but had to give you a little background on the old road and pretty much my backyard.
Speaking of my "backyard," just thought I'd show some of the beauty of my desert, both west TX and southern NM, which is a valley...the mountains are the tail end of the Rockies. This is a distant view of the mountains and one of the many pecan orchards.
This photo is one of the many pecan orchards in the area (why in the hell are pecans so expensive then??)
The next 3 pics are were taken in the middle of Stahmanns Farm, the largest pecan orchard in the world.
When I was a child, we would take this road to Mesilla and you could see large gaggles of geese in the orchards. They were used to keep the grounds clean plus, they sold their eggs, chicks, and of course, many of those dear birdies ended up on Christmas tables. It's been years since they've had geese, but the orchard is still quite impressive. This area is known for pecans, pistachios and of course, wine.
There's this wonderful restaraunt in La Union, NM, on the road to Mesilla, called Chopes. It's been there for years and in just the last ten years, it's really gotten popular, especially with the weekend motorcyclists, as you can see. They're famous for their red enchiladas. Planning on taking my son, Ian, there for his birthday next week.
Next is this little church that's one of my favs in the area. It's in the small town of La Mesa, NM. I remember the residents would dry their chile crops on the roofs their homes, making the whole town pop with beautiful colours of reds and yellows. I don't know if they do that now, haven't seen it for some time, but the smell of roasting chile just permeates this area this time of year...the scent of the gods!
Above is a house with the adobe wall exposed. It was across the street from the church and thought some of you who have never seen it before would like enjoy this. Adobe is still used in this area, both out here in West TX and NM.
I have been asked to make a painting of San Albinos church in the city square of Mesilla, so we thought it would be nice to stop by, take some pics and just do a little shopping.
I didn't take this particular photo, but borrowed it off their site because our plans for a nice, quiet afternoon in the town of Mesilla turned out to be not so quiet. The square was completely off-limits to traffic. They were celebrating 16 de Septiembre in the town and it was madness, fun, but none the less, madness!!
There were Mariaches:
It was all very festive and I felt as if I were in a mercado in Mexico. Sadly, the Juarez Mercado across the border is shutting it's doors due to the violence there. I have wonderful memories of the market. I used to go with my mother and/or grandmother and we'd buy fresh everything. The smell of cooking food, herbs, even the scent of the starch finishes on the clothes, the a line of little old ladies making fresh corn tortillas in their comals. I loved to hear my grandmother call out, "Marchante," to who ever was selling the best priced veggies, cheese and meat that day. We would stop at the herbman, that's what I called him, and she would by fresh herbs for the days meal. She also would always get us these rocket shaped suckers, called "piruli (pee-rul-ee)" with the accent on the last "i." They could be considered lethal in the wrong hands, ie. an older sister sticking it to her little brother!! LOL
I did a little shopping too. I got my friend, who I'll be seeing in 2 weeks in Austin, a pair of earrings. Due to the cost of silver these days, the Indian jewelers have discovered the wonders of aluminum and the jewelry is quite nice, plus, no tarnishing and very light weight. I'm just glad I got all my Indian silver & turquoise jewelry back when it was still affordable, in the '70's and '80's. There's this quaint little bookstore that's been on the plaza forever. They sell lots of the locally published books, so I purchased a little children's book by a local guy, written and illustrated by him. I collect children's lit and this book was so beautifully illustrated, I just had to add it to my collection, besides, the author's last name is "Diaz," like mine. I also had to buy a "concha" bag. Let me explain why I call them "Concha" bags. When I was a kid, we had this maid whose name was, ok, 3 guesses...Concha!! She would come every week with her clean clothes and some belongings packed up in two of the bags, hence, Concha bags. Anyway, I'm sure you've seen them, they're the plastic woven Mexican bags with pictures or stripes...I bought one with the Virgen de Guadalupe from a group of local monks from the Holy Cross monastery up the road. I had to help translate for a woman from Duluth, MN, who wanted to purchase a special order carving of San Pasqual...seems this round of monks "speak English very few," but they had some wonderful products, stuff they make there at their monastery. I also purchased a colourful little nosegay of paper flowers made in Mexico. I used to make them as a child and I've forgotten how, so I bought some to spark my memory...DH asked if I spent $6 just to take them apart...nah, just need one!!
Now for some pics of local colour in the town of Mesilla:
A metal "Catrina" sculpture made from large oil cans from Mexico.
A watering can made from a La Costena jalapeno can...very cool!
This is another metal sculpture like the Catrina. His name is Phil, or should it be "Felipe?"
This is one of the many charming homes in town. I wish I had time to take more pics of the more older, rustic houses.
Hope the folks that are remodeling this house know about their attic visitor!
Well friends, that concludes my short tour of the very festive, colourful and one of my favouite places in the world, Mesilla, NM. I feel so lucky to be so close to such a fun place, like I mentioned, this is almost in my backyard...how lucky am I!!?? It's time for this ol' desert rat to drag her tired butt (neighbors had a 16 de Septiembre party in their backyard last night and went on till 2....oy, can't get the mariachi music out of my head!!) and write down all the ideas I was bombarded with while I lay awake singing "Adelita" along with the mariachis!! LOL Peace out.