Thursday, July 3, 2014

L'Oueste Sauvage

The day before we left for GojiLand, on a tip from Marci at Princess Nails, we headed down the road apiece to Ranchos de Taos to see the annual "mudding" of St. Francis de Asis church. Every year the church community gets together, men, women and kiddies alike, and "remuds" the degraded adobe of what is the oldest church in the area – construction begun late 18th Century, completed 50 years or so later. Now, we americans, I find, just LUV to go on about 'community this, and community that', but, truth be told, I find precious little real community anywhere I travel in the US, folks out for Number One is more the norm. But THIS church community was bursting with the real thing, everyone pitching in to giterdone.  The work had a serious air about it, even the kids sweeping the entrance were going at it like they aimed to do it right. It was a heartwarming thing to witness, and many thanks to the gal at the nail salon for putting me onto it.

interior st francis de asis

As much as we LUV the Old Taos Guesthouse in the foothills south of town, a week there in our room was enough, and, being from Maine, we had a yen for wide open country and a little personal space and quietude, the likes of which you only get in the boonies. So we booked a cabin (via airbnb) billed as once inhabited by DH Lawrence and headed for the Goji Berry Farm past Arroyo Hondo about ten miles outside of Taos.  It's a good thing we ventured forth a day ahead of time to check it out, we were glad we did as the original cabin we saw online turned out to be not so great in person, we instead decided on Frieda Lawrence's cabin (girls rule), four times the size of our room at the Inn where we could spread out some, unpack the car, thinking we'd manage just fine. It was the space that registered. Details, not so much. When we actually landed there for good, fresh from hotel luxe accommodations, I felt as though suddenly it was 1969, I was back in time, livin on s shoestring, visions of communes, a slower, less fussy time,  tres laissez-faire, so to speak. (P's impression of the Taos locals is that they're "messy".) The cabin was, um, rudimentarily equipped – so I got quite excited upon finding an old Farberware coffee percolator, only to discover, once I emptied out the old water and scrubbed the thing within an inch of its life, its perking ability was un peu fatigué – still, we managed, and, I have to say, once we let go of the sort of expectations one develops living spoiled at home – we quite enjoyed the simplicity of fewer things, finding that what we had was quite enough.

After two weeks of travel and constant decision-making we chilled out big time, slept nearly all of the first day we were there, listening to the breeze. P took wonderful sunset photos while I made it my mission to get the best possible photos of Luke, the baby lamb whose pleadings woke me every morning, who baaa-ed all day until you came over and pet him (happy I was to oblige). Of course dear Clarisse came to mind, and the silence of the lambs took on a whole new meaning.


Peace and quiet abound out there with the lambs and chickens in patched up pens and the fields of goji berry plants. The owner sells them to folks who arrive with a hankering to start a wee farm project of their own. The owners, a Medicare- qualified vintage hippie couple from Hawaii, are nice folks. And for the price of a cabin you get unlimited access to an infinite supply of fresh sweet kale (pick it yerself) and free range eggs, staples of our diet while there. I got a brief introduction to the 
acequia system of water rights from the farmer, a very old water rights program that goes back centuries; it's how much of New Mexico's scarce water is managed, and it seems to work. Although, seriously, there is a major water issue throughout the state that, despite the best efforts of many (not enough) New Mexicans, is only going to get worse. In today's paper, yet again, an article about water rights for golf courses. Seriously? Do we have our priorities in order, people?

Two darling young fresh-outta-college WOOFER (Willing workers on organic farms) fellas were living in a teeny cabin nearby, volunteers,  (one Yale, one Georgetown, something quite jarring about that somehow, an Eastern presence out here in the Wild West) – one staying for the entire summer, the other for only two weeks who departed for back East our third day there. The woofers' two-hole outhouse was built by none other than Aldous Huxley himself, or so the story goes. Weird how that simple fact can leave you dumbly staring at a structure for far longer than its architecture warrants.  (The mind wanders to DH and Aldous occupying their respective 'holes', shooting the shyte, so to speak.)

huxley's twoseater outhouse
I particularly enjoyed the unlimited supply of fresh well water, and spent each day wandering the farm, doing a bit of therapeutic weeding (for me) while Paul wrangled a weed whacker and went to town on tall weeds out front of the cabin. Having thus 'marked' our territory, we settled in for three days, walked the foothills, checked out the local "store", an old trailer run by a well-weathered woman who seemed glad for company when we bought a can of coke for later. We basically did nada but swing desultorily on the swingset, watch the unending drama of the chicken coop (twenty or so hens and one rooster on Viagra), and listened to the quiet.  I breathed a lot, and gazed into distances.

We were actually reluctant to leave when the time came to take possession of the house we'd rented for two months in town. Just goes to show, modern life hasn't really much to offer when you get down to it.  It's too bad we've lost so many US farmers, that they've lost so many farms to agribusiness. Something sane-making about small farm life, despite its hardships.

More pics of my little Lukey, who was nearly kidnapped, by moi.

weird art thing at farm
 Next Up: Town life in Taos, the Borromeo String Quartet plays Britten, The Taos Sheriffs' Rodeo, Copper sunsets, our fave places to eat, and we take up tennis, ride bikes and actually not much of that as Wimbledon isn't over yet...

go roger!

First sunset ....

In case you're wonderin' why I haven't said anything about that Hobby Horseshit with the Supremes yet..... I'm just bidin' my time, cleanin' my weapon, checkin the site. I'll just finish readin those SCOTUS opinions and dissents and see what gets me most fired up. Tell you one thing.... anyone who doesn't see the similarities to this and Bush v. Gore isn't usin the the brains god game em.  "not to be viewed as precedent" indeed. What a crock.  These wicked people will live to regret what they've done.
"Everything touched is by political choice, the life you take is your political voice." And she meant everything.   (Chrissie Hynde)

Vote with your pocketbook. Think.  It's the only weapon left in the arsenal, but it's a good'un.

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