• El ratón le dice al gato:
no juegues con la comida.
The mouse says to the cat: Don’t
play with your food.
• La vida es como una receta de
comida; el sazón tú se lo pones.
Life is like a recipe; you must
add the seasoning to your own taste.
• Quien comparte su comida, no pasa
solo la vida.
He who shares his food doesn’t
pass through life alone.
Submitted by www.sospanyol.com,
Placitas—Spanish instruction that focuses on oral communication
Hikers pose for a picture on a previous Las
Placitas Association outing
Learn about the plants of the Placitas Open Space
—LOLLY JONES, MEMBER, LAS PLACITAS ASSOCIATION
William Dunmire will lead us on a tour of the Placitas Open
Space on Saturday, May 12 to identify shrubs, grasses, and
flowering plants. The wildflowers should be spectacular this
year! Bill is a retired National Park Service naturalist and
writer-photographer on natural history topics. To see the
Placitas Open Space plant list, visit www.lasplacitas.org/lpa_pdfs/plant_list.pdf.
Please do not bring pets on the hike. If you would like to
join us, meet at the Open Space East Access at 8:45 a.m. on
To reach the Placitas Open Space, travel east on Highway
165 for 6.9 miles. Turn left (north) onto Camino de las Huertas
for 2.9 miles. Turn left on Llano del Norte and go 0.4 mile.
As the road bends left, follow it around. Follow the dirt
road west 0.7 mile. The “main road” bends left
at a fence—keep going straight on the two-track road.
Drive along the fence about 0.1 mile until you bear slightly
right and come to a gate marked “BLM Property.”
Drive through the gate (please close it!) and follow the two-track
road around to the left. Go through the second drop-gate and
keep following the two-track road; you will come to an Albuquerque
Open Space sign where you should park.
Monument hosts May events
Two events are showcased this month by the Friends of Coronado
State Monument. On Saturday, May 19, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00
p.m., a gourd workshop will give you a chance to make your
own creation—a birdhouse, bird feeder, mask, folk-art
chicken, Southwestern doll, or whatever you can see in a gourd.
The cost of $20 per person includes two buffalo gourds and
supplies necessary to complete a beautiful project. Attend
yourself or bring friends and family and a sack lunch to the
portal of Coronado State Monument. Space is limited, so reservations
are suggested. Call Pat Harris at 822-8571 or email email@example.com
by May 12 to reserve a space.
On Sunday, May 20, the Friends are sponsoring a presentation
by Dr. Linda Cordell at 2:00 p.m. at Coronado State Monument,
on the topic of “Making Community at Tijeras Pueblo.”
Tijeras Pueblo, a fourteenth-century mountain village, has
just been listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
New research (some of which was directed by Dr. Cordell) provides
fascinating insights into the many-faceted relationships among
the residents of this community and villages as distant as
Socorro, Zuni, and Acoma, as well as those closer such as
Paa-ko. Understanding the community at Tijeras Pueblo gives
new perspective on a dynamic period in Pueblo Indian history.
Space is limited, so reservations are suggested. To reserve
a space, call Gordon Forbes at 771-3464 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Admission is $5 per person, and is free to members of Friends
of Coronado State Monument. The Monument is on US 550, about
one mile west of I-25.
“Dreamscape Desperado” recounts
life of Billy the Kid
Billy the Kid is not only New Mexico’s most famous
citizen, but the most famous outlaw in American history. Beginning
on Sunday, May 13, the Albuquerque Museum of Art and History
will present the facts and myths that surround Billy the Kid,
in the exhibition “Dreamscape Desperado: Billy the Kid
and the Outlaw in America.”
Dreamscape Desperado will include historic artifacts from
Billy and his era, along with a unique collection of pop culture
items inspired by his legend. These will encompass everything
from songs about Billy to comic books and movie clips.
Opening Day activities on May 13 will include a 1:00 p.m.
Billy the Kid lecture. Learn more about famous outlaw Billy
the Kid in a lecture by Paul Hutton, the guest curator of
the Dreamscape Desperado exhibition. Hutton is a Professor
of History at the University of New Mexico, specializing in
U.S. history, the American West, and U.S. military history.
He has appeared in, written, or narrated over one hundred-fifty
television documentaries on CBS, NBC, PBS, Discover, Disney
Channel, TBS, TNN, A&E, and the History Channel, and is
also the Executive Director of the Western History Association.
The lecture is free with museum admission. Dreamscape Desperado
is on display through July 22 at 2000 Mountain Road NW.
Museum admission price is $4 for adults ($1 discount to
New Mexico residents with ID), $2 for seniors (65+), and $1
for children ages four through twelve. Children age three
and under are free. General admission is free the first Wednesday
of the month and every Sunday from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
New Mexico’s Spanish livestock heritage
—WILLIAM W. DUNMIRE
When crops, foods, and agriculture from the Old World made
their way from Spain to Mexico then up El Camino Real with
Don Juan Oñate to northern New Mexico in 1598, the
Southwest would be changed forever. Unquestionably the most
profound impact those colonists and Franciscan missionaries
made on the lives of New Mexico’s Puebloan residents,
and on the land itself, resulted from their introduction of
domestic animals. Those herds of horses and cattle and flocks
of sheep and goats accompanying Oñate’s caravan
laid the foundation for a livestock industry that would dominate
much of the Southwest in years to come. Chickens, originally
from Asia, were one of the least visible animals that leap-frogged
to New Spain’s northernmost outpost with Oñate’s,
yet they soon spread rapidly from village to village. But
though Puebloans were already propagating domesticated turkeys
they seem not to have readily accepted the novel barnyard
fowl. Pigs also accompanied Oñate’s wagon trains,
but they failed to significantly disperse. That’s probably
because New Mexico’s climate was far less conducive
than Mexico’s humid lowlands for raising swine. Besides,
Puebloans are unlikely to have tolerated domestic or feral
pigs running amok in their precious corn fields where the
low-statured strains of corn would permit easy stripping of
Horses were another matter. In the 1600s New Mexico’s
far-flung missions needed horses and mules for efficient farm
and ranch operation. Friars couldn’t possibly do all
the necessary riding, so teaching horsemanship to Puebloan
converts must have been a priority, regardless that Indian
ownership of horses was discouraged, if not forbidden. Soon
enough, though, a horse would stray from its mission settlement
and become semi-wild, only to be recaptured and secretly retained
by a Puebloan who likely had gained his experience in handling
livestock by observing the Franciscans.
Occasional bands of short-legged feral mustangs—typically
a stallion with half a dozen mares—still roam on public
lands and Indian reservations in parts of rural New Mexico.
Recent blood tests of horses from one of these wild bands
wandering on Mt. Taylor west of Albuquerque showed that some
of the animals can be genetically linked to original Spanish
Where I live in rural Placitas, untamed mustangs, apparently
long ago escaped from nearby San Felipe Pueblo Reservation,
still move skittishly about our unfenced countryside and are
a topic of community chit-chat. Either you think they’re
great (the animal lovers) or a great nuisance (some of our
Most of the hundreds of cattle trailed to the new colony
ended up being slaughtered for the table; nevertheless, enough
survived to breed. So when Franciscans fanned out to establish
their network of missions, they always took at least a few
cows and a bull or two. Yet Hispanic New Mexico never became
a primary cattle ranching center during colonial times. This
may have been because Puebloans strongly objected to range
animals trampling their irrigated fields.
If New Mexico’s infant cattle industry met with only
indifferent success, an explosion in numbers of the colony’s
sheep proved sensational. Old World sheep had actually entered
the territory in 1540 with Coronado who drove huge flocks
up the Rio Grande to his encampments. When that Don Quixote—like
conquistador departed two years later, he left some sheep
at Pecos Pueblo, but none of their offspring appear to have
survived. Just how many sheep and goats streamed into New
Mexico with Oñate nearly sixty years later is hard
to say, but a flock of more than a thousand was counted in
Santa Fe twelve years after the colony’s beginning.
In another thirty years it was claimed each of the more than
two dozen Franciscan missions in New Mexico owned up to two
thousand head apiece.
These were not Spain’s famous “merino”
breed of sheep, prized for their fine, high-yielding fleece.
Instead it was the lowly “churro” breed that first
made it to the West Indies with Columbus, then proliferated
across the Mexican highlands, and finally accompanied Oñate
on his trek north.
The tough churros were ideally adapted to enduring environmental
rigors of the arid Southwest. They seemed to thrive on sparse
grama grass and shrubby foliage. Compared with merinos, churros
produced a better quality mutton, and their wool, consisting
of hard, straight fibers, had a naturally worsted property
that lent itself to hand spinning and weaving. Furthermore,
churro wool was particularly suited for absorbing the vibrant
pigments Puebloans knew how to extract from a number of wild
dye plants. Rugs and garments woven from churro wool are prized
among collectors more than ever today.
And finally—dogs. They were already here, for domesticated
dogs had traveled with nomadic Native American tribes for
thousands of years. Ancestral Puebloans kept spaniel-sized
dogs, most likely for flushing our wild game during hunts
and possibly as household pets. But, in contrast to some parts
of Mexico, there is no evidence that dogs ever ended up in
Puebloan stew pots.
This article has been partly excerpted from
the author’s book, Gardens
of New Spain: How Mediterranean Plants and Foods Changed America,
published by the University of Texas Press in 2004. [Placitas,
NM, resident Dunmire is an Associate in Biology at the University
of New Mexico and serves on the Board of Directors for the
Historical Society of New Mexico.] This article was distributed
by the Historical Society of New Mexico.