Civil War in New Mexico Territory: today we toured sites of the Battle at Glorieta Pass.

That is Polish immigrant Martin Kozlowski near the trading post he located in a prime spot, near Glorieta Creek and the Santa Fe trail. Today we visited the trading post and saw where Union soldiers encamped nearby before the battle of Glorieta Pass.

There is considerably more snow in Pecos still (March 2010) than there is in Santa Fe.

On March 26, 1862, Confederate and Union soldiers stopped at each end of Glorieta pass - the Confederates at Apache Canyon  to the west and the Federals at Pigeon’s Ranch to the east.
The two forces then briefly clashed near the Confederate base at Apache Canyon

before retiring to their respective camps.

Hostilities resumed the morning of March 28th, as both sides advanced into Glorieta Pass. The Confederates chose to send most of their forces into the attack, and left perhaps 30 or 40 troops to guard the supply train  in the rear of Apache Canyon at Johnson’s Ranch. Four hundred Colorado Volunteers descended from the steep mountains late in the day and surprised the far outnumbered Confederate rear guard at Johnson‘s Ranch.

The Federals quickly overwhelmed the Rebels and burned all 85 wagons in the Confederate supply train. The Union forces also drove off more than 500 horses and pack mules. This pretty much crippled the Confederates.

Even though the rebels had an advantage in numbers and they pushed the Federals back toward the eastern edge of the pass, at one point shelling the Federal camp at Pigeon’s Ranch,

This is what's left of Pigeon's Ranch today...a building that was a station stop along the Santa Fe trail...it's only about four feet from the road.

they still had to retreat because of what the Union had done to their supply wagons. They were, after all, in New Mexico, and whatever they needed they had to have with them--especially water and food, but also saddles, medicines, ammunition. Without their supplies, the Confederates had no choice but to retire from the field and withdraw to Santa Fe. Soon they pulled out of New Mexico territory for good.

The Confederate leaders thought they could manage to live off the land and they thought westerners would rally to their cause. They were wrong on both counts.

Here is the granite monument to the Texas Volunteers

commemorating the Texans who fought and perished as part of the Sibley Brigade during the "farthest penetration of Texans along the Santa Fe trail."

This is the rose red granite monument to the 1st Colorado Volunteers, who "saved the Union in Northern New Mexico." The monument was dedicated on March 27, 1993.


Sipapu--a reminder of emergence.

The sipapu is the small round hole in the floor of the kiva ruin. The larger round hole in the floor is a fire pit.

You can see that the air intake (little rectangular door in the wall), the stones that block air from the air intake, the fire pit and the sipapu are all in a line. An interpretation of sipapu, which is a Hopi word, is that the spot served as the symbolic place of origin of the tribe. You may also find an interesting description of the "entrance to the fourth world" aspect here.

And yes, the word was appropriated as the name of a New Mexico resort (their odd tagline is: "Find it. Ski it." located about 20 miles from Taos).

Here is a helpful excerpt from the thoughtful and detailed paper, "Where Earth and Sky Meet" by John A. Blackwell:

"The Hopi people, one of the remaining Pueblo Cultures of the American southwest, have a very complex cosmology, one that is similar to what is believed to be that of the ancient Anasazi. They believe themselves to be the descendants of the inhabitants of three previous worlds and that through a series of emergences, they are now living on the surface of the fourth world called Tuwaqachi (Waters 21). This place of emergence is symbolized in the sacred kiva structure by the sipapu, a hole in the ground dug as a reminder. In fact, the kiva itself represents an entire cosmological model to the Pueblo Indians.

The kiva was and still is a sacred building for the Indians. Most are small circular structures burried in the ground with stone walls and wood and mud daub roofs. The smaller ones typically have an opening in the roof through which a ladder can be used

to descend into the kiva. Larger kivas had stairways leading down into them but still had the roof hole to allow smoke from the fire, burning in the kiva's fire pit, to escape. Some later kivas even had fairly complex ventilation systems with holes and shafts running to the surface. Kivas ranged in size from 20 foot diameter structures to larger than 50 feet across at sites like Chetro Ketl in Chaco Canyon. It is believed that they originally served as kin group meeting places or even dwelling units and then later became religious centers. Many were aligned with entrances and vent shafts running due north and south.

The sipapu represents the emergence place, the walls the sky, and the roof the Milky Way (Malville 8). In fact some kivas belonging to the Pueblo Indians had complex wall paintings displaying astronomical symbols (Williamson 190) [we have not seen this in our kiva travels]. The roof of the kiva was typically supported by four posts, which according to Malville, could have represented the four cardinal directions, "the four trees planted in the underworld or the four sacred mountains" (8). Even the ladder used to climb into and out of the kiva could be considered a symbol of the emergence with the ritualization of emergence being performed whenever someone climbed out of the kiva (Williamson 71)."

Our photos in descending order: Mesa Verde sipapu; Pecos NM kiva; long view of Chaco Canyon.


One more small business gone in the New Mexico rain.

Traveled to Albuquerque today to take a state-administered test, and the family was kind enough to drive down with me (they played for a few hours while I sweated bullets and answered questions). We had a pleasant time on the road and enjoyed the very different-from-normal weather we're having right now in New Mexico, which is to say, no sunshine and some rain.

Although we visited a bookstore, and a market we like, and picked up food at a favorite restaurant, there was one ritual stop we didn't make: we didn't stop by Derek's Dugout. Our Albuquerque baseball friend and autograph collector extraordinaire, Kris, had informed us that Derek's has closed. So it can no longer be a stop on our Duke City Roundup. This was really sad news, as we liked Derek and enjoyed his store. There won't be many brick and mortar sports cards shops left at all in the next few years anywhere. At all.

In a reflective mood, we leave you with a song from Michael Hearne. He has a wonderful band called South by Southwest that we've seen a couple of times and like very much. We couldn't locate a video of the band's beautiful rendition of this tune, but this solo version by Michael is fine indeed. Hope you enjoy 'New Mexico Rain.'


Cerrillos, New Mexico


The Lights of Santa Fe by Eliza Gilkyson.

We love discovering a new artist. Wait, let us rephrase that. We enjoy finally crawling out from under a rock and discovering a fine artist who has been producing excellent music for quite some time. Case in point: Eliza Gilkyson. She seems to have moved from more of a New Age sound early in her career to folk/rock. Both work for us. There is nothing trite or soft or poppy in her work. Here's a link to one of her exceptional songs, The Lights of Santa Fe. If there were a YouTube video of Ms. Gilkyson performing this, we'd certainly embed it here, but have been unable to find a link. Anyway, as it happens, yesterday we were driving on I-25 and heard this song on 98.1 for the first time. Low-key, beautiful, and ever on the brink of breaking your heart. Oh wait, kind of like...Santa Fe.

Driving at night on Highway 25
Blindfolded I’d know the way
Just over the rise like a jewel in the mountains
Shine the lights of Santa Fe

How many times have I come home to you
Just to have you turn me away
Oh you’ve been betrayed by the ones that threw you
To the whims of the white man’s way

But you show no resentment and you show know resistance
To the ones who’ve done you wrong
Oh they’ll hang themselves on their own fool existence
After the laughter is gone

Oh Santa Fe, city of faith
I did my time in an honorable way
And now there is a candle for each dream that breaks
In the Lights of Santa Fe

From the houses of mud to the governor’s palace
Spirits walk the streets in the daylight
And some scream for blood, some bear no malice
For the ones who stole their birthright

Naīve tourist standing shoulder to shoulder
With wise and ancient souls
Oh the old way gets lost and the tracks grow colder
As the bell of St. Francis tolls
Oh Santa Fe, city of faith
I did my time in an honorable way
And now there is a candle for each dream that breaks
In the Lights of Santa Fe

There is a candle for each dream that breaks
In the Lights of Santa Fe.


July 4th at Las Campanas.

Ok, so we're a full month late in posting this. It's been a busy summer. :) We'll try to be more swift of post the rest of the year.

It's a lovely setting at Las Campanas for any special event. The food is good, too. This night the weather was mild

after two solid days of rain, and all was right with the world. Here is Doug, one of the owners of an excellent restaurant in town called Jinja, "an Asian bistro:" We recommend it, and we'd say that even if we didn't know Doug. We were invited to this Independence Day party by friends

who knew this to be a hot spot for fireworks and didn't hesitate to share the dazzle.

The recent rain had caused some seriously leaning bushes.

E. leaned a little, too. She was interested in all the fallen branches. She tried to fix one:

while we waited for the show after dinner. We watched and listened to a very good concert by the Santa Fe Symphony (here everyone is milling about beforehand):

and then after the little concert, we just turned our chairs around and Voilà, there we were on the Fourth of July:

On the drive home, down towards Santa Fe, we could see several other fireworks shows wrapping up, but none seemed as pretty or fun as this one.

August sunset from our side door.


Santa Fe has its first female fire chief.

Firefighter Nation has a wonderful writeup about Santa Fe's new fire chief, Barbara Salas, who was sworn in today, July 30. She is replacing retiring Chief Chris Rivera. Chief Salas, 36, was named fire marshal in October 2007 and has worked for the Fire Department since 1995, including a ten-year stint as a paramedic.

New Mexico History Museum is a hit.

It only opened on Memorial Day of this year, but the New Mexico History Museum is doing well indeed...63,212 persons (as of yesterday) have visited, compared to 65,000 visitors to the Palace of the Governors (now incorporated in the History Museum) all of last year. Thus far, museum officials estimate about 60 percent of the visitors have been from New Mexico.

One exhibit that runs through August 16 is Writing with Thread: Traditional Textiles of Southwest Chinese Minorities, which features a rare collection of ensembles of women's,

men's and children's ceremonial dress, baby carriers, quilt covers, festive and religious vestments, silver jewelry, embroidered silk valences, and wax-resist dyed curtains, plus a loom, weaving tools, and embroidery cases. The more than 500 objects in this exhibit represent 15 ethnic groups and nearly 100 subgroups in China. The needlework and silverwork of each ethnic group show variations in their myths of origin and heroic combats, communal memories, and wish fulfillment.

Building photo: Blair Clark.

College of Santa Fe back on track for the fall.

The Santa Fe City Council yesterday voted unanimously to take on $30 million in debt to buy the College of Santa Fe campus and lease it to Laureate Education Inc. Whew. It would have been extremely foolish for the city to let go of the richly storied CSF. The name "College of Santa Fe" will have to stay in place, according to the agreement, but the agreement notes that Laureate can "add other words." We suggest: "We Woulda Been Dumb as Rocks if We Let This Good and Fabulously Situated College Disappear From Santa Fe But Boy We Came Close." Here's a link to the Fall 2009 course list at the College. State residents will get a 20 percent tuition discount; Santa Fe county residents will receive a 25 percent discount.


Is this heaven? Real food has arrived in our neighborhood.

The best cafe/coffee shop/real food restaurant, not sure what to call it, has arrived on the Old Las Vegas Highway. Check out the menu. Wonderfulness.


Spaceport America: lifestyles of the rich and wasteful.

On Friday, ground will be broken in the desert of southern New Mexico for a terminal and hangar facility at the world's first commercial spaceport. The Land of Enchantment is hoping a forgotten stretch of cattle ranches and mountain ranges will become a gateway for private citizens to be launched into space. Already 250 people are lining up to pay $200,000 each to take the trip.

From a 10,000-foot runway, spacecraft will take flight attached to an airplane, then break free and rocket 62 miles into space before returning to the facility. The flights will last about two hours and include five minutes of weightlessness.

Virgin Galactic and American aerospace designer Burt Rutan are building a craft that will take passengers on the thrill ride from New Mexico's spaceport. In 2004, Rutan's SpaceShipOne became the first privately built manned craft to reach space. The runway is slated for completion next summer.

The terminal and hangar should be ready in December 2010, and that's when Virgin Galactic hopes to begin launching rich, insane tourists into space. Here is the link to Spaceport America.