For many visitors to New Mexico, the artifacts of the Ancestral Pueblo people inspire imagination, and perhaps none more so than the remnants of cliff dwellings found throughout the Southwest. On our second day in Santa Fe, we toured Bandelier National Monument, named for the self-taught anthropologist and historian Adolph F.A. Bandelier. Long before he first viewed ancestral homes in Frijoles Canyon in 1880, the Pueblo people had thrived among the sheer cliffs and year-round stream, constructing a village and utilizing distinctive cave-room architecture.
They were farmers who grew maize (corn), beans and squash. They supplemented their diet with native plants and by hunting deer, rabbits, other mammals and birds.
As we looked down into the valley from some of the cliff dwellings, we saw several deer grazing near the ruins of the village of Tyuonyi (QU-weh-nee).
Archeological surveys show at least 3,000 sites in Bandelier, but not all were inhabited at the same time. For generations these people lived in small, scattered settlements of perhaps one or two families each. As the population grew, people began coming together in larger groups, and, by the mid-1200s, villages often included as many as 40 rooms. In the following 250 years, fewer and larger villages were established, with some exceeding 400 rooms. In Bandelier, the villages of Tyuonyi and Tsankawi (SAN-kuh-wee) exemplify this period.
If you look closely at the rendering above, you will notice dwellings nestled snugly against the cliff wall. Today, you can still see the remains of these homes. Long House is an 800-foot stretch of adjoining, multi-storied stone homes with hand-carved caves (cavates) as back rooms.
I was fascinated by the ladders located throughout the site, which gain visitors access to the caves, many of them featuring carved-out cooking spaces and benches. But the most amazing dwelling came at the end of the trail. 140 feet above the floor of Frijoles Canyon, the Alcove House was once home to approximately 25 Ancestral Pueblo people. Inside the alcove today are the viga holes (where the beams were inserted), niches of former homes and a reconstructed kiva.
Four separate ladders were required to ascend the 140 feet. You would want to be sure you had done everything you needed to before retiring for the night, lest you have to navigate those ladders by starlight!!!
No translatable records existed before the Spanish colonized New Mexico, but in their oral traditions today, Pueblo people remember the places where their ancestors lived. The Pueblos of Cochiti, San Felipe, Santo Domingo, San Ildefonso, Santa Clara and Zuni have declared their strong ties to Bandelier. Representatives from these Pueblos work closely with park staff to make decisions affecting their ancestral homelands. "Spiritually, our ancestors still live here at Bandelier. You see reminders of their presence here - their homes, their kivas, and their petroglyphs. As you walk in their footsteps, value the earth beneath you and show everything the same respect we do when we re-visit this sacred place." Affiliated Pueblo Committee
While I had hoped to find a souvenir with the logo, the gift shop did not carry many such items apart from this pin that #1 Son added to his pin collection. I opted for these spectacular ceramic coasters. I will remember this place with a sense of wonderment and awe.
Imagine magical, rose-colored deserts, populated only by the creosote bush, mesquite and cacti. Petroglyphs and the remains of ancient cliff dwellings that barely hint at life as it was in the 1400s. Enchiladas smothered with an equal portion of red and green sauces. Modern adobe houses tucked discretely into the landscape. Layers upon layers of history, like paint on the living room wall. Somebody decided that new shade was better, but was it? Our recent trip to New Mexico was a stark reminder of the complexities of "land" in the United States. Who does it belong to? In this case - Nature? Native Americans? The Mexicans? The U.S?
We may not be able to unwind historical events, but we can certainly educate ourselves, respect the cultures that came first, and hopefully learn from the past. We made a valiant effort to do just that! It may take a few posts to show you all of our adventures, but I know you will join us for the journey. In the space of a week, each one of our party left a little corner of our hearts in New Mexico, for different reasons.
They call New Mexico the Land of Enchantment because visitors become enraptured with its culture, architecture, scenery and cuisine. This is not some recent gimmick, either. Lilian Whiting first noted the phrase in the title of her book on New Mexico in 1906. In 1935, New Mexico's tourist bureau described the state as the "Land of Enchantment" in one of its brochures in an effort to attract visitors to the area. In 1941, the legend was added to license plates and came into common usage soon thereafter. Some 80 years later, I think the marketing campaign worked!
On our first day in Santa Fe, we visited a few of the popular tourist sites before attending Mass at the Cathedral. The Loretto Chapel, the first Gothic building west of the Mississippi, was patterned after Sainte Chapelle in Paris, and built between 1873 and 1878 at the request of Archbishop Jean Baptiste Lamy. The Chapel is best known for its choir loft staircase, called miraculous due to its two complete spirals without center or side supports (defying engineering logic) and due to the legend of its construction.
We also stopped by San Miguel Church, the oldest church structure in the USA. The original adobe walls and altar were built by Tlaxcalan Indians from Mexico under the direction of Franciscan Padres, circa 1610. Then it was back to the rental house to watch the Cleveland Browns versus the Chargers. Not the desired outcome Browns 42, Chargers 47, but it was a heck of an entertaining game!
Afterwards, #1 Daughter and I went for a walk - such a precious time!
Watch this space for future posts about the rest of our visit!
By the time you read this post, I will have been in Santa Fe, New Mexico for at least 24 hours. As I was deciding on a blog post topic for this week, I came across the brochure for St. Ignatius Mission. No, it's not in New Mexico - it's in Montana! Spousal Unit and I visited the Mission in November 2017, six months after our move to the Treasure State. What better way to get into the mood for the Southwest than to re-visit the Mission, virtually? Vamanos!
The Mission, and the town that grew up around it, was founded in 1854 by Jesuit missionaries and named for their founder, St. Ignatius Loyola. In the following years it was the home of the first Jesuit theologate and industrial arts school in the Northwest, the first Catholic Sisters and Catholic School in Montana, and the first hospital, sawmill, flour mill, printing press, carpenter shop and blacksmith shop in the Mission Valley.
Today, there remains only the Mission church, built in 1891 and now a National Historic Site, and two small cabins, the original homes of the Jesuit Fathers and the Providence Sisters.
The history of the Mission started long before its founding in 1854. Beginning in the spring of 1831 and ending in 1839, no less than four Indian delegations travelled to St. Louis, Missouri or Council Bluffs, Iowa to secure missionaries for their people. They encountered many challenges such as other hostile Indian tribes or language barriers, but they persevered.
In 1864, a wooden church, measuring one hundred by forty feet, with a belfry one hundred feet high, was constructed from materials furnished by the town sawmill. This church served the Mission until the building of the present church began in 1891. Over a two-year period, the missionaries and the Indian people together built the church of bricks made from local clay and trees cut in the foothills and sawed at the Mission mill.
The "golden age" of the Mission occurred between the years of 1875 and 1900. During this time a printing press was established, which produced such works as Narratives from the Holy Scripture in Kalispel and a Kalispel Dictionary, considered by one authority as "one of the most important works issued by any missionary press." The schools continued to grow.
The interior of the church contains 58 murals, painted in the early twentieth century. The artist was Brother Joseph Carignano (1853 - 1919), an Italian Jesuit who spent many years as the cook and handyman at the Mission. With no professional training in art, but a great amount of energy and dedication, he completed his work in between his regular jobs.
Even while the Mission prospered, the Indian people were suffering hard times. The Indian people had thought that the treaty of 1855 assured their continued existence in the Bitter Root Valley. However, by that treaty and subsequent presidential and congressional acts, all Indians living in the Bitter Root Valley were required to move to the Flathead Indian Reservation in the Jocko Valley area.
The present century has seen many changes in the Mission at St. Ignatius. The cutting of federal funds, and later, the end of financial help from the Catholic Indian Bureau, led to the eventual closing of the schools. Three disastrous fires in less than 30 years also contributed to the changes. After the last fire, Villa Ursula was built, and the Ursuline Sisters continued to provide education at the Mission until the school's closing in 1972.
*all of the above information was drawn from the St. Ignatius Mission booklet
On our way home from the Mission, we stopped at the Windmill Village Bakery. Set back from the road along a two-lane highway, it would be easily missed. I seem to remember reading about it on a list of "must-visit" Montana locations, so we were actually on the look-out for it. The Bakery was worthy of its reputation. From the moment you enter, your nose is tantalized by the addicting aroma of donuts. We met one of the owners, Nancy. Her mom originally owned a bakery in nearby Thompson Falls, and Nancy still uses her donut recipe. So, now we make a point to stop there anytime we are passing (which might only be twice a year). We were quite disappointed when, as we were returning from our road trip to Idaho Falls, the Bakery was not open. Hopefully, when we help #1 Son make his move to Idaho Falls in the New Year, we can satisfy our craving. We'll be on a mission!
** I will be slow in commenting this week but I will visit you.
Also, I will be taking a break for 1 week - there will be no Mosaic Monday on October 17. Come back on October 24!
And here we are; only three months of 2021 remain! I was "playing" in my garden today, and I noticed the grasshoppers were moving slowly this morning. The frosty overnight temperatures make them sluggish, and soon enough will bring on their demise. Later in the day, I observed a massive ant hill while watering some aspens - the ants were almost frantic in their activity. It brings to mind the fable of the Grasshopper and the Ant. I have written about this before (September 1, 2017). Do you feel an affinity for one or the other?
I suspect this Garter Snake, sunning itself on the gravel of the driveway on September 2, has since begun brumation (the reptile equivalent of hibernation). These snakes will migrate long distances to brumate in large communal sites called hibernacula.
That same day, I approached the garage for my gardening gloves, and was greeted by this Red Squirrel on the step. It held something in its paws, and appeared to be turning it over and eating it. See the video below.
As it ran off, it left the "foodstuff" on the step - it was a rock! One source on the Web claims this is how they sharpen their teeth!
Early in the month, I was also fascinated to witness this caterpillar crossing the driveway. It was leathery in appearance. Can anyone identify it?
After a fairly successful summer of protecting the garden from nibblers, suddenly two Cottontails began wreaking havoc in September. Also, two young Whitetail Deer, without a mom to accompany them, seem to believe my Strawberry plants, Columbines and Sand Cherries are their personal buffet! The motion-activated sprinklers don't seem to pick up their slow-moving, small forms. Good thing it is the end of the season and I am not quite as manic about protecting everything!
But I can still be seen dashing out of the house, whooping and hollering to chase them away!
Over the space of four weeks, most of the bushes put on their colored coats. Below, the Golden Currant is in the transition.
Rocky Mountain Bee Plant has been part of my garden since I discovered it growing naturally on our leach field the very first summer (see 9/13/2020 post). In the picture below, a third of these plants were sown by me; the rest were the result of natural propagation from a specimen that grew here last summer!
Frosty mornings and cool evenings put me in the mood for soup.
Thanks to Jan at Low Carb Diabetic for this root vegetable soup recipe. It was hearty and flavorful!
While snakes and many other creatures become less active with the advent of Autumn, bears eat and drink nearly nonstop. They need to put on weight to prepare for winter and hibernation. This process is called hyperphagia. In our neighborhood, a small Black Bear has been seen quite frequently.
One evening, we were getting ready to have dinner on the deck, and I looked over the railing, only to see the little Black Bear gazing up at me. He was no more than 25 feet from me! He turned and ambled into the woods while I scrambled inside to get Spousal Unit and #1 Son. By the time they came out, the bear was weaving in and out of the trees beyond the firepit. Check out this video!!!
Did you know a group of turkeys is called a rafter? On the way home from town the other day, I came upon at least 20 turkeys. If I stayed a little longer, would all of them ended up perched on the fence?
I had the opportunity this month to make two hand-drawn birthday cards, one for a former work colleague in Arizona, and the other for one of my sisters. I get a little thrill and considerable satisfaction from finding and executing these fun greeting cards!
I will eat anything with capers, so this recipe for Lemon Caper Pork Medallions caught my eye. The boys in the house declared it a keeper. And it was a straightforward and quick recipe, even for me!
It has been a good month, but I am still in a little bit of shock that October has arrived. I am little sad to look out the window and realize that many of the aspens are already devoid of leaves. Wouldn't it be nice sometimes if we could simply re-wind the clock?