New Mexico

It was all so far away – there was quiet and an untouched feel to the country and I could work as I pleased.

~ Georgia O’Keeffe

Ghost Ranch

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Tent Rocks1

We had a wonderful visit from Don’s cousin Cindy this past weekend. On Saturday, we ventured out to Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument, which is about 50 miles north of Albuquerque.

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The Cochiti Pueblo has always considered this area a significant place. “Kasha-Katuwe” means “white cliffs” in the traditional Keresan language of the pueblo.

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The cone-shaped tent rock formations are the products of volcanic eruptions that occurred six to seven million years ago and left pumice, ash and tuff deposits over 1,000 feet thick.

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While fairly uniform in shape, the tent rock formations vary in height from a few feet to 90 feet.

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As the result of uniform layering of volcanic material, bands of grey are interspersed with beige and pink-colored rock along the monument’s cliffs.

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Over time, wind and water cut into these deposits creating canyons and arroyos, scooping holes in the rock, and contouring the ends of small, inward ravines into smooth semi-circles.

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We took the Canyon Trail, a 1.5-mile trek up a narrow canyon with a 630-foot climb to the mesa top for clear views of the Sangre de Cristo, Jemez, and Sandia mountains and the Rio Grande Valley.

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Definitely one of my favorite places in New Mexico.

A couple of weekends ago I visited Capitan, New Mexico with my dad. Capitan is the birthplace and burial site of the world’s most well-known bear.

On May 4, 1950, sparks escaped a cabin cookstove and started the Los Tablos blaze in New Mexico’s Lincoln National Forest. On May 6, a second fire, known as the Capitan Gap fire started in the same general area. Together these fires destroyed 17,000 acres of forest and grasslands.

On May 9, a fire crew brought a badly singed bear cub back to their camp. They had found the frightened cub clinging to the side of a burnt pine tree. Smokey was flown by Game Warden Ray Bell to a veterinary hospital in Santa Fe. Upon Smokey’s recovery in Santa Fe, the Forest Service flew him to the National Zoo in Washington, DC.

Smokey retired from the forest service on May 2, 1975. He was 25 years old; that’s 70 years old in human years, which in those days was the mandatory retirement age for all Federal employees. Smokey was the first bear to become a full-fledged member of the National Association of Retired Federal Employees.

Upon his death in 1976, Smokey’s body was returned to New Mexico. He now rests in peace, buried in the village of Capitan and in the shadow of the mountains where it all began.

The boulder that marks his grave was brought down from the forest where he was found.

To this day, Smokey Bear lives in the hearts of children (and in mine). He is a symbol of pride to the people of New Mexico, and his name is synonymous with forest fire prevention worldwide.


Meet the bane of our New Mexico existence:

Puncturevine, a.k.a. goatheads:

It’s definitely a plant that’s designed to survive. From the time a goathead seed sprouts until it blooms and starts to form seeds usually only takes two to three weeks. Turn your head for a second and this happens:

A ginormous, proliferating, tire puncturing, noxious weed:

Wondering why we call them goatheads? Here’s why:

Not everyone at Morning Bray Farm shares Don’s and my disdain for goatheads though.

The Boyz and Gracie think they’re delish:

Really? It’s gotta be like eating thumbtacks:


The seed is an amazing product of natural selection. The seed coat is extremely durable (as you well know if you’ve ever stepped on one with a bare foot) and in the right conditions can last upwards of 20 years. Each fruit or burr separates into five separate segments. Each segment has two to four seeds inside it.

Spotted in downtown Albuquerque yesterday. A sure sign that spring is on its way:

“Forsythia is pure joy. There is not an ounce, not a glimmer of sadness or even knowledge in forsythia. Pure, undiluted, untouched joy.”

~ Anne Lindbergh

Glimpses from our Saturday afternoon walk:

Heading back toward Morning Bray Farm:

Sunset from Morning Bray Farm:


It was time again yesterday for one of the best parties of  the year.

Some of the coolest cats dogs in Albuquerque were there to celebrate. 

We were all there to recognize the work of some of the top therapists in town.

All of these dogs are volunteers with the pet therapy program at one of our local hospitals.

They provide the best therapy and the most important medicine possible… L-O-V-E.  ♥

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