Monthly Archives: April 2011

Santa Fe Style – A Glossary of Architectural Terms

Taos Pueblo by Justin Delaney 2010

Taos Pueblo by Justin Delaney 2010

Long before the Spanish began settling Santa Fe around 1607, Pueblo Indians were living in the Rio Grande Valley in communal houses with hundreds of rooms, often four or five stories high, with earth floors, adobe walls and flat roofs held together by pine logs.  Taos Pueblo is a striking example of Native American communal housing.

The Pueblo Indians’ method of building strongly influenced the settlers who came later. Santa Fe has a rich cultural history which stems from a blending of Native American, Spanish and Anglo influences over a 400 year time period. This blending has led to its unique Spanish Pueblo and Territorial style architecture, which is unlike any other town or city in the United States.  Santa Fe’s unique architectural style is one of the reasons it draws over 1,000,000 visitors annually.

The Inn at the Loretto, Santa Fe's most photographed building, takes its inspiration from Taos Pueblo. Karen Meredith 2010

The Inn at the Loretto, Santa Fe’s most photographed building, takes its inspiration from Taos Pueblo. Karen Meredith 2010

Not surprisingly, a specialized terminology has developed to describe Santa Fe’s unique architectural features. The glossary of terms below may aid your experience in searching for real estate and enjoying beautiful northern New Mexico architecture.

Acequia:  a man made irrigation ditch.

Adobe:  a building material traditionally made of mud and straw, commonly made into brick.

Arroyo:  a dry riverbed that fills with water occasionally.

Bancos:  low benches, built into the walls for seating, usually adobe covered in plaster.

Camino:  “road” in Spanish.

Canale:  a roof spout that carries water off a flat pueblo roof.

Farolito:  a small paper lantern, commonly a candle set in some sand inside a paper bag and lighted for Christmas festivities. Also known as a Luminaria.

Hacienda:  “estate” in Spanish.

Horno:  a mud adobe-built outdoor oven used by Native Americans and early settlers. Hornos are beehive shaped and use wood as their only heat source.

A horno at Taos Pueblo

A horno at Taos Pueblo

Kiva: originally a subterranean round room used for worship by Pueblo Indians, now used to describe a round front fireplace.

Nicho: a niche carved into a wall for displaying a statue or other object.

Placitas: small plazas.

Portales:  Outdoor porches or patios, covered with a fixed roof and supported by posts.

Saltillo tile:  a type of unglazed clay tile that originated in Saltillo, Mexico. The majority of tiles have colors in varying hues of reds, oranges and yellows. The clay was traditionally handmade and cured in the sun.

Stucco:  plaster or mud finish to cover the exterior surface of an adobe-style wall or building, now usually a cement product.

Travertine tile:  a type of limestone tile which typically has ivory, beige, tan and cream colors.

Talavera tile: Colorful hand-decorated Mexican tile used for counter tops and trim.

Viga:   a round wooden beam used as ceiling support.

Saltillo Tile

Saltillo Tile

Santa Fe Real Estate News – The Airport Road Area Neighborhood

The Airport Road neighborhood is located in the Southwest section of Santa Fe.  Airport Road was once a semi-rural road leading out to the Santa Fe Municipal Airport.  It is now an area of condos, town homes and single-family dwellings that looks more like other U.S. cities than any other part of Santa Fe.  Airport Road is also a commercial corridor through the Southwestern end of the city.  Roads along Airport Road are paved, most streets have sidewalks and most houses have garages. Prices for homes in the Southwest section of Santa Fe, including in the Airport Road neighborhood, tend to be somewhat lower than the rest of Santa Fe.

AIRPORT ROAD NEIGHBORHOOD HOMES FOR SALE

If you would like to know more about any of the homes for sale in the Airport Road neighborhood or for a free market analysis of your home, contact me, Karen Meredith, Keller Williams, by e-mail or at (505) 603-3036.  

RETURN TO VIEW MORE SANTA FE NEIGHBORHOODS

Housing market still flat in Santa Fe County, Sales on par with last year; home inventory down 14 percent

By Bruce Krasnow| The New Mexican, Posted: Wednesday, April 13, 2011.  This article is syndicated from The New Mexican, for a copy of the original article, click here.T

JoAnne Vigil Coppler has a short refrain for those waiting for the Santa Fe real-estate market to come back before trying to sell a house.

“It’s going to be a very, very long time, if ever,” said Coppler, Santa Fe Association of Realtors board president, who on Wednesday released sales data for the first quarter of 2011.

The data show the market slogging along with about the same number of home sales closed as last year, and a countywide median price of $355,000 for a single-family sale — a 2.7 percent decline from a year ago.

But the biggest surprise is the smaller inventory of homes on the market, a 14 percent drop from 2010. Some of this represents fewer foreclosures, which RealtyTrac reported this morning. It also could indicate the reluctance of longtime owners to sell at today’s market price.

“Sellers may be choosing to rent rather than put their houses up for sale in the competitive market,” Coppler said.

The lower inventory also has to do with a less mobile society, said veteran agent Lois Sury. “People aren’t moving for jobs, and those who need to sell a home to buy another can’t.”

That may be one reason many of the home-mortgage applicants coming into Santa Fe banks are first-time buyers, said Pam Trujillo, a lender with Community Bank in Santa Fe. Though paperwork and underwriting are tougher than ever, new buyers can go forward with a clean offer that is not contingent on a home sale.

“A lot more local people are looking to buy,” Trujillo said. “(For) those without a house to sell, there are less complications.”

With regard to foreclosures, Santa Fe’s lower numbers follow the rest of the U.S., which shows all foreclosure activities from default notices to auctions to bank sales are down from a year ago. The total foreclosure activity in Santa Fe at the end of March was the lowest since the first quarter of 2009 — and down 26 percent from December.

Highlights of the first quarter:

• There were 113 closed single-family home sales in the city, with a median price of $282,000 — a drop of 11.2 percent from a year ago.

• There were 96 closed sales in the unincorporated area, with a median price of $430,000 — an increase of 10.9 percent.

• There were 57 condo and townhouse sales in the quarter, with a median price of $255,000 — an 8.9 percent decline.

Lamb the Conquistadors Would Recognize

By Julia Moskin, The New York Times, April 19, 2011.  This article is syndicated from The New York Times, click here for a copy of the original article.

Antonio Manzanares and flock by Mark Holm of The New York Times

Antonio Manzanares and flock by Mark Holm of The New York Times

ANTONIO MANZANARES was not supposed to be a rancher. Growing up here in the Chama River Valley in the 1960s, the goal for his generation of rural New Mexicans was education: enough, his parents hoped, for him to avoid the hard work of raising animals.

In this high, empty country — green with pasture and mostly populated by pine, aspen and juniper trees — many families like the Manzanareses are descended from Spanish settlers who began ranching here in the 1600s. Even the characteristic sheep of the region, the light-boned, longhaired Navajo-Churros, are said to have arrived here with the forces of Francisco Vásquez de Coronado, who claimed this region for the Spanish crown in 1540 on a doomed sweep through the Southwest looking for the Seven Cities of Gold.

“People here still consider themselves ranchers, but they can’t make a living at it,” Mr. Manzanares said at his 200-acre ranch, overlooked by the Tusas Mountains.

Mr. Manzanares and his wife, Molly, 51, are trying to change that. They “run a band” — the local term for raising a flock —of about 900 ewes, both the Navajo-Churros and the fatter Rambouillet breed. Under the label “Shepherd’s Lamb,” the Manzanareses are the only producers of certified-organic lamb in New Mexico, and among the only ranchers in the United States who still graze sheep on wild land, moving from low country to mountains and back to pasture according to the season.

Navajo/Churro Sheep by Mark Holm of The New York Times

Navajo/Churro Sheep by Mark Holm of The New York Times

Last week all the sheep had to be sheared, and the lambs needed vaccinations. Almost all the ewes are heavily pregnant, and are expected to give birth to about 1,100 lambs that will be raised for four to nine months, until they reach about 110 pounds. The lambing will begin the day after Easter, though a few little outliers have already been born.

“Easter always seems to come at a difficult time for us,” said Mr. Manzanares, 59.

He grew up here, went south to the desert flats of Albuquerque for college and graduated from the University of New Mexico with a master’s degree in psychology in 1973. But when he came back to figure out the rest of his life, he met his wife whose family has been ranching cattle in the area since the early 1900s.

Using a combination of education, love for animals and the land, and sheer bullheadedness, the Manzanareses have spent the last 30 years trying to figure out what a modern, sustainable family ranch might look like. Of their four children, the one who may be likeliest to come back to ranching is their daughter Luisa, 23, who is in her second year of veterinary school at Colorado State University.

Although far-flung, the family is very close. (“It might have something to do with how we threw away the TV set when they were little,” Mr. Manzanares said.) Their son Agustin, 28, is stationed with his Army unit in nearby Fort Carson, Colo.; Lara, 27, is in San Francisco, studying for a master’s degree in design. One afternoon last month, Raquel, 25, called from her dorm in Greenwich Village, where she attends New York University Law School, disappointed because she couldn’t get a decent bowl of pinto beans anywhere in New York City. Mrs. Manzanares talked her through making a pot in a slow cooker, reminding her that the family trick, a good one, is to add two tablespoons of vinegar to the soaking water.

Costillitas or Lamb Ribs, Mark Holm for The New York Times

Costillitas or Lamb Ribs, Mark Holm for The New York Times

Most of the extended family will gather for Easter dinner, with at least one leg of lamb as the centerpiece of the meal. But costillitas, the small ribs that form the breast, are the family’s favorite cut. They will be roasted slowly so the fat renders out and bathes the meat in succulence. “I like to cook them almost forever,” Mrs. Manzanares said.

Dessert will be the province of Antonio’s mother, Natividad, an excellent and prolific baker. She is also the president of the local V.F.W. Ladies Auxiliary (Antonio’s father, Tony, served in the Philippines in World War II) and a pillar of the local Catholic church, St. Joseph’s. Using lard for baking, as has long been traditional here, she will make melting, anise-scented bizcochitos; pastelitos, a traditional slab pie filled with dried fruit; and likely arroz dulce, a traditional Easter dessert of rice pudding lightened with beaten egg whites.

At 79, Natividad Manzanares remembers when many Catholic fiestas in Los Ojos included the ritual slaughter of a lamb, and the town would feast on sangrecita, lamb’s blood mixed with onions, oregano, lard and chile caribe, the crunchy, toasty local chili powder. When she was growing up, it was her daily task to turn whole dried chilies into a smooth brick-red sauce. “I would roast and soak and mix them until my eyes and hands burned,” she said recently, sitting at her kitchen table in Los Ojos.

She observes Lent every year, abstaining from meat on Fridays in favor of the vegetarian dishes she grew up with: panocha, a pudding made from sprouted wheat flour and brown sugar; egg patties in red chili sauce; and chicos, roasted corn kernels. In New Mexican tradition, chicos are roasted on the cob in hornos, ubiquitous beehive-shaped mud-brick outdoor ovens.

Mr. Manzanares that he saves some of his less marketable cuts for the local Navajo. Over centuries, the tribe have incorporated the Churro sheep into their theology and their daily life, using the long, soft belly fibers for blankets. The meat is especially flavorful and lean, he said.

At this time of year, he also does a brisk trade in lamb shank bones.

“I guess people celebrating Passover want the best organic lamb bones for the Seder plate,” he said. Many Christian churches in the area, as well as the small Jewish community in Santa Fe, now hold annual Seders, he said.

Tending the flock by Mark Holm of The New York Times

Tending the flock by Mark Holm of The New York Times

Like his ancestors, Mr. Manzanares tends his sheep daily, breeds them annually and worries about them constantly. The long views are spectacular, but close up, at 7,200 feet above sea level, Los Ojos is a hard place: once a robust agricultural town, now lined with sagging porches and fallow fields. The logs that Mr. Manzanares’s grandfather split to build the barn (you can still see the ax marks) are falling in on themselves behind the small house.

He and Mrs. Manzanares tend the sheep themselves all the way from birth to slaughter, and as organic farmers, their options for healing a sick sheep or feeding a hungry one in winter aren’t much different from those of their grandparents: no antibiotics, careful nursing and a little organic grain.

The ewes are bred in the fall and give birth in spring, in time for their mothers to begin eating the new grass and buds. (Any “spring lamb” in butcher shops now was most likely born last spring.)

To eke out a profit from them, Mr. Manzanares also spends much time on the road and online: driving to farmers’ markets in Los Alamos and Santa Fe, delivering shoulders and shanks to restaurants, doing paperwork for organic certification and nagging his Web masters to streamline the ordering system.

At one time, says local lore, this county shipped more lamb than anywhere else in the world, along a narrow-gauge railway nicknamed the Chili Line that ran up the Chama to Denver with animals, beans, corn, wheat and chilies. (It is now the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad.)

These days the flocks in the Chama are counted in the hundreds rather than the thousands, and New Mexico is only the sixth-largest producer of lamb in the United States. In January, the United States Department of Agriculture released figures showing that domestic lamb production is at an all-time low, down 13 percent over just one year. On the ranch and on the plate, beef cattle are elbowing out sheep by a little more each year. The average American now eats over 60 pounds of beef annually, but consumption of lamb is just over 1 pound per person.

The competition to supply that lamb is stiff, especially from Australia and New Zealand, where inexpensive lamb racks are essentially a byproduct of the vast and profitable wool industry. The lambs are slaughtered young so that the flavor of the meat does not get too strong, but many cooks find the texture limp and the fat too wet to roast. Typically wet-aged in Cryovac on its journey to American markets, the lamb tends to be soft and spongy.

“We will never be able to compete with them on price,” said Brent Walter, an owner of Fox Fire Farm who raises about 2,000 lambs each year on a family-run ranch just across the border in Ignacio, Colo.

The taste of pasture-grazed lamb is clean and meaty, with a firm texture. The fat of a healthy, mature lamb is white and crystalline when raw, light-textured and delicious when grilled or roasted. In many parts of the world, lambs are bred with an eye to getting the most fat loaded onto their tails, considered the most sublime morsel of all.

Brian Knox, the chef and owner of Aqua Santa in Santa Fe, cures the lamb he buys from Mr. Manzanares overnight in salt, juniper and cumin before braising it for six hours and mixing the big chunks of shoulder with wilted rapini, chicken stock and crisp leeks. Smaller nuggets go into a concentrated ragù with lamb broth and fresh chanterelles, all tossed with whole-wheat spaghetti and a dusting of pecorino, aged sheep’s milk cheese. Mr. Knox said that only this meat matches an ideal for lamb that he carries around in his mind: herbal, earthy yet ethereal. “The terroir of what the animal eats really comes through in this meat,” he said.

In the spring, the Manzanareses’ sheep eat shoots of wheat, grass and sand dropseed. Later, on the summer range, the lambs eat plumajillo (yarrow), palo rosario (snowberry), Arizona fescue and mountain mahogany. They are browsers, not grazers: not only grass but also buds and many leaves, especially aspen, are tasty to them. All the shrubs around the ranch are nibbled down to chin height.

Next week, the Manzanareses will escort the bred ewes, horses, dogs and assorted equipment to the lambing grounds west of Taos. During June, the ewes and lambs make their way about 30 miles cross country to summer pasture in the mountains above Canjilon, part of Carson National Forest, where they live all summer with guard dogs and a full-time shepherd, who stays in a small trailer.

At the end of the summer, the whole band is trailed back to low country, where the lambs are weaned. After a couple of months the ewes are bred, and the cycle begins again.

“I just hope we can keep it going, you know?” Mr. Manzanares said.

By Julia Moskin, April 19, 2011, The New York Times.

Try Molly Manzanares’ lamb rib recipe, and if you can, use Shepherd’s lamb.  For the past 2 years, I have ordered a whole lamb from Shepherd’s Lamb.  It is the most delicious lamb I have ever tasted.  For a description of what I received when I ordered my first lamb, click on the link to my Santa Fe Railyard article.  Most Saturday mornings Antonio and Molly Manzanares can be found selling their wonderful produce at the Santa Fe Railyard.

Santa Fe Recipes – Costillitas or Lamb Ribs

Costillitas or Lamb Ribs, Mark Holm for The New York Times

Costillitas or Lamb Ribs, Mark Holm for The New York Times

Reprinted from The New York Times, April 20, 2011.  Adapted from Molly Manzanares, Shepherd’s Lamb.

Time: About 3 hours

1 whole breast of lamb, also called Denver cut or lamb riblets, with most of the fat still on (see note)

Kosher salt and black pepper.

Heat the oven to 225 degrees. Sprinkle the meat with salt and pepper and place fat-side up in the roasting pan. Bake 3 to 4 hours, until the fat has rendered and browned and the meat is well done. Slice into ribs.

Yield: 1 or 2 servings.

Note: A whole breast of lamb contains about 7 ribs and can be ordered from any butcher. It will serve 1 or 2 people.

If you can, try to use Shepherd’s Lamb.  It is the most delicious lamb I have ever tasted.  For the past two years, my husband and I have ordered a whole lamb from Shepherd’s Lamb.  For a description of what I received when I ordered my first lamb, click on the link to my Santa Fe Railyard article.  Most Saturday mornings Antonio and Molly Manzanares can be found selling their wonderful produce at the Santa Fe Railyard.  You can also read more about Shepherd’s Lamb from The New York Times at What Other People Are Saying.

Santa Fe Real Estate News – Santa Fe City Southeast Area

The Southeast city area of Santa Fe includes Canyon Road, one of the most famous roads in the country for its art galleries, the picturesque Historic Eastside with its winding, narrow streets lined with some of Santa Fe’s oldest homes hiding behind adobe walls, South Capitol whose centerpiece is the Round House, Santa Fe’s state capitol building,  and St. Vincent Hospital, Santa Fe’s regional hospital.  The Southeast city area also contains  four world class museums on Museum Hill, which gives its name to the surrounding neighborhood of  larger homes on oversized lots.  Further out and near the boundary where the city of Santa Fe ends and Santa Fe County begins is Quail Run, a gated residential community with a nine hole golf course, health spa and restaurant.

Santa Fe Market Report
Featuring The Santa Fe City Southeast Area

Active SFAR Listings
All Santa Fe Listings (4/14/11)
Residential: 2215
Residential Land: 1486
Farm & Ranch: 122
Commercial Land: 64
Multi Family: 31
Commercia Buildings: 173
Live/Work: 21


The Santa Fe City Southeast Area Snapshot


Days on Market (DOM)
The Santa Fe City Southeast Area – Residential Sold*


Selling Price: % of List Price
The Santa Fe City Southeast Area – Residential Sold*

If you would like to know more about any of the homes for sale in the Santa Fe City Southeast Area, contact me, Karen Meredith, Prudential Santa Fe Real Estate, by e-mail or at (505) 603-3036. For a free market analysis of how much your Santa Fe City Southeast Area home is worth, click here.

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Santa Fe Neighborhood Overview

The City of Santa Fe is traditionally described as having 4 city quadrants, the SE, NE, NW and SW quadrants, each containing various and distinct neighborhoods.  Beyond each city quadrant lies SE, NE, NW and SW Santa Fe County and each of these country quadrants also contains numerous distinct neighborhoods.

Below is a listing of some of the neighborhoods in each quadrant with links to detailed neighborhood profiles.  This portion of the blog will be updated frequently as new neighborhoods are reviewed and profiled.

SE City Quadrant

  • Historic Eastside
  • Canyon Road
  • Old Pecos Trail
  • Old Santa Fe Trail
  • Museum Hill
  • Sol y Lomas
  • Campo Conejos
  • Quail Run Condos
  • Guadalupe Historic District
  • South Capital
  • St. John’s College area
  • Wilderness Gate
SE Santa Fe County

NW City Quadrant

  • Casa Solana
  • Zocolo
  • Monte Sereno
NW Santa Fe County

NE Santa Fe City

NE Santa Fe County

  • Village of Tesuque
  • Pacheco Canyon Road
  • Los Caminitos
  • Vista Redonda
  • Chupadero
  • Rio En Medio
  • Pueblo Encantado
SW Santa Fe City

SW Santa Fe County