The City Different, Houston Chronicle, October 2, 2011

By MELISSA WARD AGUILAR, Houston Chronicle, published 12:01 a.m., Sunday, October 2, 2011

I spent my childhood summer vacations in Colorado. The long, hot drive to get there through Texas and New Mexico was utter chaos, with nine of us packed into an old Chevrolet Bel Air station wagon. We fought over who got the very back seat, where you could look out at where you had been instead of where you were going. We’d dangle our feet out the rear window. Did I mention there was no air conditioning?

Back then, I thought the scenery was pretty boring — until you got past Albuquerque. Somewhere along the highway to Santa Fe, or ”The City Different” as it’s known to visitors, the desert took on a magical glow. Silvery sagebrush dotted the pink landscape. Purple mountains rose in the background. Lonely abandoned adobe structures looked like props from a movie set.

Dad never wanted to stop along the way. It was a pretty expensive proposition to let seven kids loose in a Running Indian roadside store. He hated driving through Santa Fe; the highway routed you right through town. We would watch the shops and restaurants pass by, beckoning. The town looked like something from the past. It begged to be explored.   I vowed that when I grew up, I’d stop at every one of those spots.

I’ve been working on it. With nearly 300 galleries and 200 restaurants, it’s hard to distill the perfect itinerary. But if I were showing you around the Santa Fe area, here’s where we’d go:

Galleries

Leroy Garcia has assembled a vibrant collection of contemporary American Indian artwork at Blue Rain, including work by his wife.  Tammy Garcia’s clay pots are amazing for their stature and beauty.  Schooled by her mother and grandmother at Santa Clara Pueblo, Garcia has forged a contemporary style in clay and bronze that honors her Indian heritage and challenges tradition, too.  The gallery also shows the intricate works of glass artist Preston Singletary, who has collaborated with bead and glass artist Marcus Amerman, both of whom are American Indians.

Nedra Matteucci Galleries is a beautiful place.  The rooms are filled with important historical and regional works from artists like E. Irving Crouse, Henry Balink and Gustave Baumann.  The sculpture garden, with pieces by Glenda Goodacre and Dan Ostermiller, includes a koi pond and waterfall.

Gerald Peters Gallery’s expansive pueblo houses a museum-quality collection of American masters. For the best of Southwest pottery, check out Andrea Fisher Gallery, which has works by the legendary Maria Martinez of San Ildefonso Pueblo and Nancy Youngblood, who carries on the Tafoya tradition.

Museums

I always try to visit my favorite flower painting, “Black Hollyhock Blue Larkspur” (1930) at the graceful Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, devoted to the artist whose studio is in Abiquiu, north of Santa Fe.

Gustave Baumann’s woodcut prints, on display through December, at the New Mexico Museum of Art aren’t to be missed either.  His landscapes include yellow aspens, lilac trees and mountain scenes in vivid colors.  The museum shop sells affordable posters of his very expensive prints.

The Poeh Museum at Pojaque Pueblo north of Santa Fe is devoted to the works of the Pueblo people, including artist Roxanne Swentzell.  Her expressive, whimsical sculptures illustrate the pueblo way of life. Swentzell’s work is for sale next door at the Tower Gallery.

Shops

Sure, the historical plaza is filled with tourists, but, face it:  That’s what we are.  It’s fun to window-shop at the upscale Packard’s on the Plaza.  But if I’m buying jewelry, I head to the Rainbow Man, which sells vintage and pawn turquoise as well as contemporary pieces. Be sure to ask what mine the stones are from. This is also the place to buy historical Edward S. Curtis photos.

Keshi, a co-op for arts and crafts from the Zuni Pueblo, has a vast menagerie of collectible carved animal fetishes, as well as artist Effie Calavaza’s snake pendants and rings.

It’s a mighty big brag, but Back at the Ranch boasts the world’s largest collection of handmade boots, made in El Paso.

Hikes

The 3-mile trail at Kasha-Katwe Tent Rocks National Monument is home to fanciful volcanic rock formations and ribbons of narrow canyons. Climb to the top of the Canyon Trail for a view of the Rio Grande Valley and the Sangre de Cristo, Jemez and Sandia mountain ranges.  It’s on the Pueblo de Cochiti, 40 miles southwest of Santa Fe.

Back in Santa Fe, the half-mile hike up Canyon Road is enough exercise for some.  (Going in and out of the 100-plus galleries adds mileage.)  You’ll see everything from historical works and American Indian pieces to contemporary paintings and sculpture, folk art, jewelry and, of course, junk. Lots of restaurants line the stretch.  A favorite is the Garden at El Zaguan.  The Victorian cottage garden, tended by the Historic Santa Fe Foundation, is shady and inviting.

Bandelier National Monument is one of my favorite hiking spots. (Fire damage has temporarily closed most of the trails.)

Restaurants

For breakfast, Tia Sophia is delicious and reasonably priced.  Order your ”huevos rancheros” “Christmas” so you can try both red and green chiles.

For lunch, there’s El Ferol, Santa Fe’s oldest restaurant and saloon.  Sitting on the patio overlooking Canyon Road with a glass of Chilean wine and a crispy avocado, bacon and tomato ”bocadillo” is a pleasant respite from a day of gallery hopping.  Make reservations for the restaurant’s flamenco evening.

Another lunch favorite is Cafe Pasqual‘s, with its signature turquoise screen door facing the corner of Don Gaspar and Water streets.  Try the grilled chicken breast sandwich with manchego cheese on toasted chile bread. It’s Santa Fe comfort food.

For dinner, splurge at the Compound, Santa Fe’s most elegant restaurant.  James Beard Award-winning chef/owner Churches

The exquisite Loretto Chapel at the end of the Santa Fe trail is famous for its miraculous staircase, which makes two 360-degree turns and has no nails. Built in 1878, the chapel is now a private museum and concert venue.

Santuario de Guadalupe, built in 1781, houses the Archdiocese of Santa Fe’s collection of ”santos” — painted and carved images of saints — as well as a large oil painting of the Virgin of Guadalupe by Jose de Alzibar, one of Mexico’s 18th-century master painters, and the iconic 12-foot sculpture “La Virgen” by Mexican artist Georgina “Gogy” Farias.

The Cathedral Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi towers over the historic district. Its Romanesque Revival style contrasts with this adobe city.

San Miguel Chapel, built between 1610 and 1626, is said to be the oldest church in the United States. It is currently undergoing restoration.

If you go

Andrea Fisher Gallery: 100 W. San Francisco, (505) 986-1234

Back at the Ranch: 209 E. Marcy, (888) 962-6687

The Compound: 653 Canyon Road, (505) 982-4353

El Farol: 808 Canyon Road, (505) 983-9912

Georgia O’Keeffe Museum: 217 Johnson St., (505) 946-1000

Gerald Peters Gallery: 1011 Paseo de Peralta, (505) 954-5700

Kasha-Katwe
Tent Rocks National Monument: 40 miles southwest of Santa Fe off
Interstate 25. Open year-round. No camping. Admission: $5 per car; (505)
761-8700

Loretto Chapel: 207 Old Santa Fe Trail, (505) 982-0092

Nedra Matteucci Galleries: 1075 Paseo de Peralta, (505) 982-4631

New Mexico Museum of Art: 107 W. Palace, (505) 476-5041

Poeh Museum and Tower Gallery: 78 Cities of Gold Road, Pojaque, (505) 455-3334

Rainbow Man: 107 E. Palace, (505) 982-8706

St. Francis Cathedral: 131 Cathedral Place, (505) 982-5619

San Miguel Chapel: 401 Old Santa Fe Trail, (505) 983-3974

Santuario de Guadalupe: 100 N. Guadalupe, (505) 955-6200

Tia Sophia: 210 W. San Francisco, (505) 983-9880

Santa Fe Neighborhoods – Focus on Las Lagunitas

Gated Entrance to Las Lagunitas

Gated Entrance to Las Lagunitas

Las Lagunitas is a relatively recent gated subdivision located approximately 17 miles southwest of the Santa Fe Plaza.  Las Lagunitas means “little ponds” in Spanish and is named for the numerous small ponds found on the property.  Surrounded by agricultural land, natural arroyos and diverse desert wetlands, Las Lagunitas contains lush bosque habitat which is fed by Guicu Creek.  A functioning acequia (a traditional Spanish irrigation ditch) runs through part of the property.

Las Lagunitas is characterized by rolling hills and breathtaking views of the Galisteo Basin and the Sangre de Cristo, Jemez and Ortiz mountain ranges.  It contains a preserved wildlife habitat, which includes a spring, numerous ponds, plum, pear and apple trees, and is a nature lover’s and birdwatcher’s delight.

A pond in Las Lagunitas

A pond in Las Lagunitas

Early Native Americans must have appreciated the natural bounty, as there are protected excavation sites in Las Lagunitas where signs of Native Americans have been found.  Early settlers also must have appreciated the wetlands, as I am told that the old ranch house and barn in Las Lagunitas were Pony Express and stage stops.

 

Construction of the subdivision began in 1996, and occurred in 5 phases. Las Lagunitas contains 106 lots on 262.4 acres. Lots range from 1 to 3 acres in size. Approximately 90 acres are reserved as common areas for open space to be used and enjoyed by all residents of the community.

Residents of Las Lagunitas enjoy close proximity to the Lenora Curtain Wetlands Preserve, a 35-acre nature preserve maintained by the Santa Fe Botanical Gardens, which is located approximately 2.5 miles north of Las Lagunitas on the I-25 frontage road.  The Preserve has several hiking trails leading through three distinct plant communities: riparian/wetland, transitional, and dry uplands. It is open to the public from the beginning of May through the end of October and admission is free.

Also within 3 miles of Las Lagunitas, is El Rancho de las Golondrinas.  Once a historic ranch, now a living history museum, it dates from the early 1700s and was one of the most important stopping place along the famous Camino Real, the Royal Road from Mexico City to Santa Fe.

Las Lagunitas map3Public water is provided by the Sangre de Cristo Water Co. Electric service and natural gas are provided by the Public Service Company of New Mexico.  All utilities are buried which means there is nothing to interfere with the beautiful views of the natural surrounding areas and the brilliant New Mexico night skies.

Las Lagunitas is located between Albuquerque and Santa Fe off of I-25, which makes it a convenient location for commuting to both cities.

Shopping at Trader Joe’s in Santa Fe is just 20 minutes away, while Albuquerque is a 45 minute drive.

It is also near the 599 Bypass, which gives residents easy access to Las Alamos.

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

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36 Vista Lagunitas

36 Vista Lagunitas

36 Vista Lagunitas, Santa Fe, NM Offered at $599,000

MLS # 201102611 SOLD! July, 2011

4 bed, 4 bath, 2,900 sq. ft., lot size 1.499 acres

Listing Agents:  Karen Meredith and Renee Edwards, Keller Williams Realty

Northern New Mexico, single level custom home, built in 2006.  This home enjoys a private, tranquil location on a cul de sac, surrounded by large cottonwood trees and bordering a bosque area that is unique to Santa Fe.

Beautiful southwest facing portal with outdoor lights and three pull down blinds for shade overlooks approximately 50 acres of common areas containing a pond, numerous springs and hundreds of mature plum trees as well as Asian pears and apple trees.

The birds and wildlife attracted to the water make this home feel like a naturalist’s retreat.

Santa Fe Market Report – The Santa Fe City North West Area

The North West city area of Santa Fe includes the popular and affordable neighborhood of Casa Solana.  Built in the 1950s and 1960s by the well known and locally beloved developer Allen Stamm, Casa Solana has beautiful mature trees, sidewalks and paved streets.  Residents enjoy a neighborhood pool and convenient shopping at the Solana Center.  Homes here have the Stamm traditional features of vigas, hardwood floors, fireplaces and solid construction.

As you travel down West Alameda, newly constructed homes appear on larger, more open tracts.  Homes begin to spread out a bit and horse farms emerge to dot the landscape.  Some lots in the hills offer 360 degree views, while others have a beautiful view of the Santa Fe city lights.

Along US Hwy 84/285 at the exit for the world renowned Santa Fe Opera is Monte Sereno, one of Santa Fe’s newer neighborhoods.  Homes here enjoy breathtaking views of the majestic Sangre de Cristo and Jemez Mountain ranges on lots averaging 1.7 acres.

The North West city area also includes Zocolo, a residential condominium community of casita-style homes centered around small plazas.


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

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Santa Fe Neighborhoods – Focus on the Old Las Vegas Highway Corridor

The Old Las Vegas Highway Corridor is located southeast of the Plaza on Old Las Vegas Highway and extends to Highway 285 South.  It is near the main hospital, St. Vincent Regional Medical Center, and many retail services.

Lots in this area, nestled in the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, average between two and a half to approximately five acres depending on the community.  Although this area is only minutes from town, its feel is decidedly rural, and its views to the south and west are more expansive. Many horse properties are in this area and horse trails weave in and around many of those properties.  You can find a beautiful home with privacy and views here.  Neighborhoods  include Arroyo Hondo, Double Arrow, Overlook, Hondo Hills, Sunlit Hills, La Barberia, and Seton Village.  Housing is not uniform or cookie-cutter and the styles range from modest homes to elegant territorial and pueblo ranchs.  Arroyo Hondo, in particular, is known for its superior horse properties.

HOMES FOR SALE ALONG THE OLD LAS VEGAS HIGHWAY CORRIDOR

If you would like to know more about any of the homes for sale in the Old Las Vegas Highway Corridor neighborhoods or for a free analysis of how much your Old Las Vegas Highway Corridor neighborhood home is worth, contact me, Karen Meredith, Keller Williams, by e-mail or at (505) 603-3036.  

Santa Fe Neighborhoods – Focus on Bellamah

The Bellamah neighborhood is located in the southwest section of the City of Santa Fe.  Its boundaries are, in general,  West Rodeo Road to the south, Richards Avenue to the west, Cerrillos Road to the northwest, Siringo Road to the north and Yucca Street to the east.

Bellamah

Bellamah

In 1959, the City of Santa Fe annexed 600 acres so that  Dale Bellamah, the famous residential real estate developer and builder from Albuquerque, could build this neighborhood.   Bellamah began building homes in Albuquerque in 1947.  A booming post-war housing market and aggressive advertising led to his success.   His company, Dale Bellamah Homes, ultimately developed subdivisions in Albuquerque, Las Cruces, Hobbs,  Alamogordo, Las Vegas, and Santa Fe, New Mexico, as well as El Paso, Texas.

The Bellamah neighborhood features affordable, rectangular, one-story, suburban homes with elements of Santa Fe style on wide, curvilinear streets.   The homes are known for their logical floor plans, flat or pitched roofs, garages or car ports, larger lot sizes and many practical conveniences.

Bellamah’s advertisements touted the modern conveniences built into each home, such as an attached garage or car port and a garbage disposal.   These homes were designed to appeal to median income families.  Brochures promised a  house with conveniences to save the homemaker from the “drudgery of household chores”, which would  free up the homemaker’s time for family, self-development, and community activities.

“Advertising high quality construction at a value price, Bellamah began offering a money back guarantee on all home sales.  .  .  These homes were meant to be domestic retreats for working class and middle class families, and Bellamah had no trouble selling them.”  Source:  Rocky Mountain Online Archive.

Herb Martinez Park

Herb Martinez Park

Residents of Bellamah enjoy the many parks in the area, including General Franklin E. Miles, which is one of the largest parks in the city. General Franklin E. Miles has basketball courts, volleyball sand pits, children’s playgrounds, a skateboard area and grass for picnics.  Francis X. Nava Elementary School sits at the edge of the park at 2655 Siringo Road.  The Herb Martinez Park has tennis courts, a cement outdoor hockey area, a baseball field and grass that is often filled with soccer players.

The city’s popular Arroyo Chamisa hiking/biking trail is located in Bellamah, which runs from Rodeo Road past the Monica Lucero Park on Avenida de las Campanas and then passes across Camino Carlos Rey and ends at Yucca Street.   The Santa Fe University of Art and Design  borders the Bellamah neighborhood to the northeast.

BELLAMAH HOMES FOR SALE HERE

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

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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.  

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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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