Saturday, May 23, 2009

New Mexico has some of the best weather in the United States. Over 300 days of sunshine, relatively mild winters at the lower elevations and, north of Albuquerque at least, summers that aren't painfully hot. Consequently we are weather wimps. We don't know how to drive with anything wet or white on the road. Most of us have dry rot on our windsheild wipers and umbrellas are something we buy when we get ready to go out of town.

Yes, we have our summer monsoon season; those lovely afternoon thunderstorms in the summer that cool things off and keep things green (as green as it gets in most of the state). But at most those storms last for about an hour. We consider them more like mood swings than real weather trends.

For the last few days, it has been cloudy and rainy here in Las Vegas. This is great because our moisture has been pretty sporadic since January and we were looking at a nasty fire season. A collective sigh of relief has gone up across Northern New Mexico. That sigh lasted until this morning when we looked out side and said "What the hell? Why is it still raining? When is it going to stop? Are we going to have to build an arc?"

The forecast calls for thunderstorms through the weekend and 80% chance of showers daily through next weekend.


Monday, May 18, 2009

My Stars

This is my friend Lillian. Lillian is one of the most wonderful, formidable women I know. She's a single parent to a gorgeous, talented, athletic daughter. She's the second generation operator of a 1200 acre ranch east of Las Vegas. I'm not sure how many cattle she has but she tends them diligently. Her little cabin was a stone barn that she and her daughter restored, plastered, and expanded by hand. It has no electricity and no running water, just a cistern, a wood burning stove, and a lantern. The two of them created roadways on the ranch with a pick and a shovel. Whenever she and I get together we laugh like little kids. She was my first friend here in Las Vegas.

One of the interesting things about Lillian, but certainly not her defining feature, is that she has Multiple Sclerosis. However, she doesn't define herself by her illness. To her, it's a reason to creatively adapt.

Because she know's she won't be able to manage the strenuous responsibilities of ranching forever, she's created a plan. She's opened her ranch as a photographer's retreat and gives tours for other people as well. So far, besides the photographers, she's hosted botanists, hikers, and archeologists.

She's also restoring a one room schoolhouse on her property to serve as a bed and breakfast so that guests can stay for a while.

One of the things I love about Lillian is her cheerfullness. She always has a positive attitude, even when she's out of energy for the day. I think this is what has kept her mobile despite her illness.

So, if you're out our way, see if you can book a little tour with Lillian.