The Other Side of the Mountain

~~By InsightAnalytical-GRL

This past Sunday I decided it was time to go to the other side of the mountain.

Frankly, I was just worn out the entire onslaught of political/media games. Like many others, I’ve been feeling like I’ve been living through a time of lot more hurt and insults than we’ve have had to deal with in a long, long time.

Lately, we’ve had to endure the Hillary as Secretary of State epic.  Well, it’s official as of today (Monday as I write this).  Some bloggers are ecstatic, sure this is a VICTORY for women.  Well, we’ve had Albright and Rice already.  Clinton gives up her elected seat for the honor of serving at the pleasure of the most unqualified, media-assisted, creepy Democratic “president” in my lifetime. Whatever deal floats the Clintons’ and the Democratic poohbahs’ boat, it doesn’t do much but sink things for me. The misogyny continues and will continue (the ugly pictures of Clinton were already up tonight on FOX), and may be melded into a massive Clinton circus/misogyny orgy to help pound into our brains that women in general and Clinton in particular are suspect in the highest offices.  Meanwhile, Bill Richardson wields tremendous power over at Commerce. Real power to screw around with many things with nary a thought from the media…

Then there have been the hopes for the Supreme Court Fart to address Obama’s citizenship issues and boot him out of office before he even gets there.  Sigh.  The law, when it applies to members of “the club,” is conveniently circumvented.  It didn’t start with Gore in 2000, either. It started at a lower level of the courts with Dick Cheney. Remember the flap over whether he could actually be named as VP because of domicile questions (Wyoming vs. Texas)?  Well, how did that turn out?  Judah Benjamin’s scholarly examination of the Obama question over at Texas Darlin’ has come up with the same conclusion I did a long time ago and I’m not a lawyer–The Supreme Fart will let this one slide.  Not Your Sweetie’s recent post on “the club” and the intertwined relationships help explain, in part, why.

So, with all this stuff swirling around in my brain, I decided I had reached the point where it had to stop, at least for a short time.  It was time to go to the other side of the mountain. I hadn’t done it in a very long time. I don’t know why I waited this long, but Sunday was the day. I piled the dogs into the car and took off.

First, let me tell you that every day when I go into the backyard to feed the birds and tend to the vegetable garden I see the mountain.  Actually, the Organ Mountains.  This is what they look like from my backyard…the “Rabbit Ears” are just above the golden tree at the left (in the IA masthead, they are just to the left of the full moon):

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A 10-minute drive got me through the St. Augustin pass (just hidden at the left by a roof) and the exhilarating sight of the entire Tularosa Basin spread out before me. Then, I got off the highway and began the trek up into heaven.

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“Rabbit Ears” loomed in the distance.resized2008_1130organaquirreouting0039

An ancient volcanic core came into in view.resized2008_1130organaquirreouting0044

I drove slowly up into the foothills, navigating a series of hairpin turns. As I neared the trailheads, I looked out onto the basin (the thin line of white to the right in the shot below is part of the White Sands gypsum dunes which extends outside the White Sands National Monument area).

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The air was crisp and a light wind blew through the silence…the absolute silence.  It was like being in a different time and a different world. Behind me were the “Rabbit Ears” that I see from my yard, but now I saw their other side, in all their craggy glory, at 8000+ feet.

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The dogs and I sat for awhile, just being quiet and drinking in the purity of the moment.  Then, I slowly made my way back down to the basin.  Just before we reached the highway I glanced up to see a large hawk, with an amazing wingspan, gliding along with me, perhaps inviting me to return.

Coming back up over the pass, I stopped the car as the plains of the Mesilla Valley opened up below me.  It gave me a sense of freedom as I continued down to where I live, in what was the bed of an ancient sea.

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What did I find on the other side of the mountain?  A sense of calm and awe.  A departure from ordinary time and a re-discovery of what’s real in the world…A chance to shed the insults of everyday life and feel new again.

I’ll be going back soon…

***

For a virtual panoramic view of the area, click here.

Exhausted….from GREEN CHILE!

Well, it took me about 4 hours, but I managed to clean, seed, and pack for the freezer 25 pounds of  green chile yesterday!

I got back from the health food store where I had my organic chile roasted and got started around 2 pm.  This batch is from a local farm here in the Mesilla Valley and it sure looks good!  The peppers where fully-fleshed and had lots of those “white” ribby areas inside….and that’s where the heat is!  So, hopefully, this will mean lovely, medium hot chiles!

Last year I went up to Hatch, the little town which is the center of the universe here in NM for chile, both red and green.  Red chile is literally dried on the rooftops of the various stores.  One store in particular did a great job of presenting numerous types of chile…from the very mild to the VERY hot varieties.  We were able to taste the raw chile and decide which kind we wanted. This was the first time I had ever bought a large amount of chile, so I had to learn how to handle it all, and it took forever to get it packed.  This year, I had a system and it went much faster.

I’m a native of NJ, so all this chile had me rather confused at first.  But I’ve become a pro at making wonderful red chile sauce out of dried pods, and now I’m quite good at preparing a year’s supply of the green.  My grandmother used to roast peppers over the stove, but they weren’t hot peppers.  As a kid, I remember eating pimientos as part of an anti pasto but that’s as far as my knowledge of peppers went. Unless, of course, you count the fried peppers infused with lovely garlic and olive oil and devoured with fresh Italian bread…and I mean, REAL Italian bread, not the stuff they warm up at 4 pm in the grocery stores. HEAVEN!

This year in the garden I have a pimiento plant which I got quite by accident for about $1.00 to fill in a space in the bed.  Well, the plant is loaded with wonderful heart-shaped peppers.  They are so sweet to eat green, but I’m holding out for some to turn red. And then I’ll find a recipe to make them the way I remember when we got them at the Italian store in Lodi.

Hatch is also the site of the annual Chile Festival which attracts large crowds.  If you can’t get there, you can buy from the sellers and they’ll ship them anywhere! The NM Chile site has links to all the information on  how to order all types of chile products. You’ll also find a picture of the type of roasting drum that is used to toss the chiles over a flame at the “roasters” link.  Let me tell you, there is NOTHING like the smell of roasting chile!  Around town, the roasters are at work at Walmart, Albertsons, and Lowes grocery stores, right out front and the smell of roasting chile wafts across the parking lots.  And this year, Mountain View Market, is roasting, too, which is even better, because their chiles are organic.

According to a recent article in the local paper (Pests, Rain Reduce Chile Output ), this year’s crop has had a few setbacks because of our unusually high level of rainfall and cloudy days. The crop has been delayed about 2 weeks and production has dropped due to weather or disease.  As of August 30, about 20% of the crop has been harvested.  With 85% of the crop going to food processing plants across the nation, only 15% goes  the fresh market.

And, lucky me, I got some today!

***

For chile recipes, click here!