Second Nations-Revisiting Our Agrarian Past-Albuquerque New Mexico

Second Nations-Revisiting Our Agrarian Past-Albuquerque New Mexico

On the arid Steppes of the Sandia Mountains are the remains of an early farmstead.

The bones and stones of the building still remain, I wander around trying to find some idea of the age of the abandon homestead.

The mortar in the stonework seems quite intact, it’s placement on the landscape suggest that he may have been a sheep rancher.

At this elevation (aprox. 7500 ft.). there seems to be little arable land. The Sandia Mountains stand at over 10,000 ft.

The style of architecture suggests colonial Spanish on a modest scale. I have come to believe he had very little resource other than the land on which he lived.

He spent his money on masonry mortar, the rocks he used as his building material came with the landscape.

It is a geologic rearrangement of small portions of the mountain. Rock are exposed and tumble down the side of this mountain all the time.
What we often fail to realize is that geology didn’t ONLY happen a long time ago.

It is happening today and “today” means that every hundred years a few more rocks tumble from the higher elevations of the mountain, doing nothing more than obeying the laws of gravity.

A great deal of effort went into the building, the perimeter fence and a few distant foundations.

The wooden frames that would have held the glass windows are long since gone, no framing wood remains anywhere within the building, the stonework is left clean and bare.

I spend an hour searching for the middens and his water source knowing that somewhere in Albuquerque there must be a detailed document describing this place.

I enjoy reading and know that I would find the history curious. I will leave that until I conjure my own story.

I also balance that with the notion that I enjoy the hike/walk around his old farmstead and gleaning as much information on my own before I set about finding the conclusion.

Often times old farmsteads are built in or on historic Native American sites. I walk careful and eye each small plateau that would make for a small campsite.

There is absolutely nothing that suggests natives used this particular site for encampments or any sort. There is no pottery or flint shards within the twenty acre site.

In the runoff of the farmstead I find one lonely corn plant, it is 12 inches tall and appears to have grown to its maturity.

I’ve hiked at this level in the Sandia’s for perhaps 5 to 10 miles and this is the only corn plant I’ve found.

Might this be the only surviving hint of his agrarian life style?

Once a farmer of a small plot of corn and now reduced to something like this pitiful remaining plant?

The abode commands an impressive view of what became the city of Albuquerque.

The view is nice but that doesn’t enhance your chance of farming success. Today it is bone dry windy and arid.

As I walk the arroyos that are in close proximity to the homestead I notice a few places that would suggest they were trying to dam or pond the occasional water that would come rushing down the ravines on rare occasion after a rainfall.

I’m startled by the yelp of what sounds like a small puppy and realize I’m within 20 yards of a coyote den.

It is the voice of an untrained coyote pup that quickly became silent as I surveyed their hideout.

In my wanderings I’ve found that the desert leaves many traces if you look carefully.

As I assess what I’ve surveyed, I’ve come to believe that this farmstead was beautifully placed on the landscape with a stunning view of Albuquerque.

Alas, it must not have been an economically viable place to farm or ranch, he left little to no garbage that would suggest use and consumption of even every day material objects.

Perhaps he was the cleanest and tidiest rancher in the South West?

I suspect his life was cut short or his time spent ranching was a misplaced adventure.

His homestead was left to the dry winds of Albuquerque and the Sandia’s.

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