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Archive for the ‘Photographs’ Category

Canyon Road Winter Twilight
Do not say you will come back
When it is warmer
When you have time
When the light is better
When the galleries are open
When the chestnut trees are green
When a woman in red sits on the garden bench
When the blue gate is wide open
When the duende seizes you
When you are not obsessing
When you are not regretting
When you are not counting
Your losses
See the Hunger Moon scale the Sangres
Press the shutter. Now.
Sharon Niederman, February, 2012

Canyon Road, Santa Fe

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“You Can Set Your Calendar by the Curlews”

Spring is in full swing on the three-generation Copeland and Sons Hereford Ranch 18 miles north of Nara Visa in Union County, New Mexico. “The curlews always nest here. You can set your calendar by their  arrival on April 1,” says Cliff Copeland, President of the New Mexico Beef Council. The gramma and buffalo grasses are still mostly brown, but a little rain will bring the green shoots close to the ground right up, Cliff says.  “We can hear the migratory birds now, the Canada geese and sandhill cranes flying north, and the mallard ducks that nest here are arriving.”
But the best signs of spring are the healthy baby calves now arriving. Calving season from Feb.-April is one of Cliff’s favorite times of year, along with the branding season that follows. That’s  when the Copelands  and nearby ranchers “neighbor up”  the old-fashioned way to help each other get the chore done while they visit and catch up.
Part of the Copelands’ daily ritual is a morning  family visit, often by phone, between Cliff and his photographer wife Pat;  son Matt and his wife Kyra; and Cliff’s parents, Cliff Sr. and Barbara, to prioritize and divide up the responsibilities that need tending that day. “Day off is not even in our vocabulary,” Cliff observes. “This is a hard and healthy lifestyle. My Dad is 79 and he still puts in a full day’s work. He is still active in every part of the ranch.”
Cliff grew up on the ranch and never thought about being anything other than a rancher. He left home to study Animal Science at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces and returned with a knowledge of genetics. He is able to see the genetic selection process, the results of their choices, every year with the arrival of the baby calves.
“The weather has been cooperative,” he says of this year’s calving season. “It’s too dry now. We could use some rain, and that may be coming soon”

Cliff Copeland

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Signs & Shrines: Spiritual Journeys Across New Mexico
Text and Photos by Sharon Niederman – Forthcoming from The Countryman Press, 2012

SIGNS & SHRINES: SPIRITUAL JOURNEYS ACROSS NEW MEXICO takes the reader along  the ancient pilgrimage trails that crisscross this enchanted state where a rich multiplicity of cultures continues to thrive. The mysteries of sacred sites, natural wonders, power spots, feast days and festivals are explained by one of the state’s most prolific and knowledgable authors, and the book is illustrated with soulful images from her travels.  In addition to providing  cultural context that answers visitors’ questions about the history and practices found only in New Mexico, the author provides clear directions, maps and guidance on the best places to stay, dine, shop and recreate. SIGNS & SHRINES  is an innovative guide that will enrich the experience not only of spiritual seekers but of every visitor drawn to experience the marvelous Land of Enchantment.

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Sunday, November 28, 2010

A Little History, Travel, and It All Tastes Good

<!–COPYRIGHT:Copyright 2010 Albuquerque Journal–> By David Steinberg
Journal Staff Writer
“New Mexico’s Tasty Traditions — Recollections, Recipes and Photos” by Sharon Niederman
New Mexico Magazine, $27.95, 136 pp.
Sharon Niederman’s long-standing interest in food and travel converge in this engaging quilt of a book that is part travelogue, part cookbook and part cultural history.
A former Albuquerque resident who lives in Raton, Niederman takes the reader on a ride to eateries, homes and other locales around New Mexico.
In one section, she heads to Pietown, where she introduces the Daily Pie Cafe and the Pie-O-Neer Café. She interviews Kathy Knapp, who runs the Pie-O-Neer. The book contains her recipes for New Mexico Apple Pie and the French Pear with Ginger Pie.
The town, as the book explains, is on a 102-mile stretch of U.S. 60 west of Socorro. “In a refreshing change of pace, not a single fast-food establishment is in sight,” Niederman writes of the roadway, and then pursues a bit of sightseeing.
Check out, she writes, the “haunted ruins” of the Kelly Mine, Magdalena’s deserted stockyards and Charles Ilfeld’s warehouse. Isn’t the warehouse abandoned, too?
In another segment, Niederman writes about the popular watering hole Chope’s Bar & Café, in La Mesa, south of Las Cruces. She relates Chope’s family history and serves up its recipe for Chiles Rellenos.
Then the book declares enigmatically, “Las Cruces may be the New Orleans of New Mexico cuisine.” Huh? Niederman doesn’t support this throwaway speculative comparison; Chope’s is the only restaurant mentioned here.
The book also takes the reader to private homes and public events.
For example, you enter Tuda Libby Crews’ kitchen, where she is baking bizcochitos. She lives on the family’s Ute Creek Cattle Company Ranch in Bueyeros. The book, which includes her recipes for bizcochitos, discusses the origins of the cookie and the Great Legislative Debate in 1989 over the spelling, with a “z” or an “s.” Niederman says that “old-fashioned traditionalists (isn’t a traditionalist old-fashioned?) held out for “biscochito.”
One family event mentioned is the Glenwood Dutch-oven cookoff. That gives Niederman an opportunity to discuss the Dutch oven’s role in New Mexico cooking. The Dutch oven recipe here is Jane Shafer’s Arroz con Pollo. She is part of the Shafer Gallacher Ranch in Lincoln County.
The book refers to the public food-buying events known as farmers’ markets.
One section talks about urban gardening, focusing on the prolific, diversified, award-winning fruits, vegetables and flowers of the Albuquerque couple Jeanne Whitehouse and David Kammer.
Among other sections are those on the horno and a narrative about latkes, with the author’s recipe for the traditional Hanukkah dish.
David Steinberg is the Journal Books editor and an arts writer.
Sharon Niederman discusses, signs “New Mexico Tasty Traditions” at 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 4, at Collected Works, 202 Galisteo, Santa Fe; at 3 p.m. Dec. 5 at Bookworks, 4022 Rio Grande NW; and at 2 p.m. Dec. 12 at Tome on the Range, 158 Bridge St., Las Vegas, N.M.


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Albuquerque, NM: Dia de los Muertos, 2010. Final warm Sunday of fall, pale gold light of late afternoon, elongated shadows of parade-watchers and edgy giggles of marchers. . . laughter in the face of Death, of which there seems more now than there used to be.  Triumph in mocking it,   dressing up, painting faces, calaveras very much alive, displaying high-pitched emotions of Carnavale, Mardi Gras, New Mexico-style, flinging candy to children crowding sidewalks of Isleta Blvd. Leading off are Aztec dancers, following are flamencos, motorcyclists,  low-riders,  even a proud horseback callabera, each accustomed to living closely with Death, who fuels their dance. Protests of death – of the environment, of social justice, of economic well-being – with colorful proclamations, good humor, and determined refusal.

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Temple Aaron commemorated at meeting – Oct. 26, 2010
By Steve Block
Staff Writer, The Times Independent, Trinidad, Colorado

The long and storied history of Trinidad’s Temple Aaron synagogue was the subject of a presentation at the 25th annual meeting of the New Mexico Jewish Historical Society in Las Vegas, N.M. Saturday.
Sharon Niederman, a Raton-based author and historian, presented a montage of the temple, its people and the role it has played in the history of the region. The meeting was held at the Plaza Hotel in collaboration with the Board of the Texas Jewish Historical Society. Niederman’s address was part of three days of faith-based education, music and other festivities at the meeting. She talked about the early German-Jewish settlers in the region, who became a key part of the business, social and political scene during the years of its early development. (more…)

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The following is a chapter from New Mexico’s Tasty Traditions – due out from New Mexico Magazine later this fall. http://www.nmmagazine.com

Chimayo: Holy Chile and a Mule Named El Macho @ Sharon Niederman 2010

Over 30,000 make the pilgrimage to Chimayo each Good Friday, many walking along the highways and backroads of Northern New Mexico for days. And more than 300,000 visit this “Lourdes of America” all seasons of the year, prayerfully seeking the curative powers of the “holy dirt” at the Santuario shrine. Discarded crutches and notes of thanks for answered prayers fill the little altar room dedicated to Santo Nino de Atocha. This beloved saint is said to wear out his shoes as he goes about the village at night,  performing good deeds for the faithful. Shafts of filtered light illuminate pilgrims kneeling before the glass-encased figure of Santo Nino, the beloved local saint. Tiny replacement shoes are left here for him, and many more are lined up in the chapel dedicated to him across the road.
But another breed of pilgrim journeys faithfully to Chimayo.  This tribe comes seeking a different, but, they would say, related form of revelation that sparks the heart by means of the senses. The holy ground of Chimayo produces a chile that is sought as were the rare spices of old, with reverence, dedication, and intense passion. There is no substitute for Chimayo chile — and the faithful insist there is none better. Watered by the acequia that runs through the village, rooted in this particular soil, this chile’s  thin-skinned, comparatively small crimson pods contain a sweet-hot fire that warms the tongue, the belly, and the soul. The elongated heart-shaped pod, recognizable by the curl atop its stem, like the crook of a staff, can take the chill off  a cold winter’s evening or bring a cooling sweat to the brow on a sweltering summer afternoon. Along with small cannisters of holy dirt found in the Santuario, these seekers of true chile flavor bring home sacks of dried pods and bags of fine-textured, crimson Chimayo chile.
Unlike the chile developed at  the New Mexico State University Chile Institute that is grown commercially in Hatch, the Mesilla Valley and along the Rio Grande,  Chimayo chile is a land race, descended from native seed. This chile has been grown by local folks for generations,  passed down through the families, and traded with neighbors.
In 2003, the Chimayo Chile Project was established to revive the local native strain. This seed is now available to local growers at the town feed store.
As most chile grown here is consumed here, too, the best way to insure your purchase of genuine Chimayo chile is to make your own pilgrimage to Chimayo. There, in September and October, you can stroll up the path leading to the Santuario. The walkway is  wide enough for a burro carrying a load of wood, or pilgrims walking side-by-side, and  curtains of scarlet ristras drape the autumn sunlight and emit a pure aroma that nourishes both body and soul.
The story of Chimayo is well-known. A local Franciscan friar and hermano, or Penitente brother,  Bernardo Abeyta, while performing Good Friday rituals, saw a light emanating from a distance.  He dug on the spot and found a crucifix of Our Lord of Esquipulas, a Guatemalan religious figure. The crucifix was brought to the nearby Santa Cruz mission, yet, miraculously, it reappeared  in the spot where Abeya originally found it. This happened three times. Finally, in 1816,   Abeyta built the Santuario to honor the vision. The well of holy dirt is located today where Abeyta saw his vision, and the crucifix rests behind the altar.
The name,  “Chimayo” is derived from a Tewa word, “tsi mayoh,” meaning “hill of the east.” And the “posito,” or well of holy dirt is said to be located on the spot of hot springs — now dried up — where indigenous people made pilgrimage.  No wonder that even the skeptical have reported feelings of deep spiritual connection here, often to their own surprise.
Chimayo may be approached from many directions. It is located 40 miles south of Taos, 24 miles northeast of Santa Fe,  and ten miles from Espanola up Hwy. 76. A journey down from Taos can take you along the winding High Road, past the remote villages of Truchas, Vadito, Penasco, where very little has changed over the centuries since the Spanish settled here in the 18th and 19th centuries.  Descendants of original land grant families still dwell here, practicing the old ways.  Many live off the land, cutting wood, growing and preserving apples and corn, bartering, and making what they need with their own hands.
While the shops on Santuario Lane around the shrine sell delicious sun-dried Chimayo chile as a kitchen ingredient, you can satisfy your appetite for local cooking on the spot at nearby eateries. Leona’s, located directly to the left of the Santuario, is a modest, reliable and friendly  “hole-in-the wall” that serves delicious authentic chile. Leona is famous for her fresh, hand-made tortillas. A bit more upscale, and just down the lane and to the right, is El Rancho de Chimayo, a beautiful, classic Northern New Mexico restaurant that has long been in the Jaramillo family. The sopaipillas with honey are divine, and there’s nothing better than a margarita by the fireplace in winter. It’s a comfortable place for a special date or a family gathering.
Patty Albritton, a Chimayo native, farms her grandmother’s six acres on the Canada Ancha acequia with the help of her partner, Angel Reyes, her grandson Kaeden Albritton, and a mule named El Macho. They grow native Cimayo chile, corn for drying and roasting to be preserved as “chicos,” sweet peas, onions, and flowers for the colorful dried arrangements and corn decorations they make by hand to  sell at farmers markets in Los Alamos and Taos. They believe the old-fashioned plow drawn by El Macho controls soil erosion and weeds better than a tractor.
plug el rancho – leonas

Here are two of Patty’s recipes using Chimayo chile from her forthcoming cookbook, Chili New Mexico Style – Chili

Estillo Nuevo Mexico.
Chicken with Lemongrass and Chile in Caramel Sauce
3 lbs.chicken
1 large onion
1 teaspoon ground Chimayo chile
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 cup water
4 cloves garlic
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons minced lemongrass (available at Asian markets)
4 tablespoons fish sauce (available at Asian markets)
1 tablespoon caramel sauce  (recipe below)
Rinse chicken and dry well. Cut into small pieces. Peel garlic and slice finely. Slice onion. Heat oil in large frying pan over medium heat. Add a pinch of salt, garlic and onion. Fry over medium heat until onion becomes translucent. Add lemongrass and chile. Fry 1 to 2 minutes until fragrant. Add chicken and cook until lightly browned. Add fish sauce, sugar and caramel sauce. Mix well. Add 1 cup water and cook 45 minutes, or until chicken is tender. Stir occasionally and add more water if necessary. Taste and correct for spices. Serve over rice. Serves 4.
Caramel Sauce
Mix 1/2 cup sugar with 4 tablespoons of water in heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat and let boil until mixture changes color. Turn heat down to low and heat until brown. Add 1/2 cup water to mixture. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and store in a jar in the refrigerator.
Chili Nightmare
1 cup cooked dried pinto beans
2 tablespoons lard
1 tablespoon bacon drippings
1 chopped onion
12 ounces pork sausage
1 pound ground beef
4 garlic cloves
1 ground cinnamon stick
1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 teaspoons dried oregano
4 teaspoons sesame seeds
1 cup blanched almonds — skins removed
8 dried red chiles
1/2 cup chili caribe (coarse ground chile)
1 can tomato paste (6 oz)
2 tablespoons vinegar
3 teaspoons lemon juice
Drain beans, reserving cooking liquid. Melt lard in a heavy skillet over medium heat. Add  beans and lightly fry them in the lard. Set aside. Melt bacon drippings in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Add onion and cook until it is translucent. Combine sausage and the beef with all the spices up through the oregano. Add this meat-and-spice mixture to the pot with the onion. Break up any lumps with a fork and cook, stirring occasionally, until meat is very well browned. Drain. Add water only if necessary to maintain the consistency of a chunky soup. Stir in all remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and cook. Taste when curiosity becomes unbearable and courage is strong. Adjust seasonings. Serve with corn chips, shredded cheese, sour cream, guacamole, grated onion, and more beans. Great for football watching on wintry Sunday afternoons.

Patty may be reached at aprcreations@yahoolcom.

The Best Red Chile Enchiladas
1 dozen corn tortillas
1-1/2 pound ground round
1 large yellow onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium brick yellow Longhorn Colby cheese, grated
Red chile pods
Canola oil

Brown the ground round over low flame in a heavy skillet. As meat is browning, toast chile pods lightly in cast iron pan or the oven for about 10 minutes, or until fragrant. Seed and stem the pods. Cover pods with boiling water about 10 minutes, or until softened. Place pods in blender jar about 3/4 full. Add 1 cup cold water and blend about 5 minutes. Mince the garlic and saute. Add blended chile and 1/2 teaspoon salt and bring mixture to a boil.Lower heat, cover and simmer about 15 minutes. In a well-greased 9×13 pan, layer tortillas, cheese, drained beef and onion and top with a layer of red chile. Do this until ingredients are used up. Sprinkle top with grated cheese. Bake until bubbly in 325 degree oven, for about 20 minutes.

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(l to r seated) Paulette Berner, Tom Berner, Kay Grant, Sharon Niederman; standing, Carol Clark, Kathy Cordova, Denise Tessier, Carol Kreis.

Chicago, Aug. 27. . .The New Mexico delegation assembled this evening to support our Communicator of Achievement nominee, Tom Berner, who did us proud in a stellar field of candidates. The day began with an exhilarating workshop on reinvention of the daily press through integration with digital and social media, headed by Jane Hirt, Managing Editor of the Chicago Tribune. Author and Northwestern Journalism instructor Michele Weldon presented a dual workshop on “Saving Yourself: Recreating your Life in Memoir Writing” that gave participants powerful inspiration to get home and write, write, write. Our past state president and Los Alamos Monitor managing editor, Carol Clark, in her role as NFPW secretary, presided over lunch with customary grace as she introduced speaker Victoria Lautman’s “Confessions of an Accidental Journalist.” Turns out the former NPR art commentator and widely published interviewer is a Santa Fe native. The sunny weather led many to explore the Lake Michigan shoreline, Art Institute and Millennium Park, only a short walk from our Union League Club base.

NFPW President Cynthia Price honors Tom Berner, NM Communicator of Achievement

NMPW past president Carol Clark (r) introduces lunch speaker Victoria Lautman.

NMPW founding member Peggy Ann Hutchinson.

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Chicago, Aug. 25. . . Chicago’s elegant Union League Club may still feel quite a bit like a sedate, posh, gorgeously retro men’s-only club, but today several hundred members of the National Federation of Press Women gathered here for its annual communications conference, titled “Face 2 Face.” Founded in Chicago in 1885, the Illinois Women’s Press Association is celebrating its 125th anniversary.  We promise to keep you updated on all the happenings with daily blogs.

The evening began with a stroll over to Giordano’s, a popular local spot for a pizza and salad buffet. On of the first people we  ran into was longtime press woman Kathy Cordova of Taos, now secretary of the NMPW Northern Chapter and national co-chair of student membership (in orange, below). Several went on to “Billy Elliot,” and the rest of us toured the Willis (formerly Sears) tower, arguably the world’s tallest building. Built in 1973, it is 103 stories high and attracts a million and a half visitors a year. The tour includes an exhibit of Chicago history and personages, from Abe Lincoln to Carl Sandberg  to John Belushi to President Obama. Talk about diverse! The city’s contributions to literature, music, architecture and commerce are immense. The University of Chicago has won 72 Nobel prizes, for example. Then there is the New Mexico connection, specifically, the genesis of the Manhattan Project leading to the development of the atomic bomb at Los Alamos took place here. (more…)

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I’m blogging because I won’t go out in this Boston rain, continuing now on day four of my five day visit. I ventured forth yesterday,  got as far as Harvard Square, then backtracked to Chinatown for dim sum, but years of living in the New Mexico desert have ruined my tolerance for cold, wet, nasty Northeast weather. And the day before we went to the Witch Museum in Salem. But why go out if you don’t have to? Instead, I am staying in, cozy with another cup of tea, doing laundry, catching up on correspondence, packing for tomorrow’s flight to Chicago, being perfectly lazy.

It’s a strange season, certainly not summer and not yet fall. From Sigalit and David’s third-floor apartment, I can see a few leaves turning gold, but it’s too early to give up hope of more warm weather, although at this moment it feels like the Flood is coming on. (more…)

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