Friday, March 28, 2008

Seeds of Change, Mrs. Bobbs's garden and Albuquerque Jim

Dateline: Grand Canyon, Friday 3/28

Our Tuesday morning in Santa Fe dawned early, but as usual we did not, to have a delicious breakfast at Chocolate Maven, a bakery/restaurant we found using TripAdvisor. During the noon hour, we met Steve at his workplace, Seeds of Change [right], where he coordinates seed growers and works on product development. He seems in his element, and showed us around, with the high point being the darkened seed room, which contained a ton of potential energy. Steve continues his quest to help feed the world's people in a healthy, delicious and sustainable way.
We then met up
with Moria, Cryssy and Wink in the downtown of Pueblo Santa Fe, for lunch at Pasqual's [left]. This satisfied our desire to experience southwestern food at its source, in a town that was established five hundred years ago.
We made up a fun party in a dining room festooned with Chagallesque murals in a very Santa Fe style, chiles and other items that hung from the ceiling. Nothing extravagant, but very playful, and the food was terrific--mole negra, red and green chiles, prepared expertly and very fresh: enchiladas with even vegetarian fillings! Wink took Steve back to work, and the rest of us proceeded to Moria's client's garden, where Moria is head gardener for a large and traditional Santa Fe house and grounds owned by the charming Mrs. Bobbs [Alice and Moria right].

We learned that the house, in the genuine adobe style, was built in 1939. Thick walls, beautiful wood for the windows, doors and ceilings of boards supported by logs. Very distinctively styled, with a Steinway grand piano and many unique books written in the southwest over the past hundred years or so: Mrs. Bobbs had owned a bookstore, and responded to our deep interest in these rare volumes. [The Garden library above]. Moria was apologetic about the garden, still some ways from spring opulence, but it was beautifully laid out and filled with clever hardscape, much of it created by local artists. Some flowers such as crocuses were already blooming, and we were glad to discover the garden model railway [above] and a very large labyrinth [left]. The staff will be placing the labyrinth's tiles out soon, stored over the winter to avoid freezing. A new shipment of roses had arrived, and the three gardeners were busy with pruning and preparations. Sensitive to the very large garden's history, Moria adds her own distinctive artistic vision and practical knowledge of garden planning and execution, including xeriscape. The large property, located in the old, nearly downtown part of Santa Fe cleverly has wells and two lots in the municipal accounts so that staff can water 6 days a week instead of only three. Santa Fe, of course, has water rationing. [Fractal spiral with labyrinth at right.]
Later, we experienced Santa Fe rush hour traffic, as we navigated around an unfamiliar city with the car's usually reliable nav system, collecting a quiche, vegetables and other things for our second dinner at Steve's and Moria's, en famille with Cryssy and Wink. We saw many beautiful images of Mrs. B's gardens at different times of the year, when the various plantings are at their peaks. Dinner was a collaborative effort, with trips outside to see the river, garden, and the improvised potting shed that will someday be a more established greenhouse.

While Moria was showing Alice slides of a recent trip to Costa Rica, others were up to no useful purpose in the dining room, with much laughter of the sort that kept getting to the next (lowest) level. Beginning with a wacky plot to ride down the road to experience the toughness of dive bars in New Mexico's largest city, while anticipating our 40th high school reuinion next year, we began to riff on the building of a new legend, Albuquerque Jim. The rhythm of this phrase led to song expressing the hair-raising fearfulness of this icon of power and mystery, and the tale got to be very tall indeed, tall enough for all of us to confront our classmates of long ago without fear of embarassment. [Crystal and Wink, above, anticipate the next ridiculous plot.]

Much about the
sidekick bull kaibabs, steroid fortified, and tied up with the origin story in a mysterious way. Kaibabs are a subspecies of Abert's squirrel, found only on the north rim of the Grand Canyon, for whom the Kaibab National Forest is named. These are gracile creatures with white tufted tails, but in our lexicon they took on a menacing mien. We traced the evolution of Albuquerque Jim with glee, from an invertebrate to humanoid via the intercession of the great bull kaibab and his similarly huge and fearful fellows, who pulled Jim's stagecoach. The legend will likely grow, including the amazing appearance of the now-legendary secondary sex characteristics. Crystal wondered whether Paul Bunyan got his start this way. Late into the night, we could not stop laughing. [Steve, Moria and Cryssy admit it's hopeless.]

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