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Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Who Lives Here?

Our neighbors are a diverse bunch, but the anchors here are the people descended from Spanish settlers who received land grants from the Governor of the New Mexican Territories in the 1830's.  Vigil, Montoya, Martinez, Trujillo, Chacon, Lucero, Pacheco are names you see on the business signs, political banners, and in the government offices.  When people say, "He's not from around here," they might mean that the guy came here in the 1970's. Forty years living in one place does not make you an insider around here. It's kind of like New England in that way, insular and not always amenable to change.
Spanish American residents of Mora, New Mexico, way back when

Most of the full time residents in our area seem to be land rich and cash poor. Because it's so isolated, it is hard to make a living, the kind of living where you make lots of money. It has been described as like Appalachia in some ways, with poverty being the biggest similarity. A few people commute to work in Taos, a 100 mile round trip, or have jobs working for the county of Mora. A significant number of these local people have college degrees and returned here because they like a quiet, safe atmosphere. When you listen to people around here talk, there's a bit of a Spanish accent which I heard someone describe as the Northern New Mexico lilt.

So who else lives here? Old hippies who home school their kids, eat vegan and do odd carpentry jobs to make a living are our closest neighbors. They have no running water and haul it from a neighbor's well.  When the girls hit their teens, his water hauling increased enormously. Teen-aged girls require lots of water, you know.  Their oldest daughter is attending college, the next one was just accepted and will go in the fall. The two youngest daughters are home schooled. They are our closest full time neighbors, about a half mile away.

A retired police officer and his wife live a bit farther. He recently retired again-from raising yaks, when a mean one tossed him out of a corral. He was lucky to be wearing layers of clothing and overalls. Have you seen those yak horns?

About five miles away is David, a local who raises goats.  Mr. Cordova, in his 70's, raises cattle, and wonders if he is ready to hang up his cowboy had and move to town.

That's about it for full time residents.

Our adjacent neighbors on each side are entrepreneurs, oilmen, doctors, and the guy who designed the new Spaceport America.

It's an interesting mix. We were told that if we didn't take anyone's jobs, didn't want to change everything, and were good neighbors, we would be in good shape.

We buy eggs, cattle, produce, honey and soon, chickens to eat, from our neighbors. I figure why the heck not? Every village needs an economy.


  1. Bridget, this blog is excellent. Regards, Bridget

  2. Yep, I found it.

  3. One of the best aspects of living in New Mexico is the mixture of cultures. Love it!

  4. Thanks for the kind comments, peeps!


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