Enchanting Stories of New Mexico - Episode 10 - Windmills, Barbed Wire, and Hatch Green Chile

Welcome to the Fresh Chile Company Podcast - Enchanting Stories of New Mexico. Tune in to listen to all things New Mexico Chile, and other enchanting facts about New Mexico.
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Episode 10 - Windmills, Barbed Wire, and Hatch Green Chile

Michael Swickard here. Welcome to Enchanting Stories of New Mexico sponsored by the Fresh Chile Company in Las Cruces, N M. Thank you for joining us. Our award-winning Hatch Green and Red Chile is brought to you from locally owned farms in Hatch, NM, The Chile Capital of the World. Hit subscribe to automatically get these Podcasts. Know this: on Mondays and Fridays I do Historical and Cultural aspects of New Mexico and every Wednesday I do a tribute to someone or several people important to New Mexico.

First, let us do a Western quotation. Reba McEntire, the singer and actress said it: I grew up in southeastern Oklahoma on a working cattle ranch, and it was always very romantic to me. The West, the cowboy, the Western way of life.

Amen Reba. Love your singing, acting and your reverence for the Western way of life which I share. Farming and Ranching is central to my growing up, even though I was born at Holloman Air Force Base a couple blocks from the flight line and lived on many military bases. My summers were often spent in the Carrizozo area around ranching and Roswell around farming. As an adult I lived in Carrizozo and Capitan around the Ranching community though at the time I owned The Lincoln County News, a weekly newspaper. Around the desert southwest, it brings those Western feelings to the surface with me when I see a Windmill, especially if I see the Sucker Rod going up and down and the Discharge Pipe spewing water.

The quote West was won, unquote, by the use of Windmills and Barbed Wire, though as I usually do in these discussions I also credit the Railroad because with it the cattle went to market quickly and without walking off some of their pounds.

Here in our little slice of paradise, water throughout history was only a hundred or so feet away. But it was covered with a hundred feet of dirt which if you have spent much time on the power end of a shovel you know makes it hard to get to the water. More so, even if you went down a hundred feet to water you still must get the water to the surface where you need it.

Enter the windmill in the 19th century with inventions of Daniel Hallady and Stuart Perry. Windmills had been around for thousands of year often to grind corn but here the windmill pump was applied to the need for water by ranchers. It converted the wind blowing, which it does pretty much at all times around here to the lifting of water to the surface.

The Barbed Wire allowed ranchers to not have to chase over a wide area to recover their own grazing cows. For many years the grazing cows intermingled with other cows, and they had to be separated at a roundup before going to market. Barbed Wire enabled skipping a roundup.

You need a lawyer occasionally, you need an accountant occasionally, but you need the production of the ranchers and farmers to feed people three times a day. And me, I need Hatch Valley Chile every day. Yes I do.

This being the first full week of July, it is a great time in New Mexico to go boating and fishing around New Mexico. There is a connection between boating and fishing. If you are fishing and do not catch anything, happens to me, then I say oh, I was just out there boating. Though one time I was riding in my brother’s Bayliner boat and was just casting the fishing pole without any bait on the hook to hear it go zing zing zing. I didn’t want to catch any fish, I just liked the sound and casting. After a cast I would reel it in and make a cast again. This was relaxing to me. Then it happened. I caught something and said to my brother, slow down I caught something. Impossible, he said, you didn’t have any bait. As I reeled in my catch, it turned out to be three very nice fishing poles and reels that obviously had fallen off someone’s boat and were just under the surface of the lake water because they mostly floated.

Yep, my brother Bill got the three very nice fishing poles and reels that best I could tell had not been in the lake water very long and I got a nice story to tell and of course a picture of my catch. Now if I could just find that picture.

We have had the blessing of lots of winter melting snow water from the mountains of Colorado and Northern New Mexico that has increased the amount of water in our rivers and lakes. Fishing is good most places and you should know that NM Game and Fish does stock fish which ensures a good chance of catching something.

Example, this last week they stocked 32 areas with Channel Catfish, 8,500 of them. Now remember that if you catch something that would look and especially taste good, we would like to have you do something. If you use some Fresh Chile Company sauce or salsa, take a picture of your catch and cooking creation and on the Facebook page for the Fresh Chile Company post the picture and your recipe. We will be glad to see it.

This is Enchanting Stories of New Mexico sponsored by the Fresh Chile Company in Las Cruces, N M. Hit subscribe to automatically get these. Thanks for turning in. We have more.

When people come to New Mexico they find some our towns have, how shall I say, very interesting names. And sometimes when I mention one of these, how shall I say, New Mexico towns with really unique names at times I have to send people to the internet to show the disbeliever that said town does in fact exist.

Example: in Otero County there is the small settlement of Bug Scuffle, New Mexico. There is a Mountain Ridge Bug Scuffle Ridge, a hill called Bug Scuffle Hill and a small settlement call Bug Scuffle Hunting Lodge. At the townsite there are perhaps a hundred houses, some just basic in nature and some very nice and because the area hinges on hunting. Much of the year there is not many people. It is about eight miles on a dirt road to the highway between Cloudcroft and Timberon. A nice road sign is there on the highway to indicate that going west on a dirt road will get you to Bug Scuffle. I have been there.

Michael Swickard here with Enchanting Stories of New Mexico. You know every day is someone’s birthday such as yesterday was the Fresh Chile Company’s Manager Robert Pirtle’s birthday and tomorrow, the 4th of July was the birthday of a much beloved Professor of Engineering at New Mexico State University. Daniel Boone Jett came to the college in 1926. If you are on the campus you know that the Engineering Building at Horseshoe Circle and Espina is Jett Hall. Though former students didn’t call him Dr. Daniel Boone Jett. Rather he was known far and wide as Dad Jett. He retired as dean of the Engineering College in 1947. However, he remained a professor of Civil Engineering for many years and during my interviews of people for the history of NMSU he was by far the most loved. A close second was Marion Hardman. In fact, just a little aside. Without Marion Hardman guiding me in the early 1970s, I would not be the writer I am today. These great professors made a lasting impression and Dad Jett’s birthday tomorrow, July 4th is number one.

Someone else who celebrated their birthday on the 4th of July was President Calvin Coolidge, born July 4, 1872. He was called Silent Cal for his ability to not speak unless it was necessary. He was Vice President when President Warren Harding (Harding County New Mexico) suddenly died. Lots of stories about him, such as a woman at a state dinner said to him, I bet my husband I could get you to speak at least three words. Coolidge replied, “You lose.”

Speaking of the Fourth of July, one this date in 1803, President Thomas Jefferson, our third president announced the Louisiana Purchase, effectively doubling the size of our country. There were a couple of problems, no one knew exactly where to draw the lines which is why the Corps of Discovery, the Lewis and Clark expedition was so important to put eyes on the Western side of our country. A great book is by Stephen Ambrose, Undaunted Courage, which details the expedition. Two interesting parts: only one person on the expedition died and it was from disease very early on and when the group got back to civilization in 1806, they were completely out of trade goods, food, but, get this, they had enough lead bullets and powder to do the trip again. Priorities, eh?

Speaking of New Mexico, June 24, 1806, 27-year-old Lt. Zebulon Pike was in command of an expedition to what turned out Colorado/New Mexico to map the terrain. They were captured near today’s Alamosa Colorado by Spanish soldiers from Santa Fe. They were taken through Albuquerque, Las Cruces, and El Paso, to the Mexican State capital of Chihuahua and then repatriated to the United States in Louisiana on July 1, 1807. Much of what the leaders of the United States knew about our area for many years was from Lt. Zebulon Pike’s briefing after he returned. He was treated with respect while captured and spoke well of the captors.

Three of the founding leaders died on the 4th of July. Thomas Jefferson the third President and John Adams, the second President of the United States. Both died within hours of each other on July 4, 1826, the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. Finally, James Monroe, the fifth president died July 4, 1831.

Now for some good news if you love Green Chile. We are just around the corner from the harvest season for Green Chile, in fact, there are a few Green Chile peppers already being harvested, a few, and of course that means they are flame-roasted and turned into something delicious to eat. Fresh Chile Company’s owner, Randy McMillan has some video on the website of the Chile fields and a few Chile peppers that he cooked into a delicious dinner. Go to Facebook and follow the Fresh Chile Company to see those and many other videos. You too can be Chile famous.

What is coming in a few weeks with this harvest around the corner is that the Fresh Chile Company this year is offering a special reserve release of the Hatch Green Chile varietal Big Jim in a 16-ounce jar. Varietal means that this product will only be made with Big Jim Chile, which is sweet and has a medium heat level.

Big Jim is very popular in New Mexico restaurants & homes. In 1975, Big Jim was listed in The Guinness Book of World Records as having the largest Chile Pods, perfect for Chile Rellenos. It was developed by Chile Researcher Dr. Roy Nakayama at New Mexico State University. It is a hybrid of New Mexico Chile Peppers and a Peruvian pepper that Nakayama and fellow researcher Jim Lytle combined. Big Jim is named for Jim Lytle who died unexpectedly at that time.

One thing that happens when people live in Las Cruces or happen to be in our little slice of paradise. They can come by the Fresh Chile Company Gift Shop at 1160 El Paseo Rd, Suite D7A in Las Cruces, NM. It is open Monday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

This is Michael Swickard with Enchanting Stories of New Mexico brought to you by The Fresh Chile Company. Thank you for your time today. We will have lots of News and stories about New Mexico for you on these Podcasts, If you have something or someone you want me to talk about, write to: michael@freshchileco.com

Have a great rest of your day. Oh yes and eat plenty of that good Hatch Valley Chile. Like I always say, “Some Chile is good, more is better.” Bye for now.

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