Enchanting Stories of New Mexico - Episode 41 - Exploring New Mexico's Seven Wonders

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Episode 41 - Exploring New Mexico's Seven Wonders

Michael Swickard here. Welcome to Enchanting Stories of New Mexico sponsored by the Fresh Chile Company in Las Cruces. Our award-winning Hatch Green and Red Chile, boy is it good, is from locally owned farms in Hatch, NM, The Chile Capital of the World.

Have you ever thought about the Seven Wonders of New Mexico? There is a reason this week that I am thinking about this subject for my podcast. One of the wonders in New Mexico is even considered one of the Seven Wonders of the United States. Well, it may even be one of the Seven Wonders of the World. This week is the one-hundredth anniversary of President Calvin Coolidge signing a proclamation establishing Carlsbad Cave, yes I said Cave, as a National Monument. Coolidge said: in that there is a limestone cavern known as the Carlsbad Cave, of extraordinary proportion and of unusual beauty and variety of natural decoration… he went on about the Carlsbad Cave. In May of 1930 the United States Congress established Carlsbad Caverns National Park to be administered by the National Park Service under the direction of the Secretary of the Interior. The Cave became the Caverns. Better term.

I will talk exclusively this Wednesday about Carlsbad Caverns in its next one hundred years as one of the Seven amazing Wonders of New Mexico, the United States, and the World.

So that is to look forward to in two days on Wednesday. But today let us explore the Seven Wonders of New Mexico, as a concept. All the people who are pushing New Mexico for its culture and visual ability. I am with you on this. New Mexico with its clear blue sky and wonderful air. I think of New Mexico when I sing, O beautiful for spacious skies. But we don’t have amber waves of grain, we have For purple mountain majesties above the fruited plain. Oh, can’t forget, Chile, Red and Green and sometimes the combination of Red and Green Chile such as this year’s Big Jim Red and Green medium Chile. More about Big Jim Red and Green at the end of this podcast.

What are the unique best in the United States parts of New Mexico? I know it is a subjective list. If you have something for this list, email it to michael@freshchileco.com and I will make a list of New Mexico suggestions. I know for certain that on the list of Seven Wonders of New Mexico must be Carlsbad Caverns and White Sands National Park. A couple other places that would certainly make the list of New Mexico Wonders would be The Rio Grande Gorge Bridge, an arch Bridge over the Rio Grande Gorge about ten miles north and west of Taos New Mexico. What else? From my own driving around New Mexico, I must include Chaco Canyon Culture National Historical Park, about fifty miles directly west of Cuba, New Mexico. Know this: it is over some very rough dirt roads to get there, but worth it. I would also suggest the Sandia Peak Aerial Tramway which has an almost three-mile ascent to the over 10,378-foot peak of the Sandia Mountains. Do you have another Wonders of New Mexico to suggest? Email me: michael@freshchileco.com with your suggestions.

Michael Swickard here with Enchanting Stories of New Mexico sponsored by the Fresh Chile Company in Las Cruces, N M. Hit subscribe to automatically get these podcasts.

While it no longer has much practical use, a man named Edwin H. Land was lucky to have a three-year-old daughter, Jennifer who asked a question on a sunny day in 1944 in Santa Fe, New Mexico. They were walking around the town and after I took a picture of her she asked quite seriously, why can I not see instantly the picture you just took. Now I would like to call this the moment that being in New Mexico changed the photographic world.

Edwin Land was already an inventor and was 35-year-old. To cut through a long story he figured out how to make pictures that would develop themselves in a minute and you could show or hand the pictures right then after you applied a solution that made the picture permanent. He wrote: I suddenly knew how to make a one step dry photographic process and for the following three years made the very vivid dream a solid reality. That’s what being in New Mexico will do for you. In 1947 the Polaroid Model 95 was on sale for under $90.

Yes, I know it is a reach, but perhaps it was Santa Fe, or what he and his daughter had to eat that noon, perhaps it was green or red Chile. Perhaps. Oh, one final about the Santa Fe inspired Polaroid. President Lyndon Johnson presented Edwin Land the United States National Medal of Science in 1967. Way to go. And thanks to that three year old’s question.

Did you happen to see the 1996 Hollywood blockbuster movie, Independence Day? There is a bit of New Mexico in the first minutes of the movie. You see the Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array, radio astronomy observatory 50 miles west of Socorro, New Mexico. The 27 large radio antennas which are in a Y shaped configuration startle people driving along who did not know that they were there. Each of the 27 massive telescopes is on a double set of railroad tracks and a 28th telescope is always ready to take over if one of the 27 needs maintenance. The first one was started in 1972 and the group started in 1975. There is much to know about this project, and I will cover it one of these Wednesdays.

At one time New Mexico was right in the middle of Route 66. There was a song written by Bobby Troup during a ten day trip across our great country from Pennsylvania to California. He and his wife Cynthia made the trip in a 1941 Buick in 1946 averaging about 30 miles per hour during the ten hours each day of driving. Lots and lots of time to watch the scenery and work with the words. He was trying to work Route 66 into the song after they got to Chicago and they then followed Route 66 all the way to Santa Monica and the Pacific Ocean. He was going to write about U.S. 40 but his wife gave him the line, Get your kicks on Route 66 and the rest was history when artists, many artists used the song. It was 2,448 miles of two-lane roads. He mentioned in the song lots of towns along the way. His wife lamented later that he never mentioned Albuquerque. The Interstate Highway system ended Route 66 and now you see a piece of road here and there but it is no longer the route from Chicago to Los Angeles.

Michael Swickard here with Enchanting Stories of New Mexico sponsored by the Fresh Chile Company in Las Cruces, N M. Hit subscribe to automatically get these podcasts.

Mining of minerals has always been the center of activity for New Mexico. It brought thousands of people to New Mexico over the centuries with the hope of striking it rich. Some did. A few people did. Most came and left leaving little or no trace of themselves. I was looking at a website called The Diggings which is a trademark name. The creators look at all kinds of mining activity and keep track of those attempts that succeed and those that end. In their analysis of New Mexico, they listed over 3300 mines. Most common are Silver, Gold and Copper. Where are the mining activities the most activities? It was Grant county by Silver City. Also, Sierra county by Truth or Consequence and Rio Arriba County south of Chama.

I used to know some miners to the east of Capitan, New Mexico that had an iron mine. Very funny people who I drank coffee with at the Smokey Bear Café in Capitan back about 1980. The owner was mad one day. He said some government agent came to the mine and insisted that he put back up horns on his trucks so when they backed up they would go beep beep beep. Reluctantly he did as they ordered. A few weeks later the inspector was back. The backup horns were going beep beep beep and the inspector required them to stop until they were able to get hearing protectors to deal with the loud beep beep beep. I won’t say what he said at coffee that morning, but it was not flattering to the inspectors.

Say, do you know the Official State Gem of New Mexico. You will say, Oh yeah when I tell you. It is turquoise which was designated in 1967 as the official state gem of New Mexico. A little bit of turquoise information: most of the deposits of turquoise in New Mexico are near copper deposits of which New Mexico and especially south and west New Mexico have plenty. It is one of the oldest gemstones and New Mexico and Arizona are the largest producers of turquoise in the world. The robin egg blue color is most often used in the making of jewelry though you do see green turquoise. Native American artisans have used turquoise for jewelry for hundreds of years and if you want to find a good spread of this kind of artisan work go to Santa Fe where it is front and center.

I really appreciate the generations of farmers in Hatch New Mexico that have enabled Chile with an e to be a household taste. While the Fresh Chile Company has lots of great tasting Chile, I want to remind people that these are great days to bring out the grill and do some grilling. What besides great things to grill do you need? Why there are seven bold and savory flavor rubs and seasonings to really pick up your grilling. Start with Steak and Crop rub. It really adds a lot. Then there is Sweet and Spicy rub. In all there are seven good seasonings and rubs at the Fresh Chile Company website. That site is FreshChileCo dot com. Run it all together freshchileco dot com. Yum.

One more thing that is great about The Fresh Chile Company. It has Freeze-Dried Hatch Green Chile in 3, 6, and 12 packs. What I like about the Freeze-Dried is that no refrigeration is needed. It is so convenient, especially for people hiking.

But my favorite Chile to add to anything I am eating is the 2023 Big Jim Red and Green which comes in a medium heat. By far the best thing I have found to add to the flavor of whatever I am cooking. I don’t always say you should try something but here I will make an exception. You should try the 2023 Big Jim Red and Green. It is great.

One thing that happens when people live in Las Cruces or is in our 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. Come by the Fresh Chile Company Gift Shop. There is a big sign over the entrance saying The Fresh Chile Company.

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 as long as it is Hatch Valley Chile.” Bye for now.

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