Enchanting Stories of New Mexico - Episode 6 - Hydrogen Blunders & Territorial Wonders

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Episode 6 - Hydrogen Blunders & Territorial Wonders

Michael Swickard here. Welcome to Enchanting Stories of New Mexico sponsored by the Fresh Chile Company in Las Cruces, N M. 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. Monday and Friday regular and Wednesdays, people.

Today I will talk a bit about Writer Eugene Rhodes, tell a couple of history notes and mention that at one time in 1957 a hydrogen bomb was accidentally dropped on Albuquerque. Oh, you want to know that story right now about a Hydrogen bomb being accidentally dropped on Albuquerque in 1957. OK. In the flight of a B-36 from Biggs Field in El Paso Texas to Kirtland Air Force Base, Albuquerque New Mexico in May 1957 there was an electrical malfunction of the safety system and a large Mark 17 Hydrogen bomb fell through the closed bomb bay doors to the dismay, to say the least, of the crew.

May 1957 was when I was in second grade at Wherry Elementary School just on the Sandia Base at Louisiana Blvd and Gibson Road there in Albuquerque. Did I know about it at the time? Nope, the munition charges went off went it hit the ground about five miles from the Kirtland Air Force Base tower, but the 42,000-pound hydrogen bomb did not. It hit an uninhabited area owned by the University of New Mexico and left a twelve-foot-deep crater. In 1981, in response to a Freedom of Information Request, the story came out and was in all the newspapers. You can find it even today. When people talk about Oppsies, now that was the biggest Oppsie.

On this week in 1861 Henry Connelly was appointed the sixth Territorial Governor of New Mexico by President Abraham Lincoln, the first time a New Mexico resident was territorial governor. Born in Kentucky, he trained as a medical doctor in Lexington, Kentucky. With a group of traders, he came to the Santa Fe area in 1824, not as a medical doctor but to trade goods. From 1828 to the 1840s he lived in Chihuahua, Mexico and returned to New Mexico to live in the small town of Peralta, about twenty miles south of Albuquerque. In 1846 to assist in the negotiations preparing for the bloodless capture of Santa Fe and subsequently New Mexico by Brigadier General Stephen Watt Kearny. As governor five years, he knew the struggles of New Mexico. During that time the state itself shrunk to half the original size since Arizona was split off. Henry Connelly died in office but was thought as one of the best Territorial Governors. He was followed by Robert Byington Mitchell, considered the worst because for two years he did not take the Governor’s office seriously and very often was out of the state.

Then there were nine Territorial Governors not from New Mexico. The next New Mexican Territorial Governor was an interesting person. A New Mexico county was named for him, and it is tied to a New Mexico mystery , who killed Albert Fountain and his son Henry? Miguel Antonio Otero II was appointed Territorial Governor by President William McKinley (another New Mexico county name.) I will talk about him and the Fountain murder in another Podcast.

More history of New Mexico: this week in 1898 railroad tracks made it into what is now Alamogordo. The town did not exist until Charles B. Eddy brought a railroad to the area and laid out the town. Eddy shipping 44 thousand pounds of cottonwood trees into the new town from which the town gets its name, Alamogordo, Spanish for large or fat cottonwood. The lumber industry along with the railroad provided work and farmers planted orchards because the railroad could get their goods to markets. The intent of the railroad ultimately was the Capitan area for a type of coal that is low on sulfur prized by the steam locomotive companies. Where this really changed things is that a spur ran up to Cloudcroft and the tourist destination was enhanced. You can still see some of the old railroad up to Cloudcroft. My maternal grandmother Frieda Greenberg taught school in the Cloudcroft area in 1908 in a one room school. All grades were together. It was a hard work keeping the fire in the stove going while taking care of the students. A few years later she moved to White Oaks with her sister Kathryn.

At this time in 1935 there was a sudden change as to one of the Senators from New Mexico in the U.S. Senate. Senator Bronson Cutting was killed when his DC-2 airplane crashed near Atlanta Missouri. He was flying from Albuquerque to Washington, DC. Cutting was a newspaper owner and a former classmate and friend of Franklin Roosevelt. The year before the political contest for senate was very intense with House Representative Dennis Chávez coming within 1300 votes of ousting Cutting. In fact, Democrat Governor Clyde Tingley named Chávez to the senate seat the next week. Senator Dennis Chávez served four terms in the U.S. Senate and served until his death in 1962.

Elephant Butte Dam and Reservoir is happily 28 percent full. One year ago, it was at 10 percent, so the winter snows have had a great effect. I was told last year that the water in Elephant Butte was so shallow, how shallow? Only half of the rocks were covered when you were boating. Caused some language from boat captains when they broke a prop or punched a hole in the boat. Now there is enough water for boating, fishing, and agriculture. A blessing indeed.

Remember, if you have some fresh caught fish, a few spices and lots of good Green Chile it will make for a great dinner. But there is more. Here is an opportunity for culinary fame. Take a picture of your freshly caught and then cooked fish dish with Fresh Chile Company seasoning, be it dry rub or salsa and submit it to us and you can join our thousands of cooks in our Chile cooking section. Upload your pictures on Facebook and tag The Fresh Chile Company or ask to join our private group called Fresh Chile Cooking and upload there.

On the Fresh Chile Company website there is a large section of recipes using The Fresh Chile Company products. Even I have one about making beef jerky with some fine Green Chile as flavoring. You can get some good ideas and again, if you want you can submit your own favorite ways of cooking with Chile.

I am asked at times about the fire roasting of Green Chile. Smells wonderful and the sound is great. I even think there should be a white noise machine that isn’t the gentle sound of rain, rather is the sound Green Chile makes as it is Fire-roasted. Now you need to know that it isn’t to cook the Chile. The outside waxy layer is quickly scorched to a char, allowing the removal of the outer skin without damaging the insides. The plant produces a waxy coating to keep moisture inside the Chile Pepper while it is growing. Fire-roasting prepares the outer skin for removal and gives the Chile meat a wonderful flavor. This roasting can be done commercially or in your own home using your gas stove or backyard gas barbeque grill. Then the roasted Chile is packaged for use immediately or put into freezer bags for later use. We have several videos of Fire-roasting on our Fresh Chile Company website if you want to see how to do it.

One of my favorite writers was busy a hundred years ago telling stories about New Mexico and the people of that day. Eugene Manlove Rhodes was his name. He died June 27, 1934. He has many novels and short stories. In fact, there is a 1948 Hollywood movie, Four Faces West with Joel McCrea, still available. Eugene Rhodes is credited with the phrase, Land of Enchantment in a story in 1911. He wrote: A land of mighty mountains, far seen, gloriously tinted, misty opal, blue and amethyst, a land of enchantment and mystery.

Part of my enjoyment is his western humor. Rhodes had a ranch up in San Andras Mountains which was far from towns. Naturally, men on the run from the law, outlaws, would come by at all times of the day or night. He provided a meal and a place to stay. He conveniently never watched them ride away so he could honestly say he didn’t see which way they went if he was asked. He was asked why he allowed outlaws to stay at his ranch. He smiled, First it wasn’t healthy to say no to outlaws and more importantly, outlaws was more interesting than in-laws.

One thing that happens when people live in Las Cruces is that they can come by the Fresh Chile Company Gift Shop. It is located at 1160 El Paseo Rd, Suite D7A in Las Cruces, NM. It is open Monday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. No need for shipping when you live close by.

If you are living far enough away to ship: If you buy 12 jars, we offer Free Shipping if you live in the lower 48 states (excluding Alaska & Hawaii). Stock up and make sure you always have plenty of that which makes everyone smile: Hatch Valley Red and Green Chile. And a case of that delicious Chile would make a great present for someone who moved away and still has a taste for Hatch Valley Green and Red Chile. Also, if you buy three jars, we will donate one jar of our award-winning Mama’s Salsa to a local food bank in New Mexico called, Casa de Peregrinos. They provide school lunches and much more to those in need in our community.

This is Michael Swickard with The Fresh Chile Company Podcast brought to you by The Fresh Chile Company. Thank you for your time today. We will always have lots of News and stories about New Mexico for you on this Podcast, If you have something you want me to talk about in a future podcast 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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