Enchanting Stories of New Mexico - Episode 9 - From Candy Kitchen to Outer Space

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Episode 9 - From Candy Kitchen to Outer Space

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 an Old West quotation. I am fond of a quote from a Texas outlaw, Bill Longley, who was hanged in 1878. The charging document said Bill Longley was hanged for quoting here, unbecoming misdemeanors and violations of the sensibilities unquote. But he also did shoot a few people and that did enter into the calculation. So, on October 11, 1878, in Giddings, Texas they walked him up the 13 steps of the gallows. The Sheriff asked him, “Do you have any last words.” Reportedly, he looked out at the crowd that had gathered, “Well, now, I see a whole lot of enemies and mighty few friends.” Now that is a good quote.

We at The Fresh Chile Company of Las Cruces want to congratulate Virgin Galactic of the successful launch of Galactic 01, at Spaceport America near the town of Truth or Consequences, for their first scientific research mission crewed by the Italian Airforce and National Research Council of Italy. It is designed and will have Space Tourists for the 90-minute flights in the next month. The cost is half a million dollars, but it certainly is on many bucket lists to go into space. This has been an almost twenty-year process to develop the facilities and technologies and I was happy to see all that work come to fruition. It was a picture-perfect mission with lots of international attention of our little slice of paradise in Southern N. M. This starts the suborbital space tourist business which has been developed over many years. The White Knight Two did exactly as it should and the video and audio from Spaceport America was great. In the 1960s as a high school student, I followed the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo missions and was mesmerized on July 20, 1969, to see One small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind spoken by Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon. While this wasn’t in the same league, it was still thrilling for me to watch this. Onward they go.

When people come to New Mexico they find some towns have, how shall I say, very interesting names. There are not many towns I have not visited but there is one with a very unique name and history. It is south of Gallup fifty some miles and is called Candy Kitchen, New Mexico. The story I heard was that an area rancher during Prohibition, when it was illegal to have and sell drinking alcohol started making candy using Pinon nuts and sugar. Lots and lots of sugar. It was a smart thing to do since the authorities were watching for people buying lots of sugar to make illegal alcohol. His wife it seems made and sold fudge which established why he was buying so much sugar.

In reality, the candy was just a cover for his Moonshining operation as in he made illegal alcohol, don’t know exactly what kind but it reportedly made the bulk of his money since being a cattle rancher was not very profitable and the candy sales while good couldn’t compare to the White Lightning that area residents wished to buy. And, even after prohibition ended, he still was making his own Moonshine and so it was illegal though it must have been something some people in the area wanted.

Sorry, I don’t have the ending of the story other than he and his wife left or died sometime later and the Moonshining business ended. In fact, I don’t even know their name, but the name of the town is Candy Kitchen.

There is a couple hundred residents and interestingly, they have established a Wolf Sanctuary know as Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary with about sixty wolves. Great unusual name for a town in New Mexico, eh? Candy Kitchen, New Mexico. I’ll have to go there some day about fifty miles south of Gallup, New Mexico where I have visited many times.

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.

This being the 4th of July weekend, many people go boating and fishing around New Mexico. 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 of course if you catch something for dinner and use some Fresh Chile Company sauce or salsa, take a picture and on the Facebook page for the Fresh Chile Company post the picture and your recipe. We will be glad to see it.

Speaking of strictly New Mexico – today, June 30th and the first two days of July are the UFO Festival in Roswell New Mexico. The story is that Space Aliens crashed in the area. Well, actually about a hundred miles west of Roswell outside Corona, New Mexico, and the remains of Aliens who perhaps were not wearing their seatbelts were taken to Walker Air Force Base in Roswell New Mexico in July of 1947. In the last four decades there has been a Space Aliens Museum created and a festival that was small to start but now is much much more robust. People from all over the world come to rub shoulders with other Space Alien enthusiasts. They come and spend lots of money, a good thing since it is estimated to be several million dollars to the local economy. The best way for me to describe all the hoopla this weekend is that a good time is had by all. There will be lots and lots of music and other entertaining events. Prepare to see some unusual looking people or perhaps aliens. Remember, it is all in good fun.

Let me tell you about something that happened many years ago which speaks to the way my dear mother used the computer I gave her… again a long time ago. My old truck, which I sold long ago, required the turn signals be manually reset to the off position.

Forgetting to do so would leave the turn signal on and on and on. I got used to that. The radio had to be tapped twice when I changed it to the country station, but only once for the rock station. In fact, that old truck had dozens of quirks that I dealt with without thought.

The only rule I had for the truck was that I wasn't supposed to drive it any further from my house than I wanted to walk home. It was a good rule that was regularly tested. I finally fixed the truck by keeping the radiator cap and pushing a whole new vehicle under the cap.

Speaking of getting used to things, many years ago I gave a computer to my mother. I had moved up to a new computer and gave her my old one. It seemed like a good idea since I could think of lots of things she could do with a computer. She was game, but not really sold on the idea. I started to show her how to use it, and she took notes with a worried expression on her face like I wore for many years with my old truck.

We were just getting started when I happened to mention static electricity, which my parents had plenty of in their house. I told her that the way to get rid of it was to spray a small bit of a mixture of liquid fabric softener and water (twenty parts water to one part fabric softener) and she brightened perceivably. Finally, we had something she knew about -- fabric softener.

“Which brand?” she asked. "Doesn't matter," I said with a disregard for national advertising. She excused herself and went out to the kitchen where she rummaged a spray bottle to hold the anti-static mixture. She felt compelled to take care of the static. First she sanitized the bottle and mix up the spray. Then she carefully sprayed the area around the computer. I expected her to sit back down, but she drifted over to the TV and sprayed that area. My dad had a worried look on his face.

Then a neighbor came over, so my mother went through the whole routine about how to mix the anti-static spray and they took turns spraying down the hallway and did the master bedroom. Another neighbor came over, so they made tea and sat down to gossip. I waited at the computer. Finally I went out to my truck thinking I would drive to a store, but it wouldn't start so I went back into the house to await developments. More of my mother's friends showed up. I knew all was lost when one turned to me and said, "Isn't technology wonderful?"

My Dad waited a couple of weeks before he chastised me. "Your mother is spraying every square inch of the carpet in the house twice a day and hasn't turned the computer on once."

Well, I guess I gave her what she wanted. She loved the anti-static spray. Oddly, I think if she were alive today, the ability to e-mail her friends would ensure her use of that computer. She merrily sprayed the carpets for years. I bet there will be no static in that house for about 200 years. My dad got used to it and I no longer have a worried look except at car payment time.

Michael Swickard here with Enchanting Stories of New Mexico. 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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