Saturday, October 22, 2016

A Matanza for Patricia

"Hey, Bonnie!  Ya gotta come to the Mantanza for Patricia tomorrow!  It's out Isleta Blvd - bring Mike!  He'll like it!"  says Ron Paiz at Grandparents Day at St. Mary's School in Albuquerque.


Ron's daughter Patricia Paiz is running for Bernalillo County Commissioner (District 2) in the General Election coming up November 8th.  Patricia is outside of our District in the Northeast Heights of Albuquerque - but, hey, we gotta find out what a Matanza is!

In this country there is no better place to find the preservation of the old Spanish ways than New Mexico, as this state is well known for having been isolated hundreds of years by vast rugged distances and warring Indians.  In this case, the matanza was more of a political celebration event for Patricia - she also invited some of her fellow candidates on the ballot for Supreme Court (Nakamura), Secretary of State (Nora Espinosa), Judges.

So well preserved are the origins of the American West that even the 15th century "foundation" livestock scarcely available in other parts of the world thrive in New Mexico. You can still find descendants of the rugged, enduring, power house-in-a-small-package Spanish Barb horses, Churra sheep, and Corriente cattle. You can hear cowboy history in the old, spoken Spanish. Although these old vaqueros are increasingly hard to find, there remain a few smaller than average, more rugged than average Onate colony decendents who will speak to you in the 15th century Spanish of the conquistadores preserved through fifteen generations of oral tradition.

Happily, to this day, the romance of wide open western spaces lives on in New Mexico. The Spanish caballero, already sporting a legacy of proud horsemanship even before Columbus' arrival in North America, saw the first rodeos whenever young vaqueros had some free time, an opportunity to turn work into play, and to show off their skills.

Cooking is part of the fun ... isn't it?
 During the time of these first rodeos standardized rules and point systems were developed to determine who would win the vaquero competitions. "Jueces de campo," or rodeo judges presided over the rodeos to settle ownership disputes and assure that stock were branded correctly. Generally the vaqueros tended the stock on the open range until it was time to sell, brand, or butcher the animals. Anyone of these events required a rounding up of the animals - "al rodear." This was called a rodeo.

The killing (butchering) of an animal which frequently accompanied a rodeo was called a "matanza." The first recorded references to a Rodeo in the official republic of the United States are made in old New Mexico family journals.
Garrett lassoes his Dad, Ron Jr.

As matanza researcher Cynthia Martin explains “A traditional Matanza is a family and community-gathering event, with friends and neighbors helping in the labor-intensive job of processing a large pig, goat or sheep”.
So Bonnie and I had to help - see the photo, yes, we're cooking!  ? .. Sorta ...

“Taking at least an entire day, the process goes from the slaughtering the animal and butchering the meat to cooking the various meat products and preparing what is left for distribution and storage. Of course all those helpers also need to be fed, so the women in the family plan and prepare large amounts of food for the event.”

Today some Matanza celebrations are coming back. They are more in the tradition of Home cooking, Family and friends in the 21st century.
A special thanks to Patricia's donors and to all who participated in this Matanza, which we now realize is an ancestral legacy, left from the espanos. Historically the celebration was done in the winter to prevent spoilage and so the tradition is carried on in the winter today too.  But this one had to occur on a weekend prior to Nov 8th.  Don't forget to vote!
Bill Reed:  photographer and spouse of the Candidate!

Ron Paiz Sr, Rafael Padilla, Bernadine Paiz - our hosts!

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Hirsch Cousins Reunion: Nebraska - Sept 2016

   What an absolutely fabulous reunion!  Jim and Jan Webster, Patti Sue and Mike Gulley, Myrna and Ron Osborn, put so much into this, that I'm sure all the attendees will be talking about these great times for years!

  A major portion of Reunions is memories, and so many new ones were created over 23-25 Sept 2016.   A few of my favorites:

  • Friday dinner at the Albion Country Club, at the big rectangular table where Jim invited everyone to introduce themselves - that was quite interactive, and great fun!  Bethyne Hirsch Noble of Albion, the granddaughter of Jacob Friedrich "Uncle Jake" Hirsch (b. 11-17-1881), was a great addition and brought more clippings, family genealogy trees, and memories.

  • The Mystery Bus Tour - dang, that was an adventure!  and I was so impressed that even Aunt Pat hiked over to the old school house.  What is more perfect than a cemetery in the rain.  I enjoyed very mile on the Mystery Bus -  

  • Harry Heinie Hirsch - I had no idea he was even in the family, but Harry and his pet pig were a huge hit.  Or should I say lightning strike # 4.

  • Myrna and Ron Osborn's Sunday BarBQue - here we also saw Judy Dorau, who was going to be there no matter what!  And a group photo of 'blood cousins' with Aunt Pat featuring Ron Osborn's 1948 International, complete with corn dispenser!
  • Name Tags - thanks for doing this!   By Sunday I was the only one still loyally wearing my name tag!

This reunion of the Hirsch Cousins (and Harry and Pork Chop) was an absolutely delightful experience. Please contact any of the attendees for additional photos and information.

here is bit of the bio of Harold Heinrich (aka "Harry Heinie") Hirsch - for more details, contact Patti Sue:
  Harry was born in 1945 in Germany and first struck by lightning when he was 8 yrs. old.   He lost his hearing and was sent to Internat für taube Kinder (a boarding school for deaf children).  A year later he was struck again while playing on the Klettergerüst (Monkey Bars) at the school.  He regained his hearing and was returned to his home. The following summer he was struck a 3rd time while crossing an open field.  His parents were very concerned for his safety and for his mental state.  He was becoming increasingly nervous and anxious.  When ever storm clouds appeared he would barricade himself in the root cellar.  They decided to send him to the United States to live with Jake Hirsch in Boone County NE.  He adjusted to life on the Hirsch farm and was very happy and a hard working boy.  His hearing was not good and his ears had a constant ringing and buzzing.  That is probably why he did not hear an approaching storm one year after his arrival in Nebraska.  He was sitting on a stool out by the horse tank and focused on whittling a toy fiddle.  The bolt that struck this time threw him across the tank and into the cow pasture.  He jumped up and began running down the county road.  He didn’t stop running until he reached Beaver Creek, which was flooding out of its banks.
   After several happy years Harry one day strayed away from the cabin while searching for one of his porkers that was missing. Too late he noticed the gathering storm and high tailed back to the cabin as fast as he could go. Unfortunately, he was struck by lightening again, however; this time it brought back his memory.  On a clear day he returned to the Hirsch farm to tell them where he had been the past 3 years. They wanted him to move back to the farm but he felt compelled to dig a bigger and better subterranean dwelling about half way between the Hirsch farm and the McSwine cabin.  This new home was called “Harry’s Porker Palace,” and at the Porker Palace only the pigs live above ground.
   Harry carries a jug of Kickapoo Joy Juice with him at all times. And, he takes his pet pig “Pork Chop” with him wherever he goes. He thinks Pork Chop is a good luck charm that prevents lightning strikes. However it is a known scientific fact that when you have 6 contact points with the ground you are grounded and will not be struck by lightning. Harry plus Pork Chop, connected by the leash, equals six contact points. Voila!


Saturday, August 6, 2016

An Evening with Fred Harvey

When circumstances forced Rob and Susie Easterling to relinquish their tickets, Bonnie and I were able to partake of "An Evening with Fred Harvey" in Las Vegas, NM on Friday, 5 pm on 5 August 2016.  It began with a self-guided tour of the once fabulous Castaneda Hotel with each room highlighted by Harvey Girls in full costume.  
Bonnie and the dapper Fred Harvey (or a replica thereof, since Fred passed from this world in 1901)

A Harvey Girl outlines the kitchen techniques 
The bakery of the Castaneda would provide fresh baked goods (delivered by train, of course - sometimes in refrigerated cars).  The kitchen of the Castaneda would receive the orders for lunch by telegram by passengers on the train, and have them ready to serve by the time the train reached the station.

Once we completed the tour of the Castaneda, we headed over to the other end of Allan Affeldt's bookends in Las Vegas:  the Plaza Hotel where we enjoyed artichoke heart dip and duck quesadillas while we listened to a presentation by Dr. Nick Gerlich of West Texas A&M University, based on the book "Appetite for America" by Stephen Fried.  

Prof.Gerlich taught us two new words:  hiraeth (Welsh:  yearning to go back to a place or time you once experienced; similar to nostalgia); and anemoia (yearning to go back to a place that you never actually experienced).  

Why can't the restoration of the Castaneda proceed?  Turns out that all the finance pieces, including the elusive tax credits, must be in place before work can commence.  Here's a recent response from the Executive Director of the New Mexico Tax Credit Authority:

Thank you for letter regarding the Castaneda Hotel.  We fully understand your excitement for the project and have great regard for Mr. Affeldt and his experience with historic hotels.

The New Mexico Finance Authority operates a company called Finance New Mexico, which is one of many federal New Markets Tax Credit providers in the nation.  Our program utilizes established criteria to rank applications seeking financing.  To date, the applications filed on behalf of the Castaneda/Plaza Hotels have not reached the required points necessary to move on.  Given the way our program operates and the way in which Mr. Affeldt is developing these projects, it’s possible that there may not be a fit.  However, it’s possible that the project can move forward with another NMTC provider.  The New Mexico Finance Authority expects to open another round of applications in September and all projects located in qualified, rural communities are encouraged to apply.

Thank you again for your letter.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Goalball Tournament

Goalball is a recognized sport, and has a good write-up in

We traveled to Tucson to see our granddaughter in the goalball tournament.

Success! Standing Rib Roast for Christmas Eve Dinner

First time ever:  Bonnie is going to cook a Standing Rib Roast for Christmas Eve Dinner.  We go to Whole Foods on brother-in-law Dick Blide’s advice, and order two weeks before pick-up date, 23 Dec.  On that day, I go to pick up roast, and guess what?  They can’t find our order!  So the kid grabs another one out of the display counter and chops it down to 12.25 lbs.   And this comes with no rub, but with Whole Foods sticker shock:  $171 price tag.  My Christmas Spirit is going fast.

Around 10 am on Christmas Eve morning, we start to work on the roast, which we want to serve for 4 pm.  OK, now Bonnie's concerned, because she was serrating the fat and cut two of the six strings that were binding the roast - and you cook the roast with the strings on, yes? Amazingly, Bonnie finds similar string in a kitchen drawer and splices the cut strings.

Time to go to the phones.  We contact my USNA ’63 classmate in Florida, Steve Coester.  Steve is the expert, and comes back with detailed instructions: 

Take roast out of fridge two to four hour before cooking. Preheat oven to 450. Cook twenty minutes and reduce heat to 325. Cook another two or so hours. Use a meat thermometer and don't believe this 140 crap. If you like it pink, remove at 110-120. It will continue to cook after removal. Let sit twenty minutes before carving. There's a zillion different ways to spice/coat the roast. This year I'm just using salt, pepper and mashed garlic.

For your altitude [5600 ft], all I could find is it will take longer.  Trust the thermometer!!!!!!!!!!!!! Total time at sea level should be 2 1/4 to 2 3/4 hours  for your size roast plus additional time for altitude. I'd start checking the internal temperature at about two hours. Also don't keep opening the oven door to check how pretty it looks. You'd just lose the heat.

In my fifty years of cooking these things I've found out it is pretty hard to screw one up. One year I used bay leaves on it and my son in law Bodie (now deceased) ate one and had a terrible allergic reaction. No bay leaves since!

Our kid at the butcher shop said to cook it for approx. 6 hours!  Big difference from Steve, who is saying in the range of 2 1/2 hours.   OK, we'll look at the thermometer - Bonnie has one old one that is of type 'stick in the roast' thermometer, but unfortunately she doesn't trust it - I don't know why.  She also has a candy thermometer that you apparently wave at the roast.  And she has one of her kid's thermometer that may be a rectal one.  Don't go there.

Trust the temp, Steve says.  But why is the 140 degrees crap?  110 to 120 degrees is OK, so we'll start with that.  I understand that a roast will keep cooking for awhile after removal from the oven, but ... is 140 just too much?  
And:  do you cook it bone side down?  Bonnie thinks yes. 

Since Bonnie doesn’t trust her meat thermometer, we take up Dick Blide on his offer to loan us his fancy wire thermometer – but his daughter Leslie used it last year, and he doesn’t know how to operate it. Neither do we, and it lists no brand name.  It consists of a probe and an LED monitor connected by about 36" of uncoated wire. What?  We search the Internet and come up with a similar model by Taylor.

Our first challenge is to convert the screen from degrees Centigrade to degrees Fahrenheit, as we don’t want to be doing conversions throughout the process.  The users guide on-line says “press the Menu button” but we have no menu button.  Finally, Bonnie thinks to turn the thing over and on the back we find a tiny button that turns out to be labeled C˚ - F˚.  I try to move the button from left to right.  That don't work.  Bonnie pushes it and ... it works!  But what about this wire?  On-line we find some reassurance: 

Q:  “Just got a new meat thermometer and have a question. It has a coated wire from the probe to the thermostat. Can I leave the probe in the meat and close the door on the wire or do I have to just spot check the meat. The thermostat has an alarm and can be set to go off at a certain temp. I've always used the old fashioned analog thermometers, so not sure if the wire will burn.
Answer:  “You can close the door on it, they're made to work that way. The wire is tough. Close the door on it, tie it in knots, run over it with the family car.  I finally figured mine out, after having it for three years in the drawer, and they're wonderful! Meet your new best friend.”

Now we’re in business.  Bonnie adds a rub of salt, pepper, garlic salt, and places roast in oven at noon, at the higher temp of 450˚ F.  After about 20 minutes, she drops temp to 350˚ F.  It’s entertaining to see the temp rise on the monitor on our thermometer – we don’t have to peer into the oven, we just read this easy LED screen!  

The LED screen reads 98˚, then 106˚, still rising.  At two hours, it reaches 130˚ F.   We take it out to consider where we are, but Bonnie says don’t cut into it, we don’t want the juices to escape.  It looks not bad, but Bonnie decides another 30 minutes is good for her family, which is not into rare meat.  Back in it goes and the temp climbs on the monitor quickly again.  After about 30 minutes, the monitor is at 139˚ F and we take it out, let it sit for 30 minutes and declare victory.  Bonnie works on making au jus.  

Family arrive and are hungry; I start carving at 4 pm, eschewing the electric carving knife in favor of just a good sharp manual knife.  Oh boy, the end cut slices off nicely, and looks great!   I keep slicing, and adding the slices to Bonnie's large serving platter.  Beautiful!   Goes from well done end cut to medium rare in the middle cuts.  Plus we get a couple of ribs.  Bonnie has produced mashed potatoes, broccoli, salad.  Everyone raves!   Great dinner!  We have a new talent!   And Dick Blide says, "Keep the meat thermometer.  I'll know where it is if I ever need it."  Hurray for Christmas! 

Summary:  At Albuquerque altitude, after the 20 minutes at 450, go to 350 degrees and maintain until about 140 to 145 on the temp gauge.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Fashion and Fun


Job's Daughters International is an organization of young women with members in the United States, Canada, Australia, the Philippines and Brazil.  Charlene's mother is a Past Honored Queen and was instrumental in starting Bethel 2 in Albuquerque.  The Bethel is open to young ladies from age 10 to 20.

One of the activities of Jobs Daughters is Fund Raisers, and on Saturday 11 April 2015, the group teamed with Chico's and Silk Road Connection to do just that.  "Spring Into Fashion" featured six girls and one mother as the corps of models, and Bonnie and I learned quite a bit about Spring Fashions for 2015, and how to accessorize them.  Buddha bags are in!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

50 Years Out and Sailing Home

Goldilocks and the Silver Fox headed for Annapolis, Maryland (is there any other?) in late October, and once again I received two validations:  1) USNA Classmates are close forever, and 2) Bonnie is a trooper and a great partner in Life, 4th Quarter.
Non-stop flight ABQ-BWI on Tuesday brought us to the Country Inn and Suites that evening.  After unpacking, we headed out in the dark to parts unknown, and neon lights drew us in to Buddy's Crabs and Ribs, a second story seafood place in downtown Annapolis that had ribs for the non-seafood Bonnie - and yes, it was named for his best friend Buddy.
Wednesday was ours to spend as we wished, heading toward dinner that night with brother Pete and friend Little Bear at The Chart House in Alexandria.  I thought it best to locate the Chart House first, in the harsh light of morning.  We headed for Alexandria, unfortunately I programmed in One Commerce Street when Chart House is at One Cameron Street - so we undertook a nice walking tour of Old Town Alexandria. On our return long walk to One Commerce Street, we stopped at La Madeleine's, one of a chain started in Texas by a Frenchman who befriended either Neimann or Marcus.  Set up as a French Bistro, once you figure out the routine it is a great place!   I had a bowl of hot soup, and we split a hot pasta and turkey sandwich plus a tart or two, relaxed and used the facilities.
Back in our rented Toyota Camry, we headed for Pete's Place, which is at the far end of the Metro, Yellow Line - but we had to call him to find out that although you can walk to it from his condo, to drive to it takes a little more doing:  more on Huntington than South 1st.  Very nice Metro folks helped re-familiarize me with buying two passes, $8.45 each, for round-trip to WWII memorial on the Mall near Smithsonian stop.
 Switched to Blue Line at L'Enfant Plaza, and got off at Smithsonian, to realize just how big the Mall is - so how did they close this place to the Vets?  Long walk to WW II, and the volunteers at the Info booth confirmed that there are no shuttle buses for the Mall area.  We started walking to the Martin Luther King memorial to catch a cab, but ended up back on the Metro, near the Dept of Agriculture (nice display of real corn and squash growing outside!  Farmer's Market every Friday morning!).
Meanwhile, Pete had asked to move up our dinner date from 6 pm to 5 pm - but hey, it was only 4 pm now, so why not stop by Arlington Cemetery and visit my parents' graves?  Not a well-thought out plan ... turns out Arlington is closed to vehicles now, and Section 23, Bonnie finds out, means it is ~23 miles from the entry point.  Turns out the Paris Boots Bonnie has been wearing for this day are not great after all for long walks - we had already walked all over Old Town Alexandria, the Mall, and now Arlington ... Bonnie had to take her socks off, then her boots, and traipsed barefoot across soldiers and sailors all the way to Section 23.  Even worse, I had not asked for a map of where Blackledge, Allan D was buried because, of course, I should be able to find it again, right?  Wrong!  Bonnie actually was a tad upset that I had pushed her on this Death March to Section 23, and had no idea where the marker was.  If I had a smart phone ... I could have called up this photo by David McInturrf on - see the marker for Dorothy in the background? Allan is on the obverse! And just 3 rows back from Sigbees Road!  See the Maine Mast peeking through the tree? See the dang tree?  Easy to find!   However, at least we had a fun Korean family accompany us out, and (even though Bonnie hid in a large bunch of kids) re-found us on the way back.
I had to call Pete to tell him we were wandering through Section 23, it was already 5 pm, and we were an hour out from Chart House.  However, wandering back to the entry and towards the Metro, and ducking Koreans, I had the thought, why not take a cab?  But then we had to walk from the last cab in the line up to the first - it's protocol - to get our cab.  The cabbie was living the real American dream, old school - he was from Ghana and had three sons, two daughters, was helping his younger daughter with her homework, this was the second of two jobs, and he showed us the text book he was studying in the cab for his next test as a bus mechanic.  Wow!  And Pete and Little Bear were surprised that we made it by 5:30 pm!  Pete even bought dinner for us!  Great day!
Oh yeah, the Reunion?  See next Blog!
   -  Silver Fox