Winter in Ruidoso? Sleigh Rides!

If you are looking for something to do in Ruidoso, especially if it is kid-friendly, have I got the answer for you … sleigh rides!

During the summer we can enjoy Grindstone Stables horse rides. These are one-hour tours, and children 5 years and up can ride their own horse! If Special Needs is a concern, you can call [ (575)257-2241 ] and they might be able to help you with that too.

Grindstone’s carriage rides through mid-town will provide you (and your tired kids) with an awesome break from shopping. Plus, the experience is just phenomenal!

Their Sleigh rides are available from Thanksgiving ’till the beginning of January.

Horse-drawn sleigh rides through historic Upper Canyon, sleigh bells ringing, Christmas lights on every house, snow covered driveways, and neighbors waving and wishing merry Christmas is a magical experience. It doesn’t get better than that!

This is the one we took last year. We can’t wait to ride again this year!


 

 

 

 

 

#NMeats Culture, History, and Tradition; Bizcochitos.

So, you are visiting The Land of Enchantment and are looking for the culture, the tradition, the history…and also happen to have a sweet tooth?

Then a must try for you is bizcochitos; a treat where culture, history, tradition (and sugar) collide.

Bizcochitos became New Mexico’s official State Cookie in 1989, in an effort to help preserve this cultural tradition. The Spanish roots of this traditional cookie were, for centuries, influenced by all the local cultures  until it became a traditional New Mexican delight served at weddings, baptisms, and during the Christmas season.

“Bizcochito” is Spanish for “pastry”, and is flavored with cinnamon and anise. They are traditionally shaped like stars or crescent moons, and are paired with hot chocolate. Don’t worry if anise is just not what you are into, most bakeries avoid it for that reason.

If you are in the area, you can find traditional bizcochitos at Alamogordo‘s Amigo’s Bakery, Tularosa‘s Loredo’s Bakery, and Ruidoso‘s Cornerstone Bakery.

As with all foods, there is a slight difference between made from scratch, and store bought. If you enjoy baking, there are many different recipes for bizcochitos online.

Bizcochito recipes are family heirlooms handed down from generation to generation, and ingredients may vary. Lard, bourbon, Brandy, anise, orange juice, vanilla, red wine, etc.

NOTE: My personal preference is having milk hot-chocolate, instead of water chocolate. The richness and creaminess make for a great palate experience.

 

Wood’s Inspiring Nature

The previous owner of Casa del Rio (the home our family lives in today), told me a few of her stories about being a kid in New Mexico. One of those stories was going for walks with her Dad, and picking up palitos (sticks) and piedras (rocks) to bring back home. She had a couple of them in the house to hold doors open, which she left behind.

A google search showed me this is not an unusual practice, and it is strange to see that for so many of us, wood; with it’s shades, shapes, and textures, provokes such fascination. We bend it, shape it, carve it, roast it,  burn it, weave it, glue it, chip it…

And we chainsaw it…

Up on the mountain towns of the southwest, chainsaw carving is becoming a strong tradition. A bit because of the inspiring nature of wood; and a bit because chainsaw carving matches so well with the ruggedness, and wildness of the Spirit of the Southwest.

My friends at Bears R Us in Ruidoso posted this video, showing their process. After you watch the video, head over to their Instagram Gallery and see their work!

 

How to Find Fossils in New Mexico…

This is a question I had to ask! Leonard Witter came out of his Fossil Works lab at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science.

I was watching him through the glass, working on a fossil with a couple of sharp tools, and  a magnifying glass. He was focused, but noticed me staring. I smiled. He also smiled and then came out to see me.

He explained a bit about what he was doing, then I asked a couple of short questions and interrupted his answers by asking the one I really, really wanted to know.

Natural History Museums are a family favorite wherever we go. And the last time we visited Albuquerque, we just had to stop by.

Dad and the kids were almost done looking at the exhibition right next to Fossil Works, and before they came back, I really had to ask how could our family find fossils in the area where we live. I recorded his answer because I thought you would also like to know.

“My name is Bob Nichols… there’s no other place I’d ever live.”

When Bob Nichols said this to me, he had a spark in his eye.
I think you can see it in the video, albeit a bit hidden by the hat he’s wearing.

I see this spark whenever I talk to locals about the Spirit of the Southwest.
When I ask how would they define it, at first they look away, as if trying to look inside themselves to give me a thoughtful answer. And once they start sharing, bit by bit, there’s an energy that starts coming through their words.
I see that spark here and there while they say certain words or describe certain feelings.

There’s also this particular way in which New Mexicans carry themselves, and I can’t help but stare.
When I first saw Bob Nichols, he was browsing through some of the things at this local shop. He was quiet, minding his own business. I could see that, although he was aware of his surroundings, he (it seemed to me) only made the absolute, necessary moves.

The word “dignity” is what immediately comes to mind.

I think I understand a bit more of what those old Hollywood movies about the wild west were trying to capture. And it’s difficult to put into words just what the Spirit of the Southwest really is, or looks like, or feels like.

You just gotta visit…

Maybe I should go back and rewatch some of those…

This is Bob Nichols Ranch, when you visit, tell him I said hi.

 

The little things at the public library…

My mother used to say; “It’s the little things”, when talking to me about cleaning my messy room, talking while eating, or complaining about life. She meant to teach me that small details matter because they are the things that fill our days, and can make the number of days in our lives pleasant, or not. She is a wise woman, just like her own mother, and her lessons have stuck vividly in my mind.

The power of wise, strong women within a family, and in a community is one of those mystical ancient traditions that never fails to stop me right in my tracks, and take notice. My grandmother was one of them, and I kind of have this fifth sense for noticing them.

A few weeks ago I visited my local library, and while chatting with my librarian I saw a side of her I hadn’t seen before; then I realized … she’s one of “them”. Hanging out at “her” library is like hanging out at a friend’s house. They don’t just read there, they commune. There are happy kids there, not just doing homework or connecting to the internet, but enjoying each other.

Sometimes the feeling I get from just walking inside the library is that, at any minute, some friendly face is going to walk up to me with a tray of cookies and milk and ask for me to sit down and just chat. It could be, as the kids who volunteer and spend time at the library are so warm, friendly, and happy. They are Tularosa’s kids.

And the librarian? She doesn’t talk a lot. She’s also warm, and happy. She loves the kids, her job, the library, the future. I think she deeply understands that the job she’s doing is of great consequence. Her demeanor, the way she talks to the kids, the attention to detail in the choices she makes for the library…there is fire in there.

Why do I tell you this? Because I think this is also the fruit of the Spirit of the Southwest. Inner strength, ancient wisdom, deep care, and the occupation of the people who live here to work on what really matters in life.

You gotta visit…