Buddy and Connie Sanchez of Corrales died less than three weeks apart in November; he on November 6 and she on Thanksgiving Day.
They had lived here about five years, after retiring in Colorado where she was well known as founder and owner of The Glass Warehouse which specialized in stained glass and fused glass art.
Eulojio “Buddy” Sanchez was born in Belen. After distinguished service in the Army, he returned to Belen and married Kansas native Connie Sue Hogan. They moved to Englewood, Colorado where he worked for Martin Marietta and she taught high school English. She went to work at a stained glass store when led to starting The Glass Warehouse.
Pieces of her glass art hang in churches and celebrities’ homes.
A celebration of their lives will be announced later. They are survived by his sister Ruth Morris, and his brother, Larry Sanchez, as well as her brothers Daniel, Tom and David Hogan and their families.
Artist Diane Cutter died November 18 at her Corrales home. She was a member of the Corrales Bosque Gallery artist co-op where her work was exhibited. She was especially known for her print making.
Born in San Francisco, she graduated from Albuquerque High School in 1963 and went on to the University of New Mexico. She was the eldest of nine siblings, and is survived by husband, Brian Robbins, and her daughters Tina Haladay and Susie Lazear and their families, as well as by her eight siblings.
A long-time resident of Corrales, Bob Slagle, died last November at 87. A delayed memorial service was held March 18.
Born in Nebraska, Slagle settled in the Albuquerque area in 1985. He opened Dayhoff Shoes on North Coors in the 1980s. He was a teacher and school counselor, retiring from Zuni Elementary School.
Among other activities, Slagle distributed clothing to the homeless on Saturdays.
He is survived by sons John and Joe Slagle and their families. His wife, June Slagle, and nine siblings died before he did.
Long-time resident of Corrales Rhea Rhodes died January 27 in Sedona, Arizona. She was 96.
Her watercolor painting were exhibited in France, Germany and Italy, as well as in the United States. In 1982, her work was featured in American Artist magazine.
After high school in Salt Lake City, she studied commercial art there and at the University of California Los Angeles. She moved to Corrales in 1967.
She is survived by children Nancy Louise Rhodes of Sedona and John Blair Rhodes of Amarillo, as well as brother Blaine Ricks Wilson. A memorial service was held in Sedona in early February.
The Batman Directed by Matt Reeves. Starring Robert Pattinson and Zoë Kravitz. Plugs: None. Nearest: Cottonwood Mall
The Batman —of course not to be confused with Batman or its many variation and incarnations— is set in a perpetually rainy, decaying, and gloomy Gotham City. Part police procedural and part political thriller, the plot involves a sadistic serial killer dispensing justice (or “justice”) according to his moral code amid the city’s upcoming election.
Along the way he leaves behind a trail of cryptic clues —so, of course, we know he’s The Riddler— about a master plan to rid the city of corruption. Shunned by the police who consider our hero to be a vigilante, Selina Kyle (aka Catwoman, played by Zoë Kravitz) soon shows up to help Batman solve the crime spree.
It’s obvious that director and co-writer Matt Reeves is fascinated by the idea of masks; most of the characters in the first few scenes are masked, and in fact we don’t see Bruce Wayne’s full face until an hour into the film. Masks are an interesting metaphor —and one I researched for my book Bad Clowns— though the treatment in the film is a bit superficial (of course masks provide anonymity and empowerment, but what else?). The film wants to say more than it does about this and other tropes, ranging from class warfare (we’re reminded that Bruce Wayne is among the so-called one percent, despite his family’s legendary philanthropy); to the toxic effects of social media; to the idea that the sins of the father are visited upon the son; to the fine line between confronting evil and becoming it.
The film has eerie echoes of real-life, ranging from the beginning of the film (in which African Americans threaten an Asian-American man) to the end (in which The Riddler’s plan includes a violent election-day takeover).
This version of Batman is a bit more cerebral than other incarnations, less enamored of gadgets than critical analysis. This is a refreshing change, and in some ways a return to his roots as a crime-fighting detective (the character first appeared in the May 1939 issue of Detective Comics). As with Sherlock Holmes, the way he pieces clues together is part of his appeal, though unfortunately Reeves gilds the lily by having Batman “cleverly” solve often incoherent and nonsensical clues.
The Riddler has always been a Grade-B knockoff of The Joker —which is not to say he’s not a fine villain in his own right. He’s got riddles and ciphers, but most of them aren’t clever even by the script’s standards. For example, one of The Riddler’s puzzles involves something “being brought into the light.” This of course can be a metaphor for pretty much anything, from a secret being revealed to an object being exposed to literal sunlight (I suspected it was some sort of photosensitive explosive).
But no, we eventually find out that the riddle somehow improbably knew for a fact that Batman would appear and do something at a specific place and time, when upon reflection The Riddler couldn’t have known any of it. In another example, Batman just happens to have a random conversation with a random cop who just happens to identify a specific tool used by The Riddler, and Batman just happens to get the idea to use the tool right then and right where he’s standing, which just happens to reveal the Riddler’s master plan, which just happens to occur just as Batman pieces it all together. Had that tool/weapon been tagged into evidence and taken to the police station —as would have been done pretty much anywhere— or if the cop hadn’t been there, or if he hadn’t happened to have casually commented on that tool at that time, or if any number of other events and coincidences hadn’t perfectly aligned, then the third act of the film would not have occurred. I hate to ding a comic book film for such a cartoonish cascade of convenient contrivances, but it undermines the tone of the rest of the film, which is studiously dark and brooding. It’s hard to take the plot too seriously amid such scripted silliness.
Robert Pattinson is a serviceable actor but struggles to command the gravitas of others who have filled out the Batsuit. He delivers most of his lines in a studied low growl, including the genre cliches such as “fear is a tool” and “I gotta do this my way.” Fortunately he is surrounded by the likes of John Torturro, Colin Farrell and Paul Dano, who elevate their scenes. Andy Serkis makes a brief, thankless appearance as Alfred the butler, serving his brooding charge.
The Batman is reminiscent of many other, better films, including Se7en, Phone Booth, Falling Down, and Zodiac. The film would make a pretty good two-hour movie, but is unfortunately padded out to nearly three, only serving to highlight its overly mannered style.
Despite the plot holes and ponderous pace there is much to say for The Batman, from the visual effects to the cinematography. A middling entry into the venerable franchise, it is worth a watch.
By Laura Smith
Keeping Your Gold in the Golden Years
Corrales is the safest city in New Mexico. Sometimes I send the Corrales Police Crime and Safety Report to my out of state friends, especially when it involves missing yard art or anything to do with chickens. Those that live in cities across the country are often amused (and a bit jealous) when they read our police blotter. The remarkable safety of our village is a tribute to our public safety officers as well as the watchful eyes of our close-knit community members.
However, one crime that regularly appears in the Crime and Safety Report, is surging in Corrales (and everywhere else). The criminals are multinational, and the victims are just about everyone.
The crime is fraudulent scamming. The crimes often occur online or on the phone and involve being persuaded to give up personal information, money, or identity to savvy criminals.
Who gets scammed? All age groups can be victims of fraud, but older folks tend to be slightly more vulnerable. I know of several Village in the Village (ViV) members who have been scammed. And the Corrales police blotter is full of examples of other members of our community that have lost money, time, and more importantly, a sense of security after being victimized.
Although the number of possible scams is as infinite as the imagination of the scammer, here are some of the most prevalent:
How do scammers get you to part with your money or identity? You might think that people with good common sense would be immune. But a recent, large research study conducted by the University of Chicago along with AARP found that lack of education is only a small contributor to being vulnerable to con artists. So, what leads to increased risk? You might be surprised.
How do you protect yourself from fraud? Con artists know that the best way to score a hit is to play on the emotional response of their victims. Strong emotions cause people to act without thinking. One of the most important ways to avoid becoming a victim of fraud is to stop and slow down. Do not react quickly or respond to urgent messages or requests to do something.
Additional steps you can take include:
Beware of criminals lurking in cyberspace. Before deciding, stop, think, and don’t let your emotions dictate your decision. Reach out to friends or family if you have any doubts. Even the most sophisticated consumers make bad decisions when their emotions supersede their logic.
Laura Smith is a member of Village in the Village. For more information about this non-profit organization, see VillageintheVillage.org
By Councillor Bill Woldman
Our Animal Friendly Village?
After several meetings over the past three years with the Village Administrator and the Police Chief, at the February meeting of the Village Council, I suggested purchasing a set of dog runs for Animal Services. I proposed this as an alternative to the current inadequate and unsafe concrete holding cells that have been created in the Old Fire Station for stray dogs. It seems to me, at that point, the wheels came off the car. I want to explain what that means, but I first want to go back in time, about 20 years.
In 1998, my wife, Barbara Bayer and I had moved to Corrales, encouraged by the sign notifying people that this was an animal friendly village. We had fled the North Valley and neighbors who did not want barking dogs in their little townhome enclave.
Barbara went to Corrales Kennel to look over the facility to see if we might use them to board our dogs when we had to travel for our business. It was at that time that she met Dan, the owner, and learned that the kennel housed Animal Services animals until their stray hold was up and they were transported to the Albuquerque shelter to be euthanized. Barbara started taking cats into our home and we started paying to board Corrales dogs so they wouldn’t be killed. That led to the formation of CARMA (Companion Animal Rescue and Medical Assistance) at which point Barbara told Dan and Animal Services that CARMA would take every animal once it was available, which in effect ended the contract with Albuquerque to euthanize animals.
There were many ups and downs in those early days as she and CARMA struggled with Animal Services Officers that didn’t care about animals, with many discussions about why a particular dog or cat should be given a chance. The effort to educate those who would not be educated is always challenging.
That changed when Frosty joined the Village as the Animal Services Officer. As a former police officer, he had the respect of his police colleagues and was given the authority to do what was necessary to do his job. I watched Frosty change as he was influenced by this village of dedicated rescue people who lent their efforts to help him save the lives of our village animals. Fundamentally, he liked animals, but he was also smart enough to realize he could work with the community to both save lives and save the Village money previously being spent on euthanizing animals.
He set up a contract with Corrales Kennel to hold runs for Animal Services, understanding that sometimes those runs would be empty, but also realizing that many times they would be over-filled, such as during holidays and during the peak breeding season in the spring through the early fall.
During his time in the Village, Frosty embodied all the best of Animal Services departments around the nation. He worked to adopt or foster out animals once their stray hold was up and he worked with rescue groups and triaged animals to them. Once the no-kill ordinance was introduced and passed by the Village Council, he made certain that animals leaving the village were protected and required, if an animal turned out not to be suitable, that animal had to be returned to the Village.
That is the genesis of the unwillingness to trust Animal Humane because they took a dog from Frosty that he evaluated as adoptable, and they ended up euthanizing him in direct violation of the commitment to return him to the Village. This is not urban legend, this happened.
Much has happened since Frosty retired. The rescue groups have continued to work with Catherine and Brya, two women to whom Frosty trusted to hand off his legacy. But their ability to do their job, to find fosters and adopters and to work with rescue groups has been seriously curtailed recently, and particularly since I suggested purchasing those runs. It was my intention, when I discussed using some of the funds we have access to, to set up dog runs so that our Animal Services Officers could more humanely house dogs awaiting the end of their stray hold. The current concrete cells do not have proper heating and ventilation or drains to aid cleaning. They are neither bright nor friendly for an animal that is frightened. Neither of the two cells would meet minimum standards for humanely housing animals.
The dog runs I have proposed for Animal Services are not intended to be a shelter, but this administration has used this request for dog runs as a way to undo all the progress we have made toward being an “Animal Friendly Village.” The citizens of the village care deeply about their companion animals and when situations occur and Animal Services needs to get involved, they want to provide the best care in these temporary situations.
So it is that in these final days of this administration, I understand that rescue groups cannot be given animals from Corrales Animal Services because they are not certified (no one knows what that means) and that the Village only has a contract with Animal Humane to take our animals (Animal Humane is paid to do that; rescue groups generally are not). Is Animal Services certified? Who did that?
The Village policy has now become that once the three-day stray hold is up, animals must be removed from the Village immediately. As far as I can tell, that also means the Animal Services Officers are no longer allowed to foster or adopt out animals since that might require them to hold on to animals more than three days in order to do the placement. This new policy assumes that when the Village has an animal, Animal Humane will automatically take that animal without question. So, what happens if no rescue groups are allowed to help and Animal Humane will not or cannot take an animal? What then?
Some of you may not be aware, but in February, 2021 there was a hoarding situation in which there were 65 animals that had to be removed from a home in the village. Individuals and rescue groups stepped up to help our Animal Services Officers and all the animals were placed within a few days. Does anyone think Animal Humane is able to absorb so many animals into their group, many of which needed extensive medical and emotional care?
This is not the first time Animal Services has had to deal with hoarding situations or a large number of animals in need of rescue. Every summer and fall, large numbers of cats and kittens and dogs and puppies find their way into Animal Services. When this is happening in Corrales, it is happening everywhere else, including Animal Humane. How can they be depended upon to take Corrales animals?
When I suggested adding humane runs to Animal Services, I had no idea the unintended consequence would be a draconian effort to send all our stray animals out of the village in order to show that runs aren’t needed to temporarily hold Village animals. In the final analysis, the chaos that has occurred (and make no mistake, it is chaos) has shown a fundamental flaw in the ability of the Police Department to understand and support a village that values and loves its animals. The Corrales Police Department does an excellent job of protecting the citizens of this village. But animal services is not a priority to them.
The Fire Department currently is responsible for all the large animal issues. I propose placing Animal Services under the Fire Department. Putting all Village animals, large and small, under one umbrella rationalizes animal care, makes training easier, and creates a department that addresses animal services as a community service, not a policing issue.
We need to be supporting our Animal Services Officers. I will be proposing a small working group to work with Animal Services to address refinement of the policies under which they operate to enhance their ability to do their jobs. This working group will be asked to report to the Villaage Council on a regular basis.
In the final analysis, the Village Council has the responsibility to see that our Village runs smoothly, and it is my hope that our new mayor will join us in the effort to provide a better understanding of what our citizens want when it comes to animals, both large and small.
For that reason, I am asking everyone to discuss with your Village Councillor your support for our Animal Services Officers as they work to find the best solution for the village animals in their care. There will be opportunities, in the near future, to voice your concerns publicly about how we can do things better to once again be an “Animal Friendly Village.”
Even considering the urgency of climate change and the relentless drought, villagers, their government and local institutions should choose to keep Corrales green.
As the Planning and Zoning Commission and Village Council continue to evaluate land use policies and assess changing priorities for water use, our agricultural heritage and long-standing community values should be retained. It would be a possibly irreversible mistake to transform the streetscape along Corrales Road to a xeric scene of gravel, wood chips, bark, yucca and cactus.
Of course, there’s nothing inherently wrong with that kind of landscaping: it’s just not appropriate as a wholesale application along Corrales Road’s business district. And even there, a little is okay.
The real problem would come if and when Corrales MainStreet implements an overall xeric look for the pending pathway project, or Village officials choose that for the proposed make-over for the Village Office complex across from Wells Fargo Bank.
The Middle Rio Grande Valley and Corrales bottomlands specifically should remain an oasis that attracts visitors and shoppers, and instills pride and satisfaction in residents returning home from work in the city.
Foresight is needed to avoid development, including landscaping, that would turn Corrales Road into an indistinguishable extension of the streetscape along North Coors Boulevard.
Should Corrales be doing its part to conserve water? Absolutely. The metro area has more than a dozen golf courses; Corrales has none. We tend to follow Albuquerque’s voluntary guidelines for watering residential greenery, including night time irrigation. Probably most homes here do use xeric landscaping, since most are in the more populous sandhills west of Loma Larga.
And there’s another crucial difference between average Corraleños’ water use and that of nearly all other residents of Albuquerque and Rio Rancho: flush by flush, villagers here return domestic water use to the aquifer (cleaned as it filters through soil and sand) while surrounding city dwellers send their wastewater to sewage treatment plants and then down the river. Although Corrales has a few pockets of groundwater contamination, those are largely or entirely confined to neighborhoods of higher residential density.
The Village Council should reconsider its just-approved recommendations for landscaping in non-residential areas covered in Chapter 18-40 of the Code of Ordinances. In paragraph (c) under “landscaping requirements for non-residential development,” the recommendation for ground cover is that “xeriscaping or usage of low water plants or native plants is encouraged.”
That’s okay, but let’s not overdo it. Plenty of native plants are well-adapted to infrequent watering and could be planted along Corrales’ business district and still keep the bottomlands green. Let’s avoid the knee-jerk response that our streetscape needs to be gravel, wood chip and cactus.
No one is saying publicly exactly how the Village of Corrales is being, or may be, sued over how it handles animal problems here. In a closed session during the Village Council’s March 8 meeting, officials made no decision nor otherwise informed the public what they discussed when they met in private “pertaining to threatened or pending litigation in which the public body is or may become a participant to discuss threatened litigation against the Village involving Animal Services.”
After the meeting, Corrales Comment contacted councillors for general information about who is threatening a lawsuit and why, but little or no information was forthcoming.
However, in brief remarks at earlier council meetings councillors talked of the Village starting its own animal shelter to take in stray animals. Councillor Bill Woldman, in particular, wanted that possibility considered.
Over the past decade, he has taken a keen interest in the Village’s animal control operations. His wife, Barbara Bayer, is the founder of the non-profit CARMA (Companion Animal Rescue and Medical Assistance).
On its website, CARMA says it has saved the lives of almost 5,000 dogs and cats over the last two decades and “turned the Village of Corrales into the first no-kill community in New Mexico.”
It was not clear from remarks at the March 8 council meeting whether Village officials, or members of the very active animal protection community here, are dissatisfied with the presumed “no-kill” track record of facilities to which apprehended or owner-surrendered animals here are delivered.
But Village Administrator Ron Curry reported to the mayor and council how many such animals are being taken in and what became of them. “In the 12 month period March 1, 2021 to
February 28, 2022, the Corrales Animal Control folks reported that 65 canines had been impounded and 37 of those canines were returned to owners, 16 were adopted, four were taken in by private rescue organizations and seven were transferred to the Sandoval County Animal Control,” Curry reported, “and one is still in Corrales awaiting transfer or adoption.”
Of the 38 cats taken in by Corrales Animal Services during the period, eight were returned to owners, 14 were adopted, 15 were taken to private rescue organizations and one was transfered to Sandoval County,” Curry said.
He said the average was 8.6 animal intakes per month or about two each week.
Perhaps crucially, he said the Village continues to get assurances from the organizations to which Corrales animals are transferred, such as the County facility, that this community’s no-kill requirement is honored. “We are not aware of any evidence which would support the allegations which were made at the February 8, 2022 council meeting that the Animal Humane or Bernalillo County facilities are always too over-crowded to make space for Corrales animals so that they refused to take them or that they kill other animals to make space,” the Village Administrator said.
He further reported that when the old Valley Fire Department building was renovated, the project included construction of two indoor holding pens for impound animals, and that a floor drain to clean out those pens will be installed this summer.
Curry summarized his remarks by suggesting that construction of the Village’s own animal shelter may not be necessary, given how many of the impounded animals are already being placed or transferred. “We need to make sure that we’re solving a problem that exists,” he concluded.
On a 5-to-1 vote March 8, the Village Council adopted new regulations to control land uses here, including such controversial topics as construction of casitas, commercial marijuana cultivation, senior living facilities and restrictions on walls and fences along the Corrales Road Scenic Byway. Passage of the re-vamped Chapter 18 of the Village’s Code of Ordinances regarding land use came despite Councillor Stuart Murray’s dire warning that it could have “unintended consequences that are going to bite us in the butt.”
He urged that a decision on the Chapter 18 rules be postponed to a special session March 15. “If we approve this as it is, it’s going to be a disaster,” he cautioned.
Murray said the proposed changes might inadvertently allow far greater residential densities, which could jeopardize groundwater quality. “With these changes, our controls over density can go out the window pretty quick,” Murray advised.
Other councillors were not persuaded, and saw a benefit to moving ahead with the long process without waiting until a new mayor and three council members are sworn in March 31.
At the council’s direction more than a year ago, the Village contracted with the Mid-Region Council of Governments to review, analyze and make recommendations to change Corrales’ land use policies. MRCOG planners were to collaborate with a committee appointed from the current Planning and Zoning Commission and citizens from neighborhoods all over Corrales. But that process had weak participation, as one of its members, retired architect Pat McClernon, pointed out at the March 8 council meeting. He said major recommendations were made without review from the appointed citizens until they were presented as the finished product.
McClernon was especially concerned about what he considered inadequate controls on residential density, adding that enforcement had been practically non-existent during the past three years.
Another concern voiced at the February 22 council meeting involved proposed elimination of Special Use Permits. Councillor Tyson Parker said doing so could be “a really big mistake.”
In her presentation to the council February 22, MRCOG’s Bianca Borg said Section 18-45 would be better without a Special Use permit process, saying that the ordinance already has a “Use by Review” provision, which she contended is very similar to that for a Special Use. She said requirements for site development plan approval also would cover much the same concerns.
Murray and Parker disagreed, suggesting Borg didn’t really understand how the Special Use permitting system has functioned in Corrales.
Councillors Parker and Murray succeeded; when the final recommendations were presented for a vote March 8, Borg had restored the earlier Special Use Permit provisions.
But generally, councillors were told that if they had concerns about other provisions, those could be addressed later, item by item.
(See Corrales Comment Vol.XXXXI No.2 March 5, 2022 “Council Votes on Land use Regulations.”)
Concerned citizens were expected to give most scrutiny to land use policies regarding cultivation of cannabis here. But the planners’ recommendations basically deferred to the Village Council’s recently adopted ordinance restricting marijuana growing for commerce to land not zoned for residential use.
In her presentation, Borg explained why she had recommended deletion of a special definition for senior living facilities, a topic of substantial interest in Corrales over the past three years. “The current language for senior living facilities only applies to one area in the Village and the regulations are highly restrictive and not feasible to meet. These regulations for a senior living facility have been removed, and MRCOG recommends looking into adding a special use zoning district in the future to adequately allow for these facilities.
“It should be noted that an update to the Village’s Comprehensive Plan may be necessary to allow for higher density residential development.
“With the proposed edits, senior living facilities would be permissible if they meet the one dwelling unit per acre standard or operate as a group home.”
Rules for installing walls or fences along Corrales Road was changed “to incorporate a standard for over four feet. Sixty-five percent of the fence above four feet must be open,” apparently meaning see-through, to retain scenic quality along the Corrales Road Scenic Byway.
The recommended changes to Chapter 18’s provisions will allow short-term rentals; group homes are to be considered a permissive use, but “cluster housing” would not. “Current language does not achieve clustered housing and can be revisited with update of the Comprehensive Plan.”
That was along several other issues the planners felt would be better left to community consensus as a new Comprehensive Plan is adopted, presumably sometime in 2023.
In Section 18-37, regarding commercial land uses, the recommendation for a C-zone parcel in the neighborhood commercial district along Corrales Road would eliminate the long list of specific permissive uses so that it covers similar types of businesses.
On the other hand it clarified which kinds of business uses would require a site development plan and which would not.
A re-developed Children’s Garden outside the Corrales Library will feature donated artwork along with vegetables, fruit and berries.
Volunteers with Sandoval County Master Gardeners have begun the project in front of the library’s south wall. “Local artists are being asked to contribute artwork to enhance the garden area on the southeast corner of the library,” Master Gardener John Thompson said. “Master Gardeners and the library are seeking funding for the irritation, tables and purchase of plants.
“Work has already started on clearing the site and building raised beds that will be planted this spring.”
Organizers said the emphasis is on edible plants, fruits and berries. Along the fence on the south side of La Entrada Park, fruit trees and berry-bearing plants will be transplanted.
In recent years, a pollinator garden was installed along the east wall, outside the Teens’ Room.
Ahead of spring, the Master Gardeners are offering on-line classes on topics that include how to solve difficult gardening problems. To register, see sandovalmastergardeners.org.
Scheduled for March 25 at 10 a.m. is “Alternative Gardening Techniques. Three Sandoval Master Gardeners will discuss the alternative gardening techniques they use to grow vegetables. Presenters will talk about benefits and disadvantages of each as well as tips for getting started.
On April 22 at 10 a.m. the topic is “What Works,” a roundtable discussion on solutions to such difficult gardening problems as squash bugs and curly top virus.
Among gardening topics available on-line through Sandoval Country Master Gardeners are the following: home composting basics, seed starting, amending desert garden soil, companion plants for vegetable gardens, watering healthy trees and preparing for drought.
Also offered are: roses in the desert, management of common garden pests, houseplants and raised bed gardening.
Those and other topics can be found at sandovalmastergardeners.org.
In preparation for April 1, the opening of the adult-use cannabis market in New Mexico, Corraleños can look to Colorado to have an idea of what to expect.
According to Planning and Zoning Administrator Laurie Stout, currently the Corrales Hemporium shop, located in the commercial district, has “expressed interest in becoming a dispensary.”
Stout told the Comment that a “required site development plan application will need to be submitted and then be heard before the Planning and Zoning Commission.” This application is due 40 days before the commission will hear the request, and meetings are always the third Wednesday of the month.
Colorado was one of the first states to legalize recreational marijuana use, in 2012, giving researchers close to eight years of data to study the ramifications on the state’s healthcare system, the criminal justice system, and the environment before the COVID-19 pandemic began.
Every other year, the Colorado Department of Public Safety is required to release a report entitled “Impacts of Marijuana Legalization in Colorado,” detailing the various consequences recreational-use cannabis has had on the state’s healthcare and justice systems.
The most recent report, from 2021 shows that cannabis use among residents and visitors to Colorado has steadily risen since legalization. Among adults, 19 percent reported using marijuana in the last 30 days in 2019, compared to 13.5 percent in 2013.
Marijuana-related hospitalizations, which stood at 2,446 per 100,000 total hospitalizations in 2013, rose to 3,515 per 100,000 in 2019.
The report mentions the number of phone calls to Rocky Mountain Poison and Drug Center related to marijuana exposure also increased. 127 phone calls were made in 2013, and 276 were made in 2019. Most notably, the most significant rise was exposure for children ages five and younger, from 15 calls in 2012 to 103 in 2019.
Mental healthcare has also been impacted by legalization. Among adults seeking treatment for substance abuse, the percentage of those claiming marijuana as their primary substance of use, rose slightly from 5.6 percent in 2013 to 6.6 percent in 2019. Among those admitted that were under the age of 18, however, a more dramatic rise was seen, from 67.9 percent in 2013 to 73 percent in 2019.
The number of drivers in fatal crashes who tested positive for marijuana also increased, from 47 in 2013 to 120 in 2019.
Concerning the environment, legalization has brought another set of difficulties to Colorado.
Indoor growing warehouses, the enormous likes of which Corraleños do not really need to fear, are now responsible for 1.3 percent of Colorado greenhouse gasses, according to a paper published in Nature Sustainability. Another article, entitled “Cannabis and the Environment, What Science Tells Us and What We Still Need to Know” published in the scholarly journal, Environmental Science and Technology Letters, emissions from indoor cultivated cannabis in Colorado could contribute to ozone formation and particulate matter pollution. Unfortunately, indoor-grown cannabis is widely considered to be much more marketable than outdoor-grown.
However, even outdoor-grown cannabis poses its own set of environmental concerns, from water use to disposal of waste water-runoff. Cannabis plants need special pesticides, since they are consumed sometimes at elevated temperatures. Needed pesticides take a toll on fragile ecosystems.
Even when speaking only of use and not cultivation, the environment is impacted by cannabis. In the same article in the journal Environmental Science and Technology Letters, the authors write, “A significant body of literature documenting the effects of pollution from the consumption of illegal drugs, including cannabis, on water quality in urban areas.” They go on to mention risks for communities and ecosystems downstream of such areas.
By Stephani Dingreville
Last fall, a pollinator garden was dedicated along the east side of the Corrales Library. It was planted to attract humans as well as bees, butterflies and hummingbirds.
Sandoval Extension Master Gardener Sam Thompson was the main driver although it was a village-wide effort. Thompson, along with Judy Jacobs, Paget Rose, and other Master Gardeners had dreamed of converting the unused and unattractive space behind the library into a garden that would be not only beautiful but educational as well.
Then one evening in 2019, Corrales Parks and Recreation Director Lynn Siverts, who knew about Thompson’s garden idea, called her cell phone. Siverts told her he just learned about a grant Intel Corporation was offering for community development that he thought might perfectly fit her project. The only catch was that the applications for the grant were due the next day.
In spite of this last-minute deadline, Thompson was able to write the application in time. She got the grant, giving Corrales the funds to create the pollinator garden.
However, transforming the barren space into a garden turned out to be more difficult than anyone initially imagined.
First the soil had to be improved. “Calling it soil was generous,” Thompson jokes of the pre-existing ground at the site. Crusher fine had to be removed, and great amounts of compost brought in to make the soil viable. Siverts helped again with this part, enlisting Mike Chavez, the director of Public Works, to assist with the heavy lifting.
Then the Master Gardeners went to work on the design, choosing plants based on specific criteria. First and foremost, the gardeners looked at the plant’s ability to attract pollinators. “Every single plant was chosen for pollinator capabilities,”
Master Gardener Judy Jacobs said. The Master Gardeners then looked at the plants’ ability to thrive in the lighting and soil conditions, and lastly, their beauty. The garden is intended to have color from early spring to December.
Master Gardener Paget Rose commented on the ephemerality of the space, saying “It changes everyday. Every week I am excited to see how it has grown and changed, as it will continue to grow, fill-in, and change from year to year.”
Thompson says the choice to make this garden specifically for pollinators was made for educational purposes. The garden’s developers hope to host school groups who can learn more about the vital role pollinators play in the village ecosystem, as well as the important work they do in combating climate change.
Recently, ecologist Jeff Ollerton, a visiting professor of biodiversity at The University of Northampton, wrote an article published in New Scientist magazine emphasizing the critical role pollinators play in combating climate change, specifically through the entrapment of carbon.
“Pollinators ensure the continuation of plant populations that lock up carbon in their woody stems, roots, bulbs and tubers. The best way to restore natural habitats to help fight global warming is through natural regeneration from seeds, and for that we need pollinators,” he wrote.
So, not only does this garden act as a teaching tool, but it also is itself a nature-based solution to climate change.
The librarians who work at the Corrales Library have mentioned that the section of the park in front of the garden was previously not as crowded as other areas, but now people spend more time there. Anchoring the space is a beautiful hand-hewn wooden bench, another collaborative effort. The seat of the bench was donated by Jacob Thaler and his father, Rick, of DendroTechnology.
The latter shared a unique anecdote about the bench during the dedication.
The late Pete Smith, the woodworker who carved the library’s much-admired circulation desk and other carvings that adorn the library, left some logs in his driveway after his death.
Smith’s family knew the Thaler team would make use of them, and so offered them to Dendro Technology. Rick Thaler thought this project would be a perfect use of the logs, since the library was so important to Smith. He had assumed the logs were juniper or piñon, but when he and his son cut the logs into planks, they were pleasantly surprised to see they were very rare Corrales Walnut.
So the gorgeous slab that makes up the bench in the pollinator garden actually comes from the heart of a locally grown walnut tree, donated indirectly from the woodworker-artist who already poured his own talent into the library itself. The Thalers shaped, sanded and polished the slab to a gleaming perfection.
The metal legs for the bench were donated by Jeff Barrows, who made the fence that surrounds the library.
Despite strong and credentialed arguments on both sides, a waiver was denied for a request to serve beer and wine at a restaurant proposed for Corrales Road and Perea Road due to proximity to Corrales Elementary School. Developers of the old Corrales Inn property (previously known as Plaza San Ysidro and now emblazoned with the name Local Motive) needed a waiver to serve alcohol since the site is well within 300 feet of the school, the distance set in state law.
Restaurants in the exact same location had served beer and wine with dinner several times in the past, but the Village Council voted five-to-one to reject the application for a waiver at their March 8 meeting.
The apparently insurmountable roadblock was written opposition from Albuquerque Public Schools, which owns and operates the elementary school almost directly across Corrales Road from Local Motive. An APS official stated its clear position: “APS strictly adheres to state statute with no exceptions when it comes to liquor licensing ordinances proximate to school.”
Abundant public comment, pro and con, was provided at the council meeting; among the many villagers who weighed in was a former school principal who favored granting the requested waiver and three near neighbors who opposed it.
A former Village councillor, Fred Hashimoto, stated his opposition this way. “Allowing this waiver across the street from Corrales Elementary means the same could be allowed near the Cottonwood Montessori School —a wine bar had already been suggested— or any other school in Corrales. Cannabis businesses must maintain the 300-foot distance. Will waivers be proposed there, too?”
Several opponents of the waiver for Local Motive raised that issue, warning that a precedent might be set for another eatery serving beer and wine near the Montessori school.
Councillor Tyson Parker underscored his position by observing that “We all know that kids do dumb things around cars and streets.”
While some supporters of the proposed restaurant pointed out that the main entrance to the elementary school is much farther away, others emphasized just how close the would-be server of beer and wine would be to the west end of the school property... a scant 72 feet.
And while the would-be restauranteurs might agree to not serve during school hours, opponents pointed out that Corrales Elementary often has evening activities.
Despite the overwhelming rejection of the waiver, several councillors thanked the property’s developers for improving what they said has been an eyesore in the middle of the business district.
A previous restaurant at that location owned and operated by former Mayor Laura Warren and partner Mary Briault was one of the metro area’s premiere French eateries. It served wine, as did a later establishment, The Abbey.
Despite major changes thanks to COVID-19, including mask wearing, one way walk thru, no dogs — once the NM Health Department decided the market was a “grocery store”— no musical groups, no ordering ahead from certain vendors, as was possible in the past, no breakfast offering for months from Apple Tree Farm, and similar, the Corrales Growers’ Market still thrives.
And Apple Tree will be back on site with fresh cooked specialties for opening day of the 2022 season, on Sunday, April 24 from 9 a.m. to noon. The Sandoval Extension Master Gardeners will present their first plant sale as well. The last Winter Market is April 3, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
According to long-time market manager Al Gonzales, who runs Gonzales Flower Farm with his wife Bonnie, the changes in the past two years have not been debilitating. “We found that our customers like the map and the location of vendors. Both make shopping easier.” Vendors run their own websites, and yes, “because our makeup of what vendors sell is a high percentage of food products, the health department says no dogs.”
The “no dogs” thing is much easier on Gonzales. “We are not a dog park! We have talked to dog owners and there are responsible owners and those who are not. Not having to deal with dog fights and dog shit is a blessing, he says. “People walking in with five dogs on a leash to socialize their dogs is not what we are about.”
While the market has no new sellers at the moment, it did not lose any established vendors, either. Gonzales said the market “revenue stream was over $500,000.” A COVID era innovation has been an online Market Shop, offering T-shirts and African baskets. Sales of these products seriously boost the market, and all purchases can be picked up on site each scheduled Sunday. See https://cgmstore.square. site/s/shop.
Based on a survey earlier, as well as customer counts, “The market will not be having music. Too many people came just for music, not to buy food.” Gonzales stressed that the market is returning to its mission statement: “The Corrales Growers’ Market operates to support the traditional agricultural economics of the Village of Corrales and to provide community access to sustainable sources of locally grown food. We support the preservation of farmland, the sustainability of family farms and local agricultural production by providing agricultural producers a marketing facility for the sale of their products directly to consumers.”
Way back in the Corrales Comment Garden and Landscape issue of 2017, intrepid gardener and researcher Anita Walsh tried to pin down the exact dates of the establishment of the much valued Corrales Growers’ Market. Multiple stalwarts were involved in its creation, key among them Evelyn Losack. The first mention of the Growers’ Market appeared in an issue of Corrales Comment as October 15 and 16, 1988, at Curtis Losack Farm. Yet in an interview with Fox News along with Stacia Spragg-Braude, author of a memorable book about Losack, Evelyn said that she started the market in 1985.
Apparently the market moved into the Mercado de Maya parking lot in 1993, then on to the Village Office Complex in 1996. Three years later, it put down roots in its current, and one hopes permanent location, adjacent to the Post Office.
By Anita Walsh
Neither one of us can remember the year when the pipe went in,under our dirt road, connecting the community ditch to our small plot of land. Counting on our fingers and our feeble memories, we figure it’s been around 24 years. Everything after, and slightly before that event was so charged with drama, intrigue, and emotion it is impossible to forget.
We first asked our neighbor to the south, Emilio, if it would be okay to tap in to the ditch for water. The answer was, you should try your neighbor to the north; Diego, and his ditch, you’ll never find a nicer neighbor. My neighbor from the north returned the compliment of the neighbor to the south, saying we’d never find a nicer neighbor than the one on our southern border. This is how they both said “No.”
The ditch on our southern border is on our property, and is part of our easement. Emilio acknowledged that fact, but said that he and his father dug that ditch, by hand, when he was just a little boy. He had worked on it, maintaining it, for 50 years. Who were we to think of accessing it? What had we done to deserve its use? Fair enough. But we continued to ask. He turned his back each time I would approach or pass him, and for my partner he would deliver a hard stare and spit on the ground.
We had cleaned the beer cans and tumbleweeds, rocks and glass from our lot. We had cut down elms. I had planted seeds that never “took” in the hot relentless sun. The soil nourishment that I added blew away rapidly in the dusty clay.
I felt that it was a sin to have land that was going to waste. I wanted a garden. I had wanted a garden when we were just renters here, and that’s when I started my unrewarded efforts to grow things. One of the first things that went in was an apricot tree which was a gift from Diego, to the north. That did last. It survived the lack of irrigation on hose water, and though the fruit is small compared to the fruit of other apricot trees, it is still the sweetest, most delicious fruit from an apricot I’ve ever tasted.
It wasn’t until we bought the property that my brave partner decided to exercise his legal right to access the ditch. He called Corrales’ busiest and most beloved tractor guy, Joe Shea, and asked him to dig a trench across our road with his backhoe. We laid a 10-inch steel pipe in the trench and covered it with dirt. Emilio had argued that we would have a hard time getting water to go uphill, but it turned out that the water, with some careful planning, transit work, land molding, and sufficient damming, came in just fine.
After we had access, we were able, actually obliged, to finally talk, once again, to Emilio. It should be added here, that there had been no interrupted flow of pleasant conversation between us, until the ditch question was brought up. Emilio was actually one of my favorite friends; calling me over to pick up a huge melon from his field, sharing information about native plants and oftentimes laughing and musing together.
This conversation we had was strictly business. We were told that we must maintain the ditch from the mother ditch at the old cistern, to Corrales Road. We agreed. It was a long stretch, and included passage through some tough territory where litter as large as a swamp cooler, and as plentiful as a McDonald’s parking lot was just one of the obstacle courses. At least if we got the willows, the elm branches, the leaves, tumbleweeds and household appliances out, Emilio would run his tractor to make it deep and right.
Not necessarily so. For awhile, we had to hire Jesus, down the road, to do the tractor work, because, no, we didn’t have a tractor of our own. That was a ritual in itself. I would sit with Jesus and Grace in their kitchen, and wait for the answer. Then, following this expert of ditches out to his work area, he would get things in shape, replace bolts; make adjustments, and then we would take a short trip on the road down to the ditch. I would often sit on the fender and cringe when I’d look down and feel the pitch of the old machine enter the deep ditch. Cleaning the ditch with a tractor is a specialized skill, and could certainly be considered dangerous with the wrong operator.
There were a few years when my partner’s work as a teacher at UNM wrapped him up so tightly he could not participate in the cleaning, and I cleared all the debris myself; filling about 30 large garbage bags . It was at this time that Emilio finally accepted our use of the ditch because we had proven that we would do the work, and try our hardest to earn the right to access the water from his years of hard work in making and maintaining this fantastic ditch. I think he felt sorry for me, or sufficiently admired my effort, and he resumed running his tractor with the ditcher down the whole length, as he had always done.
We still had to devise a way to dam the water so as not to flood any of the neighbor’s fields. For this, my partner made a removable dam with a heavy steel frame and thinner steel interior slide, in the shape of a V, with a spike on each side to steady it, and keep it from slipping and tilting. It weighs about 70 pounds, and was lowered into place from a standing position on a 2x8 board. It was placed and removed every time we watered.
We did not want to put in a request for permission to install a more permanent, saner, solution because that would have set the relationship back to the dark ages. Eventually, Emilio would tell me to open our pipe while he was watering, and that eliminated lots of unnecessary work.
There were three years when I hired someone to clean the ditch. I think that was when I was first diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, an auto-immune disease that attacks the joints first, and then goes on to tendons and other systems of the body. At first I hired a dear friends’ son, who, I think actually wanted the job. The next year I hired him again, but that time he brought a friend, and the two’s work did not equal the work that just one had done. The third time, I hired a friend who did an excellent and quick job, but the following year she did not want to do it again.
By then, I had some good medicine to hold back and slow down the RA, and my partner and I kept cleaning the ditch until last year when neither of us were up to the task. Genova, and her helper, Martin, our neighbors down the road, cleared that long and daunting section for us last year.
Since Emilio passed away over a decade ago, his son, who is also called Emilio, has cleaned the ditch with his tractor; multiple times during the growing season, and just before the water first flows in the spring. We have a good relationship and, like his father before him, he allows us to take water at the same time he, or his sister Veronica, are watering their fields.
This is a practical arrangement which limits the number of times the ditch gets wet… or if you look at it another way, it also limits the watering of the weeds that want to grow on its walls and base. It helps limit the necessary tractor work, and also keeps weed whacking down to twice a month. Beyond that, it feels like a cooperation and sharing that builds not just soil, but peace in our community.
Last week, as I lay in the ditch screaming “Help!” at the top of my lungs, I almost forgot the reason for contributing , even slightly, to the maintenance of the conveyance of water to the garden. The base of the ditch is narrow, and shaped like a V, and I wear a brace on my foot, so I lost my balance and fell. I have an enthusiasm for exercise on a daily basis, so I was able to stand up again, but I’m afraid my partner will have to finish the work. I can hardly believe it, but I envy him.
In our garden there are now 17 fruit trees, numerous blackberry canes, carpets of herbs and native flowers where once the soil simply blew away and would not support life other than noxious weeds; goat heads, couch grass and the like. I am sure these endeavors both interpersonal and physical have been well worth the effort, and nothing is more exhilarating than seeing the water come in to the field at springtime.
Birds, snakes, tree frogs, toads, rabbits, butterflies, all kinds of bees, ladybugs, snails and other critters enjoy this garden as much as we do. The air is improved with the numerous trees including catalpa, vitex, juniper and spruce. The life-giving water from the river is a treasure, and I am grateful we have been able to experience the goodness it gives, from the good of the ditch, to those who made, and maintain it.
By Meredith Hughes
SilverMilagro LLC’s venture is out of the bag, and in early March Elan Silverblatt-Buser was scuffing through the dust on the property at 4206 Corrales Road formerly belonging to water rights attorney Tessa Davidson and realtor Matt Davidson, envisioning the future.
Guys with pickups parked outside were already rehabbing the inside of the former office, created by the Davidsons from a home likely built 80 years ago, with a former garage nearby next on the list. A small vineyard of the Roussanne grape, planted years back, sits in from Corrales Road on the north side of the property. A Roussanne wine, an “Old World” vintage of the Rhone Valley, is forthcoming this year from Milagro Vineyards.
Silver Leaf Farms and Milagro Vineyards joined forces near the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, offering fresh veggies and wine, and many other products as the project evolved, on a pre-order, drive-thru basis at the Winery. The Farmstand at Milagro will continue, but possibly may shift to the Corrales Road site once all is ready.
The successful partnership continues with the acquisition of the Davidson property last July, and a zone change and site development plan approval by Planning and Zoning on January 26. The front half-acre of the property had been C-zoned for the law office and real estate business in November 2010, but the rear one acre remained zoned for residential-agricultural use. Now the entire lot has been zoned to a depth of 350 feet for commercial.
Hence, Silverblatt-Buser is ready to roll. First to arrive at the reimagined outdoor space will be plant starts for sale, likely next month, so locals can begin to get their gardens going. He warns to be aware of late frost before planting.
A bright white used insulated beer storage truck acquired by Silver Leaf was turned from a useful eyesore on the land into an art project by Jaime Giovannone, aka Jaime G. The truck, now red and yellow, masquerades as a freight car on the Silver Lf line on one side, Milagro on the other. Jaime G is working on future projects for Silver Leaf and Milagro, does art for film and television (“Better Call Saul,” for example), paints murals, and is reachable at email@example.com
Silver Leaf Farms, “the leader in hydroponic and outdoor organic vegetable production in New Mexico,” per its website, will be putting in a cover crop on the long stretch of farmland behind the existing buildings, which will be plowed under, as part of a major effort to enrich and reboot the soil. Flowers may well be the first offering to be planted. As of now, Silverblatt-Buser is not certain as to what will be growing there in the future. At the moment Silver Leaf has about 20 acres in production, Milagro about 10.
A 600 square foot brand new structure will be built, for use as the sales center for plants, veggies and other retail goods, sort of “farmstand-ish,” as Silverblatt-Buser put it. A new driveway and parking area will be part of the overall design. Also likely, either a solar array or some type of solar rooftop installation, “hopefully.” The existing former law office and/or the side building will be home to Corrales’ Candlestick Coffee Roasters, owned by Zach Smith, and possibly a cafe/bar seating 18 patrons.
This “multi-faceted” project is the SilverMilagro vision, where bikers can wheel through to pick up fresh coffee, sippers can hang out on a plant-filled patio, and shoppers can visit the store. A tasting room for Milagro Wines will be part of the mix, too, but approvals are not expected before fall.
It was just a week into the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine, and Silverblatt-Buser had a tale to tell of a young Jewish woman related to his mother, who died in 1942 at age 18 of typhus, in a Fascist forced labor camp in Ukraine. Selma Meerbaum-Eisinger was Helene Silverblatt’s first cousin once removed.
Writer Meerbaum-Eisinger was born in Czernowitz, Romania, now Chernivtsi, Ukraine, a city that was described by Selma's cousin, post WW2 German-language poet Paul Celan, as a city “where human beings and books used to live.”
Over 50 poems miraculously survived Selma’s death, the war, and the decades, passed from one person to the next, finally turning up in Germany where they were published in 1980. In 2008 Harvest of Blossoms: Poems from a Life Cut Short, edited by cousins Irene and Helene Silverblatt, was published in English by Northwestern University Press. https://nupress. northwestern. edu/9780810131361/harvest-of-blossoms.
Much attention has been given to what Village regulations say about growing marijuana in residential neighborhoods, but do you know what else is banned? Landscaping regulations developed many years ago also are found in Chapter 18 of the Corrales Code of Ordinances which has been the subject of intense debate over commercial cultivation here in recent years. Section 18-33 specifies what can and cannot be planted in those areas of Corrales zoned A-1 and A-2 (lots where only one home can be built on a one-acre parcel, or one home on two acres respectively). Proposed changes to Chapter 18 —to address concerns over growing marijuana— will not likely modify Village rules for landscaping in those areas.
Even so, the current laws may not dictate what you think. For example, you can be jailed up to three months or fined up to $500 for planting an elm, Russian olive or salt cedar tree. That’s not likely, of course, but that is the law. Below are verbatim paragraphs from the Code of Ordinances Section 18-33 for landscaping as approved at March 8, 2022 council meeting.
Section 18-40. Landscaping requirements. shall be amended as follows:
(a) Intent. All landscaping required by this article shall be of a type and located in a manner, which mitigates the impact of nonresidential development upon the existing residential and agricultural character of the Village.
(b) Landscaping requirements for residential development.
(1) No planting of Siberian/Chinese Elm, Russian olive, Tamarisk, or other plant species listed on the New Mexico Noxious Weed List is permitted.
(2) Xeriscaping of newly constructed dwelling units:
Not more than twenty percent (20%) of the landscaped area of newly constructed dwelling units shall be dedicated to cold-weather grasses such as blue grass and fescue, unless such grasses are raised for and dedicated to the purpose of consumption by animals.
(c) Historic zone. Landscaping shall be compatible with a rural historic area.
(d) Landscaping requirements for nonresidential development.
(1) Landscaping minimums. Landscaping of nonresidential development, in addition to natural vegetation, provided to meet the requirements of this article shall be provided in the following minimum numbers, sizes and growth capabilities:
Section 18-42. Lighting. shall be amended as follows:
(1) All non-conforming fixtures installed prior to and operable on the effective date of this section shall be removed or converted to a conforming fixture when the existing non-conforming fixture is inoperable or un-repairable. The Village may require a non-conforming use to be corrected to the standards specified in this section if the Village determines that the non-conforming use is creating a nuisance glare or disabling glare as defined in Section 18-29(b).
(f) Enforcement and Penalties for Violation.
(1) It shall be unlawful to install or operate a light fixture in violation of this section. Any person violating any provisions of this section shall be guilty of a petty misdemeanor.
Each and every day during which the illegal use continues after notification shall be considered a separate offense. Continued installation of non-compliant fixtures after notification shall be determined to be an additional offense per fixture.
By Meredith Hughes
Who among us has not missed the lovely Corrales tradition of the Garden Tour, first established in 2010?
An array of six gardens, carefully chosen for their relative uniqueness, and, per the Garden Tour website, “…different soil types, water access, tree coverage and temperature ranges… The goal each year is to provide a variety so everyone who visits will find a garden that appeals to them.”
COVID-ness wiped out the tour in 2020 as well as in 2021, but this year the tour, dubbed the 11th annual, is set for June 5, with the gardens selected for 2021 to be featured. No whispering whatsoever of it being virtual. Denise Cavner’s herbal garden, (cum alpacas and chickens,) is one, Joe Romero’s “Mexican plaza patio” is another.
One looks forward to the inclusion of those pesky, perky plein air painters hiding in the bushes at each garden, too, whose works in past years were on sale hot off the easel, as it were. Artist Barb Clark likely will once again be herding the painters, and making a “wet sale” possible on the afternoon of the event.
The herb garden at the north end of Corrales Road is best described as a colorful carnival of individual nooks, some tiny, some large, where a visitor can wander along paths filled with shiny things, navigate a sort of meditative labyrinth, and in season sniff herbs, from rosemary to thyme to mugwort, (or was it mother’s wort?) and more. Tiny green sprouts of stinging nettles seemed to be emerging in one patch. Fun and yet informative for adults, this garden on the tour especially will delight kids.
The wanderer also can pop into a chatty chicken area, and hang out with a small band of alpacas, acquired largely for their biodynamic poop and its superlative use in gardens. But also for their intrinsic cuteness. “Too late, I discovered alpacas love to eat rosemary,” muses Cavner, who also learned some ’pacas resist human touch, so her vision of strolling an alpaca along an acequia likely is not in the cards. She puzzled over what the future of her alpaca fleece might be —typically alpacas are sheared every two years— and their “wool” has been touted for being “lightweight, strong, lustrous, high in insulation value and resistant to rain and snow.”
Soon a yurt-like large tent is going up on the property where Cavner will hold a range of sessions. She practices Ayurveda, a form of “natural medicine” that originated in India, and has a certificate in clinical herbalism. A colorful room in the house filled with a mishmash of items, art, and products is where Cavner does much of her work.
Just finished by her husband is an acrylic passive solar wall securing another indoor area where Cavner grows plants, when she is not doing a two-day a week stint working on the Lifestyle Crew at Vessel Health, established by Harvey White, “creator and former medical director of the Heart Hospital of New Mexico.” His mantra “treat the system, not the symptoms,” is hers as well.
Known to Corrales Growers’ Market regulars as Living Beautifully Free, vendor of fresh and dried herbs, vegetables, jams and jellies, kombucha and medicinal herbal remedies, Cavner completed a 30-year career as an early childhood educator, then as a principal, moved to New Mexico where she and her husband lived for two years on the El Pinto Restaurant property, where her husband is operations manager of the salsa plant. Then they bought the Corrales property empty for several years which they are slowly bringing up to snuff.
Healthier eating led Cavner to focus on “the products we use on our bodies. These ingredients can be downright dangerous. This is when I decided to take control of what goes into and onto my body by making my own.”
Meanwhile over at the spacious, elegant, relatively new home of Joe Romero, a financial planner, and his partner John Keelin, an educator, the Mexican Plaza Patio theme is clear. “About a year after moving in, we built a proper fence, and created a courtyard with two fireplaces, one in the back and one on the side.”
Native to New Mexico, Romero had “very strong feelings about what I wanted, from slate pavers to a hacienda feel. And a plaza —I am a numbers guy with grandiose ideas!”
Romero collects Western art —-a sculpture by Scott Rogers is featured in the plaza— and ornamental pear trees provide just enough shade.
“Anything that sheds leaves we tend to stay away from,” says Romero, hence yucca and cacti are featured.
These two gardens will be joined by four more June 5 and tickets typically will cost about $15. All funds raised will continue to go to the landscaping part of the Corrales MainStreet pathway project, an undertaking years in the making. Visit the tour website closer to the event for further details:http://corrales-gardentour.com/
Impeccably landscaped and maintained, the home south of the intersection of Old Church Road and West La Entrada has long been admired by villagers and celebrities who have included governors, U.S. senators, a presidential candidate and Hollywood royalty. The driveway circles in front of the adobe home’s north wall that bears the inhabitant’s initials: D&D. It is the long-time residence of Donna Wylie and Donnie Leonard, stalwarts of the Sandoval County Democratic Party.
At one-and-a-quarter acres, the property encompasses a large, manicured backyard that can accommodate well over 100 politicians, donors and guests, as well as two pastures, a vineyard, horse stalls and hay barn. About 48 years ago, Donna Wylie and her then-husband bought and subdivided eight acres along the south side of West La Entrada. The lot on which they built their home was an alfalfa field; part of it still is. It’s a comfortable home for the quarter-horse “Dew” and “Mister T,” a paint. Their stalls and riding arena are near the barn that typically holds 120 bales by the end of October to satisfy the steeds until June when two pastures are ready.
To feed themselves, Wylie and Leonard mostly buy from grocery stores and the Growers’ Market now. They used to have bountiful vegetable gardens —it once produced a 32-pound watermelon— but their now aging bones and joints would prefer not to bend and pluck off squash bugs and extract weeds.
“It’s been years since we had a real vegetable garden,” he confessed. “That garden would produce so much we couldn’t give it away. The neighbors would say, ‘Don’t need any more tomatoes. Don’t need any more squash.’ And it was so much work. What we planted would respond, and then we couldn’t keep up with it all.”
Their landscape areas and planting beds are fully mature and visually heart-warming in spring, summer and autumn months. To experience their flowering plants and lush greenery in winter months requires a quick trip to a tack room through a gate at the southeast corner of the backyard to which they relocate dozens of potted plants. The shed is equipped with grow-lights to keep flora happy until spring-summer temperatures return.
The robust geraniums, ferns and other show-stoppers spend most of the year hanging from trees, from leaning hand-made ladders or on pedestals —or most spectacularly, surrounding the eight-foot-tall water fountain in the backyard.
In summer their 12 grandchildren and two Old English sheep dogs delight in frolicking in the large basin below the gushing fountain.
The backyard lawn, planted in fescue and bluegrass, is surrounded by a stuccoed wall on the west and south with a well-established ground cover inside the perimeter that prevents weeds from taking root. “The ground cover is very effective and keeps spreading all along that two-foot strip that separates the lawn from the wall,” Leonard explained. “In the fall, we just trim it back to ground-level with a weedeater.”
Also within that strip along the perimeter is ground-mounted lighting that sets an attractive, inviting mood for either calm evenings just for the two of them or a gala atmosphere for a vigorous political rally.
Leonard is a former Sandoval County Commissioner and inveterate political enthusiast. The Wylie-Leonard home’s spacious living room and large backyard are frequently used for Democrats’ rallies and receptions. Luminaries have included Robert Redford, Governors Bill Richardson and Michelle Lujan Grisham, U.S. Senators Tom Udall, Ben Ray Lujan and Martin Heinrich, former presidential candidate Fred Harris and scores of other statewide dignitaries.
Usually such large gatherings have catered food and beverage service, so the grill on the couple’s deck is mainly used for family get-togethers or quiet suppers for the two of them. The latilla-covered patio and deck outside the den offer an abundance of sites for the hanging plants that brighten the main outdoor living area while easily viewed from inside.
Geraniums are the most favored. They are usually purchased from ARCA’s La Paloma Greenhouse and nursery on East La Entrada where more than 28,000 plants and flowers are grown yearly as vocational training for people with developmental disabilities.
“Every year we add more potted plants, but the ones outside can’t stay out there in the winter months, so they have to be taken to the tack room. We’re running out of space there,” Wylie explained in mid-February. “ I’d guess we have at least 50 plants out there now.”
They have to be hand-watered throughout the winter.
While the backyards on the south and west sides of many Corrales homes are nearly unbearably hot in mid-summer, that isn’t a problem at the Wylie-Leonard residence. Tall cottonwood trees, five non-bearing pear trees, a plum tree and mountain oak block the sun after about three in the afternoon. “By that time, the whole backyard is shaded,” Leonard said.
All vegetation along the perimeter of the property is on a drip irrigation system. The two pastures and lawn are watered with sprinklers governed by timers. “We water mainly at night,” he advised.
On the northeast side are two mulberry trees; one yields white berries while the other, purplish black ones. “Man, they produce a ton of them and they’re really sweet,” he pointed out.
Wylie added, “They make really good jelly, so even though we have a lot of berries, we can get rid of them.”
Beyond the backyard’s south wall is a row of elm trees on a neighbor’s property which also contributes shade on hot summer days. Other cottonwoods border the east side of the house.
Sturdy rose bushes provide fragrance and color in the backyard, in the cozy walled front entryway, all along the roadway and elsewhere around the home. Most are pink Queen Elizabeth rose bushes that thrive in full sun and are favored since they resist pests and diseases that attack other rose varieties.
In the small vineyard in the southeast corner of the property, they have four kinds of table grapes, including Merlot and Concord vines that “produce a ton of grapes that make great jelly.” Last year, they gave much of it away.
“You’ve only got about a week between the time the grapes are ready and the time the birds have gotten them,” he said resignedly. Still they keep several bird feeders replenished. They are seeing fewer Roadrunners and almost no pheasant. “We used to have a lot of pheasants up and down La Entrada, but I think we only saw one this year.” But lots of blackbirds, robins and finches.
The abundance extended to what is grown between the grape vines: beets. “We had so many beets last year we couldn’t give it all away,” Leonard said with a chuckle.
The spectacular street-side appearance of the home features a paved circular drive centered with a 40-foot tall piñon tree and several yuccas. “We get a lot of compliments from people who say they like to see them when they drive by,” Leonard admitted.
They have no plans to change what has been done to their grounds over the past nearly 50 years. “It doesn’t look like it needs it,” he said. “Seems like every year we add more potted plants, both on the ground and hanging wherever we can find to put them. We’ve about run out of space to do that.”