Old saying says: “if the shoe fits, wear it.” I just discovered a column that I wrote for the June 4, 1971 Las Vegas Livestock Journal. This was written for its “This Woman’s World” page and this is editor Brumbelow’s introduction for it:
“There’s at least one place in New Mexico where there’s been some moisture. Editha Bartley of the Gascon Ranch near Rociada tells you about it.”:
“Just about the time things are regular around here, and a fellow gets used to something, things have to change.
“Take the weather, for example. Those nice, dry hot winds just became a regular part of our day and we always knew there’d be lots more tomorrow. Then, wouldn’t you know, here comes some moisture. We brag about our blue-green mountains, and this year we planned to brag about our desert, when some clouds quickly changed all of that. Mother Nature, being the lady she is, is entitled to a change, and so we figured we’d go along with her burnt-brown grass scheme this year.
“Now, that moisture might make it green again, so we’ll probably have all of those splashy flowers upsetting her earth-toned landscape after all.
“Earth Day prompted us to get into the spirit of this — it was perfectly obvious to us that everyone is interested in dirt (or Earth) in one way or another. We had enough of it blow by here to make us feel we were leaders in the movement — those winds were strong enough to put us right into the activities.
“Quite a bit of Arizona did blow by, but we didn’t see anything of interest.
And don’t knock that blowing dust — when you can’t see over the next hill, you don’t have to worry about what’s over there.
“Our chickens walk at an angle — I suspect that breeze permanently slanted them. And maybe it isn’t too late to have another windstorm to set them straight. The drug companies surely must enjoy our plight — our sore eyes, noses and coughs (both our livestock and us) can only make money for them.
“We found these complaints masked other aches and pains, so we never felt worse, but we thought we were better. The humidity did make us worse (or was it better?)
“Yes, every third dude who came to this ranch now expects to see a desert when he or she returns to New Mexico. We almost had one right here at the ranch but a few sparse rains sure shot that picture. So now we’ll have some more explaining to do.”
Just last week, a friend asked me when one of our last droughts hit this area.
Here’s your answer, Mike — one of the many bad ones was back in 1971. I also remember the 1956 one, when all of us ranchers had to sell off almost all of our livestock.
May we not see another summer like that. May those big rains come again soon so we can finally pull on those rubber boots once again and park our dusty shoes.
Editha Bartley lives in Gascon in Mora County. She may be reached at 454-0563.