We've all heard the gloomy scenarios of global warming: extreme weather, drought, famine, breakdown of society, destruction of civilization. Here in New Mexico it feels like we’ve made the switch from esoteric to actual, from computer model to daily life. My perch in Placitas feels like a front-row seat to the apocalypse. Smoke is in the air. Neighbors are fighting over water. Some of my outdoor flower pots have melted in the heat. Wild animals are getting thirsty, hungry and bold. It turns out, this might just be the new normal for the American Southwest.
In a dirt parking lot near Many Farms, Ariz., a Navajo farmer sold me a mutton burrito. He hasn't used his tractor in two years, he told me, and he’s cooking instead of farming because "there isn't any water." He pointed east at the Chuska mountain range, which straddles the New Mexico border. In a normal year, water coming off the mountains reaches his fields, he said.
Alibi reporter Carolyn Carlson drove out to Gallup at the end of December to speak with claimants for a $760 million settlement. The payout is the result of a class action lawsuit—Keepseagle v. Vilsack— brought by Native American farmers who were denied USDA loans by a prejudiced Department of Agriculture.
The court battle was 13 years long.
After it was over, lawyers went to different parts of the country to find people who qualified for part of the settlement. About 300 people from New Mexico filed claims.
This isn’t the first time the Agriculture Department’s been in hot water for discrimination:
• In October 2011, African-American farmers settled their case against the Agriculture Department for $1.2 billion.
• In March 2011, women and Hispanic farmers settled their lawsuit for $1.3 billion.
When I want to store large amounts of basil, I don't make pesto. Instead, I prepare a bare-bones mixture of pureed basil, olive oil and salt, which I freeze in jars. If I want to make pesto at a later date I can always add pine nuts, cheese and garlic. But I can't remove those things from pesto if, in the middle of winter, I decide I want homegrown basil in my Thai coconut green curry.
Oslo rocked by bombing.
Pentagon repealing the "don't ask, don't tell" law.
Let's save Greece.
Lucian Freud, significant artist and grandson of Sigmund, dies at 88.
Ostalgia: New York exhibition features work by artists from former Soviet Block.
Newspaper mug shot shaming of DWI arrestees may not be working.
Heatwave seizes United States and Canada. Yep.
Malawi citizens protest unemployment, lack of aid and president, Bingu wa Mutharika.
Canada deports Chinese man accused of smuggling, who sought refugee status.
Do It Yourself, Honey: Urban farmers take living well into their own hands
This coming and the following Saturdays (August 21 and 28), from 8:00am to noon, you can experience what it's like to be a manual laborer on a farm, except instead of getting paid to do the work, you then have to pay for the produce that you harvested by hand.
Huh? What do you mean by "that doesn't sound appealing?" Oh! I forgot to mention what you'll be picking and how much fun you'll have. This is about hops, grown right here in New Mexico in Bosque Farms. On top of that, they're even good hops and with some characteristics other than the usual fare normally available. I've used these hops before and they're delightfully aromatic. I'm not going to say "Forget the Northwest" but De Smet has definitely put New Mexico on the map. Sure, you might be able to find some beer made with these hops at High Desert (Las Cruces) or Blue Corn (Santa Fe) but there's just nothing like doing it yourself, with ingredients that you took right off the bine.
Michael De Smet (the farmer) says everyone and anyone who is interested in hops is invited. If you arrive after the crowd and there's no one to greet you at the gate, just walk through the farm (in the direction toward the river) and you'll find the hops at the back.
Bring insect repellent, sunscreen, and some cash (don't worry, the price is absurdly low, at least by homebrew supply standards, call it the "but I did some of the work!" discount). Meet a bunch of grinning brewers who are all ecstatically sniffing their hands for some reason, and the farmer who thinks it’s not quite as fun when you smell it day after day after day after day after day after day. Get your George Orwell on. Learn.
2405 McNew Rd, Bosque Farms, NM (From Albuquerque: South on I-25 to exit 215. Take highway 47 south, thru Isleta reservation into Bosque Farms. Turn right onto South Bosque Loop, then follow it feft onto McNew Rd. You will pass Bonita Dr. and then look for a farm on the right, with a De Smet Dairy sign on the gate.) This is a dog friendly outing (duh, it's a farm!).