Wednesday, October 1st, 2008

Reflections in a Pecan Wood

Research has indicated the best way to irrigate pecan trees is flood irrigation. This may appear to be an inefficient use of water, but this method leads to deep irrigation that encourages the tree roots to grow deeply. The water available to the deep roots reduces the need for surface irrigation.

In Doña Ana County we have over 18,000 acres of pecan orchards. So this time of the year the back roads of the Mesilla Valley stretch through thousands of pecan fields being irrigated.

The symmetrical planting of the trees creates endlessly fascinating views. But when you add the spectacular effects of sunlight glistening through the leaves and branches, and the reflections in the waters below, you have some of most remarkable visual delights ever seen.

These photos were taken today of a pecan field being flood irrigated. Click on each image for a larger view. It’s almost impossible to determine where reality ends and reflection begins.

Other pecan posts:

Pecans — The Cadillac of Nuts
18,000+ Acres
Pecan Harvesting
Pecan Pruning

Tags: ,

Monday, September 29th, 2008

Man Killed by Chilli

“An aspiring chef died after eating a super-hot chilli sauce as part of an endurance competition with a friend.”

“Andrew Lee, 33, challenged his girlfriend’s brother to a contest to see who could eat the spiciest sauce that he could create.”

“The fork-lift truck driver, who wanted to cook for a living, prepared a tomato sauce made with red chillies grown on his father’s allotment. After eating it, however, he suffered intense discomfort and itching. The following morning he was found dead, possibly after suffering a heart attack.”

“He apparently got into bed at 2.30am and started scratching all over. His girlfriend scratched his back until he fell asleep. She woke up and he had gone. It is incredible. Who would have thought he could have died from eating chilli sauce? We don’t know of anything else that could have caused his death. The postmortem showed no heart problems.”


Tags: , ,

Sunday, September 28th, 2008

Chiles Being Picked

The chiles are being picked now, which is done by hand for most varieties. These photos were taken while other parts of the field were being harvested.

Tags: , ,

Friday, September 26th, 2008

Rio Grande River


Filed in: Misc Images | Comments

Tuesday, September 16th, 2008

Mesilla Door


Filed in: Misc Images | Comments

Sunday, August 31st, 2008

The Telegraph Arrives in Mesilla – Feb 5, 1879

Completion of the Southern Competing
Transcontinental U. S. Mil. Tel-Line
Congratulations to All
Rates Cheaper
Oh! For Southern Competing Railroad


Denison Tex. 5.

Editor NEWS:

Mesilla, compliments of Denison Texas to citizens of Mesilla N. M. congratulations on completion of direct telegraphic communication over United States Military Telegraph lines.



Mesilla N. M. 10:15 a. m. Feb. 5. ’79

To Lt. Tengle and citizens Denison Texas:

In answer to your telegram accept congratulations of THE MESILLA NEWS and citizens of Mesilla Valley to Lieuts. Tengle and Allen and through them to Signal Service War Department, also to citizens of Denison Texas, on completion of through Southern Competing Transcontinental Telegraph line. Now for Southern competing Transcontinental Railroad.

Ira M. Bond


Denison Tex. 2 – 5.



Denison Tex.


Mesilla 5.

Denison Tex.

Will X. — con mucho gusto,



The above were some of our telegrams sent and received on Feb. 5th [1879], the first day the through, Competing, Transcontinental United States Military Telegraph Line commenced working. The great importance of this line to the business interests of, not only the south and west, but of the whole country, for the present and future can hardly be estimated. The only thing that will surpass it will be when we get a southern competing Transcontinental Railroad, which looks now like it will be in the no distance future. Mesilla now has not only an important signal office, but is the important telegraph center of the Great Southwest. The line works like a charm from Mesilla to Denison Tex., a distance of about one thousand miles, each "click" of the instruments being as it were, simultaneous, though the difference in time being nearly an hour.

THE NEWS made proper mention at the time when Lieut. Allen completed his part of this line, 100 miles east of El Paso, so it only remained for Lieut. Tengle to complete his part in order to make a through connection.

Operator White informs us that the automatic repeaters here work to his entire satisfaction only requiring careful attention, while at they work the repeaters with button. A through message from Denison Texas to San Diego Cal. about 1800 miles will work through repeaters at Fort Concho, Mesilla and Tucson A. T. [Arizona Territory]. There are 80 cells now in the battery here, and batteries at Davis, Concho and Denison.

The rates for sending and receiving all telegrams for all places on the U. S. Mil. Tel. line, to the States via Tex. Route, will be about one half that it is via Santa Fe and Pueblo. Even now telegrams from Albuquerque and Santa Fe for the states are sent via Mesilla and Denison Tex.

Lieut. Allen, supt. of the New Mexico division, U. S. Mil. Tel. has now about 700 miles of line under his charge. We hope he could find it to his advantage to move Headquarters to Mesilla, as it would place him near the center of his duties, as also near the center of his line, instead of way off to one end. The work at this office is already increasing quite rapidly, and we would not be surprised if very soon 2 operators and 2 repairmen were not required at this place.

Oh! For a southern competing Transcontinental railroad. Where the benefit of the competing telegraph is felt by one, the benefits of the railroad would be felt by a thousand and a thousand fold. Come on with your Railroads from north, south, east and west if you want to carry away our millions of wealth, and give us somewhere on the Rio Grande a grand railroad center.

Mesilla News, Feb 8, 1879 (newspaper)


Tags: ,

Filed in: History, Mesilla | Comments

Friday, August 29th, 2008

The Spineless Promise

As noted in this post , Luther Burbank , "The Plant Wizard," developed the spineless cactus with the dream of providing unlimited cattle feed in arid lands. His dream excited many cattlemen, but was never realized. Here’s an article from the 1909 Mesilla/Las Cruces newspaper reflecting that hope.

The Thornless Cactus


"Too much value can not be placed on Burbank’s thornless cactus as a fodder for cattle," was the declaration made by Charles J. Welch, who has a great cattle ranch at Los Binos, in southern California.


Mr. Welch last year planted thousands of the Burbank cactus plants and says they are thriving and growing in every way, as Mr. Burbank said they would.


He and other Los Angeles men are arranging for other large shipments of this plant. Southern Pacific land commissioners are also contemplating planting large areas of Burbank cactus on desert lands along their railroad system.


— Rio Grande Republican, September 3, 1909

Tags: , ,

Friday, April 25th, 2008

Mesilla Museum Display

The opened this evening with a dedication ceremony featuring the Mayor of Mesilla and many Mesilla citizens. A welcome part of the opening ceremony was a display of some of the materials being collected for the Mesilla Museum, which will emphasize the history of Mesilla, including it’s role in the saga.

Billy the Kid was tried in the courthouse on the Mesilla plaza in April, 1881 for two killings. He was acquitted of the killing of Andrew A. “Buckshot” Roberts, which occurred on April 4, 1878. He was convicted of the killing of Sheriff William Brady, which happened a few days before, on April 1, 1878.

The sentence for the killing of Sheriff Brady was death by hanging, to be carried out May 13, 1881. That didn’t happen, of course, because Billy the Kid escaped from the Lincoln jail 15 days before he was to be hung. The hanging was to be carried out in because that’s where the killing of Sheriff Brady had occurred.

The most intriguing item on display this evening was the barber chair where Billy the Kid was given a haircut before his trial. The chair is privately owned and was being displayed only for the ceremony.

The chair was manufactured in the early 1870s. It was re-covered in the 1980s, before the current owner acquired it. The reupholstering covered up several bullet holes that were in the chair, of unknown origin.

The permanent display in the center includes numerous historical Mesilla photos.

Here’s a photo of the original San Albino church, which was torn down when the current church was constructed in 1908:

Here’s a photo of the consecration of the new San Albino church in 1908:

Here’s a picture of the Mesilla plaza in 1900. The first San Albino can be seen in the distance.

Here’s a picture of the Fountain Theatre taken about 1930:

Tags: , , , ,

See also:
Billy the Kid’s Grave
Did Billy the Kid Stay at La Posta in Mesilla?
Billy the Kid Display – Mesilla
Saving the Pat Garrett Marker
Billy’s DNA
Old Mesilla Courthouse
Billy the Kid
Fountain Theater – History

Wednesday, March 26th, 2008

Billy the Kid Display — Mesilla

The Town of Mesilla is hosting a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the J. Paul Taylor Visitor Center Thursday, April 24 at 5:30 p.m.

As part of the ribbon-cutting ceremony there will be display inside the Visitor Center. The display will feature historical photos, information and artifacts pertaining to Mesilla’s past. The subject is the historic period of April 1881, when Billy the Kid was a prisoner in Mesilla and tried and convicted of murder. A team of volunteers has collected names and items for the display. One of the items is the barber chair – built c1870 – in which Billy the Kid had his hair cut before the trial. The chair was once in the Billy the Kid Museum, owned by Dr. George Griggs in the 1930s, which is now La Posta Restaurant. The chair is currently in a private collection. An open house of the museum display will take place from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.

The visitor center is an extension of the current Mesilla Town Hall, located at 2231 Avenida de Mesilla.

For more information about the ceremony, call Kristie Medina at (575) 524-3262 ext. 116.

See also:
Billy the Kid’s Grave
Did Billy the Kid Stay at La Posta in Mesilla?
Mesilla Museum Display
Saving the Pat Garrett Marker
Billy’s DNA
Old Mesilla Courthouse
Billy the Kid

Friday, February 15th, 2008

130th Anniversary of Incorporation

Today appears to be the 130th anniversary of the incorporation of the town of Mesilla. Yet there is no celebration, no mention by the village government.

Perhaps this is explained by the fact the no one appears to know the correct date of . The history of Mesilla on the official gives 1861 as the year of incorporation. Other dates are given by other sites.

I present here evidence of the official incorporation of Mesilla that appears to be definitive. This is the text of the official Act of the Territory of New Mexico that incorporates the Town of Mesilla, as printed in the Mesilla Valley Independent newspaper, dated May 4, 1878. The Act is given as passed by the Territorial Legislature on February 15, 1878. That makes today the 130th anniversary of that act.

If anyone knows differently, please post it as a comment.

An Act to Incorporate “The Incorporation of Mesilla”

Be it enacted by the Legislative Assembly of the Territory of New Mexico:

SECTION 1. All owners and holders of real estate situated within the limits of Mesilla Grant in Dona Ana county who are actual residents within said limits, be, and they are hereby created a body politic and corporate under the name and style of the Incorporation of Mesilla and by that name may sue and be sued, plead and be impleaded; may hold real estate and have a common seal.

SEC. 2. That the officers of said incorporation shall consist of three commissioners each one of whom shall be a qualified voter under this act. Said commissioners shall have authority to take control of all real estate held in common by said Incorporation, and shall make such rules for the government of the same as they may deem just and proper, and shall have the power to lease or rent, and with the consent of two thirds of the voters under this act to convey and dispose of such real estate, and to make deeds of conveyance therefore.

Sec. 3. The said commissioners shall be elected at an election to be held on the first Monday of January of each year. Each owner and holder of real estate within the limits of said incorporation who is an actual resident therein shall be entitled to one vote for each terreno of land he may own or hold within said limits, and one vote for each separate portion of terreno; the three persons receiving the highest number of votes cast shall be declared elected, and shall respectively hold office for one year, and until their successors are elected and qualified. The commissioners elect shall take the same oath that is required by justices of the peace.

SEC. 4. The commissioners shall elect one of their number as President, one as Secretary, and one as Treasurer. The President shall call meetings of the board whenever the business of the incorporation shall require, or whenever petitioned to do so by twenty qualified voters. Whenever the said commissioners shall deem it necessary or proper to sell or lease any real estate, belonging in common to said corporation they shall call a meeting of all the members of said corporation, by giving five days public notice of the same, and shall present the project fully to the meeting who shall take a vote theron, and if two thirds of the votes cast are in favor of the project, then the said commissioners shall have full power to sell or lease the lands voted on, and in case of an absolute sale, the signature of the president of said commissioners, attested by the signatures of the secretary and the seal of the incorporation, shall be sufficient to convey all the title of the said corporation to said land.

SEC. 5. That until the first election under this act, the Governor shall appoint three commissioners, who shall have all the powers that are by this act granted to commissioners elected under its provisions.

SEC 6. This act shall be in force and effect from and effect from and after its passage and approval.

Approved Feb’y 15th, 1878

Quoted in the Mesilla Valley Independent, May 4, 1878.

Not surprisingly, only land owners could vote. They received one vote for each “terreno” and each portion of a torreno, so, obviously, one person could have multiple votes.

But what is a “terreno?” I haven’t found any definition on the internet or elsewhere. It appears to mean “a block of land,” of any size.

The measurement unit used by all the property deeds in Mesilla, which derives from the original Mexican land grant, is the “Spanish .” One vara as used in Mesilla is equal to 32.9927 inches, according to The History of La Mesilla and Her Mesilleros by Lionel Cajen Frietze.

Tags: , , ,

Filed in: History, Mesilla | Comments