Home on the Range

We’ve made it back to our home-base, but honestly, I wasn’t ready to head back to Austin; ready for all of the traffic, all of the people, and all of the noise.

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Wanting a Warmer Winter

Location: Jim Hogg Park, Georgetown, TX

It’s Groundhog Day, and I doubt Phil will see his shadow today, especially based upon looking out my own window! As you know, the last couple of months have been cold, cold, cold everywhere, even down here in Texas. We actually had snow all the way down to the coast! 

We had an invitation for New Year’s Eve, in Madrid, NM, and although we wanted to see our friends, we didn’t want to be that cold and have to deal with water-lines and holding tanks in freezing weather. As it turns out, it was warmer and sunnier in Santa Fe than here in the Heart O’Texas, so we headed out for a good time.

We stayed at our favorite park, Santa Fe Skies, and pretty much had the place to ourselves, which was an interesting experience. From there, it is a short drive to the art community of Madrid, where our friends live. The town was beautifully decorated, and their annual Christmas Parade had been featured on national news! The New Year’s Party was held at The Mine Shaft, and it may have been one of my most memorable NYE parties, EVER. I am sorry that I didn’t take any photos!

While in Santa Fe we went to Paloma Restaurant. Twice. It was that good. I immediately fell in love with the bar… which is simple and chic, but the luscious cocktails, delectable food, and excellent service, along with a sexy and mature clientele, made us want to linger all night.

I also got to enjoy some girlfriend time browsing antique shops. I found the perfect sofa, and a rustic coffee table to go with it… alas, I have no place to use either!

After browsing, we had lunch at Bodega Prime, a delightful farm-to-table organic restaurant. The food was exceptional… but the highlight to my meal was the Golden Milk Latte. As close to Heaven in a cup as I’ve ever had! The restaurant is tucked away just across the road from El Rey Inn on Cerrillos. We used to stay there whenever we came to Santa Fe. It’s a sweet hotel with a rich history, and I miss it.

I was reluctant to leave Santa Fe, I always am, but it was about to get really, really cold, so we made plans and headed southwest to Silver City, NM, a small eclectic town with a very interesting history, and some lovely architecture. A deep ditch caused by floodwaters in 1895 split the town in half, but a beautification project has made downtown a great place for an afternoon stroll and a step back in time. 

 

 

 

It took me a minute to remember the name of the RV park where we stayed… andthat’s ironic because Rose Valley RV Ranch is on Memory Lane! It’s a large wooded park right off the main highway. It’s set on a quiet old ranch, and bordered on one side by a cemetery. I love walking in cemeteries, and there were headstones dating back to the 1880’s! Each time we walked we saw a covey of quail as they bunched together and made their rounds, lots of bunnies, and a pair of spectacular jack rabbits. There were ancient buckboards, hay-cutters, plows and other farm equipment, all originally pulled behind mules, placed throughout the ranch. Turk explained what most were and how they worked, but there were a few that stumped even him.

Our friends told us to be sure and eat at Cafe 1ZERO6 – a restaurant they enjoyed when they were last here. I made reservations as we drove into town, we selected our dinners (they have a set menu, and shop fresh daily for it) and looked forward to the next night. It was amazing… we were treated like honored guests by Jeff, our host (although the term doesn’t do justice to the way he took care of us). And we got to speak to Jake, the owner/chef, at the end of our meal. We never expected an award-winning restaurant in such an out of the way place, and I’m grateful we had that experience, because Jake has decided to retire and is closing the restaurant next month. We wish them both great luck wherever their adventures take them!

To be continued in Bisbee, AZ, next time.
XO Donna

Just Us Chickens

Ain’t nobody here but us chickens
Ain’t nobody here at all
So calm yourself and stop that fuss
There ain’t nobody here but us…
1947 Louis Jordan

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I met my first gypsy chicken, that’s what they call them down there, when we pulled into the RV park in Key West. Well, actually, the park is on Stock Island…  just a kiss away.  I thought the greeting committee – three hens and a rooster – were someone’s wandering  pets.It wasn’t until we went to dinner at Blue Heaven the next evening and there were hens and chicks loitering under tables hoping for treats, and roosters crowing from the tree-tops, that I realized the chickens ‘were a thing!’

I noticed more and more of them at the RV park, where they’d emerge from under the shade of the RVs, curious to see what you were doing and if you had food to share. They are brave, I’ll give them that. A large, gleaming rooster walked right up to me as we strolled down a street with Cuban coffees and a bag of plantain chips. He knew what that crinkling and crunching sound were. Of course I shared, and in return, he posed for me.

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Not everyone loves the gypsy chickens, as you can imagine. They are messy, and the roosters crow at all hours of the day and night – nope, they don’t only crow at sunrise. And since they have no natural predators, they strut around like, well… Mick Jagger.  The residents are prohibited from shooting them because of laws dating back to voodoo practices among the Haitian settlers. Nor would they make good eating, since they are wild, feral chickens.

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It seems that every few years there is a push to get rid of the chickens, but there is always a push-back from the people who like them and the pest control they provide,  keeping scorpions and cockroaches at bay. AND the fact that the tourists really enjoy them doesn’t go unnoticed. They do lend an exotic Caribbean feel to the island.
I can’t imagine the island with all of the chickens gone… it wouldn’t be the same at all.

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The chickens were a part of what made our stay there so enjoyable. That, and Blue Heaven Restaurant (the outdoor courtyard was pictured above the pie) with it’s colorful history, our amiable waiter, Rocky, and their divinely inspired Key Lime Pie.

XO Donna