CatronCountyWalk

Catron County, New Mexico has about 400 miles of paved road, and we're planning to walk every mile of it ... eventually ...

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Rooflines and things

Well, I admit it - I'm a wuss. Bicycling would definitely be the answer, if only I weren't a complete coward. I'm afraid there's not enough hunter orange spray paint in the world to make me feel safe out there, especially in hunting season when the two-lane country roads are inundated with truck-driving yahoos towing ATV's, all loaded up with guns and ammo and camo and beer. I think they start drinking as soon as they cross the county line. The other road hazard: small, elderly persons with poor eyesight and poor reflexes driving RV's the size of railroad cars -- wearing hats. On foot, you get to face oncoming traffic, and step calmly off the side of the road, but on bicycle, rapid avoidance maneuvers are likely to send you flying off your bike and into barbed wire fences, or face down in the broken glass and beer cans with your bicycle on top of you. There's a reason you hardly ever see a bicyclist on these narrow country roads....

Speaking of seeing things on country roads, I saw my first porcupine roadkill today. I've never seen a porcupine before - didn't expect it to be so big.

The pictures that follow are my attempt to reconcile myself to not finishing the walk when I had planned to - if I can't get out there and move about the county, I can still take a closer look at the county that's right outside my door. What I'm focussing on right now are the houses that look the oldest.

These are, by definition, adobe houses (adobe meaning mud.) Early New Mexicans would have built their mud houses on a slope or well-drained site, with stone foundations that "prevented moisture from entering the walls by capillary action." (This is from Marcia Southwick's "Building With Adobe" by the way.) Adobe is structurally weak, according to Marcia, so the walls were made thick, and the heights were kept low, and they didn't make them too long, either, unless they were buttressed. Doors and windows would have been centered, away from the corners where the walls met. Later the adobe might have been covered with a lime plaster.

Here in Catron county, we have snow in the winter, and wood was more plentiful on the mountainsides here than on the plains at lower elevations, so you had to have a pitched roof. Instead of sun-baked adobe bricks made of mud, you might have logs set upright into the ground and plastered with mud. Actually, according to another book, by Robert Adams, which talks about architecture of early hispanic Colorado, you can find adobe construction using everything from adobe bricks to "adobe combined with logs, field stone, cut stone, concrete, chicken wire, lath, stucco and wooden siding."

The impression I'm getting is that the local architecture - the old stuff - falls loosely into a category called "mountain gabled style" with, in general, these kinds of characteristics (and here I'm quoting from a book called Ageless Adobe by Jerome Iowa): "single file floor plans (straight, L or U) with adobe walls and plaster, Neo-Greek doors and window casing, painted white or blue, and high pitched metal roofs with overhanging eaves." I'm not sure exactly what Neo-Greek means, yet.

Without being too nosy and trespassing on private property, I only found one or two places with a straight single file floorplan, and none with a U-shaped plan, but numerous old houses with an L-shaped plan. I can only date them in a vague approximate way, so far - many of the houses in this valley are a hundred years old, give or take twenty or thirty years. The church, I am told, was built around 1900.

8 Comments:

  • At 10:17 PM, Blogger everyshotcounts said…

    We may all be yahoos in camo & hunter orange, but not necessarily beer drinking idiot slobs.

    After working out all year to get in shape, learning the latest available technology, and spending countless hours with critters in their natural habitat, most 6 ft. tall, 2 legged, noisy critters walking on pavement are hard to mistake for the much more elusive game flashing through the woods.

    By the way, to hunt, there needs to be game, for game, there needs to be habitat, for habitat, there's hunters protecting it from development.

    Nice photos.

     
  • At 12:19 PM, Blogger Suzanne said…

    I'm not against hunters and hunting, in theory - the county's economy depends heavily on hunters and hunting. The idea of hunting doesn't bother me in the least, and I think most people thumping the environmentalist drum are slightly misguided - their intentions are good, but they're ignorant. That said, it seems like a large proportion of the hunters that come here leave very unattractive spoor - broken glass and beer cans, cut fences - that kind of thing. They trespass on private property, they shoot from their cars, they handle their guns carelessly and unsafely - there are just enough of them who seem to view hunting as an opportunity to drink too much and behave badly that it sours my personal feelings about hunters in general, even if the majority of hunters don't act that way.

    I'm not worried I'm going to be mistaken for game and shot at. When I was walking on the road during turkey season, the extra traffic from hunters didn't bother me too much, and quite a few stopped to see if we needed help, which was nice. But I really have doubts about my ability to handle myself on a bicycle on Highway 60, especially at this time of year, with the snowbirds and the hunters. That's why I called myself a wuss. I'm happier cycling on roads with paved shoulders.

    Sorry if you felt yourself unfairly maligned - you don't sound like a drunken yahoo to me. You're absolutely right - not all hunters are beer drinking idiot slobs.

     
  • At 11:20 PM, Blogger Molly Johnson said…

    Dear fellow blogger,

    I perused your post with much interest as I was looking for ways to trade in traffic and road
    . But unfortunately your post did not exactly cover trading in traffic and road
    . Yet I have fount a website that allows you to trade in almost anything like traffic and road
    on interest free credit, and you can pay for your traffic and road
    whenever you want. Here is the link one more time: traffic and road
    .

     
  • At 11:20 PM, Blogger Austin said…

    Dear fellow blogger,

    I perused your post with much interest as I was looking for ways to trade in road. But unfortunately your post did not exactly cover trading in road. Yet I have fount a website that allows you to trade in almost anything like road on interest free credit, and you can pay for your road whenever you want. Here is the link one more time: road.

     
  • At 12:28 AM, Blogger Molly Johnson said…

    Dear fellow blogger,

    I perused your post with much interest as I was looking for ways to trade in traffic and road
    . But unfortunately your post did not exactly cover trading in traffic and road
    . Yet I have fount a website that allows you to trade in almost anything like traffic and road
    on interest free credit, and you can pay for your traffic and road
    whenever you want. Here is the link one more time: traffic and road
    .

     
  • At 12:28 AM, Blogger Molly Johnson said…

    Dear fellow blogger,

    I perused your post with much interest as I was looking for ways to trade in traffic and road
    . But unfortunately your post did not exactly cover trading in traffic and road
    . Yet I have fount a website that allows you to trade in almost anything like traffic and road
    on interest free credit, and you can pay for your traffic and road
    whenever you want. Here is the link one more time: traffic and road
    .

     
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