When I discovered this kingdom it was as if I had been called; as if all it concerned was a dream dreamed of but only unconsciously remembered. I wanted to live, learn and grow here, and simply absorb the wisdom that emanates from every cliff and cliff.
The mountainous Gallina Valley is a unique fertility pocket in the semi-desert terrain of most of New Mexico. It is a paradise that provided its people with their every need, and does so to a greater extent, to a greater extent if the Forester don’t catch you.
There are rich and beautiful national forests and BLM lands everywhere, as well as throughout the state. Yet rural New Mexico residents usually live below the poverty line, when just a few generations ago, every need was met by land and hard work.
However, the Gallina valley is blessed with numerous precious river waters which enclose the village in flowing acequias (a-say-kias), supporting the village’s green hills and fields.
Our niche in the Gallina Valley in northern New Mexico is a life apart, literally. The closest Wal-Mart is an hour and a half one way. This is also our closest pharmacy. A two-hour drive will take you to the nearest hospital or decent doctor, or to the Sears or furniture store, photo developer, or movie theater. One bank serves a circumference of 200 miles.
There are no phone companies, Hobby Lobby or fast food restaurants in Gallina and surrounding towns. In fact, there are only two places of activity in these villages. But there is no shortage of churches and liquor stores. Etobicokeextermination.ca
Many of us women make our own barbecue and spaghetti sauce and the like, and can do it together with the fruits of the wild orchard and our vegetables. I have never tasted a fruit sweeter than wild plums and village apples the size of a cherry, or the local stuffy cherry jelly. Wild asparagus fields are a jealously guarded treasure.
Residents don’t rush to the store or drive to get something for dinner. Almost every day the beans cook under pressure and the red or green chili is already on the table next to the fresh, steaming tortillas.
Most cooking is done from scratch. One day I ran out of breadcrumbs I’d dried to make the filling for a wild turkey dinner and a friend sent me a sack she had on hand. Not only did she dry them herself, but she started with the homemade sandwiches she makes every week. Her homemade dried lei breadcrumbs made it the tastiest and best texture of any topping she’s ever made.
Fresh goat milk is plentiful, from which many still make cheese and butter. Most of us kill and pluck our own chickens, our bloody arms help our families slaughter goats, pigs, cows, deer and moose. We slice the fat layer from the outside of the pigs for chicharrone, making our own lard when we fry it. We treasure the heart and the liver, some even keep the skins for tanning.
We use everything we can. If you see a deer or moose hat holder in someone’s house, they didn’t order it from a Cabalas catalog, they got it from their meat source. We build adobe horns and harvest corn to dry them to make chicos, along with vegetables to store for the winter and bake the most delicious bread. And the blood of the pig slaughter makes the traditional morcilla, which means black sausage (blood).