Did you know that New Mexico is home to 24,000 farms and 43.9 million acres of farmland? Me either until I started to research this blog. I grew up on a cattle ranch in Southwestern New Mexico, were we ran several head of critters across six sections of land, in a place where you could go days without having to talk to another human being (reasons I became a writer.) I always thought I was the odd girl out. Turns out there are more rural-living folk in New Mexico than there are city slickers! I guess this is why come the first warm day of the season I’m outside in flip flops and tank top elbow deep in dirt. Like so many of us in this great nation, planting, growing, and getting dirty is where I feel most at home.
This is why I am so excited to write this blog on spring agriculture in New Mexico, because this is, literally, life for me. These days I own what us millennials call a “micro-farm,” which is basically a ¾ acre lot with a swimming pool, on the outskirts of the big city. It is here that every spring I get down and dirty.
I start out with simple intentions, like going to the local Quality Bait and Pond for 100 earthworms to put in my garden plot. But I undoubtedly end up leaving with a dozen little peepers, too, because dogonit fluffy babies are irresistible (and no one complains later about those fresh eggs, either.)
A veterinarian recently asked me why I all of a sudden decided to start dragging home stray animals, and I told him, “Doc, it ain’t all of a sudden. More like since I could walk!” You see, growing up a ranch kid in an isolated neck-of-the-woods means, for lots of us that were raised that way, that our first best friends are a critter of some sort. That animal bond follows you through life until it gets where you don’t feel right unless you’re being woken up at the crack of dawn by a rooster or a Guinea hen (of which I bough four.)
Agriculture is a way of life, yes, but I believe it is also a compulsion — albeit a good one. Whether you find yourself smack dab in the middle of LA dragging home strays and planting tomatoes in pots on the window sill, or you’re like me and walk your miniature goat to the local dairy to say “hi” to the cows and visit the pigs, a love of life forms other than human is a beautiful thing. It is a sacred thing.
When I was four I wanted to be a veterinarian. I ended up a writer. But I tell you what, being a part of a team like American West Jewelry wakes me up every day blessed, because we share the same roots. We love the same way of life, the same traditions, art forms, and stories that give our state (and country) so much charterer. Because we are, well, American made, just like the land, plants and critters we love. And that is just one thing about it all that makes me #AWYou.