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Windblown in New Mexico

It’s a good thing we went rockhounding yesterday and didn’t wait for today. The wind is blowing so hard and cold we can barely stay out for a few minutes. The national weather service says it is gusting occasionally to 40 MPH but it seems like 40 is the rule rather than the exception. Just opening the door of the trailer is an effort against the wind. I should have put the stabilizers down when we arrived, because the wind is hitting us broadside and making the trailer rock like a cross-country train. But now it’s cold and I’m comfortable in here, so we’ll just enjoy the ride.

Days like this make me feel almost guilty for being so comfortable in the Airstream. There are couple of intrepid rockhounds in a tent nearby, and their tent has been battered all day but is somehow still standing. They have to be freezing — the wind chill is about 27 degrees. Meanwhile, we are living cozily. I have been working on the bed all day with the furnace purring. Eleanor and Emma have been homeschooling and working on bead art projects. At lunchtime we took a short hike down the road, paid for another night of camping, and let the wind blow us back to the trailer for hot lunch and root beer.

Deming mountains.jpg

Rockhound State Park is a beautiful spot. The campground is not much to look at, although it is in good condition. But the setting is marvelous. To the southeast we have craggy peaks covered in a light snow. To the north, the hill rises from the campground to expose ledges of rock filled with jasper. To the southwest, flat open ground is criss-crossed with the streets of Deming, and the sun beams down through gaps in the clouds to illuminate the desert in gold. Far south, we can see another range of mountains in Mexico. The visibility today has fluctuated but at times it is incredible — probably 75 miles.

At night the air is so clear that the lights of little Deming (5-9 miles away and 1,000 feet below us) glisten like they’ve been polished. It looked like a miniature Los Angeles last night in the full moon. If the wind doesn’t blow me to Las Cruces, I’ll break out the tripod and try to get a night shot.

We have discovered the identify of two of our rocks: red jasper and yellow jasper. The yellow is particularly beautiful. We’ll ship it home to Papa to see if he can polish it up.

We have also solved another mystery: the amazing refrigerator smell. A week or so ago, we noticed that everytime the fridge was opened, an incredible odor rolled out. This odor, reminiscent of bad meat mixed with garlic, was so intense that we’d immediately want to open the windows no matter how cold it was.

Last night I had had enough, and emptied out the refrigerator in search of the culprit. I found nothing except some jars of mustard and black bean sauce that had some slight odor to them. But this morning Eleanor found it: the darned stinky cheeses we bought back in Austin! That Cowgirl “Red Hawk” cheese is really powerful. Mixed with a little gorgonzola it can find its way through a sealed plastic bag.

The offending cheese has since been double-sealed in bags and the smell is — thankfully — gone. You may find it amazing that we’d eat something that smells so bad, but it tastes better than it smells. I guess it would have to …

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