History Herald: Springtime in New Mexico

by Laura Gonzales, Education & Volunteer Manager
The Dye Shed

Wind, allergies, sunshine in some places, snow in others, we all know what that means; it’s officially Spring in New Mexico! It’s the season symbolizing growth, renewal and rebirth. Looking around at the natural beauty of New Mexico we see color springing into vibrancy around us once again. At Las Golondrinas no one loves color more than our talented weavers! They turn plants, minerals, and even insects into natural dyes that transform the wool from our Churro sheep into radiant works of art.

Traditionally, New Mexican weavers have harvested wild growing plants to make dye. One that has always been in high demand for vibrant yellows and golds is “Cota.” This hearty plant is resilient with little water and thrives in the New Mexico wild. Our weavers let spun wool (yarn) sit in a mordant (a substance that binds dye to fiber) of water, alum, and cream of tartar, then soak the yarn in a dye bath made of cota petals. Variations in this process result in an array of golden hues. Cota has been integral to New Mexican life for generations, even used to make a tasty, medicinal tea. (*Please note, this is NOT medical advice. Always consult your health care provider before using home remedies (remedios).)

Herbs and Plants for Dying

New Mexicans in the past, however, didn’t have access to modern healthcare, and so, relied on herbal healers, honorably called Curanderos by their community. This is not a title they would have bestowed upon themselves. To provide the best care they could, curanderos spend years apprenticing and studying, and utilized various types of plants, herbs, and roots to sooth and cure an array of ailments. One of the most important was oshà. It grows in the high sierras and was used in treating colds, lung infections, and sore throats. It was also believed to ward off rattlesnakes and was used by Pueblo and Spanish communities alike to discourage insect infestation along acequia banks (irrigation ditches), which is great because springtime is also when local farmers from rural communities across New Mexico work together to clean the winter debris from their acequias, as they have for generations.

History Herald: Acequias

by Laura Gonzales, Education & Volunteer Manager

Acequia Madre

Did you know that Acequias are the oldest water management institutions in the United States? They were also the first non-Indigenous form of government in New Mexico, a system still in place in small rural communities. This system of irrigation, brought by the Spanish who learned from the Moors during their occupation of Spain, once supplied water to a large portion of the Southwest. Today, around 700 acequias continue to feed the fields of Northern New Mexico! Each acequia has a mayordomo (ditch boss) and a commission, which oversee the delivery of water, settle disputes, and maintain the ditch system.

These ditches also help to restore aquifers and riparian areas, like here in La Cienega. Because acequias are integral to farms, ranches, and in some cases infrastructure operations, this job is essential in maintaining healthy farming ecosystems. Here at Las Golondrinas our small operations crew works hard tending to our animal friends, crops, and of course the Acequia Madre, or mother ditch, which runs through the site and is used to irrigate our fields. The acequia on Las Golondrinas’ land is part of the La Cienega Acequia, a community shared irrigation ditch that has been active since ca. 1715, and it’s listed on New Mexico’s register of historic places! This is the time of year the crew cleans it and prepares the fields for the growing season. We are all so excited to begin anew this spring and hope to welcome our guests back to this beautiful site this season!

Staff Spotlight: Sean Paloheimo

Sean Paloheimo

In our never-ending quest to inform and enlighten our Las Golondrinas supporters, we are happy to introduce a new column introducing you to our hard-working staff! One of the people who wears the most hats here at the museum is Assistant Museum Director/Director of Operations Sean Paloheimo. If that last name is familiar to you, it’s because the land that Las Golondrinas stands on was once owned by the Paloheimo family. Sean’s parents, grandparents and great-grandparents are responsible for giving this amazing and one of a kind property to all of us, and we are so grateful for this gift!

Sean was born at Christus St. Vincent Hospital and grew up right here on the museum grounds, in a house up on the hill behind the schoolhouse. He remembers spending long days riding bikes and getting into all kinds of adventures with his brother George, his closest friend and playmate. Sean attributes his love of outdoor sports, camping and adventures with growing up at Las Golondrinas. The family moved to a house on San Antonio Street when Sean was 10, and he has fond memories of being a teenager living in the city. He attended Pinon Elementary and St. Mike’s for middle and high school.

Sean is the second most tenured staff members (Julie Anna Lopez is number one!), starting with his first volunteer position — pulling weeds at age 10. He started getting paid at age 12 to handle such tasks as cutting thistles in the sheep pasture, raking leaves and organizing the utility yard.

After graduating high school, Sean studied photography at UNM. He soon found his passion lay more with jewelry making, which he studied and continues to create to this day. Getting the urge to leave the southwest for a while, Sean moved to Bend, Oregon, where he continued to study, snowboard and learn wilderness emergency rescue skills. He returned to Las Golondrinas and lived in an unplumbed house on the property for a year.

Sean met his wife Jill in high school, but they didn’t date until later. She got a job in New Orleans after college and Sean was able to work there during the Golondrinas off season and would return here for the summer and fall. The couple live in a home on the property, up the hill from the public area.

Sean’s typical day can feature any number of things, from fixing a roof to setting up electric for a festival to scheduling vet care for one of the churro sheep. Sean is in charge of day-to-day museum operations, the animal husbandry program and the planting schedule for the fields. Like everyone who works at Las Golondrinas, his “other duties as needed” list is long and diverse.

In his off time, Sean enjoys snowboarding, fishing, camping and lots of other outdoor activities. He is a seasoned musician and plays guitar every day as a form of meditation and a way to unwind. He continues to make and show jewelry at local art fairs, and has incorporated glass blowing into his work.

Sean’s favorite Las Golondrinas event is Harvest Festival. He says, “It’s the oldest event and it’s what we do best — Harvest shows off all the best things that our museum has to offer.”

Next time you are out at the museum, look for the fast-moving man with the big hat and the bigger smile and say hello — and give thanks that Las Golondrinas has this employee who has given his artistic talent to this land — in Sean’s words, “Las Golondrinas is my canvas — it’s my 20-year masterpiece.”

Get Your Las Golondrinas Mask!

We have a variety of masks for you to show your Las Golondrinas pride! These masks are $10 each and only available for a limited time. CLICK HERE and shoot Amanda Mather, Curator of Collections and Museum Shop Manager, an email with the number of masks you want.

Please indicate Adult or Child size mask and color—black, grey or red. Children’s masks are only available in red. Thanks for supporting Las Golondrinas and staying safe!

Red Golondrinas Masks
red mask
Gray Golondrinas masks
gray mask
Black Golondrinas Masks
black mask

Savers FUNDrive is Coming!

SAVE Your Spring Cleaning Items!

This August, we will be collecting for a SAVERS FUNdraiser — the more pounds we donate on September 2, the more funds we raise! We will collect clothing, small household items and other items (see graphic below for acceptable items).

Acceptable Items


Thursdays, August 13, 20 and 27 from 2:00–4:00pm
and on
Saturday, August 30,
from 10:00am – noon

Please designate a pile of your donations for Las Golondrinas,and bring them to us — a big green garbage bag is recommended for your donation!

….and More Giving!

We are fortunate to have a private foundation that matches ALL GIFTS to our annual fund and our membership, so whatever you choose to give is automatically doubled!

If you have questions about any of the initiatives above, click HERE to talk with Jackie Camborde, our Director of Development. She can help you figure out the best way for you to give.

CLICK HERE to give to our Annual Fund or renew your membership now. Heartfelt thanks from all of us for your continued support.

EL Rancho de las Golondrinas is BEST OF SANTA FE!

Las Golondrinas is proud to announce that we are the recipients of two awards in the Santa Fe Reporter’s BEST OF SANTA FE 2020 competition. The awards recieved are:

THIRD PLACE: Best Lecture Series
THIRD PLACE Best Non-Profit

Many, many thanks to all of you who voted and helped make this possible. We are both thrilled and humbled to be in such esteemed company in both categories and are grateful for the community support. You can pick up your copy of the Best of Santa Fe this week, and a glossier, magazine version will come out in August.

Rainbows Over New Mexico

by Laura Gonzales, Education & Volunteer Manager

“A storm on the Llano is beautiful…A feeling of gladness comes over one as the heavens open to bathe Mother Earth. Only those ever watching and waiting for the rain can feel the rapture it brings.”
—Fabiola Cabeza de Baca, We Fed Them Cactus

Rainbows in New MexicoEvery New Mexican knows there’s nothing quite like afternoon storm clouds rolling in and quenching the sun-baked earth with cool summer rain. Especially appreciated during periods of drought, nothing is more anticipated than monsoon season and the relief it brings to the Land of Enchantment.

New Mexico has withstood several periods of drought with some of the worst years on record being the 1870s–80s, the 1930s, and the 1950s (arguably the worst). With little precipitation since winter, much of the state has been thrust into drought conditions again, so let’s hope for a generous monsoon season!

“Monsoon,” from the Arabic “mausim,” means “season,” and since New Mexico’s monsoon runs from June through September, perhaps it’s fair to say we are currently in the middle of our “season” season. This natural phenomena occurs when a wind shift over a region is accompanied by moisture. For New Mexico, if the shift is good, it accounts for nearly half of the state’s annual precipitation.

As beautiful and necessary as they are, summer storms have their share of hazards. If you can hear thunder, you’re probably within striking distance of lightning. While a lightning show is mesmerizing to the eye, they can be deadly. The National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), reports roughly 25 million lightning ground strikes in the United States each year! Since 1959, nearly 100 people in New Mexico have been killed, ranking the state 21st in lightning deaths. Did you know that the air within a strike can heat up to 50,000 degrees Fahrenheit? That’s hotter than the sun! One strike can generate enough electricity to power a light bulb continuously for 3 months.

While less frequent than lightning storms, floods can be even more devastating. In New Mexico, 1941 was the year “it didn’t stop raining.” Flooding washed out bridges and roads, destroyed structures and farmland, and even severed gas lines. One report stated that the flood forced a woman into a tree, which she shared with 3 rattlesnakes for 12 hours. She stated “the snakes were there first, and despite knocking 2 of them off with a stick, they both promptly climbed back.” That year, 28 people died from weather-related deaths, 24 in the flood, and the state saw an average of 26.25 inches of rain — double the normal average — making it the wettest year on record.

The best way to avoid lightning and flash floods during monsoon season is by staying alert. Keep up with weather reports, avoid seeking refuge under trees or standing in an open field, don’t use a corded telephone, avoid metal fences, and, especially important in New Mexico, be aware if walking or playing around an arroyo. Take precautions and enjoy the beauty of the storm from a safe place. Remember, when thunder roars, go indoors!


Creative Ways You Can Support Las Golondrinas!

Here are some ways you can support Las Golondrinas that are a little unorthodox — see if one might appeal to you!


SAVE Your Spring Cleaning Items!

In August, we will be collecting for a SAVERS FUNDraiser — the more pounds we donate on September 2, the more funds we raise! We will collect gently-used clothing, linens, jewelry, shoes, accessories (such as belts and purses), and small household goods. Please designate a pile of your donations for Las Golondrinas,and we’ll let you know when to bring them to us — a big green garbage bag is recommended for your donation!

Volunteer Julia GomezRenew your Membership/Become a Las Golondrinas Member

Members get free admission to the museum every day that we are open, including festivals and special events! Membership fees help support our education and outreach programs and give you access to special members-only activities, lectures and more. CLICK HERE to join or renew your membership today!

Host a Facebook Fundraiser

Underneath your name on Facebook is a series of buttons — one is labeled SUPPORT A NONPROFIT. You can click that option and create a personal statement about why you support Las Golondrinas, and invite your friends to support as well. In 4–6 weeks, we will receive a check from Facebook for the full amount of funds raised! Many thanks to those of you who have heeded this call — so far, we have raised about $1,500 from Facebook fundraisers. If you need assistance in setting up a Facebook Fundraiser, email Jackie Camborde, our Director of Development.

churro sheepAdopt an Animal

Did you know that it costs approximately $300 a year to feed, house and care for just one of our churro sheep, burros or goats? If you want to have a direct impact on our most popular ranch residents,we hope you will ADOPT an ANIMAL today — look to your left for our latest addition, these adorable baby lambs! Your name will appear on signage near our churro sheep pen this summer,and we’ll send you a photo of some of our menagerie!

All gifts to our annual fund go to support all that we do at Las Golondrinas.

We are fortunate to have a private foundation that matches ALL GIFTS to our annual fund as well, so whatever you choose to give is automatically doubled!

If you have questions about any of the initiatives above, email Jackie Camborde, our Director of Development. She can help you figure out the best way for you to give.

You can also contribute to our Annual Fund on this website. Heartfelt thanks from all of us for your continued support.

Las Golondrinas at the Movies — Part 2

by Jackie Camborde, Director of Development

Spending more time with Netflix these days? We just purchased an outdoor projector to have some warm evening movie nights outside — my kids are counting the days until it arrives! One of our first movie nights will definitely include a Las Golondrinas title — here’s a few that were filmed at the museum for you to check out!

Fools Rush InFools Rush

starring Salma Hayek, Matthew Perry
Three months after a one-night stand with Isabel Fuentes (Salma Hayek) in Las Vegas, New York City real estate developer Alex Whitman (Matthew Perry) learns she is pregnant. Despite being a terminal bachelor, Alex is drawn to Isabel, and the pair marries. Hilarity ensues in this tale of unlikely love. A fluffy escape of a movie.
Amazon Prime, Starz





Jane Got a Gun

Jane Got A Gun

starring Natalie Portman, Joel Edgerton
With help from her boozing ex-lover (Joel Edgerton), a woman (Natalie Portman) tries to defend her injured husband (Noah Emmerich) from a vengeful outlaw (Ewan McGregor) and his gang of killers in the Old West. This one is intense — maybe pair it with one of the comedy reviewed here?
Hulu, Amazon Prime

Tiger Eyes

Tiger Eyes

starring Willa Holland, Kambiz Aghdazi
Forced by her grieving mother to move from her home in New Jersey, to the strange town of Los Alamos, New Mexico, Davey doesn’t know how to fit in.

When Davey meets Wolf, a mysterious Native American climber exploring the surrounding canyons, she feels he is able to see right into her most wild and secret emotions. Their relationship brings Davey back from the edge as she finds the courage to embark on the first great adventure of her life. The film marks the first major motion picture adaptation from the work of bestselling Children’s/Young Adult author Judy Blume.
YouTube, Amazon Prime

Better Call Saul

Better Call Saul

starring Bob Oderkirk, Michael McKean
This TV show, the prequel to the cult hit Breaking Bad, follows the life of controversial lawyer Saul Goodman. The fifth season features two episodes with gorgeous shots of the museum. Be careful with this one — it’s completely addictive — one day we watched six episodes in a row!
AMC, Netflix

Stay well, and happy viewing!

Las Golondrinas Heroes Make Masks, Clean Up Los Pinos

Liz Trujillo
Liz Trujillo

To say that our volunteers are itching to get out of quarantine and back to the museum is an understatement. The Las Golondrinas staff has been coming up with some creative ways that they can do some good and keep busy.

Liz Trujillo masks

Longtime volunteer Liz Trujillo has been firing up her sewing machine and making masks for essential workers. To date, she has made about two dozen, and we are looking into donating them where they can be best used. “I was so pleased to participate in this project. I hope the wearers of these masks enjoy good health and are protected from COVID19,” Trujillo says. She even made a mask with Colcha embroidery (see photo). Thanks, Liz, for your creativity, skill and generosity!

Los Pines Road cleanup
Los Pinos photo credit: Olivia Harlow, Santa Fe New Mexican

Meanwhile, on June 23, a group of stalwart Las Golondrinas staff and volunteers partnered with staff from our neighbor, Sunrise Springs, to pitch in and clean up Los Pinos Road. Due to furloughs and more people eating in their cars, there was a significant amount of trash and debris to pick up — almost 40 volunteers and staff participated and helped clean up the neighborhood. Thanks to Santa Fe County for supplying vests for volunteers and trash bags, and for picking them all up!

If you would like more information on making masks or being included with community outreach projects, email, Laura Gonzales, Volunteer and Education Manager.