Meet Volunteer Gordon Mark!
“My first encounter with El Rancho de las Golondrinas was a tour with the Santa Fe Botanic Garden. In California, I had photographed buildings, both old and new. Las Golondrinas provided for me a different look at architecture. I asked the guide if it was OK to photograph at the Ranch. I then explained that I use large format cameras (12 x 20, 8 x 10 and a round format 8 x 10 camera of my own design). A tripod and a focusing cloth would also be necessary. The answer was ‘Yes,’ with a couple of reservations. In a couple of weeks, I was back with a camera. While paying the fee, I was convinced that I needed a membership so I could photograph whenever I wanted. The grounds are sublime and ever-changing with the seasons. A GREAT place to photograph! There had to be more to keep me returning.
A couple of years later, I answered an ad for tour guides. I had been a teacher, so I felt this might be interesting. That was 15 years ago! I then started to be a docent on Friday, and I have been on the Friday crew ever since.
Looking around the Ranch for other things I might do created my interest in the mills. I learned to operate and maintain the Trucas Mill and then was taught to operate the Molino Grande. My choice is the Trucas Mill as it is what was here in the period.
After being asked to present the mills at training, I started to do research on the mills in New Mexico. This research included both the small Spanish mills and the larger commercial ones. The trips into the eastern part of New Mexico brought me into contact with the old mills and people who were also interested in mills.
The Ranch can be great fun as a guide, docent or a miller, but there is more that I feel is important. The people that are at the Ranch, I think, are the real reason that I am here. This includes my fellow volunteers, the staff and the Board of Directors — a group of people that come from very diverse backgrounds, but have history, the Ranch and the people we serve as a common thread. The people that come in the front gate are, to me, most important as they have enlightened me on many aspects of life in New Mexico.”