The first ever Chuckwagon Dinner was held on August 18 at El Rancho de las Golondrinas and it was a grand success! Over 200 people, including many Board members, ate their fill of “chuck” from an authentic 1890s chuckwagon!
Carl serving up a big plate of “chuck.”
Attendees sat at tables adorned with red checkered table cloths and a pop-up “campfire” centerpiece. As they chowed down their “chuck,” they were serenaded on the harmonica and guitar by Dale Greenberg and Marc Yaxley who played authentic music and tunes from the late 1890’s. They even participated in a sing-a-long of “You Are My Sunshine,” and several Bob Dylan melodies.
206 meals served!
It was a festive evening filled with good food, friendship and fun! Who knows?! This may become an annual event at the Ranch!
This month’s volunteer profile features Bill Olver.
“I was born in Colorado while my father was working for the U.S. Forest Service. As he went up through the ranks of various federal agencies, I ended up going to many different schools, but was mostly raised in New Mexico and Colorado. While my father was working in D.C., I ended up attending Virginia Tech and obtained a B.S. in civil engineering with an emphasis on land surveying.
After graduating from Virginia Tech, I immediately accepted a land surveyor position with the Bureau of Land Management in Santa Fe. That was in August of 1981. I enjoyed the history of northern New Mexico that I was exposed to in Santa Fe.
However, my career took me to Oklahoma, D.C., and then Window Rock, AZ (living in Gallup). While in Gallup, I transformed from a confirmed bachelor to a married man, and ended up with two daughters and now six grandchildren. Finally, I transferred back to Santa Fe in 2003, and worked for the BLM until retiring in January of this year. Since I still enjoyed surveying, I immediately went to work for a surveying firm based in Albuquerque, but I am still working out of Santa Fe.
For decades I rode bicycles, both street and mountain, exploring roads and trails through many states. Since moving back to Santa Fe, I have primarily turned to hiking for recreation, trying to get in long hikes in the mountains every weekend. I also attempt to play golf, but am more accomplished at playing pool and darts, and occasionally I play tennis and racquetball.”
Several years ago, when he started volunteering at Las Golondrinas, Bill worked with Steve Dixon, teaching visitors, both young and old, atlatl — which is a spear-throwing skill. Bill had never thrown an atlatl, but he quickly mastered the technique and enjoyed teaching others how to do it. Today he continues to volunteer in many other ways at the Ranch, as does his wife, Toni, who frequently helps with children’s crafts projects.”
This month’s volunteer profile features Rose Mestas Thompson shown here in the Golondrinas Placita.
“A native Coloradoan, I attended Colorado State University, Ft. Collins, CO, majoring in American History and Anthropology. For the past ten years, I’ve been able to spend much of my time in New Mexico. My husband, John and I were fortunate enough to purchase a casita, located in the foothills, southeast of Santa Fe. It reminds us of a Colorado mountain cabin, but with the typical, beautiful architectural elements of New Mexico. Our daughter, Michelle and four grandchildren, Kayzha, Lauren, Ryan and Elena, reside in Colorado and yes — we all bleed Orange and Blue!
My time spent here allows me the opportunity to engage in my two favorite subjects — genealogy and the history of the Hispano Southwest. Volunteering at the Ranch has enabled me to indulge in my passion for both. It’s been fun — really a pleasure — meeting so many locals and those from faraway places. But on a more personal note, volunteering at the Ranch has, in a way, truly brought me home!
I mentioned my interest in genealogy: family history. My ancestral roots run deep throughout the beautiful Cienega Valley. In fact, I descend from Miguel Vega y Coca (my 7th great-grandfather, 1676–1751) and two of his daughters, Apolonia and Feliciana. Miguel’s granddaughter, Rosa Bustamante (1735–1814), my 5th great-grandmother, was the wife of Santa Fe Alcalde, Antonio Jose Ortiz (1732–1804), who is recognized by the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) as a verified Patriot. The Baca and Delgado families, who resided in the Golondrinas ranch area, are also my direct ancestors. So, it comes as no surprise, I tend to volunteer my time either in the Golondrinas Placita or at the Baca House.
The past eight seasons at the Ranch have enriched my life tremendously. And though having made numerous new friends, the biggest bonus for me as a Ranch volunteer, is finding New Mexico primos who too have familial connections to the Golondrinas area. I can honestly say — Colorado will always by my ‘birth home’ but El Rancho de las Golondrinas will always be my ‘heart home.'”
Have you been to El Rancho de las Golondrinas’ gift shop, The Swallow’s Nest? It’s not the same old store anymore! In fact, that’s the goal of the management and new sales staff — to make the store fresh and new each and every season!
Come in and meet our new sales team: Andrea Zamora and Cairn Cobb. Both have joined us this year, and they will be happy to assist you. Both of these ladies can help you with information about the goods in our store as well as sharing their expertise concerning the Ranch, its history, background and historic structures. In addition they can provide our visitors, particularly those from out of state or out of country with recommendations on other local attractions, where to eat, places to stay, directions and little known facts about the area. Each possesses a wealth of knowledge about El Rancho de las Golondrinas, Santa Fe and New Mexico.
With a theme of “Take a piece of the Ranch home with you,” The Swallow’s Nest offers a wide variety of arts and crafts, merchandise hand crafted right here at the Ranch by our own artisans, yarns in a multitude of colors from our own Churro sheep, soaps and lotions, hand made period correct clothing, locally sourced jams, jellies, honey, spices, rubs and even sheep shaped lollipops! There are beeswax candles, retablos and tinware from Spanish Market artists, jewelry, photographs, matted prints and giclées. For the historian, come and browse our large selection of sometimes hard to find books on Northern New Mexico history. Children and the young at heart will delight at the large assortment of period correct toys, plush animals, puppets and, of course, our own little Josefina dolls and books.
Each season, and in fact, every month, the merchandise in The Swallow’s Nest changes and varies — so the store you see today will not be the store you see on your next visit. Artist’s works are varied and rotated routinely and new items are added almost every week!
The Swallow’s Nest is open the same hours as the Ranch — Wednesday through Sunday, 10:00am to 4:00pm. It is closed on Monday and Tuesday.
Come in and take a piece of the Ranch home with you today!