October 15, 2004
Dear Subscriber:

When I was a student at Texas Tech a million years ago, I had
a philosophy professor that had a theory. As we all know,
philosophers are full of theories.

He said some day, someone will invent a pleasure machine. You
plug it into the wall, place the electrodes on your head like a
pair of headphones and it will give you instant pleasure. It
will feed your brain with all the aromas, images and sensations
that you've always wanted.

The professor said there was a catch.

Eventually, he said, hooking up to the pleasure machine would
become old hat. The redundancy would dull the experience and
the pleasure would not be that pleasurable.

Therefore, you would have to go to Walmart and buy a misery
machine. Every once in a while you would have to hook up to
the misery machine and spend a few minutes hating, fearing
the dark and having acid indigestion and other things so you
could relate to the pleasures of the pleasure machine.

Stay with me. There's a point.

When we decided to move to Cloudcroft in 1995, we left two good
jobs and lots of friends and activities in Lubbock. It's fuzzy
in my mind now why we decided to chuck our careers and start new
in the mountains, but it seemed like a good idea at the time. I
know our families thought we had lost our minds.

We sold a nice house surrounded by great neighbors in Lubbock
and moved into our old mobile home "getaway" in Cloudcroft.
The plumbing was iffy in the old trailer. The furnace was shot.
It took us a month to get a phone. There was no TV. Very
little radio unless you turned it up loud and put your ear to
the speaker.

On several occasions over the past decade we thought we had made
a huge mistake.

On many occasions since our move here we have hooked ourselves
up to the misery machine. We tried the restaurant business and
it almost broke us. We had a little recording studio on the
Cloudcroft boardwalk that was a lot of fun but lost money. We
even opened a little low-power radio station that was eventually
shut down by the FCC.

Then came Cloudcroft.com and other ventures. No. We're not
rich but we can pay the bills.

Living in the Sacramentos we have had some hits and some misses
but, overall, we have spent the majority of our time on the
pleasure machine.

When we had no TV we watched the fire dance among the logs and
went outside to see a blanket of stars in the night sky you
can't see from many places on Earth.

When the electricity went off the light of a kerosene lantern
was dim but it was spiritually warming and gave you some idea
of what Great Grandma and Grandpa used to live with.

Those problems that come with rural life have pretty much been
resolved for us.

Yesterday was the cherry on top.

We recently upgraded our satellite TV system. I was sitting
here at the computer when the phone rang. I looked up above my
desk and there on the little TV screen was the name of the
person calling!

Caller ID on my television screen? It's like Bobby (a friend
of mine from up the hill) said. "The world's just getting too
danged small."


Who ARE those guys?

When we published the pictures of the two guys that cut down my
tree last week, we failed to include the caption revealing who
they were.

Andy Olsen is the owner of the company. He's also a Cloudcroft
village councilmember. He's not sure which's more dangerous...
falling trees or disgruntled villagers. Jeb Rogers is his able

Sorry ladies...they're both married.

Don Vanlandingham

A much wetter fall than in recent years. Almost an inch since
last Newsletter with the most falling on Monday (10-11)...6
tenths of an inch. Total for the calendar year...19.92 inches.

The high for the reporting period was 59.6 degrees at 11:21 am
October 7. The low was 34.3 degrees at 3:59 am October 10.

A new feature of the Cloudcroft.com 24 hour weather station...a
page that includes highs and lows for temperature, humidity,
dewpoint and barometric pressure for each day of the current
month. Just go to Cloudcroft.com for the information. It's


SNOW FLASH: Snow began falling Wed evening (10/13/04) as this
newsletter was prepared and fell through the night, putting 
4-6 inches of snow on the ground.

For photos of this very unusual early snow, see the extra bonus
pictures on the Foliage Countdown and the special Sunspot photo
section by Kit Richards.
This is the final week of our fall foliage feature. Our color
apex was probably last week. The leaves are beginning to fall
with regularity.

Included with our feature shot are bonus pictures of other fall
foliage near Cloudcroft.


FLASH: At the end of the Countdown are some pictures of the
snow on the ground this morning (10/14/04).


Kit Richards provides the following photos taken at Sunspot.


Ode to "Biggun"

Alas, some never knew ye
But knew ye none the less
From Don's forelorn farewells
And weepin's in distress.

No longer tall and stately
Ye lie in state instead
A former monument and truly
A gift bequeathed in rest.

'tis noble yet to "pine" away
For days of yonder spent
Beneath the branches of ye crest,
So fine a testament.

Though henceforth ye be absent
And in ye place no more
We'll offer in remembrance
A tribute to ye lore.

Cloudcroft, NM
The Cloudcroft Chamber of Commerce will mail out ballots to its
members this weekend for election of board members. Election of
board members will be made public during the Chamber's annual
meeting on November 20.
The Estate is an upscale resale shop featuring high-quality
vintage and estate clothing and accessories for men and women.
We specialize in unique vests and sweaters, evening and cocktail
dresses, Hawaiian shirts and vintage hats. Friendly, courteous
service to all our customers is a priority. Open Fridays,
Saturdays, Sundays from 11am-5pm, and most Mondays. Email
One of the best pictures we've published. A panorama of
downtown Cloudcroft.


Q - We were entertaining the idea of coming to Cloudcroft to
shop for Christmas gifts. Are there good places there to shop?

A - If you're looking for unusual and one-of-a-kind gifts,
Cloudcroft shops deliver unusual art work, jewelry and clothing.
Some of it is pretty pricey, but this time of year you might
find some bargains.
October 15 -- 2nd Bi-annual Community Appreciation Party. Open
Air Pavilion in Zenith Park. 5:30pm. Pot luck buffet with music,
dancing, and lots of fun. Bring your share of the food. Water 
and tea provided by Chamber of Commerce.

October 16-17 -- High Rolls Apple Festival. 9am - 5pm. Over 
50 arts/crafts vendors, local apples and apple products, food, 
kids' stuff, and entertainment. Admission, parking, and 
ambiance are free. For further information call (505) 682-1151
or visit www.highrollsfestivals.com.

October 16 -- Cloudcroft Bears football vs. Capitan. 2pm.

October 23 -- Cloudcroft Bears football vs. Mescalero. 2pm.

October 29 -- Cloudcroft Bears football vs. Carrizozo. 7pm.

November 3 -- High Noon book club. 12pm. In the library. Bring
your lunch and join us in discussing A WALK TO REMEMBER by 
Nicholas Sparks. 

November 20 -- Chamber Banquet. Lodge Pavilion. Cocktails at 
6pm, dinner 7pm. Tickets available from the Chamber office and
Chamber Board Members. 

November 27 -- Beginning of Christmas in Cloudcroft and Santa

December 4 -- ULLR-fest.

December 11 -- Pet Parade on Burro Street. Cloudcroft.

February 4, 5, 6, 7 -- Mardi Gras celebration. Cloudcroft

Cloudcroft Art Society meets the second Thursday of each month,
5:30-7pm, in the Old Red Brick School House.

Would you like to help deliver meals to the homebound around
Cloudcroft? Monday through Friday deliveries. Call the
Cloudcroft Senior Center at (505)-682-3022. For information on
other Senior Center services, see their web site, listed on the
Cloudcroft.com Links button.


Mountain Garden Club meets every third Monday of each month.
Call (505) 682-2910 for more information.

Senior Van from Timberon to Alamogordo leaves the Timberon
Lodge promptly at 8:30 every Wednesday morning.

Free Vitals Clinic. Cloudcroft Senior Citizens Center, every
Wednesday. High Rolls Senior Citizens Center, first Thursday
of each month.
Dear Newsletter:

Thank you for your newsletter - it is always refreshing as is
the air of Cloudcroft. I was raised in Alamogordo and Cloudcroft
was my retreat and remains so today. The Octoberfest was 
wonderful as was the weather.

Thanks again.
Sherri Simmons Elliott

Dear Newsletter:

Paul Bosland, the chile guru at New Mexico State, gave me the
most succinct explanation a few years ago: Chile is the 
vegetable. Chiles are picked, dried and ground to a powder 
which is then combined with meat and other ingredients to 
produce chili.

Fred Bonavita
San Antonio (the one with the Alamo, not the one with the 
Owl Bar!) 

Dear Newsletter:

Hope you change your mind and extend the pictures from the 
same spot a little longer. This is only fair because there is
not much change between the first 2.

I want my husband to take me to your lovely town and am 
using these to accomplish the deed!

Beth Norris
(from VERY hot, dry, Phoenix, Arizona)

Dear Newsletter:

I have been getting your newsletter for a few months now. 

I have never written before but I finally gave it when it came
to this last letter talking about roasting green chilies. First
of all you can tell the people who are not form the southwest. 
I live in El Paso, Texas and I love green chilies. 

Since we have the best green chilies in the world in Hatch New
Mexico we usually buy 50 to 100 lbs. every year. My wife and I
started roasting them in the oven, nothing wrong with that 
but who wants to waist an evening roasting green chilies.

Here in El Paso and all over they offer free roasting with the
purchase of 25 lbs or more. Wal-mart even does it here, I just
bought my last 30 lbs from them. 

The one thing that no one talks about much is the freezing 
process. I have discovered over the years that it is not the 
best to peel them before you freeze them. We always now leave
the skin on until we use them. They are very easy to peel after
you un-freeze them. 

One other thing I discovered just this year is the less you 
roast them them the bigger they are. The drawback is they are
a little harder to peel, but that is the way I like them for 
chile rellenos. If the roaster roasts them too long they will 
be smaller and are much mushier. So you need to let the roaster
know how you want them roasted. 

Now that everyone has talked about roasting chilies, how about
in the next letter we talk about cooking with green chilies.
Thank You 
Clint Callender, 
El Paso, Texas

Dear Newsletter:

Don, I am an avid reader of your newsletter. Cloudcroft is one
of my favorite places in the world. 

My wife and I don't get to visit as often as we would like, 
because of the distance, but we have been several times over
last 15 years. In fact we have had anniversary dinners at the
Lodge on two occasions. 

Ray Price,
McComb, Ms.

Dear Newsletter:

Thank you so much for the wonderful pictures of the Aspens. We
are now making plans to move to the town I have been dreaming
of since a very little girl, growing up in El Paso. I have 
lived all over Texas, Kansas, Arkansas, upstate New York, and
the Northwest and my heart always longs for Cloudcroft. 

Many memories of my wonderful grandparents bringing us up to
cook steak and eggs in the mountain air. My grandmother would
make the most awful coffee and the grown-ups loved it. Brings
a smile to my face.
I also have wondered about the Geico commercial and the tunnel.
I told my husband several weeks ago that I believed that is the
tunnel to paradise.
Thank you for your amusing newsletter. Keep them coming. Hope
to meet you when we become residents soon.
Mary Ann Gillispie
Houston, TX

Dear Newsletter:

I was wondering if anyone knows of a place that will ship blue
corn tortillos to me? When we lived in El Paso we ventured to
New Mexico and ate some of the most delicious blue corn 

Any help would be appreciated.

Susan Rodriguez

Dear Newsletter:

I just read your story about Beth the recently widowed lady. 
Approximately eight years ago, my oldest brother died and his
widow found a support group for widows and widowers on the
internet. It seemed to do her a lot of good at the time. 
Hopefully somebody can either help Beth find it, or another
widow or widower will write to you about it. 

Marilyn Yezak,
Gwinn, MI

Dear Newsletter:

My name is Cheryl. I have been getting your newsletter ever 
since my husband and I got lost on our way to Roswell. 
Previously, while driving to Roswell, just short of Cloudcroft,
he declares, "this isn't the same way he had gone before, we
must have taken a wrong turn." 

As we drove along the main thoroughfare, we happened past an
art festival, of some sort. As we drove on, I couldn't help
this overwhelmingly wonderful feeling. I couldn't explain it
then and I still can't. 

I love getting your newsletter and I especially enjoy watching
the leaves change color. I am originally from MA, currently
living in the south. Planning on moving back. The pictures are
making me homesick.

I was sorry to hear about your friend, and my condolences to
Beth. I hope everything works out for her.
Cheryl A. Proffer-Albritton

Dear Newsletter:

Mr. Vanlandingham, I so enjoy your newsletters. My husband and
I go to Cloudcroft as frequently as we can. We both work 
fulltime and dream of being able to retire to Cloudcroft. We
are around your age and I can really relate to your philosophies
and to the stories you tell. Thanks so much for sharing your
stories. I am not an easy person to get to laugh out loud, 
but your stories often have me laughing. 
I read your story about Daisy recently and it had my crying, but
it was because I could really relate. Our dogs are important to
us also and we take them to Cloudcroft with us.
I've been reading your newsletter for probably over a year now,
and just wanted to take this opportunity to let you know how
much we appreciate your point of view.
N. McGuffey
Garland, Texas

Dear Newsletter:

It's a terrible shame about the big tree that had to removed. I
wonder if those two young fellows in the photo (shown in 
letter #235) could carve it into bears or other forest 
creatures that ones sees down the mountain in Ruidoso? 

The carvers could name them "Sons of Biggun".

Don Ammons
Post, TX

[We asked Andy (the foreman of the cutting job) if he could 
leave about six feet of stub where Biggun was. The idea was to 
have something carved in the trunk (an eagle or a bear or 
something). He told us the tree was not of a hard enough 
variety for such sculpture and would simply rot out in a 
matter of a couple years. -- Don]

Dear Newsletter:

I am belatedly reading your last two newsletters because I’ve
been away. But I see that there has not yet been an answer to
Ms Tracy McFadden concerning the whereabouts of the Wimsatts
of Cloudcroft.
The locally well-known, distinguished couple of Charles and
Thelma Walker qualify on that point: Thelma is a Wimsatt. A
flattering photo of Charles and Thelma Walker was even in the
September issue of the Mountain Monthly newspaper.
The Walkers are just as venerated in the community as the
Wimsatts. The Walker family has farmed and ranched in the 
vicinity of 16 Springs Canyon (or at least in the Sacramento
Mountains) since the late 19th century, one of the early 
homesteading families. Charles and Thelma and Charles’ sister
Sara Jo Patterson are carrying on their families’ proud 
traditions to this day in 16 Springs Canyon. Just last week
when we were returning to northern NM again (sigh) after one
of our visits to our land nearby, we stopped along the road
through the canyon to talk briefly with Charles and Thelma as
they herded some of Sara Jo’s cattle into another pasture.
Besides ranching and farming, Charles & Thelma and Sara Jo are
outstanding stewards of their woodlands. They have BOTH been
recognized as New Mexico’s Tree Farmer of the Year (a tree 
farmer is a forester-certified steward of forested land). Look
around in the Cloudcroft-Mayhill back country and you might
spy a surprising number of the white/green, diamond-shaped 
American Forest Foundation “Tree Farm” signs. I know there are
two in our own canyon (one is ours).
Charles is also a current practitioner of forecasting the 
weather from bear fat; in fact he said he has a new supply,
as he successfully hunted a bear not long ago. I think I
remember him telling us that his family originally learned the
technique from neighboring Apaches (16 Springs Canyon is only
a mile or two south of the southern boundary of today’s 
Mescalero Apache Reservation).
Charles and Thelma are obviously sources of some incredibly
interesting stories that resonate with the history of the 
Sacramento Mountains. Charles, in particular, appears to enjoy
sharing these stories of his own and the Walker/Wimsatt clans,
but I don’t know if he’d like to engage in this at this time.
While very active in the community, he does have a private 
The Wimsatt family, as many readers probably know, still lives
in the vicinity of James Canyon.
Best regards,
Lyn Canham
Sandia Park, NM

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Copyright © 2004 Cloudcroft Online
The Travel and Visitor's Guide to Cloudcroft, New Mexico.
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