Santa Fe, NM

9 July 2006

Taos Pueblo, perhaps the best known of the regions Pueblos, was our destination for the day. Taos is the image most of us have of what a Pueblo should look like. For us, this image was diminished as we drove through and visited other Pueblos in the area. Still, the multi-story, multi-family buildings is what comes to mind and that is what we saw in the heart of the Taos Pueblo. The village (pueblo means town in Spanish) is surrounded by an adobe wall within which the people maintain their traditional way of life. None of the buildings have electricity and the source of water is "The River," Red Willow Creek, which bisects the Pueblo into a North and South Side.

The buildings are made of adobe, a mixture of earth, straw and water. The mixture is formed into bricks which are sun dried. It is also used as the mortar to bind the bricks and as a plaster over the exterior of the buildings. The inside of the buildings are washed white earth to brighten them up. The walls are frequently several feet thick. The roof and upper floors are supported by large timbers. Smaller wood pieces are laid across the large beams. The roof is then covered by compacted earth. The exterior of the buildings are replastered annually, usually in August. The roofs are similarly maintained on an annual basis. Apparently this system is somewhat waterproof. However, as we learned today as we waited out a thunder storm in one of the shops, they do leak after a while. The shop owner advised us that towards the end of the maintenance cycle this does occur.

Speaking of rain, we finally got an explanation for what we took to be unusually rainy weather. This is the monsoon season in this area and the people here welcome the rain which replenishes the water supply. The local weather forecasters mentioned this afternoon that this is one of the rainiest monsoon seasons in years. Earlier this afternoon, Interstate 25 at Socorro had four feet of water on it. Had this storm occurred yesterday, we may have been stuck until the water ran off. My previous trips to this area and our last joint visit to this area were either earlier or later in the summer and all we experienced was the heat and dryness.

One of the greatest parts of the day was walking through the individual craft shops in the Pueblo and talking to the artists. There were potters, jewelers, and other traditional crafts available for sale. Obviously, their prime goal is to make a sale, but they took the time to answer our questions and ask about where we were from.

Spotted on the Road

Susie took a picture of this unusual trailer on the road to Taos. The tires make it look like an old trailer although the roof has a translucent panel which make it look more recent.
Camel Rock, in Tesuque Pueblo, lends its name to the tribal casino across the highway.
Multistory single family dwelling with shop on ground floor
Ovens used to bake large quantities of yeast bread and meats
South House
North House and "The River"
South House during monsoon
North House after the storm
San Geronimo Church built in 1850
Original San Geronimo Church was built by the Spanish around 1619 and reconstructed in 1706 after the Pueblo Rebellion of 1680.

Adobe Construction

Adobe brick
Adobe plaster
Old house showing bricks and layers of plaster