the ranch: outcroppings

Rocks, rocks, and more rocks. Never knew there were so many varieties slumbering on the ground, jutting proudly from the earth, being utilized as a writing slate, leaning against one another for support, or forming mazes for us to ponder.

Behold the boulders.

Example of rock outcroppings one sees driving across the ranch. How did the red boulders get here? I named the rock formation our mini Sedona. Or Garden of the Gods.
Are these the gods? No, just hardy climbers who were inexplicably compelled to make it to the summit. Luckily, I was holding the camera.
I love the Texan. Because the rock he’s standing on looks like the profile of an old man to me, I call this photo ‘old man on an old man’. Think I’m cross-eyed from trying to decipher cave drawings.
A stone column in the distance. These are natural….not man-made. Crazy.
Another stone column. The car gives you some idea of the size of this formation. There is an old copper mine at the base of this rock.
The copper mine. Be careful!
The menfolk had to climb the columnar rock formation to check out the bat cave.
Much of the open country in this part of New Mexico is dotted with these crumbling rock homesteads. We think these started springing up around 1850 and into the turn of the century. Usually there are sheep pens nearby.
The walls are made of dry-fitted stones. The sites can be dangerous to explore because of falling rocks. And old barbed wire. And unexpected holes in the ground.
Doesn’t this make you wonder what life was like for these homesteaders/sheepherders? This is unforgiving country with extremes in weather. We wondered who was born and who died in this small house. This structure is a little larger than many others dotting the countryside.
The Sprout braved the possibility of large falling stones to let me snap a photo. Look at the rock precariously balanced over the door. I think the lovely picture was worth the risk.

Enjoyed exploring this Lonesome Dove-like land. If I was still riding a horse……oh, well.

Is your head spinning from staring at rocks? Do you feel like a geologist now?

On Friday, I’m gonna whip my photo album from my over-sized handbag and force you to lovingly gaze at my favorite ranch photos. I’ll probably invade your personal space and talk too loud. Some of the shots are artsy-fartsy. Prepare yourselves….you know I’m an over-sharer.

Rock of Ages love to all.

the ranch: petroglyphs

Enjoyed a wonderful and scenic MLK weekend at the ranch in northern New Mexico. Sprout #2, the Son-in-Law, and the 2 Grands invited us to tag along on their adventure and we quickly nodded YES.

Since my camera is jam-packed with images from this trip, I’m going to write a short series. I’ll write three blogs about the ranch. Hopefully, I’ll have them all posted by the end of the week. Stay tuned, chicken-wingers!!

First topic: petroglyphs, or rock art. I’d heard about the drawings but never had the chance to see them. Seeing the petroglyphs was my first request for a ranch outing.

Four adults, two babies, and 3 faux-ranch dogs piled in the 4-wheeler for the half-hour drive to the site.

My top-notch archeological crew. Explore we must!
We set to the northeast. The baby protested the ride as too bumpy. We held her tight, but explained this was her initiation into hardy ranch life.
This is the entrance to the petroglyphs. This is in a very remote area….away from any main road. It is highly unlikely one would stumble upon this site. The first petroglyph is seen on the thin rock on the right. The glyphs are written on the surface of the thin rock facing towards the large rock.
These zig-zag designs are the first indication of what mysteries await inside.
Sprout #2 in the ‘roomy’ portion of the cave. I’m not exaggerating when I say one must crawl on his belly to make it through this area. This makes photographing the petroglyphs difficult. The space is very tight….and snake-y. Note the cave dog.
The best overall view of the rock surface with the petroglyphs. What do you see?
Another view. These shots are taken with a flash, since there’s not much daylight in the cave.
I’m guessing this is a bighorn sheep. Note some of the carved area is lighter in color and some of the carved area is almost black. The images are more black the more centrally located in the cave.
Not sure about this image. Thought it might be a rabbit, but it could be a couple of smaller images.
This image of a deer intrigues me. One can see every small carving pock and bump. The snake-like tendril meanders around the deer and the face of the rock. Can you spot the smaller images to the right of the deer? One (looks like a fish) above right, and a smaller animal-thing lower right. Isn’t that amazing?
These images look as though they would continue on the rock’s surface as it enters the soil. Would we find more if we did some digging? I think it’s a possibility. The cave-bichon is intently waiting for the ‘dig’ command.
This image is outside the cave. Is this drawing a representation of a human form? That’s my guess. There are no figures (that we could see) inside the cave that look like this.

These glyphs lit a fire in my imagination. Spent 3 hours on the internet last evening trying to discern if these are of some Plains Indian tribe origin….or if they are earlier than that. These images did not seem to match images I researched of the Pueblo Indians. The fact that these glyphs are dark seems to be a little unusual. Most photos I saw were of dark rocks with lighter petroglyphs. Why is that? Are these images so old the surface has darkened because of some chemical reaction? Have they been underwater? Are there more underground? Could they be….prehistoric? Were they carved in this small cave-space or has the rock moved with time? Or… all of this recent activity? My research indicates these things are incredibly difficult to date. My obsessive-compulsive self has surfaced and I’ve dreamed for two nights of these drawings. I wish I knew more about things like this.

Are you betting I’m gonna find someone who does?

If you know anyone who might shed some light on the origins of this rock art, please feel free to forward this post. I’ll talk to anyone.

I must end this post with a photo of our budding natural-scientist. She occupied herself on a blanket on the ground while we explored the cave.

Seems she’s studying the native New Mexico grasses.

Look for other ranch-posts this week, if you are interested. I’ve got some fun things to show you.

Dream-catcher love to all.