The Ridges Landowners Association

A residential community just outside Santa Fe, NM

From the RIDGES
Your community newsletter
Picture of By Roc Curry
By Roc Curry

Views December - President’s Letter

Dear Neighbors,

As Winter Solstice approaches, days grow shorter and nights grow longer. But it does not dim the “light” shared by many residents who volunteered their time and talent to the Ridges Community this year.  I want to recognize and thank them for their contributions.

In the revived newsletter renamed VIEWS FROM THE RIDGES Karen Foss served as editor, West Cooper as webmaster and Patricia Corres as proof reader and Board of Directors’ representative. Kathy Kubes, board representative, along with Gina Hayes and Barbara Wisted , organized  the first ever Ridges Garden Tour. They welcomed residents to visit their gardens as well, along with Ted and Bebe Schooley, Jim and Janet Tellatin, Maria and Richard Goldstein, and Roc Curry and Carol Albrecht.  Our new resident Dennis McQuillan conducted a Geology Tour, organized by Sue Egan, Board secretary. Both events generated many enthusiastic participants asking for more to come.

Paul Reimus, Board Vice President, welcomed back Dr. John Formby to examine the extent of bark beetle infestation in the Ridges at the request of more than a dozen concerned homeowners. Paul invited several tree companies to offer a group discount to remove infected trees. Many other landowners took a closer look at their property and removed their pinons suffering from the “bug”.

Even with the limitations of Covid precautions, the Board of Directors invited speakers to offer their expertise with lectures to the community on Zoom. Dr John Formby from the state forestry department spoke on preventive care of pinon trees. Wendy Mason, Wildfire Prevention and Communications Director of the New Mexico Foestry Division along with Lawrence Crane offered a presentation on Fire Prevention. Their presentations are available on the Ridges website, ridgesla.org.

Debra Hagey, Carol Albrecht and Jerry Fornell continued their work on the Architectural Control Committee. Mark Glaze, Charlie Whiteley, and Greg Cooper brought their dedication and skill-sets to the Roads Committee. They dealt with the constant demands of monitoring the road conditions, meeting with contractors, scheduling, and supervising their work.  The ACA oversees the architectural integrity of the Ridges. Thank you for the ongoing work by the members of  those key committees and by all the volunteers.

This year  I have greatly enjoyed working with the members of the Board, the committees, and volunteers. The response of the residents to these community activities and services is encouraging and gratifying. Next year, 2022, will be bright!

Roc Curry

Meet your Neighbor: Karen Foss

Karen came to St. Louis from her hometown of Kansas City in 1979, where she began her television career at KCMO-TV (now KCTV).   She then worked for KSDK, Channel 5 in St. Louis for 27 years, winning six Emmys, including two for best anchor.   Foss was named media personality of the year, and acquired the highest “Q” rating as the best-known news person in the local market, all while  becoming a significant participant and role model for her community service in the St. Louis region. 

In 2005, she was inducted into the Silver Circle by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences for her 25 years of journalistic excellence by the NATAS  Mid-America Chapter.  In 2007, Karen was named vice president for public relations for the utility company Ameren and retired from the utility in 2011 as corporate Senior Vice President for Communications.  Her relocation to Santa Fe inspired her to pursue a lifelong dream of continuing her art studies and practice.

“It can be the particular sag of a roof, the curve of a nose, the fall of light across a field or upon a wall that will send me to my studio, eager to feel the line and the light develop on the surface.  As I work, I feel–slowly–the image develop as in a photographic bath.

“I find parallels in my many decades of journalism, as I search and probe beyond the obvious, to try to uncover the essence of the subject, to reveal its unique elements.  I always hope to find and convey a subtle truth, a truth that is sometimes best communicated by its opposite or even its absence.  Occasionally a tiny detail, an isolated vignette, will present itself to me as a subject fully worthy of  exploration.  I can’t resist these small moments.  To capture and savor, to preserve and interpret an elusive, fragmentary moment of pungency or beauty or contrast is the goal.”  Karen Foss

From the announcement of Karen Foss’s art show opening December 10, 2021 at the Duane Reed Gallery, 4729 McPherson Ave,  St. Louis, Missouri.  The show is entitled “Moments and Memories” and runs from December 10 to January 8.

The Ridges High Desert Gardening Tour - The Challenge: September 4, 2021

On Saturday of Labor Day week-end,  residents spent a relaxing morning and early afternoon touring our Ridges neighbors’ creative and beautiful gardens hidden behind stucco walls or at the end of winding driveways.  Visiting each stop gave perspectives on the challenges of gardening in our area while we enjoyed light refreshments.

A big thank you to the following people who participated in the tour: Carol Albrecht and Roc Curry, Richard and Maria Goldstein, Gina Hayesand Barb Wisted, Jim and Janet Tellatin, Kathy and Randy Kubes, and Ted & Bebe Schooley.  And our driver: Judy Nelson-Moore!

We had a good turnout and hope to repeat the event in the upcoming year.  

Below are pictures of some of the tour locations:  Click the small picture to see larger image.  

Max's and Faun's Long Road to the Ridges

Max and Faun take walks together every day with their “masters” Mark Glaze and Greg Cooper. You may see them on Principe, but they each have taken the long road to reach The Ridges.

Max was just a six-month old pup in an animal shelter, when Mark came looking for a pet. Max lay still with his paws crossed, looking up nonchalantly as if to say:  “You know I am the one, just make up your mind.” He has been a constant companion for the last 12 years. He looks ferocious but is gentle and welcoming to all he meets on the road. But he is also tough.

Recently, Max underwent surgery to remove a benign mass from his abdomen and a cancerous tumor from his thyroid. He is a survivor, doing well, and continuing his daily routine walks with his friend Faun.

Faun, nine years old, grew up in Pojoaque, NM. On her daily walk with her former owner, she was attacked viciously by coyotes, fighting back bravely. She slowly recovered at a shelter and ended up with a new owner and moved to Santa Fe East-side. Able to run free, she became the leader of a pack of mostly chihuahuas who “terrorized” passing tourists.

One afternoon, the dog catcher picked her up. Fortunately, Greg Cooper, who was renovating his rental property nearby, intervened and rescued her from the pound.  He spoke to the owner and adopted her on the spot and she has now settled in The Ridges.  She is friendly with people but still bares her teeth when facing another canine in her territory. You know this “little street urchin” means business. But she and Max remain best buddies on their daily walks. 

Ridges Photo Submission

Photo by Roc Curry

Please submit your photos here.

Table of Contents

Immanuel: A Work in Progress

By Greg Cooper and Dennis McQuillian

Recent photo of erosion on Immanuel.  

Greg:  “I was on the Board in 2016,  when the Roads Committee and Board took action to upgrade Immanuel. It was in terrible condition. The embankment on the north side was collapsing and on the south side it was eroding. Rainfall caused torrents that rushed through the bar ditches, filled them to capacity and overflowed the road. Deep fissures developed across the road. It is in my opinion that had we waited another six months to act, residents of Immanuel would only have been able to hike out. Fortunately, the Association had capital reserves to cover the $17,000 expense of upgrading it.

“The road surface was completely reworked with standard base course and grading. The north side bank was graded back and reinforced with large rocks for stability. The south bank was rebuilt. The bar ditches were reestablished deeper and with stone breaks to slow the corrosive rainfall torrents. Without the strength and stability afforded by the standard application of base course, there would not be Immanuel today. Art Merrick who lives and walks on Immanuel daily remembers its deplorable condition and approves the upgrade. With regular grading, floating and rolling, Immanuel keeps a firm surface for walking, cycling, and vehicular traffic even after five years.”   (Greg Cooper)

Dennis:  “Hello everyone, I want to call your attention to the southern curved area of Immanuel where there is ongoing erosion,(picture included)  and I understand that this was also part of the problem area that necessitated repairs in 2016.  Ongoing maintenance is still required. Rills have already cut up to the level of the road surface, and the drainage culvert gabion is being undermined by erosion.  These pics are posted on the map if you click the erosion icon on Immanuel, and I have attached them for your convenience. “

“I am preparing a Google map with icons and pictures of trouble spots on our roads. It is posted on the website. This link will take you to a working draft of the The Ridges interactive map.  You can zoom in and out,  click on the roads, arroyos, and hazard icons to get more information and pictures.  I am still talking to residents on my bike rides to get their views on road conditions and problem areas.  All residents are invited to review this map. You can send comments to geologist@highdesertscience.net Your comments will be greatly appreciated.

“I am not a highway engineer, but I have extensive professional experience investigating erosion of waste impoundments and infrastructure, including roads.” (Dennis McQuillan)

Recent picture of erosion on south downhill side of Immanuel.

Foodies Among Us: Chana Dal

By Carol Curry

Chana Dal is a Punjabi-style bold and saucy soup of hulled and split chickpeas tempered and flavored with onions, tomatoes, herbs and spices.

While I would never claim to be an authentic Indian cook, I greatly appreciate the healthful aspects of their vegetarian dishes, and their wonderful complex flavors.

During the busy holiday season, we seem to overeat and indulge ourselves, so this delicious warm soup can both balance and comfort our stressed bodies.

Try this nourishing and satisfying dish; you will thank yourself for making it!

1 cup chana dal (split chickpeas), washed, soaked in water overnight and drained

3-4 cups water
¼ tsp. turmeric
3 Tbsp. ghee (or a neutral oil)
1 tsp. cumin seeds

2 tsp. finely chopped garlic
½ cup finely chopped onion
1 cup finely chopped tomatoes (about 2 medium size tomatoes)
1 tsp. finely chopped ginger
½ tsp. finely chopped serrano pepper
¼ tsp. turmeric powder
½ tsp. garam masala powder
½ tsp. amchur powder (may substitute lemon juice)
1 pinch asafoetida
1 tsp. coriander powder
1 tsp. dry fenugreek leaves (or mustard seed)
Salt to taste
1-2 Tbsp. chopped coriander leaves (cilantro)

Cook soaked chana dal with the turmeric in the water on the stovetop until soft (may take an hour or more at our elevation). Set aside.

In a skillet, heat ghee. Add cumin seeds until they sputter. Add garlic and onion, frying until they become golden. Add the chopped tomatoes, ginger and the chile.

Add all the dry spice powders (and lemon juice if mango powder is not available). Sauté until the tomatoes soften and the oil starts to leave the sides of the mixture. Stir in the fenugreek leaves (or mustard seed). Add to the softened chana dal and simmer 6-8 minutes until you get a medium consistency: not thick and not thin. With a wooden spoon, mash about a third of the mixture to get the consistency just right for dipping the naan. Garnish with the chopped cilantro.

I like to add a drizzle of pomegranate syrup and a dollop of yogurt on top, and serve it with warm naan, and a dish of raita. My raita recipe is very simple: regular Greek-style plain yogurt, seeded and chopped cucumber, kosher salt and ground cumin.

Meet your Neighbor: Brent Bonwell

RIDGES RESIDENT NOMINATED AS 10 WHO MADE A DIFFERENCE
By Brian Sandford, Santa Fe NEW MEXICAN

( Excerpts)

Santa Fe mountain bicyclist, (and Ridges resident)  Brent Bonwell doesn’t just take roads less traveled; he creates them. Brent can frequently be seen toiling on Santa Fe-area trails or simply enjoying their bucolic charm. Those close to the prolific volunteer say his presence on the trails will never diminish, owning to a legacy of hard work, advocacy and kindness.

Brent, who has been involved with the Commonweal Conservancy in designing and building about 25 miles of trails in the Galisteo Basin Preserve, is one of the New Mexican’s 10 Who Made a Difference for 2021. He wasn’t eager to credit himself. “I get a lot of pleasure using the trails I help maintain and build,” Bonwell said. “It’s not a completely altruistic thing.”

Associates and friends had plenty of praise, though singling our Bonwell’s tireless energy and sense of adventure. Bonwell said he can trace those traits to his childhood in Wichita, Kans. Area where the Little Arkansas River’s banks beckoned for exploration from his backyard. Back then, nature’s only competition for entertainment was three channels on black-and-white TV, Bonwell said. “Otherwise, there wasn’t much for a kid,” he said. “No cell phones, no social media. We played outside; that’s what we did.”

Despite the public elements of his efforts, Bonwell, describes himself a  private person. Nominator Gretchen Grogan, who has worked extensively with Bonwell in her role as project manager with the Commonweal Conservancy, said his humility and social gravity stand out.

“This year we built over six miles of trails at the Galisteo preserve,” she said. “It was really his efforts to bring out the volunteers who came out every Tuesday night. We always hand 10 to 12 volunteers on a weeknight to work on trails. For people to do that after work, when they’re tired… it was kind of remarkable… because they like him so much.” “He knows what he wants to get accomplished, and he makes that clear to people,” she added. “But he has a good sense of humor and makes it fun for people.”

Henry Lanman echoed that sentiment, (also a resident here in the Ridges) The fellow mountain bicyclist and volunteer said he has known Bonwell, a neighbor, at least 15 years. “Right from the very beginning, he’s always been really friendly and giving,” said Lanman, who nominated Bonwell this year. He recalled them taking meals to each other’s houses amid heavy, isolating snowfall in the mid-2000s. More recently, Bonwell has prepared meals for Lanman’s wife, Tina, whose mobility was limited following a serious injury. The Lanmans were on last year’s 10 Who Made a Difference list.

Brent works for Santa Fe-based CyberWolf as a support consultant for software it publishes. He married his wife, Sally, in 1990. They have two children, ages 28 and 23.

He acknowledged he thinks about his legacy. “That sense of ownership… is a very cool thing,” he said of being on trails he helped create or design. Bonwell added that delegating doesn’t come easily. “I have a really hard time asking for help,” he said. “I just… why would I want someone else to do something I don’t want to do myself?” So I go out and do it.” (Congratulations, Brent)

Environmental Conditions Update for The Ridges

Excerpted from Article by Dennis McQuillan of November 16, 2021.  Click link above to see full article, links to related resources,  and illustrative figures as a pdf file.  

Drought and Water Resources – The most recent U.S. Drought Monitor for New Mexico shows that Santa Fe County is under severe to extreme drought conditions (see Figure 1). New Mexico is projected to have below average precipitation (see Figure 2) and above normal temperatures (see Figure 3) during the 2021- 22 winter due to a “Double-Dip” Moderate La Niña and a negative Pacific Decadal Oscillation.

If drought conditions continue through the winter, resulting in a relatively small winter snowpack, groundwater levels in the region will likely decline and the Eldorado Area Water and Sanitation District may impose Drought Management Restrictions in 2022.

The Ridges residents are advised to continue water-conservation measures year-round.

Wildfire Danger – The most recent U.S. Geological Survey Wildfire Danger Map shows moderate risk in The Ridges (see Figure 4). Wildfire risk will increase with prolonged warm, dry conditions and during periods of high wind. Information on assessing homes and property for fire hazard is available from The Greater Santa Fe Fireshed Coalition, including a Home Hazard Assessment Guide.

Bark Beetle Risk – Bark beetles are a natural component of The Ridges woodlands ecosystem. Normally, bark beetles mostly attack damaged, diseased or weakened trees, and healthy trees can repel an attack by pushing the beetles out with sap. During periods of drought, however, bark beetles can overwhelm tree defenses and cause widespread tree damage and mortality. Signs of bark-beetle attack may include the accumulation of frass, a red-brown sawdust like material that beetles push out from a tree (Figure 5), red or brown pitch tunes on tree bark, bark flaking or woodpecker holes, and brown, red, yellow or faded green tree needles.

The U.S. Forest Service Insect and Disease Risk Map Viewer presently shows risks ranging from less than 1% to greater than 30% of the basal area of trees that “host ” bark beetles (see Figure 6). The mapper shows that engraver bark beetles are driving these risks. Homeowners can type their address into the mapper to locate their properties.

The Ridges residents are advised that winter is the best time to do tree pruning or removal since bark beetle flight activity is minimal. See the NMSU Bark Beetle Guide. Pruning and removing dead and diseased trees also will help reduce wildfire risk.

A warm dry winter also may increase the vulnerability of trees to bark beetle attack in 2022. Watering trees during times of drought helps them repel bark beetle attacks. Some arborists recommend watering trees twice a month during winter, and twice a week during summer.

Figure 5 from the full article available from the button link above.  

Geological Tour: September 25, 2021

Beginning with a presentation at the home of Karen Foss and Larry Ross, residents were shown rock samples by Dennis McQuillan, who also described the mountains surrounding us.  Afterwards, Dennis led groups to see an outcropping in the Ridges, and from there on to the Deer Creek trail along I-25.

As retired Chief Scientist for the New Mexico Environment Department, Dennis has prepared an illustrated, expansive report on the geology of the Ridges.  Please click on the following link.

Coming Soon: Community Forum

The Ridges Homeowners will be reviving the community forum in the future.  The following article is an initial submission.  Read the full article on the website by logging in with your user name and password, using the button below. 

Preview: “The newsletter editors asked me to write a few words for this newsletter about my new musical The Battlefields of Clara Barton which opened recently in Chicago …  But instead of writing about the success of this project, I find myself compelled to write about a different battlefield, one much closer to home and one which concerns all of us who live in The Ridges.

“Since the Annual Meeting of the Ridges Landowners Association last month Jim and I have been deeply disturbed about what transpired at the meeting and in the weeks leading up to it.”  … Suzan Zeder

Photo by Larry Ross