Monday, April 06, 2009

Breakfast in the Boonies

If you were to drive South on Gold Mine Road just outside Cerrillos, NM, you’d swear that Frank and Sandy live in the big middle of nowhere almost all by themselves. You’d see a house now and then, nestled down among the junipers and pinon or up on the ridge of a hill; however, you’d never guess that there are hundreds of people far off the road, so far that they’re considered “off the grid,” meaning that they have solar power for their electricity. We do live in the big middle of nowhere, but we definitely have neighbors.

When our Russian daughter’s mother visited us, she was very much concerned by our lack of neighbors because, as she said, “What happens when you need to borrow a cup of sugar?” Not important to us—we shop at Sam’s Club and have a pantry stocked well enough to feed the proverbial army. Borrowing from neighbors isn’t really a priority to us; however, being in touch with them is. And just how do we connect? In lots of ways, most of which I’ll write about later. One of the best ways that we’ve found is through The Alternative Builders’ Breakfast Club, known today as simply Breakfast Club.

Back in 1992, five of the ladies out here in our hills decided to form a group that would meet monthly to discuss innovative projects, specifically the things that they were doing on their property to make their lives easier, to conserve energy, to live off the land as much as they could. These ideas included such things as hay-bale construction, fences made of aluminum cans, solar power, lots and lots of other ideas, most of which I don’t even know. In addition to their discussions, they, naturally, included breakfast goodies. What’s a meeting without food, huh? I imagine that they invited other neighbors to join them on the first Saturday of each month, going to different people’s houses and having everyone take a “covered dish” to the designated house. Three of the original ladies still live in the ‘hood, but only one is still active—Annie Whitney, our very efficient and very much loved organizer and group leader. Annie deserves a post all her own, and she’ll get one soon.

Today, instead of 5 neighbors gathering on the first Saturday, we now have anywhere from 50 to 100 folks eagerly heading to someone’s house for a morning of catching up on the news and stuffing themselves with some of the best cooking in these parts. Though we still talk about innovative projects (in the twenty-first century, you’re likely to hear lots of exchanging of ideas about Internet connections and other such ultra-modern topics), you might hear just as much about grandchildren, travels abroad, and recipes. We have a wonderful time, and since Frank and I love a party, especially if it’s at our house, we have hosted Breakfast Club twice: the first time in July 2005; the second, last Saturday. I tried to count the number present, but it was impossible because our friends kept moving from the
 kitchen to the Two Rocks and a Hubcap Music Hall (explanation to follow in another post), also known as the company room. I believe, though, that there were about 60 in attendance.

Even though Frank and I are the hosts at our house, we manage to flit around enough to visit with lots of our friends. Most of the people in attendance on Saturday are special friends whom we’ve known most of the time that we’ve lived in New Mexico; however, many new folks were here, too. We collect “new best friends,” and I added all of them to our email list for invitations to our concerts, Frank’s birthday party, and our Christmas Open House. As I said earlier, we do love a party, and we had a glorious time on Saturday.

Here are a couple of photos from Breakfast Club: Tom Fulker, Annie’s husband; and our daughter and son –in-law, Wendy Young and Todd Yocham. You have an open invitation to come to our get-together on the first Saturday of any month!

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