Southwestern Wrap, Part Two. Arizona and Texas

Posted on February 11, 2015


Arizona and New Mexico

One Color Fits All

The opportunity to see how people in other areas of the country live is the most interesting benefit of traveling.  I like to check out the architecture as it changes across the country – after all, architecture and culture are closely intertwined.

images (8)During our stays in New Mexico and Arizona, we were naturally introduced to adobe building construction, both the historic Pueblo style and the created-community-with-a-fancy-name style found in the metropolitan areas of Arizona.


Solar panels add black splotches to red tile roofs on many Arizona homes.

One thing both styles have in common is color. Adobe is brown, or tan, maybe a little lighter or darker or maybe a shade toward gray. Yards here are mostly gravel – water is too precious (and expensive) to waste on grass, so they too are brownish gray.  Of course, the desert in winter is brown, or brownish-green , so you really have a pretty neutral palette going on.

Maybe it’s just as well. You can’t compete with God’s paintbrush, so why try?

Shutterstock photo by Tim Roberts.

A community west of Phoenix, AZ Photo by Tim Roberts.

He (or she) used a very extensive palette when coloring the Southwest – shades of red and pink, yellows and blues, all changing constantly with the weather, time of day and altitude.

So all that brownness actually works surprisingly well in providing a nice, neutral counterpoint to the awesome natural beauty of these two states.







We missed Cowboy Mardi Gras in Bandera Texas, but we took a quick look at the American Agricultural Heritage Museum in Boerne, Texas (pronounced ‘Bernie’).

download This place had some pretty amazing stuff.

Of course, farm tools mirror the types of agriculture found in different parts of the country, but some of the items in this very eclectic collection were common to just about everywhere .

The items that were most interesting were the handmade tools, pieced together by the guy who was going to use them, made mostly out of stuff scrounged up out of the scrap pile.

7582407_1_lThere was a homemade pedal-powered milking machine, a horse-drawn row crop seeder made entirely out of wood, numerous rakes, harrows, shovels and whatnot, all fashioned by hand to fit the farmer’s particular need, and all costing little or no hard cash.

And outside there was literally tons of ‘old iron’,some of which even the curator couldn’t identify.

The curator, by the way, was pretty glad to see us – visitors are rare, he said.

FullSizeRenderWhile Texans still raise a lot of cattle, not many are involved in conventional farming anymore.

And then there’s the fact that many former cattle ranches now specialize in providing Western experiences for Japanese tourists and wealth city dudes, all of whom are interested in bagging big game animals, not learning how a cow was milked back in the day.