The Sunday porch: geraniums

More properly called by their genus name, Pelargonium.

Porch, Chamisal, New Mexico, Library of CongressAn enclosed front porch in Chamisal, New Mexico, July 1940, by Russell Lee, via Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

Lee and his wife, Jean, spent two weeks in Chamisal and Peñasco documenting the lives of the towns’ Hispanic small farmers and ranchers. Both communities are located along the High Road to Taos, which begins in Santa Fe and crosses the high desert and forest of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.

The area was the setting for the 1974 book  The Milagro Beanfield War  as well as the filming location for the 1988 movie of the same name.  Milagro was the first of a trilogy of novels by John Nichols about north central New Mexico.  The second and third books were set in the fictional town of Chamisaville.

Vintage landscape: Penasco gate

Cemetary gate, New Mexico, Library of Congress“Entrance to the cemetery at Peñasco, New Mexico (along the High Road to Taos), July 1940, by Russell Lee, via Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

Lee and his wife, Jean, spent two weeks in Chamisal and Peñasco documenting the lives of the towns’ Hispanic small farmers and ranchers. The area was settled by Spanish colonists in the late 18th century.

Hark, hark! the lark at heaven’s gate sings…

— William Shakespeare, from Cymbeline

Life in gardens: Chamisal

New Mexico, R. Lee, via LoCWoman and baby in a flower garden in front of an adobe oven, July 1940, Chamisal, New Mexico, (along the High Road to Taos) by Russell Lee, via Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

Chamisal was settled by Spanish colonialists in the 18th century.  The name may come from the “chamois” shrub  (Chrysothamnus or rabbitbrush).

Lee and his wife, Jean, spent two weeks in Chamisal and Peñasco documenting the lives of the towns’ Hispanic small farmers and ranchers.

The winding High Road to Taos begins in Santa Fe and crosses the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.  The landscape includes high desert, forest, farms, and historic Spanish Land Grant and Pueblo Indian villages.

Vintage landscape: harvest

A few beautiful Kodachrome images of the season. . .

Harvest, 1940s, Library of Congress“Exhibit of crops and vegetables at the Pie Town, New Mexico, Fair,” 1940, by Russell Lee.

The story of Pie Town and of the photos Lee took there is here, in Smithsonian Magazine.

Harvest, 1940s, Library of CongressMrs. Jim Norris canning vegetables, Pie Town, New Mexico, 1940, by Russell Lee. (You can click on the image to enlarge it.)

Harvest, 1940s, Library of Congress“Display of home-canned food,” between 1941 and 1945, photographer not noted.

All three images were taken for the U.S. Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information on the then new Kodachrome color transparency film.  All via Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

Oh! for a thousand pumpkin seeds,
To plant for my son John;
He says that pumpkin pies are good
When the winter time comes on.

Robert Charles O’Hara Benjamin, from “The Farmer’s Soliloquy