April 5, 2001
Dear Subscriber:

The Newsletter is a concerted effort. I write the opening and
the basic parts. I send it on to David (the Cloudcroft.com
Webmaster) and he includes your letters and other substantive

So, a lot of times, I'm seeing many of your letters for the
first time when the newsletter is posted on Thursdays.

David also runs tracking on who reads what in the newsletter.

It seems your letters are coming close to being a better read
than my opening article.

That makes me feel a little insecure.

I'm asking you. Quit being so witty! Stop being so informative!
Don't be so readable!

I lay awake at night afraid David will call and say "Hey, Don...
Let's put the letters first and put your column on the bottom."

Seriously, I'm proud of our readership. Your letters'
contributions are up there with some of the stuff you read in
the national news magazines. When I read them, I picture myself
in a room surrounded by you. There are steaks on the grill and
oldies on the stereo and we're all trying to impress each other.

Demographers tell us that for every letter we receive, there are
500 readers that don't write, but if our letters contributors
are any indication, The Cloudcroft Online Newsletter enjoys a
readership made up of intelligent, thoughtful and informed
people. Even you folks from California show good sense!

I wish I could answer each email personally, but with rolling my
ATV down the hill and fixing toilets, I run out of time. I will
keep trying.


As I reported last week, our first hummingbird of the season
has set up housekeeping. Tom and Harry (our not-so-wild cats)
have stationed themselves under the feeder waiting for the
hummers to make a mistake. It will likely be a long and
fruitless wait, but they have little else to do.


Peg and I were in Lubbock earlier this week to help my Mom move
into her new apartment.

I lived in Lubbock for over 20 years before moving to
Cloudcroft, but outside of the Texas Tech football games, I
don't miss it much.

I sat out on the porch one night at my daughter Amy's apartment.
It was a remarkably mild early spring evening in Lubbock. I
caught myself feeling a little nostalgic for the hustle and
bustle of the old Hub City.

I had forgotten how everything glowed in the city on a clear
night...almost as if it were radioactive. The combination of
thousands of street lights and headlights made it never quite

I was struck by the constant hum...a combination of traffic,
emergency sirens and the sounds of TV sets and other voices
leaking out of the apartments. Amy loves apartment living, but
I can't relate to people living right next to and on top of and
underneath one another.

In the parking lot below and down the way, a lady was telling
her significant other to leave and never come back. Judging
from her volume, she wasn't the least bit concerned about how
many of her neighbors knew of her domestic confrontation, nor
was she particularly selective in her language. Heads poked out
of doors to see what was going on, but only for a second. Then
could be heard the succession of door slams followed quickly by
the "click-click" of the dead-bolts as people shut out the
problems just outside their doors and returned to the
distraction of NYPD Blue.

I felt instantly homesick for Cloudcroft.

The next day, Peg and I drove through a dreadful West Texas
sandstorm on our way back to the Sacramento Mountains.

Funny how one little sandstorm can cure a bout of nostalgia.

Don Vanlandingham

Dare we say it? The warm weather and the gradual greening makes
it feel for all the world like spring has sprung and summer is

Highs are in the low-60s. Lows in the low-30s.

Still very dry. The National Forest Service has instituted
severe fire hazard restrictions. No campfires. No outside
smoking. The same restrictions apply to the village and Otero
County as a whole.
Dear Newsletter:

I am so much interested in receiving an illustrated postcard
with a view of CLOUDCROFT.

Can you help me? Just a mere picture postcard. I'd be grateful
if you pleased me.

Thanks for the kind attention.

Best regards,
Gianni Bellentani
Via Ippocrate 31
41100 Modena Mo, Italy

[Anyone have a nice Cloudcroft postcard?]

Trinity Site, the scene of the first atom bomb explosion, will
be open to the public Saturday, April 6th.

The site is open to the public just twice per year. A caravan
will be organized at the Otero County fairgrounds at 7:15 am.
Bring your RV and spend some time in the enchanting Sacramento
Mountains! Beautiful setting with trout pond below. Family
atmosphere, full hookups, 38 spaces. We offer a club house with
fully equipped kitchen, pot luck each Thursday night and
Christmas-in-July on the third Thursday of July! Open April 1st
through October 30. For reservations and information, email
RVGoFish@aol.com, call (505) 682-1148, or click on the 
link to our web site on the RV/Camping page of Cloudcroft.com:


Just a short day-trip from Cloudcroft:


Q - Do the camping and fire-use restrictions outlined by the
National Forest Service apply as well to private land-owners?

A - They do, because duplicate restrictions were also issued by
Otero County. While the Forest Service has jurisdiction over
federal land, the county has jurisdiction and authority over the
county as a whole.

Basically, the ordinance prohibits all open fires, fireworks
and outdoor smoking.

Indoor fireplaces and stoves are OK, but spark arresters should
be installed on chimneys.

Petroleum fueled stoves and grills are OK.

The recent fire near Ruidoso which burned several homes was
caused by the improper disposal of fireplace ashes.
April 6 -- Trinity Site Tour, line-up 7:15am Otero County
Fairgrounds, depart 8am.
For more information, call (505) 437-6120 or (800) 826-0294.

April 12-14 -- Trinity All-Arabian Horse Show, Otero County
Fairgrounds, for more information, call (505) 437-9367.

April 14 -- 14th Annual Bataan Memorial Death March, White
Sands Missile Range, for an application booklet call
505-678-3374, register on-line at www.wsmr.army.mil.

April 15 -- Congressional Candidate Forum. Cloudcroft Village
Council Chambers at 6pm. Speakers are Democratic candidates
Ruben Smith and John Arthur Smith.
Reservations required, call (505) 682-2504.

April 20-21 -- Rattlesnake Roundup. Otero County Fairgrounds.
For more information call (505) 437-7116.

April 26-28 -- Cloudcroft Dance Theatre, Artesia.
For more information, call (505) 687-3192.

April 27 -- Moonlight Bicycle Ride, 8:30pm, White Sands
National Monument, advance registration required.
For more information, call (505) 479-6124 or (505) 679-2599.

April 29 -- Congressional Candidate Forum. Cloudcroft Village
Council Chambers at 6pm. Speakers are Republican candidates
Ed Tinsley, Steve Pearce, Earl Greer, and Leo Martinez.
Reservations required, call (505) 682-2383. (Note date change!)

May 4-5 -- High Altitude Classic Bike Race.
For more information, call (505) 682-1229.

May 11 -- Old Timer's Reunion, Cloudcroft High School, 12pm.
For more information, call (505) 682-2932.

Cloudcroft Art Society meets the first Sunday of each month,
2-4pm, in the Old Red Brick School House. Call (505) 682-2494
for more information.

Senior Van from Timberon to Alamogordo leaves the Timberon
Lodge promptly at 8:30am every Tuesday morning.

For information on highway closings for missile testing between
Alamogordo and Las Cruces/El Paso, call (800) 432-4269.

If you have news of public events in the Cloudcroft area, email

For an online calendar of area events, click the Events Calendar
link in the left column of our home page:


Dear Newsletter:

Largely due to my recommendation, my daughter and her family
came to Ruidoso/Cloudcroft for Spring Break vacation.

Her children, 10 and 13 years old, had never seen snow. Thank
goodness they found it on the Sunspot Highway. All notions of
skiing went right out the window once they purchased disks and
slid down that hill until their hearts were content.

They ate at the Western Cafe and couldn't believe my story
about the negative comments which were in the newsletter a
couple of months ago. Again, another good experience. Needless
to say, they are now lobbying Gran and Granddaddy to rent a
cabin so we can all spend Christmas there. We'd do it in a
flash if you could guarantee snow. How about it?

Warm regards (it's 80 today) from the flatlands.

B. A. Alexander
Corpus Christi, TX

Dear Newsletter:

THANK YOU WATER GUYS! Since we have a place in Silver Cloud, we
sleep at night knowing you're on the job. Seriously, water was
the deciding factor of why we bought in Silver Cloud and what a
debt we owe to Paul and Rita and all of you. It's truly a sign
of the "mountain way of life" when you have people who serve
each other without pay or most of the time, even a thank you.

Please take this as our heartfelt THANK YOU.

Peggy Shields

Dear Newsletter:

Don, water is a big deal, lest you waste it.

It seems the village of Cloudcroft has an abundance water to

I quote from EL PASO TIMES, March 29, 2002, "Adams said an
agreement with the village of Cloudcroft to buy more water and
share new pump will allow him to concentrate on the lower
mountain. The focused snow-making, he said, will almost free
the area of its dependence on natural snowfall, which has been
scarce in recent years".

Does the village of Cloudcroft subsidize this?

Don, after the ordeal with the skunks, illegal radio broadcast,
and knowing not to transverse a hill on your 4-wheeler, did you

Paul is the chief of your water association. Is he or are you
certified by the state?

Questions need to be addressed.


[Bob, the village of Cloudcroft has had its share of water

Their system needs overhauled. There are several leaks they have
to trace and fix. If you have been keeping up with these
problems (as it seems you have), you know they have the water
situation on the front burner.

As for Silver Cloud...yes...Paul is certified. We have good
water and little waste. Our system is inspected regularly.

I'm not sure I addressed your points, but I tried.

Don Vanlandingham]

Dear Newsletter:

Why don't you write a book? You could call it "How I Moved to
the Hills and Made Fun of all the City People". I would buy it.
You have an unusual talent for third party observation. The
story on the water pipe repair reminds me of my early days of
working on a gas pipeline. We had a guy that was a lot like
Jim. Always accusing, never wrong, but in a funny good way.
You could put Cloudcroft on the map.

By the way, for the pizza guy, a good pizza can be had by
getting a large round pan, covering it with flour tortillas,
pizza sauce (your favorite from the store), cover with cheese
(your favorite kind), and other topping you like or prefer
like Italian Sausage, Pepperoni, Bell Peppers, Jalapenos,
Onions, well you get the picture. Cook in the oven at 400 and
keep an eye on it. It can't necessarily be eaten by picking it
up, use a fork and a spatula. It can help relieve the late
night cravings for a pizza though.

Philip Duncan
The Woodlands, Texas by way of Carlsbad, NM

PS: the reunion for CHS68 is for the year 2003. We are starting
early to try to find people

Dear Newsletter:

Here are answers to two of your readers questions: nothing, and
I mean nothing will take out the skunk smell better than...

liquid douche!

I'm not kidding. One or two six ounce bottles rubbed over the
area. And there is "no" more smell. Trust me on this one.

In reference to the question about a great pizza late at night;
that's simple: call the mercantile store or piccadilly pizza in
high rolls (682-2955) and have them cook the pizza for only 5
minutes! Put the pizza directly in your freezer. Pull it out
when you have the munchies, put it in a 450 degree oven for
8 to 12 minutes...ta-da, a perfect fresh pizza!

The pizza can be frozen for 3 to 4 weeks without getting
freezer burn. 

John White, Cloudcroft

Dear Newsletter:

When We first moved to Cloudcroft several years ago, we had an
awful problem keeping socks and houseshoes. We would take them
off, and in the morning there would only be one of them for us
to put on. On our first Thanksgiving we leaned that we had an
uninvited, but VERY welcome guest. We had started building a
log cabin while my husband was still on active duty in El Paso.
This meant the children and I were in the half-built log cabin
alone as the weather became colder and colder. By Thanksgiving,
it was cold and we had a lot of snow. 

The left over turkey was carefully removed from the carcass,
packed into baggies, and stored in our freezer (a barrel outside
the house, but under the roof extension). The bones were left
on the platter to be disposed of next day. It had been a long
day, and we were all ready for bed by 9:30 that night. As soon
as I extinguished the kerosene lamp on the table, our guest
helped himself to a bone, brought it over to the bedroom area,
and left it. I noticed it slowly moving. I bent closer to see
what the white thing moving across the floor was, noticed it
was a bone, and bent even more to pick it up. Something grabbed
for it at the same time I did, which caused me to scream, jump
at least 10 feet backwards, and caused everyone to run over to
see what was wrong.

All I could say was that it must be the biggest rat in the world
who tried to get the bone from me. We searched, used flashlights
(kerosene lamps are not good for searching for rats!). We
finally tied a string around the bone, got on the bed (all four
of us) dropped the bone down to the floor. We were amazed and
puzzled when a beautiful small animal came out and tried to get
the bone. We would pull, lift it off the floor, he would see us
and let go. He would dash under the nightstand. We would drop
down the bone, repeat the whole episode.

We finally got the camera, made some Polaroid pictures, and took
them to the veterinarian next day to learn what type of animal
was in our cabin. We were advised to get rid of it, as it
probably carried rabies, and could not be inoculated against
them for that reason.

Seems it was a Civet Cat, or Spotted Skunk. I had never heard
of them. He learned to like cornbread best of all. Every night
he would come and sit on a log near the head of the bed, on the
outside, where he had removed the chinking, and squeak and
squeal until I would give him some cornbread.

When the night came that I had none, I offered him a slice of
white bread. He took it, sniffed it, THREW in down and proceeded
to complain loudly. He finally accepted a cracker and went to
bed. He slept under our hide-a-bed sofa. In the spring he
brought his wife to live, and she chose the clothes dryer as
home. She had to leave, as we considered her too wild, and she
ate the dog's food, which the dog objected to, and it was nerve
racking to keep them apart. The dog barked, the mommy to be
would dance around on her front legs, I would grab the dog and
let her have the food. We were never sprayed.

Skunky liked chili, too. He once fell into my 6 quart pressure
pan full of HOT chili. We had chili all over the house, When he
tried to run, he would slip and slide. Poor thing was scalded.
There did not seem to be a problem, except that I had to find
something else for dinner at very short notice. He was back next
night looking for his cornbread. As far as I know, He never
returned to the stove.

We never had a mouse problem in all the time he lived with us.
We could always tell when he went courting. The mice moved in.
We would know when he returned even without seeing him. There
would be not little black markers on the cabinets in the
morning, We also never had problems with the black and white
variety as long as he lived with us, either.

Ilda Calvert
Jerusalem, AR

Dear Newsletter:

In last week’s newsletter (#103), I had mentioned that my wife
Pat had told me never to refer to her as a “Mountain Woman.” I
felt that in case people might take offence at my wife's
request, I would explain her statement. You see my wife was
born and raised in the Pennsylvania and Ohio portion of the
United States. I, on the other hand, was born and raised here
in Arizona.

Keeping our birthplaces in mind, when we are having a
conversation about how right or wrong I am about something I
did or said (I’m sure that most of your married readers have
had similar conversation) I will sometimes attempt to lighten
the moment with a little humor by referred to her as a
hillbilly. Pat in her attempt to maintain the lighthearted
conversation, will point out my miss use of the term, as
hillbillies come from Kentucky and Tennessee. Pat will then
close the conversation by calling me an old cowboy. It would
help you to understand that Pat considers a “cowboy” as the
western version of a hillbilly.

Now I can and have rode a horse, but it takes a whole bunch
more then the ability to ride a horse to make one a cowboy.
Also, there is no disrespect meant in our use of the terms 
“Hillbilly & Cowboy,” at least no more than when a Hillbilly
or Cowboy refers to a city dweller as a “Flat-lander, 
City-folk or Dude.”

So, after over fifty years of dealing with the human race here
in the city (and I use the term Human loosely), I look forward
to becoming a mountain man, retiring and living on my property
in the mountains near Cloudcroft. 

You see when I think of being a Mountain Man, I envision myself
as Robert Redford in the movie Jeremiah Johnston. Battling the
elements, ensuring that the firewood is delivered and stacked
correctly, checking that the gas tank on the backup generator
is full and hunting & stocking the pantry and freezer with the
best buys on meats, can goods and libations to last the winter.

But the term “Mountain Man” causes my wife to envision a bunch
of drunken guys, who haven’t bathed in months, wearing animal
skins, sitting around a campfire telling dirty jokes and
drinking whiskey. I keep telling Pat not to worry, because I
fully intend to bath at least once a week.

Bill White
Phoenix, Arizona

PS ­ As you may or may not know, I haven’t as yet built a cabin
on my property. For that reason my sister had allowed me to
stay at hers… At least she used to! It seems that my suggestion
in last week’s newsletter about having a “Personal Ad Section”
caused my sister to become a bit miffed and I don’t understand
why. I was only trying to help. And wasn’t nice of me to mention
her great biscuits and gravy?

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Copyright © 2002 Cloudcroft Online
The Travel and Visitor's Guide to Cloudcroft, New Mexico.
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