JOURNEY TO A STRAW BALE HOUSE
The Long Road to Santa Rita in an Old Hispano Neighborhood on the Northern Edge of New Mexico
By F. Harlan Flint
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This tale is the authorís life ramble that led to the adventure of building a cabin in the northern New Mexico wilderness. The place, called Santa Rita by its founders, was the site of a tiny settlement built by Hispano homesteaders a century earlier. One of Flintís new neighbors was Baudelio Garcia, a descendant of original pioneers. Garcia partnered with the author to take on the unfamiliar task of building a straw bale house, beginning when the winter snows were still on the surrounding mountains and having the house under roof when the fall snows arrived. Garcia helped navigate the largely Hispano neighborhood to make the project succeed. The collaboration revealed the strong attachment of the local people for their home place, their patria chica, and the persistence of their ancient language and culture.
F. Harlan Flintís interest in the Spanish language and culture was triggered by his first Spanish teacher, a Sephardic Jewish woman who had fled Francisco Francoís Spain. Flint attended Swarthmore College and then the University of New Mexico where he later earned his law degree after three years in the Army. In Santa Fe he served first as an Assistant Attorney General and then as General Counsel for the New Mexico State Engineer and Interstate Stream Commission. He then left for a twenty year career as a corporate executive before returning home to New Mexico. He is also the author of Hispano Homesteaders from Sunstone Press.
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