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Monday, January 10, 2011 - LoW-HI RV Ranch, Deming NM

Condemned, San Antonio NM, January 30, 2010
Condemned, San Antonio NM, January 30, 2010

Tomorrow I'm outa here

It's time to get a move on. I'm beginning to develop a case of what Brian Gore calls "hitch itch" on his goin' RV Boondocking blog, and I need to get moving before I into out a rash. I want to start my trek up the Rio Grande valley to San Antonio NM. I'm getting anxious to get up there to spend a month or so photographing the Sandhill Cranes wintering at the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge before they head off for their summer nesting grounds in mid February.

I delayed my departure a day from LoW-HI RV Ranch, Deming NM to put in long days yesterday and today to get some basic restructuring of this website in place. That's pretty much done and the old version of the site has been condemned.

Night camp

Site 8 - LoW-HI RV Ranch, Deming NM

Teosinte and the Improbability of Maize

The ancestors of wheat, rice, millet, and barley look like their domesticated descendants; because they are both edible and highly productive, one can easily imagine how the idea of planting them for food came up. Maize can't reproduce itself, because its kernals are securely wrapped in the husk, so Indians must have developed it from some other species. But there are no wild species that resemble maize. Its closest genetic relative is a mountain grass called teosinte that looks strikingly different - for one thing, it "ears" are smaller than baby corn served in Chinese restaurants. No one eats teosinte, because it produces too little grain to be worth harvesting. In creating modern maize from this unpromising plant, Indians performed a feat so improbable that archaeologists and biologists have argued for decades over how it was achieved. Coupled with squash, beans, and avocados, maize provided Mesoamerica with a balanced diet, one arguably more nutritious than its Middle Eastern or Asian equivalent.