13 Jun 2016

Notes from the Road: Cabeza de Baca aka C’de Baca

Lady bugs

Don’t let the genteel name fool you—these tiny animals are voracious predators. In an effort to thwart an invasion of unwanted creatures, our leading horticultural and animal-experience expert, Danielle, has unleashed 70,000 of the beetles around the property. An adult ladybug can eat up to 50 aphids in a day and 5000 aphids in its lifetime, making this a fantastically beneficial insect to have at Sunrise. It’s important to get to know what baby ladybugs look like, so you don’t squish them assuming they are a pest. They remind Danielle of an alien alligator! [A photo here would be helpful.]

The hydrotherapy area is fast approaching completion with the expectation of hydrotherapy services being available by July 1. I recently learned that the beautiful wood dock that was rebuilt last year was originally designed to serve as a yoga space as well as a beautiful place for our guests to relax. Yoga on the water—pretty cool.

Community News
In the 1800s, the C’de Baca (Cabeza de Baca) family moved to the La Cienega Valley. The family had settled in the communities of Bernalillo and Peña Blanca before coming up the La Bajada Mesa to live here in La Cienega. The patriarch of the family was Luis Maria Cabeza de Baca. Born in 1754, Luis had over 20 children with the three different wives.

Today the family continues to maintain much of their property as farmland. Charlie C’de Baca has been the Mayordomo (ditch boss) of the El Guicu Ditch Association for over forty years.  His sister Linda C’de Baca Grill is a former County Commissioner who currently serves on the La Cienega Valley Association Board and has been instrumental in getting funding for our small community library.

Their cousins JJ and Eddie Gonzales (sons of Melinda C’de Baca Gonzales and two of the nicest people in the valley) own and oversee the largest of the C’de Baca family’s land holdings. If you come into the valley off the I-25 exit, as the road winds down to the valley on the right you will see the 300-year old pond that holds the irrigation water for the El Guicu Ditch Association. After you pass this pond you will come to the three way stop at Paseo C’de Baca and you are then surrounded by the Gonzales Farm/Ranch and homes the Eddie and JJ maintain.  In the hills to the left are their homes, and the fields on both sides of Entrada are where the Gonzales’ horses and cows graze.

The house at the corner of Entrada and Paseo C’de Baca is where the family matriarch Melinda lived until her passing several years ago. Behind the house is an orchard, the family garden, and the pen where JJ raises chickens. The cattle bred and raised on the property are taken down to Belen to be sold at auction each year. As you drive west down Paseo C’de Baca, the large fields to the right belong to the Gonzales family, with the exception of the house close to the road (my former wife and I built the house in 1987 and she still lives there). The third tract of land is planted in alfalfa where the Gonzales family allows a local beekeeper to maintain a number of hives.

Carl DickensCarl Dickens began working at Sunrise Springs in 1984, the same year he and his family moved to the valley. Carl remained at Sunrise Springs for five years, and later returned in September of 2012. Carl is active in the local community and is passionate about the history of the area, preserving its agricultural traditions, and water conservation.