Day 4: Moriarty, New Mexico

The sign into Moriarty says, The Land of Opportunity, which is funny because the unemployment rate is sky high, the poverty level is just shy of 18% and many parents home school their kids because they can’t afford to take them, the bus system being mostly non-existent. The main drag goes something like: Arby’s, Burger King, strip club, McDonald’s, China Super Buffet, strip club, truck stop, Fireworks World Outlet.

My mom and step-dad moved here during my senior year of college, to escape the Tucson heat and to grow gourds and raise chickens.

chickens sunset

I can’t say that I blame them for wanting to live the country life, even though Moriarty is so depressing it makes me want to stab something. Also, I’m a city girl. I prefer my nature to be in documentaries. But my mom takes full advantage of the extra labor when I’m here, so I spend a lot of time picking raspberries and grapes and apples, harvesting sunflower seeds and preparing to run like hell if I ever see a snake. It sounds horrible, right? Picking fresh fruit and herbs! What kind of mother does that? The thing is that there are WORMS in the sunflowers and CRICKETS on the grapes and as I reached for an apple, I stepped in the dogs’ WATER BOWL. That would never happen if I was inside, hiding safely behind a laptop. Neither would this frightening sight:

the horror!

the horror!

It’s like Jurassic Park around here! Actually, the chickens were really cute. Mom has 11 of them now. And one of them even left us a parting gift.


When she didn’t have us tilling the fields, mom put us to work in her sweatshop, where we were told to make “manly” jewelry for her Etsy site, NativeBeads.

the sweatshop

the sweatshop

ellie jewelry

Mother Theresa

Mother Theresa

Manly necklacess

Manly necklaces

I’m sad to say goodbye so soon. I only see my mom and step-dad about twice a year now. Our family is too spread out: New York, New Mexico, Chicago San Francisco, Arizona. I told them to come to San Francisco and that they could even bring their chickens, including Obama.

Obama, the rooster

Obama, the rooster

But only on the condition that they leave their newly purchased shotgun here, which they bought “to scare the coyotes away.” See, this is what country living does to people. Makes them think buying firearms is a perfectly legitimate way to deal with trespassing animals. However, shooting worms with a 12-gauge is something I can totally get behind…

mom and me


13 Responses

  1. The horror is right. I HATE chickens. With a passion. But your mom’s jewelry is lovely!

  2. You forgot to mention how I made you pick fresh raspberries for our breakfast waffles, fresh eggs and fresh watermelon. Life’s rough alright! I loved the visit and we had lots of good laughs.

  3. I laughed out loud at so many points. I love your trip. And your mom is pretty!!!

  4. Hey Anna, I remember way back when, you thought stuff like making MANLY jewelry was KEWL…then you went got all edumacated. Wait till you meet some two legged “worms” in Cali. Don’t get “californicated” on us, will ya? Love Ya…Sylvia
    (I would give my right boob to be where your Mom is right now instead of in the armpit of the US!)

  5. i want you to know–and i also want to see just how comfortable i am verbalizing the thought–that i am considering buying a gun for…squirrels. yep. bears on the porch? whatever. but if those little rodent bastards chew on one more glove, it’s war. and this scrawny vegetarian hippie treehugger means it.
    i’ve changed.

    • erica, there is so much we need to talk about. where’s my long email?

      • i’m working on it…there’s just a lot of internet drama happening right now…like, getting internet that works. although i don’t seem to have any problems obsessively reading this blog, so maybe i could find it in myself–and my pathetic bandwidth–to write something long and semi-coherent about squirrels and buried phone cable and stories about weird alaskan men…

  6. OMGosh that was funny, She really has a way with words. I love the part about shooting worms with a shotgun. Glad you all had a good time. I want to come play with the bugs, till the fields and fight off the coyotes, but I was born on a farm so all that sounds like a blast to me.

  7. Erica, I totally sympathize! We are territorial animals too and tend to get vicious on foreign invaders!

    • one of my least proud moments: chasing a squirrel with an axe, and swinging it haphazardly while the squirrel effortlessly bounded from tree to tree with a mouthful of my boot lining. shooting it would be so much more dignified…if i knew how to shoot.

  8. Erica, You should have seen Bob try to kill a snake with a rock. He is a bad shot. After about an hour there was a pile of rocks next to the snake, no hits! Then the snake hid in the pile of rocks…sigh. A shotgun works better, in theory at least…

  9. I wonder what’s to become of me in the face of this city v. country “argument”. Will I be picking raspberries with a pistol in my back pocket while automatically generating a cache of gfy posts to read? Stranger things have happened.

    P.S. “WATER BOWL” = hilarious

    miss you!! xoxo

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