Thursday, 18 December 2014 21:22

Animalitos in Agua Fria Village

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From Arthur E. Montoya 4-6-2012:

He remembered going to Pueblo Quemado and right by the river was the evidence of an ancient room like the two walls leading to a corner and it that corner was a little kiva fireplace and you could see some ashes and some unburnt sticks.  Then there was a little pile of corn cobs and some of them seemed burned.  At the pueblo the dirt was very loose and good for making adobes so they would back up the pick-up truck and load the dirt.  He was kind of anxious to get home and make the adobes so he didn’t wander around the pueblo, as much as he wished he did now. 


Art would go from his house in the morning to see what his grandpa Jose Montoya (Jose Lino Montoya’s son from his first wife Magdalena) was doing, because his grandpa would always already be working.  His grandpa would save all the cornstalks and corncobs in piles for his animalitos, and then would feed them to the cows and horses during the winter.  He said when he was a small boy and he remembered the cows just picking up one old dried out piece of corncobs in their mouth, and keeping it in their mouths until it got wet.  Then they would crunch, crunch, crunch it down, while they were looking at you, look at them.  When Grandpa Jose was older he only had about four horses left.  One of them was a beautiful gray mare with a two-tone coat and in the winter she would get whiter and really pretty.  You could barely see her in the distance if she was running in snow.  This mare had a good looking colt and it was very frisky and toward the back of the property the fence was down and he got onto Cerrillos Road and was hit by a semi-truck.  Some of the nephews got the little colt and brought him down to Jose.  Jose had some herbs and dressings and wrapped the damaged hindquarters of the colt up.  The colt could not stand and his back legs were all locked up.  People told him he should shoot the colt but he said no.  After about a week and a half of wrapping and working the legs, the colt could stand.  About a month and a half later he was walking.  Within two months he was running as fast as the big horses.  You could still see a large scar and some of the meat on the hindquarters was actually missing.


His Tio Juan Gonzales y Gallegos had his corrals immediately west of Antonio Montoya down by the River.   There he kept his wagon, and stored hay in the loft.  In one covered shed he stored cornstalks for the livestock.  There is a picture of his sisters Emma and Helen in their first communion dresses against the background of the corrals.  Tio Juan was very proud of his horses and would comb them there when he would wander by.  He would say that combing them built up trust.

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William Mee

Resident of Agua Fria Village Traditional Historic Community (THC) a place of settlement since 1640, grew up by Cerrillos, N.M.  Went to SFHS, NMSU and College of Santa Fe; and later UNM.  Member of Agua Fria Village Association and Acequia Agua Fria Association.

1 comment

  • Comment Link Michael Miller Saturday, 20 December 2014 16:18 posted by Michael Miller

    We always enjoy the stories you have documented on Agua Fria. Keep up the good work.

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