Bee-ing Near The Desert

by: Marlene email

Ardovino's Desert Crossing

Wouldn’t you know it,  the day after I left for a family celebration  in El Paso, Texas  was the day of the second scheduled meeting of the Eastern Shore Beekeepers Guild.  Per some  previous posts in  “Odds and Ends”,  I had definitely been looking  forward to going to that meeting but  the occasion of my mother’s 90th birthday was not to be missed and so off to Texas we went,  bee guild or no bee guild.

While there,  in between various family dinners and such,  my husband and I did have  a little time to explore the areas surrounding El Paso, which in general are very desert- like unless there is some source of  irrigation.  Early one Saturday morning we drove out to Ardovino’s Desert Crossing  ( ), in Sunland Park,  New Mexico,  just across  the Texas-New Mexico border .    Ardovino’s,  which is now a lovely restaurant,  is located in what is still pretty much in the middle of nowhere on what was an old cattle ranch in an arid part of the state.   Interestingly, on Saturday mornings from May through October, they sponsor a Farmer’s Market  and  we were going to that week’s  Farmer’s Market  to see what  local produce and artisan products were  being offered there.  ( )   

Breakfast At The Coffee Stream

Before trekking around we decided to have breakfast– an egg and Applewood bacon  burrito topped with spicy homemade salsa and a  zucchini-carrot muffin,  both  delicious offerings  from  the Coffee Stream trailer,  eaten under a large umbrella on their patio which overlooks  the market tents and wagons.  From there it was off to the produce tents where gorgeous baskets of  local jalapenos, green chilies,  wreaths  of dried red chilies, cactus “apples”,  avacados  and bunches of sunflowers  were interspersed with  the more traditional cantaloupes, corn, squash  and peaches.  Local artisans offered breads, lovely  soaps,  herbs,  shirts made from smooth local cotton,  handmade baskets,  paintings , etc.    I   love  Farmer’s Markets and it’s always fun to go to them in different parts of the country to see  the local specialties being offered.  This one was no exception. 

In addition to several small watercolors  of the Franklin Mountains which surround  El Paso,  we bought some chipotle spiced pecans, dried red chilies from Hatch, NM  ( supposedly the chili capital of the US,  ),   roasted pinion nuts and spicy salsas to take home plus lots of homemade cinnamon rolls  and  three  large cantaloupes,  smelling as sweet as honey,  for a  family breakfast Sunday morning.   My daughter got  some very colorful sunflowers  from two  bashful kids helping out  in  their Mom’s  garden  booth.   And speaking of honey and flowers,  which bring me full circle to bees,  there were also two vendors whose wares included  local honey and we  spent a little time talking  about their bees.  It seems that even in such an arid part of the country there are bees on duty, doing their thing, making  smooth, sweet honey from local flowering plants, including cactus flowers, etc.   (I would have found it difficult to comprehend how bees could search out the relatively few flowers available in those parts if I had not just  read an interesting article in Science Daily (  indicating that scientists are so impressed with the navigation and flower recognition skills of  bees that they have built an artificial  “bee  eye”   to help them better understand how these abilities are aided by bees’  unique vision skills,  hoping  that this information will help science  improve navigational strategies for mobile robots.)

Mom's Two Helpers

   I would say that the long and short of  bee-ing near the desert is that the bees on the Texas-New Mexico border definitely have darn good eyes and are out there  navigating around,  recognizing flowers and making  some top grade honey !!

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