"The Best Burger I've Ever Had"


On a dusty dirt road, with dirty nails and a dry mouth we shot down General Goodwin to the Black Bird Salon. My, they were busy.

When Patrick greeted us at the door he pleasantly surprised me by remembering my name, adding, “Yeah, right before you got here, the line was out the door.”

We must have arrived right on time, because it wasn’t long before we were digging into the “Wagon Trail Campfire,” which included a selection of Grilled Little Elk and Bison Smokies, Chile Rubbed Squab Legs, Butcher Shop Kielbasa Sausage, and a Trio of Mustards to dip into.

To quench my thirst, I also had an ale, okay, actually, I had two, but the second was to complement the Black Jack Ketchum I ordered and devoured - an Angus Burger, with Gun-Powder Rub, Tucumcari Jack Cheese, Onion, Cilantro, and Bandit Sauce - all on a Kaiser Roll.

Milo declared, “This is the best burger I’ve ever had. Papa, take a picture as I bite into it, because it will be like I’m in a commercial. Here, you want a bite?”

I bit into his Fuddled Outlaw and had to agree, “Uhm, this IS a tasty burger.” This delicacy included a 1/2lb Locally Sourced Dry Aged Beef Burger, with British Back Bacon, Whiskey Cheddar, Beer Pickled Onions, and Mayo.

Everyone else seemed quite happy with their meals and when Patrick came by, we had to ask him if his wife Kelly, the chef extraordinaire is “an octopus,” because everything was so well cooked and darn-quickly delivered.

After dinner, we stopped by Cerrillos Station to greet and meet the husband-and-wife co-owners, Barbara and Tom, of this lovely gift shop, art gallery, dance studio and host of the Thursday evening Cerrillos Farmers Market. Our friend and quasi-permaculture consultant, Marissa, happened to be there selling her magic herbal potions and salts.

We lingered a while sharing the joy of puppies, pictures of pet Vietnamese pot belly pigs, regaling drum tales and stories about raising half-breed wolves. Olivia Luz bought a cute white straw hat with a paper tag that reminded me of Minnie Pearl. Hee-Haw!

We decided to walk about the dusty village and Grandpa and I noted how dry our mouths were. We passed adobe walls and coyote fences, as well as an artful one made of staggered metal sheeting and adorned by impressive rows of budding cacti. We walked and talked and walked till we met the friendly stray cat chock full of fleas, who led us to the mining museum-cum-petting zoo and souvenir shop replete with a lama-mule, goats, and a few Araucanas or Spitzhauben Appenzellers, one of them breeds of chickens with the fancy head crests.

When we arrived home, Chelsea put the kids to bed and I loaded up the truck bed with a dozen boxes that needed to go to The Shed. I really didn’t want to heave the heavy load, especially after that heavy dinner, but it was either now or tomorrow morning. I decided to get it over with and took solace in watching the magical setting sun, as I loaded her up.

Besides, it’s one less thing to do tomorrow, now off my list, which includes wheelbarrowing more organic matter from under the juniper trees to the coop, as well as reinforcing security along the fence with large rocks; sorting through all the boxes left in the house, in order to clear out space for round #22 of floor renovation; placing deadwood and dry grass along the driveway at Casa Dominguez - 36HTR to begin cultivating rejuvenating organic soil and offer some absorption of the monsoons to deter further soil erosion and flooding of our neighbors Southwest of us; as well as continue my daunting organization of The Shed.

For some, this all may seem like a chore, a bore or a heavy load, but to me I’m loving the county life. So much so, that I got emotional when I heard my new theme song for Hacienda Dominguez & Chelenzo Farms - “Cuando Estoy en el Campo” by Mexican Superstar Singer-Songwriter Juan Gabriel.

Here’s the original, which forgive me for saying, sounds much sweeter in Spanish, especially if one can empathize with the experience he regales. My attempt at an English translation follows:

Cuando estoy en el campo

Mi vida cambia

Mi casita de adobe

Esa es mi estancia

Oigo el canto del gallo anunciando que hay viene a mi rancho un bello y nuevo día

El amor se despierta, la fe se levanta, la vida comienza y todo en armonía

Cuando estoy en el campo

Me voy al río

A escuchar el silencio

De Dios y el mío

Me baña, me arrulla, me duerme, me lleva y me calma igual que cuando niño

Lo hiciera mi padre adorado, mi madre divina con su amor y cariño

Cuando estoy en el campo

Y cae la tarde

Antes que el sol se vaya

Como mi padre

A caballo camino, recorro, disfruto y admiro mi tierra linda y morena

Veo la viña, la alfalfa, el maíz, el arroz, el trigal, su verde nogalera

Cuando estoy en el campo

Veo las estrellas

Y al mirarlas recuerdo

Cosas muy bellas

A mi padre, a mi madre, a mis tíos, mi hermano

Mi abuelo y mi abuela

Me imagino que toda mi gente que vive en mí siempre

Son toditas ellas

Y yo no voy de aquí

Aquí me voy a quedar

Y yo no me voy de aquí

Aquí me voy a quedar


When I'm in the country

My life changes

My little house of adobe

That's my abode, my farm, my home.

I hear the cock’s crow, announcing the arrival of another new and beautiful day at the ranch

Love awakens, faith rises, life begins anew, with everything in harmony

When I'm in the country

I go to the river

To listen to the silence

of God and my own;

It bathes me, soothes me, lulls me, carries and calms me, just as when I was a child.

My beloved father would do it, my divine mother, with her love and


When I’m in the country

And the evening arrives and

Before the sun departs

Much like my father,

I ride my horse, I journey, I enjoy and I admire my land, so dark, so beautiful.

I see the vineyard, the alfalfa, the corn, the rice, the field of wheat, its green walnut tree

When I’m in the country

I see the stars;

And when I look at them I remember -

All the beautiful things

About my father, my mother, my uncles, my brother -

My grandfather and my grandmother

I imagine all my people will live in me, always

For they are all here

And I'm not going anywhere

I am here to stay

And I'm not leaving here

Here, I am going to stay