Monday, July 15, 2013

On the Homefront: Google Frustration, and the Great Chicken Controversy

View of Rio Chama in Abiquiu (from Sotheby's)

I just got back from a five-day vacation to New Mexico, and it was fabulous!  For some reason, my husband and I seem to take rain with us wherever we go, but since the West has been in dire need of rain this summer, the storms that arrived at just about the same time we did were a welcome relief for the area.  We spent a few days in Santa Fe and stayed overnight at the delightful Abiquiu Inn right before we left.  Abiquiu is the town where the artist Georgia O'Keeffe had a home, which is quite impressive and is now open for tours.

More will be posted about our trip later, but I just wanted to get back on the blog right now, since for some reason Google decided I was not me while I was traveling and would not let me log in.  You would think that an access password would be enough, and it always has been in the past, but now a two-step verification process requiring a cell phone number is necessary if you log in from an unfamiliar location.  Unfortunately, I do not use a cell phone.  The second option is an alternate e-mail address, but I only have one e-mail account.  Once I returned home I was able to access my blog again and Google apologized for the inconvenience, but NOTE TO GOOGLE: You must supply another way to access one's account while traveling for those of us who do not use cell phones or multiple e-mail accounts!!!

From Living the Santa Fe Life

As I mentioned, I will blog about the highlights of our New Mexico trip in the near future, but for now I just thought I would describe an interesting little side trip we took while there.  My husband and I are still considering buying a place in New Mexico after he retires, possibly as a vacation home to escape Georgia's humid summers, or maybe even an eventual full-time residence.  We are checking out areas near Santa Fe right now, and decided to take a look at a community called Eldorado at Santa Fe.  This development was started in the 1970s, and is the largest solar community in the US.  I believe the original vision for development was an eco-friendly neighborhood of moderately priced homes, different from the exclusive and upscale developments such as the ubiquitous gated golf communities that are more commonly built.  In 1983 Eldorado won a water rights battle, and the pace of development increased rapidly.

At present the Eldorado at Santa Fe community is well established, with quite a few amenities and activities available to residents.  Unfortunately, with such rapid growth (over 2700 residences), controversy within the community was probably inevitable.  I suppose any number of issues could have caused the schism pitting residents against each other, but the one that finally brought about the split is The Great Chicken Controversy.  The covenants are rather vague on animal ownership.  The exact wording is that "No animals, birds or poultry shall be kept or maintained on any lot, except recognized household pets".  (BTW, I am not sure how birds and poultry became non-animals, but this truly is the case legally, and is not unique to this community.)  The problem is that some members of Eldorado focus only on the first half of this regulation, and others on the second half.  The residents seem to be almost evenly split on this issue, as evidenced by a recent vote, although right now the anti-chicken faction seems to be in control.  Even the vote itself was not without controversy, as one resident took it upon himself to remove signs posted by residents who did not agree with him.  The Eldorado Community Improvement Association (ECIA) has now sued nine residents who have kept chickens on their properties long before these birds became such an issue, and the owners have organized to fight back.

By Storm_Front on Flickr

While driving through Eldorado at Santa Fe, my husband and I saw a very large family of Scaled Quail (Callipepla squamata) crossing the road.  We had never seen these quail before, and we were enchanted!  The thought of living in an area where these sweet little birds are a common sight was tempting, but we are not willing to step into the middle of an unpleasant neighborhood controversy, and personally I rather like the idea of backyard chickens provided they are properly maintained.  I seem to recall reading on Wikipedia last year that the residents who favored a sustainable community and those who were in favor of a more exclusive development were at odds long before chickens became so controversial, but this information has been removed from the page.  Needless to say, the Eldorado at Santa Fe community is no longer on our list of retirement options, which is sad because it truly does seem to have been a great community before this issue.  I hope they are able to resolve their differences as quickly and amicably as possible, since the level of rancor caused by the squabbling may turn away other prospective buyers in addition to ourselves.

From Albuquerque Coop and Garden Tour Facebook page

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