Elizabeth Nuzum’s Dream: El Pedregal

99… Elizabeth’s experimental place – garden, El Pedregal… first of two parts…

Big Fig tree at the Pedregal, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico. Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

In a magnificent setting there is this fig tree to admire and celebrate.

Pember and Elizabeth Nuzum owned a lot off a dirt road in the Chaleton area,
place of the fig trees, west of Álamos. They planned to built a tennis court
on it. One day Elizabeth traveled further west on the road and came across
this fig tree. It was love at first site. She coaxed Pember into selling their
lot, and it sold unexpectedly quickly. Elizabeth, on her own, purchased the
undeveloped three acres with the fig tree from Martha and Al Haywood.
Elizabeth christen the property El Pedregal, the stoney place. This was her
project, her experimental place to build and plant what she wanted.
It was her dream to bring art, community and nature together under the out-stretched
limbs of a magnificent fig tree.

El Pedregal's front gate, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico. Alamos, Sonora, Mexico. Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

Elizabeth loved her big green door that was El Pedregal\’s entrance.

The first thing Elizabeth did at El Pedregal was build a meandering road leading
through and around the property to the fig tree. The heavy green gates at
Pedregal’s entrance, where the public dirt road comes to its end, were made
from old doors Elizabeth collected in town. She had put them together by
Nemecio Figueroa in his family’s carpenter shop on the way to the Panteon,
cemetery, at the eastern edge of town. Behind these green gates there were,
and are, worlds of natural wonder. The seasons pass as birds, insects and
mammals come and go.

A straw-bale studio

A small group gather outside the strawbale house built by Elizabeth Nuzum on El Pedregal, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

Elizabeth Nuzum wanted to build a straw bale house in Alamos. She did.

Elizabeth had read the book Out on a Limb by Peter and
Victoria Nelson. It was about tree houses and other construction such as
straw-bale houses. Elizabeth decided she wanted to build a straw-bale in her
garden of experiments. She contacted the Nelsons as they were preparing to
visit Russia and demonstrate straw-bale technology. They recommended
that she talk to the authors of The Straw-Bale House, Bill and Athena Steen.
Elizabeth felt it was important to build a straw-bale structure as an example
of what could be a relatively inexpensive home concept for Mexico. Unable to
have an expert come down to build the straw-bale studio she relied on
the Steen’s book and hired her son-in-law Chacho Valdez and his brothers to
start the project. Chacho would build the basic structure: roof, walls and
an unfinished floor.
For more visit El Pedregal part two

A Way of Life

Behold a Cornucopia of Color, Shapes, Textures and Scents.The flora of Álamos
is the many splendors of Sinaloan tropical forest and Sonoran desert living
together in unexpected harmony. Many properties have gardeners watering, pruning,
consulting, planting, cutting, raking, commiserating, trimming and… year round.
Flowers and vegetables are planted in November for winter blooms and crops that
last until May or June’s heat… Mangos, papayas, bananas, palms, amapas, orchidias
and other trees provide food and shelter for native and migrating birds. Cascades
of colors come from flowering vines: blue veracruzana, orange trumpet, red,
magenta and orange bougainvilla and… And the smells and scents that envelope
one’s senses… Formal, informal… it all contributes to this symphony and
riot that is the passing seasons in Álamos, Sonora, Mexico.
Photos, editing
and produced by Anders Tomlinson. Music is “Jardin de Colores”, written and
performed by Samuel Delatorre Dorame, from his 2013 CD “Memorias de Álamos, Sonora.”

To the east, the Cuchujaqui River is a nearby Álamos summer getaway.

The Cuchujaqui River is to the east of Álamos, Sonora, Mexico.
Three arroyos join together in Álamos and flow to the Cuchujaqui
River, on to the El Fuerte River and ultimately the Pacific Ocean.
It is a cooling retreat for Álamos folks especially in the hot
summer. On this day, Antonio, an Álamos dentist, spear-fished one
bass, a couple of catfish and many carp.
A good time was had by all.

Sharing a Horse Laugh.

Anders, on a 1995 late Spring mid-morning, meets a horse in a
vacant lot off of Calle Galiana. It was common to see a horse on
the streets of Álamos, usually with a rider. Horse hair styling
by Doug Reynolds. Video and editing by Anders Tomlinson. Music is
an excerpt from Denver Clay’s ” Long Angel.” Produced by Anders
Tomlinson and Kit Nuzum.

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