Old Taos in the Snow

adobe in the snow

Almost a foot deep where I’m standing

An old familiar view, freshly photographed. “Old Taos” means mice, spiders, leaks, and dust. No closets. Bad septic. Impossible to clean. On the other hand, not normal.

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John Hamilton Farr lives at 7,000 feet in Ranchos de Taos, New Mexico, U.S.A. As New York Times best-selling author James C. Moore tells it, John is “a man attuned to the world who sees it differently than you and I and writes about it with a language and a vision of life that is impossible to ignore.” This JHFARR.COM site is the master writing archive. To email John, please see CONTACT INFO on About page. For a complete list of all John’s writing, photography, NFTs, and social media links, please visit JHFARR.ART  

  • Rita January 11, 2016, 7:46 AM

    Once you guys get your own place and move out, this old Adobe will surely deteriorate rapidly. Oh. What am I thinking? They will probably rent it out (and raise the rent) to some new sucker.

    Do you know what price they want? Can they sell without splitting it?

    • JHF January 11, 2016, 8:12 AM

      Two houses on one septic tank on 3/4 acre, property stuck in probate for seven years. Now you need a full acre to get a septic permit. There’s the issue. Houses given to different heirs. Can’t divide the property without the other house having a non-traditional sewage solution, i.e. Swedish electric waste incinerator or some such. Very expensive! Even then, because present septic system would be grandfathered for this house, it can’t be upgraded! So essentially, both houses are screwed unless or until a county sewage line is extended out here. The work on that is fitful and seasonal, and they’re miles away still. Could be a few years, could be never. I’d guess never. Typical Taos situation from outlaw past.

      To my mind, both houses are teardowns. Even THEN, the lot is too small to build a new house on because of the septic requirement. If the sewer line ever comes out this way, then either one or both houses could be hooked up, but they’re falling apart as we speak. A new house could be built on this fabulous lot—on a horrible road in a dead-end neighborhood—but only after demolishing the other two. It’s a huge mess.

      Also, both parties are greedy. There have been conversations through lawyers over the years to buy one or the other out, but with wildly inappropriate price demands. It’s all insane. We want nothing to do with any of it. The neighborhood is wretched, really, except for the view.

  • judyinboston January 11, 2016, 8:54 AM

    Sounds like the makings of a novel.

    • Marti Fenton January 11, 2016, 2:25 PM

      Oh how I want to leave Taos, even if only for a short visit elsewhere. I just want to know its still possible. At first it is a source for very colorful stories and beautiful pictures, then you discover that you are without funds and the one car you still have is going to need an expensive fix and the heater goes out and any funds you were hoping to use for escape are gone. Oh, by the way the old adobe on Upper Ranchitos I used to rent has been renovated, has a good septic tank and great neighbors. My old landlord called to see if I knew anyone who might be interested. It only has one bedroom, but its a big bedroom.

      • JHF January 11, 2016, 11:18 PM

        Feel free to email me with the address. And by God have you ever captured the dynamics of the Taos existence.

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