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The speaker is a 67-year-old White woman with a grade school education from Kirtland, New Mexico; she was recorded in 1966.



County: San Juan
State: NM

Commentary:
Kirtland was one of several towns founded by Mormon settlers in San Juan County in the late nineteenth century. Native building materials have long been used in New Mexico, among them adobe, which historically was cast or puddled into place. Spanish missionaries subsequently introduced a new construction method: precast, sun-dried adobe bricks. It wasn???t until the mid- to late nineteenth century that brick was imported from the Northeast and included in the architecture of the area; brick kilns then became quite common. In this segment the speaker talks about her father???s masonry skills, which included making bricks.
Inf: Then after, uh, my father, uh, did all these other things, then, uh, he built s-, nearly all the brick buildings from Aztec to Shiprock. And his buildings are monuments to his memory because he built all these brick buildings and made the brick himself.

FW: Now how did he do that?

Inf: He made these, uh, right over here, at the side of our home here was one of these brick kilns [pronc: kills]. And they, they dig a big hole. And, uh, they put a square frame thing in it, and that???s where they throw the mud in [cough], put so much water and dirt in it, you know. And then they had a horse, uh, fastened to a long pole. And s-, and we children would, uh, lead this horse around and that???d mix the mud. And then, uh, they would come there with their hands and throw that mud into f-, uh, t-, to, uh, brick, th-, there???s three, uh, holes, you know, to put the dobes [=adobe bricks] in, we called it first. And they put that in the dobes and then they???d go out and empty it on the ground and make long layers of dobes, and after that would dry a certain length of time, we children would have to get out there and edge ???em. We call it edging the dobes. And then after we get ???em, edge ???em up on the side???

FW: Now how, what do you mean when you wedge ???em, you just turn up???

Inf: E-, edge ???em [FW: Uh]. We, we???d turn ???em up [FW: Uh-huh] s-, so the other side would dry [FW: Mm-hmm], and that would become an edge ???em. And after they were completely dry, then they fe-, uh, farmed ???em into a large brick kiln. Just like they was gonna build a house, only they were all solid brick. And there was some uh, uh, in that there was, uh, some, uh, tunnels through the bottom of the brick kiln, and tha-, for days they???d haul wood and put the wood in there. And they would set that fire and burn brick, and that???s where we learned to play all these games that my sister was telling you about, is because, uh, we would build these fires and we, and every evening we???d go there and play all these games, especially steal a stick and run sheep run, and hide the, uh, the stick, you know, and then ring-around-the-rosy, and i-, it would even be light enough for us to play (purgie) out there in front of it, you know, because it was all be-, a beautiful level place.

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