The Dusty Dog


Two humans, three canines, five felines, 678 miles, 11 hours in an overpacked car and we made it to the Dusty Dog on Wednesday.  We My partner shops for this journey as if we are going to the far reaches of Antarctica and as if there are no grocery stores once we get here.  I’ll admit, I like to bring along certain supplies that I can’t buy here in rural New Mexico – things like Segafredo Italian coffee, imported Italian San Marzano tomatoes, and fun paper plates and napkins for all of the parties and brunches we’ll host this summer.

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Twice a year, my clan and I make our way to the The Dusty Dog – our 1947 cabin in Taos, New Mexico.  Taos is in north central New Mexico about an hour from the Colorado border, and it sits on the edge of the high desert where the Rocky Mountains begin.


Taos is a tiny artist colony tucked at the base of the Sangre de Christo (Blood of Christ) mountain range, so named for the red color the mountains turn at sunset.   Taos has a population of around 5700 people, and it is a sacred place where art, music, ancient traditions, and hippies abound.  It’s not for everyone, but those of us who love it can’t stay away.

The Dusty Dog sits at 7900 feet elevation and is built into the mountain eight miles outside of town in a pine forest canyon that connects Taos to Angel Fire.  It is the wilderness out here with black bear, cinnamon bear, elk, mule deer, fox, coyote, and mountain lions roaming the woods.  Yesterday we spotted a hulking black bear making it’s way toward the Rio Fernando – the small river that runs along the canyon.  It was our first bear siting of the summer, which is always exciting as long as we’re viewing their activity from the front porch and not the trail.

The Dusty Dog got it’s name from – you guessed it – dusty dogs.  The first week we spent at the cabin it was early spring and very dry (now I know it’s dry all the time except from July to September when we have the monsoons in the afternoons).  Everyday, our dogs Ellie and Bella (Leroy wasn’t even thought of yet) would come in from playing outside covered in dust, and the name was born.


This is Ellie – she’s our Rottweiler mix who showed up at my car almost 10 years ago and refused to leave.  She’s got dust on her nose in this photo but you really can’t see it that well.  Ellie’s our guard dog.


This is Bella with our oldest cat Pooh – they were cuddled up on the last leg of our journey to the cabin.  We rescued Bella from the SPCA where she was returned twice.  She’s more cat than dog, but when we come to the cabin her dog self comes out a little more.  It must be that mountain air.

Leroy joined our menagerie two years ago and is now a full fledged dusty dog himself:

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He hit the lottery two years ago when my partner spotted his flea ridden, filthy little self running down the street in front of our house in Dallas.  He’s our baby with a smile that only two mothers could love.

Days at the Dusty Dog are spent cooking, doing the dishes from all that cooking, and doing “farm work” as we like to call it even though there really isn’t a farm involved.  It just feels more like farm work than yard work – all the composting, trimming plants back,  maintaining our trails, keeping the wild garden we’ve created somewhat tamed, and simply walking around our three and a half acres.

We all love our time at the Dusty Dog and with all that cooking I’ll be doing up here, you’ll be sure to get some new recipes this summer.   I have a packed pantry, a stocked refrigerator, and a full bar along with long, dusty days stretching before me.  Stay tuned for cooking from the Dusty Dog.



About Lisa Orwig

I'm a homegrown cook sharing recipes and other great stuff about food from all over the world.
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15 Responses to The Dusty Dog

  1. Kelly Henry says:

    Love this post. Leroy . . . what more can I say! Wish I was there for the summer with both of you . . . planning to get the pickled egg recipe to Rhonda soon. Have a great summer! Miss spending time with both of you.

  2. Faye Polakoff says:

    Days at the Dusty Dog are very special. When Howard and I visited, it was like entering a special place in our world. We wish we were there now to share in your happiness and to have fun cooking and enjoying such delicious sights and smells.

  3. Vivian says:

    Great Photos in this post! Thanks for sharing them with us. Love the pet portraits!

  4. chuck says:

    Taos is only 7900 feet above sea level?
    It seems higher than that to me with all of the breathlessness I encounter when I am there.
    I liked the photograph of Le Roy. It showcased his winning smile.
    Say “cheese” Le Roy!
    I am looking forward to your next post. I cannot imagine what kind of adventure story you will share with us.
    Great fun.

    • Lisa Orwig says:

      Hi Chuck – yep “only” 7900 feet at the cabin – 6900 feet in town. Can’t wait for your visit to the Dusty Dog next month.

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