Rural Living Q&A

How did Candy Kitchen Ranch get its name?

During our ten years living here, the legend we have heard repeatedly is: that during the Prohibition Era people would drive or go “horse and buggy” to a remote household that sold candy out of the front of their home and bootleg liquor out of the back. Once the customers became established and hence safe, both candy and the other “sweetly desired stuff” were sold.  That’s the story, that’s how Candy Kitchen got its name!

Where is Candy Kitchen Ranch?

Resting in the Zuni Mountains, Candy Kitchen Ranch is about 7,500 foot elevation.  Candy Kitchen Ranch is near the historic Acoma Trail, about one hour southwest of Grants or one hour southeast of Gallup rests Candy Kitchen Ranch.  We have picturesque views, clean air with the lush aroma of pine trees. Candy Kitchen Ranch is a picturesque rural area; some properties are heavily wooded, and some have a combination of clusters of trees and open meadows. Many properties have breathtaking views. Within Candy Kitchen’s 11,000+ acres, you can select properties that are remote without neighbors or others with neighbors a few acres away.

Is Candy Kitchen on the Navajo Reservation as it appears on the map?

No, Candy Kitchen Ranch is private land; the entire pristine rural area is called “checkerboard.” If one looked at a land-use map, they would see the 18 sections (each one-mile square) of Candy Kitchen Ranch, interspersed with random sections of BLM land, state-owned land, National Forest lands, reservations lands, and other privately-owned lands.

What are the roads like in Candy Kitchen Ranch?

Highway 53 and BIA 125 are paved and they are the roads we travel to and from Candy Kitchen. BIA 120 or “Candy Kitchen Road.” has gravel, and from this “main” road you can reach any place in Candy Kitchen Ranch. This road is also graded by the county about every three to four months. Some of the roads in Candy Kitchen have been graveled by the individuals living on those roads.  Most of the roads are dirt roads and are bladed once a year. Some roads are passable year round; others provide more seasonal access. Some of the roads have a sandy base, others have a clay base. Having lived in Candy Kitchen for ten years, we have adopted the “Country Wisdom” of when it rains heavily or if we are getting a real nice snow, we just sit next to the woodstove on our rocking chairs and enjoy the beauty of the passing weather!  We have found that the less we travel in inclement weather, the better it is for the roads because it reduces ruts. With sun and wind, the roads dry up pretty fast, and then we are ready to travel again.

Do I need a four-wheel-drive vehicle or a truck?

Four-wheel or all-wheel-drive is nice to have.  With these types of vehicles you generally do not need to worry about getting from place to place.  Trucks, especially older ones, are nice to have to haul building supplies, haul water if you choose the community well, or haul rubbish to the local community facility a few miles away in Pine Hill.  We have a full-time resident who has lived in Candy Kitchen for about 19 years and she has a wonderful old Volkswagen bug that she uses for everything and she says that she’s never been stuck.  She does espouse the “County Wisdom” of staying home in inclement weather if possible, but does not baby herself or her vehicle anytime she needs to be on the go.

Are there any covenants & restrictions?

Yes. The few covenants and restrictions are for the protection of the land keeping the natural beauty of the land intact.  Trees may only be cut for a home clearing for instance.  No junk cars or trucks or junk mechanical equipment may be parked or placed on the property. No unkempt trailers or tar paper shacks are allowed.  No trash, junk, or waste of any kind is to be deposited or left on the property.  No obnoxious, noisy or offensive business or commercial ventures are allowed.  Livestock must be contained on your property in suitable enclosures and kept in sanitary conditions. Five acres is the minimum for horses etc.  No logging or mining are permitted. These are examples of the few restrictive covenants for the property in Candy Kitchen.

Must I drill a well if the property I purchase doesn’t have one?

No. There is a community well with great tasting water and the current cost for hauling water in a water tank is less than $20 a month for all the water you need to use. There is a full-time use fee and a part-time use fee, part time being a minimal amount of money to pay.

How is the underground water supply?

Wells have been successful in Candy Kitchen at an approximate average depth of 250 to 450 feet.  Most well drillers like to go 1-200 feet deeper and it is “Country Wisdom” to support this in order to secure more gallons per minute of higher quality water. The last well we know of, drilled about a month ago, yielded twenty gallons a minute and the total depth was 650 feet.  The cost of this Well was about $20,000.  Well output usually varies from one gallon per minute to 20 gallons per minute or more.  A well output of  at least one to two gallons per minute can effectively support the needs of a family of five; however an auxiliary storage tank of 1,000 gallons is usually needed.  Well outputs of 5+ gallons per minute usually do not require an extra storage tank.  If you are obtaining a construction loan/mortgage, many lenders will include the well, land, & electricity as a part of the loan.

If the property I purchase does not have electricity, how much will the line extension cost?

Many properties do have electricity to or near the property line. If you choose a property which is more distant from the grid, you can consider a combination of solar, wind, and generator technology, and many lenders will consider loans for homes using these technologies. If you purchase a property which becomes connected to the grid, service rates from Continental Divide Electric Cooperative are about 6 cents a kilowatt hour; and if you sign up for the dual-rate plan, this drops to about 3 cents during the nighttime hours. This company’s cost for bringing electricity to you depends on several factors including:  (1) How close the nearest electrical line is to your property, and (2) If someone has paid for the cost to bring a line near to your property within the past five years.  If #2 applies, then there is cost-sharing for you to become part of.  (If it is beyond five years then there is no cost sharing). It costs approximately $9-10 per foot for electricity to be brought overhead to the property you chose.  Continental Divide provides a $1,600 credit toward line extension if a well or a home is connected to the line. For additional information and price quotations, contact them in Grants NM at 505-285-6656.

Are solar energy systems feasible?

New Mexico is second highest state in the U.S. with 6.7 average sun-hours per day. More and more people are choosing solar (photo-voltaic) systems, even when electrical service may be available.  They enjoy no monthly bills and no reliance on fossil fuels with their environmental impact. Solar energy is a great way to go for your construction project, and with some degree of consciousness in your daily living habits you can do almost anything with solar energy   Wind energy is a nice supplement because of the rare times the New Mexico sun is not present, there is usually a strong wind to boost your solar battery system nicely.  If you are running a vacuum or a washer or dryer, a generator can provide the increased power for these appliances. Many other appliances including lights, fans, lap-top computers, DVD/VCR players, small TV receivers are compatible with a small to moderate solar-generated electrical system, which may cost $3-7,000.  Vacuum cleaners, blenders, washers and dryers require additional solar panels and battery banks; and so a $10-12,000 system can usually take care of all of one’s needs.  Many residents use propane to provide efficient lighting, cooking, and refrigeration.

Is there telephone service?

Yes, Phone service is available through Century Tel.  Many years ago Century Tel placed phone lines to a vast area of Candy Kitchen, so there is a potential for one to have phone service.  For residential service, contact them at 800-201-4099.

Is there Internet Service?

Yes. Many residents use satellite service from “Wild Blue” or “Hughes Direct-Way.  There is at present no local-access number for dial-up service.  Some people have unlimited long-distance plans and use dial-up service through long-distance telephone access numbers.  Also, about eight miles away there is a computer lab with hardware plus internet access. The facility in Meadow View is open to all members of the community for one-hour blocks of time without charge.

Is there Cell Phone Service?

Yes. Pine Hill Tower is about five miles from Candy Kitchen Ranch.  Cellular One Service is available, plus roaming with some other carriers. In Candy Kitchen Ranch coverage is good in high areas and in lower areas nearer to the tower. There is weak coverage or no service in lower valley areas.

Are there local Contractors?

We have local contractors and a local labor force.  Candy Kitchen Ranch and surrounding areas have contractors with licenses in building, electrical, plumbing, and septic.  There is a local gravel pit, and one contractor provides delivery and grading service for roads.  Another contractor does solar electrical systems.

What is the best choice for heating during late fall & winter?

Winter heating can be accomplished in many ways.  wood stove, pellet stove, electricity, propane, and coal are all ways to work with. Many families choose wood burning because of having dead trees on their property that they chainsaw and split, or they have this done for them.  If one is “on the grid,” then electrical heat could be an economical choice especially with the dual-rate plan from Continental Electrical Cooperative.

Do you need air conditioning?

A few people have air conditioning, more have evaporative coolers and many more have fans and utilize open windows. There are only a few uncomfortable days one can expect in Candy Kitchen Ranch, and many people get by with open windows and fans.  Evenings most always cool off nicely and provide great sleeping weather.

What about Health Care?

About a fifteen minute drive from central Candy Kitchen Ranch is the Pine Hill Health Clinic. There is also an Emergency Room.  The clinic is open Monday through Friday during daytime hours. There is 24-hour ambulance service and they most usually they have Emergency Medical Technicians aboard. About an hour away in Gallup, there is a hospital, a new medical facility to treat cancer, a Veteran’s Clinic, and a dialysis clinic. Additionally, there is a hospital in Grants (one hour) and a hospital in the Zuni Pubelo (40 minutes).  Two hours away in Albuquerque, one can find most any medical specialty plus a large Veteran’s Clinic which serves the entire state.

What’s in Pine Hill?

There are schools in Pine Hill and they start with Pre-School through 12.  Candy Kitchen students are bused to schools from the intersection of BIA 125 & BIA 120. Those in Pre-School are picked up at their home. Pine Hill also has evening classes in GED and some classes for college preparation. There is a post office in Pine Hill, a behavioral health center, a laundry, a credit union, and a convenience store that has fruits and vegetables, milk, meats, cheeses, breads, cookies, non-alcoholic drinks, a great pizza, canned goods, and the store is open to stock some of your favorite items if they do not carry them.  At the Pine Hill Market there is a gas station which also carries diesel fuel and propane.   Pine Hill is also where you can bring your rubbish and pay a small fee; for example we have a long bed truck and we can load it up with bags of rubbish to the top of the bed liner and for about a $6 fee, and toss everything into the dumpsters that are available Wednesdays and Saturdays.

What’s in Ramah?

In Ramah, about 20 miles from Candy Kitchen Ranch, there are schools, from K through 12.  The “Stagecoach Restaurant,” has delicious home-made pies, several choices for vegetarians, as well as numerous other choices. There is a larger post office in Ramah; it is here that all mail is sorted out for Candy Kitchen Ranch and surrounding areas.  Ramah also has “Ramah Lake” and you can canoe or paddle your small boat and fish for trout and bass. On Saturdays during the summer months, Ramah hosts a community Farmer’s Market with wonderful fresh, local produce plus many handmade craft items for sale.

What’s farther down the road near El Morro National Monument?

About 20 minutes east of Ramah on Highway 53, the “Ancient Way,” just past the El Morro National Monument is El Morro RV Park & Cabins and the “Ancient Way Café.”  The café has a varied menu of great food with vegetarian choices plus homemade yummy deserts. Nearly across the road is The Old School Gallery, which is sponsored by our local Arts Council.  Candy Kitchen Ranch is home to many artists and crafts people. For individuals who are just beginning their journey into the arts, and the gallery provides classes to support their growth.  For individuals who have mastered world acclaim in their art, and the Gallery provides space for exhibits, shows, and sales of fine artwork. The Old School Gallery is a gathering place for the community and hosts periodic indoor and outdoor events. There is an active schedule of events including plays, poetry readings.

What’s in Gallup?

There are numerous stores in Gallup, a city of about 22,000, and a commerce center serving a 60+ mile radius.  There’s a Home Depot in Gallup, A Super Wal-Mart, Holiday Nursery for your landscaping needs, Beals, J.C. Pennys, and other clothing stores.  There are computer stores, UPS and Fed-Ex, both delivering to many parts of Candy Kitchen Ranch and surrounding areas.  The La Montanita Food Coop, Safeway and Albertson’s have organic produce and goods available. There are numerous restaurants. There are several lumber yards, hardware stores, feed stores, universities, hospitals as previously mentioned, a new medical facility to treat cancer, a Veteran’s Clinic, and a dialysis clinic. There are many hotels and motels, movie theatres, and public events in Gallup including the free nightly Indian Dances during the summer months.

What’s in Grants?

Grants and neighboring Milan have a combined population of about 12,000. Throughout the summer months Grants hosts varies weekend celebrations including rodeos, art shows, fairs, and various gatherings.  Many of the features Gallup has are available in Grants on a smaller scale.

How far is Albuquerque?

Grants is about an hour from Candy Kitchen, and then it’s about another hour to Albuquerque; so it’s just over two hours to Albuquerque. Then, from Albuquerque, it is an easy hour to Santa Fe.  There are unlimited opportunities for day trips and overnight trips to enjoy the outstanding natural and cultural attractions of New Mexico, a state that is one of the fastest growing states in the U.S.

Is health food & organic food available in Candy Kitchen Ranch?

A unique feature in Candy Kitchen Ranch is the Food Coop that anyone can join.  Every month you can place an order from a large catalogue of food, vitamin, and nonfood items available from the Tucson Food Cooperative.  Monthly orders are delivered to our area.  It’s almost like having a large Natural Foods Supermarket right here in Candy Kitchen Ranch!

What Wildlife is in Candy Kitchen Ranch?

Many species of animals reside in Candy Kitchen Ranch. We have elk, deer, coyote, wolves, thousands of cotton tail and jack rabbits, porcupine, bobcats, mountain lions, an occasional bear, and many other critters we photograph or track. Yes, Candy Kitchen is home to many species of lizards and snakes, including rattlesnakes. We’ve never had a negative encounter with a rattler; we respect “everyone’s” right to live here in Candy Kitchen Ranch and to live in harmony with the two-legged, the four-legged, the crawling, the winged and all the other animal creations.  Candy Kitchen Ranch is home to the world renowned Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary, a preserve for wolves and high-content-hybrid wolves who are rescued and care for.

Is Candy Kitchen really in the desert?

Candy Kitchen is indeed in the high desert of New Mexico.  With Cactus & Agave scattered around Pinion Pines, Junipers and Ponderosa Pines and nestled amongst the scrub oaks or the rocks and boulders. Most Cacti & Agave show their bloom in the summer. There are an abundance of wild flowers that bloom in the spring, fall and summer.