Making chicos I

P1090434At what point are we actually making chicos?  It could be said that we were making chicos when we planted in May…  Or maybe we weren’t making chicos until the horno is ready and as seen above, we started wetting the corn before we finally put it in the horno.  In either case, this is the most exciting and engaging part of the chicos-making…

P1090448After the corn is wet, we turn the hose on the fire inside the horno.  We call this “drowning the fire.”  Putting water on the fire diminishes the heat while making steam and pressure for the cooking of chicos.  Now we have to hurry up and fill the horno with our corn.  The harvest this year was surprising in that we have too much corn!  Now we are going to have to make chicos again tomorrow!

P1090460

The mud was already mixed so we just get busy covering the door and chimney hole openings.  We have a custom crafted door and chimney cover that we put in place first and then cover everything with mud.

P1090466When it is all covered up with mud, we check the horno for about a half hour afterwards to seal any leaks with our remaining mud.  We can see leaks through wisps of escaping steam.  We stop as much steam as we can and will open the horno tomorrow for eating and hanging.  In the foreground of the above picture you can see the corn that did not fit in the horno and so as soon as we take our cooked chicos out tomorrow, we will start another fire and finish up the process with the rest of our corn…

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About Miguel

Miguel Santistevan is a researcher, educator, and advocate for traditional agriculture crops and systems.
This entry was posted in Acequia Culture, AIRE, Chrysalis Alternative High School, Parr Field and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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