Making a Living
Pecos thrived because of its location. The wide expanse of the Pecos Valley provided plenty of farmland. Two year-round sources of water were nearby – Glorieta Creek, below you, and the Pecos River, one mile east. Spanish observers also reported springs and reservoirs near the pueblo. In addition, the commanding view of the entire valley alerted the Pecos to anyone approaching from the Rio Grande Valley or the Great Plains.
Here, at 6900 feet, frost comes early. The growing season can be short for corn, beans, and squash, the principal crops. A successful harvest depended on generations of experience. Farmers planted crops throughout the spring so that an unexpected late frost would not kill all the young plants. Dozens of one-room “field houses” throughout the upper valley show that watchful eyes were always on the crops. With plantings came ceremonies to insure the earth’s fertility and, during summer, to bring rain.
The Pecos did not depend on farming alone for their livelihood. They took advantage of wild plants, game, and trade. They hunted elk, deer, antelope, and small animals in the nearby forest and plains. They harvested plants, seeds, and roots growing in the valley and mountains.
Whether through trade or through careful plantings, the Pecos had food to spare when the Spanish arrived. One observer reported tens of thousands of bushels of corn stored in the pueblo.
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