We have a ‘soterano’ / root cellar

There is a story behind these pictures I’m gonna post…..

Back in the summer of ’06 in Lama, New Mexico where we (Len, my honey and I) are building a geodesic dome home,  he had had a pit dug the year before.    Hence the word ‘ soterano’,  in Spanish it means root cellar.sotarano being dug

Now this summer of ’06 was hot and sometimes wet and we started to hear frog like sounds coming out of the open soterano.  There was a puddle of still water in this 10 x10 x10 foot hole in the dry high desert landscape of northeastern New Mexico.     And we were hearing frogs?         Hold on now,

but sure enough if we sat really still on the edge of this pit we could see little itty bitty movements in the mud.  So of course we went in.  We slipped and slid and Explored!!!!…..

You need to understand that this pit, this hole in the ground was just dug up for the first time in probably human history.

here, right here  the center post will go

here, right here the center post will go

That this dirt hadn’t been exposed to sun and light and open air since who knows when.      And here were these amazing teeny, tiny little brown baby lookin’ frogs with HUGE round, green as grass eyes;  singing and mating, chasing, catching and eating flys.

WHERE did they come from?  There are no frogs that we’re  aware of  on this high mountain mesa in north eastern New Mexico.

We, Len and I, think that they emerged after being dug up and exposed to the elements that they needed to come alive.  So we believe

Anyway……. on with the story;

So here it is springtime of ’08 and we now have a house floor

L O V E lives here

L O V E lives here

and walls over the sotarano.

Sugar Shack '08

Sugar Shack

I took on the task of carving

Steps to 'the pit'

Steps to

into the hard-packed earth to create steps down into our root cellar so  I was spending a lot of time there and saw a few more interesting things……

These mountain lion prints showed up after a rainy cold snap this summer.  Nice huh?

cougar was here

cougar was here

And then there were these:

ancient mushroom/flower

ancient mushroom/flower

ancient mushrooms in sotarano

ancient mushrooms in sotarano



another close up

another close up

We’ve looked them up and can’t seem to make much since out of them other that that they are mushroom flower looking plants:

Anybody have any idea or are they an ancient flower/mushroom?

Here it is May 6, 2012

We now have a solid lived in for 3 years geodesic dome over this soterano, and I’m missing all that beautiful heat of summer down in there. Just thought I would repost (and it’s raining, yeah, or sprinkling anyway)

peace n abundance,



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9 Responses to “We have a ‘soterano’ / root cellar”

  1. giiid Says:

    Hi Anne.
    Thank you for your comment at my blog, it is always nice to get feedback.

    Your own blog is interesting to read; how you are working with the house, and what you are finding in the ground. I will return and read more. What is the background for making this exciting house?

    Greetings from Birgitte


  2. Rick Says:

    Those frogs sound intriguing, did you ever find out what species they were?

    Good luck on the dome home.


  3. giiid Says:

    Thank you for answering about the house. My question was related to the house. It looks fantastic.


  4. ribbie Says:

    I dig the sugar shack and the shroom pics – truly out of site and only from the land of enchantment. Peace in and out.


  5. CheyAnne Sexton Says:

    yeah we dig it to, and dug it :> thanks for the comment. we still don’t know what those shroom / flower things really are, but hopefully they will come back next year too. (if we don’t have our mud floor done by then)


  6. CheyAnne Sexton Says:

    nope and the pictures we took somehow got ‘ete’ by our old computer. any ideas?


  7. geodesic dome, watercolors and wasps « new mexico mtn girl’s weblog Says:

    […] I wrote about our geodesic dome back in November under ‘We have a sotarano’ […]


  8. shoreacres Says:

    My gosh, this is fascinating. The frogs are especially intriguing – it sounds like they were doing what some of our wildflowers do. You don’t see them for years and years. and then the conditions are just right and they pop back to life. Did you ever find out any more about them?

    Those mushroomy-flowers are strange. They look like some of the fungus that we can get on old wood – they have tiny tops, but long, skinny stems. They always look to me like they should have little leprechauns or something sitting on them. 😉


  9. newmexicomtngirl Says:

    right about the leprechauns… these were something I had never seen before, that’s for sure


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