"FARMINGTON, N.M. — Cindy Dixon was unloading bales of hay into a metal shed on a blustery afternoon in mid-March, when the landscape around her Navajo Reservation homestead was as brown and bleak as the open-pit coal mine a few miles to the west and well within earshot.
Normally, Dixon’s sheep would subsist on the flora of the sandy desert floor, but this winter was so dry that there was no forage for them to eat.
'Since it’s all dry and bare and deserted — no vegetation — I have to constantly buy hay and grain to keep the sheep fed,' Dixon said, looking at the land around her trailer. 'This is a bad, bad area for livestock.'
Dixon’s northwest New Mexico homestead has neither electricity, nor running water. She and her sheep breathe the coal dust blowing in the warm, dry air across the desiccated late-winter landscape, where the brush of the desert floor appeared as lifeless as the dirt underfoot."