Public Land Ranching. ..stealing from yourself

Soren tank is located along a 4 wheel drive Rd that winds through the Dragoon mountains. It is the old wood ranch and walnut grove of Thomas Soren. He was a citizen of note in Tombstone and married to Sarah Herring, the first women lawyer of Az. 

This historic site is part of our grazing allotment in the Coronado forest. We have been working diligently for 11 years to repair and get water up there for wildlife and livestock. The next closest reliable water is 1 to 2 miles through rugged country. 

We’ve replaced a windmill cylinder, sucker rod, and a solar pump at our own expense. Once installed those became the property of you, the US public. We’ve also replaced pipe from a mine. The US forest service installed a solar pump system when the windmill was damaged by wind and the non magnetic brand new cylinder ended up at the bottom of the well. They replaced it again when it was promptly stolen with a panel welded into a case on a 12 ft pole up on the side of the hill hidden from view. 

The old concrete leaked badly and just three weeks ago we were able to spend two full, hard days sealing it with a special sealant (icky sticky epoxy requiring mixing and rapid painting).  The sealant was purchased with a grant from Arizona game and fish because this water is important to wildlife,  that means with yours and our tax dollars. It looks very promising.  We hadn’t had a chance to see if it worked because a valve outside the tank needed repair from a stump growing in it. 

Dear hubby spent a good day using chain saw, chisel and hammer working on stump. He broke a post on the saw even. 

Today he went back up to attack the stump again after chain saw repair and shipping cattle, so it’s been two weeks. 

Someone stole the panel, control box, wiring, and pump from the tank. They also opened the valve to the mine and emptied 9000 gallons of water stored in it. After 11 years and being that close to finally getting water back in this 30000 gallon tank you may imagine his mood. 

Can we go fix it easy? What’s the big deal? Well the solar setup would be 1500 plus wether from us directly or shared. It is located in rugged country and takes 45 minutes just to get there in a polaris ranger.

To get a pipeline or other water system in, we will have to go through the NEPA (national environmental protection act) planning process with public input, which will take a minimum of a year. Plus, much of the time the only comments are from folks who have nothing better to do than complain about ranchers being lazy and entitled. Kinda ironic considering the very thing we’ve been trying to do is protect the environment. 

Next time you’re out and about on public lands, please leave the gates the way you find them, don’t shoot at signs, windmills,  water tanks, or leave water running. You’re stealing from yourself. 

who knows when there’ll be water…

 

Seeds….

Wide Open Spaces

Pondering….
Seeds must be broken to produce life or they remain useless and hard. Some only need a good soaking to germinate and some need scarification, or removal of the seed coat by tumbling on the ground, stomach acid of birds and other animals, or fire. Some lay dormant for years till conditions are right, rain, removal of invasive plants competiton, or fire.

Mesquite, for example, requires fire, oan animals digestive tract, or hard scrubbing on a grind stone, metate,to scarifiy the seed. In its proper place it’s seeds can be turned into flour for bread or it may grow into a beautiful tree giving shade in the desert. Too much and it is an aggressive invader choking out grasses and other plants, sending it’s tap root down and stealing others water.
Help me not to compare my walk with others but trust that God, the greatest gardener, knows what kind of seed I am and what I need to flourish.

May I remember to give others room to grow, especially my children. One may need grinding and one may need soaking, and it might even change day by day. Only the Lord knows exactly.

It’s my job to help, encourage,  and seek wisdom on what kind of seed the people God has put in my life are.

It’s also important I let others water me. Even if it’s city water and not well water! May I never steal someone else’s blessing, and maybe stunt their growth, by refusing help or doing everything myself, even if, especially if, I can.

Let us be sowing and watering generously,  gentle with tender shoots, and patient for harvest.

Home

What a blessing to like, nay, love where you live. Even now, 10 years in to ranching this patch of Arizona,  we will come across what is to us a new hollow or corner.

 Currently we are working on replacing a fence in Cochise Stronghold.  Dear husband and a neighbor  hiked up to it, four hours one way, and said this ain’t happening with horses! “Found” a meadow of sorts in a saddle up top and that portion of the fence is up.

Visted our neighbors to discuss possible  trails from their side. There  may be one you can take horses up, pack materials,  and get close to the portion we’re replacing. Noone has been up there in at least 3 years and the fences haven’t been touched in decades. 

Sometimes another’s perspective helps us appreciate what we have and see things with fresh vision. A dear friend who dropped by went with me to discuss trails. She remarked on how fun and interesting it was to hear the discussion with folks using place names and really knowing their country. “Would it be better to go up Lost Canyon? “”No, you’d be better going up that way and then taking South Fork”. You won’t find those names on a map anywhere but the folks who’ve ridden, hiked, and live it know exactly where they are. (And no I dont, just a general idea as it’s not our ranch). As my friend remarked, the map, their map is in their head. 

It is a joy to know this land, and yet be daily discovering new things, new nooks and crannies. To know and enjoy the seasons changing, subtle as they may be in the desert. 

As public land ranchers, we work to produce food on land that would otherwise be scenic but unproductive, keep the land and water for wildlife, and come, over years and years, to truly know and love our corner.

Because it’s publuc land, potentially the leases could be lost and all our hard work be for “naught”, yet we do it…because it’s home.

“It’s wet, so we’re good”

Yesterday Tropical Storm Newton ended by hovering over southern Arizona. Over and over folks answered the question how are you with “it’s wet so we’re good”. 

Now I realize my friends who live in other climes and mow their grass regularly think we’re all a little loopy. 

Desert dwellers smile when the roads are muddy and the cars dirty. As dear hubby said “it’s wet, tanks are filling,  grass is growing, and the cows are happy”. 

May our lives refresh others as the Lord refreshes us with literal and spiritual showers.

 

 

But it’s a dry heat….

Monsoon Mania
Dog Days
It Rained on the Desert Today….okay poured

But its a dry heat…As summer heats up, you’ll often hear desert dwellers use this phrase.  Yes, I have lived in the desert most of my life, but…I also lived on a tropical island for a year and in Florida for extended visits. So, I can speak to both sidez of the great heat debate and no you don’t have to agree with me (I’m sure some of you won’t). Even after a year in Puerto Rico I didn’t get used to the humidty.

Yes 120 is just plain hot. Check out the links for the real difference between humid and dry heat and an exhibition the City of Tempe did on the subject.

http://phoenix.about.com/od/weather/fl/Heat-Index.htm http://www.tempe.gov/home/showdocument?id=3509oth

 

Why I think dry is better than humid:

  1. Move into the shade and you’ll actually notice a difference – 5 to 10 degrees makes a big difference. Get lost or stranded and the first thing you need is shade, than water.  Got a jacket? use it for shade and then warmth at night. No joke, hypothermia is the main reason EMTs get called out in AZ in the summer. Why? Temperature differences that marked make you cold, even at 70 degrees.
  2. When you take a shower, you’ll feel cooler and stay cooler for hours, not towel off and feel icky all over again
  3. Monsoon Rains – before it rains the humidity rises and it’s muggy, but after it rains…ahhh you can actually feel the whole earth sigh of relief. It cools off literally 20-30 degrees and stays that way for awhile.
  4. You may have hot seats in your car, but you won’t have steamed up windows. 5am leaving for a flight in Florida with steamed up windows is just icky! Morning and evenings are gorgeous.
  5. Drinking water makes a difference, not just like you can’t breathe. Of course, I wish McDonalds would have talked to us desert rats before doing away with super size drinks. We really do need that much water when you’ve been outside working in 100 degree weather…with a refill! Note: we thank the Florida Gators for inventing Gatorade, works great here too, maybe even better. Warning – You can’t possibly carry enough water to keep you hydrated all day when it’s 120.Sadly illegal border crossers die every day in the summer because of this. Don’t try to hike the Grand Canyon in the summer with one gallon of water either!
  6. A breeze will cool you off (see #1) not just move sweat.
  7. No skeeters! or at least only around pools, easily controlled.

Springing Heavy , Making, and Bumping Hard

Aww, spring when a young man’s fancy turns to love….and a cattlemen’s turns to judging teats and the back ends of cows!

Springing heavy – picture a very pregnant lady and you get the idea, heavy with life and anticipation.

Bumping Hard – cows vulvas loosen and swell to allow for easier birth and “bump” against the tail. When you see this you know it’s within the month, if not sooner.

Making a bag – udder is filling with milk. stage 1 – just the teats, stage 2 – teats and small amount in udder, stage 3 – teats and udder full, stage 4- teats and udder tight and full – real sooon!

We don’t have the facilities to bring every body up close to our house in a yard. They are out on the range and on their own. We have only had the joy of seeing calves born about 3 times and only once out in the pasture. Of course, if we come across a cow having trouble we’d help, but even checking our cows every other day to daily when they’re all calving, we just don’t see them all.

This little brockle faced heifer is our first of this year. cows

 

Give Me More

How often have we heard or said the words I want more regarding food, sometimes to our detriment. Yet do we ask for more…faith? We can. Freely, bolldly, and deperately.

Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. (Hebrews 11:1.)
It is these qualities the world laughs and mocks at. Yet how many things are unseen and taken as fact?  How many of us have actually seen the nucleus of an atom? We see the evidence all around us.

Faith…without it is impossible to please God. (Hebrews 11:6) Works and good deeds are the overflow of faith, not the precursor. In fact, our works of righteousness, mitzvahs, and best efforts are as filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6).
It is faith that is credited us as righteousness  (Romans 4).

And, we can ask for more. Not as “Oliver Twist” timidly and fearful of the master but bodly knowing we are loved.
More joy, More peace, More…

I’m going back for seconds, come with me.

F..free, fully
A..ask,active
I..integral, imperative
T..thankfully
H..hope