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
I..integral, imperative

This is the way we ship our cows, ship our cows…

(Title sung to tune of Here we go round the mulberry bush.)

This weekend we spent two days of 10 hours a day working our cattle. We shipped our calves to market. Translation: 500 miles, 6 round trips to Willcox, 4 lunches from drive thrus, and hours for the guys in the saddle and me in the Polaris crew calling and trailing our cows. They are trained to come when we call them so it’s easier than it sounds though not so “western” as the movies. The neighbor generously let us use his corrals as we are gathering and shipping from our forest service lease. Unfortunately, one group of calves got in a tussle Saturday night and let themselves out into his fenced yard (old corrals – the post was rotted). Extra hour spent fixing it. So much for making it to church! The calves did well at the sale. Next….new babies any time.

We are privileged to grow food for your table and ours. Daniel took the photo of the burger, he knows where his food comes from lol!


Coyote Carnage

Just when I’m supposed to be hitting the books, as in taxes, the chickens started literally screaming bloody murder this morning. Sure enough, the coyotes we’ve seen lurking for weeks made a hit. 4 of my sons 8 chickens are confirmed dead and one is missing. Because of where we live, we haven’t been able to get a safe, clear shot.

Free range isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. 35 chickens over 5-6 years would squawk about that… if they could. We started out with a small coop and letting our chickens free range. Then we went to a large coop and letting them free range during the day.  After losing chickens steadily, we remodeled and moved the small coop into a fenced yard.  We are in the process of taking down a large hoop house that was damaged in the wind to redo. It worked well for awhile, but the ones that flew out of the yard were still getting picked off.

This morning the coyote must have dug under, though I don’t see any obvious spots, or he jumped a 4 1/2 foot fence! Either way, my son lost half his remaining flock and is very down. He got his gun and went hunting but they were long gone.

Well, tomorrow morning bright and early, we will be ready with bait in the form of the dead chickens and a .308 rifle!

Please do not rant to me about coyotes being harmless or getting a bad rap till you’ve had to comfort your son losing his prize birds and worrying about them attacking your horse or cows. I don’t shoot anything, including snakes, unless they infringe on the boundaries of safety. Well, Wile E., you stepped over the line.