Posts tagged ‘Arizona’

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.


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.

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!


Arizona History With Grandpa – Field Trips Homeschool Style


Spent the day with Grandpa Cook on a history field trip. Drove over the mountain in our Polaris ranger  to the “West Stronghold”. We were on the west side of the mountain, ranch is on the east to the ridgeline and the east stronghold is one of our pastures.  (Google Cochise Stronghold for a good overview).

Hiked to council rocks, discussed Apache chieftan Cochise and his life, and viewed pictographs. Grandpa is still the best hiker in the bunch at 72 and with bad feet – though Daniel is fast catching up!

Granny provided a  “small” picnic – two type of sandwiches, hotdogs over a campfire, pickles, boiled eggs, cookies, twinkies, ice tea, and soda.  When we were kids, granny’s picnics were a regular occurrence and yummy!!

Left to head home and found ourselves in a downpour. Turned around and headed the “horse” for the “barn” in Tombstone – otherwise known as Granny and Poppa’s house. Spent the afternoon watching TV, making chocolate chip cookies and drying out. Drove home in the cool of the evening.

Blessed by being close to grandparents, Dad’s prodigious knowledge of history, no lightning just rain, and Granny’s cookies.

Don’t miss everyday blessings waiting on “biggies”20150902_110839[1]20150902_104955[1]20150902_121144[1]

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Fire on the Mountain


Excitement for our week – a “natural ignition” fire on a neighbors ranch and in one of our pastures. I was in town and a friend alerted me to smoke. I sent Emily and Daniel out to see where it was. Once they called me back and said it was close to the ranch but not too bad, I told them stick around since our neighbor  Miss Kay wasn’t home just in case they needed to put a sprinkler on her roof.

Conflicting thoughts ran through my head.

First and foremost, safety for our neighbors.  The windmill to the far left is ours, windmill in the background one of our neighbors. Three families live off the grid in our pasture.  ( Tip – if you live rural, particularly off grid make sure you have water storage and good water pressure! Also check with the local fire departments to see what kind of valve their hoses hook up to and consider installing one on your storage tank)

One of the cabins and a poly plastic storage tank did burn. Emily and Daniel did hang around and end up soaking her wood pile, rescuing kittens and a milk goat, another neighbors dog, and generally helping other neighbors evacuate.

So proud of them doing exactly what was needed and being the kind of neighbors we should be in rural areas.  We are sure sorry for Kay’s lost guest house. Returned the animals this morning.

Secondly I’m frustrated that once the houses were saved and the fire affecting them contained, all of the fire was put out. We really could have used a burn on the forest service hills and mountains behind the houses. The longer they don’t have some smaller, controlled burns the more catastrophic a fire will be, much like what is happening in Oregon.

Fire – scary, exciting, destructive, renewing and ultimately not in our control. Thankful for the Lord’s provision even when we don’t always understand it or see it.

Conservation Ranch 2015

We are honored to have been selected the Conservation Ranch for 2015 by the Willcox San-Simon NRCD.

Natural Resource Conservation Districts (NRCDs) were formed in the 1930s when the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS), previously known as the Soil Conservation Service, was created in response to the Dust Bowl in the great plains. The service provides technical support and conservation training to farmers and ranchers across America, from installing pipelines to brushwork and whole ranch conservation plans. Participation is strictly voluntary and non-regulatory in nature. Districts are legal subdivisions of the state and as such have legal standing to coordinate with and consult on federal and state agency actions. The districts board members are elected by their peers.

Ranchers and farmers who have implemented and continue to implement conservation programs and practices are nominated by NRCS ranch and crop staff. The district board makes the final decision. We have a coordinated resource management plan with all of the Arizona State Land Dept, US Forest Service, Willcox NRCD, and Arizona Game and Fish. As part of the plan we have replaced and rebuilt 13+ miles of fence, cleaned out two large dirt tanks, and implemented brush removal on 1250+ acres. Work is ongoing to continue improving the grassland for wildlife, our cattle, reduced soil erosion, and improved habitat for endangered species.

As a former NRCS range management specialist, this is especially meaningful to Sonia. She used to nominate folks for these awards and is thrilled to have come full circle. Sonia’s grandparents received a similar award years ago for their work on their farm in Arkansas, which just makes this award all the more poignant.

This has and continues to be a whole family effort. Emily was at work and unavailable for the photo, but as “camp cook” she earned this too!fam pic

Open Range, No Fence, and Fence Out


My milk goats ate my geraniums! I was frustrated and disappointed. I had just spent $12 for the pot and decidedly do not have a green thumb. They were enjoying what looked like a nice snack. What does that have to do with Open Range? Plenty!

During territorial times, cattle and other livestock roamed freely on Open Range. About the time Arizona obtained statehood, ranches were fenced as separate units and the Open Range was no more.  The correct term for controlling livestock movement in Arizona is Fence Out.

Fence Out  – I fence the goats out of areas I don’t want them around. You, as a property owner, are responsible for your little corner of the world. Concerned about protecting your blossoms from wildlife or livestock? You (not your neighbors or local government) are responsible to lawfully Fence Out. The fence must be built in a manner that will effectively turn livestock, with barbed wire or other suitable materials and regularly maintained.

State law, Arizona Revised Statute 3-1422, specifies “An owner or occupant of land is not entitled to recover for damage resulting from the trespass of animals unless the land is enclosed within a lawful fence, but this section shall not apply to owners or occupants of land in no-fence districts.”

No Fence – I fence my goats into a pen and as any goat owner knows, it had better be agood one! The Stewart District, north of Willcox, is the only no-fence district in the state. This district facilitates farming of irrigated land. Much of the eastern US is no fence, or fence in.

The Arizona Revised Statutes 3-1421 through 3-1429 clearly define a lawful fence, compensationavailable for damage to property that is lawfully fenced, and the formation of “no-fence” districts.

During the 1960s and 70s much of the private property in close proximity to towns like Pearce and Willcox was subdivided. Many of those 1-acre or smaller parcels are now on the back tax rolls. Designated roads are unmaintained and eroding into gullies. Ranchers in these areas provide water for wildlife, slow erosion through proper grazing use, and deter traffic by illegals, all at no cost to the numerous absentee landowners.

Hope that clears up some of the confusion on this issue. Simple solution – your property, you fence it.


Coming like rain…

We had a week of rain. When you live in the desert southwest a half inch is big news. We long for, pray for, and rejoice when the thirsty land gets any moisture! We also got snow and still have some on the ground. In my Bible study I came across a verse in the Bible I’ve read before…isn’t great how the Lord can give you a verse and it seems new to you?? Hosea 6:3 says we acknowledge the Lord who is as constant as the sunrise and comes to us like the rain! Here in Arizona we have a bimodal weather pattern…long slow showers in the winter for about 40% of our year, and convective thunderstorms in the summer. Whether it’s a drizzly rain all day or the might and fearfulness of our summer storms we are thankful for every drop. May I look for the Lord as much and more than I look for rain.