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.