Dear Friends,How time flies when you’re having fun!! I can hardly believe that it’s 25 years since Gerry and I began the ranch, as probably most of you know from the rest of the web page. But you don’t know HOW we did it!
We were sitting around one day, having just bought our little ranch with its little house, just sitting and being happy, when Gerry, who couldn’t stand still, opined that the little house wasn’t big enough and we had to enlarge it.
So we did. We set to with a good will, as both of us really enjoyed building, and doubled the little house in size. We demolished the kitchen, and turned the space into a dining room next to the living room, and then added a large country kitchen on the west side of the house, with a screened porch on the north side of it, and a carport at the end of that; then we joined the tack room which was about 20 ft, south of the main house, to the new kitchen with a split level deck.
It was a lot of fun, and all too soon it was over. We looked each other and tried to think of what to do – we were too young to do nothing, but opportunities on 80 acres (which we had then) were scant. I suggested raising llamas – a very lucrative pursuit in the 80’s. “No!” said Gerry. So, how about rabbits? “No, No!” “How about worms?” “Hell no!!” And so we were at a standstill.
At about that time a friend came by who said that the place would make a wonderful guest ranch. However, a guest ranch needs accommodations. So he said, why not have a sort of glorified campground, a guest ranch for folks with RV’s. So we did that, and we did have fun. We met a lot of great people, who came for weekends only, as we didn’t want to be busy through the week, and who obediently went home on Monday mornings and left us to day dream in our canyon.And then they began asking about accommodation for their friends, who didn’t have RV’s or campers. Well, we had that tack room next door! It was speedily converted into a cabin, and those of you who have stayed in the Adobe, know its history. Then one wasn’t enough – so we built the Manzanita and the Rocking A, and it was at this time that Gerry asked the one really stupid question of his life. “How about” he said “if we build the next one here…. And the next one here… and the next one….”
“Why on earth so close to each other?” I said, aghast. “Well”, he said with the air of one explaining the obvious thing to a retard – “then they could all share the same septic tank!”
I thought I would have a fit. The same septic tank! And live in slave quarters, all smooshed up together, when there was 80 acres of the most beautiful country in the world on which to spread the accommodations, so no one would even see his neighbor and would have the illusion of being there alone? We had many words – and you know the rest – 12 accommodations scattered over the now 87 acres with privacy, seclusion, great views, and the illusion of being there by yourself, yet in perfect harmony with nature and not all that far from the dining room, the pool, and other fun places.And time went along until, in 1984, I made the tremendous step of buying a computer! It was a little, fat faced Mac, and I loved it. It was, I think, one of the earliest Macs made, with a single floppy disc drive, where you had to insert one disc and load the program, and then spit it out and insert another one for the file. It was on this that I wrote my mother’s book “Tomorrow Will Be Better”, which became so popular. It took me two years of sitting up at night until 2 or 3 am, and then up in the morning for more building, and more guests. But what the heck! When you’re young, you don’t count the energy you spend, you count the energy you have!
It was at this time that the first newsletters came to be. It occurred to me that it would be a good idea to communicate with the outside world – guests and would-be guests who had sent in or phoned in an inquiry – by the medium of the written word. So I set to with a will, and soon a quarterly newsletter was turned out.
Of course, this wasn’t without its problems. It had to be written, then taken to Tucson to an Alpha Graphics or some such place, printed, picked up, carted home and then laboriously labeled and divided into zip code zones – ah, those hours of labor! Now all one has to do is to press a computer button and bingo! Thousands of them fly out with no problems of zip codes and horrendous postage bills. If there should happen to be anyone out there reading this who was a recipient of some of the early letters, I would sure love to hear from you!
And now, still in keeping with the historical theme, I had a very interesting visit from the Pearce Historical Society, who wanted to come to the Cobre Loma, the cattle ranch headquarters, and see the old buildings there. It was an exciting time – I love history and I have always wanted to know exactly how the house I live in had been built originally and what happened to it in all its reconstructions and additions over the almost 100 years of its existence. The head historian of the society told me that he was going to New Mexico to see the son of the original rancher who had built the house, Mr. Hatley, who is now in his nineties. I had long studied the house and deduced how the original, square, typical Arizona ranch house, with small rooms and screened porches on all four sides, must have looked – the porch on the west (here no longer) must have opened from the kitchen – why else would you have a stone barbecue outside what is now the master bedroom – and the living room which now joins the house to the garage next door, was made by enlarging the porch on the south side. These facts are now confirmed by the photograph taken in 1920, and another one in 1940. I wish I had lived here then!
And otherwise, it is difficult to realize that once again, it is almost Christmas, our second on in the new, rebuilt Cook Shack. The Christmas decorations are coming out of storage, and slowly the memories of the old building are receding into history.
So, with a view to making this at least a little bit of a newsletter, don’t forget that we are offering the pre Christmas doldrums special of 25% off the regular rates until December 23r. It’s a good time to come – you can enjoy the ranch in its pristine, peaceful state before the Christmas rush begins, and you can return home for your own Christmas busy time rested, rejuvenated and sun tanned!
And, as a final thought Ed, our resident astronomer, says that the moon is rising and the constellations are getting higher – all making for wonderful night viewing – the night skies are best in Arizona in the winter, when the air is crisp and the star light almost dazzling in its intensity. Last night we had a full moon, so I drove home from dinner with the headlights off – such a fun thing to do, to see the world full of mysterious shadows in the soft light of the night skies. You get to meet such a lot of little – and big – night creatures, too. I had to herd a rabbit who just didn’t want to leave the road for the safety of the tall grass on either side of the road, I met a herd of deer who stood close enough to touch, looking at me with those lovely, large, liquid eyes, with the little fawns peering out from behind their mothers’ skirts, so to speak – I encountered a place where a skunk had been – could they but make perfume that would last as long! It was a very satisfying drive home and I wished that I had a horse instead of a car. But then, a horse keeps his heater on only for himself and at 10 pm, it does get chilly here in the high desert!
Have a great week, be careful of all those shopping crowds and keep in touch!