The Sonoita Cowboy

Snow At the Grapevine

As I am sure all of you know by now from my last two postings, we have had wonderful rains this January, totaling to date an exciting 4.8 inches, which should make for some spectacular spring wildflowers. Some of the moisture came in the form of snow, and, as much as I hate to be cold, I thought that the attached photo of the cattle ranch headquarters under snow is too beautiful not to share with you.

Of course, the snow, which lasted all of two days, is now long gone, and in fact, we appear to be having an earlier than normal spring – a not too unusual phenomenon in our valley. I remember a friend of mine telling me, many years ago, that the year his family had moved to Cochise County from Texas, the winter had also been unusually short. In fact, January was so warm, that in early February the newcomers began gleefully planting tomatoes and other vegetables. Their neighbors all laughed at them, saying “You’re wasting your time! That’ll all freeze, February is no time to think that spring is here, ha ha” and yet, my friend said, that year spring did come early, and he and his family were dining on fresh garden tomatoes in March, while their neighbors were still eating the cardboard ones from Safeway! We may well have another such year this year. It was the warm air mass coming to us from Mexico that was responsible for the good rainfall, and, as I mentioned last week, the upper tanks are overflowing, and the lake behind the house is now full. Rain here is indeed like liquid gold falling from the sky!

Sonoita Cowboy

Sonoita Cowboy

Recently I had family from Australia staying with me, and one of the sight-seeing outings we took was to Arizona’s wine country of Sonoita and Patagonia. Our trip was mainly to visit a famous restaurant in Patagonia called “The Velvet Elvis”, so called because of a somewhat kitschy portrait of Elvis Presley painted on a piece of black velvet, proudly displayed on the wall, somewhat incongruously alongside several very beautiful and costly Navajo rugs. The food, the specialty of the house being pizza, was wonderful, the wine was excellent, but the main point of my story is that on the way from neighboring Sonoita we came across a fabulous piece of outdoor art – a life-size metal cutout of a mounted cowboy driving a cow and calf. The metal sculpture is larger than life, but so lifelike and so well placed on the brow of a hill that, as you come along the highway, you think you’re looking at a real-life man and horse – quite stunning. I wonder how many cars have been rear ended, though, as the drivers gawped at the apparition!

And it seems that this is our month for celebrities – not only did we have British TV star Martin Clunes here making a segment for his upcoming television series on horses, but today I had an e-mail from author Lucia Robson, who had been to the ranch some time ago. She wrote to tell me of her about-to-be-released book, “Last Train from Cuernevaca”, about Pancho Villa and the Mexican revolutionary war. Miss Robson has written several riveting books, of which my favorite so far is called ”Ride the Wind”, a true story of Cynthia Ann Parker, who was abducted by the Comanche when she was a little girl of about seven. She was raised as a Comanche, married the chief’s son, and lived a happy life with the tribe. Sadly, later in life she was abducted by her white “rescuers” and died in captivity and misery as a prisoner of her white relatives. Her son, Quanah Parker, the last chief of the Quahadi Comanche, never ceased looking for her, and later took the name of Parker as a tribute to his white mother. It’s a great read, and accurate history, which, for me, is a very important point. So I am looking forward to her new book about Pancho Villa and I urge you all to ask your local bookstore about the date of release of “Last Train from Cuernevaca”. Another well known author, J.A. Jance, had booked to come to the ranch for a short family reunion some time around now, but unfortunately had to cancel it due to conflicting family commitments. So – always fun to live in a place like this – you never know who you might meet next!

Sunset from Bonnie's Back Porch

Sunset from Bonnie's Back Porch

And, as the reservations are coming in at a steady clip, I want to remind any of you who may be planning to come for any of the cattle gathers, that the April and October round up dates are full already, and the September one has only a few spaces left, so if you think that a cowboy adventure should be in your life in 2010, give us a call and come enjoy a fun September. The summer months are also a good time to visit, as we alter our riding program so we can hold after- dinner evening rides, and on these you’re likely to see some never-to-be-forgotten sunsets, such as the one here, taken by Bonnie. Almost an unbelievable sight, isn’t it!

And a few reminders – the next Cow Camp just coming up is almost full – I believe there are two places left on it, and it sure is a fun thing to do! In an action packed, four day program you learn the rudiments of rounding up cows, of making them go the way you want them to go, and, what’s more important, making them think it’s their idea all along – actually probably good training for parents of teenagers, too? You get to sleep under the stars – or in a tent, if you don’t really want to rough it all that much! You learn to rope, at first on a dummy, and then on real live cows who really don’t think being roped is such a good idea! You learn to sort, you learn to pen cattle – in fact, the only thing you don’t get to do is to ride them! Four unforgettable days and nights, camping out under the stars, eating great steak dinners – can life get any better??

And then there is Valentine’s Day – again, only a couple of accommodations left, so bring your sweetie and enjoy a most romantic get-away! I have a set of spurs that my husband had made for me, with a clover leaf, my name, and Valentine’s Day 2005 on them, which he gave me for Christmas 2004. I thought at the time it was an odd Christmas gift, but what foresight he had! Christmases come and go, as special as they are – but every day I look at those spurs and see that Valentine’s date on them, they remind me of the 25 wonderful years we had together. Again, I believe there are only two accommodations available, so don’t let the grass grow under your feet – give us a call and bring your sweetie to the most romantic get away you can find!

And I am told by the powers that be in our marketing department that I should tell you to go, without fail, to that great new search engine, Leapfish, and type in the name Grapevine Canyon Ranch in the bar at the top. This will bring you to not only our web page, but also to all our other endeavors such as our blogs, Twitters, You Tube videos – and all other sundry communication methods to which this wonderful age has introduced us. Never any need to be lonely, nowadays!

So – have a great week, give us a call, and I hope to see you around the campfire!

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7 Responses to The Sonoita Cowboy

  1. Claudia says:


    I like it that you are writing more now:) Enjoying reading your articles. Come on to facebook more often!

  2. Eve says:

    Well, Claudia, my llife is now so much more peaceful and organised that I have more time to write more! Glad you’re enjoying it.

  3. Chris Kynaston says:

    That snow picture looks almost like a painting – so beautiful – I guess thats next years Christmas Card design sorted!

  4. Eve says:

    Yes, and like all snow scenes, so MUCH nicer in a photo than wadiing through it in the slush! Today it’s cold and windy, but hopefully tomorrow I’ll get out horseback and take a photo of the lake behind the house – they tell me it’s flooded the trail on the north side so riders have to go around on the south side – lovely, lovely!!

  5. Sarah Stanley says:

    Really enjoyed reading that Eve and those photos are amazing. Makes me yearn to be back!

  6. Jan Niebuhr says:

    Hi Eve.

    As allways great article.
    That snow picture of the ranch is great and really fit for framing.

  7. Eve says:

    Hi Jan – thanks – and yes, it would make a great Christmas card, wouldn’t it? And all the nicer for the fact that it only lasted one day!

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