It’s the Rainy Season

Eve with Scotty

I finally gave up on my fat, lazy horse, Scotty, and sent him over to Grapevine for wrangler RJ to ride. RJ is not only a good horse hand, but he is also tall and much heavier than I am, and I thought he would be the best to work all that fat off Scotty. I don’t think Scotty appreciates the fact that this is all for the good of his heart, though – he misbehaved with RJ on the trail, and the other morning, before setting out, he put on quite an exhibition of silliness, shying and huffing and puffing at the water tank in the arena. Finally I’d had enough – “Scotty-o!” I bellowed, “QUIT! Behave yourself!” It was quite funny – he rolled an eye in my direction and immediately quieted down, and turned into a normal, civilized horse about to go on a trail ride. I must say I didn’t expect this reaction, but it was rather gratifying, I thought. His master’s voice, yeah!! Maybe he would also follow me down the trail when I ride out, the way Comanche does? Now that would be a surprise – Scotty lives purely for Scotty – he is, after all, a buckskin, who are famous for having their own opinions, always looking out for Number One.

Comanche also responds to voice commands – something along the lines of: “Comanch’! Hurry UP! Come ON!” when he lollygags out of sight, way down the trail, dining on the fresh green grass. I have at times wished that animals could talk to us, but on reflection, maybe better not – body language is sufficient!

Now I want to address something that normally I would not want to talk about here – and that is the constant drum beat of doom coming from the media regarding the southern border. I fully agree that it is porous, that it needs strengthening, that it’s beyond awful that anyone in the world can just march into our beautiful country and create mayhem, but I do want to point out that it is happening a long way from us! We are now getting some inquiries from guests and would-be guests as to how dangerous it is around here, and I want to reassure everyone, it is not! I have not seen an illegal in these mountains for years, and the reason is that we are 60 miles from the border, and we are also off the beaten path. People who cross the border illegally want to get to Phoenix or Tucson – they know there is no work available here, and they sure as heck aren’t going to waste their time and energy traipsing through these rugged mountains, a long way from the highways! They want to stick to routes that are closer to Highway 191, where they are eventually picked up by a prearranged vehicle, and they can get on their way – but it is irritating to think that we are possibly losing business to these lurid television and press stories! As if the lousy economy wasn’t bad enough by itself!

Cochise Pasture

But onto better topics – the wonderful rains we have been getting this summer – on top of the good winter rains – have made the cattle prices go up, and Danny and I decided that we would sell the top end of the calves early – all that green grass has made them as fat as mud, and the prices are great. But – the best laid plans of mice and men! We planned the summer round up for last Monday through Wednesday – and guess what! It rained for several days, so that the corrals are a quagmire, and to be out there roping and branding just wasn’t too appealing. The horses would be slipping in the mud, the calves would be covered with it, and the rest of us would have to sit in the stuff when handling the calves on the ground, so we decided to give it a miss and wait for drier weather. Never thought I would see the day! But on the plus side, here is a photo of Cochise Pasture – green grass as far as the eye can see – reminds me of the stories of the old days, when the first settlers came to this valley and promptly ruined it. Way back in 1977, I remember meeting an old guy who said he had moved here in 1907. We had both got stuck in a bar ditch by the side of an unpaved road, and, while we waited for a tractor to come and pull us out, we chatted. He said that then, the water was some 30 ft. beneath the surface (today it’s at 1200 ft.) and, as I said, the grass was tall and lush. Another item comes to mind which I may have mentioned here already some time ago – a Dragoons officer who was riding here fighting the Apaches – I believe it may have been Cremony – wrote, and I quote “….we haven’t been dry for three days now, but it’s to be expected, as it’s the rainy season.” Wow! Not dry for three days – we wish, we wish. But this year we can’t complain, and, let’s face it, we probably would gripe too if we couldn’t get dry for three days!

I mentioned before that Bonnie has got herself a Kindle, which she enjoys, and I was briefly tempted to spend money and get one also. Then I remembered all those hundreds and hundreds of books I have, many of which I have not read for a long time, and so I began re-reading some of them. I began with the western ones, of course – and I am having a great time. Some of my books are quite old and now probably out of print – one that I finished recently is called “The Village Horse Doctor”, by Ben K. Green, who was a veterinarian in Texas from about the early 1920’s through the war years – long time before penicillin and other wonder drugs came along – and he discusses a lot of truly witch doctor type of cures, a lot of which worked. Now I am re-reading a book called “Big Outfit – Ranching on the Baca Float”, by Robert L. Sharp, who was the manager of one of the biggest cattle ranches in northern Arizona, about the same time, before and after the war years. My interest in re-visiting these has been sparked by the enthusiasm of wrangler RJ, who spends a lot of time in his bunkhouse reading, and whom I have lent many of these books. Some years back we had a “recommended reading” page on our web site, but somehow or other it has fallen into disuse. I wonder if we should revive it? I remember lots of people added their favorite books and short reviews there, and it was fun to read. Opinions??? Let me hear from you!

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6 Responses to It’s the Rainy Season

  1. A Recommended Reading page sounds good – might encourage me to sit down a bit more often!

    And I hope you are keeping some of those calves back for our roundup week – be with you 5 weeks today – think I might start counting down in days soon :)

  2. Eve says:

    Hi Chris – we may get that book thing going, then – should be fun. And don’t worry, lots of calves to fool around with! And they are huge – the good winter rains brought on early grass and now it’s really getting to get to the legendary stirrup height in places. See you soon!

  3. Sue Earling says:

    Top of the reading list should be “Tomorrow Will Be Better”. Hope this is one that RJ has had the opportunity to read. (For those of you who don’t know, this is Eve’s story……and it is absolutely incredible!)

  4. Steve King says:

    Good to see you have had some good rains,and the calves have done
    well,and Scotty is feeling well.

  5. Eve says:

    Hi guys – You will get sick of me bragging on all this rain yet! I bet I have more photos of green grass than Ireland!! (Well, just dreaming, you know….) We hope to do the summer gather this Monday – we were rained out last Monday, if you would believe – and sell the bigger calves. The price is holding up – wish us luck.

  6. lyn wallace says:

    Born to Run by Christopher Mc Dougall . A book I thought I would not be interested in as it is about foot running!!! but I loved it because of the interesting people who were part of the race.

    It is winter here in NZ and hasnt stopped raining for three weeks.


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