I have been touched beyond your imagining by your many blog comments, e-mails, phone calls and letters. I had no idea that so many of you felt this way about Grapevine, the way I feel about it myself, and I thank you for the lovely things you have said.
It would be tempting for me to succumb to your questioning of my closing Grapevine and stay open – but consider. I have no heir – my only younger relative, my niece, is firmly entrenched in her life in Vermont, and has no interest in guest ranch management. At one time, not too long ago, I had thought seriously about leaving it to the staff here at the time. However, changing circumstances, plus also the consideration that someone has to keep the place running, and, if necessary, funded, made me reconsider this.
So our last day with guests came and went. It was, as you can imagine, bittersweet. I liked the idea that soon I would not have to worry about the office and all the things that accompany the running of a business, but it was sad to think that the last guest left, and the ranch, as we knew it, would be no more. Luckily, almost all of the guests of the final days were repeats and good friends come to say goodbye, and the last man standing was an often repeat guest from Phoenix, whom we may hope to see again, so that eased things a little.
Now we are in the midst of the last act you might say. Bonnie is emptying file cabinets and shredding papers, not that they are secret, but that they may provide the packing material for the return guest cups, which will be stored in boxes, hopefully awaiting the day when a new owner may re-open the ranch and once again hang them on their hooks. I am closing up the books, refunding deposits to disappointed would-be-guests, and hoping that they don’t think too badly of us – Sarah is taking horses here and there, to their new homes, where we hope they will be happy.
She has put a great deal of thought into this. Quite a few horses went to ex staff of the ranch, where we know they will be taken care of – and quite a few came home with me. So that you know if “your” special horse is with me, here is the list of the ones who have stayed:
Boots, Sabino (whose leg has almost healed), Joey, Hank, Gus, Sassy, Lady, Tango, Lil’Bit, Mouse, Bertie, Snip and Yukie. Given that I already have Chikala, Scotty, Waylon – and of course, Comanche and Tequila, and the other retirees, Peanut, Dakota, …… and Gerry’s mare Bonnie – that makes a nice round 22 – ooof! A lot to feed – but also a lot of horsy love.
A little note about Peanut – I know that a lot of you out there liked him. He is, without a doubt, the ugliest horse I have ever seen – his conformation is a perfect textbook example of what a horse should not be – but he has always been hardworking, honest, responsive and kind, in spite of having a back that I know must have hurt at even the thought of a saddle. After many years here, he began to show his age – he grew very thin and appeared tired, and so, as I had always promised him, he was retired. He came to live at the Cobre Loma – and he got a new lease on life. Together with the donkeys, Miss Katie and Miss Sarah, he is let out of the corral during the day and turned free to terrorize the world, and he quickly adapted to this new, fun routine. He also ate and put on weight, he blossomed and grew sleek, and the other day I watched a new Peanut come boiling out of his gate, head high, tail flying, galloping across the yard, giving a good buck or two en route, finally disappearing down the hill to the pasture. My good old viejo! He was always, to me, a poor little Mexican horse, who probably did not have a good life until he came to us – but he was always faithful, honest, hardworking and true – what more can you ask of anyone! So he is here with me, happy, I hope, to the end – which could be 20 years from now, to look at him today!
And so my horses are housed in varying areas, according to temperament. Scotty and Chikala have long been the only occupants of what we call the Trap, a pretty large pasture opposite the house. A few others were added, and the other day I was entertained with the spectacle of Lil’Bit pinning his ears back at ….Scotty! who, amazingly, backed off. I never thought I would see the day when Scotty would back away from anybody, but apparently Lil’Bit has a lot of moxie. Scotty left, somewhat grumpily, and Lil’Bit tucked into the hay.
Another source of endless entertainment to me are – you would not believe this – birds! I have made a nice sitting area of my glassed in porch and installed a collection of hummingbird feeders and finch feeders, and other bird feeders, including an old, two tiered fountain which makes a dandy double storey grain holder, and I can sit for hours, entranced, watching the busy squabbling, squawking life out there, not two feet away from me! Inevitably, of course, I am also learning their various names, thanks to Danny, who is quite a birder, and, sitting so close, being nearsighted is no obstacle – so a collection of cardinals, finches, grosbeaks, pigeons, orioles, and hummingbirds all come to me and offer an endless vision of another, secret life.
So, you see – there is another life after Grapevine! Again I thank you all for caring, for writing, for keeping in touch – and if you would like to check this page now and again, I will keep it going for a while anyway, until things settle down and the home page itself is changed to its new incarnation.
Until then, vaya con Dios, amigos!
And I will end with another Bud Anderson quote –
“Grapevine Canyon Ranch, where hearts are healed and horses are the doctors.”