Muy Contento

I think that what I hate more than anything about having closed Grapevine is losing touch with some of the great guests who passed through its doors over the years. Understandably, people are finding out about the closing of the ranch gradually, and, while I love hearing from them, I share in their regret at the passing of an era, at the loss of friendship, at the inevitable march of time. But, as some bard once said, nothing lasts forever, and the best we can hope for is that our favorite guest ranch is owned by a family with lots of offspring, like the White Stallion Ranch in Tucson, in its second generation, its continuity assured by two young sons of the present owners, or the Miller family’s Elkhorn Ranch, south of Tucson. Short of that, everything is temporary …. And, viewed in the light of, say, the pyramids, even they are temporary!

However, while I am on the topic of not losing touch – our computer guy has transferred the GCR office computer to my house and consolidated all files on it, and then consolidated both of my e-mail addresses into one, the eve@gcranch.com – so, if you e-mail me, not need to ponder where to send it, forget any new ones we may have given you at yahoo or wherever, but use the original one, eve@gcranch.com and it will get to me.

As you know, Grapevine Canyon Ranch is closed and the property is being put up for sale. The agent handling it is Walter Lane, of Headquarters West, a company that specializes in the sale of ranches. Looking over their website I see that they have sold a heap of the properties around this area, and indeed sold one of Gerry’s daughters and her husband their cattle ranch in the San Pedro Valley, as well as having handled the sale of the big 47 Ranch on Davis Road between McNeal and Tombstone, and the historic sprawling 76 Ranch near Safford – what a recommendation! Anyway, Walter came to Grapevine and really liked it, but what I wanted to tell you is that he looked over our web page and the guest book, and was most impressed by all the guest comments – as well he might!! Let’s hope that he soon finds a good owner for the ranch we all love so much.

And along these lines, here is a request from guests Mike and Jackie Franke, who said, in the guest book :

“Eve, we still miss our annual trip to Grapevine and all the great friends we met from around the world. You should provide updates on former staff (Rusty/Red/ etc) I bet all former guests would be interested. Also let us know what local ranch you might recommend for next get away out your way, thanks again.” Mike and Jackie Franke

So here is the information –

Rusty is living in Tombstone, singing and playing guitar at Big Nose Kate Saloon; Smoky has retired – had some health issues, but is now living in Sunsites; Bonnie just started a great job with the local bank in Sunsites as a teller (she says that my nagging at her about details, and careful handling of figures has really helped her, as she balanced her books on her very first day and has continued to do so since!), Ruth the cook is between jobs, but currently handling the garage sale of all the Stuff left over from the very successful Grapevine auction; Ed the chef has a job cooking at TJ’s in Sunsites; Sarah has a job as a wrangler at the Rancho de la Osa, a very historic guest ranch in Sasabe; Meagan went back to Pennsylvania, got a summer job as a counselor at a kids’ camp and is now looking for another job, which I am sure she won’t have any trouble in finding, she is so cute and capable; Butch has a job he loves as a sort of horse guru and troubled teens’ counselor at a fancy, expensive, troubled teens’ ranch for rich kids; RJ went back to New Mexico; Dustin went to the Triangle T Ranch (the one by the Freeway) but has now left there, and I don’t know what he is up to; Nancy is semi-retired, Carlos from Maintenance went back to his own business of tire repair in Sunsites; Cody from Maintenance has remained at Grapevine on the payroll as a live-on caretaker and maintenance person; Colleen from Housekeeping is also living at Grapevine, in the apartment above the office. She had got a job at a guest ranch in Texas, but didn’t like it there, and returned to our valley to regroup and recover! I guess all I need to tell you about her experience there is that she lost about 15 lbs in three weeks while there – she looks great, but it wasn’t a good way to lose it! And, talking of people moving far away, Punk and Joy moved back to Pennsylvania. They are living by some river on the edge of a forest – sounds lovely, he is catching a lot of fish, he says – but they don’t get any computer hook-up, so he says, sorry, he can’t answer the e-mails from you all that stacked up on his computer. BJ (his son) and wife Ingrid visited them recently and BJ checked the computer some way or other, so that’s how Punk knows about the e-mails, but he can’t answer them. He says to tell you all that as soon as he gets a hook up, he will get to it! And Ingrid and BJ have gone back to Sweden. They spent some time in Montana but she decided to return home, so that’s where they are. I think that about covers everybody – if I left anyone out, let me know and I’ll check it out!

As to the second half of the question, where to go now, it is not easy to answer, as, along with Grapevine, two other ranches have closed, the Price Canyon in the Chiricahuas, and the Kay El Bar in Wickenburg. I guess I would say that what you need to do is to go to the web page of the Arizona Dude Ranchers’ Association (www.AzDRA.com) read carefully about the 8 remaining members, and take your pick. They’re all good – we all had to meet the Association’s standards in order to belong, so you can be assured of a quality experience wherever you go.

And a lot of you have been asking about the Grapevine horses. Those of you who knew Sarah, the last barn boss, can be sure that she worked very diligently to find them all good homes. Seeing them go was hard – some of them had more personalities and ties to us than others – some of the older ones, or the ones that needed special care, I have kept, and, selfishly, I have also kept some just to have to ride, and for my visiting friends to ride. So here is the list of those who are here:

Tequila

First of all, of course, there is Himself, none other than ranch owner Comanche, with his compadre, Tequila. Both these boys are now retired – Comanche is 25, and Tequila a venerable 28. They make up the grumpy old men of Cobre Loma, you might say, though why grumpy, I don’t know, as they lead the proverbial life of Riley. Comanche has a bit of a foot problem now, has to be kept off any hot feed and specially shod now and then, even though he is not being ridden, and Tequila developed a melanoma in a very unmentionable place, which, luckily, we found in time. So he made several quite expensive trips to the excellent Cortaro Equine Hospital in Tucson, where he had to be sedated each time as he resolutely refused to present the offending organ for inspection and now he is cancer free, though I should have taken out a mortgage on him! But, seeing that in all his 28 years he had never, ever, been to a vet, I guess I owed him, and was more than happy to pay! Then, still on the retired list, there is Bonny, Gerry’s retired cutting mare, as grumpy and bossy as ever, living her life of Riley in a separate pasture, where she lords it over three Grapevine horses – Blaze, who is also semi retired though rideable in a limited way, and two Appys, Lady and Joey. Joey is the only gelding in that pasture and he and Lady are inseparable – I guess being spotted gives you some sort of affinity? Joey had never been an assertive horse, Sarah told me, when he was at Grapevine. Boy – he has come into his own here! He does not, of course, stand up to Bonny – Gerry was the only being alive who could do that – but he lords it over the other two mares and, now possessing one of his own, he is, as the Mexicans say, muy contento.

In the Trap opposite my house, live five horses. The undisputed boss is Grapevine’s Waylon, who rules even over Scotty, the erstwhile Mafioso in that trap. It was quite comical when Waylon first arrived. Scotty bustled up to him, full of importance, and presented his business card introducing himself as the boss of the pasture. Waylon sniffed “So what”, turned his back and let fly. “OOPS” said Scotty, “really? Oh well, OK then.” And that was that. I was amazed – but glad that hostilities had ceased before they had begun. The other horses in that pen are Sabino, from Grapevine, and Chikala, my big Canadian rescue Pinto, a peaceable character at any time. And the last resident, amazingly also not troublesome, is filly Bertie, also a rescue from Canada. Bertie came here with Chikala, but she was only a 6 month old weanling to his mighty two years when they arrived. She is quite funny – she divides her favors between the boys, spending time now with one, now with another – we call her Flirty Bertie! (The last of the trio, Yukie, has found a good home with a friend in Dragoon, along with gelding Ven, also from Grapevine.) It has been a job, finding good homes for all these guys!

Peanut

In the Vacation Lane are five who now think they are on permanent vacation – Snip, Gus, Mouse, Boots and Hank. We opened the gate from the Lane to the huge horse pasture beyond, now full of tasty grass, and they disappeared there, only to surface now and then for a drink at the tank. In the roping arena reside two mares, Isha, who is expecting in December (do I want my head read, or what? Making new babies in these times of high hay prices and a surfeit of horses? But then, when is any horse owner sane, anyway?) And last but not least, the one horse to whom I had always promised an honorable retirement, fat and full of the devil so that we have to stable him by himself and only let him out on pasture by himself, as he is so awful to other horses, none other than that begging horsy pestilence, full of equine charm, Peanut. Do you remember how he would never pass me at the hitching rail without extorting a goodie from me? I always promised him that I would never sell him – he is, without a doubt, the ugliest horse I have ever laid eyes on, but the most plucky, the hardest worker, full of heart and try and charm. I am sure he came from Mexico, and I am sure he was not treated well there, but the bad times appear to be something that he has willingly forgotten and forgiven. He is so combative with other horses that he has to be kept in a pen by himself and every other day or so we let him out to run free and graze – and that is a sight to behold! From a tired, thin little horse, as he was when we retired him (I thought actually that he was not long for this world, as he does have some age on him also) he has turned out to be fat, sassy, and full of fire and vinegar. Danny opens the gate and out boils Peanut, tail held high like a banner as, at full gallop, he bucks out into the barnyard, does a sweeping circuit of all the horse runs and then heads out to the front drive and the Cochise Pasture beyond, to enjoy a day of eating and freedom. Danny says he has a good mind to put a saddle on him to see what happens – I think what might very well happen is that Peanut will buck him off he feels so good! Wonderful to see.

Anyway, all this horsy love is consuming hay at the rate of 100 tons a year, and it was obvious to me that at the Grapevine price of around $230 a ton I could never afford it. Luckily, a friend told me of a farmer near Benson who is growing a mix of Rye and Bermuda, and selling it in 1600 lb bales for $165 a ton. So Danny and I went to see him. We were mutually delighted with each other – we liked him, we liked his hay and his businesslike attitude, and I imagine he liked our required quantity. He said he could cut the bales in half, so they would weight 800 lbs each and measure – whatever, I forget, I think 4×4. But whatever it is, Danny figured out that these bales would fit into the Cobre Loma barn at the rate of a couple of flatbed trailer loads a time, so four loads a year. Let’s hope!! But right now, with the lovely rains we had, it’s difficult to imagine that there might ever come a time when hay will be needed – the horses are in that legendary belly high grass and, as the song says, “livin’ is easy”!

And I just realized I didn’t mention donkeys Miss Katie and Miss Sarah, nor the two bovine ladies, Clementine and Twiggy. They had to be let out of their pens each morning and penned up at night, until it occurred to me that the Corner Pasture is the very place for them – so that’s where they are, four lucky creatures in 40 acres of belly high grass. The other day we couldn’t find them, and Danny got quite worried, until he spied just the tips of Clementine’s horns sticking up out of the green. I was returning from Tucson today and, casting a possessive eye over the Corner Pasture, realized that my attitude towards it has always been like that of a miser with a handful of cash. That lovely, lovely grass – a pity to eat it up! Better to save it!! I had to laugh at myself – is that a stupid attitude or what! So I am happy that the four princesses are out there enjoying it, and that all is well with their world.

I wish we could say the same for ours!

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32 Responses to Muy Contento

  1. Jerry Van Sant says:

    Hi Eve…Glad to hear things are going OK for almost everybody! Cindy lost her job last month, so we’re dealing with that now…took a trip 2 weeks ago (that we had paid for before Cindy was laid off) to Stagecoach Trails Guest Ranch in Yucca, AZ and had a nice time…give our love to everybody, 2 and 4 legged, and we’re still hoping to visit in the near future…Jerry

  2. don and cathy ransenberg says:

    I believe I missed seeing info on little bit. Cathy loved that horse. Best to you in these difficult times…

  3. Lovely to hear where everyone is just now and to picture those lucky horses you still have settling into their mini herds. And as for Peanut… I too reckoned he was not too long for this world when I last saw him – how wrong we were! I can’t believe its now 2 years since my last visit, still seems like yesterday. Hope you have plenty of help and the round ups go smoothly. x

  4. Eve says:

    Hi Don and Cathy,

    Yes, I did miss Lil’Bit. He went to a good home, on a ranch nearby. One of Danny’s nephews is a cowboy living at the ranch, and has a little girl, 18 months old and Lil’Bit is now her horse. She loves him and is already riding him bareback, though I think, with supervision. He appears to like it there – not much work and lots of love!

  5. Lyn Wallace says:

    Dear Eve
    I am so pleased you are enjoying your well earned retirement with your beloved animals. Perhaps now you will have time to write another book,ha ha. I always have a happy heart when I remember my week at your lovely ranch.
    Yours sincerely
    Lyn Wallace
    New Zealand

  6. Karen Clarke says:

    Hello Eve,
    How lovely to hear how you are all getting on, such a tragedy that your beautiful ranch had to close. So pleased that Waylon & Boots are with the lucky ones to stay with you. Alice would love to know what happened to Clovis, but I fear, as he was ready for retirement just after we visited Easter 2009, he may no longer be around. We’ll always remember that Easter egg hunt and my shame of clambering over your table to get the “spoons”. We wish you the very best and we feel extremely privileged to have met you and spent time with your wonderful horses.
    Take care,
    Karen, Keith, Loraine & Alice Clarke – Shropshire, England

  7. lee says:

    Love this latest blog………….so nice to hear about where horses and people have gone tho some of the people were after our time. Good to see that someone else other than I are nagging you to write a book – hey a movie of Grapevine and peoples experiences could be done!! I have lovely memories – our low key wedding there is the most memorable, and what a special day it was! Round ups – what fun! Alan getting sprayed with the worming fluid at preggie testing time, and most of all Alan and I, being the only ones on horseback, taking all the cattle across the fields in the dark with only the moonlight to guide us!! Special special memories xx

  8. Eve says:

    How lovely to read the comments from you all – thank you, and keep them coming! Someone in an e-mail, I think, asked about Jim, in Maintenance, who was also that great pack trip cook. He is here, of course – the ranch would never be the same without our Jimmy! He lives at the Cobre Loma, retired, but helping out, feeding on Danny’s days off, and generally being useful – and, most of all, being a friend.
    And as for Clovis, I believe he went to a disabled childrens’ ranch nearby, some time back.
    But keep reminding me of people and horses – difficult to keep track of everyone, and the last few years had been so eventful that I could have easily overlooked someone.

  9. Eve says:

    And one more, to Lee – was that your wedding proposal high up on that rock face above Mike Noonan’s cabin, Lee? I remember Bonnie and me clambering up there with champagne, flowers, a blanket, and the Lord knows what else, and getting there in time for a brewing thunderstorm.
    I don’t remember Alan getting sprayed, nor the moonlight round up – but I do remember once the needle bouncing off a tough cow hide, out of my hand, and embedding itself into me! There was a woman doctor at the round up and I remember her saying that at least I wouldn’t abort my calf! A big comfort, that was.
    You’re right – so many special memories. If I ever did decide to write a book, it would have to be a co-op effort, with everone’s special memories!

  10. nigel ede says:

    Dear Eve,

    Just read your emails and it brought back memories especially when I proposed to Lesley up on those rocks, I thank you again and Bonnie for the little adventure you set up for me, till we meet again,
    All the best,
    Nigel.

  11. Lesley Ede says:

    Hi Eve, Just to remind you it was Nigel and I on the rock face above Mike Noonan’ s cabin. We followed a trail of pink ribbons tied to bushes until we reached the place where we discovered the blanket, flowers, cake and a bottle of icy cold champagne! The thunderstorm was all around us except for a patch of blue sky directly above us. It was magical, how could I refuse him? We always thought we would come back one day!

  12. Lesley Ede says:

    Thank you for so many wonderfull memories

  13. Ruth Drummond says:

    Hi, lovely to hear how staff and horses are getting on.
    I think for us we wouldnt come back to ride in america as we know we will never be able to top Grapevine.
    Just have to ask as i dont think she has been mentioned, and if she has and i have missed it then i apologise, but what happened to the little mare called Bubbles? I may well have been on my honeymoon at Grapevine but my new husband knew it was love at first sight when i saw the lovely bubbles.

  14. Eve says:

    Hi, again, everyone, and specially Nigel and Lesley – oops!! How could I have forgotten, especially as Nigel first came to us so unhappy when he had lost his brother – and then found you, Lesley and, apparently, lots of happiness. I am so glad for you both! But there were so many happy couples here over the years, and it’s been so long – so please forgive my faux pas! And Alan and Lee were a Grapevine couple as well, so – I mixed you up!
    And Ruth, I am going to check up on where Bubbles went, and let you know. I know it had to be a good home, as Sarah, our barn boss, was most particular, and took a lot of care and time to make sure ALL the horses went to the best possible places! Of course, I have 19 of them right here….

  15. Kerry johnson says:

    Hi eve, just checking in. Love to read about the adventures on the C L . Katie and Sarah I miss so much. We are all fine. Thanks for keeping us updated. Love, Kerry

  16. argh! What did I say? “can’t believe its been 2 years…”? Well guess what – it isn’t! Time is playing tricks on me again – my memories of Grapevine are as clear as the Arizona blue skies and in that respect it seems like it was yesterday, on the other hand it sems like a lifetime ago I miss you all so much. Barely 12 months ago since we said our goodbyes and not a day passes without wondering what you are all up to. Enjoy those blue skies for me – until we meet again x

  17. Sarah Stanley says:

    Hi Eve, just been catching up on your blog with who’s gone where.

    I often look back longingly at photos of our Grapevine holidays especially videos of when I rode Missy in the games. Could you please let me know what happened to her, and Socks as well? If I lived in AZ I’d have loved to have been able to buy them off you but unfortunately I don’t and have been left wondering what has happened to them.

    Also, do you know how Annie is getting on? I think she was going to train as something but can’t remember what.

    Love
    Sarah x

  18. Eve says:

    Hi Chris – and Sarah,

    Don’t feel bad, Chris – I can’t rememberwhat happened yesterday, never mind almost a year ago!

    Sarah – Both Missy and Socks stayed in the family, so to speak. Socks is with Nancy (of the gift shop) and Missy is with Ruth, one of the cooks. Both have other horse friends with them, and, at the moment, lots of green grass. And that they both have lots of loving goes without question!!

    Annie is in Oregon, near her dad, and is doing well, though living in an appartment. I am sure that Mac doesn’t go for that much, but, she says, there is a great dog park nearby, so they go there for him to have a run. She sounds good.

  19. Eve says:

    I knew I would forget something! One of the blessings of`growing wise (not old, but wise – I like that much better) – and it was to answer Ruth’s question about Bubbles. Bubbles went to a great home, that of Harald and Amy, who both used to wrangle at the ranch, and who have a place near Elfrida. There they met a couple of other GCR horses and are living the proverbial Life of……!

  20. Sarah Stanley says:

    Thanks for replying Eve; I feel so much better knowing where Socks and Missy have gone and that they have good homes. As for green grass we’ve got very little of that here – you must have had our share of the rain as we’ve hardly had any this summer; on the plus side it does mean the lawns don’t need mowing! Please pass on my best wishes to Annie, Punk and Butch when you’re next in touch. Many thanks. Love Sarah xx

  21. Calamity Jane says:

    Hi Eve

    I am truly devastated! I have only just read about GCR closing, and boy am I glad I managed to visit you twice last year. I was recommending you to a friend as a great place to go & then I found out you had closed. I am truly thankful for the wonderful memories I have of the ranch- you, the staff, the horses, the fantastic countryside, and yes maybe even of the wedding if not of the groom!

    I shall miss you all so very much- I will drop you an email and if I am ever in the area then I will be sure to let you know.

    with all my love

    Jane xx

  22. Frank Gatyas says:

    Eve,
    Thanks so much for the updates, but what’s become of Annie and Adam?

  23. Sara Wright says:

    Dear Eve,

    So sad to hear of the closing of GCR but so glad to have a report on the staff and horses. I knew that you and your staff would take loving care of them all the family, human and furred alike.

    I wish you all the best as does my father, Robert, now almost 93. I do think it was a good call when he chose not to ride during our visit last fall. He was talking longlingly about returning to GCR next spring, and I’m not sure I could have kept him out of the saddle then!

    Thank you for the wonderful memories. And please pass on special fondnss to Carlos and Bonnie, if you think of it.

    Loads of good wishes,

    Sara

  24. Anita Nash says:

    Eve, your blogs really enliven my day! They take me away from my home office where I am reading them, and I am transported to your wonderful world. I chuckle at mischievious Tuffy. Love hearing that Peanut is so fat….he gave me a sore tush when he was in his skinny days, but he was so surefooted on the narrow trails! I love reading about all of your 4-legged friends, sounds like they are endlessly entertaining. I am sitting here daydreaming about my visits and the rides through all of that glorious and historic territory — can’t thank you enough for the wonderful memories that I can revisit whenever I want to! Eve, you are a treasure…..

  25. T Mac Williams says:

    Good to hear news of you and the crew. Miss Grapevine terribly….

  26. Linda Borg says:

    Eve

    I can smell the desert when I read your blog and will never forget my utdder failure at cowgirl camp! Well, I did learn how to canter and I laughed so hard I almost you know what…..

    Glad to hear that most of the old gang has landed on its feet.

    Hope to get back there someday….may you be well.

    Linda from Rhodey

  27. Mike Franke says:

    Eve, how is the sale coming along, you should offer Time Shares for Grapevine Canyon, also whatever happend to Adam, Karen and Megan still ask about him,Mike and Jackie

  28. Becky says:

    Always know that Darral and I will never forget you and your staff. Those memories wiil live in our hearts forever.

    Becky Dean

  29. theresa & Chris says:

    Hi Eve, Lovely to hear all the news re the staff and the horses. Chris will pleased that Sabino is staying on at the CL. That horse was a saint for Chris. What happened to Coco – not the best put together little horse but a cutie all the same.

    I am often transported back in my mind to Arizona. I feel the warm sun on my back, the rhythmic sound of the horses feet in the sand and the clanking of the ice in the water bottles.Above all the sense of peace and serenity. I feel so fortunate to have had the pleasure of two trips to GCR – I hope my memories of those magical times never fade.

    God bless.

    Theresa

  30. susan lane says:

    Hi, just found out today that your beautiful ranch is for sale. Have obviously missed all the news, so I don’t know why, but I just wanted to say how sorry I am. My daughter Sophie and I spent the most fabulous two weeks with you in August 2004, and we have never forgotten the lovely time we had. Sophie rode Sabino, who you have mentioned, but what happened to Biggun, the sweet natured horse who was mine for the holiday?
    I wish you all the best, and please give our love to Annie, too, should you ever speak to her. She was a brilliant wrangler, and her knowledge of the history of the region was superb.
    Love and best wishes for the future, from Susan and Sophie Lane, Yorkshire, England.

  31. luann rice says:

    I just finished reading “Tomorrow Will Be Better” and was blown away with the book. I got it at our local library sale and had it in my “in case I run out of books” closet for six months. What an amazing story. I’m recommending it to all of my Minnesota friends and will chose it for the next time I host my book club. Luann Rice in lake country Minnesota

  32. Gina says:

    My webpage :: website, Gina,

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