A Wrinkle in the Eyeball

Tommy and Friend

“You are where you are in life … so get on with it.” Prince Philip

How do you like the motto above?? So true- and just think how much time we spend whining about the things we don’t have, instead of being happy with the things we do have!

So – do let’s get on with it!!

The ranch hasn’t sold yet – when it does, you will hear the victory yell from here. It is looking so wonderful now, too – you would all love it. As you know, I have a new gal taking care of it by name of Kate, and she is doing a great job with the watering and cleaning up – I swear the grounds look better than they did while we were open.

That is, of course, when the naughty heifers don’t break in. As I told you last time, we are grazing the 27 replacement heifers on the Grapevine Headquarters – there is so much grass there, and it has never been eaten off over the 30 years or so that guests came and went. Not only was it a great waste of feed, but it’s also bad for grass not to be grazed. The age-old argument between the environmentalists, who think that it’s good for the prairie not to be eaten off, and the opposite truth, still prevails. If you think about it, it makes sense that grazing is good for the land – grazing animals’ hoofprints make indentations in the sod which catch the rain water, their nibbling on the grass makes the grass stool out and become thicker, and generally pastures are much better off for being grazed down.

So now the Grapevine is being grazed down – but of course, the tenants, being heifers, were not content with the domain given them…. no, they had to try for more. Almost daily they escaped back into Grapevine Canyon and an almost daily routine was a heifer round up. It got to be quite tiring in the end – finally we turned off the water in the canyon, and when they drank it down, they were happy enough to stay home. But, being like naughty children, then they got the good idea that perhaps the grass around the accommodations – which is outside their range – might taste better, and almost daily, again, they broke into the forbidden area – and worse, yet, into the holy of holies, the grounds around the Cook Shack and the pool. So now all the turnstiles (would you believe they actually managed to get through those!!) are barricaded with bits of wood, and seem now to be impenetrable, so that the present day Grapevine, with thick wire repairs to the fences everywhere, and fortified with extra barbed wire, looks like some sort of version of Stalag 17. But – hey – it works….

Then we had the great bull escape, which I told you about last time, and his trip to the sale yard. So after that I looked for another bull, this time a small-calf producing bull for the heifers, which I decided to breed earlier, in the interest of a better calf crop. I consulted our veterinarian, who runs the local feed yard, and who is a world expert on cattle reproduction, and he told me of a breeder who had good, registered bulls housed for sale at the feed lot. To cut a long story short, we picked out a beautiful young Black Angus bull, with a pedigree longer than mine, and one guaranteed to throw small-birth calves. The breeder’s name is Tom, so what else to call the bull but Tommy!

We brought Tommy home and introduced him to his harem of 27 eager and beautiful heifers, and it’s quite comical to watch them. Almost any time you find them lazing around, laying around in groups of five or six, with Tommy favoring first one group, and then another. One time Kate told me she came on them all snoozing grouped around Tommy, with one heifer leaning up against his back with her head draped across his neck – how nice is that!! Yesterday I checked them and counted the full number sunbathing, all peaceful and happy. Nice to see happy creatures – especially given how unsettled we of the human race are nowadays!

But, just to make sure that we don’t get too happy, Comanche, being the master of barbed wire and cut feet, managed to get yet another cut just above the coronary band, necessitating a trip to the vet and a plaster cast around the foot to stop proud flesh from developing – a system which our veterinarian invented, and which is very successful. Truly, I wish horses had to pick up the bills of the ranch once in a while! So tomorrow we have to head back with him to get the plaster cut off his leg, taking with us one of Kate’s horses with a mysterious swelling on her foot! Horses – as I say, they seem to know when you’re relaxed and happy, and take care that you taste a bit of sorrow! At least it’s only financial sorrow…

And still on the subject of horses’ feet, my big black and white rescue horse, Chikala, has an absolute phobia about being shod by our excellent farrier, Ross. To get shoes on Chikala was an almost constant rodeo, with the horse pulling back, running over us, rearing up – and, given that he is over 16 hands, weighs well over 1200 lbs and has feet the size of puddin’ plates, that’s no joke! Finally, a few months back, I asked Butch, who used to wrangle at Grapevine, and who is making quite a success of being a horse trainer, to see what he could do. Butch took him in hand and shod him twice – I must say that it was a labor of love, as it was definitely not a moneymaker for Butch! He took the horse into the round pen and every time Chikala jerked, or took his foot away, or was in any way uncooperative, Butch made him work – ran him around the round pen, worked him on the lead line, work, work, work. Then back to the shoeing – you do well, you get to stand, you play up, and it’s back to work. As I say, he shod him twice and then – left us for Pennsylvania!!

So now, just yesterday, Ross had to shoe Chikala, and we were all quite apprehensive about the coming circus. To our great amazement, Chikala stood there, relaxed and co-operative, giving his foot up, letting Ross work on it, putting it down, picking it up again when asked – a total miracle. I couldn’t wait to phone Butchie in PA and tell him the incredible news! What a trainer – and to think he only came to it fairly late in life, about the time he began to wrangle at the ranch! The man has a definite talent with horses, and we are so grateful to him – Ross, in fact, asked me twice to make sure I call Butch and tell him!

And I guess this would not be complete without a report on filly Ayita. Remember how happy we were that we had haltered her the day she hit the ground and how well she was doing?? I guess the God of Horses didn’t like this – it’s called hubris, isn’t it? – and took us down a peg or two. About five weeks back Ayita stuck her head through a corral panel on her pen and, as the panel is on a couple of pins to make it removable for tractor cleaning of the pens, she lifted it off the hinge. This apparently upset her enough that now she doesn’t want to hear of having her head caught in anything, forget the halter, forget the nice goodies, forget the nice people, just be a pesky bronc! Given that she now is a fair lump in size – and with an overly satisfied opinion of herself – it is quite a problem. We had to begin all over again and after all this time have only to the point of being able to catch her head –in a halter? oh no – just in the crook of an arm. Produce anything that looks like a rope, and she is gone, gone…. So now we have to get serious about it all, and it will be more difficult as if we had never haltered her in the first place! Truly, the best laid plans of mice and men….

And on a purely personal note, I went to my eye doctor the other day, and she informed me that I have a wrinkle on the retina of my left eye. Now I call that downright rude! As if it isn’t enough to have wrinkles on one’s face, neck, arms – now there’s one even in the eyeball! It only goes to reaffirm my conviction that old age stinks!

But – and this is a good thing – it has turned hot – a most unusual 90 degrees here yesterday, with a similar forecast for today. Just hope it bring on the rains!!!!

And – do the “sell the ranch” dance for me!!

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16 Responses to A Wrinkle in the Eyeball

  1. Jan Bennett says:

    How old Comanche? I remember when you used to ride him about 15yrs ago? Sure do love that ranch. Such good memories.

    Jan B.

  2. Elizabeth A. Leopold says:

    Hi Eve, Sounds like Ayita is just a tad like Emma, 10 month o.d Dobie! What do you think – a titch head strong and opinionated??? I’ll let you know when I have found the key. Tee-Hee – grin and bare it, and in the mean time, just be patient – obviously she is very intelligent and will become one heck of a “riding companion as well and more importantly, your partner. Love the posting!

    As always,

    Jane & liz

  3. Hi Eve, the ranch is waiting for my lottery numbers to come up – sorry!

    It seems its the season for the vets to increase their turnover. My 4 year old QH Zac was on 3 legs on Monday morning and I confess to fearing the worst but after numerous xrays and scans it has been decided he has damage to his suspensory ligament. So for probably the next 6 months when my trainer Dave Stuart relocates to the UK form Australia he will be out of action – think he may be telling me something! Good to hear that Chikala has decided shoeing isnt so bad – what is that saying passed from the master horsemen? “Make the right thing easy, make the wrong thing difficult” ? Seems like Butch has done a great job using that strategy.

    love to you all as always, Chris x

  4. Kelly & Al says:

    Enjoyed this post Eve….. especially ” Nice to see happy creatures – especially given how unsettled we of the human race are nowadays! ” How very true…. everyday our dog Pheebe teaches us happiness and contentment through her pure non-judgemental love.
    You can tell a person’s character by the way they treat their creatures. You are a loving example of that..
    Hope that wrinkle smooths out ! Kelly

  5. Eve says:

    Hi everyone!! How nice to hear from you – so good to keep in touch. Yes, the right thing easy, the wrong thing difficult is the way, but I am rethinking that we should have named her Monkey instead of Ayita – now we can’t even get her into the round pen. Totally predictable, I guess – she went in twice, had to work, decided That’s not for me! and now, even with her mom in there eating her dinner, Ayita prances around outside and will not, will NOT go in. So I guess we will have to resort to catching her head in a long rope and letting her carry it around the pen – under supervision, of course – and then gradually reeling her in like a fish. What a little snit! And so sure of herself, it’s quite comical. I will keep you all posted!
    And how old is Comanche – he’s 23 and very sound except for an intermittent foot problem now and then. I am thinking I should ride him again actually and see how he does. Again, if I do, I will be sure to let you know!! He is still the love of my horsy life, though Tequila, Scotty and Chikala come a close second!

  6. Jenny Childs says:

    Hi Eve
    Love to hear all about your adventures. Animals are so unpredictable we can never relax. My pony produced a filly yesterday at 312 days! We weren’t prepared and she did it all by herself amongst the mixed group in the field. What a surprise I had! Today when I fetched them in the foal, Rosie, ran off in the opposite direction much to the amusement of everyone, with her tail up in the air. At least our pastures are not the size of the pastures at Grapevine or I’d never catch her.
    Best wishes to you all. Jenny

  7. Monica Christensen says:

    Hey Eve,
    So glad to hear all the news of the ranch. We “drove past” last weekend meaning we passed through Sunsites on our way back from viewing the burned out areas in the Chiricahuas. I kept pointing up to Grapevine Canyon wistfully but my son said we did not have time to stop.
    Always glad to hear news of our favorite wranglers, Butch being a prime example. Is he in PA permanently? What a loss to Arizona!
    Best to you and remember to call me or Kathleen if you come up to Tucson.

  8. Claudia says:

    Eve, as Chris said the ranch is waiting for the right owner:=) I only had 5 numbers out of seven right, so next time it has to be better!
    Butch is amazing, Arizona lost a good man.
    Love your stories. Get your filly in a small pen and halter her there and leave it on with a rope for a while.
    Have fun catching her

  9. Linda Borg says:

    Hey eve
    Sure miss the ranch. It’s been a trying year. My moms really sick and I was n a car accident but I’m a lover of summer so things are picking up. Sending hugs your way.

  10. Joanna Dooley says:

    Hello Eve, I wonder if you could possibly contact me directly regarding Grapevine. We are English and extremely interested in the ranch as a family business venture. We think we came to the ranch many years ago when the children were much younger but were turned away as they were too young! Perhaps you’d be kind enough to contact me via email. We are back in the USA next month and would like to view the ranch with a view to progressing things further. Many thanks, Jo & Trevor

  11. Cathy Katrovitz says:

    Philip and I managed to visit Grapevine Canyon Ranch only once–way back in Dec.’03. The few days we were able to spend there left us with such terrific memories. Just a couple of days ago, Phil, out of the blue, said “There are just a few places we’ve traveled I’d like to return to–Grapevine Canyon Ranch is one of them.” I just got around to Googling it and was saddened to find out it could never happen again. However, nothing lasts forever. Phil and I retired just a year and a half ago. Phil is 80 yrs young and still doing well but he has health problems like most who manage to live so long. We wish you well, Eve. Have read several of your blog entries this morning. Sounds like your life is full – and good. Will check back from time to time. Again, best wishes to you and thanks for all the great memories.

  12. Marilyn says:

    Hi Eve,
    Reading bag through peoples responses to your last blog, nice to see someone from UK interested in the ranch, I hope it works out successfully, it would be nice for it to be a going concern again and the problem of looking after it off your hands, could mean just a little less stress in your hectic life. Guess who Dai happened to see in London last week just walking down the street, YES Sally and Craig, as you know we are meeting up with them on the 30th so we will have a lot to talk about. I was sorry to read about Camanche but glad that the work Butch did with Chikala was successful I remember watching the antics with Ross at Easter.
    Hope the storage pen with pictures arrive safely.
    Best wishes with the wrinkles – yes I have some too!!

    Love Marilyn & Dai

  13. Ron says:

    We’ve had a number of your former guests contact us and ask about McGarry Ranches. We have also spent a week with Lynn and Erine Muro, or they spent it with us..They talked about Grapevine and how much they loved it…also all the friends they make going throughout the years. Thank you for recomending us to everyone and if you get the chance come up and visit us…we are not as fancy a ranch (by your pictures) as your ranch but we do work cattle everyday as it was done in the 1860’s. Hope things are going well for you and thanks again for the recomendations…ron http://www.mcgarryranches.com http://www.facebook.com mcgarry ranches.

  14. Eve says:

    Hi everyone!! So good to hear from you all!
    First of all, Joanna, I don’t have any way to contact you that I can see – why don’t you e-mail me at eve@gcranch.com I would love to have English neighbors!!
    Marilyn, thanks for alerting me to Joanna’s comment – I had not got to read this blog response for a while, things have been so hectic, and so always, please everyone – jostle me a bit if I don’t react!!
    Sorry, Linda, about your troubles and I hope your mom’s doing better!
    And Claudia, keep trying – that’s a whole lot more than I get when I play the numbers – you may be onto a lucky streak!
    Monica – how DARE you drive past and not stop in!!! At least we are not so far away from each other and we’ll have to get that Tucson lunch on one of these days. Talk to Sue about it.
    And finally, Jenny – at least you didn’t have the worry of sweating it out, waiting and waiting, as we did. I’ll take the lucky unpredictable birth any day over that nightly checking, and sweating.
    Cathy, I am so glad you liked the ranch so much – it had mean a lot to me over the years and I was so happy to share it. If you do happen to be in the neighborhood, get in touch – I live on the cattle ranch, just next door and would love to visit with you and Phil.

  15. mike franke says:

    Eve, what ranch in the area would recommed that can offer what grapevine offered thats affordable that prvevious gc guests have visited and liked, let us know, Mike and Jackie Franke, (how about selling time shares) food for thought

  16. Timeshares – what a wonderful idea!

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