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Soul of the Desert

New Mexico

Am I the Only One?

When I went through security at the airport, my backpack was marked for special checking. I had to FIND an agent and ask when I could get my bag because it was sitting behind a special plastic partition, waiting.

The agent told me it had been selected because I was carrying something that wasn’t allowed in the airport.

I couldn’t imagine what that might be. It’s a brand new pack so it was highly unlikely that I had left hiking supplies in it. When I hike, I sometimes have odd items. (And back in the good old travel days I used to carry all kinds of tools in case of an emergency. One of those was a neat Leatherman knife that had all kinds of gadgets on there to save my life!)

The agent put my pack on a machine where the contents were viewable by his x-ray machine. He picked up some kind of a special wand thingie. He questioned me while he opened the main compartment:

Are you traveling with anything sharp?

“Not that I know of.”

Out came my peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

“I brought my lunch,” I said helpfully. “I don’t think there is enough jelly on there to tip the “too many liquid ounces.'”

“No, there was just something in here they didn’t recognize on the main pass.” Out came an apple. Followed by an 6 ounce round of Edam. Or maybe it’s 8 ounces, but it’s not like I was planning on eating the whole thing in one sitting. Next came a package of home made sugar cookies, 6, if you must know.

“Wow,” the agent said.

He started to put his wand in and it hit the other bag of cookies. He pulled those out too. His eyebrows had left his face. He then peered inside as if he expected more!! HMPH.

“Food is expensive in the airport,” he acknowledged.

And apparently not readily recognized on x-ray. Am I the only one who travels with food??? He had to have help getting it all back in there. Not a very efficient packer, if you ask me.

HMPH.

Y’all know what life is like on the ranch because you read the blog. When I fly to visit my parents, it’s a 3 hour drive from the airport to the ranch. There are often stops and delays for projects no one told me about. We’re crossing miles of open desert. What if Dad suddenly decided to just go rock hunting or something??? Of course I carry food. You never know what might happen when you’re with my family–or how long it might take. Good thing he didn’t have to go through my suitcases. There’s food in there too.

Posted: December 13, 2016
Filed in New Mexico, Travel, Walks in Life

Best Soap

All righty then. I went down to take Mr. Snuggles an apple this afternoon. Mind you, I know he planned on chewing on ME rather than the apple, but I’m on to his wily ways. I gave him the apple BEFORE entering the pen. Then when he turned to nip me, I grabbed his halter. I told him VERY clearly, “There will be no biting and no drooling.” He understood.

I washed his eyes (he has allergies) and kept hold of his halter. He didn’t fuss. I swear he’s easier to handle than Leo the Cat. There is no handling Junior the Cat so I know he’s easier than Junior. Eventually, he wanted to finish his apple pieces, so I released his head while I gave him a bit of a brushing. He ate his apple and instead of grabbing my arm, he went for the bottom of my pants, smearing in a good bit of apple juice. “MR. SNUGGLES.”

His teeth firmly on my sweatpants, his eyes rolled back to watch me. I am surprised he did not laugh out loud. I retrieved his head/halter. When I went to his other side, that horse tried to kiss me! YES, HE DID. RIGHT IN THE FACE. I am a horse lover, but that is SERIOUSLY taking things too far. “NO!!!!!” GAH. ICK. GAH.

We had another discussion about his bad habits. He understood me quite well, I assure you. Horses are very smart. I could also tell by the look in his eyes that he was biding his time.

I finished all his checks and brushing and slid out of the pen. He had dropped his apple on the ground when he went for my pant leg so I slithered one arm in to put it in his tray. GAH. With a huge slurping noise, he left horse drool ALL OVER MY SLEEVE. It is utterly disgusting. Some sort of mix of hay, apple and horse drool. DISGUSTING. When I asked my mother what was the best laundry soap to clean horse drool, she laughed. Couldn’t even speak. Yeah, just you wait. Mr. Snuggles will get you.

I told Dad about the horse trying to kiss me. Do you know what he said? Can you even imagine? “Oh yeah. I’ve been teaching him that. I make horse blowing noises at him and lean in like I’m going to let him kiss me. But I’m too fast. I get out of the way.” ARE YOU CRAZY?? Of course he is. Who teaches a baby horse that kind of disgusting trick???? UGH.

So now I have a perfectly good shirt with horse drool all over one arm. I don’t know how to get the stain out. Gross.

Posted: February 22, 2017
Filed in New Mexico, Walks in Life
Tags:, , ,

Bull-oney

I was just finishing up watering the cow this morning when Dad drove up. “Want to come and check the water at the Noonday with me? I need to see if the bull is there.”

“Sure.” I had my shit kicker boots on because to water the cow you have to enter the pen. I did have my nicer sweat pants on because I was only planning on watering the cow and the garden. I hadn’t had breakfast either.

Off we went. The bull was not at the tanks. Why would it be so helpful? That meant we counted cows and headed over to the other side of the mountain pass to check the other side. There are really two sets of mountains here (this is the nearby range, not the far ranch). The bull wasn’t at the water tank on the other side of the mountains, either. This side is fairly steep, but don’t despair. What follows are Dad’s comments as we searched.

“I made a half-ass road to get up this hill.”

IS THERE ANY OTHER KIND?

“I’m not sure if the road goes to the right or left of this tree.”

DOES IT MATTER??? If you can’t see it, what is the point???

“I’m going to build out this road on the end to go all the way down to the arroyo. I won’t be able to drive back up it, but I can get the truck down it.”

That should give you an idea of just how steep some of these hills are. One way–because sliding down is always easier if you can see what you’re going to hit.

Up on the next ridge:

“I’ll drive as close to the edge as possible so you can see down into the canyon better.”

Gosh, Dad. Favors like that simply aren’t necessary. I’ll just walk.

“I don’t know where that bull is. I’ve never gone over the top of this hill with the truck. I wonder if we can make it. It looks clear.”

Not that we could see OVER the top. Noooo, that doesn’t happen until we actually top it and the truck points DOWN. I thought it didn’t go too badly, though. Not until we had to go back UP the downside. Going down the truck didn’t slip. Going up was all about grinding rocks and slipping sideways. Even Dad said, ‘Shit” twice. That was followed by:

“I used to enjoy riding up here in the truck. Now that I’m old I feel every bump and every rock.”

That’s not because you’re old, Dad. I can feel them too because there is nothing but bumps, rocks and banging into the door and window as you try to hold on.

“Oh Shit,” Dad said again. “I just went over fresh cow shit with the back wheel. Now the bumper and tire is going to be full of cow shit. I’m going to have to wash the truck.”

Whatever, Dad.

We did not find the bull. So we’ll have to go back out again when it cools off. Cows and bulls sit under trees in the midday heat, which makes them impossible to see. They are merely dark shadows in the shadows off in the distance. Sometimes you get lucky and they are along the dry riverbeds where we take the truck, but it’s not worth driving out there much past 11. We looked for over two hours. We counted cows three times because we overcounted at one spot and had to go back to verify the actual number at the first tank after double checking the ones in the sandy riverbed.

When we got home, since I’d already showered first thing in the morning (fool) and then hiked about looking for a bull, I gave El Paso his bath. Then I took another shower. If we go out again tonight, I’ll be taking a third. It’s not that I have to be pristine all the time, but I was hot, sticky and smelled like cows and dog. It’s also impossible to get a comb through your hair after driving around for two hours looking for a sneaky bull.

Posted: September 13, 2017
Filed in New Mexico, Walks in Life
Tags:, , ,

Busy Week

Well, I had to say goodbye to Mr. Snuggles. It was pretty cold when I walked down to tell him I was headed back home. He had his nose buried in his grain, but after some coaxing, he came over to see me (only because I had peanuts on offer. I’m not fooled. No horse is going to leave his grain just to get a nose rub). He’s having a fine time and growing fast.

While at the ranch I helped install two toilets (three if you count the fact we had to do the one twice. Well, actually we did it three times so I guess that is four toilet installs.) I have quite decided that I don’t like toilets, especially installing them. Leaky things, they are. At one point when Dad was on the floor between the toilet and the wall to tighten bolts, he got stuck. Yup. He was wedged in there pretty good. He doesn’t bend or sit up as easily as he used to, and he can no longer raise his arms above his head. He couldn’t get purchase with his legs either. I had to grab his ankles and yank him out of there. Only I pulled a little hard and his shirt sleeve got caught on the toilet bolt. So then he couldn’t squish his way BACK up far enough to get it loose. We were about to cut the shirt off, but I decided to just heave-ho him back in there. He was not particularly appreciative of my helpfulness, but I *did* get him out of there. It wasn’t my idea for him to get stuck. It certainly wasn’t me who didn’t bolt the flange down to the floor when the house was built (the thing was spinning like a frisbee in flight. That doesn’t make for a very steady toilet install. No wonder the old toilet came loose and started leaking.) Personally, I thought one of my brothers should have helped with the toilet tasks, but they were suspiciously absent. Hmph. I have my revenge planned…

So back in Austin the sun is out, and it’s almost 28. That’s up from the 19 it was when we got up. Winter is here. In case you haven’t noticed! I think I’ll just sit in my chair and drink hot cocoa all day.

Posted: December 19, 2016
Filed in New Mexico
Tags:,

Cattle Prod – Back on the Ranch

I recently visited my parents in NM. There were the usual chores, but on Friday, it was supposed to rain or snow–a much needed event in what has been a terrible drought. Unfortunately as it started to threaten rain, Dad remembered he had left his welder uncovered out on the ranch. The drive out there is about one and a half hours each way.

Well, it’s never good for him to go alone, so in the truck we went. The roads aren’t paved and a lot of the time the term “road” is very questionable. There are 3 gates to get into the property and then two more used to separate the grazing pastures. In NM, grazing even 20 cows on a thousand acres has been a trick. There hasn’t been rain, which means no grass grows. Trees are dying. Many ranchers are getting out of the business entirely. It’s expensive to feed cattle when you can’t graze them at least a little bit. Dad goes up twice a week to check on the cattle and to pump water. We have two main water tanks. We have earth tanks too, but they have been completely dry this year and last. There wasn’t even mud on the bottom.

When we arrived at the corral, Dad said, “This is GREAT! The cows are coming in there. I need to take two calves back. We’ll have to go back and get the trailer!”

Wait a minute. Did we just drive and hour and a half to get here, and now you’re telling me we have to drive back to get the trailer?

Yes, that is exactly what he was telling me. Argh.

“I’ve been trying to get the cows to the corral for over a week without bringing the horse up here.”

“Uh-huh.”

We drove over to the welder and covered it. Rain spit on us now and then, and it was cold, about 35 to 40 degrees out.

We went back to the corral to separate the two calves from the other cows. Dad told me to guard the gate. This means I stand with it open, and he herds the cows he doesn’t want out the gate. In theory. Getting just the ones you want out is trickier than you might think. I asked Dad, “What is the plan?”

“You just stand there. I’ll herd them out.”

“Okay.” This seemed sharply lacking in detail to me. I am a planner by nature. I want to know exactly what is happening so that I can form contingencies, plan A through plan F and so on. Maybe this really would be that simple. I didn’t remember it being that simple growing up, but maybe the cows were smarter now.

The first two went out easily. The next was a bull, and he was more than suspicious of me. He headed for the opening, but along came a calf, one we wanted. I ran with the gate to close it. This is not a small gate so when you want to shut it you have to move FAST. Faster than a running bull.

“Let the bull out, but not the calf!”

They were right together and the calf ran faster. I clapped at the calf to get him back and closed the gate. Silly guy ran right into the fence and bounced off.

Rather loud cursing followed. “I told you to let the bull out! Do just what I tell you! Don’t start thinking and getting fancy ideas! And don’t be making loud noises!” The man was yelling at the top of his lungs. This means that people in Utah probably heard him.

Dad chased cows around the pen and eventually separated the two calves. “SHUT THE GATE!” he yelled. “HURRY UP! Both of them! Can’t you do any thinking on your own? DO I HAVE TO TELL YOU EVERY LITTLE THING??”

Wait just a minute…I thought I wasn’t supposed to be Miss Idea over here…and what second gate? I don’t see a second gate…you never mentioned a second gate in the ‘plan.” Oh, THAT gate. Now WHY didn’t you tell me you were chasing them in there? I thought the plan was to LEAVE them in here and get all the others out. I didn’t even KNOW there was a narrow pen over there!!! He had added the entire corral since the last time I was up here.

Dad may be old, but he is used to moving fast. He jumped after the calves and shut the other gate. “I thought you knew what you were doing,” Dad muttered.

I could have pointed out that I didn’t need to know what *I* was doing, I needed to know what *he* was doing. Hmph.

Dad eyeballed the truck, wondering if he could convince the calves to stay in the back. It has high sides added, but no top. Calves that get spooked might try to jump out. In the end, we decided to head back and get the trailer.

It wasn’t terrible; just a long drive home and back. My job was to manage the gates, put the truck in four wheel drive (this is a manual operation involving turning a dial on the front wheels) and guide the truck to the cow ramp. Getting the trailer in place was the lengthiest operation because it had rained some and was getting muddy. Dad jackknifed the trailer once, but we were lucky. No damage.

Eventually we got the little guys on. I put away a side gate we had used to close a gap on one side between the trailer and the ramp (This prevents them from trying to squeeze their way to freedom). “Side gate” means we rigged a spare ladder that was at the water pump station. Because I was carrying this long ladder, I was not watching where I put my feet and managed to step directly in a fresh cow paddy. Just lovely.

The weather was worsening. What had been spitting snow was now a mix of sleet, occasional rain and wind.

On the drive back, I got out at the first gate, and my hat blew off. The truck grill caught it. Good thing. It was really Dad’s cap, and I borrowed it from his other truck for this event. I recall some sort of instruction about, “Make sure you put it back. I need to have it in there for when I need it.”

At the next gate, it started hailing the very second I got out of the truck. It stopped almost as soon as I was back in. The third gate–the wind blew it open as we approached!!! Too bad that it hit the sandy hillside and bounced back before we could actually get through the gate. The fourth gate, a wind gust took that hat and blew it to Utah or maybe Mexico. I was busy with the lock and never even saw it leave.

“What happened to my hat?” Dad said as I climbed in the cab. “You lost it this time, didn’t you?”

“No, the wind took it. I had nothing to say about it.”

“Hmph.”

True story. I couldn’t have caught that hat. I never saw it leave.

We made it safely home and Dad installed the calves in their new corral. As I cleaned my boots, I realized I had mud all down one pant leg. I washed up and started on dinner. Just another day at the ranch, but I’m really glad I had those boots on. Wear your boots people. Life is often full of shit that is unavoidable even when you know it is there.

Possible related book: Soul of the Desert Soul of the Desert is a novel about survival, hope and overcoming impossible adversity.
(Click on the tag “ranch stories” in the lower right of this post for more stories about Dad and the ranch!)

Country Life

There’s nothing quite like hanging laundry on a cold morning before you rush off to town. I took half the clothes out and slapped the sheets across the line to spread out later. Fixed the rest of the bundle to the clothesline and went back inside for the rest. Finished fixing those on the line. My hands were freezing. By the time I went to straighten out the sheets, it was too late. They were frozen rather solid…I guess that is what happens when you try to hang laundry first thing and it’s only 32 degrees out!!!

Posted: February 25, 2017
Filed in New Mexico, Walks in Life
Tags:

Cowboys Don’t Sunburn

You know those nice cover shots on romance books where the cowboy isn’t wearing a shirt? Or those shots where he’s standing in his boots on the porch with nice clean jeans? Fiction. TOTALLY FICTION.

If you ever wondered how cowboys avoided sunburn back before sunblock I can tell you the answer. When you’re out ranching, whether by truck or horse, the first thing you encounter is gates. You have to dismount or get out of the truck to open and close gates. If you’re on a horse, the horse tends to stir up dust. If you’re in the truck, the truck wheels let loose a powder dusting as it eases through the gate. The person opening the gate gets a fine covering of delicate sand across every spare inch of her person. Nature’s sunscreen.

When you throw hay out the back of a truck so that you can entice the cattle to the corral, you get large bits of hay, dust and dirt showered across your person. More natural sunscreen. By the time you leave the ranch for home, you are actually wearing the equivalent of sunblock 152. Trust me, I calculated it on the last trip. There was enough dirt on my person to start a garden. And at the end of the day, if I’d had the energy to prop my boots on the porch railing for a picture, I guarantee you neither the boots nor my jeans were pristine. Those cowboys on the covers are TOTALLY fiction.

Posted: March 1, 2014
Filed in New Mexico, Walks in Life
Tags:, , ,

Down the Rabbit Hole

So, I’m visiting the parents on the ranch again. Dad and I went to look for cows on the far ranch. You know the place. Fifty miles past the middle of nowhere, no good roads. Dad decided I needed to learn to drive out there (again. You will recall the last time he decided this, he let me drive for about five minutes before declaring I was trying to kill him.) It rained recently, so many of the main dirt “roads” were full of ditches where the water had carved out a rocky path. Just remember, ladies, when you’re asking for equality, it isn’t always a boardroom job. No, we have to be equal when it comes to cows and roads too.

I was doing pretty well, bouncing us along about five miles an hour or so. I switched into high-gear 4 wheel drive when we reached the ranch part. I know the general route and know where the gates are. Hint: If you are on gate duty, the way to tell which way the gate opens is to note where the truck stops. If the truck stops with enough room to open towards the truck, it’s going to open that way. If the truck goes all the way up to the gate, it opens the other direction. There is no other obvious way to tell. If I am driving said truck, I just GUESS.) Dad didn’t complain much about the extra walks to the gates and on the bright side, I didn’t run over Dad or a gate!

When we came to the spot where the earth tank had run across the road, I asked about putting the truck into low-gear 4 wheel drive. “You don’t need it,” Dad said. “But I don’t know why you’re in drive instead of 1st gear. You drive like the neighbor. I think it’s easier in first gear.”

Well, if he’d MENTIONED that, I guess I’d have been in first gear. FINE.

We made it through the running mud puddle. I was pretty pleased.

On the other side, up an incline, we found a set of cows. “STOP!” Dad yelled.

“GAH!” No, we weren’t under attack, but apparently he had determined we were as close as we’d get before they ran off so he wanted to stop to note the ear tag numbers. It hardly seemed like an EMERGENCY stop order to me. We were only piddling along anyway. SHEESH.

We counted cows. Then the cows wandered into the road in front of us. Mind you, some of these cows stand taller than the front hood. Sometimes they stop. In the dirt road track. See, I don’t appreciate this because I like a tiny bit of momentum for the hills. “Just push them with the truck,” was Dad’s advice.

I honked the horn. The cow didn’t like that. She skittered forward three or four steps before glancing back and…stopping. I moved forward and honked. This time she decided to stand her ground and invite her calf to hang out as well. OH FOR THE LOVE OF. I tapped her with the truck grill. So far as I know, the only purpose of a truck grill is to tap cattle to get them moving. But I see a lot of these truck grills in Austin. I know all those trucks don’t have to worry about cows. Yet they all have grills. Why???

Anyway, Cow 19 decided she’d move. She took her calf along with her.

“Stay close, or she’ll stop again,” Dad advised.

BOTHER.

That worked until we came to the bull. The bull was facing us and is larger than the cow. Less pleasant looking too. Big black face. Giant face, in fact. “Get out of the way,” Dad called out the window.

The bull looked at him and gave this kind of nod and a snort and moved aside.

We all know that if I had politely asked that bull to move, he’d still be there blocking the road into next week. Dad is the cow whisperer in this family and I can pretty much guarantee that bull would have just stood there looking at me for a week, maybe two.

This sort of searching for cows and jotting down their tag numbers continued until we arrived at the water tank an hour or so later. There, we checked the water levels and took a short break before Dad said, “You better let me drive. It gets rough from here.”

WHAT??? And those roads were what? Freeways???

If it had been anyone other than Dad, I’d have rolled my eyes and made a smart remark. I also wouldn’t have believed whoever came up with such a ridiculous sounding lie. I kept my mouth shut and got in the passenger side.

The first part wasn’t too bad if you don’t count the spinning wheels, the rocks sliding out from under the wheels and the fact that the road by the river had grass so long, we couldn’t see the actual road. When we had to cross the running creek, boulders had rolled down and there were potholes the size of the tires.

“I’m not sure I’m on the road anymore,” Dad said. “This isn’t in very good shape.”

“I guess it’s the road now,” I said.

“Yeah,” he agreed happily. “If we aren’t stuck, it’s a road.”

That pretty much sums up Dad’s definition of “road.”

We went by the cabin, still looking for more cows. There were none to be found. Past the cabin, there is a fork in the road. You can take the low road or the high road.

“With the rain, I wonder if we can make it up the high road,” Dad said. “We should be okay, but I guess we’ll slide back down if not.”

Ah, words of reassurance. Dad is such a comfort.

We started up the first rock, some sort of gate into the road from hell. The truck was working pretty hard at this road, but we weren’t moving very often. It got steeper and rockier. “I guess I should have let you drive this part so you’d learn.”

“I know how to drive up this road,” I replied through clenched teeth. “You take the low road.”

He snorted at my lack of enthusiasm.

The first time the rocks went out from under the wheels, we didn’t actually slide back. We just pedaled in place and at least one of us prayed. The rocks rolled under the wheels as if we were on some kind of churning balls. They moved, we didn’t. The tires were grinding, but they held.

The second time it happened, the truck slid sideways and then refused to continue climbing. Dad said, “You let it roll back a tiny bit until the tires grip and then you go again.” He demonstrated by easing up on the gas, letting the truck roll backwards as he worked the brakes with the other foot. It would have been more impressive if I’d heard the rest of the instructions, but I was praying too hard to actually catch whatever it was he was yelling against the sound of sliding rocks, grinding tires and revving engine.

Dad kept up this type of survival driving the rest of the way up the cliff. He had the GALL to start WHISTLING. There I was in the middle of the fourth Hail Mary and he seemed to think this was some kind of fun! Whatever, Dad.

We weren’t having much luck finding the cows. We went over a hill, across a valley, back around and to a lower road. I think it’s the other end of the low road that we should have taken instead of the high cliff road, but I’m not positive. “I guess we should take that and see if we can find the rest of the cows,” he said. “We need to brand the last four tomorrow.”

So we started on the low road, only then there was another fork in the road. Yes, of COURSE he took the high road! HMPH.

It wasn’t actually bad though, not compared to the other one. Not until he asked, ‘Is that a road there?”

“No,” I responded without bothering to look. My road philosophy differs from his. Mine is: “If you can’t see it, it isn’t a road.”

“Oh, you’re right. Here it is.”

No, it wasn’t. We just veered off into a bunch of brush that didn’t have an actual tree in the way.

“I haven’t driven down here in a long time so the road is hard to find.”

He meandered along a completely unmarked tiny rabbit trail. I just kept my mouth shut and looked for cows.

“I don’t think they’ll be down here. I don’t see any fresh tracks or cow dung.”

Well, so what? I hadn’t seen a road and that hadn’t stopped him either!!!

We went round and about and then came to a spot that seemed impassable. “I’ll turn around here. Did you see any fresh tracks on that ant mound back there?”

“No, there were no fresh tracks.” This was a true statement. I’d seen the ant mound because it was the only sandy area visible. The rest was covered in grass, weeds, trees and cacti.

“We should probably drive closer and check.”

Well, since roads weren’t a requirement, why not????

He backed up, made a circle, did this and that and we were on our way. We got over to the ant mound by driving over two small oak trees, and taking a tree branch on both windows/mirrors at the same time. Note: While watching for cows, you must also watch for trees that jab inside the window.

There were no fresh tracks and no cows and no cow dung. He drove a bit past the mound so that we could get better visibility up the side of a nearby hill, but no luck. He turned around.

We drove out a few yards and found the ant mound. Dad stopped. “Where did the road go? Is that it?”

“No.” There was a huge rock just past where he was pointing. We hadn’t gone over anything that large because we wouldn’t have made it.

He drove some more.

“Is that it?” I pointed to a small tree. “We went over a small tree or two.”

“I don’t remember that tree.” He drove up to the tree. “Yeah, this could be it, but I don’t remember that tree. Maybe this is it.”

Another few yards and suddenly a huge tree loomed. Rocks jutted out like some kind of wild graveyard. “I don’t think this is it,” Dad said.

“Look there,” I yelled. “It’s a rabbit.”

Dad gave me a surprised glance. “That’s just a jackrabbit. So what?”

“So you took a rabbit track down here. Ask the rabbit. It knows this track.”

Dad snorted. The rabbit hopped away. Dad drove to the right until we hit more trees. “This isn’t it either. There are no truck tracks from us coming down this way. Now we’re lost.”

Technically, we weren’t lost. We knew right where we were. We even knew where we wanted to be: The top of the hill. What we didn’t know was HOW TO GET THERE.

He got the truck turned around and we headed in the general direction of the ant mound. The rabbit appeared again. “Follow that rabbit,” I said. “I’m telling you this is a rabbit track!”

Since the rabbit was in front of us, Dad followed the rabbit. When it veered left into the brush, Dad stopped and looked that way. “Yup, this is right. I see the tracks.” He meant the truck tracks, not the rabbit ones, but really, what’s the difference???

Saved by a rabbit. Unbelievable.

The adventure continued as we hunted cows. At one point, Dad had to back up a very long way because we went down a road that he decided wasn’t going to lead to cows and there was no place to turn around. This didn’t even faze him. CRAP. I can barely drive half those “roads” while looking straight ahead. He backed that truck up like he was still going forward. I’d have ended down the side of the hill even on the best of the “roads.”

Yeah. I learned something all right. FOLLOW THE RABBIT!!!

Posted: September 8, 2017
Filed in New Mexico, Walks in Life
Tags:, , ,

From the Ranch

Mom sent greetings this morning from her walk down to the garden. I *told* her there was a snake living under that rock. She paid me no mind. When a snake leaves a calling card, you tend to notice. Especially when they are this large.

Hopefully it’s a nice bull snake and not a rattler. Mom measured the visible part of the skin and it clocked in at over 5 ft long.

Posted: September 27, 2017
Filed in New Mexico, Walks in Life
Tags:

Heels

We don’t get a lot of snow in NM where my parents live, but we always feel lucky when winter drops some much needed moisture in the desert. I was visiting recently and, as you can see, just such a snow arrived. While it was much welcomed, we had to attend a funeral the next day. New Mexico is rocky. It is mountainous in many spots, including the rather large hill/mountain where the cemetery is located. We weren’t certain we’d be able to make it up the graded road to the top even with four wheel drive because of the snow. The snow usually freezes overnight and forms a layer of ice which can make four-wheel driving dangerous and unpredictable on steep inclines. The road to the cemetery is a steep incline. It’s lengthy too, especially if you’re contemplating walking it.

Not to worry, we can certainly all walk. Well, yeah, it’s quite a hike. We called everyone and mentioned they’d need good shoes because even if we made it to the top, it would be muddy and rocky on the way to the gravesite. It was a private funeral so a very small crowd was expected, but…two of the ladies showed up in heels and at least two of the men wore dress shoes. For the love of Mike (as Dad would say and I have no idea who Mike is) why in the world would you wear heels out to any cemetery? But especially one where “path” equates to “forge your own, watch out for other graves and there will be boulders?”

This was a family affair and I think everyone had been up there before…one person in heels had to stay back at the camp, but that was okay because someone had to set out the food and keep an eye on preparations. Well, okay two of them stayed, although one was my Mom and I know she has appropriate boots.

We all made it, although I suspect a couple of shoes, maybe more, are permanently ruined from the damp and mud. Dad didn’t have to use his winch to pull anyone out of any bad spots (but he did have it ready to go, but he’s that kind of guy.)

Me, I wore bedroom slippers. JUST KIDDING. Wanted to see if y’all were paying attention. I wore my seasoned hiking boots.

From a head stone:

Rest in Peace

Wayward wanderer, as you pass by
As you are now, so once was I.
As I am now, you soon will be.
Prepare yourself to follow me.

One Day you’ll be just
a memory for some people.
Do your best
to be a good one.

Posted: December 4, 2011
Filed in New Mexico, Walks in Life
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