Michael Dooley's Place ~ C bar lazy M

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AZ Journal Archive 2003

Stuff from the year 2003 ~

31 December 2003 - Wednesday Noon

This morning, a few minutes before eight, Clemente came in and told me Laredo was on the loose. He had opened the gate to his pen and was racetracking around the place showing off to all the other horses. When I got to him, he was standing between Peter Max’s and Bonnie’s pens, eating from a barrel filled with old oats. I haltered him and put him in a pen next to Sweetheart, my eldest Paint mare. I don’t think he is ever going to grow up—in the head—that is.

30 December 2003 - Tuesday Nite

Some days back I mentioned that my well was kaput. The well drilling outfit never showed up, so Clemente and I are noodling over whether or not he and I can repair it. Don't laugh, just because a Texican and an Irishman are involved, we just may pull it off - besides - it was Joe Stans idea. We have the equipment to drop the pump and pipe into the well. So, if we can just figure out the various intricacies of well—well--what is needed to be done to make it work—well—you know what I mean, don't you?

Our project list gets longer and longer, and I keep resorting it in order of our changing priorities. Right now the well is the number one problem, partly because with the 5/8" hose that is hooked to our neighbors well provides just enough water for the livestock and basic household needs, but not enough for irrigation and other things that require a lot of water, and partly because our nice neighbors may become tired of their shower pressure dropping to a trickle every time our livestock gets thirsty. Fruit needs to be picked, fences built, vehicles and machinery fixed, etc, etc.
Had hopes that it would rain, the forecast said that there was a good chance, but that seems to have evaporated, as it were, so it’s been overcast and cool, but not much else. As I write this the temperature is 36º, down from 47º when I put up the weather on the Home page.
Have photos to put up, as soon as I find the cable that connects my camera to the computer.
If you are not inclined to celebrate the coming of the New Year as I do—go to bed—then I do hope that you'll be safe and are able to stay where you are celebrating, or a have a sober chauffeur. Ya’ll be careful out there!

28 December 2003; Sunday Eve

Had supper with Patty, Mom, Jim & Jan; Mexican food from Nacho's. Heading back to Yuma en la mañana.

Man! The coyotes here are bold - they not only get in the yard, but get real close to the house. Have to watch the dogs' real close when we let them out, especially the little one that I gave Patty. She'd make a nice snack...

28 December 2003; Sunday Morn

Dawned clear and calm with the thermometer indicating 4º. I am not sure if the air temp ever got above freezing yesterday but the snow did melt where my brother Jim went over the drives with his Kubota snow blower and the sun was able to warm the plowed areas. There is still two to three inches of crunchy snow on the ground. It's really, really cold. The temp gauge says it's up to 25º now at 1000, so maybe it will get up into the 30's today.

My truck got stuck, and Jim is going to pull me out today so I hooked up the engine heater. I hate starting that diesel when it's super cold, it's takes forever to get to an operating temp where the oil thins out. Sometimes I wish I had an oil dilution system like I had on the 985's on my Twin Beech.

As I reported previously I'm out in my Dad's office with the radiant heater fired up, a necessity if ones fingers are to operate properly on the keyboard. Sisters Patty and Donna are in the house with Mom putting away the Christmas decorations. Mom is going to be doing some traveling around - over to San Luis Obispo to see my Aunt Fern (my godmother) and maybe come down to Yuma with Dom and Donna to see me - so they're putting all the holiday stuff away. It's a far cry from when we were younger - Mom would leave the Christmas stuff, tree, decorations, lights, up until March. I think I will leave the lights up at my place 'til spring, makes the winter a bit more festive.

Daughter Michelle flew out with friend Eric this morning to Kona to visit with her mother and grandfather, and sister Heather and hubby Kirk. Kirk, Heather, and my grandson Jasper moved over to the Big Island earlier this month. Ah yes - the fragrant scents wafting on the warm breezes - I remember it well...

White Christmas

29 December 2003; Monday Eve

Good run back - moderate traffic around Palm Springs - but speed limit plus. Some road construction just before I got to the river on I-8 which cost me about 15 minutes, but otherwise a fast run home.

Benito and I went out to check the horses, most of them were laying down, but got up to say "hi" to me. Loredo gave me a smooch. Looks like it could rain...

Mom's Guest House

29 December 2003; Monday Noon

Straightening up my digs (Mom's little guest house), packing, and getting ready to head out for Yuma. Brother Jim called on a friend of his with a Case backhoe, Ronnie (could pass as Pat Malone's brother - mustache and all), who came up and pulled me out of the mud. When I arrived here it was raining real hard, and when I pulled off the driveway my 7500# truck sank into the DG. At home, it's just the opposite - the only time I can drive my truck on the sand is when it's wet. Live and learn. (At 63, you'd think I would have learned by now!)

Been a pleasant stay - got my batteries recharged - which is good, 'cause I've got a ton of "horse" to move out to the pasture when I get home...

25 December 2003; Thursday

Nice Christmas with the family. 'Tis cold, rainy, very windy, and threatening to snow. Staying by the fire with a toddy ~

Hoping you all had a fine Christmas...

24 December 2003; Wednesday Morn

Left the Malone's at 0800 Monday and went to May Pipe in Overton to pick up the 40' gooseneck trailer that I was retrieving for the Knowlton's loaded with 17,000 lbs. of pipe that I was bringing home for corrals. The sky was overcast with a forecast of rain and possible thunderstorms.

Left Overton for Yuma at 0920. As I headed for Dallas/FortWorth the wind began to pick up out of the south, steadily increasing as I headed west. By the time I got to Fort Worth it was up to about 30 knots. As I left the Fort Worth area the sky began to clear, and it stayed clear 'til I got to Tucson where it became cloudy, and by the time I got to Casa Grande it was overcast again. Arriving back at the rancho in Yuma the overcast was low and to the west it looked like rain was on the way.

Around Abilene, the southerly shifted around to a northerly, and by the time I got to Odessa, it was howling out of the north.

Somewhere in New Mexico - around 0230 - I ran out of steam and pulled into a rest area. After a three hour nap I hit the road again. Pulled into Benson, Arizona to re-fuel just after daybreak. I had to pull my rig in with the big boys to re-fuel, 'cause it's too long to get into the RV/auto area. Arizona has different pumps for private and commercial and there is an eight cent difference. I paid a $1.69, forty cents more than when I fueled in the Tyler area. In Alabama I was able to get fuel for a buck thirty eight also. The cost of transport and taxes. Another thing that is a lot lower in the South is the price of tobacco products - 20 to 30 percent less than Arizona. Joe Stans told me, "There's two things these people around here don't like anybody to mess with - their guns - and the price of tobacco."

I pulled in through the gate at my place and it looked swell - Clemente has the place looking really spiffy. We pulled the trailer out back where we store our steel and offloaded the pipe. We rolled them off the trailer and then Clemente stacked them with a fork-lift from Jesse's that we have in for maintenance. Went down the road to the Red Pony Feed & Tack store to pick up feed for the livestock then back and put it up in the feed shed. Moved Laredo to another pen and fed everybody. The mares are really getting big, and Bonnie, the Palomino filly is turning into quite the big girl. Time to start training her. Sure good to be home.
Off to Mom's in Fawnskin - Big Bear Lake - around noon today for the Christmas holiday. Mom said it was sleeting when I talked to her yesterday afternoon. Wishing you all a fine Christmas...

15 December 2003 – Monday Morn

‘Tis the wee hours (real wee) of the morning. Will go to bed shortly, arise around seven, take a metal detector back to the place it was rented from, and then head up to Pinson to ready the trailer for tomorrows departure to East Texas. The metal detector was used to find an electronic collar receiver that one of the Stans dogs – Kerra(?) (a Basenji – cute little dog) lost.

It has cleared up here but is supposed to start raining again when I leave here on Tuesday. If I’m lucky, it will be clear in Texas – and warmer!
I have been watching "Super Volcanoes" on the Discovery Channel. I just love these shows! The way they put them together and narrate them are designed to just scare the poop out of you. Anyway, standby, Yellowstone Park is a super volcano and it going to erupt – again – and we’re toast. Maybe next week. Just wanted to let you know…

13 December 2003 – Saturday Eve

Dreary day, but beautiful in its own way. Raining on and off for several hours and the forecast calls for possible snow showers tonight. I was outside walking around the grounds and was watching the clouds go by. They appeared to be doing about 30 knots at a 1000’, but from my vantage point on the ground it was virtually calm.

Talked to Olivia this afternoon and she says everything is going well at the rancho. She is going to start bugging Clemente to finish putting up the Christmas lights. The place will look very much the holiday place within a week – we started a little late this year.
It’s been a wonderful stay with the Stans, but I’ll have to be moving on soon. Talked to Kelli Malone this afternoon and she says that all is well at their abode – health and otherwise. I am looking forward to seeing them before heading back to Arizona. Come to think I am getting a mite homesick, or at least anxious to see my horsies.

12 December 2003 – Friday Eve Eve

Went to Pinson (AL) to check out the trailer I’m picking up for the Knowlton’s; the spare is missing and the electrical plug is gone – I’ll replace it tomorrow. Other than that, it is a good looking trailer with a 20K load rating. Probably hit the road for East Texas Monday or Tuesday morning.

Clemente reported the well pump dropped off the shaft; Deere Drilling supposed to have it fixed in a couple of days. Had more than my share of trouble with this well. Fortunately, Clemente was able to hook up to the neighbors well.

07 December 2003 - Sunday Nite

Pearl Harbor Day - 62 Years

06 December 2003 - Saturday Noon

Still kicking back at Joe's. Might too chilly for me. I've begged Nola to turn up the heat, at least to 60, but she won't do it. I think she's trying to tell me something. I asked Joe if he has any control over her, but he just starts sniffling and crawls away. I have to go now, see if I can find some hot water to warm my fingers - they are so numb I can't type...

05 December 2003; Friday Eve

On the Road Again

Arrived at the Stans Castle (they act like it’s a double-wide) last night about 2000 – would have been here 15 minutes earlier, but decided to drive around in the dark and drizzle looking at the other mansions in the neighborhood. Yes, I am one of those poor souls that is deign to calling and asking, "Where the hell am I?!" But I did and found out I had missed it by only a half mile or so.

Nola served a great dinner last nite – lamb roast, asparagus, mint sauce, salad and rolls.
Took about 7.5 hours to drive over from Tyler. Started to go overcast in eastern Louisiana, and it was that way all the way through Mississippi, and then began to rain before I got to Tuscaloosa. Doesn’t slow the folks down on the Interstate, however. After Tuscaloosa, I come upon signs stating that there is "Construction Ahead" and "Reduced Speed Ahead" and then "55 MPH." Yeah, right! If you don’t hold 70-75 you are getting run over or holding up traffic. They do slow down when they see the pinball on a State Trooper car parked with the highway construction crew, but as soon as it disappears in the rear-view mirror – It’s NASCAR time agin!!!
As I mentioned before, I came to Alabama to pick up a trailer located north of Birmingham for the Knowlton’s and visit with my old buddy, Joe Stans. On the return I will pick up upset tubing (we call it drill pipe around Yuma) that we build corrals and fencing with. I bought 100 joints which is about 3100 feet. Should arrive back in the Tyler area by Monday or Tuesday, where I will visit with the Malones – Fuzzy and Kelli and their brood.
Joe set me up to update my site on his computer which has a DSL hookup to the web – WOW! Speedy, very speedy!

02 December 2003; Tuesday Eve

On the Road Again!

Covered 1300 miles in 22 hours which includes 2 naps totaling 2.5 hours. About dawn, maybe 100 miles west of Pecos, 20 or 30 miles west of Tommy Lee Jones' ranch at Boracho Estacîon, I ran into dense fog. As I entered the fog I saw a rest area, pulled in and took a two-hour nap. When I woke up - voîla! - CAFB - clear as an f---king bell. Between Pecos and Odessa it began to cloud up, and by Midland it was overcast all the way to Tyler. From Odessa and on for a couple of hundred miles had very strong crosswinds from the south - buffeted the old girl around a bit.

Head out for Bama tomorrow, probably, arriving at Joe's place on Thursday.

15 November 2003 ; Saturday Morn

Nice morning – bit cool. Very dewy this morning and on the verge of being foggy.

Clemente and I unloaded the container from my dropdeck yesterday afternoon. We had Jesse Oropeza’s Lull (big 4x4 forklift capable of lifting 4 ton) that we had just finished a service check on, so we took the opportunity to use it to offload the container. We gathered up four 8-10’ pipes and while I lifted the rear of the container, Clemente placed the pipes under the container. He pulled the rig forward while I kept a slight lift on the rear of the container. When the trailer was half-way out from under the box, I set it down on the ground, then moved the Lull around to the left front side of the container and picked it up. Clemente then drove the rig out from under the box and I set it down. It is near where we are going to place it when we build our new shop. It will make up part of the roof truss support on the west side of the shop, which will be 25’ x 48’. We’ll use the 40’ container for storage, and the 20’ as a shop. And, we’ll have to get the Lull back to move the containers into their final positions ‘cause the 20’ weighs 5000# and the 40’ weighs 8200#.

When we opened the doors, we found that we had imported some Black Widows from California. I’ll bomb it today in an effort to keep them from cross-breeding with our local Widows. These imports looked a bit scrawny compared to ours.

13 November 2003 ; Thursday

It dawned bright, clear and crisp this morning. It will be a good day to till the pasture. This "soil" works a lot better when it’s wet, almost like real dirt. Finishing up my stuff around here so I can hit the road and head for Alabama.

12 November 2003 ; Wednesday Eve

I am an unabashed fan of the Western Channel. I watch movies that my buddies and me used to see at the dime matinee on Saturday afternoons when my family lived in North Phoenix during the late 40’s—early 50’s. Tim Holt (my cousin Marilyn said he wasn’t a real cowboy ‘cause of the way he walked), Lash Larue, Johnny Mack Brown, The Cisco Kid, Buster Crabbe, Tim McCoy, and the top three for me – Gene Autry, Roy Rogers, and Hopalong Cassidy.

The reason I brought this up is because as I was walking through the living room, Dennis Weaver was introducing a movie called "Rampage at Apache Wells" starring Stuart Granger. He went on to say that it was shot in West Germany and named the director, a German, and related how during a river scene a stunt man nearly drowned when he was drawn into the swift current and eddies but was happily rescued downstream by the crew. I am not a fan of most spaghetti (or sour kraut and paella, for that matter) westerns, save some Clint Eastwood and Lee Van Cleef flix, and less a fan of westerns made in Germany with a cast made up of flatheads, frogs and dagos and one Englishman, who I never much cared for anyway, but this movie was so bad, that the western movie world would have been better off if the whole cast and crew had fallen in with the stunt man and drowned.

I know I sugarcoated how I felt about this movie, but I didn’t want to offend anyone.

By the way, Stuart Granger got his stage name because his real name was already taken – James Stewart…

12 November 2003 ; Wednesday

Well! Me of little faith. Steady light rain falling and everything’s getting damped down real nice. Power went out at 0508 and came back on around 1030. Typical when it rains here. I have a big generator, but it is way down the project list for getting hooked up; maybe we’ll get to it this winter. Off to get feed – more later ~

11 November 2003 ; Tuesday

‘Tis overcast. Rained a little before dawn, just enough to splotch the dust. Looks like it’s gonna rain, smells like it’s gonna rain – but it probably won’t.

Turned the tarantula loose yesterday afternoon. He/she wandered slowly off and then crawled under a mesquite. It was pretty hairy, compared to the last two, so maybe it was a guy.
The little puppies act like they own the place and are eating up the canned dog food and kibble I put out for them (or maybe Benito and Java are raiding their meals); is it wrong that I put dollop of whipped cream on their milk?
The Annual Yuma Veterans Day Parade kicked off this morning at 0930. Jeff Miller’s "Fencemasters Clydesdale Hitch" was entered pulling the big wagon. His son Garrett, daughter Christan, and a friend of Garrett’s rode in the back, with Jeff driving. I assisted on the ground, and then moved the rig down to the end of the parade route to load them up. All went well; Tom & Jerry are sure impressive.

08 November 2003 ; Saturday

This morning, as I was letting Benito out, he stopped before exiting and began sniffing something at the right of the lower door jamb. I looked around him, and his nose was virtually touching a tarantula. Odd, he wasn’t particularly excited by the encounter, and neither was the spider. I grabbed a spatula and put the hairy one in one of those plastic containers that stuff like sandwiches come in from the deli. It was fairly chilly. so it was pretty lethargic. I put it on the counter and will take it a mile south to the wide open desert in the morning. Funny thing is, that is number three this Fall; usually we only see one. We get them in the Fall and the Spring when they migrate, and I guess the house gets in the way, and they just bump into it and have trouble figuring out how to get around it. It the only spider that I don’t detest or fear – well, I’m OK with Daddy Long Legs also (not a true arachnid by the way) – and I don’t know why. Maybe because they’re so big and obvious with a lumbering gait (although they can haul-ass if you rile them), and not sneaky like Black Widows or Brown Recluses, hiding in dark places laying in wait to jump you, or crawl up on your tummy when you’re innocently sleeping and bite you and then sneak away and leave you to die. Ask Mike Brandon or Sam Day.

Yesterday morning, Clemente came in to talk to me about the coming day, so we sat down over a cup of java, and figured out what we were going to do. After we finished our scheming, he left and I headed back to my office. In less than a minute, he was calling me from the back door. When I got there he said, "How come you got two more dogs?" I could tell by the look on his face that he was jiving me – he is an avid tease, so much so that sometimes I want to put a wooden stake through his heart, or even an iron spike. Anyway, he lead me over to a chair in the breezeway, and there were two little puppies under it, just days old, that Java – Clemente’s Pit Bull – had found. One was kind of a Lapso Apso with dark fur, and the other looks like a tiny German Shepherd, both females. Real cute. They were hunkered up against the wall, making the tiny little grrrs at Java and us. Although they most likely would not have survived on their own, Mama Nature gave them the ability to be defensive – stay together and growl like they’re going to tear your arm off. Clemente pulled them out, handed one to me, and they were trying to bite us. We set them down by a chair with a skirt around it on the North end of the breezeway and they immediately ran under the skirt and hid. I went in and got some milk, and kibble, and they slobbered up the milk, but didn’t quite know what to do with kibble. We opened a can of dog food, and they went to work on that, mostly licking the gravy.
That was yesterday morning. Late this morning I coaxed them out from under the chair, and finally had them in my lap. When I walked by this afternoon, they run up to me like they have been with me since birth. My fascination with Man’s relationship with other animals, particularly dogs, is only heightened by this encounter with these two pups. Why did Mother Nature make them so damn cute?! Why couldn’t they have the attractiveness say – of a viper – then I could stuff them in a feed bag with stones and drop them into a stock tank. But no! Now I’ve got two more dogs – that have to be spayed – no less! Hit by another Drive-By Doggie Dropper Offer. Now! one of those bastards I would drown in a stock tank!

Photo by Roger Baker

07 November 2003 ; Friday

You may recall a previous report about picking up a 40’ container in Ramona, California. Roger Baker took this photo of my rig prior to lashing it down and heading into town for breakfast. My truck is a 1999 Dodge R3500 Cummins Turbo Diesel 1-ton Dually, with some modifications. Those mods include: Suspension changed to handle two-and-a-half ton loads (hence the my nickname for the truck "deuce-and-a-half"), oversize tires, EZ Comp 65hp module (changes the injection and turbo curves thereby increasing horsepower), 4" exhaust, hi-flow AFE air filter, ATS Propane Injection system, ISSPRO boost and EGT gages, PacBrake exhaust brake (Jake Brake). The last time I had it on a dyno it was putting out 300hp and 600fpt (torque); I let it out one day and it hit 115mph (GPS reading) and was still accelerating. I have hauled my 53’ dropdeck gooseneck trailer (the one in the pic) grossed at 28,000 lbs. (35,500 lbs gross) and it will run at whatever the speed limit is (75mph for instance) – on the flat, of course. Of all the vehicles I’ve owned (with four wheels on the ground), it is my favorite.

06 November 2003 ; Thursday Eve

Building a third pen for Loredo – 24’x40’ – should be done within a week. He’s in a 20 footer that I put up for him, and I turn him out every other day or so.

Still working on the 1 acre pasture outback; we’ll plant it in oats and Bermuda. Be nice to have a green area out there, and I know the horses with love it. Might have to put down another well to support it. Weather’s been nice, but Clemente and I both feel it is a bit on the chilly side. The daytime temps dropped so drastically the last week that it is quite noticeable. And when the Sun goes down in the West, the temp goes down with it – in sync. In the winter this is very pronounced as the Sun touches the horizon the temperature drops a degree with every degree the Sun descends. I’ve seen over 20º drops in just a few minutes. This may not impress those from cold climes, but when it’s 65 and then 10 minutes later it’s 40, it gets your attention.

Made a run to Holtville (60m west) with my little 24’ flatbed to drop a Dodge 1500 half-ton truck off for Fencemasters at a transmission shop; it’s trannie went south within a couple of weeks after it was overhauled.

Horses and livestock are all doing well – trying to get them fattened up for the winter.

04 November 2003 ; Tuesday Morn

It is very difficult to write when your fingers are stiff from the cold. I think Mother Nature played us a dirty trick allowing the temps to drop so drastically in so few days.

Preparing for my Alabama/Texas trip; hope to be on the road heading east within the next five days or so.

My brother and sister-in-law, James and Janet returned to their home in Fawnskin, Big Bear Valley a couple of days ago; my eldest daughter – Michelle – will take Mom back home today. Here is a note from Jim and Jan:

HOME AT LAST To all! The out pouring of concern that all showed, was extremely touching. To the point of overwhelming. We will be able to contact, or you can contact us, in time. We really want ALL of you to know how much we appreciate your love and prayers. There were 68 phone messages and nearly 100 e-mails. I'm trying to respond to everyone. But we are okay. There is a name in the list above, that is that of a serviceman in the US Army now serving in Baghdad. He asked if he and his wife Lucia could do anything for us, to let him know if he could help us. We live in a country that is so giving, I think we truly take it for granted. But when someone in harms way, extends a hand to help, it really bring it home, doesn't it? So to all, thank you again for your love and prayers. We are grateful beyond words. Jim and Janet

I am grateful that my family was spared the horror of the fire. My heart goes out to those poor folks who lost their homes – and loved ones. As far as I’m concerned, arson should be a capital crime, and if that is not possible, life without parole.

31 October 03; Friday Morn
Yesterday was Pat "Fuzzy" Malone’s birthday. I usually remember it, however, it was easier in the past when he was my next door neighbor, manager of the farm just north of my place, because he would start reminding you 30 days prior to. It kinda bothered me at first, well, I have never known a man that his birthday meant so much to him. I thought, "Maybe a little too much estrogen in his system." He was certainly macho enough, veteran of Desert Shield & Storm, shooter, Harley rider, cowboy. But this thing with his birthday. Anyway, he’s been a good pal and a guy I’d go into a gunfight with. Hmmm ~ how does his lovely wife, Kelli, put up with this every year?

Pat lives in Tyler, Texas, which is where he was born and raised. Therefore he talks funny. One memory I can’t get out of my head was something my Mom said when she met Pat one winter day when she and Dad were visiting – "Oh, I just love the way you talk!" And to this day, every time I say I am heading for Texas, she says, "Say Hi to Pat for me." So – "Hi, Pat, see you within the next couple of weeks, ‘cause I’m comin’ back…"

29 October 03; Wednesday Eve
My phone went down yesterday afternoon and didn’t get it back ‘til this afternoon late, so I haven’t been able to get online ‘til now. Having a lot of trouble with my phone lines here for the last four months; my modem line is totally inop and my vox line (which, obviously, I’m on as I write this) keeps dropping off at random times.

When I went out to feed this morning I felt like I had walked into a Ray Bradbury story. It appeared to be overcast, all gray with a pinkish cast. About 0830 I said to Clemente, "Look at the Sun!" It was about 15º above the horizon and appeared as an reddish orange orb. It was then we realized that our overcast was a combination of cloud and smoke. Apparently during the night we had a strong westerly blowing the smoke in from Southern California. By 1000 we started to get a strong easterly, and it continued all day long moving gradually to so’ so’ east and blew all the smoke back into California. By noon the sun was out and it was a very pleasant day. Right now we’re building Laredo’s corral, tilling an acre out back to plant pasture, and a myriad of other projects. I swear the faster we work, the longer the project list gets!

Got word from my daughter Heather (Aspen) last night, via my cel phone, that my Mom and brother James and his wife Janet had evacuated Fawnskin (Big Bear Lake) yesterday. Mom is at sister Donna’s in Newport Beach, and Jim and Jan are at Janet’s brother’s, Richard’s place. So all is well with them, and it looks like Big Bear Valley may be spared the firestorm.

Ya’ll take care out there…

28 October 03; Tuesday Morn
Brrr! If this keeps up I’ll no longer be able to wear shorts, at least in the morning hours. Winter is just around the corner, mostly evidenced by the "Snowbirds," who are already getting under foot, however, haven’t seen any major accidents yet, but these chilly mornings are also an indication that the summer days are gone for this year. Let’s see – how far away is March? I can hardly wait…

01 December 2003; Monday Morn

On the Road Again!

Leaving for Alabama today - Monday - to pick up a trailer north of Birmingham and visit with my old buddy, Joe Stans. On the return I will pick up upset tubing (we call it drill pipe around here) that we build corrals and fencing with. I bought 100 joints which is about 3100 feet. Should arrive there Wednesday or Thursday, not going to push too hard on the way out. On the way back I will visit with friends in the Tyler area - the Malones and Brandons. Will update from time to time...

Bought 4 dumps of hay (240 bales) this weekend from Ott Farms. It arrives today.

30 November 2003 ; Sunday Morn

Thanksgiving at Mom's was good, and the feast did the occasion grand, all kinds of good things to eat. All of the nephews and nieces showed up. My daughters, Michelle and Heather were there, along with my son-in-law, Kirk and grandson Jasper. Michelle's friend, Eric arrived Thursday; it was good to see him as the last time I saw him was many years ago when I met his father at the Ritz Carleton. Sis Patty and her boys Max and Mike, along with Max's wife Kimberly and their two, Lillian and Griffin (G-Force) and a sweet young lady friend of Kimbers from back east, Sarla; sister Donna and her hubby Dominique, and her three, Holly, Luke and James, with Holly's friend LouAnn (not sure how she spells her name). The feed was held at brother Jim's and sister-in-law Janet's beautiful house on North Shore Drive. Janet's brother Richard and wife Linda, with their daughter and two sons were up for the holiday. And, of course, Mom. Everyone missed Dad's presence, I guess we always will. I know I probably missed someone, but I'll plead my age with it's attendant forgetfulness.

Patty said she wanted the little puppies that were left on my doorstep, so I took them up to Big Bear. They were in seventh heaven as everyone was doting over them and cuddling them all the time. They are so cute - I'm going to miss them.
Leave for Alabama tomorrow - Monday - should arrive there Wednesday or Thursday, not going to push too hard on the way out. Will update from time to time...

24 November 2003 ; Monday Eve

Although one of the thermometers said 36º this morning, there was frost here and there. Brrrr!

Clemente’s got the clutch in my Dodge beast, and we test drive it in the morning. As I mentioned before, I will run it up to Mom’s in Big Bear Wednesday to shake her down. Still planning on leaving for Alabama/Texas Monday.
Got an e-mail from Kelli Malone and she said it was 32º this morning at their place south of Tyler. Guess I should feel fortunate, but I don’t. On the other hand, they don’t have Snow Birds there…

23 November 2003 ; Sunday Eve

Winter’s here! Had to wear a t-shirt under my Wrangler shirt today; if this cold snap keeps up, I’m going to catch my death…

Clemente’s birthday today, I think he’s 58. Olivia—his wife—invited me over for dinner and cake this afternoon, but when I finished feeding I was feeling a little punk, so I begged off. Clemente shows up at my door with a plate of Chicken Molé, rice, beans and tortillas, and another plate with a yard square of his birthday cake. I tried some of the cake, muy delisioso! Had some with café. I’ll eat the Molé tomorrow for dinner. That lady is a good cook!
The four mares that were bred, are obviously pregnant – they are really beginning to balloon up. I can hardly wait for Spring; I am really excited to see what they foal. Everything my stud, Peter Max, has ever thrown has been good looking. Charlie Lunn, the fellow I bought him from in Washington, called me the other night and asked if I would bring him back up in the Spring and partner with him on breeding in the Kittitas Valley. I might just do it. Actually, when he called, he wanted to buy Pete back, but I don’t think I could do that, I’ve fallen in love with that boy…

22 November 2003 ; Saturday Eve

Bit on the chilly side today, probably amplified by the strong northerlies. The coats on the horses are beginning to get quite thick.

New clutch is in the Dodge; the old one was getting pretty thin. Had the flywheel turned. It was in pretty good shape although it had some interesting low spots; like to know how that happens ‘cause the disc was dead flat as was the pressure plate. I could not believe how big the transmission is! It’s a six speed, but still – it looks like it came out of a big rig. And it weighs a ton – we’ve got two transmission jacks under it. We’ll slip the tranny back in Monday, and she should be ready to roll by Tuesday morn. I’ll break it in on the Thanksgiving run to Mom’s.
London Broil for supper tonight. You folks must think it’s silly of me to bring up what I eat, and when. But it is a big deal for me. Sometime ago, I lost interest in eating (great diet scheme) and therefore the desire to cook – and I consider myself a pretty fair cook. Well, I am probably the best popcorn maker in the US 0f A, if not the world (ask Ed Judd; we had a pop-off one night, and he conceded), but I do well on other stuff, too. But every now and then I'll get a hankering for something and I'll cook it up. The London Broil was good, and Benito—my Dobie—thought so too.

The best London Broil I ever experienced was an evening at the Five Crowns (or was it seven?) in Corona del Mar ‘lo those many years ago when I (we) lived in San Clemente. When the waiter came up, we ordered drinks and I told him that I would appreciate it if I left it all up to him, entrée, main course, dessert, wine – the whole shebang. Come to think of it, the way they presented the London Broil was in the same manner as Chateaubriand. I recall that the wine steward brought a B-V Cabernet Sauvignon that was the best I think I ever had, but sometimes ones recollection is distorted by the circumstance of the evening and the ambience. That was twenty - thirty years ago…

19 November 2003 ; Wednesday Eve

For some reason when I was shopping today I got the "hawn-grays" (as my Uncle Jack used to say) – or to you civilians – the hungries – for roast beef and gravy, so I made me some for din-din tonite, along with shrimp and crab salad. Shared it with the Serrato’s – and mi pero, Benito. Pretty good, but the gravy was mite too salty. Not my fault, ‘cause I was in a hurry to eat, before I lost my appetite, so I used a gravy mix to make it.

I was shopping in Sam’s Club, and as I was heading over to the cold storage for the milk and whipped cream, I happened to be walking by office chairs. My old one that I got from my Dad years ago is getting pretty broken down and doesn’t adjust up and down, so I bought me one that does. Now I can reach the keyboard without sitting up straight.

Went to the parts store this afternoon. Got a fuel pump for the Thing (nee VW Safari), a water pump for Clemente’s Bronco, and a clutch for my Dodge. We’re going to change the clutch in the Dodge this week. It is starting to slip and I don’t want it goin’ south on me during the trip. Be way too ‘spensive to have it repaired while on the road; the parts alone are 600 bucks.

18 November 2003 ; Tuesday Morn

‘Tis beautiful here, bit on the chilly side; I guess I am adjusting to it. Things have come up here, so the Alabama/Texas trip has been re-scheduled for a departure in the first week of December. I called my pipe supplier in East Texas, and they said my load has been set aside and I can pick it up anytime, so all is well on that end.

Another reason the delayed departure is favorable is that the chances of meeting up with my old friend in Alabama, Joe Stans, are vastly improved, in that he and his family are heading down to Disney World in Florida for a few days, so I probably would have missed him. I suspect that he came up with the trip to Florida to prevent me from meeting his wife Nola, and if that’s the case, I revel in the possibility that I totally messed up his plans to avoid me.

I recall the last, and only time, I went to Disney World. Roger Baker and I were flying the DC-8 into Orlando with a long layover. We spent a day there, and I for one, found it quite impressive. Guess not impressive enough to return, and least not by myself, which I am. Roger and I also drove over to Cape Canaveral, noting the fact that there were alligators lounging alongside the roadway, and took the tour at the Kennedy Space Center. It was after the Challenger accident, and I recall how moved I was when I saw the site where they launched from. Don’t know why, but I was.

02 November 2003 ; Sunday Morn
If you care for the writer of this web site, you’ll send warm clothing, blankets, and whatever else you can spare (cash would be nice) as this cold snap is very debilitating.

01 November 2003 ; Saturday Eve
Damn! Summer is over! Here it is 1900 and the temp is 65º, when at this time a month ago it was still in the high 90’s or over 100, for that matter. I am going to see how long I can go and still wear shorts, at least during the day.

And the Snowbirds are wandering aimlessly up and down the street (there is a RV park just south of my place). We’ll start seeing glass in the intersections (and sometimes a body or two) shortly, and you won’t be able to go shopping until late evening, unless you like having your calves run into by shopping carts, or worse, those self-propelled little electric rigs they provide for the infirm. You are recognized as a local when paying your tab in a restaurant because you tip. Soon the Arizona plates will be far outnumbered by those from northern states and provinces. Funny thing, the Yuma climate is (at times) rated Numero Uno on the top ten best climes in the US of A. Even I joke about what a hell-hole it can be, and on top of that, it freezes here in the winter. I suppose I have to look at it relative to where these vermin come from. Come On April!!!

27 October 03; Monday Morn
OK! This is getting serious – we’re freezing our tails off here. Off to check on the livestock to see if they’ve survived this cold snap!

25 October 03; Saturday Noon
I misjudged when it would begin to clear – by 0730 the Sun was well above the horizon and the fog vaporized in a few moments. Do you recall me telling you about the strong North wind we always get the first week of October that signals the end of the hot days? Well, today’s the day! It’s currently 20 gusting to 30. Two weeks late; I did not think we were going to get it this year. Clemente thinks it is going to be a cold winter here, unfortunately he is usually right on his weather predictions. He thought it was going to be a mild summer (fortunately) – and so it was…

Making a beautiful pot roast (from my stock) which I will share with Clemente and Olivia this evening.

Currently 91º - Humidity 6%

25 October 03; Saturday
As you can see by the humidity, it is very damp here. We experience some fog here almost every winter, but I always wonder at it. I suppose it’s because of the normal weather here – warm and clear, with the occasional rainy days or thunderstorms. I estimate the visibility at 100-150 feet. Guess we’ll have to use Auto Land for this approach. What is unusual is that we don’t normally have foggy mornings until well into the winter, November or December at the earliest.

I let Benito out to take care of his morning business, and he walked to the end of the porch and he had a look of confusion, as if to say. "What the hell is wrong here?" I can here him out back with the horses now, howling into the fog, letting any intruders that might be lurking just beyond his range of vision that he is there and they had just better watch out.

By nine o’clock it will be clear once more, with scattered cirrus and a toasty afternoon.

Another cup of java and it’s off to feed the horses and livestock…

09-28-2003; Sunday
Some pretty heavy scheduling in my life over the next few weeks, including a couple of trips to California and Texas hauling various items, so the updates may be a bit sparse. Those of you (the one or two) that visit regularly can forego checking in ‘til I send an e-mail update. The proposed California trip involves hauling a 40’ container to the Bakersfield area, and the Texas trips are for hay hauling and horse delivery outbound, and drill pipe (for fencing and corrals) on the return. One of the trips will be to Tennessee to pick up a 40’ flat-bed trailer that has to come to Yuma. My Marine friend, Cpl. Steve Stanevich, just returned from a year tour of duty in Afghanistan. He is very happy to be home. We don’t hear much about Afghanistan on the news, except when Osama pops up in a video, but the duty there is not pleasant nor particularly safe. I’ll try to get together with Steve in the near future and get his story on his time "over there."


Cpl Steve Stanevich (l), Bahgram AB, Afghanistan

20 October 03; Monday Nite
Back Home

Left Big Bear Valley a little after 1500, arrived home at 1930. Fast run – not much traffic in the Palm Springs area. All is well here. Clemente said that Jesse (F.I.R.M.) called and said a throw-out bearing went out in their utility/delivery truck, a Ford F-350 TD, so we’ll pick that up in the morning and try to get it back in service within a couple of days. And FenceMasters has an IH 2-ton that needs a Service Check, so we’ll do that this weekend. In between these projects I need to shovel a bunch of horse poop. Life is good – all is well in our world…

20 October 03; Monday
At Mom’s in Fawnskin, California
Back Home

Got here Friday night, heading home today. Forecast high for this area is 77º - Yuma 103º; the temp here at dawn has been 33-34º - somewhat startling to my system after Yuma. A few days ago I wrote that we were getting a break ‘cause the temps had abated somewhat and Joe Stans sent me this,

"92 degrees and you "got a break?" Sweet Mother of God, what is "not having a break" like? Now WE got a break. The humidity dropped from 85% to 35% and the temperature at night is 40, day is 72. Still trying to get the damn antenna out of the trees. Usually that’s not a problem but in this Amazon like environment I shot it over a branch and it landed in the canopy. The wire is long enough but when I key down there is a lot of hissing and zapping and I think I got a squirrel the other day. A real "crispy critter" was hanging from the wire. Apparently a couple thousand volts of RF is not good for flying squirrels. They don’t build ’em like they used to."

But, really, when you’re used to temps in the 90’s and 100’s during the day with a low of 80 at night, when you walk out to feed in the morning at it’s 70 – you feel a bit chilled. Walking outside here at Big Bear Lake in the morning is beyond shock – you just go numb. But then, within a couple of months, or so, we’ll be looking at temps in the freezing range at the home ranchita.

14 October 2003 – Tuesday Morn
Bit of a nip in the air this morning, may have to put a sweater on when I go out to feed.

13 October 2003 – Monday Morn
Man! is it humid here this morning. There was heavy dew over everything. Sky as clear as a bell. South wind must be bringing moisture up from the gulf.

10 October 2003 – Friday
Had a good trip to Ramona, California. Here is an excerpt (that’s right – a former cerpt as Gary Owens would oft say) from a msg I sent to Roger Baker – "Trip went fine coming back. I was amazed how well my truck handled the windage. I cruised at 60 in California, and after I went over the bridge, I ran her up to 68 to see if it was a strain at that speed - no problem. I pulled off at 111 in El Centro to fuel at a Texaco truck stop I knew of a couple of miles north of the Interstate, and when I got there it was being overhauled into a new Shell facility. Woe was I - really low on fuel at this point. Drove back to the Interstate and then west to 4th and worked my way north - several stations with diesel but none that I could negotiate my rig through. Hit a cross street and turned west and went to Imperial and turned south. Final found a station that had diesel - but no room - so I parked on a side street and went in to see if they knew where there was a truck stop. They told me there was a new Mobil south of the Interstate off of 4th, so I bought a 2gal gas can, and two gallons of diesel, poured that in and headed back east to 4th. Whew! That was close. You should have seen the looks I was getting from the big rig drivers. I guess my lil' truck looked a little strange to them out in front of that load. Searching for fuel in El Centro cost me an hour; arrived home at 1845. Wish California would go to same speed for truck/trailers like most of the other states I drive in."

Going over to Ramona, I had decided to go I-8 to El Centro/Forrester Road, then north to Westmoreland to join 82S, then north to 78, thence west to Julian and then Ramona, where I was to meet Roger to pick up a 40’ container. As I approached the foothills around Borego Springs, I see a sign that says, "Trucks with trailers 30’ from kingpin to axle not recommended." Swell! Should have read my Trucker’s Rand-McNally before I left. Since I exceed that limit, and it would cost me over an hour to double back to the Interstate, I decided to press on with caution. Nerve wracking, but fortunately the traffic was real light.

Arrived at the Ramona Airport where Roger and Mark, the crane operator, had the crane rigged to the box and were ready to load me. Had the box in place within thirty minutes, then Roger took me into town for breakfast. Haven’t seen Rog in an age, so we had a lot catching up to do. After breakfast, he took me back to the airport and showed me some real neat aeroplanes. Fun morning, albeit nostalgic for me.

That’s it from here – hope all is well with all of you…

07 October 2003 – Tuesday
Forecast for today included a 30% chance of rain – via thunderstorms. It appears that it all fell south of the border. Big, beautiful Cu south today, and you could see the rain shafts, but nada for us. Had broken cloud conditions most of the day, and though it looked promising a couple of times, we got nothing here. I actually got my hopes up, and I should know better.

Have a trip coming up Thursday to California to haul a 40’ container back to my place; should be back by late afternoon.
As I mentioned previously, planning a trip to Birmingham, Alabama to pick up a 40’ trailer for some local folks. I’ll swing by East Texas on the way back to pick up pipe that we use for fencing and corrals. Might start east next week.
That’s it from here – hope all is well with all of you….

06 October 2003 – Monday
Trip to Oceanside, California (or "Cal-lee-forn-eeah" as Arnold would say) went okay, got back home about 2200 Saturday night. California and their stupid 55 mph with trailer, ugh!

Mucho projects right now, in fact, Clemente and I have too much on our plates. Have a trip coming up this week to California to pick up a 40’ container that I bought, which will be used for storage and the west end of our new shop. Then a trip planned to Alabama within the next two weeks to pick up a 40’ flat-bed trailer for some folks here in Yuma. I’ll swing by Overton, Texas to pick up upset tubing (drill pipe) that we use for fencing. Also plan to visit my ol’ buddy Joe Stans in Pelham, Alabama (wherever the hell that is) and drink some of his 25 year old single malt – at least that’s what he promised me.

Clemente and his wife Olivia have moved into the Casita for awhile. That’s good for me – someone to watch over the Ranchita while I’m gone.

That’s it from here for now.

03 October 2003
Well – the best laid plans, etc, etc. Started out this morning and the brakes on the trailer weren’t working. Clemente spent the entire day chasing down the problem and finally wound up rewiring the brakes. My notation for this morning will apply tomorrow morning – Saturday. It was a beautiful day here, temp only got up to 95º and the humidity was low. As I have mentioned before, the signal that summer is over is a fairly strong balmy north wind that usually comes in the first week of October. We haven’t got it yet but the temps are already starting to abate. Maybe we won’t get the north wind this year; it will be the first time since I moved here in ’94.

03 October 2003
Leaving this morning for Oceanside, California; hauling a 32' trailer for a friend. Hope to be back by 1700.

09-24-03; Wednesday; 1030
Ol’ Marty hasn’t spun off much moisture our way, a bit of a disappointment. Most of the rain is well east of us. What rain has fallen for the past 12 hours has been very light and just enough to damp the sand down.

09-23-03; Tuesday; 1730
Don’t know how Qwest – the telephone company - is for other folks, but for me it is the worst telephone company I have ever used. I was talking to someone recently, Roger Baker, or maybe it was my cousin David Fisher, anyway, when I mentioned how bad Qwest was, they brought up General Telephone in the San Fernando Valley, which we used to think was terrible. Qwest makes General Telephone look like Ma Bell. Admittedly I’m talking about my Qwest; other folks may have no trouble with Qwest quality, butI do. My line went dead yesterday afternoon sometime after 1400, and just came back on 26 hours later at 1600. For the last three months, I have had the line go dead in the middle of a conversation innumerable times in the last four months. Last year, I was without a phone for over a week. They kept telling me it was inside my house, and I would tell them that, no, there was no signal at the junction box outside the house. Over a week went by and they called and said that they had found the problem – the cable between me and the box a half mile north. And will they adjust your bill for the time it was out? Right! You bet! If I could figure out a way to do without it, I would. I’m working on it.

Hurricane Marty – or maybe it’s a tropical storm now – is working it’s way by us to the southeast and east on what appears to be a northeasterly track. We were supposed to have scattered t-storms today and some rain, but all we have had is a few raindrops and occasional thunder a long way a way. Be nice if we could get a couple of days of rain.

09-19-03 Friday
Left this morning to Jeff Miller’s to assist him on one of his Clydesdale outings. Unhappily, it was for a funeral at Rider Ranch in Roll, Arizona, about 40 miles ENE from my place, as the crow flies. Joe Rider is the man from whom I bought Laredo, my big, lovable Joe Hancock quarter horse. His 24 year old grandson passed away at the age of 24 from cancer. I know the boy’s mother and father, Ray and Dana, and I did not look forward to meeting them on this occasion, as I am a big cry-baby. Jeff’s wife, Dr. Tené Miller, is the Rider Ranch vet, and was the one who found Laredo for me, and introduced me to Joe Rider. As you may recall, Laredo’s sire is Homespun Sunday, Wyatt Earp’s (Kurt Russell) horse in the movie "Tombstone."

We caught up Jeff’s Clydesdales, Tom & Jerry, just before 0900, loaded them up and headed for the ranch. This is the first time I had been out with Jeff with the Clydes, it fact, it was the first time that I have been around when he has hitched them. It is quite the operation getting them ready to go. Yesterday, Tené took them to the wash-rack and got them all gussied up, bathed, trimmed, and braided their forelocks and tails. This morning at the ranch she brushed and sprayed them with various prettyfying stuff, till they were quite the handsome pair.

About 1130, folks arrived at our locale from the church, along with the hearse with the casket. The casket was loaded on the back of the Vîs a’ Vîs, (an four-wheeled buggy that seats six plus two), and Ray drove with Jeff as shotgun. They headed west towards the homestead, sometimes at a trot, and a few minutes later arrived at the gravesite. After the casket was offloaded, Jeff took the hitch outback where the rig was, and we reversed the hitching process and put everything away except the boys. We tied them to the shady side of the trailer, then loaded them up when we were ready to leave. Got back home about 1430 or so. it was a very interesting day for me and I look forward to doing it again. Will try to get some photos uploaded real soon.

The whole affair was quite moving, and if you squinted your eyes and blocked out the automobiles, it was 1896 and had a nice old-timey feeling to it. There is something about horse-drawn vehicle in a special event that has a good feel to it. The pace has a good feel to it. I like it…

15 September 2003 ~ Monday
Moved three mares to other pens while I cleaned theirs. I have this little Kubota tractor that is really handy for the job. It has a 36" tread so it fits through most gates. It has a front-loader so it makes cleaning up their pens a snap. Sometime this fall we’re going to paint the mares pens, the round pen, and the front gate. As soon as we finish Laredo’s pen we’ll paint it. All the permanent pens are made out of 2 3/8" schedule 40 pipe used in oil drilling, and then we shoot them with primer and paint them white with industrial quality paint, such as Rustoleum.

As I may have mentioned before, our current outside project is Jesse Oropeza’s radioactive Jeep. We’re doing a considerable amount of bodywork to it and going over the drive train to make sure it’s running good. We’re painting it in desert camouflage, and trying to finish it by the end of the month before he leaves on his deer hunt. The fact is, he’ll take it on the deer hunt whether we’re finished with it or not. Be nice to have the paint job done, though.

The weather’s been great the last three or four days, on the hot side, but real low humidity, so it’s easy to work in. I love this time of year.

09-10-03; Wednesday; 2030
I am aware that I am writing this for my own amusement, but I'll pretend there is someone out there reading this; we've really got a break in the temps, and the humidity. The last two days have been very pleasant, and working outside has been a real pleasure. We'll no doubt get a few more hot days this month, but all in all, this has been a very mild summer. Now for the bad news - the "Snowbirds" have begun to arrive. Just a few, but it portends huge flocks, cutting in line, crashing into each other and us, crapping all over the place, arghhhhhh!

09-10-03; Wednesday; 0500
Went for a stroll with Dana the Great Dane, and the boys, Pancho and Benito at 0330, and suffered a case of the chills. As we stepped out the door, we were greeted with a bone chilling 75º - the first morning that it has been below 80º in weeks. For us it qualifies as a crisp, clear fall morning. I have related to you in the past the fact that the signal the hot weather is over always seems to occur in the first week of October, when a balmy northerly breeze blows in. Unfortunately, that strong northerly also carries in the first flocks of "Snowbirds."

Off to Jeff Miller’s rancho to help one of his crews load up a compressor, an auger, forks, and other paraphernalia that he needs up in Showlow. FenceMasters – Jeff’s company – has a contract to put up 3 miles of fence in the wilds of the White Mountains east of Showlow. The fence is part of a project where one of the alphabet departments is fencing off five or six areas to keep deer off of in an effort to protect some kind of tree that has been planted.

09-07-03; Sunday; 2000
Got a scare Saturday morning when I went out to feed. My eldest mare, Sweetheart (aptly named) was down. I went in with her, and she got up, and then went right back down and tried to roll. She was sweating profusely, and felt hot to me. Their normal temp is a lot higher than ours is, but she felt hotter than normal. I’m thinking that she might colicing, so I move her daughter, Sweetie Pie, over to another pen – which I was going to do anyway ‘cause she had bent her waterer and it was flooding her pen – and then moved Sweetheart to a pen next to Sweetie Pie. Most horses are very gregarious, and if they’re used to being with other horses, they don’t like to get separated. As soon as I got Sweetheart to the new pen she went down. I called my vet, Dr. Tené Miller, who was in Prescott at a horse show for the weekend, and she told me to go to her hospital trailer and get a drug that I could inject that might alleviate the colic, if that’s what she had. I went out to tell Clemente where I was going, and when I looked over at Sweetheart’s pen, she was standing and looking at me as if to say, "Why don’t I get to eat?" Clemente and I walked out, and she wasn’t sweating and seemed like she wanted to eat. I went in the pen with her, and while I was stroking her I heard gurgling, a good sign. I called Tené and she told me to feed her a handful of hay, and if she ate it, feed her small amounts all day long on the hour. I did and she seems fine. As you may recall, she is my eldest of the mares, and the most colorful, a black and white Overo Paint. She wouldn’t breed this year, so she may be finished as a brood mare, but I’ll probably keep her around ‘cause she’s sweet and I love her.
Any comments you have on the site would be appreciated – and as I said before – please report any typos to me, keeping in mind that I despise people who report typos almost as much as I hate typos…

09-05-03; Friday; 1935
It’s 0500 here. Ran out of steam about 2200, went in sat down in the big green recliner and fell asleep. Woke up at 0200 and started flipping through the movie channels. At 0300, "The People Against O’Hara" came on. I’ve seen it a couple of times before, but I stayed on, and watched it through. It starred Spencer Tracy as an alcoholic attorney who defends James Arness who plays O’Hara, a young man who is accused of killing his boss. Diana Lynn plays Tracy’s daughter. Pat O’Brien plays the part of a seasoned old homicide detective. Good movie in the classic vein. I realized early in the movie that it was the basis of a Paul Newman movie that came along many years later, I believe it was called "Verdict for the Defense."

Another movie I saw before this one, but not in it’s entirety – just the end, was the ‘50’s movie "Zero Hour" with Dana Andrews, Linda Darnell, and Sterling Hayden. It was a serious drama about a WWII pilot named Stryker who brings down a Canadian Airliner in the fog in Vancouver when the crew is stricken by food poisoning. From a pilots standpoint it was terrible from a technical standpoint, I mean really horrible, almost to the point of being laughable. In fact, I recall groaning, moaning, and actually chuckling a couple of times. And then I realized that it was the basis for the comedy, "Airplane." The names of the characters were the same, and it was virtually the same plot. And I thought, it wasn’t much of stretch to turn Zero Hour into Airplane – easy money for a parody.

09-05-03; Friday; 1935
Just came in from feeding the horses and other assorted livestock. Sat down at the computer to send out this update while cooling down. I live in an eternal spa; where others in milder clims have to go to a gym to work-out and spend some time in the sauna, all I have to do is throw hay and grain, and in minutes I'm soaking wet from head to foot. Ah! some of us are just lucky, I guess...
09-05-03; Friday; 0800
Well – as some folks say, "TGIF." In our 24/7 operation around here it doesn’t apply, but it’s an excuse to alter the operation a little bit as far as the major projects are concerned.
I took the dogs and did a walk-about a little after midnight. There was a warm breeze out of the southeast that was fairly strong. Thunderstorms were casting lightning about east and north of us. To the west the sky was open and laden with stars. The wind was warm as it swept about us and had a soothing effect and I was contented that I was walking this little piece of earth.
At times I wish I were in a place where there was very little connection with the outside world, and no news what-so-ever. I have come to the conclusion that there is way too much news available; it has become an form of entertainment to some – who listen and watch it every waking hour, but for me a daily update while listening to Imus is more than enough.
09-01-03; Monday; 1130
Just got off the phone with my former neighbor that managed the grove north of me, Mike Brandon, who I stayed with when I was in East Texas, and he said they’ve been getting quite a bit of rain from the remnants of that tropical storm that came in from the Gulf. I forgot to ask him if the grass is still green in the pastures. I keep imagining what it would be like to live in a place where your horses and livestock are grazing in a pasture. But then, there must be a tradeoff; there always is.
09-01-03; Monday; 0900
I wonder if your supposed to labor on Labor Day? Two days ago I started cleaning up and moving stuff around in the little red "barn" that is next to the wash rack, across from the tack room, and I’ll finish it up today. It houses the grain for the horses as well as medicines, horse blankets and such. Yeah, we sometimes use horse blankets here. They might get used a few nights in the winter, ‘cause it does go to 32º or below here. I just got new bins that seal up for the feed because I’ve been having a big problem with ground squirrels getting into it. The little jerks manage to jump into the bins, then eat so much they can’t get back out. While feasting, they go potty, and then I can’t feed it to the horses. On these hot days, they’ll sometimes expire in the feed, and then it’s shot for sure. With the exception of a few problems, all is going well here, and I hope all is well with all of you. Wish the guys and gals overseas could come home soon. God, I love those people, they’re the best…
08-29-03; Friday; 0900
Well, the rain forecast didn’t materialize – as usual. So, it’s back to pumping water out of the ground – as usual. A bit short on time at this moment so I won’t spend it on a detailed update as to my every movement. I’ll just leave it with the fact that Clemente and I are real busy right now – got more on out plate than we can handle. Which means we’re not getting enough of our own projects taken care of.
08-27-03; Wednesday; 1900
Rained today; t-storms in the vicinity; just enough rain to damp down the good earth. We’re forecast to get this type of weather for the next three days.
08-26-03; Tuesday; 0800
Lots of clouds to the east and south; t-storms are forecast for the next few days. The radar shows an area of rain and cells about 50 miles east of us moving this way, but the hills to east of us will probably diminish the chances of us getting any rain today. The wind was really blowing this morning, but as I write this it has gone almost calm. The sand is already beginning to powder from our good rain a few days ago; be nice if we could get a shower every day or so to keep it damped down.
08-24-03; Sunday
Looks like our monsoon season is kicking in. I made an acquaintance while in Fort Worth at the World Paint Show, Jim McMaines from Soñonita, and he told me that he and some other ranchers were worried that the monsoon season would not arrive this year. They had applied Benonite(?) (a substance that is tilled into the soil, and when wet, seals the soil so it will hold water) to stock reservoirs and it required a good monsoon season to get it to take. The forecast was for no monsoon. Looks like that area of Arizona is getting a daily dose of thunderstorms, so there must be some happy cowboys down that way.
08-20-03 – Thursday
Wow! Got lotsa rain this afternoon. A real gully washer. Lightning got so close, that it shook up my mares, but they are settled down now. Rained hard for about a half-hour. The storm that brought it came up out of the south from Mexico at about 1400. Now those of you in Texas, or Alabama, may wonder why we get so excited over a little rain. You’d be excited too if’n it was the first rain you had had since March. Good stuff! Posted this report a little ‘cause I’m off to a board meeting of the Yuma Valley Rod & Gun Club; they have asked me to set-up a web site for them and wanted to me to explain it to them. I have to show up at 1800 at the Round Table Pizza. Must be a serious board meeting…
Any comments you have on the site would be appreciated – and as I said before – please report any typos to me, keeping in mind that I despise people who report typos almost as much as I hate typos…

08-05-03 – Tuesday – 1400

Six baby goats born this weekend. Unfortunately, it appears the heat is too much for them – four have died as of today. We moved them and their mamas to a pen with more shade and misters. Also, we’re milking the mama goats and hand feeding the two remaining little ones to supplement their feeding. This is the first time we have had birthings in the summer; winter has always been a problem because of the cold, but we bring them inside and hand feed them ‘til they’re strong enough. Spring and fall births are no problem, weather wise. In the future, we will mate them so they drop in the fall and spring. As typical with any nanny mated to Arnie – our white Angora Billie – they were all twins and white.

Just came in about a half-hour ago after tanking 1500 gallons of water to my drives. Set a sprinkler out back by the livestock pens to wet the sand. It will run for about a week which will allow us to "wheel pack" the sand so I can get my Dodge and horse trailer back there. Taking six young goats to the Pacific Livestock Auction in Chandler, and taking my young Hereford bull that I sold to Jeff Miller over to his place. Jeff is a pretty shrewd guy, he bought the calf a couple of months ago, but hasn’t picked it up yet. My quick alert Irish mind finally picked up on the fact that I’ve been feeding that thing and it’s been growing and fattening on my wallet. This has brought the realization to my quick alert mind that I am probably never going to make it as a rancher/farmer.

Off to my Mom’s en la mañana – my daughter Heather, son-in-law Kirk, and my grandson, Jasper, show up there tomorrow for a couple of days. I need to meet Jasper so I’m of to the hills for a two or three day kick-back in Big Bear. Don’t want to forget to take a sweater so when I step outside at night I don’t freeze my butt off – it probably gets down in the 60’s after the sun goes down. Adios for now…

08-01-03 – Friday – 2000
Finally had a thunderstorm pass over us. Clemente and I were out with the livestock trying to get things tethered as a gathering storm was coming in from the southwest. As is usual, the storm was preceded by a gust front that had winds of at least 40 knots. When the gust hit, I looked east towards my house, and saw the canopy, shading my Dodge, lazily lift in the air – turn over – and settle in the yard on it’s back. Not much damage to it – one bent stanchion – easily fixed. After the cell passed by, Clemente said in disdain, "Not much rain for so much wind!" We got just enough rain to damp the sand; needed it to puddle. As the sun sets – a beautiful one as usual – there are cumulus and CB’s in all quadrants, but it is pretty much clear overhead.

07-27-03 – Sunday – 0747
"They" have been forecasting rain for our area for the last few days, and, in fact, it has rained around the area. When Clemente came in Friday morning he said that they had a thunderstorm over his place in the wee hours of that morning with pretty intense rain. He lives about 11 miles NNE of me. This morning the radar shows rain to the east, south and west of my place. I have been irrigating for the last 48 hours and am getting ready to shut it off for a couple of days. The rule in Arizona is "Irrigate!" no matter what the forecast is. I believe I related a story four or five years ago about the rain situation around here. I was in my front yard (on the east side of the house), standing in the sun-shine, trimming a Palo Verde, and considering going inside because there was a t-storm to the west (I am afraid of lightning – very afraid – no – extremely afraid). As I walked around to the back of the house (my house isn’t very wide) I was in a torrential downpour. Not one drop fell in the front yard during that shower…