Michael Dooley's Place ~ C bar lazy M

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AZ Journal Archive 2004

from the Rancho in Yuma, Arizona

13 December 2004 - Monday ~
Benito, my Dobie mix perro, got into some poison bait this morning. and if hadn’t been for one of the guys at the place mentioning to me that there was poison bait around - I would have lost him. It was a quick acting poison, and I contacted my vet, Dr. Tené Miller (she has a mobile clinic), via Nextel Direct Connect, found out where she was (on the West side of Yuma - I’m SE) and hit speeds up to 85 on the country roads getting him there. The second she saw him - quivering, staggering, nose and eys running - she said, “Yep, he’s got into something. Get him inside and on the table.” Carolyn - Tené’s assistant - and I hefted him up on the table and they went to work on him for a couple of hours. Knocked him out, hooked up the IV, gave him an antidote, and pumped and flushed and pumped and flushed and pumped - well, you get the idea. He made it, but I felt like it was close. Dr. Tené took the IV out of his leg this afternoon, and had me put him on a hamburger and rice mix - which he loves!

I’ve never had an animal that was poisoned (except for the cat I got drunk with one time on moonshine), but it’s real scary...

28 November 2004 - Sunday Nite ~
Decided to go home in the morning. Clemente called and said all was well at the ranchito so no need to rocket home. Besides - Mom made a really good supper...

28 November 2004 - Sunday Morn ~
It’s been a pleasant holiday visiting my Mom in Big Bear. The Feast was held - as it usually is in these times - at Jim & Jan’s, my brother and sister-in-laws house down by the lake. Visited a new coffee house across the street from their place yesterday and had a mocha latté and a cranberry scone. They feature Wilson Coffee of Newport Beach, which sister Donna owns, and is one of the companies that was an outgrowth of Alta Coffee Warehouse & Roasting Company; a company, which you may recall, that I was one of founders. The coffee house will be a good complimentary business to Jim and Jan’s North Shore Trading Company.

Heading home today.

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29 December 2004 - Wednesday

Started to rain - and blow- about 0300. Goodly amount of rain came down and wet the place down real well.

Clemente came to the door this morning and informed me that the two Herefords were out of their pen, and nowhere to be seen. I went out back and fed the goats and Mama Pig, then started following their tracks. I found them a few hundred yards to the northwest in the grove north of us. Clemente took the Thing and herded them back down to our place and then we took to our feet and got them back in their pen. They must’ve escaped before the rain started judging from their tracks. And that would coincide with Benito’s barking about that time - I thought he was howling at the wind. They roamed from hay station to hay station at the various corrals and pretty much made a mess of things. The bull broke into the feed shed and turned over all the feed bins and ate up a bunch of the grain. He ought to be about right for the kill in a couple of days - if he doesn’t founder first...


20 December 2004 - Monday ~
The rooster you see to the right - was found yesterday afternoon in the cows stock tank. I saw it when I was checking the water and thought it was dead - it’s wings were splayed out and it appeared lifeless. I took my gloves off and fished it out of the water, it was ice cold, soaked to the skin, and stiff as a board. Then I noticed it’s head was vibrating, you know, like you get when your real cold and it makes your teeth chatter. Except it’s teeth weren’t chattering ‘cause it doesn’t have any. I put it in the back of the carito and drove back up to the shop, got out the heat gun, and commenced to dry it off. In about a half-hour it was fairly dry - and somewhat warmed up - and began to move it’s legs and talons a bit, as well as it’s head. I took in the house, put it in a box under a wall heater. This morning it was rip-rearing to go so turned it loose by the eastern clan - the chickens that live at the east end of the property - and it ate with them. After it got it’s fill, it took off to join it’s group, the western clan - who live a few hundred yards to the west. This afternoon when I was feeding, I saw it, and it ran up to me, stopping about five feet away, looked at me out of one eye and then the other, and ran back to the scratch. Creep never did thank me, or maybe it’s embarrassed to talk. With no teeth it probably sounds like Gabby Hayes...

15 December 2004 - Wednesday ~
Clemente and I are constructing goat pens and fences for the Lawless;’ you may recall I mentioned earlier that they have started breeding African Boer goats. Initially, we are putting in about 26,000 sq. ft. of pens in the back of their place. One would get the impression that they are going to go at this in a big way. Today we transported our tractor, most of the materials and some hay over there and tomorrow we move the welder and other tools. The pictures from today are Clemente and I loading my 53’ with pipe - more pictures of the project as it goes along...

06 December 2004 - Monday Morn ~
(ref. previous) ...and then it clouded up, the wind switched to the North, and it began to rain. We took the plywood panel that was on the South end of the of the smoker and put it on top to keep the rain off. Took seven to eight hours for the ribs to finish. Because of the rain, and the loss of electricity (and phones), I did not make my usual wet mop for the ribs, nor my “A” numero uno St. Louis style BBQ sauce, hoping that the dry rub that I had applied to the ribs some 18 hours earlier would do the trick. I set up my double-burner camp stove in the breezeway to prepare the sauces, but the cold and wet made me say, “ah - hell with it...” The ribs were fantastic - and that’s not just my opinion, others - such as the Serrato's and Lawless’ (who are renowned judges of BBQ) stated that they were muy bueno. In the future I may forego the basting.

The Lawless’ arrived back from Benson (southeast of Tucson) last night after purchasing two young goats, one each - buck and doe - registered African Boer goats which are bred for their meat quality. More on this later.

The reason for the double weather above is because I couldn’t get online to update yesterday...

05 December 2004 - Sunday Noon ~
Smokin' six racks of spare ribs, but it's a bit windy and it keeps blowing the fire out. Put up a sheet of plywood at the windy end of the smoker and that seems to do the trick.

02 December 2004 - Thursday Morn ~
Wind machines - for the frost - ran all night. On the way out to feed, probably will find ice on the stock tanks. Clemente thinks it’s going to be a cold winter...

01 December 2004 - Wednesday Nite ~
Little on the chilly side here - but then I think about my holiday at my Mom’s - and it seems right temperate. Clemente finished changing the clutch in F.I.R.M.’s delivery truck today and we got it back to their yard just after sunset. Jesse was anxious to get it back because they were using his new Dodge R3500 TD for the deliveries and it acquired a big dent in the roof when the driver dropped a steel plate on it, as well as other dings. After it comes out of the body shop it is going to get a flatbed just in case they have to use it again for deliveries.

Hopefully we’ll be able to get back to our projects, such as the horse and implement barn, and fencing the back of the property. But first we’ll have to fence off the Lawless’ place - they are going into the goat bidness. I am beginning to wonder if I am ever going to get this place finished before the Grim Reaper catches up with me...

25 November 2004 - Thursday Morn ~
Off to Fawnskin for Thanksgiving to stay with Mom and feast at Jim and Jan’s. Hope you all have a good one - and remember our guys and gals in the Middle East.

23 November 2004 - Tuesday Morn ~ Although the thermometer indicated 40º this morning, it apparently was a little colder in spots ‘cause there was frost on the ground. Last night around 0100 I let Benito out and it looked like it had rained, but it was clear as a bell - Moon and stars were brilliant, and this morning the ground was very wet. That’s how heavy the dew was. I was looking forward to later this week when the forecast calls for temps in the low 70’s and then I realized I’ll be in Big Bear for Thanksgiving and my Mom said the area is buried in snow. Oh well, I’ll stay by the fire - with a toddy...

22 November 2004 - Monday Nite ~
For us it’s been a mite cool here. I’m still in shorts, but am going to switch to long pants soon - I think I look kinda funny walking around with my Carhardt Ranch Coat on with shorts. Few sprinkles today and the sky was pretty much overcast, but the weather has blown on through to the east and north. Clemente went to Phoenix this morning with Olivia and he said it was cloudy with a few showers around. Talked to my Mom yesterday and she said it was snowing in Big Bear and was pretty deep. She said brother Jim was out clearing drives - theirs and other folks - with his big snow blower. Low 70’s forecast by the end of the week, so that will be nice.

20 November 2004 - Thursday ~
My cousin, Jack McCollom, out of Sedona, Arizona, arrived on Tuesday, the 2nd of November. He’s on the way to Texas and stopped over here to work on his 1966 Jaguar XKE which has been in storage for sometime. He hauled it over from California on a trailer towed by his van. At this writing, he’s done a major cleanup on the car, installed an electronic ignition mod, polished the bright stuff under the bonnet-valve covers, etc-and various other items to get it ready for the run to Texas. Today he’s working on the coolant system, and then he’s off to Texas in a couple of days. Should be a fun drive.

31 October 2004 - Sunday Nite ~
Diesels & Mazola ~ Received some info from pal Johnny Greeff pertaining to diesel fuel mixed with “edible” oils, and an article about biodiesel. Some of the information Johnny sent me discussed the blending of organic oils with diesel fuel, a practice that has been around for some time now. So, I grabbed the jug under the counter in the kitchen marked “Used Cooking Oil” and headed out to the shop. I was getting ready to move a few bales of hay, and the tractor-powered by a 3-cyl 18hp diesel-needed fuel, so I mixed up a 89/11 diesel/corn oil blend. Operated the tractor for about 90 minutes and it ran fine. The only difference was - the exhaust smelled like a deep fryer. Really.

29 October 2004 - Friday Nite ~
Snowbirds ~ The Snowbirds come down here ‘cause the weather’s better. I’m freezing my tail off - so I guess where they’re from it must be absolutely unbearable. We’re heading for our 32º days, but I suppose to them freezing temps, bare sand and clear skies are akin to a tropical paradise.

Last Monday one of the younger ewes had a pretty little pinto baby. The next day, one of the elder ewes had two, one pinto female and one a cinnamon white male. The elder ewe has been a problem for a couple of breedings now because her udder is so large that the little ones can’t find her teats. By the way, she produces over a gallon of milk a day. So we have to milk her and then bottle feed the babes. They both took to the bottle as soon as it was offered, the white one more readily. This morning found the white one barely alive. We think it was stepped on or something. Brought it in the house, but it didn’t make it. For a couple of days there we had 27 goats.

28 October 2004 - Thurday Morn ~
Rain ~ Started raining lightly yesterday afternoon, and by sunset it was coming down pretty good. Clemente and I went out to milk one of the mama goats that just had two little ones, and fortunately their pen is the only one that still has a summer shade up, so we didn’t get too wet. She is one of the older ewes and her udder is so big that the teats are close to the ground and the babies can’t find them. So, we have to milk her, transfer the milk to a bottle, and then bottle feed the babes. Pain in the ass, but it’s the only way to get them started. Probably should get a milking machine ‘cause she would probably produce a gallon or two a day.

We got the winter hay, 4 dumps - 296 bales, covered just as it started to rain.

Got invited to the Lawless’ last night for supper - real fines eats - steaks, chili, and other good stuff. The clouds parted about 2030 to give a quick view of the eclipse.

26 October 2004 - Tuesday Morn ~
Rain ~ The rain forecasters will usually throw out a forecast for rain just to see the locals get all excited, of this I am sure. In my 10 years here I’ve learned to take the forecasts - except for temps, and sometimes the wind - with a grain of salt. I mean, if it’s the 15th of August and the weatherman says it’s going to be hot - well - duh! Of course it is. The forecast for Wednesday calls for a 30% chance increasing to 70% Wednesday night, followed by a 50% chance Thursday. Based on that, and the satellite pictures, I would say there is a fair chance we’ll get rain here Wednesday night. I’m not putting any money on it, mind you, but there is a chance. When the probability goes above 50%, then maybe.

Finished tilling the back 3 acres yesterday afternoon, and just in time, it was drying out fast. If it does rain Wednesday it will give me a chance to work it a little more before I plant the Rye and Bermuda. Hmmm - let’s see, now how does that dance the Navajo’s taught me go?

25 October 2004 - Monday Morn ~
Today ~ Fixed the link in the tensioner - off to the Lawless’ to disc up their place...

24 October 2004 - Sunday Morn ~
Today ~ After a rain the sand becomes firm and easy to till, so I’ll hook up the disc to my lil tractor and turn the back three acres today. We’ve spread a lot of horse back there so it’ll be a good time to turn it in; if I wait another day or so, the ground will dry out and - well, I’d better get on it - it’s drying faster than I can type...

Went well until I was about halfway through the job - when a tensioner link on the three-point broke. I’ll finish tomorrow...

12 October 2004 - Tuesday Nite ~
My Friends the Lawless’ ~ I feel the need to tell this story about my friends Stan & Cathy Lawless, who are my oldest friends since I moved to Yuma in ‘94. Some points of note: Stan had a stroke four years ago and is barely ambulatory. He has a great sense of humor and is always making light of his condition. A powerful man, he still has the use of his left arm, so if he’s in a temper - stay on his right side. Wife Cathy is a tall handsome lady who has many talents, such as - never mind - if I enumerate all her talents, I’ll lose the use of my fingers for a few hours, but let’s just say that I can’t do all the things she can do, except I think I make better landings than she does. She also has a neat sense of humor. Well you’d have to, to live with Stan.
Okay ~
A few days ago I delivered a couple of racks to their place of business that Clemente had modified to be used in cleaning silk screens. Cathy saw the bruise on the back of my right leg. That night I receive an e-mail from Stan -
“sorry i missed your visit. but because of your visit cathy has had a bit of a mishap but will be fine. she stated to me that as you were walking away she told me she noticed it was now down to the back of your knee. i backhanded her for even looking!! After she picked her ass up off the ground she said she was talking about your bruised butt. Wear longer pants next time. she doesn't have to see crap like that, Ive had a stroke you know. Stan”

That gave me a chuckle and I sent back a snappy reply.

Sunday night I take a mess of ribs, cowboy beans, corn-on-the-cob, and salad over to their place. As I am loading the truck with the goodies, I hear my computer beep, the one that tells me I have received e-mail. It’s seven-thirty and I’m running a few minutes late, but I limp over to the computer to see what has come in.

“my kids are starting to cry now, we have bologna ,but no bread - Stan
followed by
if we're in bed, please hang the meat high,,to keep the goat out of it,,we'll have a great breakfast - Stan

Ha-ha. I heft my game leg into the truck and head out for their place. Daughter Jennifer meets me outside - with a somber visage - and helps me carry stuff into the house. As I walk into the kitchen Stan is sitting at the computer -whining - and Cathy is a the counter with her back to me, making potato salad. I say “Hi” to all, drop my load on the counter and go back out to the truck to see if we got everything. I get the last of the stuff and go back in the house.

As I put it down by the sink, Cathy turns to me - says Hi - and I see she has a huge bruise on her left cheek! I am stunned. Stan’s msg flashes through my mind, and I think, “No - she ran into something or fell down!” I guess my mouth dropped open and as I turned around Stan, Jennifer, and Josh are breaking up, and then Cathy starts to crack up. Jennifer, who is in Drama at the local college, also does make-up. She had put this horrible bruise on her mom, all for my benefit. They admitted that even before Stan sent me the msg, they had plotted this whole scenario.

Being in the company of this family is like being in the company of the Addams Family...

Off to help friends move a building - but there are problems...

For many years Stan and Cathy Lawless owned and operated the Somerton Airport, which is located SSW of Yuma. For most of those years they ran a crop dusting operation, a skydiving facility, a maintenance facility, and rented airplanes. Then the time came when Stan was no longer interested in flying all night long killing bugs, so they closed down the crop dusting operation. They needed some t-shirts printed, but couldn’t find what they wanted in the Yuma area, so they started their own printing and sign business - Designing T’s.
One half of the print building, but the guys moving it didn't brace it. It buckled after being towed 30 feet.
Stan and Cathy inspecting the trailer. The movers jacked each end up, put a hi-jack in the center and straightened the floor and frame out, then Clemente welded several 8' braces between floor and overhead. When it went together at their rancho, you couldn't tell it was ever bent.

12 October 2004 - Tuesday Nite ~
On Getting Old ~ The lump(s) have diminished somewhat and the pain has subsided to the point that I am a lot more agile - moved 32 bales yesterday - but I would not care to sit in my truck for more than a half an hour, which works out just fine when I have to run to town for parts or feed. The bruise has grown and is migrating down the back of my leg and has passed my knee. Interesting. Haven’t seen something like this since I got off my Harley improperly back in ‘78.

11 October 2004 - Monday Morn ~
A Sunday B-B-Q ~ With some trepidation, I took 4 racks over to the Lawless’ last night along with some other fixin’s because I rate Stan very highly as practitioner of the art of smoked meat. His judgment, as well as that of Cathy, Jennifer and Josh, was that they were excellent. I haven’t received word from Clemente’s clan as yet. I admit I thought they were good.

You would think that a man of my years, and being the great cook that I am, that I would know the difference between spare and baby back ribs, both of which I smoked yesterday. The subject came up, and when Cathy discovered that I was ignorant as to the difference, she proceeded to instruct me. I would elaborate, but at the time she was instructing me, I had had too much milk and was suffering from lactose intolerance.

10 October 2004 - Sunday ~
A Sunday B-B-Q ~ It’s 1430 and I’m taking a short break from the cheffing. What a magnificent day here, 86º, low humidity and a westerly breeze. Perfect day for smoking ribs. I’ve got ten racks of spare ribs in the smoker; they’ve been on about 3 hours at 250º - should be ready in another two-and-a-half or three. Trying something that I haven’t done before - using hickory and mesquite chips for smoke. Pool is ready and I’m just getting ready to fill the cooler to ice off the beverages. Sides will be cowboy beans, corn on the cob, foil wrapped onions with garlic, veggie platter, spinach salad, and tortillas.

09 October 2004 - Saturday ~
Housekeeping ~ Because I am a slob bachelor, I get in a panic every time someone comes to visit, so I call out my housekeeper. In this case it’s the wife of a young man that does outside work for me. Between the two of them, they can have this place ship shape in about six hours. However, as I’ve mentioned before, the problem with housekeepers - especially new ones - is they put stuff away, and I can’t find them. In this case it’s cider vinegar, brown sugar, and so forth, that I need for my barbecue sauce, as well as other things I cook with. Fortunately mi casa is not that big, so eventually I find the hidden items. Just slows me down somewhat.

I bought one of those little upright carpet cleaners, kind of a mini Rug Doctor - my old Bissell tank job died, and it works great albeit a mite slower than the bigger ones. I’m so proud of myself - finished the master bedroom/bath and am embarking on the rest of the house. Well, it’s off to town to buy stuff for the B-B-Q en la mañana; looks like it’s going to be a nice day tomorrow...

05 October 2004 - Wednesday Morn ~
On Getting Old - Update ~ Ok, I know this is probably more than you wanted to know about my physical well-being, but...
So much for not bruising. The lump is diminishing and the pain is easing, however I am black and blue from my tailbone - south, right side. I think this qualifies as “A pain in the ass!”

The Brandon’s stopped by last night on their way back to Shafter, California, and had supper with me. They left about 2000 and headed on; don’t know if they were going all the way, ‘cause if they were, it’s at least another 7 hours from here to their place. Mike looks real good considering what he’s been through.

03 October 2004 - Sunday Morn ~
On Getting Old - Update ~ Went out to feed this morning; took me an hour to get out of the chair and get my shoes on, or so it seemed. Had a little trouble getting up on the tractor (and it’s a little one) but after I moved around a bit I started to loosen up a bit. Still hurts like hell and the lump is now the size of small grapefruit - or a large naval orange.

02 October 2004 - Saturday ~
On Getting Old ~ I sold 20 joints of upset tubing to Tony Mercer, a local horse trainer, for pens and fencing, 633’ feet to be exact. In case you’re interested, a “joint” of upset tubing (sometimes called drill pipe by locals in my area) is a thickwalled pipe a little over 2” in diameter, and averages 31.5’ in length and averaging about 170 lbs. each - and it makes great fencing. I bring it out from East Texas.

Clemente was running the tractor with the forks on the front loader, and I was handling and offloading the pipe onto my 53’. I put a joint on the tractor, and while balancing it while Clemente was backing up, and I too, I tripped over another pipe and went down on my back - and butt. I waved to Clemente that I was okay, and we went ahead and loaded the rest of the load. Then I drove it over to Tony’s and helped hump it off the trailer. On the way back to my place, I had the feeling I was sitting on something, like a rag or some such. I reached to pull it out and discovered that I have a great lump on my right hip. Now I’m hobbling around like Walter Brennen (one of my favorites) and it hurts like hell. Until I was 55 I never bruised - then I started to bruise. Now I can say that until I was 64 - I never lumped. Damn! I just discovered I can’t cross my legs...

22 September 2004 - Wednesday Morn ~
Karen Weddle, Weddle Farms, called this morning and asked if I wanted to bale hay. I said, “You bet!” Went out and fed, told Clemente what was up, and he gave me permission to leave, then headed over to the Weddle Farm which is about 3 miles northwest of my place.

I’ve been buying my hay from the Weddle’s for about three years. I was looking for a new supplier and Clemente said he used to work for some folks that grew real good hay, so he and I went over to their place and he introduced me to Jim, and I bought some hay. It was high quality stuff, so I’ve been with them every since. As you may recall, last year I told Jim Weddle that I was a frustrated ex-747 driver and would sure like to get checked out on some of the hay machines, what with them being so similar and all. He immediately developed a twitch, and with his eyes darting around as if he was looking for an escape route, I could tell he was going to beg off. Then he brightened up, and said, “Sure, we’ll be cutting over on County 14 and 5th in a couple of days. You can start there.” As it turned out, it was hay that he was selling to me to haul to Fort Worth. Taking no chances. A while back I was checked out on the baler, so Karen called me because she had a seat on one of the balers this morning, ‘cause Jim is off bow hunting Elk. She said she would call me back in a little bit ‘cause the hay was too wet to bale yet. We have a dry north wind this morning so she called back within the half-hour and told me to scoot ‘cause it was drying fast! Baled 20 acres in less than an hour and finished up just in time - the hay was getting too dry to bale any more. I’ll get the dry stuff because I’ll be feeding it right away. She’s going to call me next week to cut - and I’ll probably get to bale too. And I’ll be getting 7 dumps - 518 bales - out of that batch, which will hold me over till next spring.

Karen is a nice lady to work for, but I wish she would wave her arms, stamp up and down, and scream at me like Jim does - I learn better under stress...

21 September 2004 - Tuesday Morn ~
For those of you that check out this site - if there are any - may have noticed the lack of updates other than the weather. Clemente and I have been very busy trying to whittle down the project list before the cold, bitter winter sets in. We also take care of all of the rolling stock of F.I.R.M. Inc., a company specializing in steel sales and fabrication, owned by my friend Jesse Oropeza. That includes their four trucks, several forklifts, and trailers. Their name is an acronym for Farm Implement Repair and Manufacturing, and they build all sorts of equipment for the ag industry, such as, computerized vegetable sorting conveyor belts, tanker trucks and trailers for the field, tilling implements for tractors, etc. We also take care of vehicles for Designing T’s, a clothing printing and embroidery outfit, owned by my friends Stan and Cathy Lawless.

Needless to say, when outside work needs to be done, I lose Clemente - and sometimes myself - to take care of it. For instance, last week the Lawless’ needed help moving their double-wide 60’ building to a new location, and it needed interior bracing, so I assisted Clemente while he welded steel bracing supports into one of the halves. The entire project took two days. Yesterday, we had to do a Service Check on Jesse’s R3500TD Dodge; besides running parts for Clemente all I was able to accomplish was to move 14 bales of hay and feed. Today Clemente is going to try to finish up the Lawless’ motor home (tune up), while I start to pour an adobe floor for the hay barn. And so it goes.

Major items on the project list - finish the horse barn, the hay barn, and fence off the rear (west) part of the property. But before I start the floor for the hay barn, I need to weld in a lateral rail in the Round Pen that Sweetie Pie kicked out the last time she was shod...

05 September 2004 - Sunday ~
Get this! I discovered a mouse in one of my cupboards. I put one of those little sticky traps in the cupboard with a glob of peanut butter on it. I heard some noise in the cupboard and, “Ah Ha! I’ve caught the little critter!” I open the cupboard, see the mouse run up through a tiny hole in the top of the cupboard - turning to look down at me - before going through the hole into the attic. I pull the trap off the shelf. The mouse had eaten the bait - and half of the tray and the sticky stuff! Now where’s that old fashioned spring trap...

04 September 2004 - Saturday ~
Nice day today, as far as working outside. Never did get very hot and the humidity was quite low. Went overcast around noon, high stuff, but didn’t swell up enough to drop any water. You may recall my description of some of our colorful sunsets here where sometimes the color is so intense you think you’re on Mars - the sand, walls, everything takes on a reddish hue. This evening was one of those sunsets. This photo shows the sky that causes such a sight.

We had a great B-B-Q last Sunday, Clemente & Olivia’s kids and grand kids came over. Nobody got in the pool, but Clemente and I tried out our “new” smoker that the Lawless’ gave us. It’s really neat, they built it themselves. They being Stan, Cathy, Jennifer and Josh. When they moved from the airport they acquired a smaller smoker and called and asked me if I wanted the old one. Clemente and I went over to the airport with my 20’ flatbed and loaded it up. It runs on propane and there is a place to put in wood chips for smoking. Vegans avert your eyes...


The Smoker!


On the left - one of several racks of spare ribs; center - one of six Cornish Game Hens; Right - a Boston Butt

As near as I can figure, it gets about 5 miles to the gallon, but boy!, does it turn out great B-B-Q!

All went well with the shoeing and trimming. Peter Max and Laredo were shod, and Bobbie, Bonnie, and Sweetie Pie were trimmed. Bobbie and Bonnie have settled down and didn’t give any trouble, but Sweetie Pie still is a little nutty (thanks to a former “trainer” I had here) and had to be sedated, but I think she is getting better.

14 August 2004 - Saturday ~

I have a "friend" - I won’t mention her name because I didn’t tell her I was going to write about a recent experience she had. Because it involves a scam, one which many of us think we would not be susceptible too, the fact that she is very bright, so I don’t want to embarrass her, she can go public if she wants too.

One day she decides to give on-line banking a go. You know the convenience of being able to check your account anytime and pay your bills while hovering over your computer. So, she goes online, proceeds to her banks site, and goes through the process of signing up for online banking. As she completes the process, a window pops up and advises her that - "Great! You’re now ready to use On-line Banking. We need you to answer just a couple of more questions for verification and you’ll be all set to go!"

You guessed it - one of boxes she had to fill in was her PIN number. And she forgot that you never, never, ever give your PIN to anyone or anything except an ATM keyboard. You know your PIN, and the bank knows it. She didn’t even think that something was amiss. And why? Because the window looked exactly like the bank windows that she had just been in, logos, everything. So she blithely fills in all the boxes.

The next day she checks her account - and it’s empty, flat, nada funds! Not only is her bank account a big zero, but she’s over $200.00 into her overdraft protection. She immediately reports the situation to the bank. Which is good, because there is a window for reporting fraud, I think it’s 48 hours, and so her loss will be covered, within a couple of weeks or so, with a lot of hassle - answering the banks questions and blah, blah, blah. In the meantime, the rents due, you need to go to the store and get groceries, your truck needs gas so you can get to work, and you don’t get paid for two weeks.

Oddly, the money was withdrawn from one of the banks branches in Westwood (SoCal), in two transactions - from an ATM. The first transaction was way over the single - and daily - limit for her account. Hmmm...

The worst part of the story is that she is traumatized, dropped out of on-line banking, changed banks - from one of the largest to a little local located next to the 7-11 in her hometown, hears things go bump in the night causing her to toss and turn and get no sleep. I made the last part up, the part about sleep, but it could be the case, I’ll have to ask her.

This is not my story, but I have to put in my two-cents about what the penalties should be for this type of crime. It is about the only thing I think Middle Easterners have right. Death, or at the very least, removal of the hands. Well, maybe the feet too, some people can type with their toes.

Moral: Never, never, ever give your PIN to anyone (except me); the bank already knows it - and you know it.

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Wednesday Nite - 14th July

Clemente and I erected Bobbie’s shade frame this afternoon, went pretty quick. It was raining on and off and it was pleasant working in it. Kinda reminded me being out in the rain in Hawaii, warm. Pretty humid around here today, but it didn’t get to hot, but I did sweat like I did in East Texas last summer, soaking wet.

The owl is meaner than a - well - owl, and back to eating a lot. Been feeding it beef and Jackrabbit, but ran out of Jackrabbit this morning. Clemente and son James brought me in about two pounds worth this evening. Hopefully it will be on it’s own before too long.
Wednesday Morn - 14th

Bobbie’s shade frame did get painted yesterday. The wind slacked a bit so that it wasn’t picking up sand and Clemente slapped a coat of paint on it. We’ll be setting it up this morning- unless a nearby t-storm starts tossing lightning in the vicinity.

Don’t think I mentioned that the ribs that we smoked up this last weedend turned out great. A good time was had by all and everybody went home with a leftover rack.

Booming the Shade Frame Into Place

Tuesday Morn - 13th July

Ahh - the best laid plans - foiled by Mother Nature. No painting today, at least it’s not foreseeable. Gusty wind conditions with a lot of sand in the air, so the painting of the shade is not going to happen today, and maybe not for the rest of the week. Gusty conditions with rain and t-storms forecast for the balance of the week. It appears we are entering our monsoon season. When I saw Clemente this morning he said he wished it had’ve rained before the wind kicked up which would’ve help keep the sand down. So far, our fabric shades over the livestock seem to be holding up.

Monday Nite - 12th July

Coming up on 2000 and it's still 104º. Just brought the little (well - not so little anymore) owl in as it has been out since last nite without any apparent food or water. I tried to feed it earlier, but it just got real pissy. The "Owl Pages" say not to put water in with it, but Tené said too, and when I set it down in the box, it was in the bowl of water in less than a minute - and appeared to be drinking. I'll let it settle a bit then try to feed it again.

Clemente (and me too) finished the Bobbie’s shade this afternoon - just before feeding time - and we'll paint it tomorrow morning. Maybe have it in the ground in the afternoon - or maybe we'll set it up Wednesday morn. Whatever, it's done, and he did a good job. Now Bobbie boy will have some shade, too.

OK - just went in with a couple of ozs of cubed top sirloin (no - I didn’t kill the bull) and the little guy/gal scarfed it up! Guess it hadn’t eaten since I fed it yesterday morning.

11 July 2004 – Sunday Afternoon Update

The Serrato grand kids (with parents) are flopping around in the little pool and the ribs are close to done - all is right with our little world. I finished making the B-B-Q sauce about an hour ago and it’s been simmering, permeating the house with it’s fragrant aroma. Better go shut it off so’s it can cool down in preparation for the feast, plus I need to slather some on the ribs in their last 30 minutes of smoking. When the day comes when I finish my lil’ cookbook and get it up on the site, I’ll include this recipe - given to me by brother and sis-in-law Jim and Jan - it’s one of the best I’ve ever had, and easy to make, too.

11 July 2004 – Sunday Afternoon

Well, Sunday News as it is - not much going on today, except the B-B-Q. Just built the fire/coals in the smoker and will put the ribs on when the temp stabilizes at 250º or so. Hope they’re good - I am smoking 14 lbs. Clemente and Olivia’s family are coming over.

I took the owl out last nite just before sunset and set it down near where the chickens feed. I left for about 10 minutes, and when I came back it was gone. I searched under the all the oleanders, citrus trees, and palms, and I couldn’t find it. I went back out about 2100 and looked for it again, but no luck. It has spent one other night out, so I hoped for the best. I looked for it this morning at 0800, and then again at 1100, and again no owl. I set about cleaning and prepping the smoker, and needed a pair of pliers to remove the grates, so I went to the shop and when I walked in, there it was next to the grinder which sets by the shelves. It was already over 100º here so the little creature was panting. I picked it up and carried it into the house and put it in it’s box and then tried to feed it. It wouldn’t eat. I’ve left it to cool and calm down, maybe it will eat this afternoon. Still hope that it makes it to adulthood - it’s almost there. Most of it’s down has fallen off and it has a lot of big feathers. I think later today I will take a picture of it and measure it’s wing span.

Just went to check the smoker and it was ready, so I put four racks of spare ribs on; should be ready in four or five hours. Pools is all ready for the little dunkers.

It’s off to Sam’s to get the rest of the accruements for today’s feast, dessert (that chocolate cake, ice cream, Drumsticks, etc.), and a veggie platter with dip.

Friday Morn - 9th July ~ Clemente knocks on the door at daybreak, about 0530 - I think, “Hmm, he’s coming for coffee early...” He reports that the cows are out, as well as Laredo. Apparently the cows (most likely the bull) knocked down the south side of their pen and began to visit every hay bale on the place, as well as knocking down the water stantion that services the livestock area. This excited Laredo and that creep busted through the electric fence (we left it off last night) and began racetracking around the place while occasionally visiting the Senior Feed bin of our new boarders, Ben (20 year old Roan gelding and heeler) and Little Boy, a former wild burro that has been gentled down by his owners, Mark and Dianna, who live next door. They moved their boys here because it was a lot more convenient than the place they were at before, about eight miles away as the crow flys. Mark team ropes on Ben, who, as I mentioned before, is a heeler - the guy that catches the back end of the steer.

While Dianna herded the cows into the Round Pen and fed the horses, Clemente and I put the cow’s pen back together, fixed the water, re-strung the electric fence, and in general got things back to normal. We decided to leave the cows in the round pen ‘til feeding time, and then try to lure them back over to their pen. About 1100, there’s a knock on the door, and it’s Clemente telling me that the cows are out again. He gets in the Thing, and I on the tractor, and we start our mechanized cowboy act, herding them back to their pen, which we accomplish in a couple of minutes. Soooo, all is back to the way it was.

I took the camera out to take pictures of this debacle, but found I couldn’t take pictures and drive the tractor at the same time...

Restoring the Cow Pen

Horse Barn - South Wall (pen side)


Clemente - Placing Top Rail


Photos taken looking ESE

16 May 2004 – Sunday Nite

Reference the pictures above, the big orange fork-lift is a Lull; we borrowed it from Jesse Oropeza. The piece of 3” angle we’re putting up as a top rail is almost 80’ long. We made a rope bridle to hold it while we got it in position and then welded it to the verticals. The barn will be 67’ long with five stalls with a 14’ center alley. The north side will be connected to the hay barn and will be a 14 x 67’ equipment storage area, where we’ll keep all the farm machinery, tractor(s), trailers, water tankers, tilling implements, etc., under cover.

New babies are growing each day - getting fat and sassy...

20 May 2004 – Thursday Nite

The family next door, the Mercado’s, our neighbor to the south, left last Friday to travel to the family digs in the Salinas Valley. They asked Clemente to watch after their dogs, Rascal - a pit bull, and Chiquita (you guessed it) - a Chihuahua. When Clemente told me they had left and would be back Monday, I joined in and watered the plants and helped in caring for the dogs. Rascal is cool. I began to feel sorry for him, tied up to the Palo Verde next to his dog house, so I started bringing him over to our place, and tied him up under our Palo Verde so he could be next to Clemente and I while we were working. He got along well with our dogs, Clemente’s Java (a pit bull mix), and my Benito. Chiquita was another story. She’s tethered next to the house, under a shade, and is typical of the breed. She would let us approach to water and feed her, but if you got any closer she would bare her teeth and growl. Obviously suffering from a short-man (woman) complex. I would go over two or three times a day to water the plants, or check on the dogs. I would take time to sit on the porch and talk to Chiquita and she would respond by hiding behind her tiny dog house. As the days went by it was obvious that she missed the kids very much. Each day she would get closer to me. This afternoon, just as the sun was setting, I went in and sat on the porch and started talking to her. She slowly got closer to me, then when she was a couple of feet away, she sat down and - quivering like an Aspen leaf - put her paw out to me. I shook hands with her and she jumped into my lap. Wish I had the same effect on the female of my species. Anyway, I got up, took her leash and we went for a walk over to my place. Clemente came out, knelt down and put his hand out, and she bit him. I was surprised - animals really like him. She probably took to me ‘cause I am much better looking than Clemente.

Come last Tuesday, Clemente began to worry about the folks next door, ‘cause we hadn’t heard from them. Pretty soon he had me fretting. So tonight we called Jaime’s cel phone, and he said they were leaving in about an hour to come home; they had had a car problem. So all well and it will be good to see them. OK! I miss his carne asada...

Let the mares and their little ones out into the electric pen which adjoins their pen - where Laredo has been residing - and they ran and leaped and cavorted around. Then two of the mares started teasing (making a pass at) Laredo. Could be they’re in heat. Clemente and I watched the foals for about fifteen minutes after we turned them out - in case they touched the wire - didn’t want a train wreck to occur. Funny, none of them touched the wire. Makes me wonder if their mamas - or Laredo - didn’t have some way of telling them to stay away from it...

17 May 2004 – Monday Nite

Gave Peter Max a bath this afternoon including trimming his chinny-chin-chin, mane and tail. He cracks me up! I halter him, lead him out of the pen, he starts dancing around and acting studly, but as soon as you get him on the wash rack and start working on him - he goes catatonic. Head goes down, eyelids droop; he loves being groomed and fussed over.

Babies are doing great - beautiful weather here...

11 May 2004 – Tuesday Nite

Benito and I got back from Mom’s this afternoon at 1645 - usual four and a half run. This was Benito’s first trip far from home and he was a good traveling companion, if you like a companion that sleeps most of the way. He had a real good time on the mountain and played well with the other dogs. Michelle (my eldest daughter) was at Mom’s with her dog Hank; he and Benito had met before at my place, so they got along fine. Benito has never been anywhere but the desert, so he had several new experiences - stairs, real dirt, big trees, etc. When we arrived over at Jim and Janet’s for Mother’s Day supper, it took a good five minutes to teach, or cajole, Benito to climb the stairs. Then when we left, he stood on the top landing, whining and looking desperate. Michelle said to Hank, “Hank! Go get Benito!” And Hank ran up the stairs and showed Benito how to come down the stairs. Cracked me up! Then when we got over to Mom’s, and it came time to go to bed, he and I went through the same drill going upstairs to our bedroom. The next morning we went through the same down stair training as we did at Jim’s. I am beginning to think he’s Irish. Anyway, after he got the hang of navigating the stairs, he’d go up and down with Hank, and then come strutting into the living room all proud of himself. Probably experiencing an emotion akin to first solo.

He and Hank would go out in the woods and chase squirrels, coyotes, and such - he had a ball.

Temps were pleasant - low 70’s during the day - but kind of jolt to the system at night, 40 - maybe a little lower. Invigorating!

Had a nice time visiting with Mom. Problem is, she tries to feed me constantly, and if I don’t eat, she gets upset with me. If I stayed there for several days, I’m afraid I would start to lose my boyish figure...

06 May 2004 – Thursday Nite

It took a lot a of begging, pleading, and - of recent - threats, but Qwest finally came through and fixed my phone lines. It’s nice to talk without the line going dead or getting dropped off the internet. Seven years of lousy service finally cleared up - I hope...

28 April 2004 – Wednesday Morn

Summer's here...

23 April 2004 – Friday Noonish

On the way out to ride Laredo for while. The little ones are doing well as well are the mamas. Laredo gets lonely, I guess, and he keeps opening the gate to the mares and lets himself into the mares corral, which then lets the little ones out into the electric corral. I haven’t let them out there yet ‘cause I didn’t want them getting jolted and thereby distorting their little psyches at such a tender age. However, the juice has been off for over a week (Laredo will stay in any enclosure, even if it’s just a string) so nobody got shocked.

‘spossed to hit close to a hundred this week...

23 April 2004 – Friday Noonish

Well! The little colt arrived Wednesday morning - as Clemente predicted. Mama Beta is doing fine. Pics up soon. Long legged, and quite a lot of chrome; one brown eye - one blue.

Beautiful weather...

17 April 2004 – Saturday Morn

Three foals so far. The two four year old mares lead off. Molly had hers first - colored very much like her daddy, very loud and sorrel with glass (blue) eyes. Then came Annie’s - not much chrome, but sorrel like her mommy with daddy’s white face. Alpha (the eldest of the mares - 19) had hers next - not as loud as Molly’s filly, but more so than Annie’s, and a sorrel (or maybe more towards chestnut), with the longest legs of them all. So far, they are all good looking little girls, and my hope is they all grow up pretty and strong. Beta (the 18 year old) is due to have hers first week in May, but Clemente says he thinks she’ll drop next week. He has an uncanny knack of predicting the weather, so maybe he’ll score on this one.
The reason for the lack of updates is the inability to get online due to my stupid phone company’s crummy connectivity - Qwest is the worst phone company I have ever dealt with when it comes to service, just awful. Hope to up via satellite in the not too distant future.
Beautiful nice days here and the horse barn is coming along...

21 March 2004 – Sunday Afternoon
As I mentioned on the Home page, phone is down and my computer’s hard drive went south, so getting my e-mail is a sporadic thing. Got a chance to come into the Serrato’s and fire this off. Joe Stans set me up with the satellite gear, so I should be back up on the internet in lightning fast style in the near future. Those that read this please send me an e-mail as I may have lost my “Address Book” and list of those I regularly communicate with.
Been in the 90’s most every day here - Cool! Snowbirds are wilting and beginning to flee to the North. Maybe I will too - a rancho in Nevada? Later...

14 March 2004 – Sunday Eve

My brother James, and his wife Janet, have a store in Fawnskin by the name of North Shore Trading Company. They deal in canoes, toboggans, sleds, and clothing to name a few. They also have food goods such as jams and pancake mix. Pretty eclectic bunch of stuff. So, when my Mom and Aunt Lana Fern, and sis Donna and her friends showed up for my birthday get together on the 15th of February weekend, some of the gifts I received came from the North Shore Trading Company. Which is the reason for this write-up. I got three jams and a bottle of pancake mix. As a self declared connoisseur of pancake mix (my own being the best) I decided to evaluate the pancake mix and report to you my findings. The pancake mix is called “Moose Drool” and is packaged in a 16 oz. long neck, which is handy if you make your own beer. The instructions say to “add beer until desired consistency,” which I did. Made a fairly thin batter. The most noticeable thing that happens when the beer hits the mix - is the way it bubbles and fizzes. What you get is what appears to be an instant sourdough mix. The only liberty I took in deviating from the directions was to add oil. And the verdict? It makes a good pancake, real good. I split the mix three ways. The first batch I made with Dos Equis Amber. The second batch I made with O’Douls and added one egg, and the oil. The third batch - which I ate this fine Sunday morning - I made with milk, one egg, and the oil - and made waffles. Again, good stuff.

I also received three jars of jam, Strawberry Rhubarb, Huckleberry Razzle, and Jalapeño from the El Paso Chile Company. The first two have the North Shore Trading Company label and may be used for spice shakers after they are emptied. They are very good, but the Jalapeño is killer. I like jalapeño jams, but this one is really good. You can visit North Shore Trading Company on the web. The site does not show the food stuffs, but you can e-mail, phone, or snail mail your order in indicating the above items and they’ll ship.

Beautiful nice days here and things are coming along...

10 March 2004 – Wednesday Eve

Another beautiful day even though it cooled off a bit - only got to 91º - but we managed to avoid sweaters. Started laying out the horse barn, picking the materials, and what not. As per our usual modus operandi - it will go up free style - saves messing with a lot of pesky drawings.

Loaned my tractor to Jaime, my next neighbor, along with the drag. He sure has cleaned the place up nice. What a blessing that family is when compared to those that lived there before.

09 March 2004 – Tuesday Eve

Beautiful day, by noon it was 90º with a little breeze out of the North. Very pleasant working conditions. We've been working on a couple of Jesse's vehicles, so we weren't able to start on the barn today. Hope to kick it off tomorrow.

We had one of our trick sunsets tonight. When the sun set, the sky turned a deep pinkish orange and cast it's color over the earth and all things upon it, creating a surrealistic scene like one would imagine out of a Ray Bradbury Martian story. It happens a few times a year, and always impresses me. As I walked among the pens, treating my horses to carrots, I felt like I was drifting in a dream world, and it is times like this in my life that that I am glad I walked this earth.

08 March 2004 – Monday Eve

Wow! 90º at my place - 93º reported in town. Very, very nice day. Didn't seem that warm, I guess because of a northerly breeze. 94º forecast for the next couple of days, and I do hope it's true, and stays well over 80 for the next few days - it sends the snowbirds streaming to the north.

We'll start the horse barn tomorrow; want to have it finished before the mares start to foal in May.

06 March 2004 – Saturday Eve

Gee - can't believe I haven't been here for over a week. Can't seem to fit it in with the rest of the stuff I got goin' on.

Soon as I get some time I want to get some meat into this newletter - reporting on my hideous existance.

Very clear and very nice today - couple more deeegreeesss and the "snowbirds will be headin' back north...

27 February 2004 – Friday Eve

Very breezy here today - couldn't weld and a lotta sand in the eyes.
Received a piece from Father Bob Donegan entitled "metaphors" - check it out on the Humor page.
Anybody want to buy 24 goats? Hereford cow and bull? 800 lb. sow? Huh? Anybody?

27 February 2004 – Friday Morn

Finished up the temporary mare corral west of the round pen yesterday afternoon and started moving mares into it. They haven't been together for some time so they are going through their ritual of establishing pecking order. Women!

Moved Bobby to the new pen that was just completed. He and Bonnie were leaping and jumping around like it was a big deal.

There's light rain showers in the area, blue sky to the west - looks like it passed us by...

26 February 2004 – Thursday Morn

Constructing temporary corrals for the horses the last couple of days. Moving the mares out west of the round pen so that we can turn them out while we put the barn up as an extension to their current pens. Got to hustle 'cause spring foaling is just about here and I want them to be able to get inside when that happens.

Clemente finished up the new pen that we built by the other two. Guess I'll move Bobby into it because Laredo freaks out when the trash truck empties the dumpster every Tuesday. Don't understand it - he's so laid back otherwise.

Might get some rain today - there's some rain just west of the river...

24 February 2004 – Tuesday Morn

Went out this morning and fed the horses, then headed out back to feed the livestock. Arnie, my buck goat (an Angora), was out with his two sons, and he was going nuts! Some of the does must be in heat. So I grabbed him by the horns (If haven't put a picture of him up yet - I will - so you can see his horns) and we waltzed around 'til I could get him back in his pen. He hasn't been getting along with his boys so I put them in another pen. Arnie's horns make great handholds, but man! are they dangerous; I'm glad he is generally good-natured.

My housekeeper showed up yesterday and I think she was pleased with the way I have been trying to keep up after myself. She had better watch out though, if I get really proficient at it - it's going to cut into her hours - big time.

The rain did us good - now if we can get some more later in the week...

22 February 2004 – Sunday Eve

Overcast most of the day - although the Sun did peek through once or twice. Light rain on and off all day and breezy at times. Moved pen panels in order to erect temporary corrals for the horses so I can - a} clean out their pens, b} paint the shade pens where the mares live, and c} start construction of the horse barn, which will be an extension of the shade pens. We're going to move the mares out back while we construct the barn; like to get it done before they foal.

Hoping to get a goodly amount of rain, but around here - who knows...

21 February 2004 – Saturday Morn

Sister-In-Law Janet Lee Dooley's birthday today -
21 February 1954

Clouds up everyday, but nada. Possible thunderstorms tomorrow with showers for the next three or four days. I think the forecasters put out these forecasts for us Yuma sand dwellers, and then laugh their asses off. Well, we can only hope.

Baby goats are coming along well and a couple of the does look like they are about ready drop, so we could have four more or so in a few days.

Going to resurrect my cookbook in the near future. May be setting aside a portion of it for recipes from all you thousands of folks out there that read my column. Could be interesting - or not...

20 February 2004 – Friday Morn

Brother James Preston Dooley's birthday today -
20 February 1952

Clouded over yesterday afternoon - possible rain forecast for this weekend. Would be nice. I know you avid readers of this column would like some current news, but I have time allocation problems of recent, but will try to update this weekend.

18 February 2004 – Wednesday Eve

Just came in from checking on the horses - we've got a gale here. Wind must be gusting to 40 kts - stuff flyin' all over the place. Wind is west-south-westerly and carrying a lot of dust with it. I grabbed a bag of carrots and headed into it and by the time I got to Peter Max's pen - 30 yards away - my eyes were shot full of sand and mouth full of grit. The horses were all standing with their tails to the gale, and all but two took carrots from me - Bobby and Laredo in particular. I swear, Laredo could be standing in the middle of a forest fire and he'd eat. He is the most laid back horse I have ever known. Bobby seems to be taking it in stride also, but the mares are really goosey. Going out to close the main gate just in case someone gets out; don't want one of them running out on the roadway. Then to the shower to wash this sand out of all my crevasses...

12 February 2004 – Thursday Eve

Things coming along - getting ready for the party this weekend. House is spiffied up. Admittedly I accomplished only a small percentage of the work, I hired a lady to help me - Alma, by name - who has taken a concerted effort of several months of sloth and in a few hours has made the place look fairly well kept. Sister Donna and her two friends, Steve and Laura, my mother Alta and aunt Lana Fern (my Godmother), are coming over from California tomorrow for the party Saturday. Also in attendance will be Clemente and Olivia, and my wonderful next door neighbors. Jeff and Dr. Tené may show up also, if they can't find something better to do. This party is the 2nd Annual Birthday Celebration honoring Brandy Brandon's birthday. It also happens to be mine, but we don't celebrate that. You know, the problem with having a housekeeper, is that you're afraid to touch anything, dirty a dish, or leave laundry laying around. I feel like I'm in somebody else's house...

11 February 2004 – Wednesday Noon

Haven't been able to update the site for a few days - and probably won't - because folks are showing up this weekend to visit and I am scurrying around trying to get ready for them. Running the Rug Doctor today, places to clean up in the yard, etc. etc. etc. The reason people are coming from California is to "celebrate" my 64th birthday. It's just an excuse 'cause I don't celebrate birthdays, at least my own. More on the guest list later and the event itself...

01 February 2004 – Wee Hours

Back on New Years Day, I posted a trivia poser regarding QUANTAS – the flag carrier of Australasia (they hate it when you spell it that way) (they also hate it when you contact Sydney Approach Control and tell them you "have the island in sight") and I never said what the acronym stood for. Did you ever notice – I write like I talk. Anyway, QUANTAS is the acronym for

Thank you, Roger Baker, for reminding me, now go fly a YAK or something…

Think I’ll go get a couple more winks...

30 January 2004 – Friday Nite

Very nice day today and a great day to work outside. Clemente and I have moved about 60% of the livestock pens – mama pig, mama cow, and the bull to go. Clemente started back to work on the new pen that is up by the driveway. I was going to put Laredo in it, but he freaks when the dumpster guys come, so I think I’ll put Bonnie in there and put Laredo in her pen, which is the one in the middle. This will all become more clear when I put up a photo showing the arrangement.

Three more baby goats born this morning. I’ll have a count shortly, but when I counted last night we had twenty-two, up from fourteen two weeks ago. And there are at least two more does that are going to drop within the week.

29 January 2004 – Thursday Nite

Johnny Greeff invited me over to supper tonight. He served enchiladas that were huge! It was the first time that I have had something other than a cheese enchilada in a long, long time. They were very good.

Having a tough time with the baby goats. Out of the 12 born – if you include the stillborns - we’ve got 7 survivors. The little ones don’t seem to be getting enough milk from their mama’s, so we have to milk and hand feed them. Things seem to be stabilizing, though, and hopefully the remaining ones will make it. Two more does look like they are getting ready to drop any hour now.

28 January 2004 – Wednesday Morn

I mentioned to you that Johnny Greeff had taken up residence – as a tortoise does – on my place—one of his many winter hangouts—and found the need for a front porch, so he put one in. It took him two days, with a little help (and I mean little) from Clemente and I. Here’s his new porch – he says a hot tub is next.



I hope that the revelry at night doesn’t upset the horses and livestock…

Clemente and I started to move the livestock pens. The goats are easy. You just let them go, move the pens, throw some hay in the new pens, and they move in. Mama pig is pretty easy to move also. The cows are a different story. You put up their new pen, set up a chute, and run them over.

27 January 2004 – Tuesday Morn

Johnny Greeff will finish the other half of the slab that he has placed by the front (side, main) door of his trailer, a 6X6 half, which means I will be humping a bunch of 80# bags of concrete to the mixer for him. I suspect I will be weary en la noche.

Chilly again this morning, but this winter is shaping up to be a relatively mild one. As cold as it seems to me, I look around the country and see some of the temps people have to put up with and – well – this place looks like the banana belt.

I’m off to feed. Here’s hoping Joe Lieberman is in the top three in New Hampshire.

26 January 2004 – Monday Nite

I bought a twenty year old saddle that was won at a roping contest, that has been stored in a tack room. The price was right, real right, so I bought it.

Haven’t got the photos of the baby goat yet, maybe tomorrow.

25 January 2004 – Sunday Morn

From the time I put the weather up this morning ‘til I finished feeding, the sky had gone overcast. Looks like it could turn into rain, but I don’t think it will; that would be too much to hope for.

Hope to have some more photos up for you this morning.

24 January 2004 – Saturday Nite

The baby goat ~

Reference the next paragraph, mama goat stood for me today and I was able to get one of the little ones to suckle, but the other was too weak. I milked her and brought the weak one in the house. About every two hours I try to feed it, with some success, but I’m afraid I’ve not been able to get enough into it. The problem is further exacerbated by the fact that it is so weak that it gets choked up on the milk and stops breathing. I’ve had to give it mouth-to-mouth three times to get it going again. Going to be a long night.

Two baby goats born to the senior mama in the wee hours yesterday morning. Typical Arnie (my buck) offspring – white. She actually had four, but two of them were still-born. Moved them to a private pen this morning.

The reason the babies are having trouble suckling is because mama goats teats are right down on the ground; she has a big udder, maybe due to the fact that she is the eldest and has had several kids. She is of the original bunch that I got four or five years ago, and I don’t have any idea how old she was when I got her.

24 January 2004 – Saturday Morn
It was a good rain ~
It was a fine few days as far as the rain goes. Wet the place down real well. As I’ve mentioned before, wet sand acts more like regular dirt when it’s wet, so that’s the time when you want to work it. I got on the tractor yesterday and pulled the drag harrow over the drives and out back where the big rig from Ott Farms got stuck awhile back—it left big, and deep furrows in the sand—and got that all smoothed out.

Two baby goats born to the senior mama in the wee hours yesterday morning. Typical Arnie (my buck) offspring – white. She actually had four, but two of them were still born. Move them to a private pen this morning.

As I think I mentioned, Johnny Greeff moved in a couple of mornings ago, and he’s decided he wants a concrete porch, so that’s what he was doing the last couple of days – poured half of it yesterday. It will be 6’ by 12’.

New system on my iBook is up and running and I’m pretty impressed with it. Mac OS X is a huge departure from previous systems, and it’s quite a learning curve getting used to it. For somebody new to computers, it would probably be very user friendly; I just need to break old habits.

22 January 2004 – Thursday Nite

The Rain & Other Thots

Around 2100, I started downloading updates to my computer, and decided to take a break. I could hear it raining, so I put on my storm jacket, that daughter Heather gave me a few years ago – when she was working for an outfit in Aspen that made ski/snowboarding clothes – grabbed an apple, and headed out to give it too Laredo, who is currently residing in the Round Pen ‘til his pen is completed. Benito and I walked along in the dark with a light rain pattering on my hood (while pattering on Benito’s skull), covering the hundred yards or so to the Round Pen at a casual gait. I wanted to give Laredo a treat, and apples are about his favoritist, ‘cause I had been mad at him all day. Oh yeah – that…

This morning, the phone started ringing a little after seven – just finished watching Imus on MSNBC – and I had to hustle ‘cause it was in the office and I wanted to get to it before the answering machine did – but just as I answered, the caller had hung up, and before I could put the phone down, there was a somewhat frantic knocking on the back door. (Funny I should define which door, I use the Front Door maybe four times a year; if it wasn’t there, I wouldn’t miss it.) I hustled to the door and met Olivia, and she—somewhat wide-eyed—told me that there was a horse out and Clemente was in the shower and I asked her if it was she that called (trying to figure out how she got from her phone to the back door before I had hung up my phone) and she said yes and that she had to get on her way to work…

(It’s 2130 now, and pretty good downpour coming down – ahh bliss! Water, water everywhere…)

I grab my gloves and hat, call Benito—who crawls out of bed reluctantly (yeah, he’s got his own bed)—and we head out to see who’s loose. I can tell by the tracks in the driveway who the escapee is by the amount of wet sand displaced as he race-tracked around the place. It’s Laredo and he’s standing by a couple of the young mares and they seem to be talking, and I suspect the big goof is telling them that he knows how to open gates and if they want to run around, he’ll let them out. I grab a rope—riata, lariet, lasso, call it what you want—and walk towards him. As I approach, he puts his nose out so I can put the loop over his head, I throw a half-hitch over his nose and lead him back to the Round Pen, wondering, "What the hell – he usually makes me chase after him for a bit – just for the fun of it." After I put him away and begin to feed, I could see why he was so docile. Besides running all over Hell’s half acre (appropriately put—just come visit me in the summer!), he had been into the hay stack, got into a grain barrel with old oats in it that I was going to plant in the pasture, opened a bag of alfalfa pellets that had gone bad from age, tipped over the trash barrel next to the Tack Room – spilling the contents out on the ground so my two-year old Palomino filly could get to the empty grain bags in it, and scatter them all over her pen – ate and scattered the hay bale next to the Stud Pen where Peter Max lives, throwing a bunch of it into Pete’s pen (I didn’t have to feed Pete) – and knocked over a half-a-dozen other items, including wood shaving bales used in the trailer and stalls. (Arrrgh!!!) It’s the second time he’s got out in a week. Tomorrow the latch gets a locking cable, and he’s not getting the key! Let’s see you get that cable off you big turkey!

It’s 2240 and old United friend, John Forshee, just called from Henderson, Texas (actually, I think he’s about halfway between Henderson and Long Branch), and we talked for a bit. I was on my cel phone and had to step outside ‘cause sometimes the signal isn’t too hot here, and what do you know? The clouds have parted and the stars, ah the stars, one reason (or would it be a billion reasons) I don’t miss living in a metropolis. John’s place is a couple of hundred acres I think (I can’t remember now, but it’s a sizable place) and he raises registered Herefords. He’s got a nice big place, three airplanes – one, a Super Cruiser sitting on a pad at his place – and lots of things to work on, tractors and such. I guess one of the reasons I mention John at this time is because he was one of the best. Not only a good stick-and-rudder guy, but a truly nice person, one of the most popular Captains at United. Retired off the rope-start 747. He’s in his 70’s now, a tall and lanky Texan in great shape, and looks to be about 60.

The reason I am writing this long diatribe is because I am downloading updates to my system and it’s associated stuff. My computer is an iBook and runs on Mac OS X (10). This system is really neat ‘cause you can carry on with other things while it is updating itself; you don’t even know it’s doing it. The only problem with the Mac stuff is that there is a couple of applications I use that I have to put on my PC, a GPS app for one. I went to the Mac when I was editor of the Angle of Attack, a union magazine I produced for the LAX ALPA Council 52, and have never gone back. I had a bit of trouble (OK – a lot) when I first got this machine, but with the help of the techs at Apple it seems to be working fine now. It’s lightning fast, but the only hang-up speed wise is the Internet lash-up, which is dial-up. Qwest is the landline provider for my area, and the service is atrocious. If I get through this update without getting dropped, it will be a first. Last year I was without service for over a week, before they got around to fixing it. I was going to get a Gateway laptop, so I could hook-up via satellite, ‘cause it wasn’t available for Macs, but now it is, so that’s the way I’m going to go. Just to give you an example of how slow downloading via my dial-up is – 60 MB = 5+ hours.

That’s it from your Bedouin Sand Farmer and Paint Horse Breeder. Forecast calls for more rain and thunderstorms tomorrow. And as I said before - one can only hope…

22 January 2004 – Thursday Morn

The Stella Awards

Yesterday I received an e-mail from Pat & Kelli Malone that contained a forward from Pat’s mother, Paula. I know Paula – a lovely lady – but at first I thought it was a inside joke since Paula is in the insurance business, and then as I read it, I realized it was the insurance industry’s version of the Darwin Awards. When I was based in Geneva, the Stella Liebeck/McDonald’s thing went down, and I was surprised at the reaction of the Swiss, and French – they couldn’t believe it! In a Swiss or French court, the lawsuit would have been thrown out as fallacious, frivolous, and a waste of the court’s time. What you will read is laughable because it is so ridiculous, but it affirms one of the serious problems plaguing this country. So, take a look at the Stella Awards and let me know what you think, so I can make fun of you…

Rained all night and the forecast calls for more rain and thunderstorms over the next few days. One can only hope…

19 January 2004 – Monday Morn

Martin Luther King, Jr.

I was watching the news this morning and they commented on Martin Luther King Day and the fact that he would have been 75 years old. My quick alert Irish mind did some rapid calculations and came up with the fact that he was about 12 years older than I, and that he was a lot younger than I thought he was when he died. I went to the net and found out a few things that I had either forgotten, or never knew.

At the King site I found his chronology. His birthday was last Thursday, 15 January 1929. He was assassinated on the 4th of April, 1968 in Memphis, Tennessee, the day after he had given his "I’ve Been to the Mountain Top" speech. He was 39 years old.

from the King Center

18 January 2004 – Sunday Morn

A good Sunday Morn to you all! and
Baby it’s cold outside!!

Last week was a pretty good week. Have one more dump (60 bales) of hay to pick up at Ott Brothers Farms, and that – plus the six dumps (360 bales) that are already here - should hold us well into the Spring. The only problem with the remaining dump is – we have to transport it. The Ott’s bale their hay at 130-150 lbs. and bucking bales that weigh that much are a bit taxing for old guys like Clemente and I. But I have a plan. The Ott’s will use their Squeeze to load the hay onto my 53 footer, and since I don’t have any trips planned for it, we will feed off the trailer and it will be empty within a couple of months. Of course, climbing up on the trailer for every feeding will be a hassle—because acrophobia hits me when I get more than six inches off the ground—but at least we won’t have to buck it.
Gilberto with Bonnie
A First for Bonnie and the Lad

The photo above is Bonnie, my two-year old (almost) Palomino filly, with a young lad aboard – a first for both. The fellow who put him up there is Gilberto who works for Dr. Tené Miller.

Clemente and Olivia are due back tonight. Clemente and I will finish up the new pen this coming week, and move Laredo back into it.

16 January 2004 – Friday Morn

This Michael Jackson thing – this media feeding frenzy, people getting on buses and traveling to Santa Maria – is a little beyond my comprehension.

Just heard from an old United buddy – John Croft – who hails from Eugene, Oregon. I had a couple of computers – PC and iBook G3 – go down at the same time, and I lost his address (I now back up, dutifully) so I have been out of touch with him for some time. I found his address on an e-mail that I received from Joe Stans, so we’re back in touch – and that’s good.

I met John on my first trip into Eugene in 1979 when I was with the Guppy (737) Group out of San Francisco. The SFO Guppy base was like no other in United Air Lines (intentionally spelled that way), it was, in a way, a separate airline. When co-pilots would come from other domiciles on TDY—Temporary Duty—they would always comment on how different the operation was. TDY Captains probably weren’t as affected by the uniqueness of the base, because of UAL’s SOP (Standard Operating Procedures), but some of them stood out like a sore thumb. I flew TDY for other bases – Chicago, Washington DC – and I was instantly aware of the differences in the way the operation ran, in the cockpit as well as on the ground. The flight bunch in SFO were very tight with the troops on the ground, and I didn’t find that to be the case, in general, when I was back east.

Hearing from John again brings back my fondest memories of my time with United. If I can allot the time, I do believe I will write a lengthy dissertation on that period of my United career. It was the best.

Clemente and Olivia checked in last night from Salinas, they had a good trip going over. They should be back Sunday night. I wish they could stay longer – she has so many relatives to visit.

Am able to start up-loading photos again. Will get a photo album up shortly.

Weather’s nice…

01 January 2004 - Thursday Morn

The year 2004 AD is underway, and I hope it is a good one for all.

I nodded off last night about 2300 and was awaken by the sound of gunfire at Midnight. Benito and I went out to check the horses to see if they were spooked at all. They were – mildly. We went to each one of them and they soon settled down. As we walked back to the house, I saw Clemente standing on his front porch, he had come out to check also. We shook hands and wished each other a good New Year.

I met my new neighbor yesterday just before sunset as I was getting ready to grain the horses. Very nice man with a good looking family. They moved here from the Salinas Valley. And another example of the flight from California for the usual reasons. If I seem impressed with my new neighbors, I am. Of course, I would probably be impressed if my new neighbor was a known sex offender—my old neighbors were a nightmare, especially the kid. He was about five short of a six-pack. So having a nice family living next door is a real plus for me going into the New Year, although I may miss the excitement of Deputies showing up next door.

May your guns shoot straight, knives stay sharp, stirrup leathers and cinches don’t break, and our lads and lasses overseas come home unharmed…

14 January 2004 – Wednesday Morn

Yesterday morning, a tractor shows up from Ott Farms to extract the big rig that hauled the hay in – a John Deere 8520. It made the Lull seem like a toy as far as size goes. It pulled the tractor (Freightliner) and trailer out with no apparent effort, and then went back a pulled the rear trailer out – which was loaded with 16 tons of hay. The rig driver then hooked up the rear trailer and he and the Squeeze driver were off to Tené’s to deliver her four dumps.

I went over to Ott Brothers/Gila Valley Farms to give a check to Lee Ott, and to meet him. Nice fellow. They—father and brothers, cousins, etc—farm about 3000 acres northeast of Yuma. Lee told me that his grandfather started the whole operation in the first half of the last century when he homesteaded in the area. They run nine hay hauling rigs, most of which goes to the dairy and cattle yards.

Clemente just completed a Service Check on my Dodge and he and esposa Olivia are off to the Salinas Valley area to visit her folks. I hope she can stand the way it rides. I love that truck, but it does ride rough. They’ll be back Sunday night, so I’ll be holding down the fort.

Am able to start up-loading photos again. Will get to it shortly.

Weather’s nice…

12 January 2004 – Monday Nite

Came in an hour ago – 2030 – after two hours attempting to extract the rig that delivered my hay, a Freightliner pulling a set of doubles with 16 tons of hay on each trailer. The driver pulled up alongside my hay barn, then the "Squeeze" off-loaded four dumps (240 bales – 16 tons) of hay from the front trailer. Then the driver, with an empty front trailer and the back trailer with four dumps on board, headed out back where the livestock resides, and stuck it. I borrowed Jesse’s Lull, but to no avail. We couldn’t get it out. You just can’t drive something like that on this sugar sand. He thought he could do it, ‘cause he did it a month ago. Clemente said he had the front trailer loaded and the back empty, which probably gave it a little better traction. The Squeeze driver said they would come get it in the morning.

11 January 2004 – Sunday Nite

Well is up and running! Thanks in large part too Johnny Greeff, and his friend Ted. They finished up the well pump project. It’s great to have pressure back up, and my trees and oleanders are grateful also.

Ted hails from Fairbanks, Alaska. He flies down and visits friends in Arizona, New Mexico, and Nevada, then flies back home in the early spring. He was a welder on the Pipeline. How those guys did that is beyond me. He was telling me some of the temperatures he has experienced, don’t think I could do it.

Of course Johnny’s only purpose for being down here in the winter is to repair my broken stuff, but mainly to call his "friends" in the Northwest and cackle to them about the weather down here. He’s heartless.

My cousin Jack McCollom was a surveyor on the Pipeline, and the stories he told me about the conditions they had to put up with was beyond my comprehension. Well – not beyond my comprehension – just knew I did not want to be there – ever!

Hauled another 12 bales of hay over to Tené’s this afternoon; tiding her over ‘til our hay gets here Monday or Tuesday.

Out of steam – more later ~

10 January 2004 – Saturday Nite
Oh Boy! Where to start? Friend Johnny Greeff, and his friend Ted, showed up today, and as it turns out, just in the nick of time. He and Ted helped Clemente and I install the well pump. But first I must digress…

Our new pump arrived from Middletown, Pennsylvania yesterday via FedEx at noon. Clemente started to set it up, while I read the instructions. A question came up with regards to it being the proper pump, so I called the office back east and the lad I talked to there wasn’t sure either and suggested I wait ‘til Larry (the fellow I was working with) came in on Monday. I went to the web last night and did some research and decided that we will give it a go. Worst case scenario we would have to pull it back out and replace the pump portion—the motor is the same in any case. If it doesn’t work, I’ll use it in the new well I’m planning to put down this year. That well will be used to keep a 7,000-gallon tank topped off, so it should work fine for that application. However…

Johnny put me in touch with a friend of his in the Northwest, fellow by the name of Rex, who is a well-driller. Rex looked up my pump, and said that it really wasn’t the right one for my application. He asked what was wrong the old pump, and I told him the driller that pulled it out said the pump was kaput. Rex told me how to check it out, and then we tested it, and it seemed to be okay. We hooked the old pump up to the flex pipe that we bought with the new pump, Ted hooked up the wiring, attached the two torque arrestors, and Johnny, Ted, Clemente, and I lowered it down to about 120’. Reset the breakers and – nada! We pulled the pump back up, and let me tell you, it ain’t an easy job for four old men. Well, Clemente’s the kid at 58. Johnny called Rex and he talked us through a search for the electrical problem. We finally found it, two breakers popped on the Starter Box. Immersed the pump in a trash can, reset the breakers and they popped in about 30 seconds. Sooo…

Tomorrow we change pump motor, and try it all over again. Keep your fingers crossed.

Yesterday—and today—was an excellent example of why the Snowbirds come down here – 75º and you could see forever. One quirk about the some of the Snowbirds became very apparent last night when I was picking up transmission fluid for our boom truck—a Ford 900—some of these folks are bored stiff in their retirement. This guy was hanging out—you can tell the difference between someone who is hanging out and someone who is buying something—in the Automotive Dept. where the fluids are kept, and he came up to me and launched into a dissertation on transmission fluids, interrupting while I was on the phone with Clemente. After a bit, I almost told him to go to the Personnel Dept. and get a job, might as well make a few bucks while "assisting" the customers, but I didn’t, because I am basically a kindhearted soul. He had the right information - I just did not want it. I know, I know, I should put up with these old folks out of the kindness of my heart, but at times I don’t have the time to fritter away while relieving a persons boredom. He did strike me as one of those that wouldn’t cut in line, or otherwise display the rudeness so many of them do. With exception of Johnny and his friend Ted. Okay, so I’m a hypocrite, but my friends don’t count! And that, folks, is why I will never retire – I would rather shovel horse pucky than be bored and pester other people.

Before you jump on me that he was just being friendly – don’t. He was intrusive. When I am in the South, folks there have a tendency to acknowledge you and sometimes strike up conversations. And then when they hear your accent—or the lack of—it’s "Where you from?" or "Hey boys, we got another damn Yankee in our midst!" or some such. They do love to talk and find out where ya’ been, and where you’re goin’, but it’s just being friendly. And when in Texas you must learn what I call the "Texas Wave" if you want to fit in. If you do the wave, and keep your mouth shut, they just might think you’re one of them. The wave is employed in the countryside, mostly, and diminishes when you are in town where a nod will suffice. The bigger the town, the less nodding. Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston – recognition is non-existent. Out in the country while driving in your pickup you wave at other trucks, people sitting on their stoops, watering their lawns, riding their horses, etc. It is similar to the Harley Wave.

The first time I experienced the Texas Wave was back in ’98 when this guy with a big moustache, that apparently worked on the grove north of my place, would wave at me and I’d wave back thinking, "Now who the hell is that? And why does he keep waving at me?" That guy turned out to be the manager of the farm next door, a Texan by the name of Pat "Fuzzy" Malone, who became a good friend. Come to think of it, the US of A would be a better place if the Wave was a national thing. And besides, it keeps your arm limbered up.

Will write tomorrow on the status of the pump. I know the suspense is killing you, I know it’s killing me…

09 January 2004 – Friday Morn

Well! Our new pump is supposed to arrive from Pennsylvania today. We’re like kids on Christmas, at five in the morning, in our parent’s room, trying to wake them up so we can run downstairs to see what Santa brought. I requested a tracking number so I can find out if it is actually going to get here today. If it does, we’re going to try to have it up and running tomorrow.

Took 12 bales of hay over to Dr. Tene’s yesterday afternoon. I’m splitting the load I bought from the Ott brothers with her, but it doesn’t get here until Monday or Tuesday, so I have to keep her supplied ‘til it does. They have twenty-two horses over there, including Jeff’s Clydesdales, so they use about 5-6 bales a day. When I got there yesterday, Reed Rider was shoeing the Clydes. Reed is the grandson of Joe Rider – Rider Ranch – and as you may recall, Joe is the man I bought Laredo from. And, as you may recall from a previous dissertation, Laredo’s daddy, Homespun, was Kurt Russell’s horse in "Tombstone." Homespun is one of the gentlest studs I have ever seen.

Lot’s to do today; I’ll update later when I find out more about the status of the pump.

07 January 2004 – Wednesday Nite

Overcast all day; at times it felt like rain, still does.

Clemente’s got the boom truck going, but it needs a tune-up, so I’ll get the parts in the morning and he’ll finish that up. Also, it needs work on the air system (brakes), there’s a leak somewhere. It’s not that big a deal around here, ‘cause at this juncture, we don’t take it on the road. We’re trying to find out what engine is in the old girl (1971 Ford 900); we think it is in the 4-500 cu. in. range, ‘cause it’s huge! Drinks about a quart of gas every time you start it. As I keep promising, when I find my camera cable, I’ll get pics up. I’ll be taking photos of the well operation.

Bought another load (480 bales) of hay. Couldn’t pass up the current price - $65.00 a ton. That’s it from here – later…

06 January 2004 – Tuesday Nite

My ol' pal, Johnny Greeff, came over this morning and visited for a bit. He's got his new trailer out in the Foothills and has been riding his motorcycle all over southern Arizona, from the sound of it. Good to see him again.
Our new well pump and the paraphernalia that goes with it were shipped today from Pennsylvania; hopefully it will arrive here by the end of the week. Clemente resurrected the Pole Sitter—a 2+-ton Ford all-wheel drive with a boom on it—that we are going to use to put the new pump in the well. He had to drain the fuel out of it (it had turned to varnish), and install a new electric fuel pump, to get it going. Johnny said we can put the well-pump in by hand, but we want to do it like the big boys do.
Plumber arrived back today to fix the shower in the Casita. He and Clemente were working on it, but I don't know if they got it fixed or not. Will report on this important subject at a later date.

05 January 2004 – Sunday Nite

A few minutes ago the horses were restless, and Benito let out a couple of barks, so I went out to check on them. All was well except when I got to Beta, I saw that her halter was all aschew. I got in the pen with her to take it off. She is one of the shy ones, and it took me about five minutes to catch her. She wouldn't let me get near her head, so I did the non-trainer type thing--grabbed a handful of treats (it's cold out there!)--and when she went to take one - I had her. I took the halter off and hung it on the rail, and when I climbed out of her pen, they all started snorting at me for a treat. I made the rounds and gave them all a treat, except Alpha, she's the other shy one.

The semi-annual worming is due; probably take care of it this coming week. The four pregnant mares are really beginning to balloon up.

03 January 2004 – Saturday Eve

The moon has waxed past half and is casting soft shadows as I head out to the horses with apples. They love them. And all eat out of my hand except Alpha. She is so shy and I don’t why. It’s cooling down and there are a few clouds scattered about the sky—the stars are many but are obscured a bit because the air is heavy with moisture. It was so humid this morning, the sand was wet as if it had rained.

I am resurrecting a page that I had on a past web site, Favorite Movies (and actors).

03 January 2004 – Saturday Noon

Fog moved off to the east just at daybreak, and when I looked to the east, there were low clouds and fog obscuring the montañas; kinda reminded me of Japan, what exact location, or for what reason, I do not know. It’s 63º now and the breeze is northerly about 15 kts. Clemente is changing the alternator on his Bronco, and I’m wandering in and out, typing, picking citrus, typing, picking citrus. Don’t think I’m going to get much done today. Well, I'll get a lot of fresh squozzed juice.

1430 – Still breezy – temp upto 70. Think I'll go outside and do something…

01 January 2004 - Thursday Eve

New neighbor, Jaime, just brought me over a plate of pazolé, carnitas, frijoles, arroz and corn tortillas. I think I have fallen in love with his esposa (wife)!

01 January 2004 - Thursday Eve

My sister Donna just called me to wish me a Happy New Year and inquire as to the flight time from Narita (Tokyo) to LAX. I guess it was to settle a discussion they were having amongst themselves. Her son, James, knew the answer. ‘Course he had a head start on them because he has flown it.

Brother-in-law Dominique relayed a couple of jokes to me from nephew Luke. You’ll find them shortly on the humor page. And their friend Steven asked me a trivia question – What does "Quantas" stand for. It’s an acronym.

Met again with my new neighbor, Jaime. Checked him out on my ‘lil tractor. Man! He is really cleaning that place up. Pretty soon, I’m going to be self-conscious about my place; going to have to hustle to keep up appearances…

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