Michael Dooley's Place ~ C bar lazy M

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2006 Archive

Content from 2006 ~


This Tom moved in about a month ago. Can't be too bright; probably thought he was escaping Thanksgiving - well he did in our case - but Cathy said, "What do you call a turkey that escaped Thanksgiving? Christmas dinner!" He'll probably miss that, too, 'cause he's like a dog - follows us everywhere...




Found this guy in Josh’s room, under a blanket. Guess he came in to hibernate; they’re all going underground for the winter, but he picked the wrong spot. Biggest one I’ve ever seen at my place - over 4” stem-to-stern - but Cathy says she saw bigger when she had the airport...

Click on picture if you want to really be repulsed...



07 September 2006 - Thursday Noon ~

At 0300 I was awaken by lightning. I remembered that I had left the windows open on my field truck, so I threw on shorts, t-shirt and tennies and went out to roll up the windows. There was lightning in all quads and the rain was coming down pretty hard. I decided to check the 70 acres we cut yesterday, so I headed north on Avenue 3E. This clouds were lit up with cloud-to-cloud lightning every few seconds with occasional ground-to-cloud strikes. The rain was coming down-varible from light to heavy-and it hit all of fields that we had just cut. Kinda surprised me - 'cause these storms were supposed to have occurred earlier in the week. I shall report on the condition of the hay later…

21 August 2006 - Monday Noon ~

So here you are taking a shower...

I'm at my computer in the bedroom, and I hear Cathy - who is the shower -"There's a snake in here!" So, I get up and saunter into the bathroom-with my .38-and sure enough, there is a snake in the tub with her. How it got in the drain system is beyond me. Cathy-who will pick up snakes, lizards, taratulas-takes the little guy by the neck and extracts him (she said it was a male) from the overflow drain while I bravely take pics and get a bucket…


Hi there!


Can I come out? It's damp in here...


Cathy - "Isn't it cute!?"



Cathy turned it loose near the shop; maybe it'll catch a bunch of bugs and mice...

12 August 2006 - Saturday Nite ~

Cut forty today. Cathy and Josh have been at my Mom's in Fawnskin (Big Bear) since Thursday; expect her back tomorrow. She says that the 59º when she goes for her morning walk doesn't bother her at all…

30 July 2006 - Sunday ~

Jennifer Lawless is now Mrs. Milligan; more later. We're off to eat pizza…

28 July 2006 - Friday Nite ~

We left Yuma this morning and drove to San Diego, actually Cardiff by the Sea, to attend Jennifer's, Cathy's daughter, wedding on Sunday. We're ensconced at the Best Western in Encinitas, with a loverly view of the Pacific. I recall now that San Diego is known for the nicest climate in the States due to it's mean temperature range - I'm freezing my butt off…

26 July 2006 - Wednesday ~

It's been over two weeks since I updated the site - and I'm not sure where to start. Today will do, I suppose. We were scheduled to cut 40 acres in the south 210, but Jim decided to put it off because there was a chance of thunderstorms and you don't want the cut hay to get rained on. We might start cutting in the morning, although there is still a possibility of t-storms and rain. This is the largest block - 190 acres (20 more being prepped for planting) out of over 700 - that Weddle Farms has under hay and it takes the better part of a week to finish. Jim tries to cut 40-60 acres per day, but now that we are in the monsoon season, it's a bit dicey. We checked the fields this morning and the good news is that it won't hurt it - growth wise - to go another couple of days.

The house is coming along slow but sure; Cathy is sure making it pretty. I'll be glad when it's finished and we have a kitchen - and my office - once again. The only usable rooms we have available right now is the master bath and bedroom. I am sitting next to the bed in a patio chair with the computer on a little folding table that is too low so that I have to bend over - it's giving me a backache. Ah - the joys of growing older.

Went with Cathy to AWC (Arizona Western College) tonight, she is going to be in another play - of sorts - in early October - and this was the first cast get together with the director, Chip Straley. He went over the play and they read their parts. I'll have more on this later.

Well, that's it for now - got to get up at oh-dark-thirty on the chance we start cutting. But I bet it won't happen. Maybe Friday…

11 June 2006 - Sunday ~

Cathy and I cut 100 acres yesterday and today – at the home farm. We finally got to bale the last 30 acres that was held up due to the lack of moisture. It was starting to get worrisome – the new growth was starting to hide the windrows...

This year the cutting cycle has been shorter than last year due to the weather. Jim, says this happens about every eight years. Sure keeping us busy…

Wednesday - 24 May 2006


Leon the Cat or Smidgen the Dachsie laid this Sidewinder on our patio in front of the BBQ. Kinda startled me when I walked by it...


This is an adult Sidewinder. You can see how small they are when compared to Cathy's hand...

23 May 2006 - Tuesday ~

Headed out this morning at oh-dark-thirty to bale and when I arrived at the field it was a mess. The storm yesterday morning, with its high winds (gusts to 50), completely scattered the windrows. Jim took me to the rake, and I re-raked the field, but the resultant windrows were very variable in size and content. He sent me on to rake another 60 acres while he and Tony baled that 20. I guess it took about two or three times longer than the norm. The problem with uneven windrows is that you have to vary your speed to get the proper bale size. Glad I missed it.

Oh, and when I left – in shorts and t-shirt – I had to put a jacket on. Thought I’d freeze my butt off ‘cause it was in the low 60’s when I left my place. ‘Sposed to pick up over the next few days, tho…

22 May 2006 - Monday ~

Heavy rain for a few minutes this morning, then it cleared up around 1000. The wind died down to light and variable, however is expected to pick up again this afternoon. Currently the beautiful blue sky is dotted with scattered cotton candy clouds – ah yes…

Baling hay was called off this morning because the strong winds that preceded the rain dried the windrows.

Update on the Owl (below): Cathy took it to AWC (Arizona Western College) and turned it over to the wildlife rehab lady there. She said we could pick it up in a couple of weeks and release it here.

When Cathy heard Smidgen - the Dachsie - barking outside, she went to investigate, and found this >>>

It's a fledging that apparently fell out of the nest. It wasn’t overly happy with our attention. Got really upset when Leon the Cat went to the chicken trough to drink… (below)





Shot this out of the nose of the motorhome - Smidge standing on the dash. This cabin-called "Pinetops"-is next door to my Mom's place and was built in the early 1900's by a fellow that owned a lumber mill. His ghost visited us one night - a couple of days after he passed away. Currently owned by my sister Donna and bro-in-law Dominique.

27 December 2006 - Wednesday Eve~

Returned from my Mom's in Fawnskin and arrived home at sunset last night. It was a white Christmas. Cathy and Josh led the way so they could make rehearsal for Oklahoma!. I passed them at the Marine Base–they northbound and me southbound–and we hailed each other. They got home around ten (2200).

Today is my Mom's 90th birthday, and she is on the way to cousin Suzanne's in Los Osos to visit her sister (and my Godmother) Lana Fern. I hope she has a swell time.

From the Great Northern Sonoran Desert – where there's almost as much sand in the air as on the ground – Buenos Noches…

20 December 2006 - Wednesday Eve ~

My Girl–Cathy–went off to a dress rehearsal at sunset (she's appearing in Oklahoma! at the Yuma Community Theatre in January). Because she wasn't going to be available this evening to celebrate her birthday, we spread it out. Monday I took her to Carla Reneé's for a great dinner, yesterday her dad took her to Famous Dave's (BBQ-yummmm), and today daughter Jennifer took her to the Olive Garden. More gifts and celebrations ensue.

We'll probably have the well pump back in tomorrow, after a bit more troubleshooting. We had the pump and control box tested and they came out okay. We're replacing the circuit breakers in the main box. If that doesn't fix it, I guess that leaves the wire, which is only a few months old, as is everything else. What a puzzler.

From the Great Northern Sonoran Desert – where it's colder than - than, uhhh - La Paz, Baja – Buenos Noches…

18 December 2006 - Monday Morn ~

I guess I don't know anyone around here that has had more trouble with their well than I have. Saturday eve–while I was in town shopping–Cathy and Josh were leaving on the way to an Oklahoma! rehearsal and she noticed the water was off. She checked the electrics and there was power to the pump. We hooked up to the neighbors well so we could get water to the livestock and pulled the pump, which is quite a task, because it is 120' down. I borrowed Jesse Oropeza's front loader - which allowed us to pull it out in 10' lifts - and got it out yesterday. So far we haven't found anything wrong with it, except the pump seems to have a little hang to it when you spin it. Going out now to check the motor and then heading in to town to get whatever I need to get it running. This is the third time it has been out of the hole in the last 20 months!

From the Great Northern Sonoran Desert – where it's colder than - than - La Paz, Baja – Buenos Noches…

16 December 2006 - Saturday Eve ~

Cathy and I put a new tin roof on the corral shade that we keep Bonnie and Sweetie Pie in. 'Sposed to be very windy tonight, so far it's been calm. Hope it stays that way for a day or so.

From the Great Northern Sonoran Desert – where it's calm tonight – Buenos Noches…

30 November 2006 - Thursday Eve ~

Cathy took me to a jazz concert last night. It was at AWC - Arizona Western College, our local JC - and featured youngsters from middle school–Jazz 3, high school–Jazz 2, and local musicians of all ages–Jazz 1. An erudite jazz aficionado such as myself doesn’t expect much in the way of jazz in a town the size of Yuma, where our three major FM stations (for English speaking folks) feature country, pop rock, rock from the past, followed by a couple of religious stations and a slew of Latin stations. The top AM stations are talk and oldies, and a slew of Latin stations. There is a Mexicali FM station that barely makes it in that occasionally plays jazz, and the AWC stations are eclectic and have some jazz. So…

We catch the last of the kids, and I am pleased that they are playing jazz, albeit somewhat rough. The Jazz 2 group was somewhat more polished, with a pianist that was good and playing in the upcoming YCT – Yuma Community Theatre – play, Oklahoma! in which Cathy is Aunt Eller. Unfortunately, the bassist was timid and was unable to establish the bass line. Again, I was happy that the youngsters were taking a shot at jazz.

On came the Jazz 1 band, lead by the head of music at Yuma High. Piano, bass, drums, two guitars, four trumpets/coronets, two trombones, five bari/alto/tenor saxes made up the group. The musicians ranged in age from 18 to 60. I knew I was in the groove when they hit their first lick – in sync – right on! They played some old standards and one Bossa. One of the guitarists was a senior at Yuma High and a student of the bands leader; I think he is going to go places in the music world. He soloed in (as I recall) “Stella by Starlight” and was terrific. One of the short horns had a solo, and he was blowing notes way out my hearing range. The drummer had a ball and his solo was tops. It was a swinging evening. After the program, I asked the leader how many shows they performed a year and he said they tried to do about four. I know I will try to catch every one.

From the Great Northern Sonoran Desert – where even we have Jazz – Buenos Noches…


Walking the Boys ~


Load Up! Let's went!


Late Fall - 4000' - Off of I8 San Diego
to El Centro

27 November 2006 - Monday Eve ~

Cathy and I got up to walk the dogs just before daybreak. Cloud cover was pretty thick and the stuff to the south looked heavy and dark. After we crawled back into bed, it started to rain. Put me right to sleep.

Left Cathy's Mom's about Noon and went to pick up the new wood flooring that Cathy is installing in the house. The store was located across from the NAS Miramar and I watched a few Jar's arrive in F/A-18 Hornets. On the way back to 15 we saw a static display of Naval and Marine aircraft - and there was the ol' Tomcat. Made me sad seeing that one retire.

Good drive home, altho it was a mite windy crossing the mountain, so the motor home was rollin' around a bit, and the running lights went out; it was the wiring plug out of the switch that was the culprit; got to change that. Cathy and Josh did Oklahoma! most of the way home, so that kept me alert. Dropped Cathy and Josh off at rehearsal a little after 1900, and took the motor home - home.

Smidge brought in a baby chick about 2030. I put it in a bowl. Picked up Cathy at 2140. Cathy put the chick in a box with scratch, water, and a light to keep it warm. Guess we'll turn it loose in the morn to see if it can find it's mom

Good to be back at the home base...


Cathy, Donna, Josh, Me, Dominique


Pampas Grass

26 November 2006 - Sunday ~

Had a nice stay at Dom & Donna's and now it's off to Cardiff-by-the-Sea (San Diego) to visit with Cathy's Mom, and pick up flooring.

Rain forecast for tomorrow. Cathy's excited about that.

From the shores of the Great Pacific Ocean ~ Adios...

25 November 2006 - Saturday ~

Left Fawnskin around noon for Dom & Donna's in Newport Beach.

Good drive–not too much traffic–arrived in Newport around 1530, and Dominique and Donna had not arrived home yet, so I drove Cathy and Josh around the peninsula and Back Bay, pointing out Alta Coffee Warehouse & Roasting Company - a business I was partners in 1984 – and my Aunt Fern's house on Back Bay, where she and Uncle Berk, Suzie and Jack, lived, oh, so many years ago.

From the shores of the Great Pacific Ocean ~ have a great weekend...

Home away from home ~


24 November 2006 - Friday ~

Geez it's cold up here! I thought Yuma was bad in the winter.

Off to Donna & Dom's in Newport Beach tomorrow; maybe I'll get the chill out of my bones getting up close to the old Pacific.

From the Great San Bernardino Mountains ~ have a nice rest of the week...


Michelle making dumplings ~


Rolling pin keeps getting away...

Mom's loft ~
Bed's a mite short for Josh...

23 November 2006 - Thursday Eve ~

Left the home place yesterday afternoon for Mom's place on Big Bear Lake for the Thanksgiving gettogether. About a 5-hour drive what with stopping for propane and letting the dogs out; got here about 2000 PST. Navy bean soup was the fare and it was tasty. We usually have a fairly simple meal the night before a feast.

The Thanksgiving dinner was held at Brother James. He and Janet smoked a turkey and my sister Donna baked one at Mom's house, and made a sweet potato banana dish. Janet made her fab cranberry sauce, Cathy made pumpkin pecan bread, and daughter Michelle did a fruit salad. Cathy did up a mess of fresh asparagus with a light butter sauce. It was all very good. I'm stuffed!

I'm grateful that my country - the good ol' U.S. of A. - has this holiday.

From the Great San Bernardino Mountains ~ have a nice rest of the week...

19 November 2006 - Sunday Morn ~

Last evening, after Cathy dropped the boys off at AWC—where they are in a play, "the Foreigner"—she picked me up and we went into Old Town to a new restaurant she discovered a couple of days ago. We arrived at the Carla Reneé around 1930. A fellow in slacks and an aloha shirt got up from the bar and came over and greeted us and sat us down at a nearby table. I looked around and was pleased by the atmosphere which was tasteful, and noted that there was no TV above the bar. I noted that the dinnerware was of the quality that indicated this place intended to be an upscale eatery.

Okay, okay - I sound like a critic, but I am one who appreciates nice restaurants. My favorite restaurant in Yuma is Julieanna's, for the same reasons I indicated above. When I lived in California, upscale restaurants were plentiful. Here fast food and chain places abound – Jack-In-Box, McDonalds, Panda Express, Taco Bell, Del Taco, I-Hop, Ruby's Diner, Cracker Barrel, Denny's, Pizza Hut, Domino's, etc., etc.

Back to Carla Reneé's; we had appetizers, Crab Cakes and Shrimp Wontons (spicy), followed by Wild Salmon for Cathy, and Kobe Rib-Eye steak for me. Cathy said the salmon was delicious; the steak you could cut with a fork. A salad topped with a vinaigrette Roquefort dressing finished the meal. For dessert we had Chocolate Bread Pudding topped with German Chocolate Sauce and Tiramisu made with Angel Food. Beverages included classic Martinis for me, Margarita for Cathy, Champagne, a California Merlot, Bailey's Coffee, Drambuie.

I met Dick, the fellow that greeted us and the owner, Carla Reneé, his wife and the restaurants namesake, Joe the waiter, Kyle the chef, and the bartender–whose name I cannot remember–but she is very pretty.

Oh, and Julieanna was there having dinner, a good sign, I think.

So, now, my favorite restaurants are Carla Reneé's, Julieanna's, and El Papagallo (for Mexican food).

From the Great Northern Sonoran Desert ~ have a nice Sunday...

12 November 2006 - Sunday Noon ~

Just leaving mi ranchito for the 80 acres to harrow, finish planting it tomorrow.

From the Great Northern Sonoran Desert ~ have a nice Sunday...


Sukup Seed Drill -


from Sheffield, Iowa

10 November 2006 - Friday Eve ~

The Weddle's bought a "new" seed drill yesterday and Jim brought it to the 80 acres we are planting to dial it in. They got it going this afternoon while I kept planting with the 1954 Ford 600 (9N) (bare-steel seat, 40hp 4 cyl, 4-spd vert. shift) pulling an IH seed drill that looks older than me (66) and out planted the CASE MX 100 (turbocharger, cab, a/c, stereo, etc.) pulling a Sukup 14' seed drill – 3-to-1. To be fair, the new rig is going to be great, and will out-plant the old rig 2-to-1; however, I hope they keep the old unit for small fields and running with the big one on big jobs. Ah, nostalgia. One drawback - when you're in transit to outlying fields - it takes up the whole roadway.

Oh, and - now I know what it's like to be a sea on a ship of fools...

Are you people


From the Great Northern Sonoran Desert ~ nitey nite...

06 November 2006 - Monday Eve ~

On my last report I mentioned that we put up the last of the hay and it came to 1900 bales - I missed it by a few. And we did not finish putting it up Sunday. When I finished putting it up this afternoon, and did a count, it came to 2345 bales - not including a few busted bales, which I get to pick up and bring home to the goats and horses.

Tomorrow we plan to harrow the 80 acres that Weddle Farms just leased, so that we can plant it Wednesday. A few more acres to plant and then we get into winter maintenance of the equipment.

Well - that's it from here...
From the northern Great Sonoran Desert - have a nice Tuesday - and VOTE!...

(For those that don't know how to vote, here are some basic instructions: First, find your voting place (ours is in the Water Irrigation District building); Second, vote for any candidate that has a capital R behind his, or her, name; Thirdly, vote NO on most - if not all - Propositions (most of them are drafted by freaks and weirdoes that are up to no good). That's it, it's easy - so do it!)

05 November 2006 - Sunday Morn ~

Hay season's over, we put up the last of the hay today. This cut produced approx. 1900 bales off 197 acres; pretty good for this late in the year. But who knows, if the winter is as mild as it was this last, they may put out some more through the winter. Right now the sheep are in the most of the fields, so they pretty much take care of keeping the alfalfa cropped.

The one sure thing I have learned about farming alfalfa, each day, each harvest is never the same, much like flying—no trip is the same as the one before. We started cutting on the 26th, and because the cure time is extended in the winter, we wound up raking in the late morning, and baling just after sunset. Every evening we would start baling as the moisture came in, and would have to hussle before it got too high. Last night it just barely got to the point where we could bale, and then it was marginal throughout. I'll be surprised if any bale shows higher than 12-13%. Previous nights we had 16-22%.

Well - that's it from here...
From the northern Great Sonoran Desert - have a nice Sunday...

31 October 2006 - Tuesday Nite ~

Weddle Farms just grew by 80 acres - Jim just leased it. It's land that he has leased and worked before; The first time he checked me out on the swather it was on this piece, five years ago. Or was it four? Oh well, time flies, don't it? While Cathy was raking the first 40 that we just cut, I was discing the 80. We'll probably plant it within a week. We baled the 40 tonight, finished about 2030, 150 to go.

Well - that's it from here...
From the northern Great Sonoran Desert - nighty nite...

24 October 2006 - Tuesday Nite ~

Wow! Been awhile since I've been here. Hi-speed connect was down for a few days, and the tech just got out here today to fix things.

We got quite a bit of rain around noon today; mass of wet air rolled up from down south - Ol' Mexico way - and put enough water down to flood the roadways, which in turn stalled out my old 4X4 Dodge field truck. Guess I was goin' a little fast through the deep parts. Took about 30 minutes to dry out and I was underway again.

We're planting a pasture tomorrow, and I had to clean out the seed drill. When I parked it last Friday at the place where we're planting, I parked it under a tree and quite a few leaves and stuff flew into the seed bin. I would have had to clean them out, but the rain wet down the seed and water ran into the down tubes, sooo - I had to clean all that stuff out so there'll be no clogs. In a couple of days the seeds would start to sprout and then I'd really have a mess. Took about an hour.

The does have been birthing–fourteen so far–but one was stillborn, another died in it's third day, and two more died today - 5 days old. The last two were just weak and we don't know why. The mom has lots of milk, but Cathy was bottle feeding them the last couple of days 'cause they were to weak to suckle. I hate losing livestock, particularly if I don't know why. Oh well, so it goes...

The sheep starting coming in at the end of September, and the Weddles' put them on their fields last week, so that just about winds up the hay season 'til late February-early March. Our last cut and bale will be on the 190 acres 3 miles west of my place. Probably start cutting it Thursday, have it all stacked by the following Thursday - and that'll be it. Jim's hunting White-Tail in eastern Arizona, but should be back Sunday when we start raking and baling. Then we start working on the equipment through the winter while the sheep (about 25,000) keep every thing trimmed. It's been an interesting season, and I've learned a lot.

My daughter, Heather and her family, live in Kona on the Big Island, and I started calling (she and her husband, Kirk, have cel-phones, no landline) her right after the quake, and all I got was one ring and her voice-mail. Kinda worried me 'til I got home that night and pulled it up on the internet. It was pretty heavy but no big-time damage or folks getting hurt, so I figured they were okay. Finally got through to her - Saturday I believe it was - and all was well. Shook their house up–spilling stuff all over the place–but no real damage to the structure. Scared the kids a little. When she heard it coming, she gathered the kids, and they stood in the front door. When it settled down, she took them out on the front lawn and they sat down to wait for the aftershock, which she estimated would occur in 7 minutes. 7 minutes - wham-o! - a fiver comes through. She must be psychic. Kirk was in Lowe's buying paint for the house, and she said that he said it was pretty wild in there - so he ran out in the parking lot - but made it back in - in time for the aftershock.

She said she did not understand why no one from the Mainland called to see how they were. The same thing probably happened to them that happened to me. She said that she did not even get the voice-mails.

The rain was nice, gave us a cooler day, washed everything down and fresh, and made the sand firm underfoot. Just checked the radar; couple of thunderstorms north of us and eastern Imperial County, but other than that–clearing skies and temps climbing up to 90º by the weekend. Well - that's it from here - time to turn in. From the northern Great Sonoran Desert - nighty nite...


02 October 2006 - Monday Morn ~

Received this from my sister Patty May ~

We lost our beloved Macha on Tuesday.. She was 11.5 years old. She died in Max and Kimber's arms. We loved her so much and will miss her terribly.

Things we can learn from Macha
Never pass up the opportunity to go for a, walk or swim.
Allow the experience of fresh air
and the wind in your face to be pure ecstasy.
When loved ones come home, always run to greet them.
When it's in your best interest, practice obedience.
Let others know when they've invaded your territory.
Take naps and stretch before rising.
Run, romp and play daily.
Be loyal.
Never pretend to be something you're not.
If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it.
When someone is having a bad day, be silent,
sit close by and nuzzle them gently.
Thrive on attention and let people touch you.
On hot days, drink lots of water and lay under a shady tree.
When you're happy, dance around and wag your entire body.
No matter how often you're scolded, don't buy into the guilt thing and
pout.....run right back and make friends.
Delight in the simple joy of a long wallk.
Love unconditionally...

Macha was a Golden Lab and the mama of CC ~
(pics of CC and Max below)



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Max is Patty's oldest son and Lilly is Max's daughter.

<<< Patty wrote that Max and Lilly tackled their grief thusly...

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15 May 2006 - Monday ~

Drove over to San Diego Friday afternoon to see Cathy’s family. They are all doing fine. Weather was pleasant—if you like it in the 60’s and 70’s and overcast (June Gloom) most of the time. Josh has been staying with Cathy’s folks, Don and Barbara, which has been great for us while the house is under restoration.

Got to square away a couple of things this morning, then it’s off to relieve Brent Weddle to cut hay at the home farm…

09 May 2006 - Tuesday ~

My life is beginning to sound like the Perils of Pauline – Sooo ~

Got an e-mail yesterday from sister Patty that she had heard that we had been “rustled” – and so we were. A few days after the fire, and in the early morning, Clemente knocked on the door of the motor home and said horses were out. Cathy and I headed out (Clemente doesn’t wrangle anything bigger than a goat) and found that Laredo, Bobbie, Sweetie Pie, and Bonnie were loose. I caught Laredo and put him away as Cathy caught Bobbie and lead him to the wash rack – ‘cause his left leg was bleeding profusely just above the hoof. She wrapped it tightly to staunch the flow while I called the vet. Clemente thinks they were all running and Bobbie ran into the harrow. We caught Bonnie and Sweetie Pie and put them away and then we discovered the pins that locked their latches had been removed. In other words, they were intentionally let out from their respective corrals. As I was walking by the tack shed I discovered that all the saddles (5) and most of the tack was missing. My resident tracker, Cathy Sue, pointed out to me that the foot prints in front of the shed were not ours. One set were boots, and the other were tennis/running shoes. She noticed that there was a line in the sand alongside the foot prints that headed north into to the lemon grove. They (the bad guys) were dragging a cinch. She headed off into the grove following the prints while I called the Sheriff, got my .45, got into the “Thing” and went off to find Cathy. She was standing about an 1/8th of a mile into the grove when I caught up to her and she had found the saddles and tack, neatly stacked and hidden in the trees. She loaded them into the Thing while I took photos. I would have helped her, but I had to operate the camera. We guessed that the stuff was too heavy to carry all the way – half-mile – to County 18. The Deputy, Deputy Garcia, tracked them all the way to County 18, where they drove off. Watched for them to come back, but apparently never did. Too bad – my shotgun was at the ready… me too…


There she is - Cathy Sue - Tracker ~


Yes - that's a .45 in her right hand ~


The stack ~


The Tracker moves in to retrieve ~


When I showed Deputy Garcia the photos, he totally understood my explanation of why I wasn't helping retrieve the stuff ~



Some of the tack ~


My 2G Dale Chavez Roping Saddle ~

15 April 2006 - Saturday ~

The kitchen caught on fire Monday last – the 10th of April. Cathy put it out and saved the pets.


Damage to the house is extensive. Will have photos and full story up shortly, now that I’m back online.

05 April 2006 - Wednesday ~

To those few, that obviously have nothin’ else better to do than come to this site, I apologize for not updating on a regular basis recently. I know some of you can’t wait to get to this site to find out what I am doing in this lovely garden spot called Yuma, Arizona. (There is more than one Yuma, by the way.) The hay season is underway and Weddle Farms, the outfit that I have been “working” for since 2005, farms more than 600 acres producing alfalfa hay (they also produce lemons, but I have no interest in that crop) and the hay season has kicked off in a big way. Starting in March, we have been cutting, raking, baling almost every day, along with the other requirements of farming—irrigating and maintenance of the ditches, borders, weed and pest control, maintenance of the equipment—and so forth. It is a seven day a week endeavor, day and night. Jim Weddle and I baled 30 acres this morning, while Cathy was cutting 40 acres, and then I picked up the 776 bales with a New Holland Bale Wagon, commonly called a Roadsider, and stacked them in the loading area where they are loaded onto semis that transport the hay to dairies and such that the broker sells to. The wind got so stiff that Jim had Cathy shut down after she cut 20 acres. We’ll finish it tomorrow, rake seventy seven acres, replant a couple of acres that were washed out when a ditch broke, work on one of the balers that is dropping the middle string – and so on.

A friend of mine once said that he thought farmers were overpaid for the work they did – to paraphrase. I now know how wrong he was.

Okay, the other towns with the name of Yuma are in Colorado, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Tennessee, and Virginia. I doubt any of them have summer temperatures that are above 120º. However, some of them have humidity’s that would kill us.

03 March 2006 - Friday ~

Cut 45 acres on the first – Wednesday – I call it “the south forty.” It’s located 3 miles west of my place and is the Weddle’s southernmost acreage. Usually it gets cut along with another 150 acres that Jim does custom work for, but it wasn’t ready ‘cause the sheep just came off it. The alfalfa I cut looks like it will be nice hay if it cures out right. Hay supplies are sparse in the area so this is coming in just in time. The 30 acres baled two weeks ago produced about 240 bales and was sold in a couple of days.

26 February 2006 - Sunday ~

Planted another 40 acres in alfalfa Tuesday last. It was located about 7.5 miles NE of the home farm—as the tractor flies—as far from the home farm as any that the Weddle’s take care of in custom work. I don’t know why this 40 had to be replanted, but it was over $2,500.00 in additional cost to the farmer to do it. Alfalfa seed is running about 2 bucks a pound right now and we were putting 25 lbs. per acre in the ground. He didn’t have much choice, though, ‘cause if you don’t have a good stand of hay, the production is lower than normal and the reduced bales per acre makes it unprofitable to produce. The 40 Jim replanted for Alegria Farms (see previous story) is looking good and it should turn out to be pretty good. The farm I just planted won’t be in our regular rotation as far as baling goes so we won’t have the problem of long transit with the equipment. Weddle will be doing the stacking of the hay, however.

I’ve been so busy everyday working for the Weddle’s that I haven’t been attending to this site as I usually do. This winter involved a lot of work preparing the equipment for the coming season and I’ll write something on that in the near future—hopefully. The hay season started earlier than normal this year due to the very mild winter we had here. In fact, some hay farmers ran their hay operation right through the winter. Jim had me cut 30 acres a couple of weeks ago and it was baled and roadsided while I was planting. He said we’ll be cutting the south 40 this week, so the hay season is off an running again.

12 January 2006 - Thursday ~

Planted 40 acres in alfalfa yesterday; once I got to the field it took about 7 hours. It’s 40 acres that was planted this fall and got hit real hard by jackrabbits and wind – mostly jackrabbits – and so it was a replant. This particular field belongs to another farmer that Weddle Farms does custom work for, and in this case Jim was contracted to provide the baling operation. They have started a rabbit and rodent control program so hopefully this replant will take. The first baling probably won’t take place until June at the earliest, according to Jim, about three months after the normal cycle starts. Rabbits and other rodents—such as gophers and ground squirrels—can be a real pain, as in costly. This replant cost a couple of grand in seed alone. If this winter weather we’ve been experiencing holds up—abnormally mild—then it has a good chance of coming in. If it freezes, oh well…

01 January 2006 - Sunday ~

Cathy’s folks—Don and Barbara—and maternal grandmother—Dorothy—came to visit over the New Year holiday. They arrived late yesterday afternoon. Cathy and I smoked nine racks of spare ribs. I made B-B-Q sauce and she made a mess of cowboy beans and a salad. We gave two and a half racks to Clemente and his family, and Clemente gave us a gallon of menudo along with condiments – chopped cilantro, onions, and lemon wedges. Smokin’ ribs must be one of my fortes, because although no two batches are the same, they are always good. I use the “dry rub” method with a wet mop and finished with the B-B-Q sauce in the final mop. They’re leaving tonight and heading back to San Diego. It was nice having them over.


Chris, Shelly, Jen, Robert


Cathy's Mom Barbara and Grandmother Dorothy


Josh, Robert, Jen, Cathy


Ditto ~


Chris, Cathy, Barbara


Chris, Shelly, Don

27 December 2005 - Tuesday Eve ~

Arrived back at the home rancho a couple hours ago. Cathy, Josh and I went to Big Bear Valley for the family gathering. The dinners and gift opening Christmas morning were at Jim and Jan’s with us Yumans and a bunch of the younger people staying at Mom’s. Cathy wanted a white Christmas, but Mother Nature did not want to accede to her wishes, so the closest we got was a couple of overcast nights with wind whistling through the boughs. The days were severe clear with an occasional cloud scudding along the ridge on the south side of the valley. It was cold—freezing—at night and cool during the day, but pleasant none-the-less. The little kids had a great time of it, and us big kids had a good time too.

Alta Lois Dooley, our matriarch, turned 88 today.

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