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Monday, April 30, 2018

Desert Farewell Gift

In 2015, on our last night in Dos Cabezas, we went for an evening drive east toward Chiricahua. We had to make our way slowly and carefully down the driveway, because the yard was absolutely full of cows and calves, more than had ever before visited us at once. It was as if the cattle had come to bid us farewell, performing the rite on behalf of the spirits of the ghost town, and we were properly grateful.

This year, on the last morning before our day of departure, I looked down in the wash behind the cabin and saw, finally, a group of mule deer. I've been wanting to see mule deer for a long time, and here they were, practically at our doorstep, grazing on scanty ground vegetation and reaching up for tender new leaves of netleaf hackberry, guarded over by the mountain to our north.

Nothing could have pleased me more than to make the acquaintance at last of these black-tailed wild neighbors with their enormous ears. Once again, the ghost town has come through with a perfect, unexpected moment.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Monday, April 23, 2018

Fall in Love -- It's Easy to Do

It was time for the state competition: Arizona High School Rodeo Association. Cowboys, cowgirls, and horses all over the place!

I always enjoy the "backstage" area, and since we arrived during lunch break on Saturday we had plenty of time to walk around and soak in the scene. And of course we went back Sunday, too....

Grand Entry on Saturday afternoon was SPECTACULAR --

Color guard, state h.s. rodeo officers, candidates for next year's offices -- look at that gorgeous lineup. Ah, but you should see my video footage of everyone riding in and circling and lining up and thundering out again in a cloud of swirling dust after the national anthem and the prayer for the rodeo. That was the really fantastic sight!

Naturally, there was plenty of action. Here is just a sample. 

Three images below are the boys' high school roping champions for this year in Arizona.

I took a couple breathers backstage during events -- and I do mean breathers. Walking around downwind of so many horses, I was in a heaven-sent world of scent.

But the little calves are darn cute, too, and don't seem a bit hurt by being thrown and roped. They pop right up again, ready for more.

Dogs were not rodeo participants, but they were very much part of the larger scene. 

I also loved watching the younger children, some of them clearly looking forward to their own future high school rodeo futures.

I could go on and on with this, so if you want more just let me know. (I have lots more photos of high school rodeo competition.) In closing today, I'll show you my souvenir of the weekend, something that turned up in the dust right at my feet on Sunday afternoon. "Will it bring you luck?" the artist asked. "Of course!" How could it possibly fail? Really, I had my good luck on Saturday and Sunday, getting to the rodeo and being there almost all day Saturday and most of Sunday. 

Monday, April 16, 2018

Black and White and Sepia

To my eye, black and white looks timeless, while sepia turns any photograph into a scene from long ago. Agree or disagree? Thoughts? Whatever you think, all these shots came from the past week in or around Dos Cabezas, Arizona.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

How About These for Their Names?

Couldn't resist these two horses with the business name on the window behind them. I imagined Oil & Vinegar to be the horses' names. 

Monday, April 9, 2018

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Thursday, April 5, 2018

How Could I Have Gotten This Name Wrong?

I mentioned this wonderful place before on Books in Northport but called it the "Cowboy Mall." Now that name has gotten stuck in our household memory, but it is not correct. As you see. Mustang Mall it is! And if I may be allowed to paraphrase something that used to be said on the radio of a certain fictional grocery store, if they don't have it at the Mustang Mall, you can probably do without it.

Yes, there is honey, and there is soup, and there are cans of beans and huge cuts of frozen meat. There are fruits and vegetables and beer and local wines and plenty of snacks. Need hot sauce? It's here. But who can concentrate on groceries when there are so many horse- and cowboy- and cowgirl-related items to swoon over?

Monday, April 2, 2018

We Take a Walk-Around

In this Land of Little Rain, where we are into the third month of our winter away from home (spring beginning to make some headway here in Arizona), on the edge of the city of Willcox there is a small lake, locally noteworthy as a place to watch birds. Sandhill cranes were in the vicinity for the early part of our mutual desert residence but by April have flown to summer homes in the North. Many water birds remain, however, and my 2015 memories of a vermilion flycatcher and loggerhead shrike are wedded to this place. A packed clay road (that becomes all but impassable mud during and after heavy rain) circles the pond, and one morning the Artist and I got it in mind to walk rather than drive the 1.3-mile road. Early morning, well before the heat of midday, is the best time for walking in the desert. Our presence scared up a couple of jackrabbits and delighted a swarm of tiny insects that accompanied our first few steps like halos above our heads. Rather lovely, aren't they?

One of the things I love about Willcox in general is that there are mountains in every direction. Look down any street, and at the farthest distance you see mountains. The same is true out at the bird-watching pond. While the sky and wind are different from day to day, the mountains remain the same and let you know exactly where you are. 

At the far end of the lake from the country club golf course and Border Patrol facility, a mysterious “road to nowhere” piqued our curiosity, but we let the wonder remain unanswered and continued around the lake …

… because for the Artist, who keeps reminding me (unnecessarily) that he is a Pisces, the most important environmental feature there was not roads or mountains but water! 

There are signs around the lake in both English and Spanish. Since I have been trying to learn Spanish, I was more interested in those signs. Do you understand them?

Most important of all, though, is the sunshine and open spaces. And oh, yes, the sight and scent of water!