Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Seeing a little country

Today we jumped in the Jeep and took Paul and Marti on a little drive around the country. First on the list was a visit to our favourite campground in the area. Not that we don’t love them coming here but we thought if they get tired of us and want to hang out in the area they should see our first choice. That meant a trip up to Mesa and out to Usery Mountain Regional Park. It is a beautiful spot and has some great sites there. Not fantastic like Dogpound South but pretty great anyway.


After we had a look around there we were headed towards Casa Grande for dinner at Eva’s Mexican Cafe. Well we had a little time to kill and I had just the spot to kill time in. In the long forgotten past Brenda and I had taken a tour out to Tortilla Flats for a quick visit and once I had them out there it was easy to convince them that it was just another 20 odd miles down a pretty picturesque road to get to the Roosevelt damsite.


Canyon Lake along the Apache Trail.

Well folks often mistake miles for minutes when they are thinking of driving but my memory was that this drive took a little longer as it is through some pretty spectacular territory, and seeing as how I was the only one that had been over the route before and I really wanted to show it to Paul and Marti that wasn’t going to stop me. Beautiful country though and by the time we finished it I think we were all glad to have taken the time to wander through a little more of this very beautiful country that we are so privileged to visit in the winters.



If you want to see our previous trip through this road follow this link. Once we hit the Roosevelt dam we were off to Casa Grande and some of that great Mexican food at Eva’s and thanks Paul for treating us.

Tag came to Visit

The one thing we really miss from our old life of traveling with the RV, was all the friendships we made over the few short years we were doing it. There is a whole sub-culture of folks moving back and forth with the seasons across North America and the internet has connected all those widely scattered dots and made it easy to have relationships with folks with like interests in diverse parts of the country. Case in point, our latest visitors, Paul and Marti Dahl. Now where would a guy in the oil business in western Canada stumble on a fellow in the Coast Guard who lived in Virginia. Well seeing as how it has been a few decades since I worked offshore and probably just as long since Paul worked onshore or at least far from the “Coast”, it is an unlikely match. But through the miracle of the internet and the wide world of blogs we had the pleasure of putting voices to folks whose family, and faces we had already come to know.

The Dahl’s pulled into Dogpound South and we were straight to laughing and visiting. We introduced them to the security detail here at DPS and they brought out their traveling companion Tag to meet Mack and Meg.

Mack is thinking "that's no dog"

I think it was almost dark before we let them off the deck to go get their rig setup. Then it was time to break some bread and Brenda had made a lasagne and some garlic bread to help us stave off starvation Winking smile with and followed that up with some hot brownies with peanut butter and of course the required ice cream. We spent a couple more hours sitting around the table telling stories and laughing, and anyone who has visited us here at DPS knows the stories must have been great, cause those chairs at our kitchen table are amongst the most uncomfortable contraptions ever built and usually I am up and out of them long before the last spoonful of ice cream hits my stomach. But good company makes for comfortable chairs I guess. 

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Down the Road from Dogpound South

It has been awhile since I managed to get set down and write anything here on my old blog. Thought I better start before folks thought I had forgotten how to type. We really have not been up to anything to exciting around here and although we are having a great time riding and hanging out here at Dogpound South I thought you have probably had your fill of watching our goings on, but just to keep the record straight here is a brief summary of what has been happening.

Rumour has it that our friends Rod and Loyce have snuck back down from Kansas to enjoy a little sunshine here in the desert. We will have to head up that way and drag Rod away from the Wendy’s for lunch some day and head over to that Fuddrucker place he showed us last year.

Willow and I went to the local gymkhana, we took a few photos and did a little competing but seeing as how the camera was back at the trailer there is no evidence of the fact that we won something. Not sure what but I guess if you are old enough and slow enough you get put in a class by yourself and that means you actually make a little money, not as much as you paid to enter but enough to feel good about. Maybe we should retire while we are on top, but it is fun so we will probably be there the next time they roll out the barrels.

I did slip over and take some photos of some of our neighbours doing a little ranch roping one day. It is an interesting sport and some of these folks can make that rope do some strange things on it’s way to catching those cattle.


This week Blue and I have been working on his separation anxiety. Horses are herd animals and he and Willow have been living almost exclusively together since we got home last April and he is pretty attached to her. That’s all well and good if he is loose, because he won’t wander off from her but it is a bit of a nuisance when you want to do things with only one horse. That means he has been spending more time with me and less with Willow. She likes that too as it gives her time to enjoy all the feed that he leaves behind. How is it working, well let’s just say we have more work to do, but then we have all day every day to work on it so patience is a virtue here.

Yesterday I ran up to North Phoenix to attend a fund raiser for a horse that needed some serious veterinary care and ran up some pretty big bills. The owner is a member of an organisation that Brenda and I are part of down here, the Arizona Back Country Riders and a lot of those folks turned so I think the fund raiser was a success. I even managed to leave with a little prize of my own, an arrowhead, made by our friend “K”. A few years ago when we first ran into him he showed us around his place here and we saw his extensive collection of arrowheads and at that time he gave me another one of his so this new acquisition will join the old one.

Some other friends of ours had their mini’s at the fund raiser giving folks rides in their cart.


Today Brenda and I were up early and loaded the horse and headed out to Morristown to join a bunch of other riders there. We were heading out to find a Stone House that someone had seen off to the SW. It was a beautiful ride that started out along the Hassayampa River. Legend has it if you drink from this river you will never tell the truth again, but no fear, there didn’t appear to much water along the way.


Our friend “K” is often seen along the trail in this pose. He manages to get a lot of great photos of the pretty country we are riding through.


Now we did have a little excitement at one of the stock tanks we stopped at to water our horses. Blue and I managed to get ourselves tangled into a cholla bush and as folks who know the desert know these things stick to you like snot to a screen door. Well I think Blue thought he was being attacked by a particularly vicious desert creature so he went to doing a little crow hopping. Now you know Arizona is mostly made up of rock and one look at the ground we were crossing told me that getting bucked off was not the best choice. Now as the ride was flashing through my mind it looked a lot like this.


This photo stolen from the internet.

But as that horse above is Papa Smurf at the Calgary Stampede and only the top 20 cowboys in the world ride there it is more likely that to those watching the shot below is more representative of the ride they saw. But seeing as how there were no photos being taken I get to pick the one I live with.

Old Cowboy

Tomorrow is a new day and we are expecting company here at Dogpound South. Only our blogging friends will really understand but our company have been friends for a couple of years but tomorrow will be the first time we have met them.

Monday, January 16, 2012

and Down again

I have made it back to Dogpound South after a quick trip back to the Northern Ranges. The weather up there was pretty cooperative too as it didn’t drop below freezing until long after dark and the days were up in the high 30’s. Anytime you get above freezing in January in that country you gotta count your blessings. I managed to get around and see all of our grandchildren while I was up there and most of the kids, although Ved and Clayton had to work.

I was back home to give my Dad a hand getting around to some medical appointments and procedures and just for the record those all went fine and he is back home. Here is a picture we got with four generations of Brown Boys all together one day when we snuck out for brunch together with my son Paul and my grandson Lucas.


All the pictures up to this point in this entry were taken with my phone camera so I am thinking of throwing out all the DSLR’s I have and just packing the phone..lol.

Dad was all done with the medico’s on Saturday at noon and I was quick to get on the plane south that afternoon. Seems that the fine weather I was enjoying was about to change. This time the weatherman wasn’t lying the bottom was dropping out of the thermometer about the time I landed at Sky Harbor in Phoenix. Rumour has it that it is –28C (-19F) back home as I write this.

Sunday Brenda and I had an engagement planned with the Southwest Ranch Roping Association. One of our local ladies had asked us to pop by and take some photos of the roping here in Maricopa. We had a great time and once we figured out the scoring system it all started to make a little sense too. Thanks for the tutoring Dick.


Ranch roping is a lot different than some of the more mainstream types of roping events, a lot slower paced and much more like what happens on real ranches than some of the other events. Keeping the stock calm and minimizing the stress on the cattle is held at a premium at this event. I won’t try to explain the scoring system here, mostly because I am still trying to figure it out myself but I will hook you up to a link if you are curious.


Brenda and I took about 700 pictures at this event so if you are really curious you can follow the links below to those pics.

Brenda’s shots – below is a great one she took.



My shots

Today Brenda and I took the dogs along on a ride up Vekol Wash. The dogs enjoy getting out and there are only a limited number of cacti along the way.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Down and Up

Well since the last time I wrote I have done some traveling, a little riding and of course a lot of eating. I won’t bore you with the eating but those who know Brenda know that everyday is a feast at our house.

We got back on the 27th of December and headed out to do some riding the very next day. We had plans to go out with our friends “K” and “T” as well as Dave and Linda to a ranch west of Buckeye for a New Years Eve ride but on the 30th of December Brenda woke up in the middle of the night with some weird reaction to what must have been some kind of bug bite. Her hand was quite painful and pretty much useless so she was not going to be able to ride. We opted to stay home. Over the long weekend I did manage to get my share of riding in around the neighbourhood with various friends there though. First off Sonya and I rode the Vekol Wash from up around the arena, there were supposed to be more folks there but I guess they got lost on the way so we took off on a couple of hours of riding. In the afternoon I headed over to Pococks to sort some cattle but Blue was having a bad day and we never got in the pen. He has developed a major case of herd sour and that will give us something to work on over the next little while. We were going to head to the Raceway for a dinner New Years Eve but it appeared that they had a fancy schmancy dinner compete with table clothes happening there Jill and Brenda and I came back to our place where Brenda whipped up a little lasagna and salad along with garlic bread. Pretty good for a spur of the moment dinner. Then we were off to Johnson’s for a bonfire. While we were there we got to see some kind of comet streaking across the sky.

Then on New Years Day I joined the Johnson clan and Paul and CC, and Bridget for a ride around the mountain. Probably 14 miles by the time I got back home.


To finish off the long weekend I took off again with the Johnson’s and Brenda and Willow joined us and here they are with Bobbie alongside.


I managed to get the Johnson clan all lined up for a family portrait and it turned out pretty good if I do say so myself. The family that rides together, stays together, at least as long as their horses get along anyway.


While we were out on this ride we figured we could bring our dogs along to ride out here someday. There is a smattering of Cholla and a few Saguaro’s but nothing that a couple of smart pups couldn’t get through without getting stuck. So a couple of days later we came out for a Woofer Wednesday ride. Meg was sure happy to be back on the trail.


And Mack is pretty new at this trail riding but he did great to, and he stays pretty close to the horse so I don’t have many pictures.


Wednesday night Brenda and I headed into town and picked up our friends Bill and Margaret from Dease Lake. They are staying with us a few days and Brenda has convinced Bill that he should change the bathroom countertops in our place here at Dogpound South.

Here is the one in the main bathroom before and after

old sink 2New sink

and here is the before and after in the ensuite,



new sink 1Old sink

Looks pretty good eh! My part? Well Bill is a pretty handy kind of guy and I am somewhat unhandy to say the least so I thought I had better stay out of the way, so to make sure I didn’t mess the works up I headed into Phoenix and jumped on a plane to Calgary. That is a whole other story and I will try to remember it when I write next.