Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Back on the Southern Ranges

Well we had a great visit back up at Dogpound North but we decided to trade this,


for this,


Now the top picture looks like a postcard but the bottom one was taken in my shirt sleeves while riding with Brenda and our friend Jill along the Vekol Wash this morning. And it is the shirt sleeves part that draws us back here to Dogpound South, that and the friends we have made in this community.

Our visit home was fun though, we got to see all the kids, well except for Clayton, he was busy working making sure that the gas was flowing to make all our homes in the north country warm. But over our few days there we got to cross trails with all our grandchildren a couple of times and some even more than that. They had a wealth of loot to work their way through so hanging around the old folks was not the first thing on their minds.


We started off Christmas morning with our two granddaughters, Claire and Madison and my son Matt and Madison’s mother Michelle, just up the hill right at Dogpound North.


And then it was off to see my nephews and nieces, the Parkhill Brown’s, in the city.


They were all getting ready to head back to Costa Rica for a vacation the day after Christmas so our visit there was short. We picked up my Dad there and took him with us for Christmas supper at my eldest son Paul’s place.



As usual Dad was telling stories and both boys were learning the oral history of our family. And of course at every stop there were gifts to be exchanged. The pics below showing my Dad, Matt, Paul, Michelle, Madison and Terri-Lynn, Paul’s wife and my mother tell the story.


And then my oldest grandson, Luc, above and below granddaughter number 3, Annika.


Oh the hats, they are from the crackers that always seem to be on our Christmas tables.

And then of course Boxing Day, a holiday in Canada that has decayed into a Black Friday like shopping debacle. I managed to convince the kids and grandkids to beat it out of the stores early and head out to the farm for a little bonfire.


And to answer your question Rod, for this kind of bonfire, you use big marshmallows and very long sticks. And after breaking bread one more time and getting one last photo of Brenda and the littlest elf,


we headed back to Dogpound South for a little ride this morning.


Saturday, December 24, 2011

Heading North of the Medicine Line

Yep, Brenda and I have hopped on a jet plane and headed for the snow country. So far it appears that we must have been pretty good this year as Santa has the thermostat turned up and the weather is great. A little cooler than down at Dogpound South, but what the heck, it keeps the mosquito’s under control.


The view off of our front porch here at Dogpound North

Our plane was late out of Phoenix and that put us into Calgary smack dab in the middle of the night. By the time Mom picked us up at the airport and brought us back to her place it was getting close to 2:00AM. We jumped in our truck and headed for Dogpound North. Just out of the city we hit what looked like a good old fashioned Alberta blizzard that had us down to 20 miles an hour in places along the road, but eventually we made it home. After getting the fire lit in the hot water heater and the fridge plugged back in it was time to hop in bed for a quick nights sleep. 7:00AM came early enough but I had a lot of things on my agenda in the city and Brenda had a lot of baking to do. And of course all that baking meant I had to do a lot of testing once I got back from the city.

Thursday was Brenda’s day in town and I had the farrier by the farm to catch up on the feet of the horses we have left behind up here. Although Matt’s remuda is all gone to stables for the winter, we have a couple of retired horses that are just hanging out here at the farm.


We are fortunate to have an abundance of pasture so these three will be able to paw through the snow to get all they need. And by the looks of their bellies they are doing just fine.

Friday was Christmas here, or rather our first Christmas. The girls are off to Christmas with their in-laws so they put together an early celebration for us. We enjoyed the day at Bec’s house with Rebecca, Ved, Lacey and of course two grandbabies, Ella and Kashton.

I think the picture in the centre with Brenda and Kash is where she was saying something disparaging about me and Kash was showing his disbelief.

And of course Ella was a busy little person what with all those gifts and


of course keeping up with her social networking.


Brenda always loves to get together with Rebecca and Lacey and the three of them are pretty easy on the eyes.


And below the girls model some of their prizes.


After a great day of visiting and feasting Lacey, Ella, Brenda and I headed back to the farm. Although we were pretty tired Ella still had some things to get caught up on before she could hit the rack though.


So to all our friends and family wherever you may be


Merry Christmas.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Medicine Wheel and Crested Saguaro

K's Crested Saguaro

Brenda and I in front of the Crested Saguaro, thanks K

This weekend we joined a bunch of friends for a ride out of the Wickenburg Rodeo grounds. We headed up there Friday night and got settled in about mid-day.


That gave me time to take a spin around the area and check things out as well as scout out a water source across the road in the rodeo grounds. Once we had the lay of the land figured out Brenda went to work and cooked us up some of that great Taco Soup and we had a few folks over to help us make sure there was only enough leftovers for one meal. Perfect, and we got to enjoy a little conversation as well as good food around the campfire as the moon rose over Constellation Park.


Saturday was time to ride and Dave and Frank led us on a merry chase through the ravines and up and down a few washes,


and across the desert until we came upon this Crested Saquaro.


and after a few minutes to take a few photo’s we headed on over the hill and dale until we wound up at this Medicine Wheel.


Whether you are a believer or not it is not hard to imagine a person or persons doing all this work without gaining some insight into at least his own bodies workings, that is a lot of rocks to move and place in that pattern. Although I rested on the centre spot here unlike Dave I was unable to levitate anywhere but did feel that same peace that the desert always brings to my soul.

Then it was on to our lunch spot near a set of corrals and a windmill complete with stock watering facilities.


Gathered around the windmill are Theresa on the left, Randy at the centre and Diana on the right, and up at the top is our friend “K”. At work I am sure he has used spurs to climb power poles but just in case you didn’t know “K” those spurs are not for climbing. But if you just can’t resist or are looking for more windmills to scale sometime in the next year or so I need someone to climb up and oil mine at Dogpound North.

Then it was time to head back towards camp.


Coming right along is Gus and Linda, and the rest of the group winding down the trail behind them. Once back in camp Linda took her Mini’s, Madeline on the right and Reba for a walk before we all sat down to a wonderful Christmas dinner complete with turkey, ham and a potluck dinner.


Now the rest of the group rode out on Sunday and saw a little more country but Brenda and I packed up camp and headed back to Dogpound South about mid-morning. In the afternoon Blue and I went over and had another go at cattle sorting, and although we still have a few issues to work through we sure had fun and managed to take a few photo’s of some old time buckaroo’s working in the next pen.

That looks like an interesting sport with a lot of art and steady horses involved in it.

To have a look at all the photo’s of the Wickenburg ride follow this link,

and just click on Ranch Roping to see more of that.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Here and Gone

Last time I wrote we were coming back from Camp Creek on Saturday. Sunday, Blue and I headed up to Pocock’s, for a little cattle sorting practice and Blue did pretty well although after sorting about 40 head he decided he had had enough of this foolishness and was going home. Well we had a little visit about that and after a little reconsideration and some counselling from me he decided that maybe he could wait until I was done the day before heading out. But that is why they call it practice I guess.

Monday morning broke bright and early and Brenda was busy making buns here. Last week Laureen (Maid Marion) had arrived with Robin Hood (the Canadian flour) so everything was in place for a bread making day. I had a few rolls while they were still hot from the oven and Brenda ran a dozen or so up the Heggie’s as a thank you for hauling our flour down for us. And then Monday evening we were off to Raceway for a pizza and a meeting about the upcoming gymkhana, December 18th, where we ran into the Heggie’s again.

Tuesday Brenda was again up bright and early as we had to prepare for the arrival of our guests. Mac and Lynette our RV’ing friends originally from Kansas were coming through on their way to their winter spot in Yuma and were planning on visiting us here at Dogpound South for a couple of days before finishing their journey.

As usual this visit was sprinkled with ample opportunities to break bread and for supper Tuesday night we feasted on Steaks, Brenda’s Cheese and Bacon Twice Baked Potato Casserole, garlic bread, fresh buns, and salad.



And of course we needed to top it off with a little desert so we had a Pecan Pie Cheesecake with Vanilla Wafer Cookie Crust, oh so good, and hardly any calories at all……lol.

And of course a lot of chin wagging and story telling going on from the minute they arrived until bedtime.

Wednesday we headed into Casa Grande to get a little lunch at Eva’s Mexican Cafe and then of course the required stop at Wal-Mart on the way back here to Dogpound South. Then Mac and I ran into town to pick up a little fuel for their trip tomorrow and to give our lunch time to digest before we got sitting down for supper.

I haven’t had a chance to mention it but on Monday the receiver for our Shaw Direct Satellite system arrived from Montreal, and we were able to get our TV up and working. That meant we could catch up on the National Finals Rodeo goings on as well. For some reason the Canadian provider choose not to have the rodeo on live but has a couple of tape delayed replays on the day following, and we were catching up on some of that while telling some stories. The stories actually got a lot more attention so we actually had to watch Tuesday nights go around twice so that I could actually see what was going on in all the events.

Last night after lunch at Eva’s Brenda decided we needed something a little less filling for dinner. So we had a bowl of that Pioneer Woman’s Cheese Corn Chowder and more of those fresh buns. And after that healthy meal of course a little more desert was in order and Lynette brought in a Lemon Butter Cake to fill the gaps and those with bigger gaps than others also had another piece of Brenda’s Pecan Pie Cheesecake. Needless to say I have been falling a little behind on my Ice Cream Therapy the last few nights but I will make up the time somehow…

This morning Mac and Netters were hooked up and headed towards Yuma to settle in for the next four months. We enjoyed their visit and look forward to running down to Yuma and hooking up with them again over the winter.


Quite a train you got there McHenry’s with that DLT hanging on desperately behind you.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

A Lazy Week and a Beautiful Ride

Well last week was a whirlwind of riding and racing with the horses so we figured to give them a little break here. And once we got kind of used to doing nothing, darned if it didn’t kind of take over the week. I am not sure what we did this week but until today it is all kind of lost in the mists of time.

This morning though we were up and loading our horses by 7:30AM as we were off to join K, Theresa, Linda and David, along with two new friends Linda and Melanie on a ride around the Camp Creek area. Our first stop after getting going was the falls.


Then we just kind of wandered through the spectacular desert scenery. This is the kind of country that drew us and our horses to Arizona in the first place and riding with this group is getting us a chance to live our dreams.

And of course it wouldn’t be a trail ride without a trail lunch. So in the middle of a little snow squall we pulled up under this tree and set out our fixings.


Now these usually consist of a sandwich or some sliced meat, crackers and cheese, but today was a special ride and our quartermasters went all out on the menu. I will surely forget something but here goes, we had Fried Chicken, Baked Beans, Brie & crackers, Prosciutto Ham with cheese, Peanut Butter Brownies, Chocolate covered Strawberries, grapes, blackberries, pineapple, and the rest was lost in a fog of overindulgence. Now “K” had set this up so a certain someone would have a great lunch on this little ride but that someone didn't make it out with us, so we all enjoyed this unusual trail lunch and washed it all down with wine and hot chocolate. Glad I didn't miss it.


Once chow was finished we cleaned up the site, left a little for the wee folk and mounted back up to see a little more of the country. I have attached a link to the photo’s of this ride here, so slip over to the web album and enjoy the scenery.

Too soon we were back at the trailers and our ride was completed. We met some new friends, got some new stories and once again enjoyed the beautiful scenery this country has to offer.


You’ll notice when you look at the photo’s there are a lot of power lines in the background, now that is something about Arizona that has always driven the photographer in me nuts. Seems like I can’t get away from having a power line in the background. Turns out our friend “K” is the guy who is building them all, and maybe, just maybe, with his impending retirement we will not see so many in the future. Yah I know, no power line, no life as we know it but darn I wish they weren’t always in the pretty spots.

Monday, November 28, 2011

T.A.C.C. Thanksgiving Gymkhana

Today Willow and I were up and on the road by 7 o’clock as we were heading up to our local arena for a gymkhana. Now Willow has a little experience at this kind of events but as for me, other than one barrel race with my niece Caron a couple of years ago I am a neophyte. In fact when they decided to rake the arena right before my run in the barrel race I was telling folks “Now how am I going to remember which way to turn”, even though I think those who do it on a regular basis are happy that the ruts are all worked out. Nevertheless I found my way around the circuit and made it back across the finish line in a pretty decent time. No prizes but no penalties either, and although it was close the timer resisted the urge to turn the page on his calendar as I was coming home.

Just a comment on the rules of this game, although you see all sorts at these things it would seem to me that all those 100 pound girls should have to haul one or two big sacks of potatoes while they are running just to even it up for poor old Willow hauling my carcass around that arena (remember my “A Man’s Gotta Eat” blog of a day or two ago.). That and the fact that most of them look like while I was out earning a living they were born in the saddle or sure didn’t take long getting there afterwards. But for our first time out we were pretty happy with the results and are already looking forward to the next chance we get to show folks just how slooooooooooooooow you really can go.

There were four events here and other than the barrel race we had only seen one other before. That was something called Washington Poles that looks an awful lot like the Stake race I have seen Caron run except for there is just one horse running a single course in the arena at a time instead of two sets of stakes side by side, both with separate timers, that make it a little more like a horse race, that I have seen back in Canada. Better this way as at least I didn’t have some little girl whipping my butt in real time, I guess….lol.


This young lady as accomplished as she is on her horse in the Pole race also is the heeler on her grandpa’s team roping team. And after the poles it was on to Cupid’s Arrow where you run down and alley and then have to circle three barrels set up at the end in a kind of arrowhead formation and then back down the alley between the poles to the finish line.


Then onto the final event called a Potato race where you pick up a spud out of a bucket on top of a barrel at one end of the arena and then race back and drop it into a garbage can at the other end of the arena. By this time in the event my personal photographer had gone on home so I am going to pick on one of my competitors to depict how that works.


Nothing to it, and actually Willow and I found that this one was our best event, I think we came in fourth in the senior citizens division and were pretty proud of that. You just knew that I would find my stride when it came to something that involved food eh!

Great fun and Willow did a bang up job of hauling my old bones around the arena (thanks for that Caron) and also working as my seat for the time I was just taking photos of the goings on. Here she is enjoying a well deserved rest.


Just click on the link below if you have lots of bandwidth and a long time to look through the photo’s of the day. Thanks to Brenda for a lot of the shots.

T.A.C.C. Thanksgiving Gymkhana

Saturday, November 26, 2011

What’s Up at Dogpound South

What with all the eating I have been doing it seemed that we needed to do something to get Brenda out of the kitchen. Thanksgiving was pretty low key here, we had breakfast for supper and threw in the left over Cheese and Bacon potatoes. Ohhh they are so good and I am thinking pretty fattening as well, but I persevered and now they are history…. 'Winking smile.

Black Friday around here was different than in  a lot of places, neither Brenda and I are insane so we decided we would join some of our neighbours here and take a spin up Vekol Wash with our horses and dodge all the crowds and the mash of folks trying to save 8 cents on a TV. We already have a TV with no dish so another would just add to the frustration factor here. We are hoping once Al gets his and Kelly’s dish up and running he will stop by and figure out ours. Smile

Our horses are all dressed up in their winter coats and hiking around in the desert here is hot work for them so with that and Brenda’s still wonky knee we were only gone a few hours and then it was back to the cool shade here at home.

Last night we joined Mike and Kathy, who sold us our place, and their friends, John and Diane, and slipped out for dinner to “the Duke” here in Maricopa. We had plans to slide over to San Tan Flats for dinner but it got to late and that is about an hour away so the restaurant at the Duke was a great second choice. I had the fish and chips special and although there are no photo’s it was good.

This morning we again saddled up and headed up a different part of the wash with another local guide. We made this a shorter ride as both Jill and I were planning on going to a Cattle Sorting practice and although Jill had a fresh horse I knew that my remuda was pretty limited and I didn’t want to wear it right out. Blue and I went to the practice and had a good time while Willow stayed home and rested up for the gymkhana at the Thunderbird Farms Arena tomorrow.


Brenda and Blue and Jill on Zeus as we head home for lunch.

After a couple of hours of rest Blue and I headed up to the Team Sort and had a great time but this little girl was the star of the show.


The little horse did pretty good considering that all but a couple of the cows were bigger than him.