Showing posts with label Belle Starr's Silverado Ranch. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Belle Starr's Silverado Ranch. Show all posts

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

SHOWDOWN IN THE HAY COMPOUND!!

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SEE YA RON, TAKE CARE & ALL THE BEST

When I left Ron at Belle's Tuesday night I had expressed some concern about him staying in the tiny cabin but he assuredly informed me he's a Vet, & therefore a survivor plus this is the west & things are done much differently than in the east!!  I headed over to Belle's earlier than usual to check on the resident survivor figuring he's gonna be mighty hungry.  Ron was already out walking around the property & had already found his way to Douglas & back.  He had a catalytic heater with him in the cabin last night but it had ran out of fuel an hour after he turned it on so he had a bit of a cool night when the temps dropped to about 32F.  No other heat source in the cabin.  Now, had that been me I would have went out to my vehicle, turned the heater on full blast & stuffed myself right inside it!!

A partial cloud cover hung over the valley with only the occasional warming sunsplash passing by.  Luckily I was in my lined winter pants, T-shirt & two flannel shirts.  I think Ron just had a T-shirt & light shirt on.  Geeeezzzz, & I'm the Canadian too.  Supposed to be used to the cold, right...........wrong!!

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Jesse, a friend of Belle's was there repairing a broken water pipe so he brought the Gator over for Ron & I & we headed ourselves up to the hay compound to load up some bales of alfalfa for the animals.  Right off the bat we knew something was wrong when we saw the 2 loose resident horses inside the wire instead of outside of it.  They had broken down the flimsy gate & were happily munching away on a wagonload of alfalfa bales.  Neither Ron or I have too many horse smarts but we knew enough not to get behind the big guys as we tried to calmly shoo them out of the compound.  Of course being novices we talked quietly to the horses trying to explain to them the error of their ways & how it was not good manners to be eating off the hay wagon.  Well, the horses just gave us a passing glance, never budged an inch, & kept on munching.  Voices were raised, arms were gently flapped, tails were switched, darting glances from big brown eyeballs were felt & the munching stopped.  Heads were turned & now it was a four face standoff.  Two eastern Gringos face to face with two very large weathered western Cayuses.  And we were between them & their food source.  Gunfight at the OK Corral thoughts flashed through my mind as Ron & opened fire first with loud shouts & vigorous arm movements.  Startled by the Gringo's quick action the white horse turned first & bolted for the open gate followed closely by the second darker horse.  Chalk one up for the Gringos.

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Loaded a couple bales of alfalfa on the gator, closed the flimsy gate behind us & went about feeding the first batch of donkeys & horses down at the corrals remembering to check water levels on our way.  Just a week ago Cindy was showing me the feeding process & only days before that someone had shown her & here I was today showing somebody else.  These have been a fast paced few weeks on the old western learning curve.  You might have guessed that by the time we headed back for our second load of hay the two wily horse guys had pulverized the gate again & were back to their favorite free smorgasbord of yummy alfalfa.  Well, there was no pussyfooting around this time as we Gringos turfed those 2 horse guys right out of there.....toote suite!!  It was obvious we were going to have pool our engineering prowess & construct us stronger gate........and that is what we did.  The dark colored horse came back around for a closer look see as to what the 2 novice easterners (Ron's originally from around New York) were up to, pawed the ground, gave us an unapproving snort & trotted off with it's tail in the air.  Took us about 20 minutes to wire together some kind of a mossmagator gate & by the time I left the Silverado about an hour later the horsey guys hadn't figured their way back in yet. 

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HAY WAGON IN THE BACKGROUND WITH RON STRENGTHENING THE GATE & A BIG RASCALLY HORSE LOOKING ON

It was about time for Ron to head back to New Mexico so it was time to go in & talk to Belle.  We seated ourselves down in the small area just inside the door where Belle has her computer.  Couldn't help but think this was a meeting of the minds as I sat & listened to Belle & Ron talk over the possibility of Ron coming back to stay at the Silverado ranch.  Each laid out their expectations & concerns.  There were some hand gestures, a few good laughs, some shuffling of feet, a bit of serious gazing, & a few stories told.  But, more than anything there was an understanding between a couple individuals who 24 hours earlier had never met one another.  I could see a trust being forged here.  I felt, as I sat there, very privileged to be a part of what I was sitting in on.  I had a feeling again that I was learning something very special here.  I was witness to something that I had a feeling will somehow come back to me someday in the future with a positive outcome. 

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The pow wow wrapped up in about 20 minutes & it was time for Ron to head out.  Talked beside his truck for a few minutes about the future of the ranch & Belle's well being & with a wave he was headed on down the road.  Might meet Ron again someday, might not. 

I did a final check of a couple watering troughs, said good-bye to Belle & headed off down to Douglas under cool cloudy skies.  I was appalled at the smog hanging over the city as I descended from a slightly higher altitude and, I could smell it.  Even some of the closer mountain peaks were smogged in.  So disheartening to see this in a land of beautiful mountains, big blue sunny skies, & supposedly miles upon miles of fresh clean air, under a blanket of pollution.

Stopped at the Napa dealer & picked up a pre-arranged battery for the ATV back at the McNeal ranch, rumbled through the Burger King drive-through & totally destroyed by calorie intake for the next month.  By the time I got back to the rig I felt like a 500 pound bag of sludge!!  The rest of the afternoon was spent in a state of sludgy doze.  Managed to water a few more trees & haul a bale of hay out to the 3 donkeys & that was about it for the rest of the day. 

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Tomorrow we hope to slip over to Sierra Vista & see the movie Avatar in 3D.  Haven't seen a 3D movie since probably back in the mid fifties sometime when it was all a craze to put on them goofy looking colored cardboard glasses at the local movie theater on a Saturday afternoon matinee & scream like nuts as the big lumbering dinosaur birds came swooping right out of the big screen straight onto your face!!!!!!

GROANER'S CORNER:((  I read this article that said the typical symptoms of stress are: eating too much, impulse buying, and driving too fast. Are they kidding? That is my idea of a perfect day!!

FACEBOOK READERS GO HERE TO SEE OUR ACTUAL WEBSITE COMPLETE WITH PHOTOS & MORE INFO.

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The only thing better than right now will someday be the memories of right now....AL.

Monday, January 11, 2010

AN INCORRECT BLOG TITLE A COUPLE DAYS AGO

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Going to have to take me some Spanish lessons I guess because a couple night's ago I entitled my blog...Gracious Amigo instead of Gracias Amigo.  I had meant for the donkey's remarks to mean 'Thank-you Amigo.  I have since made the change to the blog & feel rather embarrassed by that mistake.  I do not really think of myself as gracious!!

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NICE PAIR OF SPATS ON THIS PIGEON…….GEESE IN THE HORSE CORRAL

We had a cloud cover this morning so that automatically translates into colder temps here at this time of year.  WANDERING WILLY'S keeping all the warmer air for himself down in Mexico.  Of course with his warmer air comes much rain these past few days.  Guess we'll just go for cold & dry here & keep the weather report short for to-day.

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PEARCE, GLEASON, & CHARLIE THE CAT……THE McNEAL RANCH GANG

Each morning I drive over to Belle's I see the smog completely cloaking Douglas.  It is coming from south of the border in Douglas's border city of Agua Prieta.  Big factories they say.  I wonder if they are American owned.  Too bad to have this beautiful valley with it's abundance of mountains & sky so polluted at the border that you can't even see the town of Douglas itself.  I don't think there are a lot of emission standards down here like the northeast.  Too bad!!

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My watering & feeding this morning went reasonably well until I saw what appeared to be a water fountain shooting up from a piece of pipe about half way down the corral line.  Much water on the ground & it had run down a long way across one of the pens suggesting it may have been flowing all night.  It was about a half inch white plastic pipe sticking straight up out of the ground with the water bubbling up about 10 inches.  Beside the pipe lay a white cap.  Well, no problem I thought as I stuck the cap back on the top &  forced it down.  Well, the force on the other side took about 3 seconds to totally blow off the cap I was holding down immediately turning me into a 5'9" tall human sponge.  And that was lesson number 4!!  Turn the water off dummy before trying to cap a flowing water pipe.  Figured it was the 2 rogue horses who got that cap off for a drink of water in the night although there was a large container of water only about 30 feet away.  Guess they just wanted the fountain effect.  I outsmarted them later by throwing some hay over the compound fence where the bales are stored on a trailer & that kept them there & out of my hair for awhile.  I was then able to go over & feed the rest of the guys a distance away without being harassed by a couple of big four legged hay heads.

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Came face to beak with a Peacock in full feather mode coming around the corner of a building.  Luckily I always have my Canon A720 camera in my pocket & I'm pretty fast on the draw.  Managed to get off a couple quick shots before he turned his back on me.  This began a 10 minute stand-off with us both fencing for position.  Tried to creep around the front of the Peacock to get a full frontal picture of his plumage but he was having none of that.  I tried hiding behind a shrub & then a tree but he knew I was there.  I'm sure he had his head turned peering back at me though that huge fanlike display of gorgeous feathers.  He was a crafty fellow always turning away & presenting me with his backside.  Never once did he drop his plumage as he shook & vibrated himself at the passing chickens & roosters.  The feathers rustled like leaves in a wind.  It was quite a display & the first time I had ever seen a Peacock do that.  Probably the first time he ever saw a Gringo hiding behind a shrub too!!

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    FULL FRONTAL                               AND                      THE REAR VIEW

Finished everything up by noon & went in to chat with Belle for awhile.  She feels like she has aged 10 years since the broken hip last August landed her in a wheelchair.  She's not crazy about hospitals but wonders if she will be forced to go again because of the continuing pain at night.  I don't really understand the health care system here but I know if she was in Canada all those hospital costs she incurred would be looked after.  But, not to worry, I'm smart enough not to touch on American health care here.  Belle's Kentucky cousin is still delayed by bad weather in the east but with any luck she might be here next week at this time.  Am hoping things work out because Belle could sure use some extra help in the house.

Belle's lifeline to the outside world is her computer & for 83 she does really well at learning new things.  I'm hoping she can begin putting her life story together with bits & pieces in her blog.  Belle has always had a vision & dream for her ranch & today she handed me her first article to post.  It's an older photo of Belle but she says I haven't taken one good enough of her yet to make her look like the shining Starr she really is:))

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CHOW TIME AT THE McNEAL RANCH

I was back to the rig by 1 & did some maintenance stuff & that was about it for the day.  Corky, the big black lab dog was here to-day so things are always a bit on the zany side when the Corky boy's here.   What a big ox he can be.

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SUNDOWN FROM THE RIG

And welcome to followers Thelma & Skip who we actually had the pleasure of meeting here at the ranch about a month ago.  Hi again guys & thanks for clicking on our followers button:))

GROANER'S CORNER:((  Bob, a 70-year-old, extremely wealthy widower, showed up at the Country Club with a breathtakingly beautiful and very sexy 25 year-old blonde. She knocks everyone's socks off with her youthful sex appeal and charm and hangs over Bob's arm and listens intently to his every word.  His buddies at the club were all aghast.  At the very first chance, they cornered him and asked, "Bob, how'd you get the trophy girlfriend?"   Bob replied, "Girlfriend? She's my wife!"  They're knocked over, but continued to ask. "So, how'd you persuade her to marry you?" "I lied about my age", Bob replied. "What, did you tell her, that you were only 50?"   Bob smiled and said, "No, I told her I was 90."

FACEBOOK READERS GO HERE TO SEE OUR ACTUAL WEBSITE COMPLETE WITH PHOTOS & MORE INFO.

BLOGGER WEBSITE http://thebayfieldbunch.com/

OUR PHOTO ALBUMS  http://picasaweb.google.com/stargeezerguy/

The only thing better than right now will someday be the memories of right now....AL.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

TODAY WE MET FELLOW BLOGGER IVAN FROM ROADTRIP 2010

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Both Kelly & I headed over to Belle's this morning & while Kelly helped Belle with computer stuff I tended to the animals.  A slight cloud cover made it a tad cooler so I had to drive the gator slower to cut down on the wind chill factor.  Everything went off pretty well again but for lesson number 3 here it is.  Don't park your food source too close to your food consumer.  I pulled up along the fence line with 2 bales of hay in the back of the gator, jumped out & walked around to snip the binder twine on the bales, turned my back to the corral & immediately got part of my head tangled up in a horses mouth.  He almost got my hat off  & some hair with it.  By the time I got myself straightened out he had shoved his head past me & had his face buried in the top hay bale.  Aw won't a be doin that again!!

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ANOTHER FINE DAY AT THE SILVERADO RANCH (click pics to enlarge)

The other problem I had this morning was in keeping the 2 wandering horses from grabbing the hay out of the back of the gator again every time I stopped.  They followed me around & when I would stop to feed others they would slip up & grab a mouthful of hay.  My little talk with them yesterday had obviously not worked.  Tomorrow morning will be my last day doing the feeding & watering because Belle has decided to take back the former horse persons & they will be resuming their work with the horses on Monday.  I thoroughly enjoyed my few days with all the animals but I knew my time with them was only temporary.  We will still be going over to Belle's helping with things for awhile yet so I'll still be able to give Belle's 3 outside dogs Chiquita, Chrissie, & Shadow, their yummy doggy treats:))

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WELL, I HOPE YOU 2 GUYS ARE SATISFIED NOW!!

Kelly was successful in resolving some computer issues for Belle so we headed off for Douglas around 2.  Had to check on an ATV battery & pick up some dog & cat food for the gang here at the ranch we are staying at.  We also had a big blow out at McDonalds.  Well, I did!!  The mountains looked particularly beautiful on the drive home with the sun & cloud patterns playing their way across the valley floor & up the mountain sides.  The scenery is forever fascinating with the changing light.  Soft pastel colors, deep shadows, & mountain mythology all blending softly to create this wondrous desert magic.

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BELLE SHOWS KELLY CINDY’S PARTING GIFT TO HER

We were only back to the ranch a few minutes when all the dogs took off barking towards the front gate which we had locked behind us.  A quick glance out the window showed us a familiar looking truck & camper known to us from our blogging world.  It was Ivan from ROADTRIP 2010.  We've been following Ivan for about a year now & this past summer he was all the way up to Alaska.  To-day he was here at the ranch.  Always nice to meet people you read about & with RV'ers there are always lots of things to talk about.  Wasn't long & we had the travel books out comparing places, prices, & lifestyles.  Boondocking spots were discussed as well as routes & roads.  Ivan is a very personable fellow with many RVing miles under his belt & it was a pleasure for us to finally meet him.  He was headed back to the Whitewater Draw again to-night with an early start for Bisbee in the morning to meet some fellow blogger friends at the BBC.  Ivan may be in the Borrego Springs area in a couple months so we may cross paths again.

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EXCHANGING BOONDOCKING INFO WITH IVAN BEFORE HE LEAVES

The ranch dogs Gleeson & Pearce really like hanging out with the Bayfield Bunch so some nights as I'm typing this we have the whole gang in the motorhome stretched out relaxing.  Five dogs & us.  I was thinking if maybe we got a bigger motorhome we could bring some of Belle's miniature donkeys on board.  They sure are cute little fellows.....................:))

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<< PEARCE & GLEASON HANGING OUT IN THE RIG

GROANER'S CORNER:((  Forget the health food; I need all the preservatives I can get.

FACEBOOK READERS GO HERE TO SEE OUR ACTUAL WEBSITE COMPLETE WITH PHOTOS & MORE INFO.

BLOGGER WEBSITE http://thebayfieldbunch.com/

OUR PHOTO ALBUMS  http://picasaweb.google.com/stargeezerguy/

The only thing better than right now will someday be the memories of right now....AL.

Friday, January 08, 2010

“GRACIAS AMIGO”

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Had a note from Ivan at ROADTRIP 09 yesterday saying he would be in our area & might do an overnighter at the Whitewater Draw about a mile & a half south of us.  Before heading for Belle's this morning I slipped down there but Ivan had already left.  Email this afternoon said he'll be back Sunday so we'll maybe get to meet Ivan then. 

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HEY, LEGGO MY NOSE!!!!!!!!

I always enjoy when nice coincidences happen & a couple days ago we received the following email from a lady in Sierra Vista............and I was very honored to say 'yes' to her question:))

Hi Kelly and Al,

On my Google alert for Coronado National Memorial, one of the links was to your photos of the cave………and I really liked them….but, more about that in a moment.

And as I scanned the photos, I thought that I recognized a yellow 1939 Jaguar lookalike car parked at the Morningstar CafĂ©…..hmmmm…..you must have taken that photo after the Palominas Unorganized Christmas Parade…..and I know that car…..it’s my husband’s car, a Squire SS-100…..as he awaited breakfast after the parade!  Great photo!  Great car!

Back to the Coronado Cave photos…..I’ve been looking for some photos of the inside of the cave.  I do media relations for the City of Sierra Vista…on the tourism side.  And oftentimes I pitch the cave as an interesting attraction/activity for hikers visiting our area.  But, I don’t have any photos of the inside….would you be willing to share some of the photos?  Unfortunately, our budget wouldn’t allow me to compensate you monetarily, but if you permit me to use them, I would credit you as the photographer.

Please let me know what you think and keep up the great work!

Best, Erika

Media, Public Relations & Film

City of Sierra Vista

www.VisitSierraVista.com

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The temps didn't drastically drop Thursday afternoon as they usually do & at 6 p.m. we still had our motorhome door wide open.  Yes, we were in the grip of a veritable heat wave & for the first time in a long time we didn't have to turn the ranch water off last night. 

Had my third straight & great day in a row.  Short chat with Belle this morning upon arrival & then saddled up the John Deere 'Gator'& headed for the hay trailer.  It was another big blue sunny Arizona morning as I parked my steed alongside, climbed up on the flatbed, & dumped 2 tightly bound heavy hay bales into the space behind the bright yellow driver's seat.  Here I was, a guy who barely knew one end of a horse from another (although I come from horse ancestry on my Dad's side) about to set out & feed over 20 donkeys, about 15 horses, & an assortment of various birds plus 3 lovable ranch dogs.  Can only get 2 bales on the gator at one time so it takes a few trips to get everybody fed.  Probably doesn't sound like much to most southwesterners but for me being in this situation it was truly something special.  As I drove around feeding the gang I couldn't help but think of my younger growing up days in the village of Tavistock Ontario Canada.  I always scoffed at the local farm guys thinking of them as hayseeds & yokels.  In fact I blogged about that last summer...SMALL TOWN SATURDAY NIGHT.  How ironic I thought that here I was well over 50 years later doing & enjoying the very things that the guys I had once made fun of were doing all those years ago.  I often wonder where some of those guys are now.

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A smart farm boy would know enough to carry a pocket knife for cutting the 3 strands of binder twine holding the tightly packed bales together but just learning to be a farm boy, I never thought to bring a knife.  Found an old pair of dull scissors & that had to frustratingly do for the day.  At one point while stopped & feeding a group of donkeys I remembered I had missed two horses a short distance away.  No problem as I broke a big chunk of hay from the remaining bale in the gator & walked back to toss it into the corral.  Remembered these two horses needed some special feed up by the house so walked over & got a can of that & sprinkled it on the hay.  Headed back to the Gator & as a came around the corner of a corral I saw 2 very large horses chowing down on the remaining hay in the back of the Gator.  This took me by complete surprise because I thought all the horses on the property were corralled.  Hmmm, apparently not.  Didn't remember Cindy telling me anything about strays or unpenned horses.  Luckily I don't have a fear of horses so calmly walked up to the guys telling them that we were going to have ourselves a little talk about eating hay out of the back of the John Deere tractor……or else!!  Dropped the remaining shredded bale on the ground for them & continued on down the line happily tossing hay (according to Cindy's mathematical formula) to the happy hooves gang on both sides.......

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HEY, WHO ARE YOU GUYS!!

The very first day Kelly & I visited the ranch a few weeks ago we took with us some carrots & apples for Belle's critters.  To us the miniature donkey pen seemed a bit crowded & in the weeks since I kept thinking the same thing.  Cindy had felt that way as well.   This morning I went in to talk to Belle about that.  Julie, Belle's friend & cleaning lady was there & when I told them about the donkeys being in a long narrow enclosure they were confused because they both thought the donkeys were in two separate larger pens.  Julie came out with me & immediately said, "that's not right, someone has moved them all together & should not have done that."  She showed me how to re-position a couple of fence gates before going back in the house & I got busy with my new project.  Took me about half an hour & reams of binder twine to lash the gates to-gether but soon it was done & all was secure.  I happily climbed the fence & gently walked the 20 donkeys around a corner into a large open area complete with a mesquite tree in the corner & a single Desert Spoon Sotol plant along the side.  As each donkey entered the new spacious pen I swore I heard, "Gracious Amigo:)) 

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‘GRACIOUS AMIGO’ WE LIKE OUR NEW DIGS:))

I felt very happy with myself after moving the miniature donkeys because I could feel their happiness & contentment at being in a larger area.  It gave me a warm fuzzy inside knowing I had picked up on their feelings earlier about the smaller area & then followed through with the act of actually doing something about it.  No big deal to most people maybe but once again, for me, it was a very special thing.   And, I learned another desert lesson today as well.  Do not walk into a Desert Spoon plant.  The tips of those long slim fronds are spear like & will penetrate flesh like a herd of many thrown Arabian daggers!!  Yeeeeouch!!!!

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AND DON’T FORGET THE BIRDS AL:))

Tomorrow morning Kelly is coming to the Silverado Ranch with me & while I do the chores she is going to help Belle with some computer things.  From there we are off to Douglas to pick up a new battery for the ATV here at the ranch we are staying at.  Although we aren't traveling a whole lot right now I sure am learning lots about road apples & donkey dust............& I'm enjoying every minute of it:))))))))))))))

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ALL & ALL…….ANOTHER FINE DAY IN THE AMERICAN SOUTHWEST:))

Welcome to new blog followers Kelly & Angela.  Nice to have you folks along on our southwest adventures.  Hope I'm not tiring you with donkey & horse tales at the moment.

And my apologies to everyone who has commented & emailed with questions that I haven't answered yet.  No excuses on my part...... I'm just way behind & that's all there is to it.  I really & truly need a couple cold rainy days to spend inside & get caught up on all my computer stuff. 

GROANER'S CORNER:((  Did you know growing old is mandatory & growing up is optional. (Oh boy, can I ever relate to that one!!)

FACEBOOK READERS GO HERE TO SEE OUR ACTUAL WEBSITE COMPLETE WITH PHOTOS & MORE INFO.

BLOGGER WEBSITE http://thebayfieldbunch.com/

OUR PHOTO ALBUMS  http://picasaweb.google.com/stargeezerguy/

The only thing better than right now will someday be the memories of right now....AL.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

CINDY & DAVE’S LAST DAY AT THE SILVERADO RANCH

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SUNSET AT THE McNEAL RANCH

I didn't hear any creaking or grinding first thing this morning when I woke up so didn't reach for the WD-40.  The body bounced back from yesterday's 5 hours at Belle's better than the brain thought it would.  Yay  to the body for a change.

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First thing I must do to-night is set something straight that I wrongly blogged about last night.  I made one of my classic 'assumptions' when I stated that, "Dave was away scouting another possible paying job in the area."  That, in fact was a wrong!!  Cindy & Dave are true Samaritans in that they travel from place to place helping people.  Dave is a retired contractor, carries his own tools, & is able to able to help folks with his skills wherever they go.  They do not take on jobs based on money.  Like Cindy said, they go wherever they are needed.  No agenda & no reservations.  They travel where they feel they are being led & that is how they came to Belles.   So, my apologies guys for getting that wrong.  The towns of Borrego Springs & Truth or Consequences have also had to deal with my, ahem....... inaccuracies!!

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THIS LITTLE FELLOW KEPT A CLOSE EYE ON ME WHILE CLEANING UP THEIR AREA TO-DAY

It was CINDY & DAVE’S  last day at the Silverado ranch & they rolled out this afternoon heading up into the Wilcox area on another good will mission.  Had it not been for these two people staying at Belle's this past week I don't know where we would be with things right now.  Dave was able to repair a number of items at the ranch & Cindy worked endless hours on clean-up & ground maintenance.  She is the human version of the Energizer Bunny.  A rake in one hand & a camera in the other & there was no stopping her.  It was truly a pleasure working with her Wednesday as we flittered here & there in our own little work projects occasionally crossing paths to lift something or help a resting donkey:)) 

It was their last day at the Silverado Ranch & I didn't see much of them all day until it came time for them to leave.  I'm not much at good-byes & I actually try to avoid them if I can.  I have blogged about that before but it may bear repeating.  I'm fine with my feelings on a keyboard but when it comes face to face with someone over an emotional issue like good-byes I turn into a wet noodle.  I try to remain nonchalant but inside me locked away are the real feelings.  Same thing happens to me when we leave a place or an area.  It's a sad time for me & quite often it is the same way with saying good-bye to people.  I didn't know Cindy & Dave real well but just the few days working on the ranch & all the emotional issues we were all dealing with this past week created a special bond that I will always remember.  Cindy & I chatted briefly over a wrought iron fence with the usual take cares & see ya's.  I put my rake down & walked around the other side of the house to get my camera because I have a habit of saying good-bye with my camera.  I have many photos of people waving their departures.  It wasn't long when I heard the truck start up & the big fifth wheel slowly edged out of it's spot & came down the lane.  Dave was driving & Cindy was busy snapping pics out of the window.  A big left turn onto the highway & with a wave they were gone.   Thanks guys for all the hard work, help, & concern for Belle.  The ranch fell very quiet after you left & you folks will be missed.  All the best.

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CINDY & DAVE  ROLL OUT OF THE SILVERADO RANCH

Worked away cleaning up things in the front yard for another half hour & just didn't feel like doing any more so put the tools back in the car.  Belle was busy trying to move some stuff when I went in to say goodbye.  Belle doesn't let her wheelchair deter her .  She is one of those people who doesn't like to ask for help & will move mountains just to be able to move mountains.  She is getting things ready for her cousin who is taking the stagecoach out from Kentucky soon. 

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THIS BIG MARE KEPT TRYING TO EAT MY SHOVEL

When I arrived at the Silverado this morning I went in to see how Belle was doing & we ended up having quite a chat again.  She told me about her first encounter with a rattlesnake on the ranch, & how she decided on the name Belle Starr & the kinship she still feels to this day with the original Belle Starr.  Said the only difference between the two of them was that the other Belle was a better shot with a gun than she was.  Told me how she first carried a gun when she first came to her Arizona ranch because strangers would come in & she never knew who they were or what they wanted.  Said she had to actually pull that gun 4 or 5 times too & smilingly said with a chuckle. "and that included cocking the hammer!!"  Talked about the death of a favorite horse when it was run through a barbed wire fence by the border patrol chasing some Mexican folks.  Belle is known in these parts as a Heroine by the Mexican people & she has run afoul of the law a few times trying to treat them humanely when she finds them hungry & thirsty on her property.  Belle talked of many other things too & it was one of those times when I wished I would have had a tape recorder running on the table to accurately record what she was telling me.  We have a lot of laughs in these little chats each day & I can already tell this lady has had an impact on my life that is beyond my understanding. 

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BELLE SHOWS ME WHAT CINDY MADE FOR HER BEFORE LEAVING

Belle has some long time RVing friends coming over from California in a few days & I'm hoping we can all have us a sit down & figure out a plan for some volunteer help on the ranch for Belle.  It's been a bit of a challenge so far.

To-morrow morning it will just be me feeding & watering the many, many, critters but I'm looking forward to it.  All's I have to do is remember where Belle's ranch is....................:))

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GROANER'S CORNER:))  Q. What's the biggest advantage of going back to school as a retiree? A. If you cut classes, no one calls your parents.

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The only thing better than right now will someday be the memories of right now....AL.