Friday, January 08, 2010



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. 



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 Café…..hmmmm… must have taken that photo after the Palominas Unorganized Christmas Parade…..and I know that car…’s my husband’s car, a Squire SS-100… 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



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.


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.......



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:)) 



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!!!!



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:))))))))))))))

IMG_1761IMG_1772  IMG_1767


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!!)




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


  1. Al old buddy, yes you should be carrying your pocket knife.However it's likely due for a good sharpening, i'll swing by this summer and put a fresh edge on it.

    the hermit

  2. Al you are no longer a tenderfoot.And a little GATOR-aid goes a long way,doesn't it?Still want to see you on a horse though.

  3. You are having a grand time down here. Maybe you oughta stay!

  4. I just love hearing about all those me that warm, fuzzy feeling all over.

  5. Congratulations Al on another request for your pictures and stories. Pretty soon we are going to have to start calling you the "Sage of the Southwest"!!

  6. I just knew you were gona be FAMOUS!! Soon it will be National Geographic asking for your photo's!! They are GREAT. I still wonder, what are all those Burro's and Horses for?

    For a Crankety old man,,,,your gettin softer than a fresh cow pie!!!LOL!

  7. I think those two bold horses who walked up to your hay bale might have been Mexican illegals that recently snuck across the border. Watch it so the Border Patrol doesn't catch you giving comfort to the enemy :-)))

  8. The Sierra Vista story is cool! and you are a very good photographer. Looks like you fall in love with the southern country life, and we are falling in love with you too. Hope to be there before the end of this month.

  9. I stumbled upon your blog just as you got to Belle's place but have avidly read every word since then. The fact that you and Kelly and Dave and the other RVrs would do what you have been doing for this lovely lady and her critter friends is wonderful.
    God bless you for your generous spirit,Cowboy!

    I hope one day we'll be able to visit and we'll be sure to bring the apples and carrots too.

  10. Watch out...some horses bite. Don't turn your back on them. My husband find out that the hard way. Before he decided to go to UCSD (employee) he worked for a ranch out in Eastern S.D. He got bit! He use to haul cattle from the ranch up to a mountain to Mt. Laguna in the Spring. That was a "white knuckle" drives...especially when the cows moved around...and bulls!!!

  11. I always enjoy reading the stories and seeing your photos of the donkey's. They look so darn cute. They will really be sad when the Bayfield Bunch moves on. So will more donkey pics.

  12. The Saga of Al continues. You may leave our area but your pictures will be here for others to enjoy.

    And once you guys have moved on, Kelly can take pictures of you to replace the donkey pictures you have graced your pages with.