Sunday, June 2, 2013


I was wondering if I'd ever be able to have another piece of birthday cake on my favorite piece of land in the whole world.  This year I was hoping to have my favorite piece of cake in the whole world (Sanders Bumpy Cake) on my favorite piece of land in the whole world, but the latter was not meant to be.  I'm just extremely happy and appreciative to have been able to spend my 58th birthday out on the T-Square Ranch.  And the cake, even though not Sanders Bumpy Cake, was pretty darn delicious!

Of course there were chores to be done, like washing windows.  Bill put another scissor jack on the trailer to help keep it level, and there was just general cleaning and straightening to be done inside and out.  Fortunately we got a lot of things accomplished because the weather was perfect!  There was always a bit of a breeze, but not the 40 mph winds that we had experienced during Memorial Day weekends of the past. 
We had the awning out early in the morning, and Bill usually took it down mid-afternoon because the winds would start to kick up slightly.  We certainly didn't want our visibly aging awning to go flying across the meadow like had been the fate of two of our neighbor's awnings.  I have to say that Mr. Bill is becoming quite adept at putting out and taking in the awning all by himself, in about 3 minutes, or less!

It was quite dry, although by evidence when rolling out the awning, the area has gotten some rain.  Yet, when we drove in it was dry, dry, dry, and I'm sure a lot of prayers were being said in the churches of Quemado for some much needed rain.  It wasn't all blue, cloudless skies over the weekend, there were some clouds rolling in on Sunday and Monday, but they cleared out later in the evening and the sky was filled with the usual "billions and billions" (thank you, Mr. Sagan) of stars as we've all been able to view on our visits out to the Santa Rita.  The huge golden yellow moon coming up over the mountains to the east was spectacular. 

Something was obviously going on in the atmosphere, as we could visibly see this ring around the sun, which is what can usually be seen around the moon during humid weather in the fall.  On Sunday and Monday there looked to be rain falling all over the land between the Santa Rita and Quemado, and also up on the mesa to the north, but who knows if any of it actually hit the ground.  We certainly hope it did as the land and the animals are certainly in need of it. 

There were a few cows and their doggies out in different fields, and there were a few cows in our front meadow and across the road at Tom and Darlene's place, but not in the numbers we've seen them cross our property in the past.  They've taken the meadows down to just about dirt, but there are new green shoots sprouting in little pockets here and there. 

And there are flowers too!  These are just some of the wonders I spied on my "birthday walk-about"
when I take a hike down to the ravine.  Well, okay, I didn't actually get down to the ravine this year.  I went a little farther north, towards the base of Moreno Hill. 

Overall, it was a cherished birthday weekend, as I walked along the land, remembering those who have served our county with honor, and who fought for our freedoms. 

Thank you to all past and present service men and women for helping us to keep our dreams alive.

Sunday, May 5, 2013


Nothing all that newsworthy during the four hour drive over to Quemado from Fountain Hills, but we picked up a couple of newsy bits when we got into Quemado.

It seemed like an odd Saturday. Too quiet, actually. We got into Quemado about 4:00 p.m. Usually there are cars at the Largo Café, or in the parking lot at the Largo Motel. Not a car to be found in either parking lot. No one at the pumps at J&Y, no cars on the road. We’ve always seen activity somewhere on the streets of Quemado. There was none at this very moment. It was almost a Twilight Zone kind of moment.

I’ll admit I thought perhaps we should check the churches to see if there were any services taking place for a newly departed, but former resident of Quemado. Highway 60 was especially quiet also, with only two cars going west while we were standing in the Rito Quemado Convenience Store.

“We haven’t been here since November,” I said to the clerk, a woman I didn’t recognize as anyone who formerly worked at the Largo, or the True Value Hardware Store, or J&Y Auto. But she looked like she fit in just fine, and before we walked in, she had been speaking with a couple of possible “locals”, as we went about our business, using the facilities and picking out a few bags of munchies for the twenty-six mile trip to the Santa Rita

“What’s new in town?” I inquired.

“Well, we have a new Trading Post,” the kind woman said with a smile. “It’s right next to the Largo Café.”

“Oh, right where the old one used to be!” I said, hoping it would give her some idea that we just didn’t drop in once last November, but had been around since the last Trading Post was in business, which was probably well over 5 years ago before it closed. It didn’t seem to matter either way to her how long we’d been around, or how well we knew the former businesses in town, yet she continued smiling.

The next new thing for Quemado is that it is no longer a “dry town”. The Rito Quemado Convenience Store has a Liquor License!

I do have to wonder how the introduction of readily available alcohol might change the people, and of course, the town. Only time will tell.

The Highway Patrol has new vehicles, and we saw one of said vehicles going east on Highway 60 as we were just coming out of town heading for our turn-off. Not much as changed as we headed up the gravel. The saw mill has some beautiful wood logs baking in the sun, and the houses on that side of the road have really cleaned their yards of miscellaneous junk and junk cars.

And well, what else did our eyes spy while going up the road? A small white pick-up truck with a utility trailer very similar to the one we used to have was parked off the road. We sighed, and I kept driving.

Bill usually drives up the road, but on Saturday I gave him the day off, so he could do a little sight-seeing, like I get to do when he drives. It was a beautiful afternoon. No threat of rain and just breezy enough to blow the dust off the road that our truck was kicking up. As Bill was chomping up the bag of Bugle’s I had bought we were listening to Classic Vinyl on XM Radio.

The drive to the Santa Rita could be summed up in three words… LIFE IS GOOD!

The road was in pretty good shape, and it had obviously been recently graded and more gravel added in some areas. Only passed one car which was headed in the direction of Highway 60. It was a lone woman driving a nice white short bed step-side pickup truck. Had to wonder where she had come from, or where she might be going to. I can only hope that she made it safely to her intended destination.

All was quiet in regards to wildlife out in the middle of nowhere. We sometimes see a coyote, or a few antelope, and have seen some elk and deer at times, but on this drive the plains were void of game. Possibly it was a bit too early for evening grazing. What there was left to graze on, that is.

Even with what seemed to be a typical winter season, occasional snow and rain, the plains looked parched and over-grazed. And if there’s no precipitation in the forecast over the next few months, and all the cold temps that area has been experiencing, wildflowers don’t stand much of a chance to make an appearance either. But Spring is not over yet, so never say never!

I slowed the truck to make it around the last bend, and finally the Santa Rita was in sight. It was so good to see the Santa Rita, and especially our little piece of heaven, after all these months away.

All was as we left it. Nothing stolen or broken into! Hallelujah! The truck clunked over the cow-path that was probably a little deeper than it was in November. Pieces of sonotube around the concrete piers were blowing in the breeze. Cleaning up the piers was on the list of chores for the weekend.

We had just taken a load in from the truck when our neighbors Barb and Paul came riding up the drive and into the back meadow on their ATV. We had a nice chat with them for a couple hours, with topics ranging from our local cowboy to what happens when one puts a stick, or several sticks of dynamite down a dead well, among other topics of discussion, like who maybe potentially owning the lot next to us; and the outfit that seems to now be in possession of several lots on the Santa Rita. It also seems that the matter of our stolen utility trailer may still be getting “looked into”, but personally, I think the chances of it being returned to us are slim to none.

And in the “did ya know?” department…it’s still in the County books that if a brand is registered (for the $100 fee) you can then deem your property an official “ranch”. Well, brand or no brand, we’ll always call our piece of heaven The T-Square Ranch.

We had just finished dinner when neighbor, Gene came cruisin’ up through our back meadow. It’s so good to know that we have full-timers on the Santa Rita! Gene is getting around quite well, but none of us were up to standing around much more at that point so we all went inside and “set a spell” while we talked some more about the goings on in the area and with family.

The stars were beginning to blink on in the heavens as Gene made his way back to the Rock House Ranch, and it was about time to call it a night. But not before I beat Bill at a game of Monopoly!

The moon was beginning to rise over the tiny town of Quemado in the distance as we hit the hay!


While it was a little chilly at night, probably in the 40’s, we woke to another wonderful sun-soaked, cloudless day in Central Western New Mexico. Great weather for all the time we were planning on spending outside. The temp climbed quickly, but there was just a hint of a breeze to stave off it becoming too intolerably warm. Bill put out the awning and life got that much more pleasant.

Of course I went visiting, walking up the large sandy wash, looking at all the odd tracks in the freshly “bloomed” sand. I knew I would have to spend some time looking for possible new discoveries, as freshly bloomed sand might also yield newly percolated treasures that the earth had kept under wraps for a while.

But first, a walk up the road to check on a neighbor’s dwelling, and then a walk back through the front meadow to take a look at the south-end of our treed area which we don’t walk through that often. Bill found a pinon pine, and we hoped it wasn’t the last standing pine in that area of the property. We’ll look for more, possibly get an exact count of the pinon pines that also inhabit our little slice of heaven.

Then we went chasing after more of the sonotube paper that had blown loose to be found hither, thither, and yon around the property. While we got the cement piers freed from their raggedy sonotube bonds, I’m sure we didn’t get all the pieces of paper that had blown loose.

While the concrete piers are now unusable for the building we had hoped to put up several years ago, hopefully we’ll be able to utilize them for something at some point in time.

Make that…I know we didn’t get all the pieces, but we’ll have to leave that for our next trip, when we have a few more days. Hopefully the weather will be just as beautiful for walking the entire property.

And the next trip will be just a few weeks from now.  Long weekend.  Memorial Day Weekend.
Birthday Weekend.   Bumpy cake out on the Santa Rita.  I couldn't think of a better way to celebrate 58 years on planet earth. 

Sunday, April 7, 2013


Ah...the current Notice of Value from Catron County Assessor was in the mailbox the other day.  Looks as if the value of our land has gone up a tad since last year.  It's nice to know that once again it's worth a little more than we paid for it.

Maybe the value of the parcels on the Santa Rita went up because there are a couple of folks living there full time now.  And for their presence we feel blessed. 

And it's those folks we hope to be seeing when we get over to our place over Memorial Day weekend.  It will be a long weekend, and I will once again be able to spend my birthday at the T-Square Ranch.  The last birthday spent there was when we had the First Santa Rita Land Owners BBQ! 

One of these days we'll have to have the Second Santa Rita Land Owners BBQ.   I know I'm looking forward to it! 

Sunday, March 24, 2013

HERE'S TO 2013!

Here it is, March already, and not a day goes by that I don't think of what might be taking place out on the Santa Rita! 

Spoke with neighbor Dianne a few weeks ago while she and other neighbors were having dinner at their place.  I hope no one minded the intrusion, but she did ask if my ears were burning, because she and the neighbors had obviously been talking about me.

No doubt to say something about my not keeping up the blog!  LOL!

We do hope to get over to the T-Square Ranch over Memorial Day.  It will be my 58th birthday and now that I no longer have to work weekends, and it is a long weekend, and I actually get Memorial Day off, it will be a LONG weekend, so even if Mr. Bill can't get the day off (which is possible, because it's month end, hrrump!)  I'm going! 

And I think that everyone knows that if I want to do something I WILL do it! 

Like write books, even if no one reads them!  Oh, sorry, that is a subject for my other blog!

Looking forward to getting back out to the Santa Rita, and seeing what's what in Quemado too!

Thanks for stopping in, whomever might be reading this! 

Saturday, December 8, 2012


While talking with neighbors Tom and Eleanor recently, the matter of the once titled Rural Electrification Administration (REA) came up.  Apparently it's still on the books.  Which means that there could be a glimmer of hope that electricity could come to the Santa Rita. 

Counting our blessings for the creation of Google, it took a matter of seconds to find out that the once titled Rural Electrification Administration, now goes by the name of Rural Utilities Service (RUS) and is governed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)

Several States, including New Mexico are slated to be receiving funding from the USDA, per a press release dated Oct. 19, 2012.  The USDA has recognized New Mexico as a possible candidate to receive funding.  They have lumped NM in with Arizona and California.  The USDA may never recognize the Santa Rita as being worthy of any funding, but they are at least including New Mexico as being one of eight States to receive funding.  Have to start somewhere, and just having them acknowledge NM put a smile on my face while reading the press release.

So, anything is possible, friends and neighbors, even in New Mexico.  I'm going to continue to look into it a bit further, and perhaps by the time we're all in the position to live up there full time, you never know, there may be power up there, in one form or another. 

We're still going solar at the T-Square Ranch, and who knows?...the government might be able to help with that too!

Hope to see you all sometime in 2013.

Happy New Year to you and yours!

Sunday, December 2, 2012


We haven't purchased anything for the T-Square Ranch lately as our plans to build seem to have put on hold.  However, yesterday when we were taking a walk around our local Goodwill (it was 50% off Saturday, our favorite day to shop!) Bill and I gazed down upon a lovely, heavy metal lamp with a SW cutwork motif and painted my favorite color, a turquoise-green, or I guess you could call it that oxidized-copper green. 

At first I commented how cool it was, but thought, not buying that, no point in buying it, we already have too many things for the ranch, with no place to put them. 

And then Bill commented that he really liked it. 

And then when we saw the price...after the 50% discount...

He liked it, I liked it...and it was going to be, after the discount... $8.00! guessed it, Karen picked it up and headed to the checkout counter! 

Hopefully at some point in the future you'll be able to visit the ranch and see our great $8.00 find gracing one of the entry points to the cabin, or possibly hanging over the dining room table.

Bill is leaning towards over the dining room table.  Me, I'm thinking entryway. 

Only time will tell to see where it will be hanging, because the dream is alive and well.

Because the first part of the dream has already come true...

And the second part of the dream will never die!

Monday, October 22, 2012


It was a lovely drive up to the the ranch and a much needed break.  Short, but sweet, and much needed.
All was well at the T-Square Ranch.  Nothing broken, nothing stolen.  An overall good vibe was felt there.  After taking in a beautiful sunset we played three games of Monopoly and watched several episodes of Northern Exposure, after which we gazed upon a sky full of stars and a perfect crescent moon.  The night was quite brisk, with the temp dropping to the mid to high 30's.  Even though we spent more time in the car than waking moments on the ranch, it was good to visit.  Looking forward to seeing it again soon, even it is only one quick day, it's still our paradise. 

Saturday, October 20, 2012


Our five hour car ride to the ranch will be a much needed break from work for this getting-older-by-the-minute body of mine.  I'm hoping the fresh air, solitude and quiet of the T-Square Ranch will rejuvenate my soul.  Granted, said rejuventation only has about 5 hours of daylight in which to permeate my being, but there's something about the property that awakens the creative spirit in me, much more so than anywhere else.

Maybe it's the whispers of the ancient ones who still roam that area, or putting my fingers in the sand, or taking the mile walk around the property, or walking out to see where the power of water has cut through the earth.  I especially look forward to partaking in my morning ritual of walking out to the road and sitting on my special rock, listening to birds song, taking in the beautiful vista. 

Our last trip over yielded a surprise that we actually thought would happen long before it did, with someone "helping themselves" to our utility trailer.  For the past several years we'd come up the drive, around the bend and breathe a sigh of relief to see everything in its place.  Not so the last couple of visits.  First the generator was missing, then the broken window, and on our last visit, there was one less thing, the utility trailer on the ranch than was there in the summer.

Well, make that more than one thing.  I had a feeling that the people who used to live there a long time ago, whose spirits are still hanging out there, were also not present as they had been over the past five years.  Maybe they were hunting down the person who helped themselves to our utility trailer.  I hope I will sense their presence again when we get there today, and I hope to have a little chit-chat with whomever might be listening.  It will also be wonderful to hold their creations in my hands once again.

Yes, I'm hoping it will be a much needed, rejuvenating trip...

Sifting my fingers through the sand, never knowing what I might find...

Have a great weekend everyone! 

Saturday, September 29, 2012


Here it is October.  And hopefully there will be a trip out to the Santa Rita near the end of the month to meet up with our neighbors.  It seems like the thefts and destruction in that part of Catron County are on the rise, but the local constabulary really doesn't want to bother with tracking down, and bringing to justice the folks responsible.   And the war goes on.

Thursday, June 21, 2012


I promised to publish the St. Jude's Novena, so I shall, here on my blog, as it seems that this blog gets more hits than my other blog, Paranormal By Design.

I only evoke the power of this prayer when absolutely, positively necessary.  And the last couple of months have been like being in the Twilight Zone, where you just want to shout, "Stop the world, I want to get off!"...or at least fly to Tibet, get on a Yak and ride into the sunset.  At the very least, I'd like to get to my ranch, not find anything stolen or broken...and  I'd like to be able to stay for more than 24 hours!

I just need something good, and positive to start happening in my life, please and thank you!  I especially would like to be able to use my God-given, and hereditary talents, and my highly creative and artistic abilities to be able to make a decent income.  So that with this decent income I can then fulfill my goals, and also possibly help others succeed in fulfilling theirs.

At the very least, I would like to get paid what I'm worth, as in the higher salaries that I've made in the past, and I would like to make that salary by utilizing all the knowledge and talents I have acquired in the past 57 years.

In short, I need a miracle.

So...every so often, when the usual means of communication out into the Great Beyond, and to the Heavenly Father and to the Powers-That-Be doesn't seem to be working (and honestly, I've actually had a couple of "my mouth to God's ear" moments!)...and nothing else I can possibly think of and do to try to change things for the better is working either...

Then I start reciting the St. Jude's Novena, hoping that a positive change is going to happen.  I know "stuff" happens and I can deal with it, like all the ups and downs along the roller coaster that is life, but there are times when I can't for the life of me see that light on the horizon or at the end of the tunnel without thinking it might very well be a train coming to mow me down...and that's when...

I pull out a prayer I once found published in the newspaper (and the little piece of paper is now several decades old) by someone who (hopefully) received what they were praying for.

As I mentioned above, I only evoke the prayer as a last resort, (because I believe in the "this too shall pass" rule and it usually does!) and I have to be honest and say that I don't always receive what I'm asking for (at least that I'm aware of), but at least twice I have received what I had requested, in one form or another, and because of this I continue to believe in the power of prayer.

I've lost count as to what day I'm actually on with this prayer, it might be day three, maybe day four, I've told myself I'm just going to continue with this prayer until what I'm praying for is actually fulfilled...
And I've already promised to publish the St. Jude's Novena, so I shall...

May the Sacred Heart of Jesus be adored, glorified, loved and preserved throughout the world now and forever. 
Sacred Heart of Jesus pray for us.
St. Jude, worker of miracles, pray for us. 
St. Jude, helper of the hopeless, pray for us.

Say this prayer nine times a day.
By the eighth day, your prayer will be answered. 
However, say if for nine days.

It has never been known to fail. 
(The line above was in the paper I received. Who knows for sure, but nothing ventured, nothing gained!)

Publication must be promised. 

(And you must fulfill your promise, which is so very easy to these days via the internet!)
Thank you, St. Jude.

I would also suggest...leave nothing to as specific as possible in your request, but of course, be appreciative of anything you might receive.

Wishing any reader of this blog many, many blessings!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012


When we went up to the ranch over the weekend of June 2nd, we actually didn't even drive the few extra miles to go into Quemado. Imagine that. We just wanted to get to the ranch, and once we discovered the theft of our utility trailer, all we wanted to do was leave.

However, while we were checking out our neighbor's property, we also have the pleasure of meeting more neighbors! It's nice putting voices with faces. I had only previously spoken with Barb and Paul via the phone so it was nice to get to meet them in person. Great couple. It was a pleasure getting to know them better. it's also nice to know that they live in the area.

And that they know what's happening in Quemado!

So per Barb and Paul... The El Serape restaurant is once again open for business. The food is apparently good, and the dessert, the banana split in particular is really something! Large servings and reasonably priced. They are also closed on Sunday and Monday, otherwise it would have given us a reason to actually turn to drive into town rather than head directly back to AZ.

The food seems to be popular enough to have people migrating from the Largo Cafe over to the El Serape. The waitress/owner of the El Serape worked for a spell at the Largo. Hope there aren't any hard feelings like there had been between the Country Store and the new Convenience Store. Only time will tell if the nice lady who makes a mean banana split can survive in Quemado.

The hardware store, owned and operated by Seventh Day Adventists isn't open on the weekends so who knows if that operation will be open for long. We don't know if their store is under any flag, like True Value, Ace, etc. but certainly hope they see the light to at least hire someone to run it for them on the weekends. At least there's a hardware store there now, regardless of the hours of operation.

And last but not least. Carl is still...well, Carl. Enough said. That story, let's say is probably best left for a conversation around a campfire after another landowners barbeque.

Hopefully we'll be able to get another one of those landowners barbeques together next year! Looking forward to seeing you all out on the Santa Rita next year! Until then...Happy Trails!

Monday, June 4, 2012


Unfortunately, and sadly, there has been yet another theft on the Santa Rita. The first thing we saw as we turned into the T-Square was that the "No Hunting No Trespassing" sign had disappeared from our sign post near the road. We put that up after the break-in to our trailer, and the theft of our generator and garden cart last year. If the cows had eaten it, they ate every bit of it, even the staples.

So on up the drive we went. Through the trees, and around the corner.

We looked to the left, seeing the trailer, the water trailer, and a big empty space between the trees where our utility trailer had been sitting for the past 5 years. Bill and I looked at one another. Our jaws went slack. Expeletives running through both of our heads no doubt, but no words came out of our mouths.

We both just let out a sigh. Bill parked the truck and we once again held our breath as we headed around the corner of the trailer, not knowing what we'd find this time. Fortunately, all was well.

Every time we'd get over to the Santa Rita, turning that corner after coming through the trees we had held our breath, hoping that everything would be just as we had left it the time before. And it always was. Until last year.

While our luck had held out for the past five years, and our stuff had been left alone, things are obviously a bit different now out on the Santa Rita.

The substantial lock on the tongue of the utility trailer didn't deter them, the brazen thief just probably hooked chains to it and hauled it over the chocks we had under the wheels. They illegally scored themselves a nice utility trailer.

Thieves: 1. Us: 0.

So I called all the neighbors I could get a hold of, trying to determine the time-frame of when the trailer had been taken, and then I called the Sheriff's office to report the theft.

Then I went for a walk. Past the sign that I had place my first T-Square on. The T-Square I had gotten in art school. That T-Square was the first thing to be stolen from our property. Even if I had nailed it down to the sign, it probably would have still been stolen. At least it made it to the T-Square Ranch, my dream-come-true.

Obviously my dream didn't include the thieves that wander through the Santa Rita as if it was their local shopping center. The black-hearted thieves who are obviously getting more desperate and/or brazen as the years go by.

Ah yes, New clearly becoming the Land of Dis-Enchantment.

Sunday, April 29, 2012


Brandon Ski, the builder of the cabin at The Last Match Ranch is back in this part of the country (currently in AZ, actually) and is looking for work! Give me a shout if you want his phone number. Wish we could put him to work on an out-building on the T-Square. Someday, someday... I'm not giving up hope!

Monday, September 13, 2010


Pictures are worth a thousand I won't bother to write in this blog, I'll just let the pictures explain how things are out on the Santa Rita...


What is BABBQ you ask? It stands for...Bulls Against Bar-B-Ques!
When we got to our place this weekend the first thing we saw was that the T-Square near our driveway wasn't just leaning over as it usually, it was all the way over in the dirt. Didn't think much of it because the cows have been pushing on that sign for the last two years. But the cows were obviously getting a bit more aggressive.

So, up the driveway we went...only to find yet another one of our piers knocked over. Bound to happen, we'll probably have to take them all out and start all over again. Okay, onward, around the bend in the driveway...our little trailer was in sight... but where was the little Weber kettle we had bungied to the trailer???

Ah, we found it, and all of our outdoor furniture strewn about in the meadow on the other side of the trailer. Pieces here, pieces there. It seems that cows have a craving for anything that is made of rubber, or black plastic because they ate the bungy cords, and the plastic flex wire covers off the water trailer.

And we pretty much know who the culprit was because there were a plethora of big, deep hoof prints in the dirt. It had obviously been raining at some point and the ground was pretty chewed up. So as we were trying to put the kettle back together, and the furniture back into place...Bill heard a rustling in the trees. Rustling and snorting....and thats when he saw the big black BULL in the trees just beyond the trailer. Oddly enough we had not seen any other cows in the area. We did see some later that weekend however.

This big black Bull was obviously on a rampage against BBQ's because when I went over to Bill/Joan and Tom/Darlene's place...their BBQ was in a couple of pieces, strew about, obviously no longer tucked neatly under their trailer. (We tried to gather up the pieces and put them under the trailer) I also went to Tom's place on Lot 1 and his BBQ Grill was tipped over on it's side!

This Bull was obviously zeroing in on BBQ's! Even though we've had a lot of cows roaming on our property, we've never seen the kind of destruction this Bull created on our properties.

Saturday, July 17, 2010


As the slogan once said...We're cooking with gas! The propane tanks are filled, the water tank is filled, and we even hooked up the solar panels, and they worked like a charm!

So that's the skinny on our last four here's the expanded version...

Got into Quemado about dinner time so we stopped at the Largo for a burger and grilled cheese sandwich. For being about dinner time, there just wasn't a lot of folks in and around Quemado.

Noticed a new business...The Green Door Store, across the street and up Hwy 60 a block or so. Not sure what that business is about, but the waitress at the Largo seemed to think it was a plant place. The El Sarape restaurant is now called something else, obviously under new ownership, but forgot the name. It was just pretty quiet.

Did notice that the new convenience store was opened, but we didn't stop it to see what was up there. We heard there's just a lot of bad blood in town now with that new convenience store being opened up, but one thing is for sure, it dropped the price of diesle by a quarter, and has kept gas prices competitive in town.

When people have to share town folk's money, like the new convenience store/gas station is having to do with the older establishments like the Country Store and J&Y Auto....neither one of them will come out a winner, and possible both will end up losing their businesses due to the "sharing" of the customers dollars.

We tried to get water at the water company in Quemado. If anyone is in need of water in the future, please feel free to stop by our place. We've got a hose hooked up, so take what you need. Whatever you do, don't bother Barbara at the water company. She is the water companies ONLY employee at the moment. The other guy that was helping her quit in May and it will probably be weeks before another person is hired. Also, they have leaks at the water "faucet" at the water company. And Barb is just plain tuckered out with all the work, and she also got stepped on in three places by her horse. She could probably still out-sprint me to the corner, but yeah, just don't bother her, for anything.

Instead....definitely go see the great folks at Catron Concrete for water. It's Town water, potable, and it's 10 Cents a Gallon. They also have a larger hose to fill your tanks up with so our 500 gallons took a mere 15 minutes if that to fill up. Nice folks, really nice folks. We probably paid more for the water than what the water company would have charged us (more talk about that one evening around the campfire perhaps) but it was just worth it.

The folks at Sierra Propane are just fast and efficient. Not terribly talkative, but they definitely get you on your way in minutes. And since they are the only game in town for propane, enough said.

Now, on to the solar! This is a great little system that we picked up at Harbor Freight for $150, I think, on sale. We did get the warranty, which brought it up to $200, which I think was the normal price. Bill just noticed that I think he said he saw the unit for $100 on sale now, which runs for the next month, I think. This little unit kept the battery charged. Great unit, highly recommend it so you don't have to run your generator to charge up your battery.

More later...we're just trying to collect some laundry and readjust to the change in altitude.

Good, but tiring four days out on the Santa Rita!

Sunday, May 9, 2010


All is as we left it on the Santa Rita.

It's been a long 6 months since we last visited and we could only hope that everything would be alright when we arrived.

We didn't get into Quemado until almost 7:00 p.m. NM time, where we stopped in The Country Store for a few supplies that we had forgotten to bring with us.

Namely...cookies and batteries!

The cows were grazing happily in the meadows along SR 601 and the road, overall was in good condition. It hadn't rained or snowed recently so it was pretty dry, and we didn't pass a car at any time on SR 601.

We pulled up at the T-Square and we heaved a sigh of relief. All was as we left it.

Once we got everything unpacked I went across the road to check on the neighbor's place, and while walking back to the T-Square I took the picture of the road looking north. I love how the setting sun highlights the palisades.

I took a walk on Sunday morning, at about 7:00 a.m. going over to visit the property just to the north of us. Looks like some building is going on there. There was a good use of barbed wire to keep the cows from damaging the structure going up.

It's slow going out on the Santa Rita. But in our own ways, we're making progress!

Saturday, May 8, 2010


The time has come. It's is 7:19 a.m. and Bill is still sleeping.

I'm thinking we'll be lucky to get on the road by Noon.
Fortunately I believe I'm a bit lucky so maybe, who knows, we'll be on the road by 10:00 a.m.

Bill needs his sleep, so I'll let him sleep. His body clock is still getting adjusted to his working the afternoon shift, which I think is working out pretty well for him.

We'll get to the ranch when we get to the ranch.

We'll find what we find when we find it.

And not a moment before.

We just won't have as much time to walk around in the meadow or go visiting this afternoon before the sun sets. And it means that the visits to the neighbors places will be on the way out on Sunday.

And who knows...maybe Cowboy Carl will show up out of the blue like he always does. Something tells me he is looking out for our places when he's out there. He always seems to show up when we're just driving around.

If we do get to talk with him, I'm hoping that this time I'll be able to snap a picture of him. He'll make a great "cowboy study"....a pencil portrait, I'm thinking.

I'll report on the findings just as soon as we return.

Thursday, May 6, 2010


Try another weekend!

I requested 4 days in a row off from my place of employment...and it was granted!

Unfortunately then came a turn of, make that 2 turn of events. Bill's back is still "iffy", and he's also working nightshift!

No, wait...make that 3 I the only one getting dizzy from all this turning?

When I originally requested the 4 days off, Bill was supposed to have Friday off, and and per his normal schedule, Saturday and Sunday off.

Ah, but then came the request for second shift personnel, which he volunteered for, and then came the "oh, sorry, you can't have the Friday off because there's a mandatory 50 hour work week being imposed through at least the month of May!"

In a word, lovely.

Between Bill's back issue, and the fact that he has to work on Friday night...if he can even drive for 5 hours..we won't head out to the ranch until Saturday morning, probably late Saturday morning.

But if he's not up for it....I'm going alone, and I'm heading out at the crack of dawn if not earlier on Saturday. If I knew I was going to have to go alone, I'd head out on Friday, but Bill can't drive the Jeep to work, so I have to wait for the truck to be available.'s always something.

But we or I will make it out to the ranch this weekend. I'm certainly not going to have four days off in a row, over a weekend, and just sit around the house, in the "getting hotter by the minute" Valley of the Sun.

Oh no I won't...absolutely will not. I'm going...and hell hath no fury and all that!

Hopefully we/I will find everything just as we left it out on the Santa Rita.

Stay tuned!

Saturday, April 17, 2010


I got a very unusual 3 days off in a row from my job so Bill and I attempted to head over to the ranch. There were supposed to be thunderstorms in the area on Saturday and Sunday, but we didn't let that deter us.

What did stop the trip over was Bill's back. He said he had pain when he woke up,especially when sitting, and it only worsened as we drove. We got as far as Payson, an hour away, and that's where the decision was made to head back to Fountain Hills due to the excrutiating pain Bill was in by then.

The trip to Payson however was somewhat eventful. We stopped in at the Casino so that Bill could stretch out his leg and back and we both needed to use the facilities. We managed to win $27 after only being in the building for about 15 minutes!

I won another $8 on a scratchers ticket the night before. Ironically, I guess this could be considered my "lucky weekend"...even if we didn't get over to see how things were at the ranch.

This weekend was definitely just the opposite for Bill. He said he hasn't had this much back pain in the past 4 years. And all this happened after going to a back specialist for the past two months, in hopes of shoring up his back to put all these back problems behind him for good. Unfortunately the four shots he received only made the problems worse!

All things happen for a reason...I just hope this reason is a good one! It sure doesn't seem like there is a good side to any of this. The $35 won't help make Bill's back pain any better, but it at least put a smile on his face! But at least I was able to use the $35 on new ice packs for his back!

I was kindly given 4 days off in a row next month so we could spend time getting our water tank and propane filled, but that's a mute point now. I'll just have to go over by myself for two days to make sure all is as we left it. I can only hope and pray that all is as we left it.

Unless we get a miracle in regards to Bill's back we obviously won't be making any progress in 2010 either.

Monday, April 5, 2010


Heavens...where does the time go? It probably goes off on vacation, relaxing peacefully, waiting for the rest of us to catch up!

I've requested the weekend of the 17th and 18th off (but who knows if it will be approved!)so that Bill and I can head out to the ranch for an overdue and much needed visit. We hope all will be as we left it, and as Jay and LouAnn last saw it in December. The weather has supposedly been beautiful, into the 60's during the day, but still dipping into the teens overnight.

And of course...the winds have come, blowing at seemingly a constant of into the 20 mph range during the day. Sometimes gusting into the 30's and 40's. The "Alert" is a constant bar across the top of my weather bar, and the little tree icon looks to be in high wind mode constantly.

We're hoping to make some progress this summer, because we got absolutely nothing accomplished last year. It's going to be a busy summer, at least for a few days... going into town to get water, refill the propane tanks, getting the little solar system we bought hooked up, and possibly talk to some people in town about services like putting up fencing.

Hopefully our first weekend trip to the T-Square this month will be relaxing, and then during subsequent visits this summer....let the work begin!!!

Sunday, March 7, 2010


How time flies...

It's March already and I thought we would have been able to make at least one trip over to the ranch by now.

The weather is not cooperating, and soon "the winds" will come, if they haven't started already.

I'm absolutely chomping at the bit to get over there. Maybe at the end of the month, or hopefully some time in April. I figure it has to warm up eventually.

And if not in April, definitely, most definitely in May.

I've got too much PTO saved up at work not to be able to spend a full week, if not more at the ranch.

Thursday, January 14, 2010


A nice man by the name of Hod Holdcroft, and his lovely wife, Barbara were our first contact with properties for sale in New Mexico. Hod and his faithful dog drove into Quemado from Fence Lake, met us outside the Largo Cafe, put us in his pickup truck, and took us out to see the area that is known as the Santa Rita Estates, or what we landowners call the Santa Rita.

I remember that he drove fast along the 26 miles of gravel road to the Santa Rita. He was used to driving that type of road, seemed he had been in ranching for quite a spell.

The first stop we made was at the property we ended up buying, then he drove us up to the top of Moreno Hill for the "overview" look at the entire Santa Rita. He told us a little about the area, and showed us another property, then drove us back into Quemado.

We stopped in at the Largo Cafe for a piece of pie. If you've read the entire blog, you know that we signed the contract to buy the land over that piece of pie. Hod certainly wasn't a pushy salesman, we chatted, ate pie, then he asked if we'd be interested in any of the property.

The rest is history in regards to us and the property.

We kept in touch with Hod and Barbara after they had moved from Fence Lake to another area of New Mexico, then Utah, I believe...and somewhere in that time we were told that Hod had cancer. But Hod didn't quit...he fought, and fought, and endured treatment after treatment. Enjoyed his time with Barbara, playing golf, enjoying NMU football games, and apparently loving a good steak and drinking wine.

We just got an email from Barbara this morning...Hod passed away today. I'm sure he will be missed by the family and friends who saw him on a daily basis, but he will be missed too by those whom he helped make a big dream come true.

Thank you, was a pleasure meeting you.
We wish you Happy Trails...on the other side.

Thursday, January 7, 2010


Thanks SO Much to Jay and LouAnn from the White Wolf Ranch for all these amazing winter photos of the Santa Rita covered in a crisp blanket of snow. Absolutely stunning! The photo above was taken from the top of Moreno Hill (aka: the big scary hill)

Snow Storm...The land will be blanketed soon!

Fog Forming...As Sun Rises

Fog on SR 601

Glistening Snow at the White Wolf Ranch

Snow on the Junipers

Icicles...Where there's a will, there's a way!

Fog Burning Off As The Sun Rises Higher

Fog Finally Burning Off

Winter Wonderland!

Looking Towards St. Johns At Sunset

As of 9:50 a.m. MST on Friday, Jan. 8th,'s currently 18 degrees at St. Johns! Which is where the plumes of steam are coming from that you can see some 50 miles away northwest from the Santa Rita. The power plant is probably our only reminder that there is civilization out there beyond the Santa Rita.

Happy New Year to one and all! 2010...The Year To Begin...Again!

Friday, January 1, 2010


On this first day of the New Year - 2010, who can guess what the year will hold. We can only hope we all have safe journeys to and from the Santa Rita, that the weather is always wonderful (okay, that could definitely be a bit of wishful thinking!) and that winds never get above 10 mph.

Bill bought me a log cabin magazine for Christmas, and he has been looking at different companies and packages once again. Guess he's thinking we'll be winning the lottery soon or something!

Looking forward to getting out to the ranch as soon as the weather gets nicer for travel, and walking about on the property. We have to wait until it warms up a wee bit more, as we are not as adventurous as Jay and LouAnn from the White Wolf Ranch. We are also looking forward to their report of the Christmas excursion to their ranch.

Here's hoping everyone has a safe, happy, and prosperous New Year!

Friday, December 25, 2009


The day is here...the stockings are hung on the fireplace, and the gifts are on the hearth. I only had one request this year...that Santa bring me a new camera so I can take more pictures of life out at the T-Square Ranch next year.

Jay and LouAnn from the White Wolf Ranch are out on the Santa Rita right now, and I hope their heater is keeping them sufficiently warm because I think it's in the teens, or possibly the single digits on this Christmas morning.

Looking forward to getting back over to the ranch!

And maybe, just maybe...we'll have some new welcomed guests this year, and get to know a few more of our neighbors.

Saturday, December 12, 2009


It's been the first line of almost everyone's holiday newsletter...
"Where did the year go!?"

Seems like only yesterday, or at the most last month, that we all gathered at the T-Square Ranch for First Annual SRE Landowners Barbeque over Memorial Day weekend.

Time sure seems to fly when you're elsewhere.
That is somewhere other than on the Santa Rita.

Because when we're all on the Santa Rita, time does seem to pass a little more slowly. The sunsets are a little more glorious. You can sit and stare at the mountains until your eyes all but glaze over...

Wondering what daily life might have been like when the ancient ones used to walk that land...
Gathering water from what is now the big ravine...
Even though we see wildlife on our land, how plentiful was the game they used to hunt?
And exactly how many people called the Santa Rita their home?

Seemingly not much has changed on that land since that time, at least not that we're aware of anyways. But maybe much has changed.

Maybe what we call the Santa Rita could have been home to dozens if not hundreds of people. People who made their way up to Chaco to trade pots and peaches for other things they needed while they made their home out on the Santa Rita.

Might those things still be there, or did they take the items with them when they left the area?

As we continue to gaze at the orange mountain to the northeast, we can only wonder, speculate, imagine the daily lives of the people who used to live there, and hope that perhaps in the New Year that we'll find a remnant of their lives buried beneath the sand.

Or perhaps even think about leaving some memories and items of our own.

Wishing every one a very Happy Holiday season, and especially...
Happy New Year!

Friday, December 4, 2009


It seems like it was only a few months ago that we gathered at the T-Square for our First Annual Landowners Barbeque. The rest of the year is a blur.

Can't say we actually made it out to the ranch this year as much as in years past, and not sure we got anything accomplished out there in 2009. Hopefully some progress will be made out on the T-Square in 2010. If nothing else...

I'm designing a new sign...hopefully this one will be cow and wind proof.

We hope that Jay and LouAnn will have safe travels and a wonderful holiday at the White Wolf between Christmas and New Years. We look forward to seeing all the progress you've been making at the your ranch!

Happy New Year to all!

Sunday, October 18, 2009


The sky was blue, the meadow was green...there was a cow...the driveway wasn't covered in water...and my camera was broken!

At about Mile Marker 8, that's a guess, I don't really have a clue, it was around Heart Mountain, because that's what I was trying to get a close up of...and the camera went whir and the picture went out of focus. It whirred again. I tried to shut it wouldn't. The lens went out a little farther, but would not go back in all the way. A message came on the screen... Lens Error....

Oh,'s I am really sad.

Saturday, October 17, 2009


The temperatures are dipping into the 30's at night so we will make our last trip to the ranch until the Spring. Drain the lines and the tanks and secure anything that we normally leave out on the property during the rest of the year.

We had hoped to leave yesterday to have a little more time at the ranch today, but it was not meant to be. So the 5 hour drive will commence shortly, with a brief stop in Quemado to see if we can get a room at the new (well, almost a year old at this point) Largo Motel this evening. It's hunting season, so who knows if there will be any vacancies.

The weather is supposed to be beautiful all weekend, no chance of rain, thank heavens, so I know I won't spend the entire weekend trying to dig out the truck! With all the work we have to do, and getting back into town before nightfall, I probably won't get that long walk in either. Oh well, there's always next year, the mountain will still be there.

Onward.... I'll post pictures when we return.

Monday, September 21, 2009


We got the driveway graveled last November after an experience of slip-sliding around on the mud in the back meadow. So with the graveled drive we thought our worries were over.

The ground had become so saturated with all the rain that had been falling on the Santa Rita over the past week, if not longer, that there was water standing all over the road. The flow of the water had washed a lot of the gravel away in areas...and when we hit a patch of mud, the truck fish-tailed and we headed for the side of the driveway...and once off the gravel, we were rim deep in mud! Some six hours of work later the truck was finally free of being bogged down in the mud!

Fortunately, as an artist I don't mind getting dirty and I love playing in mud and clay!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Quick Trip

Just packed up the truck to head to the ranch. Got a late start, but it doesn't really matter, in 5 hours we'll be at the ranch and unpacking the truck. Enjoying the scenery, and possible thunderstorm off in the distance.

And then before we know it, less than 24 hours later we'll be packing up the truck for the 5 hour ride home. 5 hours doesn't seem quite as long as it used to. But the time up there, less than 24 hours, seems to go by in a heartbeat.

It will be nice when we finally move to ALBQ, or possibly even Silver City, that will put us at least in the right state, and much closer to the ranch.

Pictures will be coming shortly from my hike up top of the ravine, to the base of the mountain. Unless of course it's raining, which it's supposed to be...all afternoon. Hopefully the clouds will scatter later in the evening so we can do some star gazing through our telescope!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Moon Gazing

Who on earth would think you could buy a telescope for a mere $15?! The tripod (ancient, but interesting was worth that alone!) The Goodwill store in Fountain Hills comes through again!

We will be able to do all sorts of moon, and milkyway and star gazing while at the ranch. We are so very lucky indeed!

Sunday, July 19, 2009


Seriously, I have never understood those people who just drive down the road, any road, even if it's out in the middle of nowhere and "pitch" their beverage containers out the vehicle window.

This morning I spent about 45 minutes walking the 1/4 mile of our property that is on the State Road, and picked up apx. 11 pounds of garbage in the form of cans and bottles that have been thrown from vehicles.

I will be "targeting" hunters who I know have traveled in our area, by writing to "outdoor" magazines. If you ever see a new campaign, in addition to the "do not drink and drive", now reading, "do not drink, and drive or pitch"...that would be my campaign folks.

I don't care if someone thinks they are out in the middle of nowhere, and not that I have anything better to do out in the middle of nowhere, picking up someone else's garbage is NOT how I want to spend my Sunday morning!

Saturday, July 11, 2009


Even though we don't get to the ranch as often as we would like, and this "two-track" is now graveled, (and a lot less bumpy!) never the less it's just a great feeling to turn off the state route and head up the drive.

While we didn't get all that we had hoped to accomplish completed last year, and ditto for this year, we have still made progress. The storage container is on-site, and the road is graveled. We have water, a roof over our head, and a comfy enough place to hunker down when we do get to the ranch.

We're at least moving forward, but certainly not so fast that our angels can't keep up!

Next weekend we'll be rehanging the freshly painted T-Square Ranch sign, and dropping off a few things we've got hanging around that really should be up at the ranch.

And here's hoping that we can move to Albuquerque or Rio Rancho, or some other town in NM by this time next year. Hopefully by the end of this year.

Only time will tell, and until then, we just have to keep moving forward!

Monday, June 29, 2009


When I look at the designs on ancient pottery it never ceases to amaze me why they put designs on the pots in the first place. What possessed this ancient people to make up the dye, to find the right size twig, to sit and DESIGN a pattern on to these utilitarian objects they were creating with clay and fire.

To those reading who know me pretty well, it probably wouldn't surprise you to know that at times I've sat out in the sand on the T-Square Ranch, and have just been moved to tears by the "artwork" that is there.

HOW did they do this? WHY did they do this?
And most importantly WHO were the people who did this?

What was their daily life like? Whose job was it to find the clay, to haul the water, to make the corregated patterns, and build the fire that would strengthen these pieces. Strengthen and preserve them so that I could today hold the remnants in my hand.

Did they sometimes sit and cry when looking out at the mountain, because they also knew how blessed and fortunate they were to be living on such beautiful land?

Yes, I think they probably did. Yes, they probably knew.

It's the land, THAT land that does that to you.

Thursday, June 11, 2009


The above picture is what I call "Heart Mountain". It can be seen when we're driving on SR 601 going to and from the ranch, mostly from, especially when the light is right.

Not sure if it's just a beautiful break in the vegetation, or a bit of a landslide, but it's the "heart" that is a reminder of just how special that little piece of heaven is.

Like the song says...Oh, you've gotta have which every artist I've known always sings it as....Oh, you've gotta have ART!

Yes, we certainly do! And no doubt I'll make this photo into a painting someday.

Monday, May 25, 2009


What a fabulous, wonderful weekend it was.

The weather was a bit unpredictable, but gave us all who came in for the First Annual Santa Rita Estates Land Owners BBQ a fabulous show. The days were overcast, with intermittant patches of blue.

The rain sometimes went around us, giving us a fabulous view of lightning and sheets of rain in the distance.

The came and went, not as constantly blustery as in past years, and it almost took "The Bill's" for a tarp-sailing ride when they were attempting to dismantle the tarp after the BBQ was over.

And on Sunday evening there was the usual grand showing of stars in the heavens. If only I could capture that blanket of stars to be able to show you what we are able to experience out there at the T-Square Ranch!

When we look to the sky we have much to be thankful for.

Can you see the antelope in the center of the picture above???


My birthday has always fallen very close to, if not on, Memorial Day. I've just completed my 54th year. For me, there is no better way to spend a birthday than at the T-Square Ranch. This is the fourth birthday I've been able to spend at my very favorite place in the whole world.

Granted, by birthday is after Memorial Weekend this year, it isn't officially until Wednesday, but that certainly didn't stop me from celebrating it this weekend, and eating birthday cake!

This year was especially special, because I was able to spend it with fellow Santa Rita Estates landowners who sang Happy Birthday to me while I cut the beautiful birthday cake. The wonderful chocolate cake was purchased from a wonderful old-fashioned bakery in Gallup, by LouAnn and Jay. And yes, they are wonderful people!

Here is the fabulous and colorful cake!

You're wanting a piece of cake now aren't you???

And here are the cake-bringers, LouAnn and Jay, from the White Wolf Ranch.


At the "end of the driveway" at the T-Square Ranch the vehicles gathered. The clouds were gathering also. We were hoping like heck that the rain would go around us like it had done the day before. Unlike the past 3 Memorial Day weekends, the winds behaved themselves for the most part.

Welcome to the First Annual Santa Rita Estates Land Owners Barbecue!

Fortunately folks came "fashionably late". Bill and Karen set up the tarp, tables and chairs for a hopeful gathering of 8-10 folks. 10 it was.

Mark came down the hill. He's not a Santa Rita Estates landowner, but he did a great job on our driveway, and thought he'd like to meet a few other landowners in the area. Tom from Lot 1 drove 7 hours from the west side of Phoenix. LouAnn and Jay drove 17 hours from California. Joan and Bill flew in from Pennsylvania, via Albuquerque. And Tom and Darlene flew in from Florida, via Albuquerque, and a side trip to Canyon De Chelly.

Hail, hai...wait a minute....this is the wild west...

Yeehaw, Yeehaw...The gang's all here!

Friday, May 22, 2009


The truck is almost packed and we'll be heading out in the morning. Back to the ranch to meet with a few other landowners for the FIRST ANNUAL SANTA RITA ESTATES LANDOWNERS BBQ.

It's supposed to be raining on the entire drive over, but Sunday is supposed to be sunny and the high 60's, maybe low 70's. But as we all's weather, it can change in a heartbeat. We just hope the rain goes around us, yet provides a nice show in the late afternoon. Then hopefully the clouds will disappear and we'll see the glorious blanket of stars in the heavens. It will be a new moon, and if we have a cloudless sky, it's going to be a spectacular evening.

I'll be posting lots of pictures next week when we return!!! I hope everyone has a safe holiday weekend.

And one last thing...don't forget to remember.

Friday, March 20, 2009


We couldn't have asked for nicer weather during our brief, two-and-a-half-day trip to the ranch. A few clouds moved in during the afternoon and produced yet another glorious sunset. Not sure if you can make it out in the photo, but in the clouds I could see the face of a little deer, or calf.

And later that night....the sky was filled with what looked to be a million stars. Glorious...simply glorious.

The next night we had a campfire...and the coyotes came pretty close. They were kind enough to let us know they were watching us, and howled up a storm!


Every time we go out to the ranch we always check to see if we can make a call, via cell phone or car phone. Over the summer we weren't able to make a connection, which had us a tad concerned.

However, during the visit just this week, for some reason Bill was able to make a call using his cell phone, and who did he call? Liz, of course!