Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Old Elfrida Post Office. Elfrida, AZ June 4, 2011

Francesca, my British cowgirl bud was staying with me for a few weeks.  While I was at my Home Health & Hospice job during the day, she did training with Lady Latte along with a few other jobs around the place.   Tonight was the night that Francesca, Sarah and I were heading out to Elfrida for a bull riding competition.
The Longhorn Steak House in Elfrida was connected to a small arena where bull riding jackpots were held.  We hadn’t had any rain in southeastern AZ and forest fires were consuming the countryside.  This was a good way to take our minds off of all that.  For a ten dollar admission, we could watch a while having a few drinks.  Sarah had met one of riders before and had a bit of a crush on this particular cowboy.  (In fact, this particular love interest won the jackpot that night.)  Then after the bull riding, a few musicians played on the restaurant’s veranda.  Drinking, flirting, dancing and story-telling went on into the early hours of the morning.      
Before the start of the evening’s events, I noticed the abandoned Elfrida Post Office across the highway from the restaurant.  Francesca and Sarah went into the restaurant a head of me.  I walked over to the old post office.  I placed, documented and photographed cowboy and indian found art piece #115 on front window’s ledge.  Everyone else around headed into the Longhorn Steak House and ignored my preoccupation with the post office.
At the end of the night I realized that the art piece ended up having the best seat in the house.  To watch the bull riding?  No.  The art piece had a prime view of all the men and woman who coupled up and left the festivities for a few passionate smooches in the dark night.  The night that was occasionally lit by a truck or car’s headlights or the orange glow from a fire on a mountainside off in the distance.  There were sparks on the horizon and between two sets of lips as the evening ended and smoldered – both smoky memoires.



Apache Wildlife Station, Cochise County. April 29, 2011

Incidentally, on the “Apache” topic, my equine additions now have a new home.  Well, I was originally going to sell Apache after he was weaned from Spice.  Young horses take a great deal training and one’s attention.  I learned that with having Lady Latte since she was a foal.  Even though I enjoyed having Apache part of my life, at my age, between Apache and Lady Latte, my horse nursery days were over.  Maybe a great project when I someday retired.  However, I wasn’t retiring any time soon and Apache wasn’t going to wait.  
It was in the plan to keep Spice for my hospice animal therapy visits.  That plan soon changed when Spice developed a nasty attitude towards me.  Maybe she wasn’t keen on women or anyone who wore a cowboy hat.  I fell into both of those categories.  Spice only tolerated me feeding her and not much else.  Putting a halter, bridle and/or saddle on her prompted a resistant streak.  Maybe she just needed to get use to me?
One Sunday I decided to groom, bridle and saddle, with me on her, for my yearly holiday photo.  I thought, “How cute!  It’ll be Spice, Apache and me. I would be dressed in festive, western, vintage clothing.”  I loved my vision of this perspective photo.
Spice did everything in her power, except bite and kick, to avoid being tacked up.  However, I figured all I needed to do was just sit in the saddle for a few photos and – done!  A few friends were over to shoot these photos for me.  Ready, set, action – I climbed on Spice’s back.
Before one photo could be taken, Spice was in full bucking bronc glory.  Instead of being afraid, thoughts flitted through my mind such as, “Wow, I wonder how long I can sit this?”  As if I was competing in an event at the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas?!!!  My friends had scattered out of my horse’s way.  Apache joyfully romped around with mama as if it was a new game he got to participate in. 
I landed safely in the dirt after a few seconds of this nonsense.  This wasn’t my first time I’ve been ever been thrown off a horse.  One always hopes it’s the last especially as bones get more brittle at my age.  Felt very little physical pain but quite of bit of churning anger was inside of me.  After a bit of effort, I caught, took off Spice’s saddle and tack and put Apache and her back into the corral.  So much for being dressed up for a holiday photo and my mounted horse vision.
A local teacher and her teenage daughter wanted to purchase Spice and Apache.  She was going to teach Spice to pull a cart.  Her daughter was going to take on Apache as a training project once school was out for the summer.  Spice and Apache found themselves a new home with them.  It was so sad to see them go but Spice needed a more suitable place that didn’t include me.   These two people had enough patience to give a whole herd of Spice and Apache horses a great deal of attention and love.
Today I was in Cochise county and drove past the Apache Wildlife Station.  I stopped the car at the side of the highway right at the Apache Wildlife Station sign.  I placed, photographed and documented #111 at the sign.  This was in tribute to Apache, the beloved colt I had once in my life.  Of course his mother also.   Did I ever mention that she was a wild ride?  Hmm? 



Schwerter House 124 Stewart Street, Willcox, AZ April 21, 2011

Every time I head home from my favorite Willcox lunch spot, Big Tex’s Barbecue, I turn off of Railroad Avenue on to Stewart Street past a yellow Victorian house with white trim and a large sign reading, Schwertner House – 1890 – “A restoration project of the Sulpher Springs Valley Historical Society.  Today was the day I placed, photographed and documented #110 on a wooden windowsill at the front of the house.  It sat there on the painted ledge – all cute and cozy in the architectural properness of the house of long ago.

Monday, August 15, 2011

312 Railway Avenue. Willcox, AZ April 21, 2011

I had just finished visiting my last patient when I remembered that I needed a halter for my foal.  A baby, like Apache, needs to a subtle introduction to humans and their touch.  That little colt is a handful right now.  I’ve been roping him, running my hands all over his fuzzy body and them releasing him.  So far, so good.  If I sit in a chair in the corral, he will walk up to me and explore my body with his nose and mouth.  It feels strange to have my fingers inside a tiny horse’s mouth.  No teeth!
Before leaving Willcox, I made a stop at the Stronghold Feed Store for the halter.  Picked out a tiny, bright-red, weaved nylon one.  On my way out the door, I noticed this lonely set of concrete stairs  -  overgrown with foliage.  It didn’t appear as if anyone has gone up them . . . or down.  I placed, photographed, and documented #109 on the top step.
Then it was time to get in my car and back on the road.  It was almost supper time for my critters.  I was responsible for feeding them all – except one.  There is no way I could ever divert Apache’s attention from the teats of his mama.  It’s always supper time for him.  Bon appetit!           

Graham County Cemetery. April 14, 2011

I miss my deceased equine pal, Princess Lulu.  She was a seasoned mare who did well as a “pet therapist.”  There were times when I had an old cowboy or cowgirl on hospice services who wanted to spend some time with a horse before they died.  I would take Lulu and some fresh baked goods to the patient’s home, which was usually in the “city”.  At this stage of their life and disease process, they now lived with one of their adult children.  Their faces and hearts beamed when Lulu and I arrived at their home.
Lady Latte, my almost 4 year old paint, is a bit high strung for pet therapy.  She’s got some Arabian bloodlines in her  -  a spectacular vision when she’s running – full gallop – around the property.  She is affectionate and adores people when they visit her.  Not the other way around, so far, when she’s somewhere unfamiliar. 
I managed to purchase a small sorrel mare with a flaxen mane named Spice to take over Lulu’s hospice duties.  She was a rescued horse with unknown origins.      In the process of being bought and delivered to my place, she gave birth to a beautiful Palomino colt.  So the RocknW has become a foal nursery.
I placed, photographed and documented cowboy and indian art piece #112 at the entrance of the Graham County Cemetery.  This cemetery is about a mile away from where Spice is right now.  The symbolization of the circle of life – with death there are new beginnings.  Good-bye to Princess Lulu and hello to Spice and her colt, Apache.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Ranch Rodeo. Willcox, AZ May 7, 2011

Every spring, the cattle ranches in Cochise county send their best skilled cowboys to a local rodeo like no other.  The ranch that wins this rodeo gets cash and bragging rights for the next year.  Events range milking a wild cow to loading up one’s horse & designated calf on to a stock trailer – horseback.  Yep, the cowboy actually rides his horse up on to the stock trailer with the calf, dismounts and shuts the trailer gate behind him.  Him and the rest of the team then have to have their butts planted firmly some where on the rig before time is called.  The participants in this rodeo could put any Hollywood stunt cowboy to shame.  Yee Haw!
This year I decided to sponsor one of the ranches in the competition.  This means if the ranch I sponsored accumulates the most points in the competition and wins – I get to split the winnings with the ranch!  I sponsored the odds on favorite this year – The Warbonnet Ranch.  Taking this kind of gamble with money isn’t something I normally do.  I gamble in quite a few areas in my life – just not with my money.  However, this opportunity was more like a once in a lifetime adventure though.
Got together a posse of friends – Sarah, Colleen and Francesca (now back visiting from England) and it was game on.  Our ranch had the only all-female cheering section.  Of course, the Warbonnet Ranch won the rodeo.  I would like to believe that our rowdy, cowgirl, motivational section in the bleachers had something to do with it.  Either way, they won!!!  Colleen, Sarah, Francesca and I ran down the bleachers to the arena and got a group photo with the cowboys once they dismounted.  I must say, we were one good looking, smiling group of folks.
I collected my money and took a photo with my tired but psyched cowboys in the winner’s circle.  The ranch was also awarded a saddle.  Francesca helped me place, photograph and document #108 discreetly under the bleachers before we left.  She was already an expert at this after helping me out a few months ago with #73.    
It’s a day that all of us will remember.  A great memory that even included a cowboy and indian icon art placement.  Life IS good.                        

Friday, August 5, 2011

Danny's Drive-in Diner, Duncan, AZ April 6, 2011

Not far from the river rock house on Hwy. 70 is a small, old, white cement block building that was once a restaurant. It’s never been open since I moved here in 2006. Every time I drive into Duncan, it sort of calls out my name. One of the restaurant’s sheltered windowsills would be a cozy home for one of my cowboy and indian icon art pieces.
Today, on my way back home to Safford, was the day that I would leave an art piece at the restaurant. I pulled off the highway, parked the car, and took a walk around the restaurant in search of a cozy windowsill. I found one near the former entrance of the restaurant.
Placed, photographed and documented art piece #107 on the sill.
Wow. Speaking of an art studio, this building appears as if it might have potential as a combination art studio/store - catching the tourist trade to and from New Mexico. Unlike the river rock house, one could also due a bit of side business with an unique snack bar. I wonder how many folks would come by for cowboy beans and coffee or indian fry bread and buffalo jerky? Well, if I wanted to kind of stay in line with 1800's Apache meal selection, I would probably have to include horse not buffalo meat.
Sorry, Lady Latte! I know - you’re a sweet mare not a tasty American luncheon selection. Just glad its 2011 and not 1800.

River rock house, Hwy. 70, Duncan, AZ April 6, 2011

Off of Highway 70 near a high school, on the outskirts of Duncan, back off the road are two quaint, small houses - all made of rim rock (medium-sized, gray, smooth round surface). Well, that’s how one of the occupants of one of those homes described the building material. That was after she inquired about why I was rummaging around a nearly condemned house with no "For Sale" sign.
I had just placed, photographed and documented cowboy and indian art piece #105 on one of the chipped, turquoise painted windowsills when she walked up on me. She was a thin, middle aged brunette dressed in white cotton blouse, navy shorts and well-worn sandals. Quickly, I turned around and smiled. Her eyes were centered on me. It was doubtful she saw my artistic preoccupation with #105.
After some quick thought, I told her that I had always admired this house and I was looking for a quaint place to rent as an art studio( even though I wasn’t). The neighbor woman said that she didn’t know who was the property owner but there was possibly a lien on the property or some other complication. The slim, casually dressed woman went on to say that she had rental property in town which would probably make a great art studio.
All I knew was that I wasn’t interested in renting a place for an art studio and had to graciously depart without drawing any attention to art piece #105. So I took her phone number and let her know that I might be in touch about her rental property. Then she strongly encouraged me to follow her into Duncan to take a quick peek at her rental property. I finally persuaded her that I didn’t have the time to do that and made a quick exit into my car.
I didn’t like lying to this woman at all but I couldn’t compromise the integrity of my artistic process or the location of art piece #105. Well, another cowboy and indian icon art piece in place. If I ever am looking for an artsy space to rent in Duncan, at least I know who I can contact!