Sunday, April 22, 2012

Adobe on Curtis Road, Safford, AZ January 31, 2012

This adobe was one of my back road finds.  The road was named after the farming family who settled here.  Apparently this adobe structure was their first home.  This is one of the many families impacted by the Gila River Water Act.  Basically the Gila River Indians own the rights to half the water in Arizona.  They are the ones who dictate how much water is allocated to our Gila Valley.  All irrigation water comes out of metered water pumps.  The litigation concerning water rights between the red and white man has been going on for decades.  Cotton demands less water than alfalfa to grow and flourish.  One never knows what they’ll be able to grow even though a farmer might have ample time to know how much water is coming their way.  If one doesn’t have adequate water to grow what they may normally grow, then they have to learn to grow something else.  Possibly have to purchase new equipment to sow and harvest that particular crop.  According to the farmers, there is no end in sight for this water rights litigation to come to fruition.
A great deal of the roof was missing from the adobe structure.  It appeared that an adobe addition was added on to the structure.  There were a few sinks, stoves and possibly some kind of refrigerator left.  I wanted to leave a cowboy and indian icon art piece on one of the sinks in tribute to the Gila River Water Act.  However, the sinks were full of too much debris and such.  So I placed, photographed and documented #138 on a stove where the debris was minimal. 
When I was done all I could think about the upcoming local alfalfa hay crop.  Would there be enough moisture to sustain the crop or would I have to keep buying my expense hay from Colorado?  Right now I purchasing a Timothy mix hay (2 wire) at $15.00 a bale.  My horses will go through that size bale easily in less than a week.  Perhaps I might try doing some Native American “rain dance?”  Then there could be enough water for everybody!  Well, a girl can dream, huh?     




540 Coronado Blvd., Clifton, AZ January 25, 2012

About a mile from where I saw the big horn sheep graze, are two, deteriorating  wooden, fake “old west” facades with small wooden plank porches. They look as if they were put up as the start of a tourist attraction.  One has a rustic, orange sign Rusty Saloon and the other had a rustic orange sign Cenepil Mercantile.  There are also two 3 foot terra cotta vases in front of each of the entrances.    
I placed, photographed and documented #134 at the bottom of the entrance to the Cenepil Mercantile.  Then I got back in my SUV and drove down Coronado back to Safford.  Maybe I should’ve left the cowboy and indian art piece in front of the entrance of the saloon?  At least that way if they got thirsty, it was more convenient for them for them to saunter on in for a drink.  The creative process can make a soul quite parched.          



Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Corner of Coronado Blvd. & Riverside Dr., Clifton, AZ January 25, 2012

It was near this corner that I saw my first herd of big horn sheep grazing.  At first at a distance, I assumed that someone’s herd of goats got loose.  As I drove my vehicle closer their large horns became evident.  These were no goats!  After I parked my car, I got out of it with camera in hand.  The bighorn sheep either got a whiff of or seen me.  In a matter of minutes all I could see is hooves bounding up the rocky slope and the herd vanished.
At this corner are some large, horizontal wooden beams which reinforced the side of the rocky cliff.  There are railroad tracks that run along the top of the cliff.  I assumed without the wooden beams the vibrations from the trains running along those tracks could eventually make that whole rocky slope crumble.
I placed, photographed and documented cowboy and indian art piece #131 on one of the exposed wooden beams nearly - out of sight.  Perhaps the plastic cowboy and indian figures on the art piece will someday witness the return of the big horned sheep.  Only this time the herd won’t flee from observation.         


1025 3rd Avenue, Safford, AZ January 24, 2012

The patient I had just visited husband was a former Detroit area native like I am.  Even though I grew up in all white suburbs of Detroit, it was fun listening to his stories of growing up in urban Detroit with multi-cultural neighbors.  We both expressed sorrow in relation to the blight of Detroit’s now urban decay due to not only the nationwide epidemic of home foreclosures and the downsizing of the work force in the auto industry but just plain apathy. 
Recently, I purchased and reviewed the massive, photography book, The Ruins of Detroit by Vves Marchand and Romain Meffre.  This book has haunting an captivating photos of examples abandoned schools, hotels, ballrooms, public libraries, hospitals, apartment buildings, dental offices, movie theaters, recreational centers and police departments.  Most of photos also reveal the contents of its previous inhabitants.   Personal and public belongings left as if the occupants were vaporized by toxic warfare.
One photo of the basement of the Highland Park Police Department shows the human samples left from the trial Benjamin Atkins.  He was found guilty of raping and murdering eleven women.  Mr. Atkins died while incarcerated four years later – of AIDS.
The photos that had the biggest impact on me were of the once majestic Michigan Theatre.  I saw David Bowie, a favorite artist of mine, perform in the intimate setting of that theatre – an impressionable and lasting memory.  Now one can park their car under its roof in what formerly was the lobby!
In tribute to all the local folks here who use to live and thrive in Detroit, I placed, photographed and documented cowboy and indian art piece #130 at an abandoned house on the patient’s street whose home I had just left.  This was in memory for those of us who traded in our designer leather pants and facial glitter for leather chaps and the rhinestones embellishing our belts and buckles.  Hail to us transformers.              

Saturday, March 24, 2012

374 S. Coleman, Thatcher, AZ January 24, 2012

The grotto where a religious statue one stood was empty.  It was snuggled into a corner of the single wide, manufactured structure where the previous owner added an extension to this well lived abode.  This home lost its human tenants.   The grotto had lost its religious icon.
I placed, photographed and documented cowboy and indian art piece #132 in the grotto.  The art piece wasn’t a religious icon.  However, the “cowboy and indian” plastic action figures are – and always will be.  Let’s have an "amen” for the wild, wild west.     




Saturday, March 10, 2012

938 Cochise Stronghold Road Cochise, AZ January 6, 2012

Across the street from the Cochise Church was a small, wooden home that appeared to have no human activity around it.  One of the indicators that I look for to see whether or not a home has inhabitants is whether or not there is a garbage can outside.  Most folks who leave an abode for good may leave behind an assortment of furniture, clothing, toys and kitchenware strewn about.  However, there is rarely a trash receptacle remaining at the abode.  Don’t have a clue what that is all about. 
Since there was no garbage can anywhere in sight, I headed over there.  Behind the house was a wooden and tin garage with no doors on it.  I placed, photographed and documented cowboy and indian art piece #129 on an empty shelf in the back of the garage. 
It was time to get on the highway and head back to my home at the RocknW Ranch/ Art Studio in the southern part of Graham County.  Back to an abode that had a few trash receptacles.  One in particular for “harvested horse manure”  -  just calling my name.             

Cochise Church Cochise, AZ January 6, 2012

The patient I had just seen lived deep in the farming community outside of Cochise.  Drove down N. Manzoro Road and had just passed W4 Spear Ranch Road.  Looked for Cochise Stronghold Road which I knew would take me right back to 191.
I easily found it and drove through “downtown” Cochise.  On my left was the cutest, small white church.  It appeared to no longer serve in the function as a place of worship.  Now its function appeared to be one of a photo opportunity for the few tourists who might venture this way.
I placed, photographed and documented cowboy and indian art piece #128 on white painted, cement, ledge below an arch and near the front door.  One more cowboy and indian art piece placed in a new home.   



Saturday, February 18, 2012

321 Chase Creek, Clifton, AZ December 6, 2011

I was dropping off one of my cowboy and indian, mixed media sculptures for Dr. Jeff Gaskin (dentist who works at the local Federal Correctional Institution).  A hop, skip and a jump way from the old miners’ union hall, that he’s now renovating into a bed and breakfast establishment, is an abandoned building that looks as if it may have been a bar.        
The building had three levels to it.  At least one window was broken on all the levels.  There was blue spray painted large letter graffiti next to the window on the left side of the main door.  I was unable make out what the graffiti said except for raca…think…remember?  The main door had a sign attached to it which read, “DO NOT ENTER.  UNSAFE TO OCCUPY.  It is a misdemeanor to occupy this building or to remove or deface this notice.   BUILDING OFFICAL TOWN OF CLIFTON.”
Even though I wasn’t personally going to occupy the building – a cowboy and indian icon art piece would have a new home on the windowsill next to the graffiti.  There I placed, photographed and documented #126 on the window’s ledge.  Task finished.
Before I drove away, I noticed a disheveled man in tattered clothes as he obliviously walked up and down Chase Creek.  He had a beer can in his hand and sort of drank out of it.  Never gave me or anything else a second look. He somehow looked lost or “out-of-place.”  All I thought about as I drove through the rocky hills home, was that an actual human being or the spirit of a man who use to drink in that building when it was a bar?  He could’ve been a homeless person who lived and died in the building when it was no longer a bar.  Did the sign on the door have anything to do with the man I saw?  I’ll never know.  Never. 



Saturday, January 28, 2012

Corner of Bowie Avenue & Solomon Road, Safford, AZ November 26, 2011

I was invited to a democratic fund raiser supper at the former miners’ union hall in Clifton for Wenona Benally Baldenegro.  If this woman gets what striving for, she would be the first Native American to hold a seat in Congress.  Wenona grew up on a Navajo reservation and went on to get a Masters in Public Policy and a law degree from  Harvard.  (Could this be a seed for a film script?)
The sun was setting as I drove to the supper on one of my favorite back roads.  On part of this road, there were cotton fields on both sides of me.  Well, what was left of the cotton after the harvest.  A few miles from the Highway 70, I placed, photographed and documented #125 on a wooden fence post at the edge of a cotton field. 
The sun had finally set so I turned the headlights on in my SUV.  When I reached the highway, there were only a few vehicles intermittedly  coming and going.  Quite different from when I drove the expressways between Ann Arbor and Detroit.  Now this was my kind of rush hour traffic.         



Sunday, January 22, 2012

Beaver Creek Ranch, Alpine, AZ October 26, 2011

Every muscle in my body hurt as I packed up my SUV with my leather chaps, various boots and a suitcase with dirty laundry.  I’ve ridden on cattle round-ups which are slow and leisurely overall.  This is not so on a horse round-up.  We moved 50 head of horses from their summer home in Alpine to their winter home in Springville – about a 60 mile ride on the back of a fast moving horse.   
When I decided to go on this horse round-up, I started conditioning myself with simple yoga exercises.  Apparently, my conditioning regimen wasn’t effective because I’ve never hurt all over my whole body this badly.  Not even when I was bucked off of Spice.
Before I headed back to Safford, I placed, photographed and documented art piece #127 on the window ledge of an early 1900’s wooden, guest cabin on the Beaver Creek Ranch property.  The cabin appeared to be small and I wondered how a whole family could live between split log walls.  Of course with all those people huddled in that tiny vicinity – that was one way to keep warm during the cold, snowy winters in the White Mountains.
Before I drove away from the Beaver Creek Ranch, I thanked the owners, Bill and Caren for their hospitality.  Now the only other thing that I looked forward to being thankful for was the first appointment I could get with my chiropractor.  Ouch … Ouch … Ouch.          




US 191 @ Red Hill Road, Alpine, AZ October 22, 2011

I quite enjoyed my drive on US 191 through the Apache National Forrest in the White Mountains on my way to Beaver Creek Ranch.  The Ponderosa Pine, Aspen and Fir at 8,000 ft. altitude were a nice change from the sage, cacti, palm trees and tumbleweeds I’m use to at 3,000 ft.   I’m still adusting to the fact that I now live in a state where such drastic climate zones are only hours apart.  Alpine (named after its “Swiss-like” quality) is a popular summer vacation spot for the staff, at the hospital, I work with to escape Safford’s sweltering heat.    
As soon as I made a left on to Red Hill Road, I noticed an abandoned, run down wooden cabin in an open field about 30 feet from the road.  The opposite side of the road was a sign dedicating the reintroduction of the Mexican Wolf to this area.
  I stopped my SUV and grabbed my art gear.  I placed, photographed and documented cowboy and indian found art piece #125 in the cabin right before the sun set.  Now it was time to get to the ranch before it was completely pitch dark.  I had no idea where I was or where I was going since I’ve never been here.  This definitely fell into the category of “an adventure.”    


Saturday, January 21, 2012

Apache National Forrest, AZ October 22, 2011

I placed, photographed and documented #126 at the entrance sign of the Apache National Forrest in the White Mountains.  I came from Morenci, AZ to Alpine, AZ to ride in my first horse round-up.  Giddy-Up!       


Sunday, January 15, 2012

1282 Ft. Grant Road, Willcox, AZ October 1, 2011

Today is the first of October and the start of cooler weather.  For this area that means temperatures are in the 80’s.  It also means that sometime within the next two months, I don’t have to use my air-conditioning (refrigeration as the locals say) in the car or place sun-shields on the windshield before and after I get out of my SUV or pick-up truck.  This is the highlight of my cowboy and indian art placement season
I placed, photographed and documented cowboy and indian art piece #124 between the legs of a black cement cow lawn ornament at an empty house up for sale. The location of this cow isn’t too far away from where he lives. This was in tribute to a local prominent livestock auctioneer, Sonny Shores, Sr.  I’m in the process of writing an article on his family and their multi-generations in the southeastern Arizona livestock auction business for Range magazine. 
I’m glad I’ve gotten the opportunity to spend some time, on more than one occasion, at the livestock auction.  One time I was there when a buffalo and her calf entered the auction arena.  I was sitting only a few feet away from them.  They were so big! 
Mama and baby were sold quickly.  All I wondered about is how would one get these two into a conventional stock trailer?!  Would these two be put in with conventional cattle to graze?  Were they going to be pets/conversation pieces or would they be harvested for their meat?  Never did find out.  All I could think about was the past days of the Wild West – majestic and unconventional.        




Monday, January 2, 2012

709 Cart Street, York, AZ. August 17, 2011.

I immediately stopped my SUV.  There was no way I could resist placing a cowboy and indian on or in the Model T.  This was a moment in time when a reminder of Michigan symbolically intersected with my life in Arizona - here and now.                
I parked my SUV in the middle of the road since there were outgrown mesquite trees on both sides of me.  One best not get a vehicle too close to the large thorns of a mesquite tree unless the vehicle is a candidate for “Arizona pin-striping.” 
Art piece #122 was placed, photographed and documented on the Model T’s rusty running board on the driver’s side.  After a leisurely walk around the car, I got back into my SUV and continued on driving to my destination.   A cowgirl hats off to salute to the former glory of the Motor City!



Sunday, January 1, 2012

Apache Grove Bar and Rodeo Arena. Greenlee County, AZ August 17. 2011

Whenever I have to drive AZ 75 to Duncan from Clifton, or vice versa, I have to pass the Apache Grove Bar.  I’m not sure why the bar is named this.  Maybe the bar is located in a geographical area named by the locals as Apache Grove.  I also noticed that there was a small run down and abandoned rodeo arena right next to the bar. 
I was able to identify it by the large speakers attached to the top of a telephone pole and an elevated wooden, announcer’s booth.  There were no chutes inside the arena like the ones used in bull or bronc riding.  So I knew it wasn’t the same rodeo set-up like the one right next door to the Longhorn Steak House and Bar in Elfrida.  Perhaps it was used for barrel racing?
I climbed through the aging, wooden boards of the fence and carefully walked through the tall weeds of the arena to the announcer’s booth.  Some very weathered wooden stairs lead up to the door less announcer’s booth.  There appeared to be possible a table and chair from where I stood.  The only way I would know for sure was to take my chances with the steps.  I was determined to place the cowboy and indian art piece #121 up in that booth.
Very slowly, I put one foot in front of another on each step not knowing if they were in any shape to hold my weight.  Soon, I would find out.  I mentally psyched myself up to assume that one of the seven steps was going to give out.  I figured out the best way to fall or retrieve myself if a step was going to splinter apart underneath me.  The attached handrail was already partially broken off. 
I made it into the announcer’s booth!  Each step creaked loudly when I stepped on it.  But I made it.  I made it.
In the booth was an equally old table and chair.  On the table were two rusty horse shoes.  If only those horse shoes could talk!  I placed, photographed and documented #121 next to the horse shoes on the table.  I took the horse shoes as a souvenir and made my way back down the steps without an event.  I headed over the bar.  Not to get a drink mind you after all of that.  The lonely, prefab dull green steel building was calling my name to explore and place another cowboy and indian art piece.  There was only one pick-up truck parked along the far side of the bar.  It was light gray and a late model.  It probably belonged to the owner.    
While walking over to the bar an abandoned, old, white, three door, two tiered commercial freezer immediately drew me to it.  There were no shelves in it but I was able to find a niche by the cooling unit where I could place, photograph and document art piece #123.  In a matter of minutes, I would be finished and back on AZ 75.
Just as I was finished photographing the art piece placement, a Greenlee county pick-up truck drove up and parked behind me.  A six foot plus dark haired guy with a big white smile in his early 30’s got out of the cab of the truck and asked me if I was OK and if I needed any help.  I smiled back at him and informed him that I was just taking photos of this discarded old refrigerator/freezer.  I went on to say that I was an artist and was interested in photographing objects that caught my interest.  He replied, “As long as you’re all right.” 
Before he got back into his truck, he went on to say that refrigeration unit was probably from the 50’s or 60’s.  I thanked him for the info and his concern.  He drove away. I got back into my SUV and drove away myself – satisfied and still in one piece.  Amen!