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!