Archives for November 2014

Friday, Nov. 28, 2014 – Soup and Rest Day

Before leaving the dinner last night, I was asked if I wanted the carcass of the turkey for soup, and I said sure, if we could keep it down there overnight (no room in my fridge!). We decided I would make a big pot of soup in the commercial kitchen the next day, so after breakfast and a dump run, I headed over to the Bumble Bee’s well appointed commercial kitchen and started chopping and simmering and otherwise getting the soup going. Several trips back and forth during the day to continue the process, until at 5:00 I had a delicious soup simmering, with a score of little mashed potato dumplings floating on the top. I filled a pan up to bring home, and left it for whoever else wanted to come in and get some. In the evening, I finally came back and turned it off, and later Marilyn put it in the fridge. Everyone seemed to like it (we certainly did), and it was nice to work in a big kitchen again, even if I had to do my own cleaning up afterwards! Finally settled down for a movie and shows before heading off to bed. Gave Hubby some Alka-Seltzer Plus, though, he had acquired a scratchy throat and the symptoms of a beginning of a cold.

Thursday, Nov. 27, 2014 – Thanksgiving

Spent an hour or so in the arena watching some calf-roping practice, and I took Apollo in with me to get him used to the activity. He got pretty excited at first, but eventually he settled down, thankfully. Afterward, I made a nice sweet potato casserole for the pot luck dinner we’re having tonight, and at 4:00, we headed over to our hostess’ house to join in the activities. We chatted for a while with the dozen plus folks, family members and neighbors, then dinner was served, and there was more food than we could possibly eat! Delicious, and we enjoyed ourselves immensely. Just before 7:00 we headed back to the RV and settled down for the rest of the night.

Wednesday, Nov. 26, 2014 – Ride North on Black Canyon Trail Plus Happy Hour

After spending the last two days diligently working on my next book, we took the afternoon off and went for a ride on what quickly became our favorite trail. We had been on Black Canyon Trail heading south, but this was the first time we headed north, and it was a very nice ride. It wasn't as rocky as the other end of the trail, and not as much of a climb, fairly even, twisting through some growth, keeping the horses very engaged. Really nice! We crossed a road, circling around trying to find a way back to that road, but we missed the turned I had pegged out on Google Earth, which was a wash that looked a bit overgrown, but ended up having to go cross country once we determined we had gone too far. I managed to weave a path around the cactus, down into the wash, and back up to the road again, which we then took all the way down to the main road just north of the town of Bumble Bee. We hadn't actually seen the town since we've been here, though it's little more than a collection of small cottages and a row of mailboxes. One of the buildings is apparently the original station along the old stagecoach road from Phoenix to Flagstaff, where customers of the stage line would spend the night on the three-day journey. The road is only marginally better now : -). Weather was perfect, even warm today, so after we put the horses up, I opened a bottle of wine and Hubby and I sat around on the tack room porch with the neighbors and some of the hands, and chatted for several hours, until the sun went down and it started getting chilly again. Another great day here in Arizona!

Saturday, Nov. 22, 2014 – Ride Day to Antelope Falls

The good news is that Billy was moving much better today, though he's still unsure about jumping on things, which is understandable, but he raced down the stairs this morning, and ran around greeting everyone in the barnyard, his usually squiggly self! After breakfast we saddled up and headed to Antelope Falls again, taking a couple of alternative routes along the wash now that we knew where we were going. This time when we arrived, I hiked up the trail to where the actual "falls" were, thinking it was a ways up, but it turned out to be just around the corner, less than 100 feet around. It was a pretty sheer cliff-face with a good-size pool of water at the bottom, but there was no waterfall, not even a trickle anymore, though you could tell where water would have usually run. A very pretty spot, with a campfire ring which was obviously built by the locals, no doubt a great party spot for ATVers, though someone had left a big tire in one little pool of water for some reason. We rested for a while and shared some apples with the horses. Just as we were getting ready to leave, a couple of ATV's with some older guys showed up, we chatted for a few minutes before heading back off to the ranch. A very nice day, warm temps but a nice breeze that was actually a bit blustery at times. Got back around 4:00, bedded everyone down, putting blankets on the horses because it's going to be cold the next couple of nights, and settled down for the evening.

Friday, Nov. 21, 2014 – Shopping and Vet Day

After a week of hanging around the ranch, doing two audio conferences and otherwise doing business, we finally took a trip out to Prescott. Our little dog Billy wrenched his back last week, and though he’s been getting progressively better, we decided to go ahead and keep our appointment for acupuncture, which frankly, worked a miracle when he had a back problem a couple of years ago, and we wanted to help him out. He didn’t like this girl as much as the other one, however. Last time, the vet put one needle in the back of his neck and he practically dozed off immediately. This time, he got all snappy and upset, even barking through his muzzle, which was a necessity this time. He really misbehaved worse than I’ve seen him in a long time, even growling when the girl first came in, which is unusual. Despite that, we managed to get him through it, including using electro-stimulation. We just hope it helps, because it was pretty traumatic.

Friday, Nov. 14, 2014 – Another Ride Day toward Indian Fort

After a week of writing, we finally decided it was time to get out of the bungalow and give the horses some exercise. Beforehand, we borrowed on of the employees little tank tote and emptied three tanks of black water to a nearby dump We received our new Cavallo Trek boots for the horses yesterday, but unfortunately, they sizes apparently run smaller than their simple boots, because even though they were both Size Ones, Hubby's new boots just wouldn't fit on Clio, so we had to resort to using his old boots, which he had to put duct tape around just to make sure they stayed on, they're in such bad shape. Apollo's Size Threes fit just fine, so we got a chance to try them out today. These boots are much lighter, and have a single velcro keeper strap in front, which is a significant improvement in the design. Plus, they're sold as singles, so if we ever do lose one, I only need to buy them one at a time. Off we went, out the road toward the south, endeavoring to get near what's been called the Spanish fort, or the Indian fort, a three foot high wall on top of a hill. We headed in that direction, and probably passed it, not realizing we couldn't get there with the horses, it required a hike up some serious grade. We just rode out for about 1:15 or so, until Hubby had said he was ready, and then we headed back again along mostly the same trail, though we did do a slight diversion to come in by The Big House rather than along the wash, just for variety. Apollo seemed to lift his feet much more readily at the jog, which I attribute to the lighter boots, and it was a pretty good ride, though much of the trails were pretty rocky. Never did quite pin down the location of the fort, but good exercise all around. About halfway on the return, we heard a siren, and eventually saw a paramedic van approaching on the road. When we arrived back at the ranch, we found that it had arrived there, apparently a girl training a green broke horse (using a halter, no bridle!) was in the arena when they brought in a small herd of cows as entertainment for a saddle club that's here this weekend, and, not surprising, the horse went nuts and threw her off. She had some lower back pain (which of us doesn't when we fall off a horse!), and I guess they took her away, though I'm not sure. In any event, we headed back, put the horses away in the small corral which they had been moved to (to make room for the saddle club), fed them and relaxed for the evening.

Monday, Nov. 10, 2014 – Shopping Day

Having decided to stay for another month, Hubby and I had to go shopping, and because of the roughness of the road out of the ranch, we only want to do it once, so we headed out after breakfast to Anthem where the nearest Walmart is, with stops first at a feed store, an auto parts store, a mall for lunch, then on to Walmart. We were a bit delayed because of having to wait for Hubby’s prescriptions, so we got back at dusk, but managed to get the horses fed before it got too dark. Settled down for the evening shortly thereafter.

Sunday, Nov. 9, 2014 – Third Ride Day at Bumblebee Ranch

Got up a bit earlier today to make sure we got back from our ride before it gets too late, as Friday the sun was just about down by the time we got, which is cutting it a bit close to not getting back before dark, so we were out before 11:00 this morning. We took about a 7.5 mile loop that was roughly northeast of the ranch, which started along the wash. We heard gunshots of apparent target practice, so before we went around a turn I called out, and the shooting stopped. As we came around the corner, a couple of shooters waved at us to let us know they had heard me and stopped until we passed. Being Sunday, it was quite busy out in this area of BLM land, with numerous ATVers and picnickers, but the horses paid not attention. They were pretty sluggish this morning, not used to being ridden three rides in a week, particularly since the one on Friday was so long, but eventually they became engaged with the trail. The wash alternated between sand and sharp rocks, and many times we followed the ATV trail, as it avoided most of the worst sections, but weren't that great either, very rocky. About halfway around, the turnback on the loop, was very steep, with an almost 40% grade according to my GPS, but at least it got us to the top of the hill quickly! We stopped at the top for an apple break before continuing. Beautiful views up here, though it was pretty rocky, and the road was quite challenging, with lots of hills and dales along the top. Another nice ride, though! During the course of our ride, Hubby and I debated the pros and cons of staying here or moving on, and by the time we got back, I checked the weather, and there's a polar vortex moving down in the next week, so the place we were planning on going in Payson would have lows in the upper 20's by the end of the week, compared to upper 40's, low 50's here at Bumblebee, so we decided that if it was okay with Kelly, we'd stay here for a few more weeks. With a great cell phone signal, this is a good place for the audio conferences I need to facilitate in a couple of weeks, and it's pretty quiet here, and very reasonably priced, so our focus is now on just staying where it's warm for the winter, and at the moment, this is the place! Spoke to Kelly when they came up to feed the horses, and she smiled and said, "I knew you'd want to stay longer." Other than having to accommodate a very large saddle club group this weekend, we should pretty much have the place to ourselves, except maybe a few folks occasionally. Having made that decision, we settled in for the night, satisfied that the next few weeks will be comfortable, and living will be easy with water and electric!

Saturday, Nov. 8, 2014 – Volunteer Day with Blind Kids

One of the activities they do consistently here at the Bumblebee Ranch is to host various charity event, and this weekend, they were hosting a few dozen blind and visually impaired kids. Kelly had asked me to assist, which I was happy to do, so I spent the afternoon walking and jogging kids around on a nice little pale palomino named Jasper. A fun day, and the kids seemed to have a great time.

Friday, Nov. 7, 2014 – Second Ride to Antelope Falls

Saddled the horses and got out a little late for our four-hour ride today. I had tried to plot a GPS course based on the hand-drawn map that I got from Kelly, the ranch manager, but it was mostly guesswork on our part. We did manage to find most of the landmarks, and actually did pretty well until the end, when we hit the farthest wash, where we thought we were supposed to turn left, which we did. We followed the wash another mile up into a cove, climbing all the way, until the trail simply petered out. We headed back down the valley again, until we reached where we had turned left, and went the other way because there was an interesting rock formation that I though would be a good place to stop for an apple break. Turns out, that was where Antelope Falls was! So instead of left, we should have turned right, which quickly dumped down into another wash where the rock formation and the trail up to the falls were. There was a small pool of water in the rocks where I was able to collect some in our portable bucket for the horses, then we split a couple of apples between us all. There were two ATV 4-wheelers parked there, and after a while, half a dozen guys came down the trail that led up to the actual water fall, though according to their report, there was only a tiny drip at the moment. We all chatted for a while before heading back toward the ranch. The trail along the wash is like so many here, it's more of a general direction rather than a precise trail, so we meandered here and there on our way back, cutting through the campground on the road this time, though we cut back down to the wash to stay off the main road. Got back to the ranch by 5:00, having completed nearly 12 miles, about 2 miles longer than we expected because of our wayward trip up the canyon. A great ride, Hubby even held up well the entire trip, despite being longer than we expected. A gorgeous day!