Sunday, April 2, 2017

Life Moves On

I'm grateful to have journaled our experiences on Winchester Ranch over the years.  I will be posting to my new blog at http://luluandpapa.blogspot.com/.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Bittersweet

I was up at 3 this morning, doing last minute chores and checking my lists for the 100th time.  The truck and Hummer were packed, the refrigerator cleaned out, floors shining, and everything tidy.  Carly and Colter came over at 9:45 and we went through the house, turning lights on and off, showing them electric panel locations, water systems, etc.  They left by noon and we gathered up our last items, tied things down on the truck, and set off for Tucson.

As I drove, my head was flooded with memories made on Winchester Ranch.  Papa and I found the Rock House and bunkhouse in total disrepair when we arrived in September 2003, with the roofs half off and animals living inside.  We embarked on a major renovation of both, feeling overwhelmed by all the work ahead and the size of the ranch, with not much grass at that time, fences down, and water sources not much developed.  I helped design our new home on the ranch and was contractor during construction.  I built the house compound from breaking ground to full completion in 13 months.  At the same time, we began ranch improvements, adding 2 water wells, 20 miles of pipeline, 30 miles of new fence, solar pumps on the wells, new drinkers and storage, on and on.  Papa bought our horses, Oscar and Pablo.  We put cattle on the ranch in 2005.  By 2009, the herd had grown and we began our annual summer roundup and branding week, and winter roundup just after Christmas.  Those times felt like we were living in a western storybook, only for us it was very real.  

Our family came to Winchester Ranch many times over the past 13 years, with each of our children bringing their children, to ride horses, look for rocks, hike, ride in the Ranger, and make s'mores.  Papa and I hiked often, exploring as much of our 24 square mile ranch as possible, discovering several primitive Indian dwellings with simple pictographs and marks on the walls.  We got to know the ranch better than anyplace we've ever lived... the grasses, trees, animals, wildflowers,
and seasons.  We've felt closer to nature than ever before.

Living on Winchester Ranch has been an incredible experience.  We will miss it!  We are looking forward to our next adventure!

Snow on the Mountain while Packing

We woke up to snow on top of the mountain and the sky full of clouds.  Amazingly beautiful!  We started packing the truck and Hummer by 7.  By 8, as I was going back and forth between the garage and the house, I noticed a cloud crown over the Rincons.  By noon, the sky began clearing.  It was a perfect last full day on the ranch!

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Views

While packing, I look out our walls of windows north and south, at the magnificent and colorful views from our living room on Winchester Ranch.  Papa and I don't expect to have daily 24/7 views like this ever again.  We are grateful for every moment of our  years on Winchester Ranch.  At the same time, we are working on the plan for our next adventure!  Life is good!

Friday, March 24, 2017

Last Days on Winchester Ranch

Papa and I are in packing mode.  We are making progress and it appears that we will have 2-3 more truck plus Hummer loads.  Moving isn't so easy, as we're going through every drawer and cabinet, choosing what goes, what stays, and what gets thrown out. More than anything, we find ourselves staring out the window or going out on the porch to enjoy the magnificent views we've grown so accustomed to seeing every day for 13.5 years.  I went on a familiar hike this afternoon, soaking it in, with cows grazing down the ridge, under clear blue skies with a gentle breeze.  Just beautiful!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Enjoying Our Back Yard Flowers

Papa and I worked in the back yard of our Tucson house this afternoon, mostly using any excuse
to walk amidst the blooming spring flowers, enjoying their fragrance and bright colors.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Blanketed with Flowers

Papa and I drove to Tucson yesterday.  As I turned into our driveway, I was amazed by how beautiful our yard was.  Our yard is primarily natural desert and is blanketed with blooming wildflowers.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Ranch Guests

We hosted a donor party for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Tucson in October.  Carla was in Tucson that week, working with Boys and Girls Clubs kids in her "Finding Your Voice" project.  Carla was invited to the donor party to share her opera talent with the donors.  Carla's voice is incredible!  I visited with Carla and David during the party and Carla and I have corresponded many times since. 

Papa and I invited Carla and David to the ranch.  Carla is going to work with the Boys and Girls Clubs kids again this weekend, so they flew out a couple days early to visit us.  They were on the ranch about 36 hours and we packed in as much as possible.  We hiked, talked, ate most of our meals on the porch, and talked some more.  We enjoyed every moment!

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Watching You Watching Me

I hiked into the Buck Knob pasture today and saw these cows.  They were watching me watching them.  They would run ahead as I got closer and turn around again. 

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Tucson Festival of Books

Papa and I left home at 9 this morning so we could get to the Tucson Festival of Books in time to get a seat for Joe Conason's 10:00 presentation of "Fake News."  We parked and walked to the Main Stage Tent, arriving by 9:30 and already too late for a seat.  We sat on the ground next to the stage and enjoyed the talk.  Afterward, we checked out various tents including the National Parks exhibits of National Parks in Arizona.  We ate kettle corn, we watched a children's mariachi band perform, Papa went to a JA Jance presentation, and I went to a culinary presentation.  We met in the line to hear Maureen Dowd, but were too far back in the line to get a seat.  The weather was beautiful with clear skies, a light breeze, and the atmosphere was festive.  There aren't many places where over 100,000 people come together for the common purpose of celebrating reading and learning.