Thursday, June 23, 2005

Where is Clatskanie?

One reader wants to know 'where is Clatskanie?' It's in Oregon. Yes, I understand that everyone might not know where such a small town with such a strange name might be. It is my understanding that the name comes from an Oregon tribe the Tlatskanai. It is just to the west of the big city of Portland which means it is in the northwest part of the state.
I got to go there once about four years ago. I have to say it is the exact opposite of the desert country here. It is GREEN. All year round it is GREEN. Except when it snows, which isn't that offten. It is a very small town about 1800 population. Most of the homes seem to be on large, country type lots. Everywhere you look are trees. Great big beautiful trees. All kinds of trees. It does rain quite a bit there, and many days you can't see the sun for the clouds. But I think that would be OK. At least they don't have as much wind as we do and not near the blowing sand. Some day I hope to visit there again.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

The Boys

And not to leave out the other three I will brag on them for a bit. You can read about my son, Dustin in my story about my trip to Cloudcroft. Dustin is in college at New Mexico State learning all about horses. (One of my favorite subjects, too). He is an inturn at the ranch where he is working.
And Cyndi's older brother Eric just returned from six months in France as an exchange student. He was able to visit many other countries while he was there. Eric is studying film and acting at a college in Orange, CA.
Cyndi's oldest brother, James, graduated from New Mexcio Tech last year and is now helping to make design vehicile saftey air bags in Moses Lake, WA. He is married to a wonderful woman and they have two adorable little boys.
My sister, her husband, and my husband and I are very proud of our four children.

Still Bragging

Well, to top off everthing else she has done, my neice Cyndi now has her picture and an article on the front and last page of her home town newspaper the Clatskanie Chief. Her grade point average of 4.0 and her work on the school newspaper, as well as the Clatskanie Chief, and other things has earned her a Presidential Scholarship from Southern Oregon University where she will start this fall. Way to go, Cyndi!

Cloudcroft - Continued

That evening Dustin and I spent some time visiting with Eve. She owns the property where Dustin keeps Emme and CW. Eve is a wonderful person to talk to. She is in her 80’s and was recovering from recent hip surgery. She talked to us about a lot of things in the Cloudcroft area. She had moved there in the 50’s, saying that as soon as she saw it she knew that was where she wanted to live from then on. I hope I will be doing as well as she is when I am her age.

The next day I went with Dustin to visit more of Cloudcroft and the surrounding area.
In the late 1800’s lumberjacks were logging the area around what is now Cloudcroft, and a railroad was built to take the logs down the mountain. Soon the hotels, gift shops, and restraints were built to accommodate the tourists that were finding Cloudcroft a great place to visit.

We played tourist and went to many of the little gift shops along the main street of town. You can walk on the boardwalk there and sometimes watch artists hard at work. Then we had lunch at a cafĂ©, and then on to the gift shops in the huge lodge near the golf course. The Lodge has a spa, as well as fine dining, and a live in ghost, named Rebecca. I didn’t see her but some people say they do. It was there that I bought a postcard to mail to my sister in Oregon and a necklace as a high school graduation gift for my niece. I didn’t get much on my shopping trip but it was fun. Most of my souvenirs are always the ton of photos I take everywhere I go.

It is a wonderful place to visit, but you need to remember that it is at about the 9000-foot elevation, which can cause some people problems. If nothing else you may find climbing in elevation can cause you shortness of breath and to want to sleep quite a bit until you become used to the change. But the climb to Cloudcroft is well worth it. The area is covered in tall, stately spruce and ponderosa pine trees as well as aspen and oak. Even in mid-May it was still cool enough that we needed our jackets and the oak hadn’t leafed out yet. The grass was green and a few wildflowers where just starting to peak out. I knew that within a few weeks there would be wildflowers everywhere you wanted to look. Since we were driving the Jeep, Dustin and I took one side trip down a dirt road meant only for 4-wheel-drive vehicles. It was rough but gave us a great look at the true wild life of the Sacramento Mountains. Not only did we see the trees and plant life but we saw several elk. It would be a great place to go hiking. We saw some patches of snow left in shady spots and remembered that Cloudcroft is a great winter playground for skiers, and snowmobiling.

While we were out we saw the turnoff to Sunspot, NM. It sits on Sacramento Peck, a high moutain, a few miles from Cloudcroft. I had never heard of it. After doing some checking I sure wished we had gone there. Sunspot is an astronomy center. It is well regarded as having one of the most air pollutant free places in the United States. There is a big visitors center and you can look through some of the impressive telescopes and see the stars. I will certainly go there the next time I visit Cloudcroft.

That evening we went to feed Emme and CW and there were three deer in the field with them. I had seen six deer along the road near the ski resort when I had first got to Cloudcroft. Dustin told me of several big, bull elk that had hung around the ranch all winter. There is much more wild life there including raccoons, skunk, bobcat, bears, squirrels, and rabbits. I saw a red-tailed hawk floating over the ranch one afternoon as he tried to spot a mouse or mole in a field.

I took many photos of all the beautiful horses at the ranch. All together I think there were about twenty-five horses there. The babies were so cute and precious, the yearlings adorable, and the stallions were stunning. Dustin took the time to groom Arte, and then worked with him in the round pen for a bit, letting him run, buck, and play.

To my great disappointment no other foals were born while I was there. On the last day I watched as Dustin and the ranch manager brought in first one Saddlebred stallion and then the other to collect semen from them that was to be shipped next-day-delivery to mares in states far away for artificial insemination. After that the local veterinarian came by to do an ultrasound on one of the mares that had recently foaled to see if she was ready to breed again. She was, so some of the semen that had just been collected from a stallion was used to inseminate her so she would have a baby about 11 months from then. That is how long it takes horses to have their babies. Many horse breeders are using the artificial insemination process with their horses because it is so much safer for both the mare and the stallion.

I didn’t want to leave the mountain hideout that I had found but knew I must so early one morning I left for the low country. I followed the same route back to Albuquerque and wasn’t disappointed in the sights even though I now felt familiar with them as I went from high mountain country to low desert. It was all beautiful. I plan on going there again soon.

If you are interested in learning more about Cloudcroft and the other towns I have mentioned you can visit these websites.

Trip to Cloudcroft

Trip to Cloudcroft

In mid May I packed a few things into my Jeep Wrangler. Things like a small ice chest full of water and sodas, small mechanical tools for working on the Jeep in case it broke down (thankfully I didn’t have to use them), a bag with a few snacks in case I got hungry, a jacket for the cool weather still in the higher elevations, and a small suitcase with enough clothes for a week. Oh, and did I mention the two, fifty pound bags of horse cookies requested by my son. He can’t buy the kind he wants where he is living near Cloudcroft, NM. So he had asked me to bring him some. And did I mention that two bags of horse cookies doesn’t leave much room for anything else in a Jeep Wrangler. It was a good thing I didn’t plan on being there very long.

I left Albuquerque, New Mexico about 9:00 am. It took me about an hour to go through what is called the Westside part of the city, then out South Coors past Isleta Pueblo to catch highway I-25 south to Los Lunas, Tome, Belen, Bernardo, and Lemitar. Then came Socorro, population 18,000 and where last year at this time I was attending the graduation of my nephew, James, from New Mexico Tech. From Socorro I went a few more miles south to the exit for San Antonio, New Mexico home of the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge where thousands of sandhill cranes can be viewed each winter along with lots of ducks, geese, turkey, deer, coyotes, hawks, eagles, quail and once in a while a rare whooping crane. I have visited the refuge often and really enjoy going there, but it is not my goal today. At San Antonio I turned east on New Mexico State Road 380.

I love all the names of the town in New Mexico. I have heard these names all my life but hate to admit that I don’t know the meaning behind most of them. I decide I will look them up on the Internet when I get a chance. Some of them are cute, or quaint, or catchy. Most come from words that are of an Indian (Native American) or Spanish background. Many have been corrupted from the original pronunciation, and are really different from the orgional meaning. But what I really like about a lot of them is how they simply roll of your tongue when you say them.

Heading east I was on a simple two-lane road instead of the four-lane interstate. I couldn’t go as fast but it was a much more pleasant drive. It was desert country and the desert was in bloom on this fine spring morning. Coming around one turn I caught my breath at the sight of a golden yellow field of wild flowers with a rocky ridge pushing up behind it. Right along the edge of the road was several clumps of light pink penstimmons that were about three feet tall in full bloom surrounded by bees and other flying insects. When I stopped to take a photo a blue-tail lizard darted away.

South of this area of New Mexico is a place called Jornada Del Muerto on the map. It means Journey of Death. If you have ever read any New Mexico history you will remember that this was a section of the country that all travelers learned to avoid if it was at all possible. It covers several hundred square miles, and there is nothing out there. And I mean nothing (or at least that is what I have read, as I have never ventured out into it). Oh, there is cactus, sagebrush and a few other desert plants but nothing else and this includes water. Especially water. Even in this day and age it would be suicidal for anyone to try to cross the Jornada Del Muerto with out plenty of water and food, plus extra gasoline for their vehicle, if you can even find a road through it. I have to add that a lot of it is government land and only the military are allowed on it. Since this is the 'place of death' it kind of seems like that might be one reason that the government decided that was where they should set off the first atomic bomb on July 16, 1945. I saw the gate to go to the Trinity Site near a wide spot in the road called Bingham. I decided that maybe, just maybe, I should take one of the tours that are offered at the Site twice a year, the next time one is available.

Just before the next town I saw an area called The Malpais, meaning The Badlands. This is a common name for very old, long-cooled rivers of lava flows. There were large collections of the state flower of New Mexico, the yucca, over much of the lava. I was disappointed that the yucca weren’t in bloom yet. The tall flowers of the yucca were referred to by the conquistadors as the candles of the lord and were thought to light the way at night. The white, waxy flowers do stand out even in the dark. I pulled into the tiny little community of Carrizozo, population near 1000, about noon No I didn’t misspell that name. It refers to a type of native grass in the region. I stopped at a gas station to use the restroom and grab a snack. There was Mexican music playing inside, and the people were friendly, and the smell of burritos got to me. I bought one and went on my way savoring the rich, spicy chili, cheese, and meat inside the flour tortilla.

From Carrizozo I went south on New Mexico State Road 54. There wasn’t much to see on this stretch of road, except very flat desert, a few cars and pickups and numerous big rigs. I did get a faint glimpse of the white sands in the White Sands National Monument. Or it may have been part of the White Sands Missile Range, which is not open to the public. I made Tularosa about 1:00 pm. Tularosa means reeds or cattails, and the population is about 2,800. I didn’t stop, as I wanted to get on to Alamogordo. I was unable to find out the meaning of the name, Alamogordo, but the population is about 35,000. Near by is Holloman Air Force Base, which is the home of the Stealth Fighter planes. Again I didn’t stop but took the east turn on New Mexico State Road 82. I did stop for a moment when I reached the tunnel that is about midway between Alamogordo and Cloudcroft. I took pictures of the tunnel, a bit longer than a football field and the canyon beside it that has a sign saying it is part of the Lincoln National Forest. It had another sign saying that the canyon was home to the Fresnel Shelter Site which is two caves that archaeologists first found fifty some years ago. The caves had many things in them like arrowheads, hemp sandals, baskets, brooms, bedding, and a 3000-year-old corncob thought to be from a native culture of gatherers before the time of the Anasazi. Lincoln National Forest is, also, famous for being the home of Smokey the Bear. Smokey was found as a tiny cub after a bad forest fire. He went on to become the symbol of the Forest Service for fighting fires. He was fond of saying, “Only you can prevent forest fires,” which is still very true.

It was about 2:00 pm when I reached the town of Cloudcroft, meaning a croft or meadow in the clouds, population about 800, with an elevation at 8663 feet. Another words its way up there in the clouds. It is a beautiful little town with several motels, restaurants, and lots of gift shops. I stopped long enough to call Dustin, my son, so he would be out at the corner of the road I was to turn on to get to the small horse ranch where he works, which was my final destination.

Six more miles down the road east of Cloudcroft I saw Dustin standing beside his truck and waving at me. He jumped in it and led the way to Chacaro Oh-So-Black Arabian and Pinto Ranch. The ranch is a small one as ranches go so don’t go thinking in terms of cowboys, as there isn’t a cow on the place. It is a horse-breeding ranch. The raise Arabians and Saddlebred horses.

The first thing we did was put my suitcase and stuff in Dustin’s small apartment in one end of the main barn. The next thing we did was go to see Darkan’s Mystic Art or as he is better known as Arte. It is pronounced Art-ee. Arte is the yearling colt that Dustin’s mare Emme had last spring. I had seen him once before at about five months. Now he was a bit over a year old and just gorgeous. He is a handsome, fine-looking colt. But then I might be a bit opinionated. Arte is half Arabian and half Saddlebred or National Show Horse as the half Saddlebred horses are called. He is black with his mama’s long white stocking, and two lightning bolt stripes down over his left side and flank. He really has a pretty Arabian head like his sire Black Lord Darkan.

Next it was off to see the two mares that had recently foaled. Both off them were black Arabians that had been bred to the two Saddlebred stallions owned by the ranch. Both babies were adorable little fillies. Both were black with white stockings. One had a white splotch on her withers, and the other had a large white band around her middle. I couldn’t help but want to hold and love them but they wouldn’t stand for that. They were curious and wanted to nibble on everything they could put their mouths on, but have to be taught not to bit on humans.

After meeting all the horses, Dustin and I went to feed his two mares that he was keeping at another place a few miles away. There I got reacquainted with Emme, and CW. Emme is Arte’s mom and is a beautiful black and white pinto. CW (Charging Walk) is a big, bay Thoroughbred mare that is very, very pregnant. I have hopes that she will have it while I am here but she is not due for about another month.
To be Continued---------


Thanks to any one who has taken the time to read my blog, and thanks again to those of you who have left comments. Maybe someday I will figure out how to add links to your sites, and add photos to my blogs.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Newspaper Article

I'm still bragging on my neice. The Longview, WA newspaper wrote a great article about her. You can see it at
But you can't see her picture on the online version. It was in the paper. Maybe she can help me learn how to add pictures to my blog.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Flip Side

Today I watched as a sudden rain storm rumbled and clattered in from the west causing all three dogs to follow me from here to there with fear in their eyes, ears dropping, and try to lay on top of me if I sat down. Thats a lap full of German Shepherd, Border Collie and Lab mutt. Today I thought of the mud that would be tramped into my house that I had just cleaned so well. Today I watched three horses take cover in their shelters and one, BlackJack, stand out in the field as close as he could get to the electric power pole. Today I heard the snap, crackle, and firey pop of a power pole being hit. I expected to find Jack lying dead on the ground but, thankfully it wasn't so. It didn't matter that for two hours we had no electricty, and my computer had lost the paragraph I was writing to post on this blog, since Jack was Okay. The lightning had hit a pole about a quarter of a mile away. I rewrote the blog, then slogged through the mud to feed the horses with the dogs following, as they still expected to hear more thunder. But that was alright since Jack was Okay. As he eats his hay, I stand beside him put my arms around his neck and whisper into his ear. He flicks the ear and shoves his nose under my arm for a moment . Its as if he is telling me that everything is Okay.


As happens frequently in New Mexico there were thoughts of rain. That usually happens when a cloud covers up the sun for a few moments, and usually it then goes on it's way to where ever clouds go. First of all today there were big, white, fluffy clouds that looked like you could reach up and pull one down to use as a pillow to take a nap on. Then those big, white, fluffy clouds begain piling up one on top of another until they were making thunderheads. Gradually they got bigger and darker, and bigger and darker. Gradually there was a low grumble of thunder off to the west. The west wind picked up, came sailing in and rattled the leaves of the trees and ruffled the new, feathery growth on the native gray sage that grows so well here.
Today big drops of rain splattered down onto the dry, thirsty dirt to bring that wonderful smell that only a person who has lived in the desert and prayed repeatedly for rain can understand. Today the rain came and washed the dust off the trees, sage, and a few roses. Today there was the sound of huge splats on the roof, the concrete patio, and the metal chimney in my fireplace. Today the dust was washed off my red Jeep Wrangler making it red again. Today I savored the sounds, smells, and sharpe splashes of lightning that split the sky. Today I relished the sound of thunder crackling, and rumbling as it passed overhead. Today I watched as the rain storm came at me and mine, drinched the land, and moved to the east to do the same to other thristy parts of New Mexico.

Monday, June 13, 2005


I couldn't sleep last night and the dogs wanted out so we went outside to visit the horses. Apparently they couldn't sleep either or else they just thought it was a treat to get petted at midnight. At first it was still and quiet, then I began noticing all the traffic. What is it that has people up and going someplace at midnight on a Sunday night? Or should I say at midnight on a very early Monday morning? I was amazed as I counted all the cars and pickups coming and going at the Tumbleweed Crossing. It wasn't just a few it was dozens of them. Some of them going south on the street to the east of me, others going south and north on my street Tenth, and other east and west on I St. Or should I say on our dirt roads. In a bigger comunity I would have expected this much traffic. Even more. But here we are in our small, rural area with all these comings and goings. Doesn't make since. But then what was I doing up at midnight out walking the dogs and petting the horses? Maybe it was a night of no sleep for everyone.

other Bloggers

I recently found to other blogs that I like. Check them out if you get a chance. is about horses, and is Josie's Journal; Josie is a writer.
Also don't for get to try

Sunday, June 12, 2005

No Punctuation

I have been trying to read other blogs and I am finding it very difficult. What is with this idea that you don't have to punctuate what you write any more? I refuse to read blogs or anything else on the net that has no capitalization, punctuation, and can't even spell the most simple of words. I'm not saying everything has to be perfect, but come on, why should I have to figure out where one sentence ends and another begins. Reading what someone else wrote can be to much of a chore when it is punctuated. Why can't you, the writer capitalize the names of people, cities, countries or your pets names? To my way of thinking if you don't capitalize these few things it means you do not care for them. This is just another way of saying you are not educated, and do not want to learn. Voicing your opinion is a good thing, but if no one can figure out what you are saying what good is writing it? Again I will simple refuse to read your blog, no matter how intersting it might be if it doens't have some punctuation.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Bragging Rights

I have to brag. My neice graduated from high school today. You say thats nice but nothing special. Maybe so, but she graduated with all A's. And not just in highschool. She had all A's from kindergarden through 12th grade. 13 years of all A's on her reportcards. Yes that is something to brag about in my opinion. She will start college in the fall, and is planning on majoring in journelism. Someday you will be reading her articles in the newspapers or here on line.


My roses are blooming. I have three yellow ones and two red ones. I am very proud that I can raise roses in the desert. My secret, if anyone should want to know it, is that I feed them bananas. Yes, you got that right bananas. Along with a can of beer and a handfull of epson salts, and another handfull of horse manure. (Thats 'cause I got all the horse poop I can use, and then some). I make a bucket of the beer, epson salts and a gallon of water and pour it on. Then I shove a shovel down about six inches and about twelve inches away from the base of the rose. I then shove a ripe banana into the hole made by the shovel and cover it up again. Next scatter a good handfull of well dryed horse manure around the base of the rose. Never, never put it up against the trunk of the rose. And always make sure it is well dried. If you don't have your own supply of manure, get some steer manure from your local nursery. If it says heat treated, so much the better. Make sure you never over do it with the manure. It is so easy to burn up plants, roses, and trees by using to much manure or fresh stuff. Water well, and I mean well. At least a couple of gallons of water every other day. Oh, and if your just planning those roses, don't forget to add some top soil, and a good multch.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Only in America

This has been a better day. Wind is only breezing today. Don't feel as if I am going to be blown away, all the way to Kansas, or at least to somewhere else. And no offence against Kansas, in fact I have never been to Kansas. Wouldn't mind going as it is one of the few states I have never been to.
At some point I would like to be able to say I have at least been in all 50 states.
I have lived in Albuquerque, New Mexico; Pampa, Texas; Burlington, Vermont; Los Vegas, Nevada; Tampa, Florida; Tucson, Arizona; Sandpoint, Idaho, back to Albuquerque, New Mexico; Chandler, Arizona; San Diego, California; Waukegan, Illinois; Honolulu, Hawaii; Silver City, New Mexico; and back to Albuquerque, New Mexico again. That is 10 states, and 12 cities.
With all that traveling and even more what with vacations. I have been in
Vermont, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, Wisconsin, Tennessee, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, and Hawaii. Thats 32 different states. I am hoping I didn't leave anything out.
I really do hope I can add the other 18 states to the list sometime in the near future. And I would like to meet someone who has been in all 50 states. I am sure there are some politicians out there at least that have been in all states. But what about the common, everyday type people.
Ut - Oh! Maybe I just goofed. What are the common, everyday type of people?
Anyway if you have been in a lot of our great 50 states let me know.

Things that don't make since

Someone emailed me this. I just had to share it with everyone.
If money doesn't grow on trees then why do banks have branches?
Since bread is square, then why is sandwich meat round?
Why do you have to "put your two cents in".. . but it's only a "penny for your thoughts"? Where's that extra penny going to?
Once you're in heaven, do you get stuck wearing the clothes you were buried in for eternity?
Why does a round pizza come in a square box?
What disease did cured ham actually have?
How is it that we put man on the moon before we figured out it would be a good idea to put wheels on luggage?
Why is it that people say they "slept like a baby" when babies wake up like every two hours?
If a deaf person has to go to court, is it still called a hearing?
If you drink Pepsi at work in the Coke factory, will they fire you?
Why are you IN a movie, but you're ON TV?
Why do people pay to go up tall buildings and then put money in binoculars to look at things on the ground?
How come we choose from just two people for President and fifty for Miss America?
Why do doctors leave the room while you change? They're going to see you naked anyway.
If a 911 operator has a heart attack, whom does he/she call?
Why is "bra" singular and "panties" plural?
Do illiterate people get the full effect of Alphabet soup?
Who was the first person to look at a cow and say, "I think I'll squeeze these dangly things here, and drink whatever comes out!"
Why do toasters always have a setting that burns the toast to a horrible crisp, which no decent human being would eat?
Why is there a light in the fridge and not in the freezer?
When your photo is taken for your driver's license, why do they tell you to smile? If you are stopped by the police and asked for your license, are you going to be smiling?
If Jimmy cracks corn and no one cares, why is there a stupid song about him?
Can a hearse carrying a corpse drive in the carpool lane?
If the professor on Gilligan's Island can make a radio out of a coconut, why can't he fix a hole in a boat?
Why do people point to their wrist when asking for the time, but don't point to their crotch when they ask where the bathroom is?
Why does Goofy stand erect while Pluto remains on all fours? They're both dogs!
What do you call male ballerinas?
Can blind people see their dreams?
Do they dream?If Wyle E. Coyote had enough money to buy all that ACME crap, why didn't he just buy dinner?
If corn oil is made from corn, and vegetable oil is made from vegetables, what is baby oil made from?
If electricity comes from electrons, does morality come from morons?
Is Disney World the only people trap operated by a mouse?
Do the Alphabet song and Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star have the same tune?Why did you just try singing the two songs above?
Why do they call it an asteroid when it's outside the hemisphere, but call it a hemorrhoid when it's in your butt?
Did you ever notice that when you blow in a dog's face, he gets mad at you, but when you take him for a car ride; he sticks his head out the window?
Do you ever wonder why you gave me your e-mail address in the first place?