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March 2010

Who's Father, Son, or Brother is Next?

One part of our daily farm life that I haven't mentioned because I try to keep it positive is what it is like living on open land close to the Mexican border.

A rancher down South was murdered in cold blood while checking fence and water.  The killer was tracked to Mexico and is believed to be a human or drug smuggler.  See story here.  I did not personally know this man but I feel so very deeply for his family.   You see that could have been my husband killed.  But for the grace of God go I is all I could think.  Every time my husband goes out to see who is at the barn or running through fences in the middle of the night, or heck in the middle of the day, I pray he returns.  I have played out what happened to Mr. Krentz over and over in my mind and prayed for protection.

 Sadly, like a frog being boiled slowly to death, you get used to the danger.  You learn to live with it.  The only option is to sell out and move to a non-border state.  Our federal government refuses to enforce immigration laws and seal the border. I wonder if Washington DC was on the border if somehow our lawless border would get more attention.

A neighboring vegetable grower by us turned in some human smugglers who were dumping folks on his farm.  He received death threats and had to farm armed for protection.  I do not know of a ranch family this could not have happened to.  It is not just the Rancher that is in danger it is the children who live on these ranches that are caught in the middle of this violence too.  Does one give up the rights of an American citizen by farming and ranching in Arizona?  Should these families lives and livelihoods not be protected before the so called rights of illegal aliens?  This lawlessness on the border has to stop. 


I guess the sign above riddled with bullet holes wasn't kidding. 

Here is an excerpt from an email I got from my dear friend who is a neighboring rancher.

"The truth is, being a border rancher (30 miles from the border), this could have happened to any one of my family or other neighbors. It is a tragedy and with this tragedy, my hope is people will start to listen. Please write to your congress representative and your senators to get the border sealed. Allow us ranchers to keep ranching knowing that illegals will not be a part of our daily routine (YES, DAILY!) We appreciate any of you that would do this..

There is also something you can do for the family if you so desire. WELLS FARGO has started a MEMORIAL FUND FOR ROBERT KRENTZ. This money will go to the family for any expenses they will incur."

Preirrigation Soon & A Still Life

We are getting ready to preirrigate before planting cotton.  It is one of those calm before the storm seasons in farming.  Once planting starts it is non-stop work until the cotton is laid by which is usually the beginning of July.  We are expecting a lot of bug pressure this year when our unusually green desert begins to dry out and the bugs migrate to our fields in mass.

I set up a still life to be painted.  Here is a snippet of what it looks like in the studio...

Her itagesnip 

This is the feminine companion to my Heritage painting.  It represents the other half of the story.  The nurturing, thrift, and creativity that keeps home and nation from unraveling.  Of course much artistic license will be taken as is always the case.  I am loving this vintage quilt made from feedsacks and in one of my favorite patterns.  (Dresden Plate)  I am not sure just yet, but I think this will be a watercolor.  I am trying to force myself out of my pastel comfort zone.

I get up two to three hours before the rest of the world so I can paint or draw.  Not always easy but getting easier with the longer days.  It is my best creative time and usually the phone doesn't ring and people don't come by.  The rest of the morning is dedicated to learning with the babes.  All in all not a bad gig.

It is so important to do something that makes your heart sing everyday. The consequences for not doing so are too utterly horrible to mention.  What do you do to take joy everyday?

A Poem Worth Reading

For a long long time my favorite poem has been "The Road Not Taken" by Robert Frost.  I am sorry Mr. Frost but Mary Oliver has taken your spot with her poem, "The Journey" which I cannot seem to read enough as of late. 

The Journey

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice--
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
"Mend my life!"
each voice cried.
But you didn't stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do--
determined to save
the only life you could save. 

© Mary Oliver. Online Source

Pink & Black Steers at the County Fair

We are recovering from the exhausting fun that is fair.  The kids received lots of fair bling (awards) from shooting to cattle to knitting and quilting.  Lots of socializing and grazing from family camp to camp.  Apparently, other camps serve mostly meat as well according to TT, so this week we have been bingeing on lots of salad and green beans to restore balance.

The Big Shots dominated in shooting sports...


The livestock auction raised money for breast cancer research and the kids were encouraged to wear pink.  For Boo, who has wanted a pink steer since she was four, this was a dream come true.  Her and her little friend, Miss T, dyed her steer pink for the auction....


Not to be outdone so did brother...



A special thanks to everyone who supports and helps our kids.

Support Local Ag Come to the Pinal County Fair This Week

Come to the Fair. Support local agriculture and young entrepeneurs!   Beef show on Wednesday - Auction and Buyer's BBQ on Saturday at noon. (OK, those other species like lamb, goat, and swine will be there too.)  


This is a great chance to get quality meat for your family often cheaper than grocery store prices because of no middle man. Want to know how it was raised what it was fed? Ask the kids they love to talk about their animals.   Intimidated by the auction process?  Ask someone to help you.  Barn folks are the friendliest.


Waiting For The Words


The next step is adding the words, then super sealing it against the elements.  I sure love Krylon for that. Then my little farm studio/classroom will have a new sign.

On a side note when I was buying Krylon clear coat a tagger (graffiti gang member guy) stopped me and started a conversation about the merits of Krylon and how he uses it to seal his graffiti work.  Who knew?

Interesting Video on CAP & SRP Water

Believe it or not the CAP and SRP were not originally built with public money they were built by farmers working together to produce the impossible - quietly, and on a shoestring, and with great personal financial risk.

If you live in the Arizona desert and like that tap water coming out of your faucet - thank a farmer...

Citrus farmer Teaches Arizona