Tuesday, November 8, 2022

Celebration, Cowboys, and Cactus

Corona de Tucson

November 8, 2022 

The week began with yummy fried fish tacos in Green Valley with Randy on Wednesday.

And someone at the oasis had a birthday dinner...

and celebration this week !  

Our sweet Dover had surgery on Thursday to remove four suspicious growths...one on her upper lip, one on each side of her neck and a bigger one on her back left leg.  We were up and out the door early as she was to be at the vets in Green Valley at 7:30.


She has always liked to ride and go wherever we take her.  When it is just the three of us, she likes to sit up front with me so she can see out the big window.  The clouds were dark and rain was in the forecast for the day.

We are hoping for biopsy results by the end of the week.  She is sporting a fancy collar and I am always amazed at what a great little patient Dover is.

Saturday we headed south for 22 miles to Empire Ranch.  You might remember we went to the Cowboy Festival there this time last year.  Getting there is half the fun...Hwy 83 is a designated Arizona Scenic Highway.  

And once there, the wide open space is jaw dropping.

This year's festival had lots more exhibits, presentations, vendors and food trucks.  The proceeds go toward the Empire Ranch Foundation which protects, restores and maintains the historical buildings and landscape at the ranch.  The ranch is and has been a working cattle ranch for over 140 years.  It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975.  Empire Ranch now comprises the 45,000 acre Las Cienega Conservation Area.  

Some of my favorites: 

We watched a lesson to teach a horse how to maneuver a teeter-totter board... the beginning stage of learning how to cross a creek.

Branding skills

The Chuck Box...making biscuits that were cooked in huge black iron skillets with lids over an open wood fire.  They smelled yummy !

Charros Modelos de Tucson...

My very first cowboy hat!

And my most favorite, Forever Home Donkey Rescue & Sanctuary located in Benson.

The weather here has been perfect.  It's chilly in the morning but warms up nicely.  Joe and I always prefer to get up and get going early so its a big adjustment for us to wait until mid-morning to walk or run errands.  Monday was grocery store day and we decided to change the routine just a bit.  Our favorite hiking close to home is Saguaro NP East...and Cactus Forest Trail was calling my name.  Hiking before buying groceries is much more fun !

I can't believe that the last time we did this trail was in August...it was green and the barrel cacti had gorgeous red blooms.  Yesterday was a different picture. 

The grasses were a golden brown with hints of yellow from the flowering broom weed plants.


And the barrel cacti were topped with yellow fruit.

I am a fan of all the desert seasons and can't really pick a favorite. I love it every time I go ! 

The mesquite trees had lots of seed pods.

The cholla were glowing.

Tiny little Pincushion cacti growing among dead prickly pear cacti. 

And not forgetting to look up, I noticed this beauty had a flower bud.

Back at the oasis, we have a mystery.  We saw this bird perch in the pine tree beside the cart path a few houses down from us.  I managed to snap a decent photo I could zoom in on.  

Does anyone have an idea what it is?   I have googled, but can't find an ID.  I suspect it might be a juvenile owl...

This little cutie is no mystery...striking a pose for the camera !

We enjoyed a nice sunset...the skies never disappoint !
So that's a wrap...looking forward to another week. Until next time, 



  1. You guys have been busy! Happy 76th!

    Would have loved to go to that ranch, and the skies on the way there were amazing. Look up a Sparrow Hawk and see if that is what you saw.

    1. Good morning Jim…it’s a beautiful ranch with lots of history and worth a stop when in the area. Still not sure about the mystery bird. I looked up the Sparrow Hawk and there are similarities, but the juveniles change so much it’s hard to get an ID. Thanks for the help Jim.

    2. I believe you are right Jim. When looking up American Kestrel, often called a sparrow-hawk, the photos are almost identical…especially the markings/colors on the head. Awesome!

  2. If I could read Dover's eyes, so expressive in her collar!
    Nice to see the cactus blooms in your desert, we're hoping the weather cooperates for Thanksgiving trip for our own explorations.
    I did a Google image search on your unknown avian friend and it could be the pint-sized falcon American Kestrel.
    Happy Birthday, Joe !!!

    1. Good morning Jeff. Joe says thank you for the birthday wishes and I say thank you for identifying the mystery bird…American Kestrel, often called sparrow-hawk, it is!
      Dover doesn’t like the collar at all…she is a good little patient!

  3. Love that first photo and Happy Birthday Joe! Poor Dover, hope she heals fast and gets out of that collar. Just an idea--I bought Emmi a soft, blow up collar from Amazon that she seemed to tolerate better.

    1. Good morning Janna…Joe says thank you for the birthday wishes. Thank you for the reminder…I think I have a blow up collar packed away in the closet that we got for Sally. I need to look for it!

  4. I agree with the Kestrel identification..... Happy Birthday to Joe, that cake looks mighty good! Sweet Dover, I'll keep my finger's crossed that it was just the dreaded age bumps and nothing more. Lewis (and Sasha) never minded the inflatable collar when needed. Lew used it as a pillow for his head when he was lying down, an extra bonus! Love the "up" saguaro picture and you in your new hat - it suits you!

  5. Happy Birthday to Joe! Poor Dover! What an adorable photo of the sweetheart. Fingers crossed that all results are negative. Keep us posted. Love you new cowgirl hat. Great photo:) Love the bright yellow fruit on the barrel cactus.