There are many things for which I’m grateful in my life, but until recently I’m not sure I would have put finding this property at the top of that list. Today I think I’m ready to do that.

How I ended living here was a strange experience in itself. The story begins on Memorial Day weekend, 2010, when friends invited us to come camping with them at Dead Horse Ranch. I wasn’t very excited about it, but that’s because my father had been a backwoods boy. That meant my childhood was spent in a tent every weekend all summer long so he could get his nature-fix. Camping, in this case, meant campgrounds as isolated as our Suburban could handle. Compared to those campsites, Dead Horse Ranch campground is a midtown apartment building.

As we packed up to return to Phoenix, my friend suggested that we take a detour to Page Springs Road and visit the wineries. “There are wineries up here?” was my startled response.

By the time we drove past the fish hatchery my head was spinning. I’ve lived in Arizona (off and on) since 1980 and like to think I’ve traveled the state more than most– I’ve seen the quartz falls outside of Wickenburg, got stuck in sand outside of Carefree, been to the Bisbee Breakfast Club restaurant, fell in love with Jacob’s Lake, and got lost in Tonopah trying to buy something off of Craigslist– but I didn’t even know Cornville existed and had never been down Page Springs Road. I couldn’t believe how beautiful it was.

After visiting the wineries we stopped at the Grasshopper Grill for lunch. That’s when my friend’s husband threw a real estate flyer at my ex and said, “One of us should buy a place on Oak Creek so we can go kayaking any time we want.”

That made me laugh. My ex and I had spent a dozen years building the then-greenest house in Scottsdale. There was no way I was moving. Ever. Period.

Little did I know that God–the Universe, Heaven, Whomever– was conspiring against me.

The ex went back to work the next day but spent his time looking at that real estate flyer. He called me at lunch and said, “What do you think? Should we consider looking?”

My response was “Absolutely not!” We’d moved eleven times, two of them international, over the course of our marriage. I was staying put in the house I’d made my own. He pressed. He insisted we’d ONLY be looking.

At last, I said “Fine, but before we look at anything we have to make a list and it has to be stupid list. Everything you ever wanted in a house has to be on that list.”

And it was a stupid list. Here are a few of the requirements: best neighbors in the world, free and unlimited water, on Oak Creek, a barn, a tractor with implements, more than 4 acres, affordable. Our list was so ludicrous that I was utterly and completely certain I was never leaving Scottsdale.

I guess you know what happened. Yep, the second house we looked at. Even that neighbor thing. Al and Elena were having a party that day. They invited us to have beers. We talked about the house and the acreage and its history. We were there for easily forty minutes, then returned to the house and talked with the agent about the possibility of making an offer.

Then we started for home, turning from Page Springs Road onto Cornville Road, and that finger of God thing happened. It’s happened to me a few times in my life. My whole body tingles with the knowledge that THIS MOMENT is really important.

I looked at the ex and said, “You know, if you really want that house, I think we need to make the offer today.” He immediately turned around and we went to the agent’s office. The owner accepted our offer on Monday. Tuesday they had another offer for more money.

Yeah, meant to be, at least for me since I’m still here, despite the divorce, floods, downed fences, dying cows, escaping pigs and Tiny, who definitely looks like she’s going to give me three little lambs around July 1st. She’s going to want to give me one of those lambs, I just know it.

Then today, my ranch manager Christina and I went down to the side of the creek to clear away a few of the massive knots of fencing that the flood so kindly made for us. It was hot but working in the water was so nice that we decided to walk up the creek for a way. As we passed under a massive Sycamore tree, we looked up to see a young Bald Eagle perched on a lower branch, watching us. The water deepened, and grew really cold. Before long we were both swimming.

And then we reached a place suitable for fairies. No houses, no road noise, only greenery, trickling water and massive downed trees spanning the creek like bridges.

I ready to admit it. This place was always supposed to have been mine and I’m very grateful that it still is. Who knew I’d become a happy Cornvillian?

Belated Beans

First, a turkey update since the black hawk just interrupted my blogging by trying to take a baby turkey. Tom’s girls laid about three dozen eggs and settled down to brood at the beginning of May. It was bad from the beginning. Rather than stay on their nests full timethe first two weeks, they got… Continue Reading

Time for fruit

Before I get to today’s post I want to do some updating. The puppies are doing very well. They have mastered “sit” and the art of herding chickens and sheep, when they are not herding dogs. I’ve roundly scolded Tiny for allowing them to do this. Every other dog that has attempted to put the… Continue Reading


New dogs on the farm has been an idea swirling in my head for a year now. Bear, God love him, is now seven–not six as I’ve been telling folks for apparently for two years– and slowing down. Although I’m successfully treating his arthritis with enzymes at the moment, he’s still aging and slowing down.… Continue Reading


I don’t leave the farm often, mostly because it takes about a week to prepare to go and a week to catch up on the work that didn’t get done while I was gone. However, when the offer to go to Costa Rica arose, I jumped at it. There was a time (prior to the farm)… Continue Reading

Too Stinking Cute

I gotta ask. Are these not the most stinkingly cute critters you’re ever seen? Ducklings! I got ducklings and it’s not even Easter yet. I’ve been wanting to raise ducks for almost ten years, from the moment the stock pond went in. Why? Because it’s seriously cool to have a pond filled with cattails, lined… Continue Reading

A Naked Bear

First, an apology for missing last week. I expected to be late with my post because I spent a good part of the previous week immersed in a grand experience. It was my first ever Indian wedding, and the celebration included everything but the elephant. There was incense, chanting priests, blue-faced gods, gorgeous saris, amazing… Continue Reading

Burrowing Chicks

I thought I had them.  But N-O-O-O.  I have burrowing chicks. Raising these chicks is like a remake of “Chicken, Run.” (I must be on a children’s movie kick.) The chicks are relentless in their attempts to escape. It’s not like I didn’t know there would be a period during which they’d be small enough… Continue Reading

The Great Ram Wrangle

First, I apologize that this post is a day late. Work came out of the woodwork yesterday, chores and tasks falling over each other, all needing to be completed NOW. Then it was dark and I was too tired to consider writing what is sure to be a short post. And why might you ask is… Continue Reading

The Chicks Are Here

I intended for my new chicks to arrive a few weeks ago, but their delivery date coincided with Oak Creek making its foray onto my property. Fortunately for me, I heeded the warning of the USGS and put off delivery until “sometime in early March.” “Sometime” turned out to be Friday. In case you’ve never… Continue Reading