Tag Archives: border patrol

The Week in My World 7-30-11

Knowledge and growth are born of adversity. Writer Josephine Hart said, “Damaged people are dangerous. They know they can survive.”  I know this is true. The shock fades and new skills emerge. It’s a weird sort of relief to know there will be no relief, so there’s no need to fake optimism. It forces one to deal with reality in less emotional ways. Lower your standards, expect nothing.

Drug Cartels Coming to a Street Near You!

My passion is animals and my cause is spay/neuter. It’s very hard to get people here to spay/neuter, but I never give up. After many years of working in animal rescue, I know that spay/neuter education is the single most important effort that can be made to stop the flow of stray dogs and cats. It would be easy enough for schoolteachers to give a lesson on it once in a while, but they don’t.

I’m currently trying to help neighbors get their dogs fixed for free. I’m all about free. If poor people consent to it (the first hurdle), they should get help. Some organizations make the pet owner pay the money back, but I don’t believe in that. Pay the vet bill for them, and DON’T spend thousands of dollars on a sick or crippled animal because you can’t stand to put it down. (They do that here, they’re all anti-euthanasia in Bisbee. It’s not realistic. In Douglas the pound puts them down too fast, within a couple days.  In Mexico the methods of euthanasia are medieval, I can’t talk about it. I seek sane case-by-case judgment but can’t find it anywhere.) But for the people who want to spay/neuter and can’t afford it,  I write emails, make phone calls, collect information, make appointments, coordinate funding, beg and plead. Works pretty good.

A lady I’m helping in my neighborhood has a fifth-wheel camper for sale in her yard. She told me cartel members have come to her house three times wanting to use the camper for a drug smuggling drop-off point. She said no. I asked her if she reported it, she said no, because they told her they had relatives in the local border patrol and she’s too scared. I don’t believe that. They don’t let agents work in their own neighborhoods for this exact reason.

Since I no longer believe we have a functioning government, I’ve been practicing, spending money on bullets because I think it’s important to know how to defend yourself. It took living on the border, a collapsed economy, and an arrogant leader to come to this conclusion—I sound like a nutcase in a bunker—but Americans need to wake up to reality. The America we knew, the one where you could walk into an employment agency and have a decent job in a week, is gone. The banks, corporations, and politicians who run this country are evil. War, money, oil. Yesterday in Egypt tens of thousands of hardline Islamic fundamentalists demonstrated, killing Christians and calling for strict Sharia law—as we send them billions of dollars to fight a hopeless cause. What did you think would happen?  Isn’t it kind of embarrassing to belong to such a stupid species?

RIP Amy Winehouse

Amy, Amy, Amy. Amy was a freak with the voice of a fallen angel. I have not read all the tributes to her online because my feelings are purely personal and I don’t want them tainted. I loved her music and her voice and her attitude. She was an outcast from the Hollywood rockstar mold and didn’t care. People made fun of her, she was an easy mark. Her “You Know I’m No Good” is my favorite song by her and gives me chills and makes me cry every time I hear it. I haven’t been this affected by the death of an artist since Janis Joplin, another member of the “27 Club.”

Coco and Chico

The two chihuahuas (see Help) got adopted and then sent back. The couple didn’t want them because they did not immediately bond with the husband. They only gave the dogs five days. Chico hiked on the guy’s clothes on the floor and he gave up on them way too fast. They’ve been shuffled around for months now—and after all, they were just neutered in June at age five years. Don’t expect miracles. We adore these loving, funny dogs. We’ll continue to work with them until they learn. They are a good project for someone with a lot of love to give. The dogs will love you right back.

Stormy day today with lots of rain, lightning and thunder.

Sonoran Desert toad, Bufo alvarius. I picked him up in a tupperware and gently carried him to safer ground, away from pets. These toads secrete a poisonous milky substance from glands on the side of their heads that can paralyze or cause seizures in animals and humans. He was big, about 5 inches long, about as big as my hand, and solidly heavy.

Canyon tree frog, Hyla arenicolor. There are variations among this species.

Another tiny canyon tree frog, even smaller, about an inch long. These frogs and toads are only seen during monsoon.

Caterpillar or larva of pipevine swallowtail butterfly, Battus philenor. There are lots of them in the yard. They are toxic and their bright scarlet color is a warning to birds.

Chico on way to new home

Chico coming back after being kicked out of new home

Coco and Chico coming back. They love, love, love to ride in cars.

Two car-lovin’ chihuahuas need good home in southern AZ. Will deliver. Neutered, loving, funny. Do not want to split up. They don’t bolt. Open a car door and they jump right in and settle down.

Met some people carrying goats. They had just picked up this mother and daughter whose owner couldn’t keep them. This couple makes goat cheese which they sell at the Farmers’ Market, and also uses them for meat…of course I asked if they get attached to the goats…yes, but they grew up on a farm and are used to the slaughter. Not very nice to think about, is it. Please don’t ever throw meat away, give leftovers to your dogs.

Helicopter repair shop in Elfrida, AZ. Who knew?

Helicopter graveyard, Elfrida, AZ

The Week in My World 7-13-11

It’s been exactly one disturbing month since the Monument Fire began. Monsoon has started and instead of being the joyful respite we all wait for, new horrors have just begun for the people in Hereford Valley as their homes fill with ash and sludge. Everybody’s busy sandbagging their properties and buying flood insurance, which is really expensive.

I’ve received mail from uninformed people calling me all kinds of nasty names, but I write from the perspective of someone who lives here, not a couple thousand miles away. I hate political correctness but I find that many Americans accept it like sheep. It’s a really bad idea to troll blogs and leave aggressive negative comments. Much better to write your opinions on your own blog. If I see a post I don’t agree with, I leave, not start trouble.

But, life goes on. I’ve been highly motivated to clean up my property. I bought this house “as is.” The man who lived here worked in the mines but was completely self-sufficient when it came to taking care of his house and family. Maybe today he would be considered a hoarder. The barn and house were jammed full of every kind of scrap imaginable. We cleared much of it a few years ago, but a lot of it remained exactly where he left it when he died. He saved everything. Literally tons of metal, tires, wood, old refrigerators, half-empty bottles and cans of gooey unknown substances, thousands of parts from obsolete machinery, fencing and rotting hoses for his vegetable gardens. I’ve made countless dump trips and given stuff away. Since I’m scared to death of fires now, I’ve cleared most of the brush. The monsoon will bring new grasses and create new brush, but from now on I’m going to keep up with it. It’s a lot of work but I trust no one.

Something good happened—Gracie, the little tabby I rescued from a foreclosed home, was adopted. I still have the two chihuahua mixes and can’t wait to find a good home for them. I have nine dogs in my little house and it’s too much. People call and make appointments to see them and don’t show up. Other people call and want them for free. Others call with their phone set to “Private” and don’t leave their number. Little kids call. The stupidity, rudeness, and bloody waste of my time is discouraging.

Two confused chihuahuas after returning from the vet to get neutered. Coco and Chico, whose owner died and whose wife dumped the dogs the same day, need good home in southern Arizona. Will deliver.

“WTF? I thought you said we were going to get TUTORED!”

First brood of swallow babies on my front porch light. The parents come back every year and have two broods. I do what I can to keep them safe.

One died in the nest, I don’t know why. The parents couldn’t get it out, so we got a ladder and a pair of tongs and removed it.

If one more person tells me the prickly pears lost in the February freeze will come back, I’m gonna smack ’em.

The Border Patrol were all at the Monument fire for two weeks, now they’re back. Look at this agent on horseback….HOT. I would have liked to move around him and take better pictures, but they’re kind of busy.

Border Patrol bringing in a group less than 100 ft. from my back door. The concept of the BP being ruthless dicks isn’t true. They save lives every day. They are given fluids, taken to hospitals, then sent back.

Poor old guy at the gas station, empty tank and no money. He asked me for a dollar. I gave him my last five bucks.

Our friend Hogan (see Hoarder of History) finally retires his boots.

Coronado National Park Fire Update (Huachucas)

It is fast becoming the worst fire season ever for Arizona. There are currently three major fires burning: The Wallow Fire in eastern Arizona, which has consumed 444,000 acres and is only 10% contained, the Horseshoe Fire in the southeastern part of the state which has burned 134,000 acres, and a new one that started at 1:00 pm yesterday in the Huachuca Mountains in Sierra Vista, very close to where I live and very dear to all of us. They’re now calling it the Monument Fire because it’s in the Coronado National Monument system, but the park is officially called Coronado National Memorial here.

I had to take a foster cat to Sierra Vista today to be spayed, and I waited to pick her up at my friend Janice’s house near Sierra Vista. We watched the mountains burning from her yard. We saw many people who had to evacuate driving by with trailers full of horses. The smoke is very bad and everybody’s faces are swollen and noses are running. This is nothing compared to what the animals who live in the forests must endure. The various ranges of Coronado National Park are comprised of “sky islands,” each an ecosystem unto itself. The animals that live in the various systems, called ecotones, cannot survive in another system.

I picked up the cat and on my way home I stopped a few times to take pictures. Many roads are are blocked by border patrol and police. I talked to some of them. Yesterday the news said the Monument fire had burned 100 acres, today it’s 3000 acres. I asked if this was true, they said easily—this fire started at the border. It is zero percent contained.

They said on the radio the fire started near “Smugglers Gulch,” right on the border. This forest is known for drug and human smuggling. Since the park has been closed to visitors since June 9th because of extremely dry conditions and high winds, it is assumed the fire was started by smugglers. There are many smaller fires that do not make national news. To see how beautiful this area is (was), see We Don’t Need No Stinking Guardrails, posted three weeks ago.

The destruction these fires cause has to be seen to be believed. We do need more border protection, but 2,000 miles of border, 370 miles of it in Arizona is a lot of land to cover.

Monument fire from friend’s yard near Hereford 6-13-11

Monument fire from Hereford Rd 6-13-11

Monument fire from Hereford Rd 6-13-11

Monument fire from Rt. 92 6-13-11

Monument fire from Rt. 92 6-13-11

I think this is a firefighting helicopter, I read there are four of them working on this fire.

Monument fire from Rt. 92 6-13-11

The Week in My World 5-10-11

I feel at odds with myself and the world, like an alien creature sent to live among humans to collect information but unable to send anything back but corrupt data. I despair at the state of the planet and of my personal life. And, I’m out of coffee filters.


We’ve been streaming episodes of the TV show Lost. First season, well who doesn’t like a plane crash? Second season broached turbulence when we began to realize how unlikable the characters are. Last night we were midway through the third season when we were cast adrift. The characters bicker dully and can’t answer a simple question without some snotty witless remark. Who’d I rather? None of them. And nobody’s fracking, what’s up with that? I don’t care about any of them, and aren’t you supposed to care? The episodes crawl tediously, without a hint of insight why these weird things are happening, it’s just one mystery piled on top of another with no relief. One of the most annoying motifs throughout the show is that though each survivor experiences nightmares, hallucinations, and visions, whenever they relate their incident to another character, it’s met with “oh it was just a dream” or “you’re under a lot of stress” or “get some sleep.” Wouldn’t ya think they’d want to share these dangerous and scary visions, like maybe they’re related? We read the rest of the plot outlines and saw no need to suffer this wreckage to the end. The island is beautiful but the plot and dialogue are stagnant.


Sorry, can’t resist another boyfriend story…

When Don Lenz first zoomed in on me and flashed me his smile, we really clicked. He said I was a cute little pixel but he must have been looking at me through a diffuser. I shutter to think how overexposed I was, and had to F-stop him quite a bit at first.

But as time went on, the contrast between us sharpened. All he wanted to do was download me with his inkjet. I wasn’t the first either, his memory stick had a long history. Well he can stuff it up his aperture for all I care. Next time I see that self-focused bastard I’m going to point and shoot.


An acquaintance said to me the other day, Debra, all you do is rant. I said that’s a boldfaced lie, can’t you at least put it in italic? He said, well you’re still weird. I said, me weird? You oughta try blogging.


Some recent pics…

I think my favorite tree here is the ruggedly beautiful alligator juniper. Such character, such spirit.

Alligator juniper berries

Alligator juniper roots

Bottom half of ancient palo verde (“green stick”) tree, another exotic beauty and state tree of Arizona.

Various woodpeckers, flickers, and owls make their nests in saguaros (pronounced suh-wahr’-oh) They don’t grow up here at 5,000 feet, this was taken on a recent trip to Tucson, where they flourish.

Spring and fall are the busiest times for the border patrol. Our house is situated on a corridor, which I did not know when we moved here. USBP trucks, ATVs, horses, and helicopters are a daily event in my backyard. I snapped this picture the other day in front of my house. 

Here an agent is giving one of the men IV fluids. There are so many coming through.

Beloved Home Arizona

Recent events in Arizona have shaken us all and cast a negative view of us. Though we mean no disrespect and fully understand the gravity of what’s happened, it is not our place to apologize for the actions of a madman. As one Tucson writer put it, we are not made of sugar candy—this isn’t the Hamptons. That’s for sure—it’s much, much better.

Yesterday we enjoyed a beautiful mild Sunday walking around town and driving up to Juniper Flats.  As in all of my posts, click on pictures for bigger view.

Woke up this morning to the sound of dogs barking, looked out the window and saw Border Patrol truck towing horses parked in front of our house.

Residence on Brewery Gulch

Old Bisbee Brewing Company

St. Elmo’s Bar…keeping townies fortified for 109 years

Bark Park, a small dog park locals made in an empty lot on Brewery Gulch

The Mining Museum

Doorway decorated with bottle caps on Brewery Gulch

Bisbee is full of former miners’ shacks, which people have renovated (or not). They’re small, but comfortable as well unique.

Wire horse sculpture at Sam & Poe’s Gallery

Me with Michael, local historian and character about town. He’s a wealth of information, all you have to do is ask.

23 Subway Street. We don’t have subways here, it refers to water drainage, which can be a real problem during monsoon.

View from top of OK Street

Bicycles are big here, both traditional and motorized

View of the town from Rt. 80

Castle Rock from Rt. 80

View of Bisbee from Juniper Flats Road. I don’t know why they call it “flats” as there’s nothing flat about it.

View of Mule Pass Tunnel, built in 1958. These are the Mule Mountains, named for the thousands of mules who carried the ore from the mines.

Unique structures on Juniper Flats Road

Top of Juniper Flats


The Week in My World 10/15/10

When I have dictionary work, I am totally focused on it and can think of nothing else. There is no better place for me to be, it’s such relief to be so absorbed.

But housecleaning brings balance, burns calories, and pays bills. I am grateful to be right here, right now. It was hard to get here and I still have a long way to go, but it’s good to have something to strive for.


Rainy and chilly Tombstone Canyon this afternoon from hilltop paradise



We live near a veterinary clinic whose owners also raise miniature horses. I don't think that many get sold, but they are adorable and funny. Traded this one a bit of grass for a big smile.



Look at how tiny they are.



The rain has stopped and the grass is turning brown, but the need many people have for extravagant fall colorbursts is easily indulged in the high desert. A flaming row of hackberry bushes in Bisbee.



A trip to Tucson means a border patrol check on Rt. 80---always open, everybody goes through.



This is not a joke. Found in the fridge at a recent jobsite, I threw it away. It's the makings of a sandwich that would kill you or cure you.



Mops & Rabbit. Rabbit has no tail...it's very, very cute.



A trip to Douglas means a Border Road adventure. A lot of the land here is open range...this beautiful bull has the run of Border Road.



This bull has only one horn. He was in a pen with a bunch of cows, I thought, as they had no horns, but I honestly don't know for sure.


A Day in the Life of the Border Patrol as Seen from My Yard

I am trying to document in a neutral way what it is like here. Pictures can and are used for political statements, life being what it is—contentious and difficult. Interpretation from one individual to another is inevitable. So, while attempting to record real life, the lines between fact—and interpretation of fact—are often impossible to separate, simply because the pictures exist. I won’t insult you by telling you what to think. In fact, I would like to know what you think.

There was some Border Patrol drama in my backyard yesterday. The weather has cooled to 75º and humidity 29%, so a beautiful day here means a busy one for Border Patrol. It’s the first time I’ve seen a helicopter land in the desert—these pilots are all business. All of them—the horse, truck, and ATV patrols—are tough, civil, and respectable. Few who apply actually make it in. They live and have families here, shop here, adopt animals, go to the vet, have kids in school. They are Latino and white, male and female.  But the most impressive are agents on foot. Can you see how local girls are known to get the vapors when they’re around?

I would like to photograph more of these scenes but I don’t want my neighbors to think I would call the BP. I have never called, and wouldn’t unless I felt threatened. What would you do?

First I saw the helicopter hovering over the desert behind my house. This is common because we live in a ‘corridor.’



Next, border patrol trucks start flying down my street. They pulled into a nearby parking lot, jumped out of their trucks, ran toward the desert and went over a fence.



I walked back into my backyard, and to my surprise the helicopter had landed. At first I thought it was to help the agents on the ground, but I think it was to transport someone who may have been hurt. They routinely fly injured individuals to hospitals here, or Sierra Vista, or Tucson.



Back of helicopter as it lifts off



Here he/she is leaving. If I had known he was going to land I would have stayed there and watched and taken additional pictures.






The Week in My World 9/25/10

I have written about how jazzed up people get during monsoon season—well this one has continued much longer than usual, and people are still talking about it. It was raining up until a few days ago, and the locals revel like pagan bacchanals. For now, everything is blanketed under a thick quilt of leaves, vines, grasses, and flowers.

In other news, I have work, my shoulder is inflamed and winces and whines, our swamp-cooler pump blew and had to be replaced, and I had a rescue cat spayed to the tune of $120. The money trickles in torpidly, in little slivers of hope.

Concrete-mixing trucks in the mist

Safeway parking lot…we live not under the clouds, but in them.

It rained so hard that hundreds of snails were washed across our driveway. Some snails were actually climbing up the back door! I gently swept them all up and put them out in the grass. I think they stay underground, fairly dormant, until it rains.

Half of a fat rainbow, backyard. Couldn’t find the other half!

I had to have a mammogram at the Copper Queen Hospital. There are almost always Border Patrol trucks here—illegals who get hurt are brought here and the BP agents wait while they are treated in the emergency room.

Little house in my neighborhood with vintage Airstream permanently parked in yard. Old Airstreams can be restored and have a loving following, with clubs, meet-ups, etc.

Parish viguiera, or goldeneye, along sidewalk in Bisbee

Lush pomegranate bush in full September fruit

The Border Patrol uses trucks, ATVs, helicopters, and horses. These five horses were parked outside of the local Mexican take-out place that the BP agents and sheriffs frequent. The BP takes good care of their horses, I have seen the stables up close on my walks.

One of the various “art cars” of Bisbee. This is a popular art form here.

A Jewel in the grass

Matilda, one of my outside cats, in a prime napping spot on the lawnmower seat. Matilda does not allow anyone to touch her, but she sticks around the yard—therefore she lives.

A grumpy Maxi after a bath. Look at those little alien feet. Maxi was found on the highway and turned in to the local pound while I was working there. I had to wait five days before I was allowed to take her home. This is in case someone calls looking for the dog, or the dog is sick—but mostly because the animal control guy likes to throw his weight around. He gave me a big hard time about this dog because he knew how bad I wanted her.

Maxi on guard