On the way home from the Temple last night Merriner Jones was asking me if I remembered some things about the mountains. It brought back so many pictures to my mind that I thought that I would try to write some of them for all of you.

When I was very young I used to go to the farm on the Riquena to work. In the late summer I was usually assigned to herd the milk cows out on the flat east of the Riquena. Uncle Harvey would hand me a bridle and tell me to take old Captain and not to run the cows. Old Captain was a very special horse for me. When he was young he had been stolen and when he came back his left hind hoof was bruised and swollen and it permanently gave him a little limp, but for me he was a big beautiful bay with a nice soft pace and could drive the cows almost by himself. I didn't have a saddle but I enjoyed sitting on his broad back feeling the power of his back under me.

Out on the flat the gramma grass was all headed out and was a sea of dark brown heads waving in the bright sunlight. I would let my eyes wander over the whole expanse until they came to the hills in the east and south. Along about mid-morning the cows would fill up and lay down to chew their cud. I would lay down in the shade of Old Captain in a forest of grass that came up to the horse's belly. All I could see was the white puffy thunderheads that shifted around to form all kinds of shapes and imaginary animals. Soon I would eat my lunch and move the cows to the canal to water. From the high bank of the canal I could see the unbroken see of grass in every direction. Unbroken by fence or tree with only a dark line of Mesquites in the distance by the hills.

All too soon I needed to turn the cows toward home and before they reached the milking corral some would be dripping milk from their too full bags. I will never forget the wonderful taste of a hot fresh flour tortilla with a cup of warm fresh milk. The milk was rich and sweet from the fresh grass of the day.

Another picture comes: Dan Taylor and 1, two small adventurers wandering the hills of the Arroyo Seco, with Scrappy my dog investigating every bush and tree. Most of the time he would be lost from sight in the tall green grass. Suddenly with a low growl he flashed through the grass and caught a spotted White Tail fawn. We rushed to the scene as the mother Deer came in answer to the loud bleating of the fawn. We hurriedly rescued the little fawn but my heart broke to see that the little fawn's hind leg was broken badly at the hock where Scrappy caught hold of it and had shaken fiercely and broken the poor little fellows hind leg. I carried the little fellow back to camp and seeing that it was impossible to repair the leg and the fawn was suffering we had to dispatch him. I had the skin tanned and used it as a soft little covering for a shelf in the club house of the winged four.

I remember my feelings of awe and wonder as we wandered the high mesas and ridges of the Blues in the Sierra Madre Mountains. I marveled at the majestic Pines that dotted the mesas far enough apart to give sunlight to the tall waving grass. I remember in one place each step of the horses sounded with a hollow boom, boom, boom! In my imagination I could see a dark cavern beneath our feet but Uncle Steve Farnsworth said he thought it was because the ridge was of clay.

I was thrilled to see a long line of big Turkey Gobblers hurrying along the rim to find a roost before dark. On the west rim the white flags and majestic antlers of the big bucks parading along the rim made my hunting instincts rise in trembling excitement.

The remains of the terraces that lined each little draw and canyon made my imagination run wild. What did they plant that the deer would not eat it all? Who made them? How many people would it take to make so many terraces with such big rocks? Then I would remember the stories of the Book of Mormon how after the Savior came they filled the land from the north to the south and from the East Sea to the West Sea. It certainly would take thousands of people working together to make so many little farms to feed them all. I loved to find the dwellings with Metates still scattered about. I could imagine the young maidens gracefully going down the steep path to water with their water baskets on their heads and their bare feet clinging to the rocks. Were the streams filled with trout? Did the Turkeys Gobble up on the ridge in the roost? Surely the Deer had no place to live with so many farms everywhere.

I remember when I cut a willow pole and with a hook and line from my pocket caught a dozen trout in about 15 minutes from the stream swollen from the melting snow.

A big Gobbler flew straight up into the air so close my hat blew off from the wind of his wings.

I tied a big buck on the back of my saddle on my little mule with the horns dragging the grass on one side and the cut off hocks on the other. That little mule came down off the rugged mountain with me, my saddle, a rifle on one side and a shotgun on the other and that big buck tied on behind and she didn't even sweat.

I loved the beauty of the Sierra Madre back before the sawmills came. They built roads to the highest ridge and the deepest canyon. They cut down those majestic Pines and filled the streams with sawdust. They grazed off the beautiful grass and left the land changed forever.

Human hands have torn down the dwellings and even dinamited some of the cave dwellings searching for I don't know what. If ever the mountains should be emptied of humans and cattle they might grow back and maybe the Wolves would come back and drive out the coyotes and balance up the system again. The Wolves would also cut down the Coatimundi population so they wouldn't get so many turkey eggs. The Wolves would kill of the sick and the old Deer to balance the herd and keep them healthy.

On our little ranch in Pacheco we are trying to restore the stream with it's grasses and plants and flowers, Just so we can all go and enjoy that little peice of the mountains as they used to be with beautiful pines here and there. You are all welcome to come and enjoy the peace and beauty of this little ranch "El Retiro". .