Tucson AZ Home Loan Info


Silly Saturday Night Post: Dances With Bull

The sign said OPEN RANGE.  They weren't kidding.

The sign said OPEN RANGE.  They weren't kidding. 

Magee Ranch CemetaryThere's an old cabin at about 6,000' elevation on Magee Ranch Road, west of Green Valley on a patent mine claim, land that's been in the Magee family for five generations.  The only access to the road is on foot, unless you have a key to the gate.  I don't.

I hiked in today because I've never written a real estate post about land that's been in the same family for five generations, and I knew you would enjoy reading about it. 

Fox family gravestoneThe cemetery on the right hand side of the dirt road is the first thing you see.  I unlatched the gate and spent half an hour reading the gravestones.  (Epitaphs on gravestones are one of my favorite things.)

This particular gravestone is etched with the drawing of a cabin, and in front to the right is a circular structure with a vertical bar in the center.  I knew what that was; I'd seen it up the mountain on a previous hike.

Latching the gate behind me, I continued up the road.  The cemetery is at elevation 5,000.  My destination, three miles or so in front of me, lay 1,000 feet higher.

Cabin on the Magee Ranch south of Tucson and west of Green Valley, AZI startled the bull every bit as much as he startled me.  He had been taking a nap in a patch of Mexican Blue Oaks and juniper.  Up came the camera.  Thank goodness for autofocus.  And as I clicked the shutter, it occured to me that this young bull hadn't had the pleasure of making my acquaintance.

I work cattle every April in Caddo, Oklahoma--this year will be my 14th year working the same herd.  I'm comfortable around cattle.  Usually.

When the head starts to come down, and the tail goes up, it's time to skedaddle.  We weren't 20 feet apart.  I fixed that real quick.

I found the cabin an hour later.  This part of Magee Ranch is a patent mining claim established in the 1800s. 

Do you know what that circular thing on the right (and on the tombstone) happens to be?

I'll tell you tomorrow.


I'm Mike in Tucson, your preferred Tucson, AZ Mortgage lender.
Mike Jones (Tucson Mortgage Company, LLC): Loan Officer in Tucson, Pima County, Arizona
Think of me as your Tucson mortgage expert.

Call me if I can help you with a purchase or refi mortgage;
(520) 349-9090

photos copyright Mike in Tucson (all rights reserved)



Comment balloon 28 commentsMike Jones • April 05 2009 12:30AM



I'll just have to wait until tomorrow, but it looks like a failed water tank and well head.

As a farm kid from Michigan I'm use to more civilizedcattle! Except for bulls and the cow de jour we could handle even the worst of them.


Posted by William J. Archambault, Jr. (The Real Estate Investment Institute ) almost 12 years ago

Very interesting post and I like the name, thanks for sharing!

Posted by Robert Vegas Bob Swetz almost 12 years ago

What the heck are you doing in Caddo, Oklahoma, Mike (besides working cattle)?!?!  I'm gonna guess it's a stone wagon wheel.   LOL

Posted by Randy Hooker, Gilbert, Chandler, Mesa, Queen Creek (Dreamcatcher Realty / Greater Phoenix Area) almost 12 years ago

Hey Mike - Great photos.  And skedaddling was a good idea.  You ahve such a variety of interests.  Never knew you were a cowboy!  Looking forward to finding out what that thing is in the photo.  It looks a little like a paddock, but why would a miner need one?

Posted by Marlene Bridges, Laguna Homes|Laguna Condos|Laguna Real Estate (Village Real Estate Services, Inc.) almost 12 years ago

Its a watering tank of some sorts? I know its common in your area to have a place for the animals to find water. Cool place!

Posted by Chip Jefferson (Gibbs Realty and Auction Company) almost 12 years ago

What is that dang thing?  I was thinking it was some type of grist mill but I don't see a stone.  So, I'm going to go with the mining theme and figure it's some type of mining wash.

I can't wait to find out.


Posted by Lenn Harley, Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland (Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate) almost 12 years ago

GOOD MORNING MIKE!  I've been in suspense since last night!  The bull looks kinda cute! -- Gabrielle

Posted by Gabrielle Kamahele Rhind, Broker/Owner (KGC Properties LLC, Tucson Property Management & Real Estate) almost 12 years ago


Another good localism post with some very nice photos.  I will be waiting until tomorrow to find out what the circular thing is.  Glad you put some distance between you and the youngster.  ;-)

Posted by Don Rogers, Realtor, Broker, CDPE, GRI, OnullFallon MO & St Charles County MO homes (Keller Williams Realty Chesterfield) almost 12 years ago


Me, too!  LOL


Good morning!  YOU come dance with him...


You're the closest to what it is when you talk about a mill.




Whoopee ti yi yo!


There's nothing to do in Caddo except work cattle.  That's not exactly true...  They have a post office and a little theatre, but no traffic light.  It's not a wheel.


Good to see you!


Another cowboy!  Nope.  Not a failed anything.

And off I go to church.

Mike in Tucson

Here's a hint:  How do they get the gold out of the ore?

Posted by Mike Jones, Mike Jones NMLS 223495 (SUNSTREET MORTGAGE, LLC (BK-0907366, NMLS 145171) ) almost 12 years ago

Mike,  Ooh thank you.  No, I have never visited the McGee Ranch.  Google Maps says its only a 34 minute drive from my little GV homestead.  Maybe I can check it out one of these days.

Posted by Cheryl Johnson almost 12 years ago


Love the story so far - done in kind of a western serial format. How appropriate. :)


Posted by Steve Hoffacker, Certified Aging In Place Specialist-Instructor (Steve Hoffacker LLC) almost 12 years ago

Hmmmmm. I was always taught that if there was a lock on the gate, and I didn't have a key, I was to keep out.

Posted by Russel Ray, San Diego Business & Marketing Consultant & Photographer (Russel Ray) almost 12 years ago

Mike - I have no clue as to what the round fixture is.  I'm interested in learning more.

Now ... as for that bull.  He looks like a youngster and quite possibly has not figured out his role in the balance of nature.  When you are in Caddo do you pen, cut or herd?  I always preferred cutting and herding.  Penning got pretty monotonous.

Do you have your own horse or do you ride a local horse?  I'd love to see some pictures from your cattle ranching work.  I'm sure they will make me yearn for my old farm, but I'm prepared...  LOL

Posted by Carol Smith (Casmi Photography) almost 12 years ago

Oooo I love a mystery.  Can't wait to find out what the circular thing is.  I like reading gravestones too.  Not sure why.

Posted by Rita Bradley, Valuation Consultant in Orange County California 949-916-3263 almost 12 years ago

I don't know what the dang thing is but it looks like some type of mill or husker. 

Posted by Lenn Harley, Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland (Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate) almost 12 years ago

My guess is that it has something to do with water storage, but that's probably wrong.

Mike, I just asked a question on my blog about some mortgage brokers organization. Maybe you can answer it: Click here.

Posted by Ann Heitland, Retired from Flagstaff Real Estate Sales (Retired from RE/MAX Peak Properties) almost 12 years ago

A little Saturday night adventure for you and the bull.

Posted by Terry & Bonnie Westbrook, Westbrook Realty - Grand Rapids Forest Hills MI Re (Westbrook Realty Broker-Owner) almost 12 years ago

Sunday Evening, 6 p.m.

Okay, boys and girls!  It's time to fill you in.  High grade ore, mined elsewhere on the ranch in various locations, had to be crushed to get the gold and copper.  Until the owners were able to buy and install a stamp mill, the primitive (but effective) way to crush the ore was this circular mill, one form or another of which has been around since the fifth century.  Power was supplied by a donkey walking around in circles.  Click here to see an image of such a mill at the Cave Creek Museum.

Posted by Mike Jones, Mike Jones NMLS 223495 (SUNSTREET MORTGAGE, LLC (BK-0907366, NMLS 145171) ) almost 12 years ago

Cool story Mike, but be careful - we don't want to loose you.  Happy Day, Sis-in-law

Posted by Kathie Morgan almost 12 years ago


Thank you for the history lesson about the circular mill.

Posted by Don Rogers, Realtor, Broker, CDPE, GRI, OnullFallon MO & St Charles County MO homes (Keller Williams Realty Chesterfield) almost 12 years ago

O.K.  Where's my head.  I could clearly see it would be powered by some strong Roman muscle types.  Or, of course, a beast of burden, donkey, oxon. 

I could also see that it would work to crush, husk, grind, etc. something.

Where I went wrong was to focus on food (grist mill, husker)  and not on ore.  Since I haven't eaten since last July, I think about food all the time. 



Posted by Lenn Harley, Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland (Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate) almost 12 years ago

Very interesting story Mike.  And you are so right about head down, tail up better get the heck out of his way.  My granddaddy had a beef cattle farm when I was growing up... now I just see beef at the super market.

Posted by Tammy Lankford,, Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville (Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668) almost 12 years ago

Looking at that circular mill, it makes me wonder, then, why didn't they build it a few feet further out from the hillside?

Does the beast walk around on the ~inside~ of the circle or on the ~outside~?

If it is the outside, the poor beast must climb uphill each time he walks on that side of the circle.

Or maybe the hillside has slid down since the last time the mill was used.  :-)

Posted by Cheryl Johnson almost 12 years ago


It's the last thing you thought about.  The hillside has encroached over the past half century or more.


You could fix that by taking a day trip somewhere...


That last comment makes me wonder...  I'll email you.


You're welcome!


Me neither!  LOL

Mike in Tucson

Posted by Mike Jones, Mike Jones NMLS 223495 (SUNSTREET MORTGAGE, LLC (BK-0907366, NMLS 145171) ) almost 12 years ago

You sure go out of your way for a blog topic!  Nice post.  Great pics.... but the bulls the wrong color for around here.

Posted by 1~Judi Barrett, BS Ed, Integrity Real Estate Services -IDABEL OK (Integrity Real Estate Services 118 SE AVE N, Idabel, OK 74745) almost 12 years ago

Well, as Tex Earnhardt would say, "And that ain't no bull!" 

What a cool place!  I love Cheryl's map.  I'm kind of surprised google had it in there.

Posted by Doreen McPherson, Phoenix Arizona Real Estate ~ (Homesmart ~ Scottsdale ~ Tempe) almost 12 years ago


I'm not surprised!  Thanks for commenting; I just went to your blog, but I've already commented on your last post.  Time to write another.


There's a herd of white Charolais just north of Durant.  I'll see them when I drive through this Saturday.  How far are you and Don from Caddo, OK?

Mike in Tucson

Posted by Mike Jones, Mike Jones NMLS 223495 (SUNSTREET MORTGAGE, LLC (BK-0907366, NMLS 145171) ) almost 12 years ago

Mike - that is a cool place, and thank for sharing. I would have been startled by the "bull" as well. I once got too close to a buffalo in Catalina, and that was enough for me. (too bad I didn't have my camera - but I was moving pretty fast!!!).

Posted by Sharon Paxson, Newport Beach Real Estate (Compass) over 11 years ago

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