5 12 2022

Tenaz on an evening that looked like a masterpiece of color and shadow and light. (It was.)

Dream walking

4 12 2022

Big grey boy Skywalker grazes peacefully among summer’s grama grass, glowing in winter sunlight. Some days just have that indefinable sense that all is beautiful and right with the natural world.

Base of gold

3 12 2022

Enough late-season vegetation still covered the basin when I took this photo that it’s hard (impossible) to see that the snow at Terra’s hooves was still mostly unbroken by melting fairly early that morning.

The snow is mostly gone now – except on some slopes and shaded ridges and arroyo walls – but it’s so wonderful how a simple dusting of the frozen white stuff transforms any landscape!

Cold weather comfort

2 12 2022

It seems counterintuitive, but napping in the sunshine on a sharply cold day with fresh snow at one’s feet feels oddly comfortable. It’s best, of course, if one wears a wooly coat or otherwise insulating layers (!).

And it’s ever so much better with a friend. 🙂 Piedra and Kestrel are true BFFs!

Snow-white model

1 12 2022

For some reason, a pinto mustang pony always stands out beautifully in the snow-covered landscape. Miss Chipeta wasn’t really feeling her modeling session, but in keeping an eye on me, lounging in the snow, a beautiful model was she, indeed!

Skipping through the snow

30 11 2022

Because who doesn’t feel the urge to dash through new snow?!

It wasn’t a huge snowfall – maybe half to three-quarters of an inch – but it was enough to whiten our world for the first half of the day before much of it melted under the brilliant Colorado sunshine. 🙂 There’s still a nice little layer on slopes and ridges in the upper part of Spring Creek Basin and Disappointment Valley.

Already in the forecast, Friday and Sunday have chances for more white stuff. Winter is nigh!

Grey & white

29 11 2022

We got a surprise Sunday morning in the form of about half an inch of snow! The forecast for at least the last week focused on snow Monday night into Tuesday afternoon, but this Sunday-night/early-Tuesday-morning snow was a pleasant little early gift!

It melted quickly, as usual, but the far slopes and ridges of McKenna Peak and Temple Butte show some lingering whiteness, which always looks great behind Miss Temple. (And yes, she’s wearing some mustang bling in her forelock in the form of a little burr, which are nature’s fall jewelry hereabouts!)

Walking into the night

28 11 2022

Rowan and her band make their way to the original water catchment in Spring Creek Basin on a recent soft evening.

We have had more than two weeks again of dry, dry weather (which has been helpful for things like finishing the new water-catchment project), but we have a very good chance tonight of SNOW into tomorrow. After those nice little rains/snows earlier this fall, our dirt is turning to dust again, so it will be good to see the land covered in the glittery white stuff, with moisture that seeps slowly into the thirsty soil. Even in the high deserts of Colorado, we look forward to winter’s life-giving snow!

Peaceful wild

27 11 2022

Now and then Terra graces observers with her wild beauty in a relaxed way (not grazing or otherwise offering butt views to the camera!). Her band was napping and watching another small band a short distance away.

If the promontory in the background doesn’t look quite like Temple Butte, that’s because its not. It’s a cliff of Knife Edge in the middle-east area of Spring Creek Basin. It definitely made a nice background for lovely Terra!

Water catchment 2 – phase 2, day 5

26 11 2022

As previously announced, our newest water-catchment project is finished! Now we just need snow (which, according to the forecast, is coming Monday night/Tuesday). And to continue the theme of gratitude this Thanksgiving weekend, we couldn’t be more grateful!

Last Thursday (exactly a week before Thanksgiving), this was about all that remained to finish the roof: Garth Nelson and Daniel Chavez had a few more purlins to weld to the I-beams, and Mike Jensen and I had a few more propanel roof sheets to screw down to the purlins.

One reason I love to highlight these work projects our BLM guys do in Spring Creek Basin is, of course, to highlight the work they do for our mustangs. Another, related, big reason, is to highlight our partnership in doing so. … And because these three guys – Mike, Garth and Daniel – work as well or better together than any three people I know. It’s pretty amazing to be around their creativity and can-do attitudes. So my photographer’s heart was really stoked when a particular purlin required Garth (right) and Daniel to literally put their heads together to get it welded to the I-beam.

Again, you really can’t beat our “office” scenery.

The unmasking. 🙂

All three guys working together. 🙂 After we finished the roof, it was time to put the gutter up along the front of the structure!

When the gutter was in place all along the front of the structure and secured, we switched up our pairings: Mike and Garth got to work on measuring and cutting and gluing the pipes from holes drilled in the bottom of the gutter to each of the tanks, and Daniel and I worked to put more spacers and long screws through the gutter to the front beam (Daniel handled the measuring and drilling; I did the handing of spacers and screws … and photo documentation :)). I didn’t take a pic of those “spacers,” but they were about 6-inch long pieces of small-diameter metal tubing, through which the screws ran, the function of which was to keep the sides of the gutter from collapsing when the screws were run through the gutter.

Gotta make sure all the pieces fit together tightly!

I didn’t get Mike’s face in this one with Garth and Daniel because he was holding the part of the fitting inside the gutter while Garth tightens it at the underside of the gutter, but I still like this shot of all the guys working together. Mike and Garth were working from the northwest to the southeast side of the gutter and tanks, and after we got the gutter up with a minimum number of spacers and screws, Daniel and I were working back from southeast to northwest – this is where we met “in the middle.”

Measuring the pipes before gluing.

Great work in the foreground. Great scenery in the background. 🙂

Moving toward conclusion.

The gutter comes in pieces that overlap, so Mike and Garth caulked each seam as well as under the fittings for the pipes inside the gutter.

And they also used a spray-on sealant along the outer seams of the gutter pieces and to coat the outer parts of the pipes. That will help protect the PVC pipe as well as give it a little more help in absorbing the sun’s warming rays during the winter.

The green things seen in front of each tank are two pieces: One is a ring that goes around the top, exposed part of the culverts that protect the below-ground valves for each tank, and the other (see it leaning against the farthest tank?) is the lid to keep critters (like snakes) out of the holes.

One final piece to show you readers (in two pix):

Garth welded his name onto the top of one of the I-beams, and …

… Daniel welded “2022,” “TJ,” “MLJ” and “D. Chavez” into the southeast-end beam of the structure. 🙂 Last year, he welded “BLM 2021” into one of the end-facing pipes.

When we finished the new water catchment, before we left Spring Creek Basin, we went over to last year’s new catchment and welded that little walk-through gate to the pipe (see the post about the previous day of work). Until then, it was secured with wires and didn’t swing. Now, access is as easy as unchaining the gate and swinging it open. Panels like those pictured eventually will enclose the newest structure to keep the horses from rubbing on the tanks or messing with the culvert caps.

Best of all, this pic of Garth, Mike and Daniel shows some hard-working BLM guys who put a lot of thought and effort into ensuring that our mustangs have good water (quantity and quality) in Spring Creek Basin! With the addition of these two new water catchments in the last two years, our ability to store water that is clean (not salty or silty) and not subject to evaporation increases from 24,000 gallons (two 12,000-gallon tanks for each of the other two catchments) to 50,500 gallons!

This Thanksgiving weekend, especially, we are SO thankful. 🙂 Thanks to our amazing BLM partners for all they do for our mustangs!