12 from 2021

31 12 2021

Another year comes to a close. Another year is poised to begin. The older I get, the more I wonder about endings and beginnings, and our perspectives about where we are in the middle.

That maudlin attitude aside (!), it’s a pretty good time to roll out some favorite images and a little explanation that goes along with them. Because, collectively, who doesn’t need a little more time at the computer (or phone or tablet) to look at a few more images from this little blue marble-in-space that we’re supremely fortunate to call home? 🙂 I’m kidding about that, of course, and I hope you all enjoy the extra offerings of Spring Creek Basin wild ones!

As I typed for a similar post last year: What follows is one photo for each month of the last year. Some have been on the blog previously; others have not. Onward.

January

In the year’s first month, we had snow to cover the basin with blessed white, also known as frozen gold in our neck of the drought-stricken woods. I found Hayden’s band back in the east pocket, calm as fuzzy, fully winterized mustangs can be. My presence wasn’t any deterrent from the serious business of looking for tasty bits as the snowflakes covered us all.

*****

February

I don’t think Hollywood thinks he’s a comedian as much as *I* think he has the potential to be! Wild stallions, after all, are very serious about the business of survival and protecting their families. This particular day in the basin brought several inches of snow, and I was on snowshoes. Fortunately, it was months before I would roll my ankle because the hike out to his band, which wouldn’t have caused a sweat in dry conditions, was about as difficult and wearying as any I’ve ever done. It was worth it (of course) to see the horses looking good and finding edibles … even if they did sometimes come up looking as though they’d been snorkeling.

*****

March

In March, this little cutie was the first arrival of the year to grace the herd. He’s sire Corazon’s mini me and growing up just as handsome. The band was keeping to one area so the little one didn’t have to go far on those wobbly legs, and I was able to sit with them and observe respectfully. Mama seems pretty proud of her little one, and she took to motherhood like a natural (of course she did!).

*****

April

In April, we welcomed baby No. 2, and she was big and feisty right from the get-go! Most readers know that we use fertility-control vaccine PZP in Spring Creek Basin, and it is THE reason we haven’t had a roundup in 10-plus years. I read an article this fall in which a person was quoted as saying that because of PZP, our herd would be extinct in 10 years. … Well, probably, that person hadn’t seen this little darling, or any of our other foals (or other young horses, or maybe even any other-age horse!). And it’s too bad that they’d rather have roundups. For my part, to see more of THIS (which is to say, healthy foals that grow up to be wild and free mustangs) and fewer roundups, I’ll stick with PZP, thanks!

*****

May

We didn’t have as many wildflowers as we’ve had some other years because of our ongoing drought (we were still in the “exceptional” category at that point in the year; that’s the worst category), but we had a few spots of color to brighten the desert. Bursts of color and the shedding of shaggy coats lets us know winter is in our rearview … but it also heralds anxiety and sky-watching (for clouds, particularly dark ones).

*****

June

“Drought?!” you may be asking yourself. “What the heck is she talking about? Look at that grass!” And it WAS good in June (and then later, after the monsoons finally found us) … before it got hot(ter) and dry(er), and the grasses withered and shrank and turned crunchy underhoof and -foot. This day, pictured, was one of the loveliest days and memories with a little group of young bachelor stallions, recently on their own for the first time. Look at those shiny, slick coats! In the northwestern part of the basin, a mustang (and a human) can see for … well, a pretty long way! To know that our mustangs can roam almost all the land pictured (not the very farthest, pinon-juniper covered hills and ridges), it’s worth everything. … Everything.

*****

July

This little treasure graced us just as the monsoon rains did this summer. With soaring birds on each shoulder, she zoomed right into our hearts from first glance. It had been several years (I’d lost track) since we had an actual monsoon weather pattern over Disappointment Valley, and in the midst of our excruciating drought (that might be a “better” term than “exceptional”), more welcome than I can even express. Those rains set us up for a less-anxious autumn than we would otherwise have had.

*****

August

If you read any of the blog this past year, surely you caught at least a glimpse of one of the posts about the new water catchment our excellent BLM guys built in Spring Creek Basin this summer. We started it at the end of April, I think, and finished by the end of August. Lots of hot, hot, HOT welding work with heavy steel posts and purlins and reflective metal roof sheets. The new catchment gives us the potential to catch and store 14,000 gallons of fresh rainwater and snowmelt for the mustangs in the northern-ish part of the basin. While we were still in the building phase, a few bands of mustangs occasionally meandered through the area to check things out. The image above came together as three of our most perfect grey girls turned to look just as the sun was setting. On the left, our venerable Houdini is most likely in her third decade of life – wild and free on the range where she was born (and birthed many babies).

*****

September

Another big milestone of 2021 happened in September, when we welcomed three young mares from Sand Wash Basin to Spring Creek Basin. Because Spring Creek Basin is small (almost 22,000 acres) and the herd correspondingly small, we periodically introduce mustangs from other herds to contribute to its genetic viability. The grey-and-white pinto stallion was the first to greet the girls, and he had them for their first week and a half here. Then his uncle, the grey stallion, acquired the mares, and they’re happily (so I like to think) with him still. The youngster is hanging out with another young bachelor and a veteran stallion. He’ll have more many chances to win more mares!

*****

October

This beautiful girl is a daughter of Storm-my-love. After growing up in the best of bands, she finally left daddy’s band this fall and joined another stallion and his mare, where – interestingly – she has taken on a bit of a lookout/protector role. She’s much more interested in the goings-on than the very sedate stallion and his low-key mare. Maybe it’s a bit less energy than her natal band, but I think she is enjoying her new family.

*****

November

Our little spotted girl with her daddy, curiously watching a nearby band near a wonderfully full pond. I love to see babies with their steadfast sires, and I love to see ponds with water, rippling gently at the shore. Some of our ponds have even had mallard ducks on them this autumn. Starting the year with dry ponds was awfully awful; finishing the year with water (or even ice) is such an enormous relief.

*****

December

Readers will remember this image of our fabulous elder lady, Houdini, because it wasn’t all that long ago that I took it and posted it here on the blog! She should have full immunity as an ambassador, but I don’t think she would like that title because, truth be known, she really doesn’t like or trust humans all that much. Who can blame her? Though her last 10 years (have to) have been the most peaceful of her life. And to have been part of that … ? Well, I can’t begin to tell you all how happy I am to have played a part in *that*. What better life for a wild horse than to live it fully IN THE WILD?

*****

Bonus

Because, as always, who doesn’t love bonus content? Readers also know how I adore backlighting. … Why? Please see above. 🙂 We did have some wildfire smoke in our skies this year, again. And we had a lot of love and family. If it started relatively dry, and Mother Nature made us wait, anxiously, for moisture, she did come through rather well this summer. Then we had a very dry autumn, and winter didn’t make a very auspicious start. But the last few days, we’ve had a nice little contribution from the heavens: Rain in some areas, a rather large amount of snow in other areas! All of it begs the question: Are we at the start or end or in the middle of our weather year? 🙂 We hope more is to come; it’s all a cycle, after all!

*****

Thank you all so much for following our Spring Creek Basin mustangs this year! Many quarters of this ol’ world endure so much violence and strife and endless struggles that threaten to tear apart people and wild things alike. The very planet is threatened as never before. Observing and acknowledging the beauty of our home rock in the universe has to be a foundation of working to preserve it for all those here and those to come. Just as we strive here to continue our mustangs’ peaceful existence, surely it will take all of us, working together, to preserve life FOR us all.

Peace on Earth, goodwill toward humans and animals and plants alike.
We are not alone (no matter how hermitlike we may favor being).
Here’s to 2022 being a year more steeped in love than hate, more in peace than violence. Here’s to the power of wild and the healing qualities all around us.


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28 responses

31 12 2021
pnickoles

Love, love all the photos and sentiments TJ. May 2022 be kinder, gentler and healthier all around.

31 12 2021
TJ

Agreed! Stay safe!

31 12 2021
laura jones

You nailed it once again! So well said and lived! Thank you!
Laura

31 12 2021
TJ

Thanks, Laura!

31 12 2021
Patricia thorburn field

Thanks for making my mornings bright with your photos and kind words!

31 12 2021
TJ

Thank you so much, Patricia! Thanks for following the mustangs!

31 12 2021
Mom

BEAUTIFUL!!

31 12 2021
TJ

Thanks, Mom. 🙂

31 12 2021
Trish

The pictures say most of it but your spirit and gratitude speak volumes. Take a bow for your part in helping to keep the mustangs wild ! Happy New Year

31 12 2021
TJ

Thanks, Trish, and happy New Year! 🙂

31 12 2021
axelsmom20

Great pictures – Stay grateful for your wonderful BLM guys – very few Wild herds have good caretakers these days – and more & more horses are losing their homes & families.
Good luck to Spring Basin

1 01 2022
TJ

Our BLM guys – Mike, Garth and Daniel and their bosses – are truly good, hardworking people who care about these lands they manage. We are fortunate to have them and work in a mutually respectful environment. We are supremely grateful!

31 12 2021
Hutch

WELL DONE.
Thanks for doing all that you do!
And sharing it with us.
We are the lucky ones.
Thanks!

1 01 2022
TJ

Thanks, Uncle Tom. 🙂 I feel pretty lucky and blessed!

31 12 2021
Karen Ann Schmiede

Thank you so much,TJ, for the review of the year! Looking forward to a good 2022 for the horses and humans!

1 01 2022
TJ

Thanks for being such a loyal and supportive reader, Karen! One thing is certain, there’ll be plenty of pintos gracing the blog in the new year! 🙂

31 12 2021
Martha Kennedy

My hope for 2022 is that we all get out of the “exceptional” classification. This is harsh. I have loved the photos of the horses so much and your fantastic landscape. Thank you. ❤

1 01 2022
TJ

I’ll add my wish for more moisture and NO exceptional, extreme or severe drought in Colorado! I’m glad you found the mustangs. 🙂

1 01 2022
Martha Kennedy

Me too. Maybe someday I’ll cross the half of the state between us and see them!

3 01 2022
TJ

I’ll give you the grand tour. 🙂

1 01 2022
Sue E. Story

Beautiful, TJ! A year in the life of mustangs – a perfect way to bid farewell to 2021. Thank you for your photos and your narrative; what a wonderful way to look back on the past year and celebrate the coming of the new.

1 01 2022
TJ

Thanks, Sue, and thanks for your unwavering support and optimism! 🙂

1 01 2022
marytheresea

Happy New Year TJ. I am finally catching up with emails – the last several months have been crazier than ever. This post made my whole year. Nothing more beautiful than your photographs and comments, especially the new 2021 foals! Each photograph is a gift as is each mustang. Many thanks. Take care of yourself.

Marytherese

>

1 01 2022
TJ

Thanks so much, Marytherese, for your kind words! It is my sincere wish that people can share some of our peace and beauty of the wild and the horses … every day … no matter the craziness in the rest of the world. Our little part of the world is such a haven. 🙂

6 01 2022
TamrahJo

Happy (belated!) New Year!!! Finding you/yours in 2021 made my 2021 more bearable! THANK you for the beauty you share, over and over and over – – – 😀

8 01 2022
TJ

Happy New Year! 🙂 The mustangs make pretty much anything bearable!

7 01 2022
Pat

I looked and read again of the wild ones life! So precious.

8 01 2022
TJ

Priceless. 🙂

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