Over it

25 06 2022

The wind. It exhausts us.

It hasn’t been too terrible lately (the gnats can attest), but it’s also *not* bringing the rain we so desperately need.





Good grey girls

24 06 2022

Pretty girls Mariah and Winona, just trying to survive the wind.





Fat little grandfather

23 06 2022

This may have been the healthiest horny toad I’ve ever seen. S/he’s a big granddaddy/mama; I think his/her body would almost have filled the palm of my hand.

Look at that belly! And that tongue!

This is a wonderful Navajo legend about the relationship between the Diné and horned lizards.

This link talks about the symbolism of horned lizards. According to the site, “Na’ashǫ́’ii dich’ízhii (horned toad) is called Cheii (Grandfather) by the Diné (Navajo). Grandfather Horned Toad possesses great spiritual power that enabled him to triumph in a contest with lightning, an incredibly powerful force. The Diné use his songs and prayer for protection from the dangers of the world and the evil intentions of other people.”

And we can all use songs and prayers for protection from the dangers of the world and the evil intentions of other people, eh? 🙂 I didn’t have even a sprinkle of corn pollen or any other offering, but I did endeavor to protect the critter from stout hooves as s/he scuttled between sagebrush.

Who couldn’t love that face!?





Summer solstice sunset

22 06 2022

Are words necessary?

I don’t think so, either. 🙂





Wind-day napping

21 06 2022

Wind and smoke and haze, back.

But we also got rain. 🙂 Not much. Enough to dampen the dust … until the wind picked up the next day … this day, pictured.

We’ll take whatever we can get.





Who goes there?

20 06 2022

Storm, for 2.7 seconds after he realized *someone* was nearby. When he realized I was that someone, he went back to grazing. 🙂





Wisdom of the ages

19 06 2022

Sweet Seneca has that *look*. The look of mares with wisdom to pass on to the next generation. She wears it well.

**********

And for goodness sake, happy Father’s Day to all fathers and father figures out there!

With all the busy-ness lately, I’ve pre-scheduled blog posts and simply lost track of advance dates, when I was behind (!). It wasn’t long after I called my dad this morning (and left a message; he and my mom are even busier than I am) that I remembered that I’d forgotten to hail dads today on the blog.

Happy Father’s Day, Dad. 🙂 Thank you for all you’ve done and all you continue to do – especially getting little kids up in the saddle!





Busy bright bees

18 06 2022

As I was leaving the water-catchment work site the other day, I admired the spectacular bloom of *color* alongside the road and smiled to myself, thinking, WOW, that’s some nice color in our otherwise very brown world right now. … Then I hit the brakes, shifted into reverse and went back to take some pix. Because brightness deserves to be shared. 🙂

Odd note maybe only of interest to photographers: The blooms were in reality more purplish-red than the reddish-red depicted in the photo (I took multiple images to be sure I had stamens and bees and petals and pollen sharp, at least in places). But they’re still very bright and beautiful!





Water catchment 2: Phase 1, day 4

17 06 2022

Yesterday was toasty. I never did see triple digits, but on my way out of the basin, the temp was a solid 99 degrees. We felt the heat, but until I *saw* it, I wasn’t quite feeling it the way I did after my poor brain recognized the numbers. The gnats were, well, the same: bad.

We got right to work finishing up the plumbing bits. Above, Mike is shoveling dirt around the vertical culvert we put in over the valve at the trough. The brown pipes are steel pieces like we used for the roof structure last year; they’re meant to protect the culvert (which will have a lid) from the horses messing with it. Daniel is on the mini excavator, filling the trench that holds the “flexible line” from the tanks.

Meanwhile, Garth was up at the end tank, measuring and cutting out the “mouse holes” in the bottom of the last culvert to accommodate the valve and pipe. We cut and placed the other culverts over the other tank valves the day before.

This is what it looked like before filling (we had shoveled dirt into the hole around each of the culverts to hold them in place before Daniel started filling with the machine). Look at the line-up! Like we had run a plumb line to make them straight. … We didn’t. There was some measuring and a lotta eye-balling. … Mike, Garth and Daniel have the know-how for this kind of thing, for sure. 🙂

Let the filling commence!

While Daniel was filling and Mike was shoveling, Garth installed a nifty little critter ladder in the trough down the hill. How cool is it! The metal tabs are bent over the edge of the trough, then screwed into the lip to hold it in place. Then he sawed off the ends so they don’t pose sharp-edge hazards. At the end of the day, we also installed one of these in last year’s catchment trough – very handy now that we have water in that one!

More filling of the hole around the tanks. …

Looking good, right?

Admiring their job well done!

This phase of our new water-catchment project went pretty quickly, which I’m sure is a relief to us all, given the heat and gnatty hordes (!). This fall, we’ll get to work on the roof structure, complete with gutter, and start catching some rain. … Speaking of rain, we’re on day 55 (today) *without* rain.

That’s the dry news; the good news is that the forecast is looking promising, starting with possible storms later today. … Lightning, we can do WITHOUT. Rain … BRING IT ON!!!!!

Thanks hugely to our awesome BLM team: Mike, Garth and Daniel!





Water catchment 2: Phase 1, day 3

16 06 2022

Partnership is the name of the game with our wonderful BLM guys: Mike Jensen, Garth Nelson and Daniel Chavez. We got a lot done on the water-catchment project yesterday, and there are a lot of pix; let’s get to it!

The above was the first tank to go in the hole dug the day before by Garth. Daniel was back with us, which was a good thing; we needed lotsa muscle.

Pretty soon, things were looking like this at the site.

Then the guys got right to work installing the valves to each tank. (What the heck is Mike doing, you ask? Did I mention yesterday that the gnats were out? Yours truly wore my handy-dandy head net, and I helpfully provided some bug spray for all three delicious-to-gnats BLM’ers (reapplyment was necessary frequently). Garth and Daniel made the extraordinary scientific discovery that plumbing primer and glue is most excellent gnat bait.)

Some extra tweaking and digging out and fine-tuning of the space was necessary (which gives you readers another fine view!). To repeat from yesterday, this catchment features five 2,500-gallon tanks, compared with the four 3,500-gallon tanks in last year’s project. They’re a couple of feet shorter (so the hole doesn’t have to be quite as deep (and we bury them to help keep the water inside from freezing during the winter)), and the walls/plastic is a bit thicker, so they’re a bit more sturdy.

Once again, as with last year’s project, we used lengths of culvert to protect the valves at the base of each tank. The hole will be filled in around the tanks tomorrow, and with these culverts – set vertically – we’ll still be able to access each valve. While Mike and I cut out holes at the base of each for the valves and pipe that links each of the tanks, Garth and Daniel …

… got busy gluing all the valves to the pipe that will link them each and thus allow water to run down the hill to the trough.

Here’s a view of the culverts in place over the valves for each tank.

Then the guys moved right into digging the trench from the end tank down the hill to the trough spot. Garth is carrying the 100-foot length of “flexible line” (that’s a technical term meaning I don’t have a clue what it’s actually called) that will run from the tanks to the trough.

This pic, just because I like seeing all three of our guys in their element: doing what they do for the mustangs of Spring Creek Basin. 🙂

Overall view of the project site: Daniel has dug the length of the trench, and he was leveling out the spot for the trough. At farthest right, you can see the end of the flexible line sticking up from the trench. That will tie into another couple of sections of PVC pipe, from horizontal through an “elbow” to a vertical piece to come up into the trough from the bottom (see the little white bit at the right side of the overturned trough?).

Checking the level of the trough, which is acting like a giant reflector to put light on Daniel’s and Mike’s faces under their ball caps (as a photographer, I appreciated that very much!).

We got the trough set and piped/connected, and here, Daniel is covering the line and part of the trench while Mike stands by to do some shovel work. Today, we’ll set another length of culvert over the valve just barely visible and attach that flexible line to the tanks above.

We got a lot done yesterday!

Today will see the end of this phase of work, and then we’ll wait out the very hot months and build the roof structure over the tanks this fall. We’re tough, but the forecast calls for a high temp of 98 degrees. Yesterday, the forecast was for a high of 88, and it was 94 when I drove out of the basin. Following that mathematical formula, we could exceed 100 degrees today? Yeah – it’s a good idea to wait to work on welding steel pipes and steel purlins and a metal roof. 🙂

In relative-news updates: The water trough at last year’s new catchment has been turned on, and we’re waiting for the ponies to find it. They haven’t yet, but at least a few bands are in the rough vicinity.