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!

Pretty under the peaks

25 11 2022

Maia and Alegre are a pretty pair under the basin’s iconic pair of McKenna Peak and Temple Butte.

Happy Thanksgiving!

24 11 2022

As noted earlier this week, every day in Spring Creek Basin is a day of thankgiving. … For our land, for our mustangs. This year, as last year, we were especially blessed by summer monsoon rains that filled our ponds, which continue to provide water for the mustangs. Speaking of water, we also got our second new water-catchment project built, courtesy of our awesome BLM range guys.

We have a lot for which to be thankful, from our friends who are like family and family who passed on a love of horses in the first place (!); to our BLM partners, who are great friends to us and the mustangs; to Mother Nature, who needs all the love we can give her now and into the future; and, of course, our amazing mustangs, who bring such joy to so many, just by their freedom and wild beauty. 🙂

And to YOU, dear readers! Thank you for reading and enjoying and supporting these mustangs and this blog. I am thankful for you and your comments (those of you who like posts and comment most every day, especially!). When I started this blog about the Spring Creek Basin mustangs, it was with the wish to share the horses I love with the world, and you all have enabled me to do that, sharing in the joys and accomplishments we’ve made along the way.

I hope you all enjoy all the gifts in your lives and let gratitude be your guide!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Looking toward light

23 11 2022

Tenaz watches some deer while grazing on a sun-drenched autumn evening.

Mr. Cool

22 11 2022

Hollywood: Handsome in every light and enhancing every background. 🙂

Water catchment 2 – phase 2, day 4

21 11 2022

It’s finished!

In terms of pix and storytelling, that’s jumping the gun a bit, but I am so excited and proud of this project (as I am of all the projects we do in Spring Creek Basin for our mustangs), that it seemed appropriate to start with the best part of the news.

What follows – in this post and one more future post – are pix of the last two days of work that take this water-catchment project from nearly done to ready to catch snow and rain!

Early last week, Garth Nelson and Daniel Chavez sneaked out to the basin with the purlins needed to weld onto the I-beams and got started welding them into place. Wednesday – the day featured in these images – Mike Jensen and I joined them to start putting the propanel (metal) roof sheets into place and screwing them into place atop the purlins. Above, Mike puts the first screws in place to hold the first sheet down!

Garth and Mike align the front edges of the roof sheets – which will just overhang the gutter – and screw them into place while Daniel watches.

As the first roof sheets were laid down, Daniel and Garth returned to their partnership of setting the purlins in place and welding them to the I-beams.

Mike and I got the roof sheets up and screwed down pretty quickly and then would wait while Garth and Daniel methodically welded each purlin in place.

Mike had the yellow drill, and I had the red. … I was pretty fond of that little tool over the two days. 🙂 Note how the purlins face in different directions. Garth and Daniel did that on purpose. Because the purlins had some “bend” to them, they reasoned that alternating the directions of the purlins would increase stability. Mike and I, walking about and drilling on that roof, can attest to the stability!

The purlins met atop the I-beams, to which Daniel and Garth welded them.

As Daniel welded, Garth held his end of the purlin in place, and vice versa, as you can see a couple of pix above.

As always, the guys used their portable welder on the back of the truck. The propanel roof sheets were on the flatbed trailer, and Mike and would lift a few of those to the roof at a time, then climb back up on the roof (using their second truck as our “ladder”) and screw them down.

Closing in on the end of the roof!

I was happy to grab photos while Mike and I waited for Garth and Daniel to weld their purlins.

And we found ways to fill our time and stay busy. That little walk-through gate will eventually allow us to access the “interior” of the water catchment – under the roof – to do any maintenance or attend to valves at the tanks, etc. The panel “fencing” will go up later. How do you attach hinges to round steel pipe?

The welders weld the hinges to the pipe, of course!

And so the ends wouldn’t stick out to catch an unwary mustang, Mike sawed them off. 🙂 Always thinking about the horses, these guys!

This view is from up the hill, “behind” the water catchment, looking down the hill. You can juuuuust see the trough at far right behind Daniel.

And about here is where Wednesday’s work ended.

Our weather has been sunny and cold (teens) in the early mornings, followed by highs in the 40s or so – warm enough when you’re working! And among the benefits, remember: No gnats! 😉

As Paul Harvey used to say – at the end of the story – “the rest of the story” will be coming soon!