Rising and rising

1 02 2018

Almost-full moon rising overDisappointment Valley.

The moon rose hugely Tuesday night.

Wednesday morning, I rubbed the sleep out of my eyes early enough to *see* the bloody lunar eclipse but not quite early enough to get out and capture the bloody lunar eclipse on digital media. I’m not sure whether it disappeared for lack of light (it was pretty dim when I did see it, with just a sliver of silver moon showing at the very bottom of the orb) or whether clouds obscured it. Noticeably, no stars were visible in a fairly wide band above the horizon. By the time the sky was light enough to see detail, bloody clouds (they weren’t red …) were low above the western ridges.

But sunrise was briefly and sweetly – one might say bloody – spectacular. 🙂

Sunrise, morning of the super blue bloody moon eclipse.

Why yes, Virginia, that IS Temple Butte, silhouetted against the dawn. 🙂

Did you see the eclipse? How awed were you?? Share in the comments! 🙂

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Doing good work

19 01 2018

A couple of days ago, we met up with our fabulous BLM guys to install the evaporation cover over the new trough – connected to the new water catchment apron – that we installed in 2016.

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BLM rangeland management specialist Garth Nelson, left, figures out which drill bit to use to drill holes through the metal of the evaporation cover to attach it to the supports BLM range tech Justin Hunt is welding to the vertical posts. The post at right already has a piece welded to it.

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See the metal thing inside the trough in front of Garth? That’s the critter ladder the guys built. It allows birds to get to the water or an animal that falls into the water to get out. Garth drilled a couple of holes and wired it to the edge of the trough.

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Once everything was in place, Justin attached small square plates to the tops of the three vertical posts and welded them into place, then used the grinder to smooth the square edges. At the near corner, you can see the “trap door” the guys built into the cover so the float below it is accessible for any work or replacement that needs to be done. In the background, range specialist and herd manager Mike Jensen, right, talks with Garth while visiting with Bow, one of Kat Wilder’s dogs.

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Sparks fly as Justin grinds the edges of the post caps to smooth roundness.

These guys thought of everything!

The cover will help preserve the water in the trough from evaporating so quickly. And with its installation, the new water-catchment project is officially complete. In warm weather, this will provide a second source of clean water for the horses.

Snow is in Saturday’s forecast. Please send good thoughts. This dry weather has to end.





We have the coolest neighbors

31 12 2017

Fox - common gray fox

Isn’t this little guy/gal gorgeous?!

It’s a “common gray fox,” and my Field Guide to the Rocky Mountains says they eat rabbits, rodents, birds, grasshoppers, fruit and berries. They “often climb trees, unlike fox and coyote”! They’re found on the “lower slopes of mountains, wooded canyons and scrubby plains” in “southeastern Wyoming (rare), western, central and southeastern Colorado.” The book also says they’re “mainly nocturnal, year-round.”

Fortunately for my camera and me, this one didn’t get the nocturnal memo. 🙂

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Happy New Year’s Eve!





Continuing the good-work good news

23 10 2017

We have our fair share of good-news stories here in Spring Creek Basin. In the wake of the National Advisory Board’s recommendations last week, it’s a good thing we have more good news to share.

We’re no strangers to partnerships with the Southwest Conservation Corps, based in Durango. Most recently, readers may remember a fence project on the basin’s southeastern boundary line two years ago. Crew members hoofed (!) materials and wire up a steep, steep hill beyond where University of Missouri students have been slowly but surely rebuilding the fence north from Disappointment Road. This has long been a project in partnership with San Juan Mountains Association, alternative spring break (with Mizzou), Colorado chapter of the National Mustang Association and Disappointment Wild Bunch Partners. ** I nearly forgot to mention the awesome work by the U.S. Forest Service’s mule packing team, which delivered materials to the site earlier this spring!

And beyond the steep hill, the fence cross the bends of an S-arroyo that brings water into the basin when it rains. Since 2011, we’ve been talking about rerouting the fence there so it crosses just one bend, goes up and beyond the arroyo and ties into the fence as it continues toward Brumley Point.

I hadn’t seen their work until yesterday, and boy was I wowed!

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This is now the fence over one bend of the S-arroyo. The branches are wired to the fence but aren’t embedded in the ground so they can give when water flows through. That’s Brumley Point in the background.

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From the bottom of the arroyo, this was my first view of the crew, hard at work.

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Crew members were putting the finishing touches on the end of the rerouted fence, adding wooden staves between metal T-posts and wiring the existing fence to the new H-brace. Pictured are Molly, Sara, Nicole and Mike.

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Lance has his work flow down as he wires a stave to the fence strands.

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Mike and Nicole attached the wire strands of the existing fence to their new H-brace, which tied the new fence to the old fence. Brumley Point is at back left, and McKenna Peak is visible behind Mike.

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A longer shot, showing McKenna Peak and Temple Butte. The new fence is that good-looking thing at left, and the old fence is visible (a couple of T-posts) straight ahead. To the right, down the hill, is the S-arroyo.

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Crew co-leader Sara carries extra wire and tools back along the fence at the end of the day.

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Sara (right) and her co-leader Alycia had just a few more staves to wire in …

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… with Molly (left) and Lance before the end of the work day. Here, you can look down the hill to the arroyo. At far right, you can see just a bit of their new fence going down the hill to cross the bend (first photo in this post). The fence used to run across the drainage at far right across the bend, through the trees to the left, across the first bend (as the water flows) and up the hill.

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Alycia walks down the hill along the crew’s new fence at the end of the day … and a job well done! (The crew still has a couple of days left in their hitch and will work on patching some saggy places in the fence line.)

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This perspective is taken from the south looking north. The fence is coming from behind my right shoulder, down to and across the arroyo, then up the hill to the left. It makes a corner toward the top of the hill (see pic above this one with Alycia) and runs across the hill above the arroyo – cutting the middle of the pic – to where it ties back into the existing fence above the first bend of the arroyo.

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Big kudos to this small group of huge-working young folks! This fence reroute will serve to keep our mustangs safe on their home range by ensuring that the fence doesn’t wash away during rain events that flood the arroyo. We’re so happy to have the help of (left to right) Mike, Sara, Nicole, Molly, Alycia and Lance!

THANK YOU!





Frosted

11 10 2017

Reya and Corazon, the Glade

Reya and Corazon cooperated with the photographer by standing on high ground with silvered golden aspen groves in the background … but not so much with attentive ears. 🙂

The background is above Disappointment Valley and beyond Spring Creek Basin. Our fall colors at lower elevations show in wildly yellow rabbitbrush and cottonwoods along Disappointment Creek (which does not flow through Spring Creek Basin) and orangey tamarisk in the drainages. … And sometimes a sliver of snow on the far edges.





Yay, RAIN!

24 09 2017

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Weather forecast that was 100 percent awesomely correct = HAPPY!

(Spring Creek Basin is northeast of Dove Creek, beyond the deep trench of the Dolores River canyon.)





In living color

28 07 2017

Rain over the La Sal Mountains at sunset.

Rain at sunset over Utah’s La Sal Mountains, looking to the northwestish – golden rain.

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And looking to the eastish across Spring Creek Basin to McKenna Peak, Temple Butte, Brumley Point and beyond … pink rain.

Mother Nature has a pretty amazing palette out here in the wide, wild, beautiful world. 🙂