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.

Water catchment 2: Phase 1, day 2

15 06 2022

We had a huge relief from the smoke yesterday, and the gale-force winds dropped to merely breezes … which gave the gnats license to descend. (Note Mike’s hand at his neck, below his ear. Gnats are no joke, folks, and they are out. I highly recommend head nets.)

Daniel had to help his wife with their sick baby, so Garth brought out two more water tanks, and Mike and I delivered two more that Garth had brought a week ago to a site nearby for easier transport (the flatbed carries two at a time). They’ll bring the fifth today. This year, the catchment will be built with five 2,500-gallon tanks, compared with the four 3,500-gallon tanks we used last year. These are a bit thicker-walled, and they’re shorter (8 feet tall compared with 10 feet tall), meaning the hole for them doesn’t have to be as deep.

In the pic above, Garth is checking for uniform depth across the bottom of the hole with a laser level so the tanks will have a level base. As before, the tanks, with a roof to be built over their tops, are on high ground, and water will run downhill with gravity to the trough, to be maintained with a float.

Note Mike, still brushing at gnats. 🙂 This time, Garth dug one big hole to accommodate both the tanks and the plumbing (instead of doing one hole for the tanks and then a parallel trench for the pipe to connect the pipes from each tank, as they did for the first catchment of this design, last year). Again, the tanks will be buried about half deep to prevent the water inside from freezing during the winter months.

This catchment is in the far northwestern corner of Spring Creek Basin, which boasts a tremendous and far-reaching view.

Digging and leveling and digging and leveling were the big missions of the day.

For the fine work of filling here and digging there, Mike wielded the shovel while Garth manned the mini excavator.

For those of you wondering just how Garth was going to get that machine out of that hole, there’s a little bit of a ramp that he left under the digger (bucket?). 🙂 Here, he was extending it a bit after we measured the length of the hole to ensure it would hold the five tanks. Two tanks are on the ground behind him, and before we left for the day, we unloaded the two from the flatbed.

More to come!

Wind and smoke and dust and … road work

14 06 2022

Good night, America.

Some people cuss. The above from me passes for a fairly mild epithet. It means that, like most everyone else, I’m worn down by these conditions … and then we got smoke. It never means much in practical terms, but prayers are with folks near Flagstaff, Arizona, who are dealing with the current Pipeline Fire – and two other nearby fires – which is the source of the smoke in the above pic.

And then there’s this little tidbit about the start of the fire, which makes actual bad words come to mind (after one has gotten over the idea that there really aren’t any words appropriate. I mean … good NIGHT!?).

And did I mention the wind? Gosh, when *haven’t* we had wind this year … this whole year?!

But did any of that stop our intrepid BLM expert equipment operator and all-around good guy Daniel from fixing the road to the next new water-catchment site so he and Mike and Garth can get equipment there tomorrow?

No. No, it did not. 🙂

There *were* some who didn’t necessarily appreciate the equipment transfer into Spring Creek Basin:

They’ll be glad of it, though, in the long run when we have another source of clean water for them. 🙂

Turn up the heat

13 06 2022

If this image of Terra seems to imply searing heat, mission accomplished (though it wasn’t quite that hot when it was taken). Pretty toasty out there … out here … all around the Southwest.

So it’s a good thing that our next water-catchment project starts today! Think cool thoughts for our BLM guys, Mike, Garth and Daniel! We’re gonna need it!


McKenna Peak is obvious. Not so obvious is the sliver of Temple Butte at back left.

The almost-full strawberry moon of June – which will be a supermoon when it IS full Tuesday (appearing full Sunday night through Wednesday; pic taken last night) – is the perfect topper. 🙂

On the fly

23 05 2022

The girls (Dundee, Aiyanna and Rowan) were feeling frisky with some cooler temperatures, and Buckeye was having a bit of a frustrating time keeping his young ladies in line. They ran one way, then started coming back around. I thought they were going to disappear below the rim of the hill, but then I realized they were coming up and would line up right past McKenna Peak and Temple Butte! I fumbled with the window control and barely got it down to raise my camera to my eye and try to focus as the girls thundered past.

I’m pretty stoked that the lovelies were in pretty nice focus. 🙂

(Randomly, this pic of our Sand Wash Basin beauties was NOT taken the same day as the pic yesterday. Because of other, more timely pix, I kept pushing the one that ran yesterday back on the schedule. This pic above, I took just a couple of days ago. 🙂 I thought about pushing IT back on the schedule … but really, you can’t go wrong highlighting these young lovelies, even on back-to-back days!)

Super flower blood moon eclipse!

16 05 2022

The full moon rises last night from beyond McKenna Peak and Temple Butte … already in the first phase of its lunar eclipse.

Our planet is just pretty damn cool. With an also super (get it) cool and awesome moon. 🙂


13 05 2022

This pic was taken Wednesday, the last truly terrible day of wind (so far, I hope). Though Corazon doesn’t look too battered in this single still image, I assure you, the wind WAS battering – as shown by the dust partially obscuring McKenna Peak and Temple Butte in the background.

Ground ‘n glow

9 05 2022

A little late-day excitement as a stallion keeps his mare away from another stallion.

Can’t go wrong with that glow … or that background … or those mustangs! 🙂

Visions of white

14 04 2022

Not many of the mustangs were visible yesterday, but I thought the snow deserved more than one pic before it melted and gave way to dry, brown slopes once again. Green is coming up, but slowly. 🙂

From Chrome’s Point looking northeast-ish across Spring Creek Basin – fresh snow and fresh tracks.

Looking up the Spring Creek arroyo to its source: McKenna Peak.

Hazy in the snow fog, McKenna Peak, submarine ridge and Brumley Point in the distance. And rich, wet, wonderful snow. Moisture much needed.

At rest

2 04 2022

Skywalker does seem to find some scenic napping locations. 🙂