Tribute to a public-lands servant

30 09 2022

Connie Clementson, manager of Tres Rios Field Office in Dolores, is retiring after 37 years of public-lands service. For the last 11 years, she has been the head of BLM public lands in Southwest Colorado. We first met her at the 2011 Spring Creek Basin roundup when she was still with the Forest Service and served here as the then-acting district ranger for the Dolores District of San Juan National Forest. We’re glad she was able to finish her three-plus decades of service here in our corner of Colorado.

Our herd manager, Mike Jensen, gets a lot of the well-deserved credit for our recent management accomplishments in Spring Creek Basin, and we know that’s because he has had the support of the top boss – Connie – and her confidence that he was making best decisions for our herd.

Monday, Tif Rodriguez, long-time advocate for Spring Creek Basin mustangs as well as for protecting rights and rights-of-way for horsemen and horse (and other pack stock such as mules) use on public lands, and I went to Tres Rios Field Office, where Joe Manning, assistant field office manager (who also has a lot to do with our confidence-inspiring herd management), had scheduled us into a rare gap in Connie’s last-week schedule. Daniel Chavez, range tech who works with Mike (and Garth Nelson), joined us in Mike’s absence (he was returning from a trip with his daughter).

We presented Connie with a photo of Spring Creek Basin mustangs and a letter from our Disappointment Valley Mustangs group (which includes Pat and Frank Amthor, David and Nancy Holmes, and Kathryn Wilder, in addition to me and Tif) in appreciation for her years of service – specifically here and especially for our mustangs. While we chatted, she reminded us that she said 11 years ago at the roundup that she didn’t ever want to do that again in Spring Creek Basin. And because of her 100 percent support of the PZP fertility-control program in the basin, we haven’t.

In the photo above, from right to left: Joe Manning, Connie Clementson, yours truly, Tif Rodriguez and Daniel Chavez.

We’re so grateful for Connie’s leadership and partnership these many years, and we wish all the best to Connie (and her family) during her well-earned retirement!





Before ye go

17 09 2022

That mustang! That light! That place they call home!

When I first walked out to Corazon’s band, I had visions of getting the whole band in a frame that included McKenna Peak and Temple Butte and some amazing clouds left by a passing storm (that remained southeast of us and didn’t pass over us at all). … In reality, I got butts and faces hidden in grass. 🙂 Which isn’t a terrible thing when there’s grass to be grazed!

It was very accommodating of Corazon to eventually give me a look before our area was draped in the shadow of the western rimrock edge of the basin. … And then they went off to evening water, and it was another day to mark as divine.





Welcome anniversary

11 09 2022

Usually, I make a point of culling pix of the horses with their jaws working because it’s usually less than flattering. But in some cases lately, it’s just one more way to illustrate the good grass available to the horses right now.

It’s also a good way to illustrate/celebrate Rowan’s, Aiyanna’s and Dundee’s one-year anniversary of arriving in Spring Creek Basin from Sand Wash Basin!

Last year, we had monsoon rains, too, which also provided a wonderful and very welcome relief of drought conditions in the form of growing grasses and refilled ponds (it’s kind of (!) a big deal because it had been a number of years since we’d had any kind of monsoon season). The timing meant that in September, we were able to welcome the girls to their new range in high style – and literally high grass. That’s also something to celebrate. 🙂





Gal pals

9 09 2022

The three grey amigas: Houdini, Alegre and Maia. Never far from each other.

And I guess that Houdini didn’t do a FULL dunk in a pond; this pic was taken the same day as yesterday’s post’s pic. This side of her was perfectly clean. 🙂





What the heart wants

31 08 2022

Our Hollywood is all that shines with classic goodness. 🙂





Happiness is …

27 08 2022

I’m not normally a person given to repeating quotes, but I saw this one the other day, and it resonated with me deeply:

“The grand essentials to happiness in this life are something to do, something to love and something to hope for.” Attributed to Joseph Addison.

For me, happiness centers around mustangs, in particular, the mustangs of Spring Creek Basin and Disappointment Valley. They give me so much more than mere happiness. 🙂





Full to the brim

22 08 2022

Have I mentioned the recent GREEN in Spring Creek Basin? Yes? Oh, good. … ‘Cuz it’s there. 🙂

Along with a little of this:

Two perspectives of Spring Creek, flowing with rainwater, the day before yesterday. The first image is directly as the road crosses the creekbed/arroyo; the second is just to the right – water flowing toward us. Interestingly, the road was dry to this point, but clearly it had rained in the northern and eastern (at least) regions of Spring Creek Basin. By this point, the major arroyos of the basin have converged (though there are still some that feed the creek’s westward drainage). The water was neither high (deep) nor terribly fast, but I didn’t cross. There are times to respect Mother Nature’s obstacles, and I deemed this to be one of those times.

Also a good bit of this:

This is the pond near the hill we call Flat Top. It’s rare to see it so full of water that it backs up so far to the right.

And this is the east-pocket pond, way back in the far eastern region of Spring Creek Basin, also full to the gills.

The pond pix were taken the day before those of Spring Creek running, which was the day after I got soaked going into the basin and getting caught in a lovely little drenching that did NOT go ’round. 😉

All the ponds are so excellently full; the above two are just examples.

So grateful. So very, very grateful.





Almost never

17 08 2022

Flat Top, Round Top, submarine ridge, McKenna Peak and Temple Butte are all visible … under rain. 🙂

Sweet, blessed rain.

(As for the title of this post … we *almost never* get rolling clouds like that. … Thank goodness we *sometimes* get clouds like that. :))





Another bit of rainbow magic

8 08 2022

As I was transfixed by this sight of a couple of bands gathered around one of the ponds in Spring Creek Basin, another magical sight was forming over my right shoulder.

Sometimes, you see the things you need most to see … just when you need to see them. And any worries or anxieties melt away in light of the vision before you.

A wide-open view of a wide-open place, crowned by the very best light.

And did I mention that the 4 o’clock is blooming again? No? Well … it is. 🙂





Just a sliver of bright

24 07 2022

At least somebody’s getting rain. 🙂 Our forecast perks up with moisture in another couple of days, but we wouldn’t mind it sooner than later. Cooler temps ARE much appreciated.