Sunset struttin’

22 07 2021

Tenaz and a bachelor from another band had a little dustup recently while establishing territory between their bands.

I like the very tip of Tenaz’s flipped forelock highlighted by the low sun. But though the dust adds some photographic “drama,” I sure would rather have rain and moisture in the ground with less dust.





Backward glance

21 07 2021

Skywalker peers back at me as if wondering whether he should give up the location of his pals, just around the shoulder of the hill he’s on.

It’s OK, fella; I was already pretty sure they were there. 🙂

(I had set my camera on the wrong white balance setting by mistake – poor ol’ eyeballs don’t see as well as they used to at close range – and the results came out quite at bit more *blue* than I usually like. But as warm as the day’s temperature was in reality, I find that I like the “cooler” scene. … A little wishful thinking, maybe!)





On storm watch

20 07 2021

Winona naps while Mariah grazes under a stormy, clearing sky.





Stallions’ strut

19 07 2021

Maiku is Corazon’s long-time lieutenant. Every now and then, Corazon still has to confirm his general status.

Also, there was a pronghorn buck in the area, giving his warning bark. I think that just gave the boys the opportunity to show off for the girls. 🙂





Water catchment: phase 4.75

18 07 2021

Sooner than I thought it would happen, Garth Nelson emailed me early in the morning last week and said he and Jim Cisco were coming out to install the gutter across the front of the catchment structure!

They beat me to the basin, and this was happening when I got there!

The propanel roof sheets are just halfway across, but with rain in this past week’s forecast – for later in the week at the time – Garth decided that it was a priority to get the gutter in place.

The ends of the pipes supporting the whole structure had to be cut a bit to make room for the gutter pieces, which were built/formed/constructed by a local business in Cortez. The guys did NOT bring that cool battery-powered band saw with which they were all completely in love, so Jim (pictured) and Garth had to make do with the ol’ sawzall. It worked; it just took longer (and went through a few blades).

Level says perfect!

Garth put a couple of beads of caulk between each new section of gutter.

Jim and Garth drilled holes at intervals in order to then run long screws to attach the gutters to the steel purlins.

And these little metal cylinders (held by Garth) acted as spacers to keep the gutters a uniform width.

They had to cut the ends of each of the steel pipes (four) to enable the gutter to be flush to the purlins.

And then with their great and amazing strength, they were able to break off the ends. 🙂

In no time (it seemed to me), they were down (up!) to the last gutter piece!

When the gutter pieces were attached all along the front of the catchment, it was time to install the pipes from the gutter to the tanks. Holes had to be drilled above each tank to put the pieces in the gutter to attach the pipes.

A little vertical …

… and a little horizontal! (These pieces actually slope a bit. :))

And it looked like this! These are the first two tanks, piped. Jim is tightening the fitting in the bottom of the gutter.

Here are three of the four tanks piped, and you can see the valve-culvert lids in place.

Then … things got really exciting. Jim drove out to the basin in his weed-spraying rig, which has the 200-gallon water tank on it. When the gutter was in place and the pipes were installed, he pulled up alongside the eastern end of the structure and started pumping water up to the top of the roof.

And this happened:

And you know what I did: I bawled like a happy baby. 🙂

Garth marked a few places that were leaking, to be recaulked.

Overall, it worked well, and I WISH that I could attach a recording of the SOUND of water trickling through the pipes and swirling into the tanks.

This all happened Monday, and early, early Wednesday morning, it rained. Again Wednesday night, it rained. 🙂

Now, we just have to finish the installation of the propanel sheets across the rest of the roof, pipe the fourth tank and install the trough (I think). Our very big project is very nearly complete!





Mohawk’d mudder

17 07 2021

Kwana was still damp from an early morning rain a few days ago when I found him and his band among the trees.

He might be experiencing a bit of humidity frizz. 🙂





A few good horses

16 07 2021

Maybe we’re going to get some rain soon. We can hope.

In the meanwhile, the horses are doing fine, and there’s a relative wealth of “feed” in the basin for them. Water is in lesser quantity, but there are seeps in multiple arroyos, and water trickles through rock layers to the surface in a couple of other arroyos/canyons. They know their home and where to find water, and the humans are watching closely.





Taking a break

15 07 2021

Whew, working in the heat makes us sleepy. Time for a nap. 🙂





Special update

14 07 2021

This screen capture from my Kindle showing the rain all over our wonderful (and parched) Southwest Colorado region stands alone and is worthy in itself of relief and rejoicing. 🙂 But, even as the post immediately below this one claimed to be updated as to the new catchment project, as of Monday afternoon (I drafted and scheduled it on Sunday), it was already outdated again. 🙂

So – spoiler alert – Garth Nelson and Jim Cisco came Monday and installed the gutter pieces all across the front of the new catchment and installed pipes to three of the four tanks, AND tested it with 200 gallons of water pumped up and sprayed over the roof (which now covers more than half the structure). Daniel Chavez and his wife, Destiny, had their baby (!), and Mike Jensen is engaged in less interesting but also important office work, and Garth wanted to get the gutter in place to start catching water and storing it before he heads north for a couple of weeks on a fire detail. … !!! Can you say perfect timing?!

So this morning, when I awoke to the musical and wonderful and what-the-heck-is-that-strange-noise sound of rain on my firewood box roof (also propanel, interestingly enough), I. Was. STOKED! 🙂 I’ve already cried to see the water flowing into the gutter from the water Garth and Jim sprayed up on the roof – and you’ll see it, too, when I can get the post composed – and this … well, let me just say there might have been some more moisture this morning, flowing inside the house. 🙂

Huge thanks again to all our BLM folks, for the roles they’ve played in every step of this process … to catch rainwater for our mustangs. 🙂 And thanks, of course, to Mother Nature, for the RAIN. Such a blessed relief!

(P.S. Spring Creek Basin is a bit eastish of the pin in the map above. And at 7:38 a.m. Colorado time, the sprinkles are only now slowing. It’s been raining since well before light.)





Water catchment: phase 4.5

14 07 2021

With this post, the blog and reality are caught up and meshed!

The guys showed up with the flatbed full of purlins – the last purlins required to weld to the roof structure on which to screw down the propanel sheets – and backed it right into the last section.

It was hot. Already. But they still had welding to do, which meant leather and Nomex and helmets for safety. Which meant – did I mention already? – hot.

Bonus: Backing the flatbed in under the structure meant that the purlins were close to where the guys hefted them into place on the steel pipes, and I had a higher vantage from which to take documentary photos. 🙂 AND – on which to help hold the purlins steady (with my great and amazing strength!) while the guys welded them into place on either end. I’m tall, but I found it helpful to use one of the readily available rocks around to stand on for a couple extra inches to hold each of the purlins. The flatbed gave me a couple of extra FEET.

WIN!

You’ve seen the guys weld in multiple previous posts, so with this pic, fast forward a bit: All the purlins are welded in place across the whole roof structure! … So what the heck are those BLM’ers doing now?!

The last/top purlin is to Garth’s right. The pipe Daniel’s working on is the west-end pipe of the roof structure. (Note: There’s currently a fair amount of “extra,” which means that we can add purlins and propanel in the future for an even bigger roof surface.) Whatever they’re doing, it has the undivided attention of all three of us!

Our guys are craftsmen, and they’re rightly proud of their work. So Daniel “signed” it in beads of weld. 🙂 That’s Garth in the pic, “chipping” the welds flat.

And he put the year on it, too. Forget the trials of 2020; 2021 is the year we’ll remember as the origin of the basin’s third water catchment for the mustangs.

We’ve thrown around a couple of name ideas for this particular catchment. It’s in the eastern end of wildcat valley (my name), beyond what we call wildcat spring. Wildcat catchment? With the new shade from the propanel, we were able to eat lunch right there – instead of up the hill under a tree. The whole structure is kind of a box. Lunchbox catchment? But I think we might have a winner here: BLM’ers marching, leading lines across the foreground … Abbey Road catchment, anyone? 🙂 (Hey, we do like to laugh!)

Daniel got to work with the zz-zz.

And Garth got to work with the zz-zz.

Now I want to take you on a bit of a walk around the project, so you can see it from multiple directions.

This is basically at the southwestern corner looking northeastish.

Looking a bit more eastish. The road is just to my left.

Here, the road is just below me (you can see it at lower left … and as it continues on around the loop right in the center of the pic), and we’re looking southeastish toward McKenna Peak and Temple Butte.

An even bigger view … from near our previous lunch spot. 🙂

And this is looking back to the southish (ever so slightly southwestish). That’s Filly Peak in the background, and if you know where to look, you can see the top of the tank at the main, original water catchment in Spring Creek Basin. 🙂

Did I mention that it was hot? There might be some clouds over the horizons in these pix, but that didn’t mean any of those clouds were over our heads, over the basin. Hopefully, Mother Nature will take some pity on us before the next work day.

With that, we’re all caught up, and the blog reflects reality. Next steps: Finishing the propanel across the rest of the roof structure and installing the gutter across the front and the pipes from it to the tanks!