Sunday, March 18, 2018

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Some Stuff, Some Confusing, Some Not So Much

I'm struggling. I've battled the hawks for so many years and the ravens for all of this year. I bought the hawks for what they do to the songbirds that visit the lodge every day singing their butts off for a mate. I've despised the ravens for attacking the nests of songbirds and torturing the young in front of the parents so much so that having learned the lesson of the Sharp Shinned hawk winter battle years ago I've found you don't really get their attention until you go to their house. I've mapped the three pair of raven nests closest to the lodge should that day of battle come. While studying them I recently read they don't nest in the same place twice so it may be a long effort that requires finding the new location of their nests every year so I'm prepared should there be an incident. Now one of my enemies has killed another enemy. Are they my frienemy as the Sharp-shinned became years ago before they killed him too?

For the last few months the water pressure at the lodge has been dropping and if two people anywhere in the lodge try to take a shower at the same time, they can't. We've ruled out one thing after another and when all is said and done it appears the well is going dry. The guy that drilled it found water at 44 feet and he drilled all the way to 88 feet where he hit bedrock. During the seven or eight years of Camelot Lodge and now the 11 plus years of Base Camp the 44 feet in the middle however wide it is has been used up.

So, the temporary answer is to put in a 1750 gallon cistern. The well pump will be active during the night at it's slow rate of pulling water up and fill the cistern. The cistern will have it's own pump and push water into the lodge on the day and times when it's busiest so there will be sufficient water pressure. But, barring a whole bunch of rain that finds it's way 44 feet down, the lodge will run out of water at some point.

 I have considerable water rights with a mile of river frontage but because the water level and the beach move around a lot there's no consistent place to put a pump anywhere close to the lodge. So I'm about to become a short haul trucker from the pond or boat ramp to the cistern. I'd prefer the pond where it can sit for a couple days and settle making the water much cleaner as it goes into the cistern.
Business is way up. Sometime this week Base Camp will pass the revenue of all of last year between cash collected and booked. Last year almost doubled the year before and that will increase the water usage at the lodge and with a pump going all the time may put strain on the nearly new power grid of solar panels and batteries.

Sandra called and wanted to stay in the female hogan at Last Hurrah. I told her she needed a vehicle with some clearance to get here. She said her friends told her that the big truck she has wouldn't make it. Me, figuring she had a Ford 350 or similar I told her the propane truck makes it here every year, the septic truck does, a school bus with non retractable stairs and two 30 foot toy trailers showed up so unless she had a cement mixer on the back of her truck she'd be ok.

On Monday Sandra showed up in her truck. I misunderstood when Sandra said she had a big truck. It turns out she had a BIG TRUCK. No problem she said.

Wednesday evening.
I've never stayed at Last Hurrah, anywhere, not even one night. I'm pumping water at both places though tonight and I'm concerned about an overflow in the Last Hurrah tanks so I'm mostly staying over at Last Hurrah tonight though driving over to the lodge every few hours.

It's nice.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Base Camp Disc Golf Tournament

It's a biggie. Both properties are full and there are tents all over the place at the boat ramp, gravel pit, and for the first time ever we've rented out the upgraded boat house. It's pretty cool. With 22 extra holes added for the tournament it's a five to seven hour round for most players Linny and I have placed two coolers on the course with soft drinks and beer in them. At the conclusion of Day One, it's gone pretty well and most are really happy with the new basket placement. At some point we'll evaluate the results and add another 18 holes or perhaps 36 without going to the main house area and disturbing the birthing grounds of the big horn and mule deer.

Things You Just Know 2

It's Saturday the morning of the start of the disc golf tournament. The players are gathering for the players meeting and the tournament is about to start. A player comes to me and says "Tom, there's a dead hawk on number seven." Linny and I grab our gloves and shovel and jump in a side by side. There are multiple wounds on the back and then once it fell to ground additional wounds on the chest. We bring the Coopers to the lodge for burial in our wildlife vs wildlife memorial. Linny digs the grave and we mark the spot, knowing it won't be the last time. There will be others.

On Sunday morning the ravens do not show up.

Things You Just Know

Just prior to Linny and I going to San Diego to get Kobae there was a Cooper's hawk each morning hanging around trying to pick off a song bird by the feeding areas. Each morning I would go drive him off but they are pretty persistent. On Monday when we got back I didn't see him. What I did see were four ravens up on the hill doing their Happy Dance. They strut back and forth, heads propped up, feeling the pride. I've seen this before when they've raided bird nest and flung their young about before eating them and rubbing it in to the parents who are trying to fight them off.

For the mornings of Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday the Cooper's hawk doesn't show up but the ravens do and strut their happy dance on the ridge, the conspiracy of ravens. Something has died. The ravens are too happy.

On Thursday Linny and I head up the hill with a shovel and gloves to bury whatever the ravens are celebrating. It must be something special as they are flying high and then diving down one after the other in aerial celebration.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

The Knack of Haydukers

There might be ten people hiking the Hayduke trail all year and I just have a knack of running into them on the once a week or so I go to town. I invite them out to the lodge to stay at one of the hogans and sometimes do water drops for them down Lockhart Basin.

The disc golf tournament is this weekend and it's packed. On Wednesday Linny and I went to town filling the truck up with water and propane. On the way back we run across the first two Haydukers of the years and invite them to stay at the lodge. Really good guys and on Thursday morning at first light we say goodbye to Tacota and Norm.

This year the tournament is 40 holes each day with 22 new baskets added. When you play #31 at Hull's Place you're about three quarters of a mile away from the lodge so we've set up tables and chairs and refreshments. On our way to town Wednesday evening for the second drive that day we run across five more Haydukers and invite them to stay at the lodge and not long after the first two leave they're off on the trail.
At the store Linny and I buy $300 worth of beer and soda for the Hull's Place, Hole #31, break before heading back for the last nine holes to the lodge. I have Linny push all the beer up to the checker and I'm walking behind her with the soda. When people stare at her I tell them she has a drinking problem, it's not severe yet but I'm getting concerned.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Return of "The Man"

I can't get Kobae out of the truck by myself. He's too heavy. I put two straw bales up against the truck and after 30 minutes of thinking about it Kobae came out on his own. After he'd moved over into the sun Linny said "Look Tom, Kobae has a smile on his face." I think she's right. Welcome home my friend.