Saturday, June 24, 2017

Sunset: There's a fire somewhere


It's a big deal that so many take for granted. Last time I was in San Diego picking up Kobae I went to get a drink of water and despite having lived in that house for 20 plus years I ask daughter Heather, "Where do you get your water?" Not sure if I could drink out of the sink or not. She hesitated and looked at me and I remembered how easy it is most places.

Not so here. At the lodge there are three kinds of water. Sink water comes from the well part way down the driveway, only 88 feet deep. But it's salty. You can shower, dishes, laundry and stuff like that. If you drink, make ice cubes, or cook with it, make sure it's something you want with salt. I have jugs on the front porch that I haul drinking water in from town when I go pick up critter food. Then there are the cisterns on each side of the lodge that collect rain water off the roof that I use for watering the plants along the porch and the cottonwood tree. This time of year the cottonwood tree takes six buckets of water per night to keep from shedding leaves. It takes less than a month to drain both cisterns in the summer of 90 to 100 every day.

Next door at Last Hurrah (part of Base Camp) water is pumped from the river into a pond just below the upper house. After settling for a few days back down the hill to a settling tank. From the settling tank through two commercial filters, a huge sand filter, and a house filter, into two holding tanks, and then to usage in the houses and hogans. You can overflow the settling tank if you're not watching the gauges. You can run out of water in the settling tank as you're pumping it into the holding tank and ruin the pump, if you're not watching the gauges. There are two holding tanks, at different elevations. You can link them together but if you're not watching you can flood the lower house and if you're sloppy of the whole process you can do all those things at the same time.

For the last three or four days I've been experimenting with different size hoses, different pumps, different start and stop times, trying to find a system that ran on it's own so I'm not captive standing there watching pressure valves and gauges light up and go dark and finally I made it through six hours of pumping with no lights coming on and I believe I now have such a system. There is also a tank in the garage to wash vehicles and use the shower if you get any chemicals on you. It's full. The settling tank is full. Both holding tanks are full. The pond is full. Since I've got the hoses strung I took my motorcycle ramps, put them on the tailgate and pushed the big brown tank up into the back of the truck and went over to pump water out of the pond, fill up the tank, return and have now filled up the cisterns.

I will never take turning on the tap at any sink without appreciating the luxury.

The Critters

I've tried all kinds of objects to shrink the skunk hole where I feed the spotted skunks after the raccoons tore out part of the decking to get at the skunks hot dogs. I measured it and then called my friend Ivan "The Terrible" as he's been called for all the mountain lions and others he's taken during his hunting days, most with a bow. He has a woodworking shop and he cut me a piece of wood that fit exact and I didn't even have to hammer nails. It's tight and just when I thought I'd finally beaten the raccoons at one place I noticed the rock deck was sinking and when I dug it up they had been digging a tunnel to get at the hot dogs so I dug it out, cemented some of it, and put the rocks back.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Some Stuff

In this first picture, this is what activity looks like just off the front porch when the temperature is 109. If you use your imagination you might see a fox chasing a rabbit and they are both walking. Then Kobae passes them.
In the second picture it become apparent why my grocery bill is so high. The two cups in the back are because this type of refrigerator has a defect that it leaks in two places in the back after so many years. Upper left, upper right, and middle right are Kobae's romaine. Middle left is my turkey bacon and some of it to Jax. Lower left and right in the drawers are Kobae cucumbers and green peppers and on the door and in the middle left drawer are fox, ringtail, and skunk hot dogs. I'm noticing an absence of food for me. In the hall way it's all bird food, sunflower seeds, and Kit&Kaboodle for other critters. In the cabinet, bananas for Kobae.
The third picture is a collection of items I tried to block the raccoons from getting into the skunks hole and taking their hotdogs. It finally worked. The fourth picture are the porch rocks settling because somebody is digging a tunnel under them trying to get to the skunks hole.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Monday Evening

Jax and I headed into the finger canyons below the Anti-Cline with the eventual goal of hiking back to the Three Finger canyons where we've seen a lot of deer lately. Just before we broke off to switch canyons bone fragments began showing up in the creek so instead we followed it to the end. Every year the mountain lion comes down twice from the Anti-Cline, takes a deer and then goes back up. Every year, twice, I find the remains, but not so far this year. If this was a deer, it was a pretty small one. On the way out we came across a small spring which Jax took a drink of but from the color of the ground around it and the look on Jax's face it's not hard to tell there's a little salt in it.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Sunday Evening

With no shortage of pumps and hoses Last Hurrah is finally maxed out for water in the pond, the garage tank, the settling tank, and two holdings tanks and despite the high temperatures the river is going down so it appears our potential flooding issue is gone.

Saturday Evening


Jax and I spend most of the evening at Last Hurrah running hoses, pumps, and checking warning lights.


I'm still working on the water system at Last Hurrah. The pond has to be filled, water pumped into the settling tank, then 3,000 gallons pumped into the two holding tanks after going through the commercial filters, sand filter, and the house filters. There are lights coming on everywhere when there's too little water in a specific tank, when there's too much water in a specific tank, and overflows from one tank to another. It takes 45 minutes to fill the settling tank and 30 minutes to drain it all the while watching for warning lights to come on. On Friday Jax and I spent some time at Last Hurrah filling the pond and beginning to work on the number of pumps and hoses that will run the right amounts to keep any lights from coming on so I'm not just sitting in the water room watching for warnings.

Unfinished Business

A week or two ago when I got injured from a fall on the hike back to Last Hurrah we heard, but never saw, a bullfrog down in a mini cavern. The water was almost gone and I mentioned that if we didn't get rain in the next week or so I'd return, rescue the bullfrog and take it to the Last Hurrah pond. On Friday Rachel, Elsie, Jax, and I visited the almost empty spring site and found no sign of the bullfrog. There were no tracks in the mud and fresh moths floating on top leading me to believe the bullfrog had found an alternate location of water on it's own.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

The River

Some days it goes up a couple feet and the next day down the same. What I've been hoping for is those types of temperature changes. I don't want a hot spell where all the snow pack melts and the river floods the garage next door at Last Hurrah and so far it's been about perfect with the river maxing out about four feet below flood stage. However looking at next week's temps it's all between 104 and 107 so if there's much snow left up there the threat will be this coming week.

Critter Stuff

Long time ago I said if I ever did a testimonial for anything it would be Kit & Kaboodle, the cat food that everyone out here eats, to include some birds. A couple nights ago I heard Jax growling and looked out the front door and there was a mule deer eating out of the Kit & Kaboodle bowl that I leave out in Kobae's pen for the foxes. At least they are getting some food now without the raccoons interfering. The raccoons still drain two bowls per night. I've been nervous since the beginning of feeding hot dogs to the foxes that they might get the skunks or ringtails by hanging around more. I do have less ringtails but I think it's because I don't have a safe place to leave them food that the raccoons can't get to but I'm working on it. Got the skunk hole fixed up so the raccoons can't get in there and live is going pretty well. The biggest previous threat was the rock squirrels who would try and break into the rooms, chew car wires, and steal Kobae's food but now Jax patrols the parking lot with regularity. He knows it's his job and there have been no issues. When Kobae eats Jax stands on the porch next to him and not a rock squirrel can be seen in any direction. Yes, there's a new sheriff in town and his name is Desert Dog.

Just Normal Stuff (for Base Camp anyway)

Jax and I had a schedule going of hiking each evening but then on Sunday water got low in the holding tanks at Last Hurrah so had to pump some more water into the tanks for guests and the process is tedious. On Monday two guys called wanting to play disc golf. I told them their Honda Civic wouldn't make it but they were motivated so they found some new shuttle company that drops bikers off at the trails and got them to agree to get them a ride to Base Camp. However halfway up Hurrah the shuttle company changed their mind and dropped them off so they walked the last four miles or so to Base Camp. I called Canyonlands to see if they'd pick them up by boat but the river was closed due to 55 mile an hour gusts. Tag A Long it turns out sold their river operations to Canyonlands. So, I went to town a couple days early to give them a ride and we missed hiking again. On Tuesday temps went from the 90s to the 70s so it was a perfect day to finally get the garage organized and I didn't finish until dark. On Wednesday I worked all day at Last Hurrah cleaning and organizing the houses to sync with Base Camp so I had ample amounts of everything that is needed at both places. Jax and I ran across these two rocks that look like Kobae. I'd noticed the one on the right before but not the left.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Friday, June 9, 2017

Friday Evening Hike

On Thursday Jax and I met with all the guest at the Wind Caves and then some of us headed out towards Jackson Hole to look around where I found the scraper and spear head but didn't come up with anything new. On Friday evening Jax and I hiked around the property looking for a new place to obtain fossils.