Thursday, February 21, 2019

The Days

Quickly counting down to the start of The Season. We hadn't seen anybody for a week or so and then three vehicles not connected pulled up within five minutes of each other for bathroom, directions, and or to look at rooms. Same thing happened the next day.

Jax and I hike every day for about an hour and we're getting back into it. He's healing and getting a little crazier each day. it snows most evenings and melts in the afternoons, way more on south facing slopes than north facing. Not hard to look at pictures and tell which is which.

In the mornings the first thing I hear are the ravens talking to each other and shortly after the arrival of the ravens the songbirds know there won't be any hawks and they break out into song. The warmth is coming, the forecast changing, just a few more days, the songbirds will be looking for mates, and every one, all the little people will be doing the same. The ringtails, foxes, raccoons, skunks, and by late spring there will be babies everywhere. The big horn and mule deer made the selections back in the fall and in a few months they'll be more of them. I'm ready. I miss them. I see a few each evening but it's cold and nobody hangs around long. It's hot dogs and Kit&Kaboodle and then they're off. I don't take it personal. When it's not snowing at night the stars and planets are brighter than ever.

When we start to hike Jax always takes a drop, facing north, smells a few things. comes over to me and puts his paws up on my waist and licks my hand to thank me for the walk, then we're off. Use to be that somewhere soon into the walk happiness would overwhelm him and it was like he found crack. Suddenly he'd take off running, doing circles, zig zags, and then jumps into the air. Since the injury that hasn't happened. A few days ago he just couldn't help it. Shortly after his 30 seconds of crazy he was limping again.

Whenever Jax and I hike out to the Base Camp sign there are ten or so ravens gathered around the dead cow and one Golden Eagle walking around it while all the ravens are talking. It's like somebody was killed in a gun fight in the old days and while the Marshal is out checking the body in the middle of the street all the townspeople are gathered around murmuring. I can hear them talking and then when Jax and I come up out of the driveway by the sign they all quit like we shouldn't know the secret. I don't speak Raven.....maybe. I don't want to say for sure in case they're reading the blog.
Jax and I walked over to Last Hurrah garage today in the wind and flurries to turn the generator on. Only a few more weeks before Donn, the solar guy gets here and I'm dumping another $25,000 into solar next door. Donn's dad Ken was the solar guy before he passed a few years ago. At the memorial I heard one of the funniest stories ever. Ken drank a bit, ok, all the time. He use to go down the river before there were rules. Was hard to find anybody that wanted to go with him. He went hundreds of times. On one journey down he had a few guests with him and two BLM Rangers. He never really got drunk but the glaze never left his eyes either. While camped on shore having lunch a rattle snake came into the pit area. Ken ask if anyone wanted to learn how to catch a rattle snake and everyone agreed they did not. Ken said "Ok, I'll show you." Ken went around behind the snake and then ran in to snatch it by the neck but it felt the vibration of Ken's weight on the ground running and turned at the moment Ken reached down to grab it and bit him good.

The BLM Rangers were mortified. One of them, a bit hurried said "We've got to figure out how to get Ken to a hospital." One of the guests who knew him best and was telling the story said "Ken will be fine. We've got to figure out how to get the rattle snake to a Betty Ford clinic."

Walking back from Last Hurrah today we walked by what is my favorite basket on the new course set up in a gap in the rocks and my favorite tee box right after that which comes out of Hull's old place.

I don't see Michelle much. She wakes in the mornings and it's not long until I hear her Jeep leaving. She's off wandering around the property looking for a project. Something that isn't quite right that needs to be moved. Something broken, lying about, abandoned, not cared for, that needs to be fixed and have it's own space. Sometimes two things that are broken and can become whole again by being together. She'll find a can with no label on it, half filled with something, put a brush into it, and start to spread the liquid on her new project. When the can is empty she'll say "What do you think was in it?" I'll say "I don't know." She'll say "It looks better where it is now." She's right.

Over the next few days the new book, chair, shelf, table, lamp, picture, or things that I don't know what they were when she found them and now know even less about them since she's fused them and liquified them with something, at a location, then a few days later a different location, sometimes a third, and occasionally a fourth. Then one day it doesn't move anymore. It has a place and it is home.

She seems happy.

Michelle sent me a picture a couple days ago of when she first got Jax and then another one not long after he moved out here and went from designer dog to desert dog. I hardly see the difference.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

The Weather

A few days ago a storm came over Dead Horse Point and has been coming ever since. The weather forecast for the next ten days is the coldest of the year and more snow. The snow pack levels in the Rockies are the second highest I've seen since I've been here. The beach will probably be gone in April and there will be mosquitoes this year. Last year the water never reached into the tamarisk trees and the mosquitoes never hatched. I think we had three or four days of mosquitoes. and the beach that didn't go under until late May and was only gone for three weeks will be gone a couple months this time. My plan was to go get Kobae the end of the month but the temps currently show the high will be 32 that day and the low 8 meaning Kobae won't leave the laundry room until he sees temps in the 50s so kind of pointless to get him then but I'll have him here for the tournament. He's pretty popular. So, not predicting the weather future, here is today, Tuesday morning February 19th.

All About Healing

For the last week Michelle has been working on broken projects. She likes to fix things that are broken and give them life and a place. It's very touching. I've been working on the booking sites and rechecking all bookings to make sure I didn't miss anybody. There are a lot of bookings. It's way up

Each weekend a few people show up to work on the second 18 hole disc golf course. The tournament is sold out but I'd be surprised if they turned down anybody that drove all the way out here. I've lost a few camping spots with the new fairways and baskets so I'm going to have to go out a couple days before the tournament and set up new camping sites. Day One will be 18 holes of the first course in the morning and 18 holes of the second course in the afternoon and then for Sunday Doug has made a Safari course of 20 holes out of the combination of the two courses.

For Jax and I it's about the healing. We hike'd 15 minutes the first day, 20 the second, and he can do about 35 minutes or so now. He still yelps a couple times a day if he forgets he's injured and runs or wants to play but it's getting better and I think it will be a complete recovery.

I saw a hawk this morning at the across the driveway feeding area. Two ravens came and landed, the hawk took off, and now all three feeding places are filled with birds singing and eating. I can't believe it.

The dead cow when I eventually found it again had lost about a 4th of it's mass and now it's down to about half. Every dead cow I've come across over the years has been broken through by a critter of some sort and the insides eaten, but not this one. The Golden Eagles took it's eyes the first few days and nothing else has been touched. There are fox tracks, coyote tracks, and bobcat tracks around it but nothing has been able to get through that tough hide. Over the last week the ravens have set up camp next to it and it's sort of a worship shrine of some sort with six to eight ravens watching it all the time.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

A Few Things

I don't waste a trip to town. Take trash, empty propane bottles, empty water jugs, or some combination in with me and bring back full propane, water, groceries and or wood. Walking up Monday morning to snow it was all gone in the afternoon. Three ringtails are back in the rafters most nights, at least two skunks every night under the porch, a few raccoons, including the one that's so big he could be a small bear, and a fox here and there.
Before I left I had begun feeding the songbirds as close to large bushes as I could to protect them from the hawks. Something I never imagined happened while I was gone. The ravens found and have decided they like the Kit&Kaboodle leftovers in the fox bowl out in Kobae's pen. Each morning at early daylight two ravens land by the bowl and begin chowing down. Immediately all the songbirds show up and begin eating at Tiffany's #1 closest to the bowl. When the ravens leave, the songbirds leave. Then I realized that the ravens have been killing the hawks with such frequency everyone knows. It's working. Not a single hawk has come to the feeding areas while the ravens are here and only one small quick flying sharp-shinned has come at all. I would never have imagined the ravens being my allies in the battle against the raptors.


Two pretty cool things happened on Monday. Jax limped outside to pee and as he walked by Michelle's Jeep he smelled a squirrel. He stood up on two legs with his top legs on the tire, smelling limping round the Jeep, under the Jeep, then he stood in front of the Jeep with his tail wagging wanting someone to open the hood. I did, and lifted him up, and he was Jax again.

Later in the day I put my gloves on to begin unloading wood and Jax got all excited thinking we were getting ready to glove fight. He's coming back only a week after all the damage.

Monday, February 11, 2019

Monday Morning

Home (Jax uses up another life)

I got back Thursday night at midnight Moab time. When I got out of the truck, gathered a few things, and closed the truck door, the interior lights went out. I looked up and despite having lived here 12 plus years I was startled at all the stars in the sky. Gone only a week, but a focused city week, I had forgotten what the sky looks like. I wanted to cry it's so spectacular.

I went through Terrible Herbst gas station on the way back and there were 20 or 30 cars at the pumps. I felt a little better about the place for the guy who's idea it was. Last week I was pretty sure he had been taken outside and publicly executed in front of the Headquarters building but seeing this, perhaps he's just in a corporate jail cell somewhere serving 20 years.
 Michelle called me a couple nights before I got back to say she had run over or hit Jax with the side by side. At some point in the night Michelle went out to move the side by side from the front door and last saw Jax on the front porch. When she backed up she heard something snap and him yelping and got out to see him limping away. Taking him to the vet in the morning he has two cracked ribs and a broken shoulder. It's so painful to even pick him up to put him on the bed but in just the four days I've been back he's getting a little better everyday. The first video is Friday and the second Sunday.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Best Friend and Hiking Buddy

While Michelle and Jax are watching the lodge I've been pulling ten hour shifts with daughter Heather at San Diego Indoor cleaning up some stuff but it doesn't mean I don't have some time to take Linny to school and check in on my hiking buddy who has been stuck in the garage under the heat lamp for five days of rain.

Working in the Rain

Every day Heather and I work together at San Diego Indoor Soccer and every day it rains with the pumps going constantly draining water off the fields. Most outdoor fields cancel games when it rains but folks that have been playing at San Diego Indoor for the last 30 years no we play rain or shine. It's interesting to see somebody kick the ball down the field and it just stops in a puddle. Every one comes in soaked but you can tell they're having a great time.


I got a call from Let's Play the indoor soccer company I founded 32 years ago and retired from seven or so years ago asking me to come back in for a week or two in San Diego to solve an issue that had come up that I have extensive experience at. During the drive to San Diego from Moab I stopped for gas 12 miles short of the Nevada/California border. I was stunned at the size of this gas stop called Terrible's Road House. There were 96 pumps and when I hit it around 3am I was the only one there. I walked around inside the massive building that housed what was more like a mall with various shops for tourists to include an auto parts store. There were five employees, one at the counter and four that were cleaning. The only store front that was open at 3am was a large beef jerkey store with a counter about as long as an average Subway store selling exclusively beef jerkey. There was one guy parked in the lot changing into a suit. I waited for ten minutes to get a picture of a car at the gas pumps but nobody else came while I was there.

Ferrell Gas

On 31 Jan I changed propane gas companies. $1 a gallon less, 2500 gallons, very professional. Found multiple propane leaks in the old equipment and got them all fixed and sealed. I couldn't recommend anyone more strongly.