Sunday, November 17, 2019

A guy pulls up to an adventure lodge.......

Says "Middle of nowhere. I bet nothing happens out here." I say "That's a reflection on you, not me, for you can't see, everything is going on." He laughs and drives off. Then a pigeon lands. I think Johnny had a pigeon across the river which he released when he quit working there five or so years ago. Where it's been until a couple days ago I don't know but it's here now and sleeps on the garage roof. If I had hawks it would be dead but the ravens have taken care of that.

Then the Day Time Fox visited.I've never seen this before but the Yellow Jackets are going around to the bird baths and dog bowl and trying to drown. They fall in, try to get to shore, I rescue them, then they fall in again, and despite 10 or so rescue saves per day usually a couple of them drown. I haven't seen the Sharp-shinned hawk but the Red-winged blackbirds are nervous constantly. Kobae has been sucking up the last rays of sun and it's time for bed.I hear a ringtail complaining. It wants a hot dog.
Jax goes on alert and I look up the hill to see a deer walking down it. Then the sun goes down and I got this followed by one Rachel took staying over at the Main House.

I wonder how many of these nothing happens my side by side friend has ever seen in his life?

Is This You?

The area manager for Farrell Gas called to tell me their truck broke down on the way out here and we'll have to reschedule another date to get propane delivered. I tell him I'll be taking the tortoise back to San Diego soon and might not be here but somebody will be. He says that he and his wife got married back in 2016 and were driving a side by side out in red rock country and ran across a guy walking with a tortoise. To this day they are still confused about why that would happen. No understanding something like that he says. Then he send me a picture and says "Is this you?"

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

New Places

On Veterans Day Kobae took us to a place even I've only been a handful of times. In some of the pictures you can see Last Hurrah Main House a half mile or so in the background and the lodge in the distance another mile behind that and while only a mile and a half each way I can assure you we didn't go the direct route and we didn't go the easy way. Walked right past the Bottle Place and into some old piles of tamarisk, then up the jagged slope. We left at noon and got back at 5pm.

Friday, Saturday, and Sunday

Jax and I hike Friday morning and Kobae goes with us in the afternoon. Somebody, probably Doug, has been marking and blocking off places where people are tearing up the landscape in off road vehicles. It doesn't last unless you fence it but it delays it a little while.

Kobae use to fit perfectly in the end of the laundry room but he's still getting bigger and he didn't quite fit in there anymore but he fixed it by blowing a hole in the wall and he sticks his head in there on cold nights when he sleeps inside.

Kobae getting the last rays of sun.

On Sunday Jax and I got half way up Hurrah on our morning hike when guests called wanting to use a side by side so had to turn around and go back but Monday morning I sent my truck into town with some outgoing guests and Jax and I hitched a ride up Hurrah and hiked back to finish the day before destination.

With all the times I've hiked and driven up and down Hurrah Pass i had never noticed this one corner and all the road/rock work under it that took to make it possible.

Friday, November 8, 2019

Thursday Hike

I finish unloading all the fire wood for the male and female fire pits, main house fire pit, and the condo and Jax and I are off for a hike behind Last Hurrah.

Things That Happen

Jax and I are getting in a hike or two every day but shorter than usual. Michelle has only averaged about a week a month here but that has helped some in the cleaning. She's packing up for a permanent move to Colorado so it's just me again and Jax's fate is unknown.
The Day Time Fox still visits every day. When I hear the predator warning of the white-tailed antelope squirrel Jax and I each walk outside to see if it's Sharp-shinned hawk or the Gray fox. Danny Boy came by doing the Hayduke Trail. I mentioned it was pretty late in the year to be caught in the Grand Canyon in winter when he gets toward the end and he said he was just doing a portion of it.
The time is coming to take Kobae back to San Diego for the winter so have to get everything winterized so whoever watches the place for me for the few days I'm delivering Kobae doesn't have any disasters related to cold weather. I have a lot of the Mr. Heater (Buddy) propane heaters which have been very dependable. This time of year I haul them all out and put them in the living room and while I'm watching dvd or tv, hook them all up to the same propane tank and hose and check them to see if they work. If they do and later don't in a room then I know it's the hose or tank to that room. Three or four years ago I had one that would go out if I turned it past the pilot light so I took that heater and a hose and tank to the pump house down the driveway and if I see cold weather coming I turn it on pilot and leave it. One small tank of propane on pilot light will heat that room up to keep the pump from freeing for almost a month without turning it off.

About a month ago I filled the pond at the main house and the pump that is by the boat house has a hose on top so while it's pumping water into the pond I can also pump water into a tank in the back of the truck to fill up the cisterns at the lodge. I expected the normal October monsoon rains that use to fill up the driveway a couple times each October to give me enough water to make it through the winter but they never came this year so I'm doing it again.

Hiking toward Land of the Skinny People I look over at Hole #13 on the original course and it's still weird not seeing the balanced rock that dominated the bowl area. I think one other balanced rock fell out back of Last Hurrah earlier this year or perhaps over the last winter. In the second picture there is one missing on the left side of the picture.

Since the day I posted what a good year it has been all kinds of equipment failure and the like began happening within hours. If I decide to get a different life someday I think I'd be a good announcer at baseball games talking about a no-hitter in the late innings.

During the three days temps dropped to 10 or so at night I broke a water hose going to the cooler on the garage, flooded the roof, drained all the water out of the tank, the roof froze with a six inch high ice rink, and then when the water ran out the pump kept pumping, got hot and shut down. So I couldn't do laundry in the big garage. A pipe broke under the lodge while I was sleeping and flooded the crawl space and the constant demand for water kept the well pump going which used up a lot of the solar batteries and since it was so cold guests were using the electric heaters and at 5am the batteries got low and the generator was suppose to kick on but since the generator hadn't had a reason to come on since summer the battery was dead and all power went out in the lodge.

I took the truck and jumped the generator battery but had to turn the power off at the well pump and close off the water so no water. Guests were mostly checked out so it wasn't a major inconvenience but during busier times it could have been. Calling all the plumbing companies in town everybody was deer hunting and for four days there was no water. I used the fresh water drinking containers to flush toilets for campers and the like.

A couple of disc golfers who said they dabbled in plumbing went into the crawl space, found the leak got it partially plugged but couldn't fix the copper to plastic T that had broken. Eventually a plumbing company came out, fixed the leak, I tried the sink which is where the leak broke and it worked. They left. It wasn't until the nest day cleaning rooms that I found out there was still no water to the back four rooms. It means that someone where underneath there's a shut off value to the back of the lodge. I crawled under there with a headlamp and plugged in some lights that have been there forever and crawled down toward the former leak. There is so much insulation hanging down from where skunks, ringtails, and maybe a raccoon or two are living that it was hard to see very far in any direction. I did see the mother skunk sleeping in the insulation and when she saw it was me she stood up, did a 360 and laid back down to sleep. I couldn't find the shut off valve.

This is Steven at Riverside Plumbing who usually comes out for property plumbing issues and winterization. He's going to find the shut off valve. And it went kind of like this.....
Steven: I might need you to come under with me.
Me: I don't want to. I nearly threw up last time.
Steven: Two sets of eyes are better.
Me: My eyes didn't find the shut off valve. That's why you're here.
Steven: You said there are skunks and other animals under there and you've been feeding them for years.
Me: So.
Steven: I don't want to get sprayed.
Me: You have a mask and stuff. You're prepared and you get paid to drop into crawl spaces.
Steven: If I see movement or some of your friends and they're by the shut off value you'll have to come talk to them and calm them down.
Me: Don't be a pussy.

Five minutes later Steven under the lodge.

Steven: I see movement. I see one skunk in the insulation above where the water break was and another one up against the south wall that looks scared.
Me: I'm not coming under.
Steven: I don't see the shut off valve. I need you to crawl down the other side to see if you can find it over there.
Me: Pussy.
Steven: It's your lodge.

Five minutes later both of us under the lodge. Assume everything I say was in a high pitched friendly as possible voice, because it was.

Steven (shining his light): There's the skunk up against the wall. He looks scared and he's turning away from us.
Me: Hi babies. Please don't spray. I've been feeding you for years and I need you to trust me for just a few more minutes.
Steven (shining his light): There's the one up in the insulation.
Me: Hi mama. Keep everybody under control. We've known each other a long time. Let them know everything is ok.
Steven: (shining his light): There's another skunk a little further to the east.
Me: Hi baby. I'll leave extra hot dogs tonight.
Steven (shining his light): There's the shut off value. The yellow handle hanging down over by the mother skunk. I'm not going over there. I don't know them.
Me: You're tall. You can reach it without getting very close. I have to crawl right under the mother.
Steven: I'm not going.
Me: Pussy.
Steven: (shining his light) What's that?
Me: (crawling toward the shut off value) That's another skunk's ass sticking out the end of the insulation. That's his butt, facing towards me, right next to the shut off value. It's twitching. The owner of the ass twitching is nervous.
Steven: Good luck.
Me: (crawling toward the shut off valve) Hi kids. Everybody calm down. We're all friends here. Let's keep it that way. Everybody be nice.

As I was speaking to the family I kept staring at the ass facing me and about a foot from the shut off valve. The butt hole seemed to be mimicking my every word. If I would say a word with O in it the butt hole would start to get wider. I stuck my arm out to reach for the shut off valve. If the butt sprayed I was going to be eye level about 30 inches away. I'd lose all sense of where I was and be blind trying to crawl out through the piles of insulation and scat.

Me: Don't abandon me if things go south.
Steven: I got you.
Me: (reaching up for the valve) Big moment in our relationship everyone. Stay calm, it's almost over. Set the example mama.

I got my fingers on it but couldn't force the lever up so it was one more belly crawl.

Me: Ok everybody. Here goes.
Steven: I hear water. Your water is back.

As I was belly crawling back. I could hear Steven going around from room to room above me checking for water. I got to the hole and fresh air barely able to keep from throwing up all the insulation I had breathed in. Above me I could hear Steven saying "I'll remember this one for a long time."

Steven spent the next couple hours going around winterizing the rest of the property and fixing the leak on the garage roof and getting the water going everywhere. He swung back by the lodge before heading to town and we talked for a couple minutes. Steven had a smile on his face the whole time like he had just escaped a close call with sensory death. It was true, he had.

Monday, November 4, 2019

Monday Morning Hike

Monday morning Jax and I hike around the property.
There's a mule deer over by Hull's Place in the shadows and later tracks show seven or eight total.
Jax and I visit the boat ramp.

We walk up to the main house and the hogans where we had a check out this morning.