Thursday, January 28, 2016


For the past three years after the first or second good snowfall a female mountain lion comes down from the top of the Anti-Cline through Dripping Springs. Walks by the Wind Caves, goes down to the river for a drink, walks down our driveway by the sign and makes a right into the canyon where holes 11 and 12 are on the disc golf course. For three straight years I have found the remains of a deer or big horn that she has taken. Most critters are creatures of habit. Two weeks ago Linny and I went and checked for tracks and found nothing. Today I found tracks for cattle, horse, cattle dogs, fox, deer, big horn, and yes she has returned. I did not find tracks to the river where she normally goes and I've found no signs that she has reached the property. Something is up.

Tiffanys: The Melting Pot

For part of the morning the Eurasian Collard doves own the feeding area. As the morning comes on the White-crowned sparrows begin taking over. Black stripe on head is an adult, brown or red stripe is a juvenile. Eventually the White-crowneds are moved out and the House Finches take their turn. Red head and chest is a male and without is female.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

The Story Is......

A few months ago I started hearing critters under the lodge. Then up in the insulation. Then skunk smell in the hallway. Then occasional disagreements. Johnny has been under the lodge putting the insulation back up and fastening it in. On Friday he ran into a raccoon under there and saw it go out a hole the critters had pushed out in the bricks. On Monday I saw a ringtail running through one of the rooms on the back porch where the door to under the house had been left open. On Tuesday Johnny called to say there's another raccoon under the house. Then it went like this....... After mutually agreeing to put some hot dogs over by the hole and having Mike go down also to flush it out, Sarah and I went outside the porch to get some pictures of whatever came out but then this happened...... as of Tuesday morning there was still one skunk down there who sprayed the area and made it a little hard to breathe. Now as of Wednesday afternoon we think the last critter has left and it's safe to go under the lodge again. Maybe.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Monday Break

It's a different kind of winter for me. Usually it's just myself and the little people. Mike has visited a few times over the years and each time he has been here he goes around and does maintenance and fixes things. There's a lot that needed being done here and so I thought who could I trust more without supervising them than a guy that pays me to work here? He should at least get some of his money back. Mike's been here since early January working around the lodge. Sarah is painting, cleaning, and buying materials and placements. Johnny after 15 or so years across the river called me on a walkie last week and said he was done, would I come get him? So, four hours later Johnny was here and he's doing repairs and putting insulation back up under the lodge where the raccoons had made nice homes by tearing out some bricks in one corner, knocking down some of the floor insulation and curling up for day sleeps. Johnny got to meet one a little closer than he would have preferred a few days ago. I'm cranking out the once a year email doings and going ons for everyone that has ever stayed here, sending them out one at a time. I needed a break. I wondered if any of the trials bikes would start up after three months or so of non use.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Probably Not This One

Lucy has offered to show me where some missile parts are down towards Needles. We get down there and there's still a foot plus of snow on the ground so fair chance of getting the truck stuck on the mud road back there and then it's a three hour hike in good conditions so I pass. I remember I have a property I'm to look at in the area so we head over there.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Day of the House Finch

In winter the various species of song birds stay together a little tighter than spring and summer. This morning it was the House Finches and an hour and a half later still House Finches.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Overtime Win

Linny really loves hockey. She wants to play. So we go.

Time to Practice Muddy Stairs

When Linny is driving she's very attentive to what I'm teaching her. When I take the wheel to show her it's all about tire placement versus the great God momentum she doesn't appear as interested.

Saturday, January 16, 2016


Linny and I found a place we both like so we wrote an offer on it and spent a bunch of yesterday getting a feel for the property. Even if accepted there's so much that can happen before escrow. As we'll probably say a few times over the next month or two. We'll see.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Who Done It?

I was working on updating the Base Camp web site all day and watching for the Cooper's hawk to try and get the songbirds. Never saw the Cooper's. Then late afternoon I walked outside and as I was coming back in I found all these feathers right by the front stairs. I'm trying to figure out how the Cooper's murdered a songbird and I didn't see it. I'm looking at the crime scene trying to figure out the feathers to see what kind of songbird was lost but they aren't familiar. I call Sarah to come outside and see if she can shed any light on what happen. Sara says "That's where I shook out the feather duster."

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

White-crowned Sparrow

Sarah and I were watching the Cooper's to the rear of the lodge sitting on a pole by the basket on #1 waiting for us to leave. Then it took off toward the river but suddenly swung up towards the front of the lodge. We both took off for the front and both heard a muffled thud. Chasing the Cooper's off in front I looked over on the porch and saw a White-crowned sparrow lying motionless on the porch. You would think with all the reflective tape I've put on the windows over the years it would be tough to find a spot to hit that wasn't covered but such is the panic that the Cooper's brings with it's arrival. Most of the songbirds aren't all that concerned with what's in front of them. They know what's behind them and it can hardly get worse. I picked it up and it's eyes moved so I took it inside and eventually to the office. Leaving it on the porch would be a death sentence and even released before it has it's act together is the same. Putting it in the office it eventually began moving around on the floor and then spent the next couple hours flying from shelf to shelf. Once it can land on the ceiling fan it's ready. Then it's open the blinds a little at the bottom so it can see outside and in time it comes down to the window where I cup it in my hands and return it to the outside. I wore the Go-Pro on my hat for two hours and thought I had a great video for you but at some point it had turned off so this is what you get instead.

Cooper's Hawk

For the last few days a Cooper's hawk has had a reign of terror over the Tiffany's feeding grounds. The Cooper's, a monster hawk in comparison to the songbirds comes in and lands at the top of a bush. All the songbirds and White-tailed antelope squirrels run in for shelter. The Cooper's then lifts off the ground a few feet, spreads it's three foot wingspan and crashes back down on the bush with talons extended into the bush like the monster claws in that game you see at amusement parks that try and snatch stuffed animals, except this is real life and death for those at the bottom of the bush. The talons grip you, you're dead. You make a run for it and the Cooper's snatches you over the next 30 minutes you slowly get disassembled and eaten.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

The River

As I was driving back yesterday for 17 hours I was thinking first thing I would do when I got back was kayak down the river and see if I could get around the island. I guess it was cold while I was gone.

The Deer Experiment

We have a mama with two babies, and a male, three females, and two youngens handing out at the lodge off and on. Because I don't have enough of a critter food bill I bought some deer food and am going to experiment with bringing them closer to the lodge. This morning I took deer food up above the hogans where the high gate is and opened it and set out a bowl of food. That's probably now how it works but I'll check it every day or two for tracks and see if not deer, who is interested in it.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Kobae Friday: Last Day

In the background of and quiet in a few of these videos is Minette who got married at the lodge five or so years ago and lives in San Diego.

My Favorite

Is when Kobae goes up and finds a place to lie down where the homeowners can't see him. But, they can see me standing outside on the sidewalk, camera on, scoping out their house. So they come out to see why I'm standing out there and not moving on. Here Kobae is a little tired so he has laid down to yawn for awhile. So far nobody has brought a gun but it's only a matter of time. Oh boy.