Thursday, May 16, 2019

2019 Spring Residency

In addition to the regular herd of elk, countless deer, turkey, mountain lions, black bear, etc, we generally have a new temporary resident every Spring. They come down low in early spring and stay until it starts warming up and it's time to move back up into the mountains. 

This year we've been seeing and adult and a younger moose, both female, on a regular basis. Of course we rarely are carrying a camera on our hikes with the dogs, but they did visit a few times while we were around the boondocking spot.

Here's the little girl getting a little too close to the orchard.

They can also wreak havoc on a pond pond liner before you can shoo them away.

When we've run into them on our hikes, they are about as curious about us as we are about them. They will stand and stare at us and the dogs for a while before sauntering of leisurely into the woods. After getting into the pond every night for weeks, they seem to have moved on. We haven't had any sightings in about a week. Just lots of big prints and scat.

Although it's been a cool start to the Spring, we haven't had any rain in over a month. We're getting a few valuable days of it now. Hopefully it won't be the last rain until Fall.

Friday, March 29, 2019

Life is hard, especially when you're stupid


Here are a few of mine:

"He must have bought his poster board in Venezuela."

"Where did he buy his AR-15? I'm going there tonight to get mine!"

"I hope he bought his poster board from a Federally Licensed Paper Dealer with the proper background check."

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

The Hypocrisy, It Burns

This is where and how we live:

We're being told to take better care of the environment and pay more in taxes to do so

Southern California still has some of the worst air pollution in the country, report finds ...
Los Angeles

tire dump, tire beach aka toxic beach or kafka beach, pollution, san francisco
San Francisco

Environment .: Dezembro 2011
Washington DC

Sunday, March 3, 2019

A Boondocking Spot for all Seasons

For various and sundry reasons we spent nine weeks during this winter "boondocking" in two different casino parking lots. Since we only spend about 20 weeks a year in the Southwest, we were anxious to get out of this scene:
 and get back to this scene:

It's understandable that most people who travel in RVs want to be near plenty of other people in RVs and all the conversation, happy hours, and pot luck dinners that go along with that scene. We are in the minority that does this with the goal of finding places to camp where nobody else is around. Our criteria for our 5-Star boondocking spots are simple but difficult to achieve:

There are no other campers in sight or earshot both day and night.
There is no road noise.
There are three or four bars of Verizon 4G.
Interesting hiking and dog walking outside our door.

With estimates of more than 1 million people in the U.S. who are currently living full time on the road, these criteria are becoming more difficult to achieve each year. Add to that the tendency of armed government workers to arbitrarily close down large sections of public land each year, and finding these spots becomes challenging. This year we had one taken away from us, but we were able to find three new spots, so that counts as a successful Winter season for us.

The downside of these spots is that you are usually more than 50 miles from a Walmart and 30 miles from any basic services. We consider these to be advantages, but it freaks out most normal people. We regularly go three weeks without needing a store of any kind and could probably go three months if the world went Mad Max on us.

Our first spot after leaving the gambling degenerates behind was about 10 miles from the US/Mexico border and gave us a taste of all four seasons during our 20 day stay. We saw a low of 19 degrees and a high of 79 degrees. Rain, sleet and snow were all part of the fun.

The only excitement was watching a refueling exercise one day.

The snow and sleet looked impressive, but didn't stay with us for very long.

These remote spots always offer plenty of hiking and exploring. Although we still like to see the world by foot, walking 10-15 miles isn't as easy now as it was 10 years ago. It looks like we may succumb to old age at some point in the near future and invest in mountain bikes. All of the best places we stay are perfect for exploring by bike.

Our next boondocking spot near Picacho Peak had a little bit of distant road noise and some distant visible lights at night, but it still checked almost all of the boxes. After this spot, we start the slow move back north to Idaho.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Tails from the Back Seat: Dog Day Afternoon

Not many sticks in the desert, looks like we'll have to share...

Me share?????

Yea, come on, let's have some fun!!!

Ready!  Set!  Go!!

OK, slim pickin's on sticks but this will do....

Seriously, John & Susan, can't you find a better stick?

I decided this is the stick and I have it...

...and I'm keeping it....

But what about this one?  Hmmmm, I think I've been duped.

She who decides on the sticks...gets them all!!!

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Tails from the Back Seat: The Eagles Have Landed

From Jubilation...

To the Great Depression...

The Season is over for the Bleeding Green Nation

Monday, October 29, 2018

2018 Weird Job: The Big Dig

We usually try to find an unusual seasonal job each year to stimulate our senses for a month or three. This year we decided to skip the paid work and hire ourselves for a pond building project on our property.

We spend a lot of time in the spring summer and fall each year maintaining and improving our forest, wildlife habitat and recreational access to our property. It's actually more fun for us (at least for now), and definitely more physically demanding, than just about any hiking or other recreational activity we could do.

Due to some poor logging jobs done about 30-40 years ago and terrible land management over the past 80 years, there's always improvements to be made on our property. Clearing brush, thinning trees to remove disease and select for the best genetics is always on the agenda. During this process, we discovered a natural depression in the landscape about 50 yards to the north of our boondocking spot. It is a perfect spot to build an entrapment pond.

It took about six months (over two summer seasons) of part-time work to clean up the area by hand and go from this:

To get to this:

It wasn't all just hand work. We also made a new 52 HP addition to the family this year.

But we had gotten as far as physical labor and a 52 HP tractor could take us, so we called in the heavy equipment to finish the job. After one day of digging we finally had something that was starting to look like a pond.

We even dug into some seeping groundwater veins. Surprising, considering what a relatively dry site we have. 

After laying down 27,000 pounds of sodium bentonite clay, it was time to roto-till it into the soil to create the liner.

Of course, all of this work, the hardest parts of the project, ended up being done on the hottest, smokiest days of the Summer. But after we were done, the first little bit of rain we'd seen since April came down and started filling the pond...and the liner held.

As it fills, the pond looks like it wants to have the emerald green color characteristic of the lakes in this part of Idaho. Since we're only putting rainwater and filtered well water into the pond, it's still crystal clear. The aerator can still be seen down in about five feet of water.

We actually won't know if the liner is holding until we come back from our Winter travels next March. It can take several wet seasons for a bentonite clay liner to develop and hold water on a permanent basis. We've added an additional 15,000 ponds of bentonite in certain sections to improve the liner further. We're counting on the snow and rain of Winter/Spring to do the heavy lifting and get us closer to full and the potential depth of 15'. We're ready for a five month travelling break from this work!