Tobie finds a bone

So this morning Tobie and I ventured into the now-merely-damp wash for our morning walkie.

I was happy that the wash flooded, because after too many years dry it becomes difficult to navigate. After a good run the sand is smoother and harder for a while. But having now flooded, it’s welcome to not do it again for a while because you never quite know what you’re going to find after a flood. I’m happy to report that the rifle range is undamaged… Continue reading

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Little house by the river…

It rained hard and long during the wee hours. Even so I wouldn’t have guessed the wash would run at all, let alone flood. It must have rained even harder over the plateau to the east.

I took these pics on Tobie’s first-thing-in-the-morning walky at five. Forgive the bad light, the flood never stays at its peak for long.

The view from my driveway…

The view from Ian’s front yard…

Jumped the bank and flooded the space between the arms of the U-turn again. Glad I got that driftwood out of there.

Little House by the River 🙂

I didn’t expect this so early in the season but I’m glad it happened. I use the wash for transportation but it hasn’t flooded in 3 years, and the sand had gotten too soft and deep for comfortable driving or walking.

I just hope this happening so early in the season doesn’t mean this is going to be one of those monsoons, where I’m constantly digging out the drainage ditches and every day is an exercise in cursing mud.

I also hope I still have a shooting range.

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First real rain of the season!

Water’s slamming down on the roof, gutters and downspouts are cheerfully channeling it into the runoff ditches, Tobie has just discovered this thing called thunder and is trying to climb into my lap. Monsoon has officially arrived.

Literally to the moment just in time, too, as we returned from a much-needed walkie just before the sky opened. Now I need to find my throat spray and warm up to complain loudly about mud. Haven’t needed that since February.

ETA: Aw, hell. Barely lasted half an hour. Well, maybe another cell will come by.

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Serious health issues in the boonies…

I have known three people living out here with dangerous health issues. One’s dead, one moved away, and I don’t know what’s to become of the third who got driven away in an ambulance this morning.

And getting her to the ambulance was something of an adventure for her husband, because you can’t just call 911 and give’em your address. Basically you need to agree on a meeting point on or near a numbered county road, load him/her into a 4-wheeler and hope to make the meeting. If it’s not possible to get the patient into a car – this happened at least once that I know of – then you need to leave your loved one on the floor, go meet the ambulance yourself and lead it back to him/her, no doubt wondering all the while what you’ll find when you get there.

I obviously have a lot of sympathy for a desire to live far from the madding crowd. I also don’t just believe but outright state that to do so this far from it is to accept some level of physical risk. But you need to maintain some sense of realism here – I mean everybody makes their own decisions and this is literally none of my business but if you’re so chronically sick that you can’t get five feet from an oxygen bottle on your best day, if you can barely get out of a chair and are doomed to spend what’s left of your life isolated indoors anyway, well…

I have to wonder what’s the point, is all.

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Another day in paradise…

Yup, it’s July. This past weekend has been an exercise in waiting for the sun to go down.



Hey, it was a whole half degree cooler indoors yesterday!

One factor contributing to Tobie’s newfound acceptance of Jeep rides is that it’s the only way he can leave the cabin in mid-day without physical pain…

We had to give up afternoon walkies of any substantial length because the heat of the sand on his paws drove him to frantic rebellion. “I’m sitting right here in the shade of this juniper for the rest of my life and there’s nothing you can do about it! Just deliver my meals here from now on.”

This sort of thing used to be one of the crosses I willingly if grumblingly bore as the price of living in what is in most other respects an extreme introvert’s paradise. If you want to live in a place that normal people avoid, expect downsides.

Ah! But this summer, thanks to Landlady’s obstinate persistant labor and expense, there’s a new luxury that makes it all so much less unpleasant…

You don’t know (until you explore all the wrong ways, which we did) how much it takes to achieve an actual townie shower with our nonexistent electrical and heating infrastructure and unbelievably hard well water. But having achieved it – well. Except that I lived without them (mostly) happily for the past fifteen years I am almost tempted to add Real Townie Showers to electricity, indoor plumbing, and thermostats on my list of gadgets that aren’t strictly necessary for life but almost may as well be, because they’re each such improvements to life.

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A fun project with Neighbor D

D&L’s horses Doc and Coaltrain have not been getting a lot of riding time, what with one health-related issue or another on the part of their owners. In their downtime they’ve developed the habit of fussing at each other, and gradually reducing the fencing between them to bent scrap. The last straw was damage to the gate which had to be entirely replaced. Neighbor D and I had a date this morning to do that, and make all the necessary adjustments in the fence to accommodate it. Continue reading

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Tobie meets a bull snake

At last! All spring, bull snakes were more common in the yard than I’ve ever seen them – one time there were actually three within sight at one time, and they’re not really all that sociable. Then just as Tobie started settling in and I needed one to answer the very important question, “is Tobie a natural snake avoider or are we going to have problems here,” they all went away. For over a month I haven’t seen a single one.

Until this afternoon. I stepped out on the porch and there was a good-sized snake just stretched out motionless on the dirt for absolutely no good reason*. I dropped what I had been doing and suited Tobie up in his harness and shock collar, and took him outside on the short leash to meet the snake.

And the idiot stood there, practically stepping on it, waiting for me to tell him why we were suddenly there. I kept trying to direct his eyes toward the snake, and he’d just wait till I let go and resume staring into space. It was like trying to explain Nietzsche to a 4-year-old. Finally he looked down and said, “Oh! A new friend!”

Two things happened simultaneously: The snake, which had remained completely still through all this, suddenly rethought all its life priorities and decided to check out doings in El Paso. The most direct path thence was right between Tobie’s paws, from my POV it really looked as though the snake was attacking him. And the second thing was my thumb mashed the Big Red Button on the collar transmitter.

People actually pay money for snake aversion therapy for their dogs, and (from the description I’ve heard) it consists entirely of putting a shock collar on a dog, exposing the dog to a snake in a box, and then shocking the hell out of the dog when it leans in for a sniff. I figure I can do that myself with no more than sunk costs.

So anyway: We’ve established that Tobie, like Torso Boy before him, is not naturally snake averse. More’s the pity. Also, Tobie has received his first snake aversion therapy session. It didn’t last long, because the snake was really fast.

*They do this; it’s as though they think they have no natural enemies. It works out especially poorly for them when they choose to do it in the middle of a road. You can be barreling along, thinking that’s a stick in the road until you’re on top of it and can’t do anything to safely avoid it – next thing you know the snake’s raven food.

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Damn – six inches to the left and that would’ve been a great shot.

Almost all the daytime pictures the game camera takes are of birds, and almost all of them are very unremarkable – small brown bird sits on watering trough, ho hum. But because there are so many pictures of birds, some of the birds are in flight and a picture of a flying bird caught at the right moment and from the right angle can be very beautiful. But since this is a consumer-grade trail camera randomly taking pictures of moving objects, the pictures always manage to miss qualifying for the cover of Field & Stream.


I could have cropped that mockingbird into something worth keeping, even with the poor light…

…if only it were entirely in the frame. Sigh.

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Tobie and getting brushed…

I haven’t had a lot of luck with dogs wanting to be brushed. The sole exception around here was Magnus, who loved it so much that he really thought it should be a privilege reserved for him alone. He’d happily prolong a session for hours if possible, and got upset when I brushed the other dogs. Fritz and Little Bear tolerated brushing under protest. Ghost and Torso Boy considered it grounds for divorce – and believe me when I say a Corgi sheds far above its weight class, so that didn’t work out well for me.

So I wasn’t too pleased with Tobie when he announced…

…that he was downright traumatized by the mere sight of a brush. Boy’s shaping up to be a real shedder, and this just wasn’t going to work. So I rummaged around in some old dog stuff and found some brush mitts. I think these came here with Torso Boy, who hated them as well. But Tobie,…

…who hates being brushed but loves being petted, quickly decided it was a more than acceptable compromise. Felt kinda good, apparently, and now he gives me no trouble about it at all.

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Again I ask, because I really want to know…

How does it profit anyone to do this?

I know it’s just robospam, no actual Chinese lady named Tracy sat down and composed an email to me alone. But somebody did go to the trouble of – whatever labor goes into producing robospam; if I had any clue I’d try to fake it but I don’t. Ergo, somebody’s making money on this enterprise in some fashion. I just can’t imagine anybody, out of (I’m guessing) multiple millions of annoyed recipients, biting on the ad and providing that money.

It’s early Monsoon, warm and (by my standards) uncomfortably humid, and I have nothing better to do than waste time wondering at the motivation behind unwanted spam in my inbox.

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Busy night at the watering station…

I’m not impressed with the night-vision resolution of my new Bushnell game camera compared to the old Browning. But I’ll take what I can get – at one location after another there’s been a frustrating lack of action day or night. A few days ago I put it back at the watering station, and right away got some customers.

A couple of mulies…

A coyote that hung around for quite a while without ever seeming to touch the water or the bait pile…

An elk cow and her calf…

…and various combinations thereof, all on the same night and only the first after I set up the camera. For once I got lucky.

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I’m shocked! Shocked, to find ammunition going on here.

I went into the drug store in the crappy little town nearest where I live this morning, and out of a morbid sense of futility walked past the only ammo counter in the crappy little etc.

And quite to my surprise…

No pistol ammo in any relevant caliber, of course. That would be too much to hope for.

I didn’t really need any rifle ammo, but bought a box anyway just so I could mark the date when I saw some at the drug store for the first time in more than a year.

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What terminators do when they think no one is watching…

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Maybe Jeep rides aren’t so bad…

This is the same dog that a month ago would lay down and pee himself rather than get in the Jeep. I refrained from forcing him to anything to do with the Jeep for over a week, then kept the atmosphere light and only forced him inside when trips would be short and go to pleasant places. Wasn’t long before he stopped protesting – now he’s insisting on coming along.

Took Laddie most of a year, but he was already seven years old when he came here and had a much longer record of associating rides with bad things.

Tobie is noticeably more leggy than five weeks ago but isn’t filling out at all yet. His teeth are more nearly fully developed and there are fewer spots on his belly. He’s a very friendly and well-behaved dog but so very willful when he’s not under direct control. Maybe I’m being too much of a control freak but we’re going to have to come to some understandings before I’m going to trust him too far off the leash. Still, it’s only been a little over a month and we’re getting to know what to expect from one another.

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There’s something to be said for seldom-used paths…

The other day I noticed that the water canteen was missing out of my bike’s pannier bag. Seems I neglected to zip up the bag when I loaded the bike on its Jeep-back carrier. I know this, because…

…a couple of days later I found the canteen bleaching in the sun, on the same bumpy bit of dry wash that bounced it out of the pannier.

And there it lay unmolested until the next time I happened by. I love it here.

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Propane bottle swap at Ian’s place…

It works!

Ian’s place never required very much propane; until last year there was never anything in there that used it but a kitchen stove – that nobody uses. So it had two swappable 20-pound bottles and that was all.

The big one is just in there for storage. I have no way to transport it for refill.

But then last year Landlady completed an inline water heater installation. This Spring we finished a genuine townie-style shower, and rejoicing was heard in the Lair.

Yes! I have access to a real townie shower, and it’s grand. However it did raise the question of how long that little 5-gallon propane bottle was going to last – and the issue of how long it took to bleed dozens of yards of pipe before I could get the heater to fire up the first time. I really didn’t want that bottle to suck dry.

And if I disconnected an almost-empty bottle and swapped it for a full one, would the pipe contents stay flammable or would I have to laboriously bleed it again? I was pretty sure it would be all right – but I also know that Murphy is alert for opportunities to screw me over.

Turns out it works just fine. As long as I never let the bottle go empty, I can swap them out with a minimum of hassle. Good to know: I’ve worried about that for months.

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Jeep-related serendipity

This past week I received a new rear window for the Jeep, courtesy of Generous Reader Terrapod.

Yay! Now, on the bottom edge of the rear window there’s supposed to be a plastic thing, there to hold the window shut against the tailgate with the help of a gasket.

Since the plastic thing is epoxied to the glass, I couldn’t re-use the old one. But by wild coincidence I possessed a spare: Last year when I replaced the old UV-damaged and broken plastic thing (yes, that’s its technical name as far as I’m concerned) the post office lost the first replacement I ordered. I waited a month or more then sighed heavily and bought a second replacement – only to have the first replacement emerge from limbo and show up at exactly the same time.

Well what was I supposed to do with two of them? I took the extra/unneeded/superfluous/redundant/spare/reserve plastic thing and … put it somewhere extremely clever and forgot all about it. Naturally when I needed it I had no idea where it was. Last night I finally remembered where I might have stashed it. Checked there this morning – it was off-site – and sure enough there it was.

So good news! I have everything I need to complete the repair. Bad news is that the adhesive takes 24 hours to set up and I need the Jeep this morning. So the window is just going to have to bang for one round trip to D&L’s. No worries, it did it for months last year until one of the hinges broke.

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Home from his afternoon walkie…

Little wuss.

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My pear tree is fruiting!

I’ve tended this thing for something like seven(?) years and long since gave up on it as anything but a yard decoration. It’s supposed to be self-pollinating but the truth is nobody around here has ever had any luck with fruit trees so I wasn’t surprised when year after year it stayed barren.

I just came back to the cabin from some chores, happened to glance at the tree, and…

I wonder if they’ll actually grow and ripen?

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Dammit! Just when I almost had one in reach, the price of F-15s is about to skyrocket.

Huge Spike In Americans Buying F-15s After Biden Suggests You’ll Need Them To Overthrow Government

h/t Claire

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