Jun 232017
 

By Patty Wilber

It still snows in May, it starts to rain in July, leaving baking-dry-most-hours-of-daylight June as the hottest month of the year in my neck of the southwest.  Surely everyone knows this, I have have been known to pronounce, perhaps incredulously.

Except, it turns out, July is actually the hottest month.  Now I feel kinda stupid.

Date Average
Low
Average
High
Record
Low
Record
High
Average
Precipitation
Average
Snow
January 18° 42° -19° (1949) 66° (1950) 1.2″ NA
February 22° 47° -20° (1951) 69° (1986) 1.3″ NA
March 27° 53° -14° (1948) 75° (1989) 1.4″ NA
April 34° 62° 5° (1983) 83° (1981) 1″ NA
May 42° 72° 20° (1967) 92° (2000) 1.1″ NA
June 50° 82° 31° (1953) 99° (1981) 1″ NA
July 54° 85° 38° (1990) 100° (1980) 3″ NA
August 53° 81° 38° (1968) 95° (1972) 2.9″ NA
September 47° 74° 21° (1999) 92° (1958) 2″ NA
October 37° 65° 6° (1996) 85° (1957) 1.6″ NA
November 27° 52° -11° (1976) 74° (1980) 1.2″ NA
December 20° 44° -21° (1990) 65° (1980) 1.3″ NA

Never-the-less, it does rain a lot more in July, (There is data! See above!) and the thundercloud build-up in the afternoon can block the sun.  Rain can cool things off.  So, maybe the average LATE AFTERNOON temperature is higher in June.  According to this bit of  NOAA data (see below), THAT is true. The average (1981-2010) hourly temperatures on June 15th vs. July 15th  at the Albuquerque International Airport (the nearest station with hourly data) shows it IS hotter in June from 6 to 8 pm.  So.

Hour 15-Jun 15-Jul
18 85.2 84.8
19 82.6 81.9
20 79.2 79

This last week has been hitting high 90’s at my house (99 Tuesday. Huh–that might be a record…)  and over 100 in Albuquerque, which is actually pretty rare.

At least we are not as hot as Arizona!

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Jun 162017
 

By Patty Wilber

Back Country Horsemen is planning to pack supplies up the Bosque Trail in the Manzano Mountains for a trail crew on June 26th, but we haven’t travelled that path in many years. So, we needed to check it out.

Also, unfortunately, Bosque Trail, while less than one mile from the Cerro Blanco Trailhead is past the point where road gets steep, narrow and quite rutted. Our own personal BCH Road Scout (Cheryl) advised me to park near Cerro Blanco and ride to the Bosque Trail for the exploratory trip.

I was girding up for a solo adventure.  I have four-wheel drive now!  I am good with a map!  I have a big-ass knife! I was excited to play the brave, lone explorer. (Don’t tell anyone, but part of me was secretly a little nervous.)

But then my co-leader, Peter, was able to come along. Having an accomplice turned out to be really nice.

The road was ok up to the recommended parking area.  It got down to one lane and had some bad spots. I smacked the trailer hitch hard on one hole I misjudged (I have a bumper-pull three horse trailer). No obvious problems, and if there’d been some, I had help in the passenger seat!

We parked, saddled and rode up the road to the Bosque Trail trailhead.  The road was fairly deeply rutted in one section, but we concluded that we can drive up for the project, so long as it is dry.  If there is rain, the dirt ruts will turn to slick and sucking mud pits.  That could be bad, even with help!

Bosque Trail takes off from the campground, not from the trailhead parking area, (at least we did not see the trail at the trailhead parking area). Once we found the real starting spot, the way is obvious, but could use some lopping.  It heads up steeply for a at least a mile and is technical and rocky.  We had to stop to give the horses a breather at least twice and Squirt’s (the horse) butt muscles were twitching from the climb.  Even LT was happy to stop.

Squirt says: don’t look at my twitching butt!

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Jun 022017
 

By Patty Wilber

The wind howled down the mountain slopes, the ground was snow-wet and the trees fell down all around, all around this winter in the Pecos Wilderness!

Luckily, Back Country Horsemen, Pecos Chapter, to the rescue (and a bunch of other people, too, but this post is all about US, not them)!

Yes, we cleared this!

Done! Keith, Siri, Chris, Melissa, Mary Ann, Linda, Kevin, Peter, Me, Jim. This was a fun “wreck” to clear and took about two hours with most of us busy! Photo by Siri!

 

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May 262017
 

By Patty Wilber

Jim and I went for a whirlwind trip to the Santa Barbara area this past weekend to visit Progeny #2 (Mark) and his better half (Erika).  We got in Friday morning around 10am, and pretty much went non-stop (except for the part on Saturday where I took a “less drowsy” dramamine at 3pm, had a glass of wine at 7pm and about passed out at 8pm…Alcohol and dramamine apparently don’t go well together.  It probably says that on the packaging somewhere…) until Sunday evening when we flew out at 7:30pm.

Friday, we went hiking, checked out a mission, hit a brew pub and played board games.

The hike went up a canyon with water and this gopher snake. Mark is a herp guy (as in herpetology) so of course he had to catch the snake!

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May 122017
 

By Patty Wilber

We called a range tech in the Magdalena Ranger District for info, scouted all over on roads off of Hwy 60 between Magdalena and Datil based on her input, and decided to camp in Sargent Canyon on FR 476, off of State Road 52 (goes right by the Very Large Array).  But then the weather looked questionable, so we revised to Monica Cabin (168 off 60 which becomes FR 549, go left on FR (not state road) 52) because those roads were not likely to turn into tire sucking mud pits in a big rain event.

Turns out, we had cool and dry weather, but it apparently rained and snowed and hailed practically every where else in the state (0.66 inches of rain at my house)!

There were five of us and we used three different methods of overnight equine restraint.

Marcia: A portable pen.  It is stored on the outside of her trailer for transport, and attaches to the side of her trailer.  Up in a flash!

Siri and Linda: High ties. A high tie is a flexible pole that swings out from the side of the trailer.   An equine can move around a little, and hay bags and water buckets can be secured to the trailer.

Zodi: i got this!

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Apr 282017
 

By Patty Wilber

My friends Justin and Miriam have a flock of Navajo Churro sheep, and a couple times of a year they have “Sheep Days” where people come and help with shearing, vaccinating, foot trimming, castrating, etc.  I have never been able to go, so in January, they picked this date, and I put it, in capital letters, on the calendar in my phone. (Of course, there ended up being a horse show that conflicted, but so sorry, I was flocked in for the whole day!)

All sorts of friends and relatives and lots of kids were there.  Breakfast, lunch and dinner were provided. As one participant said, it felt like a barn-raising (not that any of us had ever been to a barn-raising), where people came together as a like-minded group to help out.  In today’s world of electronic self-sufficiency, he pointed out, sometimes this sense of community purpose and  group connection to the rhythm of the Earth gets lost. It was nice to think of the day in this way, and of course it was a lot of fun!

Seventeen or 18 sheep needed shearing.  Justin did all the shearing.  He got better and faster (and more tired!) as the day went on.  Churros have a coarse, carpet grade, wool (great for Navajo rugs) that has a lot of lanolin.  This gums up and dulls the blades of the shears, so they have to be cleaned and changed frequently.

Here comes a ewe!

Assume the position!

That seems like a lot of wool! Where are ewe?

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Apr 212017
 

By Patty Wilber

BCH 101 was at the Edgewood Arena. Sandy and Peggy are enhancing the sign. Thanks Elisa for the picture!

Last Saturday (April 15th), the NM Back Country Horsemen, Pecos Chapter held a BCH 101 clinic to go over some basics of BCHing.

Welcome and check in. Each participant chose a group and got a packet of information. Then the participants went and participated!

We had four stations.

1. Horse containment.
When we do an overnight project, equines need to be contained.  Typically, we use existing pens, highline, or set up portable electric-wire pens.  Animals can be hobbled to allow grazing time, as well.

Cheryl and Kit covered highlining, portable electric fencing and hobbling (since everyone already knows how to use existing pens)!

Because our containment instructors were stationed in the parking lot of the Edgewood Arena, they set up the highline between two trailers!

Kit, being supervised by her horse while supervising Cheryl, who was explaining how to put the metal doohickies on the rope to which you can tie the equine. This keeps the highline from having lots of knots. Hence, the doohickies are really called Knot Eliminators. Picture from Elisa.

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Apr 072017
 

By Patty Wilber

Andy was here as a yearling and Shelley (his breeder and owner at the time) and I took him to the World Show 2015 in lunge line and hunter in hand.  He handled all the commotion and excitement like a seasoned veteran.  We had to up his grain to INCREASE his energy level for the show.  That’s how mellow he was!

He was sold to Zoe and now he is back here as a three-year old to begin his big boy training!

He came last Saturday, and I did a little ground work with him Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

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Mar 172017
 

By Patty Wilber

Last Friday, my camping “group” spent 14 hours scouting for horse-friendly campsites in the Magdalena Ranger District, NM.

We found a two and a half.

I tried to search by normal means–the Internet–and while the Forest Service website gives information such as number of camp spots and potable water for developed campsites, it does not say if there are horse pens and livestock water…which seems like basic info…

So, I called the ranger district and spoke to a super helpful Range Technician.  She was a fount of information on good non-campground spots with possible water, so, I picked a few and off we went, without the horses, to reconnoiter! Good thing we did not take a trailer. We would have still been out there, stuck.

We tried a spot called Monica’s Cabin, first.  There is a stream (which may be dry in May when we go), a metal water tank full of water and a nice area suitable for camping, in the oaks.  The horses could be high-lined or we could set up electric fence pens.   The road to get there is in very good shape. There are not a lot of trails but there are a number of forest roads that would make for good riding and it is right next to the Withington Wilderness Area.

That is Monica’s Cabin!

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Feb 172017
 

By Patty Wilber

The title was supposed to be “Indy’s Big Weekend”, but then Wednesday happened…

***************

I have been pondering how best to utilize my time and money for my own horse fun, and I finally came to the decision that for 2017 I will concentrate on getting Indy moving along. She is three this year, and we won’t be in a hurry, so I don’t expect her to be finished until she is about five, but she seems to want to work and has some qualities that will make her a stronger versatility prospect than LT.

So, on Saturday, I took Indy as my lead horse to the Back Country Horsemen, Pecos Chapter’s first training ride at the Four Hills area near Albuquerque.  I also took the Walkin N Circles rescue mare, Eva, as the pony horse. Unfortunately, I had a smear on my camera lens so we have a left handed fog on all the photos.

Ginny on Quinault! Quinault was here last year for a tune up.

Mary Ann on Tulip ponying Shorty.

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