Jul 102020
 

By Patty Wilber

I rode with with my usual Friday group, and we now, after lo, these many years, have an official name: No, were are not “The Covid 5”.  We are “The Flat Stirrup Crew”. 

Yes, the stirrup was literally flattened! Siri says it gives a whole a new perspective on collapsible gear! Photos by Patty S.

We are not exactly sure how this occurred.  Either Siri’s horse laid down while no one was looking or he squashed it against the rather small tree to which he was tied at Pecos Baldy Lake.

Surely, I thought, we could fix it.  

The metal was unfortunately sturdy, even in the flattened state, so we resorted to the only tools we could find.  Rocks.

We hammered, and stuck rocks inside, and used rocks for leverage, and by golly…

We fixed it!

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Jun 262020
 

By Patty Wilber

For Father’s Day we joined old friends and new friends for a camping trip at the trailhead in the Cruces Basin Wilderness Area that we use as a starting point for our packed-in elk hunting trips (the craziest being Camp Wilberry).  Road 572, not maintained for passenger cars.  So we hauled in our horse trailers, because, you know, why not? (And we have been there before, a few times.)

At the trailhead where we camped. Mary Ann, Bill, Patty, me (also Patty!) and Lani dog.

The new trailer went and the truck brakes and the trailer brakes speak different languages, as far as I can tell, so while we just had our truck brakes redone, we put a little wear on them on this trip and later in the week hauling down from the Santa Fe Ski Basin after a Back Country Horseman project.   I am hiring a translator to help them out.  Just saying.

The Cruces Basin is one of my favorite places as it is so beautiful and over the six or so years we have been going there, it also is a place of wonderful memories and friendship. This trip was no exception.

Jim and I won both our horseshoes games. This is only funny if you were there, but I actually played decently, and contributed to our wins.

We rode up Diablo Creek, Cruces Creek, down Beaver Creek (and Jim hiked up) and rode up on Toltec Mesa.

Me and Penny, up Cruces Creek to near the end. Photo by Patty S.

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Jun 122020
 

By Patty Wilber

Last week, I went glamping with three of my friends at Rancho de Fe.   It is about 12 miles out of Las Vegas, NM. We were the first horse guests at this lovely site, and it was pretty sweet!

The ranch is 90 acres with riding access on an additional 200 private acres as well being within riding access to the Santa Fe National Forest. There are very nice view of Hermit’s Peak, to the west!

There are two houses and a cabin that can be rented, two full RV hook-ups and dry camping as well.  We chose one dry camp, one full hook up, and the cabin. I split the cost of dry camping with Patty S., and we paid $15 per night, including the horses. 

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Feb 072020
 

By Patty Wilber

Well, it is still January, and unsurprisingly, it is still cold (whine), but this obviously has had no bearing on the manure producing ability of our equines.

Man, it is a lot of poo.  So, I have been contemplating new and novel (to us) ways to use all that s**t up.

Right now we compost it.  It has been difficult to find good tarps to cover the bins to keep moisture in so that composting actually occurs, versus horse apple mummification. It is pretty dry here in New Mexico, a lot of the time.

We had a roll of some sort of plastic-ish stuff (I know, plastic) that we used for years.  It was relatively long-lasting, but it did do what plastics do, and broke up into small pieces, some of which are still hanging around the place, not degrading.

Ok, we ran out of that, and tried big heavy duty tarps.  Fail.  They are also some sort of environmentally unfriendly plastic, but even worse, they fell apart within six months of use in the NM sun.  Now we have blue bits of those hanging around with tan bits of the other and they may make a nice archeological find for someone, one day.  “Hmm,” they will say, “These people sure liked to use plastic. No wonder their whole civilization collapsed.  But at least they were composting.”

So, we went to a more cloth-based heavy duty tarp, from Tractor Supply, at 100+ bucks each, and they seem to last through one composting cycle, and maybe will even make two, so still not very long-lived, but at least they don’t seem to fragment–just tear.

Composting manure and the tarp, too, to some extent, apparently.

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Dec 062019
 

By Patty Wilber

On Thanksgiving, we left for the airport at 4 in the morning in a snowstorm and used four wheel drive all the way there!  A very unusual occurrence.  Our plane got de-iced and we took off pretty close to on time (the crew was a bit late due to the weather.)

We landed in Oakland, CA, took the BART train to near my folks house, and as soon as I could, I got my hands on baby Amara!

Who needs to take their coat off when they can hold the grandbaby! Maegan in the background!

Most of the rest of my photos of my amazing family are terrible, so I won’t post them, but Jim got a couple nice ones (like the one above and the one below).

Granddaughter Leilani age 2 (left) and my niece Avery age 1 (right). My brother (Mike) and sister-in-law (Tina), Avery’s parents. You can tell which kid lives in Hawaii and thinks it is cold!

The entire immediate family got to hang out, and I have to say that while we might be a little competitive, we might have a hard time making group decisions, and we might be a little weird, I sure think the world of all of them!

We got home Saturday night, very late, and Sunday I went down to check out the arena.  I found that it had transformed into a partial ice rink!  This is the first time that has happened.  I guess since we had an inch of rain the week before and then 10 or so inches of wet snow, which largely melted, but didn’t absorb, and cold overnight temperatures, we got ice–2 inches thick in some spots!

I didn’t even try to ride.  I got out the old blue tractor and dragged and plowed and got things pretty well churned up, except in the thickest spots. Then I dug some little drain canals to try to accelerate the drying out process.

That is a definite improvement, but not rideable.

On Monday it was mostly ice.  Tuesday had much less ice, and lots of water.  Koh-Doh did get to  practice ice water crossing, but most of our work was out on the roads.

Tuesday: Lots of water with ice underneath.

But, hey! We got to practice ice-water crossing!

On Wednesday, we were down to almost 100% water without the frozen base, so the pond/arena was rideable (with water wings)! Yay! And the predicted “wintery mix” did not materialize.  Yay! Again.

Thursday, it was still very wet but still improving and Mary Ann, Sombra, the dogs and I had some wet fun!

I did pull the trailer up to the house Wednesday, just in case the weather went bad, as I was planning ahead for my trip to Clovis today (Friday) to do some cow work with Lucy and H at Clay Hight’s!  It will be H’s first live go!

And so I will leave my arena to dry for a few more days and head southeast!

But…woke up to a horse not feeling great, so trip delayed at least for the moment.  Fingers crossed.

 

 

 

Jun 282019
 

By Patty Wilber

This past weekend I gave my first (annual?!) Practical Trail Clinic at the Trout Stalker Ranch in Chama, NM. What a great location!  Thanks for hosting!

L to R Patty from Texas, Catrina, Jim from Texas, Lily, Natalie, Janet, Gina, Siri, Marcia, Conlon, Me, Ana, Colleen.  Brittany took the picture!

Wow! It was a lot of fun and we hope to make it an annual event! We thought about a second one in the fall but I have a trip to Sweden in August, a new granddaughter due in September and the World Appaloosa Show in October… and Trout Stalker is pretty busy, too, so next June, it is!

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May 102019
 

By Patty Wilber

(If you missed the post above this, Saving Benjy, By Doranna, I encourage you to get a tissue and have a read.)

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

We have had a decent snow pack and a wet spring, so far!

The runoff on the Rio Grande (do not say Rio Grande River–it’s redundant) and its major tributaries (the Chama and the Pecos rivers)  is over 100% of the 30 year running average and is the highest since 2005!

In startling contrast, runoff on the Pecos last year was a whopping ZERO% of average.

The Drought Monitor shows a much damper picture this year as well.

This year.

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May 032019
 

By Patty Wilber

Last weekend was our first official Back Country Horsemen, Pecos Chapter, work project of the year: Box Trail to Ox Canyon Trail in the Manzano Mountains.

Amber was the project lead and she packed the tools, so Jim and I brought only two horses: Lucy and Cometa.

Lucy. (She makes me smile!)

This is an easy trail, so I figured it would be a good first large group ride for Lucy.

I forgot one little detail.  The stream.  For the last few years, our snowpack has been so sparse that the creek in Red Canyon has been dry. 

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Oct 192018
 

By Patty Wilber

Three forests, six horses, one week!

Last Monday, we returned from our hunting trip in the Carson National Forest in the Cruces Basin Wilderness.  Indy and Cometa went on that.  It was Indy’s first hunting trip and because she had Cometa, our old and very level-headed Spanish Barb as her companion, she really did well.  I have considered selling her, since she is currently relegated to a walk-trot horse due to her bone chip, but, well, not yet.

The habitat consists of meadows, some big like in the picture below. and some small.  The trees are mostly aspen and spruce.  The aspen was turning and the gold leaves are so stunning!

Last Friday, Mary Ann Ende and I went to the Santa Fe National Forest in the Pecos Wilderness to get trash, already bagged by other trail volunteers, from an abandoned camp near Stewart Lake.

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Oct 122018
 

By Patty Wilber

Jim had an elk tag and I have a license that I can use for grouse, so we took Indy and Cometa and went to the Cruces Basin to try our luck. This year it was Camp Wilberry and not Camp Kingsbury and we did miss the camaraderie and amenities of the amazing Camp Kingsbury!

On Friday, we loaded up, left our place, and  after four hours of travel, arrived at the last turnoff to the trailhead.  There we discovered that the door to the camper had popped open, probably somewhere on the 25 miles of dirt road we had just driven, and virtually all our food, wine that we had put in metal water bottles, our brand new Jet Boil stove, our water purified and my very best milk crate from my days as a wildlife major at Humboldt State University had ejected out the back.

We were so hosed.

Well, when life gives you lemons you can give up or you can regroup.  We turned around, drove an hour back out and went first to Tres Piedras (no food store) and then the other way into Antonito in Colorado to restock.  We even found a small stove, but the store did not have the proper fuel canisters for the model they stocked…

We finally made the trailhead by 5:30 pm.  Indy and Cometa had a fine bonding experience, but they were ready to get out of the trailer! They stayed overnight tied to the trailer that was hooked to the truck and they did not wiggle or mess with each other.

We were ready to drink the new bottle of wine we bought.

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