Feb 162018
 

By Patty Wilber

I was listening to a Stuff You Should Know podcast called “The Wind Cries Typhoid Mary” and it mentioned the unsanitary conditions in New York City in the 1800’s.  They estimated the number of horses, determined the amount of poop/horse/day to be about 25 pounds, and concluded that more than SIX MILLION pounds of manure were deposited on the city streets EVERY DAY!

I found an extension site that estimated horses create 37 lbs of feces and 2.4 gallons of urine per day!

That made me think about input vs. output. If a horse that is not gaining or losing weight eats 20 pounds of hay and drinks 5-10 gallons of water (at 8.35 lbs/gallon), the horse is taking in between 60 and 100 lbs of material and excreting 25-37 lbs of poo and 20 lbs of pee for a total of 45 -67 lbs. The maximum input doesn’t quite match the maximum output, but that could be balanced by loss of water mass through breathing, sweating and normal evaporation on the skin.

Right now we have six horses x about 20 lbs  of food per day or 43,800 lbs per year.  At 25 lbs of  fecal output per horse per day x 365 days, we generate 54,750 lbs of manure  each year. Or if we go with 37 lbs of manure per horse per day, 81,o30 lbs!  Who needs a gym membership if you have horses!

So, what to do with all that waste?

First off, it has to to be picked up.  We have dirt pens and use plastic manure forks.  We do not have bedding to deal with.

Forks come with a handle and a head.  The heads break.  It is possible to buy replacement heads.

I recently bought two of this type of head from State Line Tack (6 bucks) and each one lasted approximately two days before snapping.

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Jan 122018
 

By Patty Wilber

In December, Jim and I went hiking in the Ojito Wilderness.  We accessed it via Cabezon Road and hiked the Hoodoo Trail (red dot and line)  over by Bernalillito Mesa.

The hoodoos are surreal, like being in a different dimension, but as far as horseback riding, it is a short trail.

So, Tuesday, us ladies in our big trucks (cuz we might be AARP age, but we are formidable, especially in a group) went on US 550 3.5 miles past San Ysidro to the gray road on the map. We went in the green gate and parked right there.  Then, we followed that gray road on horseback into the Ojito and saw a different side of it.

Marianne, Siri, Linda, and Lily.

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Oct 132017
 

By Patty Wilber

THE GREAT GROUSE ADVENTURE

in which

PATTY BAGS TWO GROUSE

and

PENNY PACKS TENT POLES

Well!  I am finally a “real” hunter!  I brought home two spruce grouse and I did it with two shots of Jim’s 20 ga shot gun.  I am a fan of the 20 ga shot gun.  It is light (under 5 pounds), thus easy to tote around the wilderness. Since I was shooting shot, which has a spray, I hit every time. I have not a clue about the “choke” on the gun and it is late already, so I am not going to try to figure it out, but the pictures below give an idea of the pattern the pellets make.

I got one from about 15 yards (on the ground) and on from about 25 yards (in a tree) and did not have a “shot” at an on-the-wing bird, for the trifecta. We had green chile grouse enchiladas Thursday pm and they were delicious. (Thanks Kay Coen for that cooking idea!)

Me and my first grouse!

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Sep 012017
 

By Patty Wilber

In 2013, the Jaroso Fire in the Pecos Wilderness was 100% contained on August 5th.  On Labor Day, 2013, the Back Country Horsemen rode through the burn area on the way to our annual trip to Beatty’s Cabin. This year’s post is from our Supply Run the weekend before Labor Day. So, first the fire scar blogs and photos and then the supply run .

2013: Burn n Bridge.  This is the funniest of the three, I think. It features Longshot and his non-compliant pack string ways.  Longshot (now 7) was my lead horse for 2016.

2014: Bridge Club.  This one features a bridge that we worked on.

2015: Beatty’s Cabin, 2015. Lots of linseed oil in this one!

2016: Jaroso Fire Scar 2013-2016 Labor Day.  The 2017 blog has a LOT of overlap with the 2016 blog.

Labor Day weekend, 2013.  The fire was contained in August due to work of the fire crews and help from mother nature in the form of a lot of rain. The amount of regrowth that occurred in a month was amazing! Bracken fern seems to be prevalent.

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The lone aspen.

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Aug 042017
 

By Patty Wilber

Ok, so at pushing 56, maybe I am no longer a girl, but “A Woman and her Tractor” sounded too staid, “Me and my Tractor” too plain, and “The Old Lady and her Tractor”… well, I am not THAT old!

We have had the tractor a few years now, and I confess, I get a big kick out of being a tractor operator! Unfortunately, my tractor-ness does not extend to tractor maintenance, so I am not a true tractor aficionado.  I have, however, come really close to tipping the thing over with a loaded bucket and have gotten it stuck (and unstuck), so that does give me some tractor creds!

I have been moving crusher fines to fill in some mud holes, and digging out the culvert after our 1.6 inches of rain event, so here are some tractor shots.

This is the “dump and smooth”. Unfortunately, if crusher fines do not have a chance to sit and pack, big rains wash them down hill. These got somewhat rearranged about two days after I put them in.

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Jul 212017
 

By Patty Wilber

Last Sunday, the Pecos Chapter of the Back Country Horsemen (BCH) helped pack out a folding toilet, a propane tank and other materials that helped make Kevin Balciar’s volunteer trail crew happier on their 10 day stint working on Rito Los Esteros (#226) and Skyline (#251) trails in the Pecos Wilderness.

It was a tough job (really it was just fun), but someone had to do it.

Jim and I spent the night at Iron Gate campground.  In the past, BCH had avoided Iron Gate because the four miles of dirt road was a steep  trailer eater, full of deep ruts and hitch-cracking, axle-snapping holes.  It was repaired, and while still steep (we would not have got our camper and loaded three horse trailer out in the rain without 4WD), it only had two big holes and the surface was solid and not terribly slick, even with water streaming down it.

To begin the day, we had to get an early start to meet Richard, Amber and Peter who had ridden in Saturday and overnighted with Kevin’s group, so we rode out of Iron Gate at 7:10 am.

The route leaves Iron Gate and heads south on trail 249 then right on 250 to Mora Flats.

I do not know if we are on 249 or 250 in this picture. Trail 249 starts from Iron Gate camp ground and joins 250 which stays high for a while then drops down to the top of this valley that you can see to our right. The trail (240) then heads back south and is down there somewhere.

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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 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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