Dec 072018
 

By Patty Wilber

We have had a week of wintery weather, with more on the way. This is good news for our drought stricken state of affairs, which, surprising to me, is actually quite a bit worse right now, as compared to a year ago

All this cold and snow, however, is not so great for outdoor horse training, especially since it had been in the 40’s and 50’s up to now.

I am quite happy to be outside for hours if it is 25 F and sunny, but 15 F? at 9 am?  I just need another cup of coffee.

Monday 12/3/18. There is a ridge to the east of us, so the sun hasn’t quite made it to us yet. It was  15F. Looking west.

Later on Monday. Getting better, but by the time it reached 25 F, it was after 11 am, so not really enough time to get anything done before I had to head to town to teach one of my last microbio labs of the term.

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Nov 022018
 

By Patty Wilber

I went to Golden Open Space last Friday with four friends.  There was water in the arroyo that is normally dry and we had some gold cottonwoods–which were not the source of the name!

The water.  We got nearly two inches of rain last week, which seems like a huge amount here considering that our annual precipitation is around 16 inches at my place and only 8 inches in Albuquerque. The amount that we had actually caused live water to be running down the arroyos at the open space.  If you live in a wet area, this excitement may seem ludicrous, but to use desert rats, any running water is a thing.  A big thing!

Siri on Tabooli riding along WATER!

I know our 2 inches was a mere dribble compared to the hurricane drenched states where 30 to 50 inches fell in a matter of days.  If that happened here, all the houses might literally wash away.  Our soil just could not handle it.

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Oct 262018
 

By Patty Wilber

Lucy!

Lucy got here in July and quickly wormed her way into my heart.

She is a rather calm sort.

This was ride 13.  Mary Ann and I spent a couple hours out on the trail near my house. Granted Lucy did not lead, but she didn’t spook at anything, either, and she does cover some ground with her walk, without being in a rush, like, say, LT. Lucy is way way way way way easier. Way.

The only thing that I don’t care for so far is that saddles like to ride forward on her, so I think, for the back country, I will get her a britchen.

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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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Sep 142018
 

By Patty Wilber

Callie’ Star Chapter 20 is posted.

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I have mentioned a few times that we have been having a long spell of dry weather in New Mexico.  Years.

We have had rains this monsoon season, so it seems like things have eased up some, but truthfully, we may be just getting adjusted to a new normal.  It has not been wet enough to turn the drought monitor map green.

The Forest Service has had reports that Spruce Spring in the Manzanos was not running. This is a developed spring, with a spring box and feeder hose the empties into a water tank.  Back Country horsemen packed in the current tank on Cheryl Nigg’s mule, Joker, many years ago, and we also fixed the spring in June 2017, when a tree had fallen on and crimped the feeder hose.

We were hoping the current problem was something like that, this go around.

Mary Ann and I left the Ponderosa Restaurant with our take-out hamburgers at 1:30 pm (Atti and I had played with cows in the morning, so this was the earliest I could go) and we headed to the Spruce Trail trailhead.

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Sep 072018
 

By Patty Wilber

For the last eon, the Pecos Chapter of the Back Country Horsemen has gone to Beatty’s Cabin in the Pecos Wilderness over Labor Day. If you click here, you can check out five years of Labor Day blogs.  I am sure there are more.

But this year, we went to the Manzanos to work on the Ox Canyon Trail.

We stayed in the Ox Canyon Campground.

Pretty ! Jim and Terri set up an electric pen. We highlined.

Here is a link to a topo map.  This is not a very well known campground and it was perfect for our bunch of horse trailers.  I think three other parties drove through over the weekend and because we had sort of taken over, they moved on.  It is a a dry campground, in that there are no water spigots, but there are nice tables, fire rings, and a decent outhouse!  There are good places to highline stock and plenty of trailer parking.

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Aug 102018
 

By Patty Wilber

Chapter 17 of Callie’s Star is up!

We did it! The New Mexico Appaloosa Horse Club sponsored Fourth Annual All Breed, Appaloosa and Quarter Horse Red Hot Ranch Horse Challenge  and Second Annual Ranch Pleasure Challenge is in the books!

The Red Hot Challenge winner of $1000 was Katherine Arnold with Deal a Little Lena, for the third year in a row!

Katherine and Lena. Photo from 2018, by Ed Armstrong.

Cody Crow was reserve on Peptos Blue Oak ($500)

The Ranch Pleasure Challenge winner of $1000 was Natalie Baca and SSSmokin Z06!

Natalie and Z. Photo by Joy Roberts.

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Aug 082018
 

By Patty Wilber

To get every chapter as soon as they post, you can subscribe to the site!  If you missed any of the past Chapters, the links are all here. Thanks for reading!

CALLIE’S STAR by Patty Wilber

Chapter 1 Chapter 2 Chapter 3 Chapter 4 Chapters 5 and 6
Chapter 7 Chapter 8 Chapter 9 Chapter 10 Chapter 11 Chapter 12 Chapter 13
Chapter 14 Chapter 15 Chapter 16

CHAPTER SEVENTEEN–BASE  CAMP

“It sure took you guys long enough to get here,” said Luis.

Jeff shrugged. “We had a little trouble,” he said, making his voice sound important.

“Oh” said Luis, not really listening because he was bursting to say, “We saw the Outlaw!”

“You did?” said Callie and Jeff with almost the same voice. “Where?”

Luis pointed toward a low hill west of camp. “Right over there,” he said. “There were about fifteen mares and ten colts with him.”

“I can’t wait to see them,” said Callie, picturing them in her mind as a copper, black and orangish blur of sleek coats shimmering in the sun.

“It’ll be a couple of days, probably,” said Jeff, “‘Cause we’ve got to repair the corrals and then you never know how long it’ll take to find the herd, again.”

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Aug 032018
 

By Patty Wilber

Ch 17 of Callie’s Star  is languishing, but not forgotten.

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We are still very dry in New Mexico, but we have gotten some

monsoonal rains, humidity is no longer in the single digits, the forests reopened, and so Back Country Horsemen got go to work!

We packed a trail crew into Horse Thief meadow.

I was planning to take Atti and let her be a big girl pony horse, but she pulled a shoe, so I took Penny.

Good thing, because we had a loose mule come barreling at us on a steep and narrow section of the trail, and while Penny didn’t love it, she didn’t come unglued, either.  Atti might have been ok, but that would have been a lot to ask of a three-year old.

“this wasn’t my fault,” says Leo. “i was tired. i needed a rest. and then everyone wanted me to go, and i just went the wrong way. a little fast.”

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