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 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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Mar 312017
 

By Patty Wilber

This winter has been warmer (Accuweather) and slightly wetter (at least until February)  compared to the historic averages as reported by Intellicast.

We didn’t get a lot of snow.

Here is a summary:  Precipitation from Intellicast, and my rain gauge, temperatures from Accuweather. Links above.

Historic Averages                            My house ppt      Accuweather this year temps.
November:  1.2″   45F                      1.46″                    48F
December:   1.3″    36F                    1.58″                    39F
January:       1.2″    37F                    1.54″                    39F
February:     1.3″    41F                    0.21″                    46F
March:          1.4″    48F                   0.60″                    55F (as of 3/29/17)

In February, we only had one precipitation event, (Feb. 13th, 0.21″) and it was dry again until March 23rd (0.24) and March 28th (0.36).

Mar. 28th. The rain gauge is on the railing!

A late afternoon break in the damp.

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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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Mar 032017
 

By Patty Wilber

The second training ride of the Back Country Horsemen, Pecos Chapter’s year was Sunday Feb. 26th, at the Galisteo Basin Preserve.

It was spitting snow at our house.

Forty degrees F and wind, was the forecast.

Galisteo Basin is boring.

But, Jim hadn’t ridden in a few weeks, the weather didn’t call for precipitation there, and my president (of BCH) said I should not be a whuss and should show up. (I do ride in all sorts of weather, but sometimes, just sometimes, I might like to stay inside with a book and a cup of tea.  Just sayin’.)

President Mary Ann and Tulip.

The deciding factor was Jim, so we loaded up Cometa and LT and off we went.

It was a little on the chilly side, but it turns out it wasn’t boring! I’d even go back!

There are new and much longer trails compared to last time I was there (2014), and the footing on the three hour (including lunch) ride we did was really nice! The trails were well marked and there is a clearly drawn map.

There are tri-use trails (equine, bike, and hikers) as well as bike-hike only trails. I tried to paste the map into the post instead of linking it, but alas, the link was the best I could do. So, I linked it twice!

Heading out from the Cowboy Shack parking area, going south.

The NM sky and Jim on Cometa.

There were a few bike riders (who were really nice to the equines), but had the weather been warm, I think there would have been many more cyclists.  The trail rules are horses get priority over bikes and hikers, and bikes get priority over hikers.  This all makes sense from a safety point of view, but those pesky quiet bikes can sneak up on an unsuspecting equine with variable and sometimes dramatic results.  No drama this day, though!

There were also loose dogs, only one of which was NOT under control and would have come with us had we not stopped to let his family retrieve him.

Back Country Horsemen is always fun to ride with. (We are looking for more members and have an informational meeting April 8.  See the flyer at the end of this post.)

I rode behind Linda most of the way and that is always a lot of conversational fun!

 

 

 

 

Plus, I got this picture of her and Star.

And this one of the Kingsbury clan!

The Pecos Chapter of the BCH works like dogs in the Manzanos and Pecos Wildernesses doing trail maintenance and pack support.  What better way to volunteer for a worthy cause–on a horse in the back country? Ok, we do get off and on a lot to do the work! But it is very satisfying!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In other news:  Indy got her stitches out on Wednesday and is out of solitary and back in the big pen with LT.  I will start riding her next week.  I might consent to a medium trace clip to hide (in plain site) the bald spot on her flank.  That might make a blog. Read about different clips here.

 

Feb 242017
 

By Patty Wilber

One morning this week.

One of the advantages of training horses is being outside a lot.  One of the advantages of living in New Mexico is the beautiful skies we have.  Just ask Georgia O’Keefe.  Of course, you will have to get in touch with her via someone who can talk to the dead.

Middle of the day.

Mid-day last Friday with Mary Ann and Siri. New Mexico has very dry air, which often means very clear vistas. I guess that is what makes the sky often seem so intensely blue here.

Evening.

South from round pen.

South west from the back patio.

 

 

 

 

 

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