My Tunes

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Muddy Season

The ground here is either very dry and dusty or snow covered and frozen solid.

But....every now and again we have mud! Lots of mud.

Bobby comes home after spending a few hours digging and wants to come in the house!!

She wants in bad and doesn't understand why I don't let her in.

She can let herself in by pushing down the door handle. Try as she might she can't get in because I have locked the door. She makes a mess of things trying to get the door open.

Later on Brad washed her off a bit and let her in.

Ducky Girl looks through the dirty door. She does this to get my attention.

I give them some food and water to wash it down. And 'like a duck to water' Ducky Girl gets in it.

The ducks are almost a year old now. They waddle off to play in the puddles and are really disappointed that the worms are not out and about yet.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Maple lives!

When Brad came home from his trip, he was impressed with my containers of water all over the house, but not enough to want to live without running water.

The next morning he got to work.

He said he'd put new pipe around the sugar maple if the leak was right under it, instead of damaging it. So I didn't have to chain myself to it. Luckily the leak was a few feet off to the side and only one root was damaged.

The leaks were exposed when I turned the pump on for a second and the water shot out. Here the pump is off but it's still leaking. The last time this pipe saw daylight was over a hundred years ago.

Here he saws out the diseased section.....

...and repairs the old pipe with a section of new modern pipe.

He refills the hole and replaces the scalped bit of the lawn and it looks as good as new.

We have been having temperatures as high as 55 F and all the snow is gone. The frost has come out of the ground, but not before we had horrible mud everywhere.

A job well done Bradley!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Bad luck Tuesdays.

This week I have been on my own again while Brad is down in Utah. I've discovered while he's away, Tuesdays are very unlucky for me.

The first Tuesday I was here alone, the furnace stopped working. The house got really cold, but I was okay with some electric heaters.

The second Tuesday I was here alone, I fell on the ice and on the way down I twisted my already swollen and painful knee.

The third Tuesday, which was this week, the worst thing happened. Well it didn't need to be all that bad, but I freaked out. It was windy and everything was frozen solid. The ducks water bowls and their little paddle tub were frozen solid and embedded into the ground. I went to the stone building to look for these pots and pans I threw out last week. Well, as I walked across the frozen tundra that was my lawn, suddenly my feet sank into water!

A pipe had burst under the lawn and the water was running over the ground towards the house. I called Brad and told him were it was and he informed me it was the pipe that goes up to the top of the bluff!

Years ago, Brad's grandfather, father and Uncle, put a 7,000 gallon cistern on the top of the bluff. The water is pumped out of the well near the house, and then it's pumped up the side of the bluff to the cistern, for storage and provides household water pressure. The water also goes over to the corrals.

Brad said there was nothing I could do but turn the pump off, which was running all the time to keep up with the leak. I instantly went into survival mode....that sounds better than panicked.

Before I ran out of water, I filled up stock tank to the brim, that would last the cows three days. Then I raced home and filled every container in the house full of water. Watered all the house plants, took a shower, washed clothes and started the dishwasher. Phew!

And then it took 30 hours for the water to drain out of the cistern. lol. I have hot and cold water at the little house, which has a different well. Echo is on that system, but Wildairo is on ours, and that meant I'd have to haul buckets of water in my Jeep for him, so I got a bucket ready.

I was all set for when taps went dry, then Brad called and he mentioned that if I wanted to water Wildairo or to use a lot of water in the house, all I had to do was turn the pump back on for awhile. Heck, for some reason I thought the cistern had to be full first. So that is what I have been doing. Soon as the pump is on, water starts coming out of the lawn again, so I don't leave it on too long.

Brad is going to use his back hoe to tear up my lawn. Today was quiet warm, over 40 degrees. As you can see from the picture below, there's a little problem, my sugar maple is right on top of the epicenter. I think the maple was the one who damaged the pipe. Anyway, I'm going to chain myself to it when Brad comes with his back hoe.

Brad is on his way home. It takes 24 hours because he leaves in the afternoon and then spends the night somewhere. He took this photo with his cell phone. He had to stop and let these buffalo cross the road. I hate it when that happens!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The Wild Life.

I became curiouser and curiouser the more I learned about deer collars and so I emailed the Wild Life Department with my questions and included a couple of pictures of the collar wearing deer. I didn't expect to hear back but I did. The guy that put the collars on wrote to me! He told me they collared 300 deer!

Here's part of his email;

To capture these deer, we used a net fired from a large net-gun as we flew over the deer in a helicopter. While we had the deer in hand, we collected blood samples, fecal samples, took standard biological body measurements, measured body fat and pregnancy status using a portable ultrasound, and fitted each deer with a radio collar. Each radio collar has its own unique frequency, which allows us to locate the deer by homing in on the radio signal using a special receiver; we do most of our monitoring from an airplane but sometimes we track from the ground using vehicles or on foot. Each radio collar has a mortality switch which allows us to determine if a deer has died; by getting to a deer shortly after it has died, we have a better chance of determining the cause of death. Using locations of radio marked deer, we can learn many things about how deer make a living across the landscape including seasonal movements and habitat use, survival rates, migration corridors, identifying critical areas important to deer, all of which help us do a better job of managing the mule deer herds. Unless we recapture a deer and remove the collar, the deer will wear the collar for the rest of its life.

If I had the frequency of the radio collar of the deer in your photo, I could produce a map showing the relocation and movement information over time for that deer. Without the frequency, I do not know which deer this one is.

He asked me if he could use the pictures I sent in a presentation he's doing and wanted to know if I had any more. I sent him many more. Here's one of them.

You can see where the collar has worn away her fluffy coat.

While I was poking around on the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife web page, I saw that a person can become a licensed wildlife rehabilitator. I think I will do that one day.

I have helped a lot of injured birds and returned them to the wild. Mostly birds of prey such as great horned owl, barn owl, screech owl, red tail hawk (which was put to sleep because I made the mistake of taking him to the vets) and a kestrel.

Here's me back in 1984 with a great horned owl.

Notice I'm not wearing gloves. The screech owl I saved would dig his talons in deeper if I moved my fingers. That was brutal. But this old boy was a gentleman.

I found him in the middle of the road one night, with his legs in the air and out cold. I took him home and he woke up after awhile. He was a bit dopey at first but soon got his wits back. He ate really good and was a real survivor. I remember I had to treat him for lice. I bet all owls have lice that they catch from their prey. Once he did a good job of flying across the room and landing on tricky spots with no problem, I let him go. I always sing Born Free when I let something go, lol.

I read the requirements and I saw the glaring problem I would have as a licensed rehabilitator, if a wild animal imprints on humans they have to put it to sleep. I can't see me bottle feeding an orphaned fawn and no bonding going on. I'd be a death sentence to any cute cuddly creature, so I'd have to be birds only.