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Saturday, September 23, 2017

A little progress on the road.

I talked Hugh into coming down this AM to "discuss" the road. We tied chains to some of the precarious rocks on the big hill and pulled them down. He agreed to come back Monday with his bobcat and see if he can get them off the road. Some are pretty big. So we'll see. Maybe I can get him to work on a few other rough spots in the road while he's here. Worth a try.

You can see by the above photo that more needs to be pulled down. But I can only push Hugh so far. Leading him works best. So I try to have patience.

For 40 years I've attempted to keep the road padded with dirt. Dirt makes dust and then washes away. So now I'm going to focus on putting concrete patches in the bad spots and see how that works. There are only 4 or 5 problem areas, all on slopes. Flat places are fine generally, unless they're low and water washes over. But I can fix that with a little concrete too. It's doable and even if it wasn't, I'd eventually do it. LOL

Here's a lovely female Cloudless Sulphur.

Mac is back in Houston but he sent me some nice shots he took while here. I have his standing permission to share them on my blog, for which I'm grateful.

Gulf Fritillary and Gray Hairstreak

My favorite of his American Redstart shots from CMO (9/12)
My favorite of his Black-throated Gray Warbler shots from CMO (9/14)
Last, but not least by any means, Aoudad atop our mountain, taken from the oasis by Mac. I lost count and you will likely too. (9/18)

My black ant pain didn't subside until the middle of the night last night. It took me one minute to get rid of the ants. Never going to allow black ants at the oasis again.

Friday, September 22, 2017

No country for carelessness

Would you believe I saw a Regal Ringneck Snake and didn't have my camera on me. Grrr!

Today I was chasing a butterfly and forgot about the big ant hill of black ants in an area where I walk frequently. I must have stood on the hill because in an instant I was being stung simultaneously by the demons. They were all over my jeans and feet. I laid my camera down and came out of my jeans in record time. But the damage was done. I was on fire, beside myself in pain. Only after an hour was I able to stand the pain without four ice packs.Way worse than anything I'd been bitten by before. And that includes scorpions and a brown recluse. I had thought about putting Amdro on that ant den for some time, just never bothered. Always stepped over or around it before. Lesson learned.

Here's a pair of bugs.

And a caterpillar

And I think a different species of katydid than I've seen before, but not sure.

My plans for road work have hit a snag. I had wanted the road wider on top of the hill and the resulting dirt moved to the road at the bottom of the hill. The contractor can't move it down with a dozer and my husband said it would be too much dirt for him to carry down the hill with his bobcat. So back to the drawing board. Hugh had previously told me he'd move the dirt down, but he apparently didn't understand how much dirt would be involved. I don't dare hire the contractor to dig up the dirt if I don't have a way to put it where I want it. A huge pile of dirt left on the road, or beside the road, would be worse than what I have now. May just have Hugh clean the fallen rocks off the hill and patch the holes in the road with cement. That's not how I want it, but seems the only option at this time. If I spend big money on the road I expect to end up with more than a pile of dirt to show for it. Hugh's going to come down in the morning and look at it. (And tell me what he'll do and what he won't do and how he'll do it and how he won't do it, etc.)

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Happy to be back at the oasis

I came down just before dusk today. The air looked cleaner than I had seen it in a long time so I couldn't resist taking a photo of our mountain coming in.

 Managed to fill a couple of feeders before dark, then with the light from the courtyard I unloaded a load of firewood that I had put in my pickup this morning.

That should last me through the winter because when the weather is cold here I generally stay by the fire in town. But I plan to bring down another load anyway. Might as well stock up while I can. One never knows what the future holds. Hoping for good photo ops tomorrow.

Feeling good. Weaather nice, rain forecast, tanks full, everything working, potential for roadwork soon. 

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

How much should I water?

I planned on watering this morning before heading back to town, but it sprinkled lightly most of the morning. That didn't motivate me to do much watering. And more rain is forecast. So I watered enough to get by for a few days.

This afternoon the sun came out and there were butterflies everywhere. I couldn't find any new species, but did see my first Mallow Scrub-Hairstreak of this year.

On Friday I'm looking forward to meeting up with the contractor who I've been talking to about working on my road. The big hill, in particular. I don't think there's any way to lower it without dynamite, but it needs to be wider on top so cars can get by one another there, and also so that when rocks fall off the bank into the road they won't hit a car. I'll post some before and after shots when the work gets going.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Nature is winning!

Got to the oasis late this afternoon to discover worms had eaten every leaf off all 3 mulberry trees! 😣

Here are a few of the culprits. See them dangling from the tree? I suspect they've run out of leaves on the tree so they're lowering themselves to either pupate or find a new food source.

Here's a butterfly I shot late this afternoon as activity was winding down for the day. It's either a Dotted Roadside-Skipper, or a Toltec Roadside-Skipper. The latter would be very unlikely, and a lifer.

Mac is leaving in the morning. Sad to have him go. After encountering the business end of a skunk this morning at the oasis, can't say I blame him. Kidding!

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Alpine time

Have to be in town for a few days. Yesterday I spent half the day trying to get my sewing machine to sew, and the other half sewing cushions and trim for an old Mission Oak rocker that my husband refinished for his pregnant granddaughter to rock her baby in. My sewing machine has something wrong with it and there's no one in Alpine that works on them. I need to get a different one.

Today I photographed a Variegated Meadowhawk, a species I've shot hundreds of times before, but I needed to practice my photography.

Tomorrow I have to accompany my husband to Odessa in case he needs me to drive home after he sees the doctor. He never does, but it's my "duty." And then, to CMO! Hooray!