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Monday, March 1, 2021

Booklet featuring CMO

A booklet was published, funded by Apache Corporation, in which the oasis is prominently featured. Front Street Books in Alpine has copies, or it's available to read online at:


https://bri.sulross.edu/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/2020-WATER-FOR-BIRDS.pdf. 


Here are a couple of pages from it.






I had long forgotten about the project, and most surprised to see my gravity water drip tank shown in it. Michael Gray took the cover photo. That last photo is hard to tell, but it's of the drip that Mac and I built two years ago.

Had a Rufous Hummingbird visit the feeder here in town today. I hadn't planned to refresh it until in the morning since it's going to get into the teens tonight (last cold snap positively), but I rushed out a fresh full feeder after seeing the bird. The feeder only had some real syrupy stuff in the bottom. I hope the hummer was able to utilize it. A quick out the window shot was all I could get.



 

Sunday, February 28, 2021

Migration on my mind

Had to come back to town without seeing a Lucifer Hummingbird but I'd bet money that when I get back down there in a few days I'll see at least one. Meanwhile, trying to get my trails opened so visiting birders can enjoy migration. Yesterday I pruned half of the Upper Arroyo Trail of the stuff that had fallen over into it during that record snowfall. By the time I finished watering I didn't have energy to finish it. This morning I did the Dike Trail. So I only have the Lower Dam Trail and finishing up the Upper Arroyo Trail left to prune. I think work on the new viewing area and water feature will begin soon.


The Williamson's Sapsucker was still present today. It didn't take him long at all to pepper an Arizona Cypress tree full of sap wells. I hope that means he's going to stick around. (First photo not quite daylight)





Saturday, February 27, 2021

Preview of coming attractions

Today was a beautiful day at the oasis. No, wind, perfect temperature, somewhat overcast, just how I like it. So I pushed myself hard to water trees and watch birds. Luckily, both can be done at the same time by carrying my camera with me. I prune a lot too, so that's mostly what wears me out. But it needs to be done while things are dormant. (I had no reaction to either of my covid vaccinations other than a mildly sore arm.)



Shortly after taking the above sunset photo, I spied a Williamson's Sapsucker eating old soapberries. I now have a new appreciation for soapberries. Had never seen anything eat them before, which is why they're still on the trees.


There wasn't enough light to do the beautiful bright male justice but maybe he'll still be here in the morning.




Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Aftermath after aftermath

We finally got our frozen pipes in town fixed. Luckily, the electricity didn't fail at the oasis so no pipe damage there. 


For 17 years I slaved away on the floors of our rental houses until we sold them last month. Well, the new owner's property manager didn't think to get the gas turned on to one of the houses after the tenant moved out and pipes broke. By the time the manager discovered it, the floors were all ruined. I sure feel bad about it. Here's a photo I took of said house a couple of years ago.



And here it is today. So sad! Plus, I feel bad for the new owner.  He's such a great person! He'll have to spend a bunch of money and lose months of rent. The manager quit, so he'll have to find a replacement.



I'm scheduled to get my  booster shot tomorrow afternoon. Will be so glad to get that behind me.


Monday, February 22, 2021

Robins headed north

The first thing I notice when I drive up to the oasis from Alpine is the profound quiet. You'd think by now I'd be so used to it, but it never fails to move me.


The weather got up to 70° today so I really wore myself out. My project was to prune an Evergreen Sumac that collapsed in that New Year's big snow event (not to be confused with our recent big freeze event).




It was a volunteer in the courtyard and had three trunks. Two trunks were dying and unsalvageable, but I tried to save the third one. It was a killer job for me. So heavy I couldn't budge them and had to cut them up in pieces to remove them. They were laying blocking the walkway into the house, so had to be dealt with. Here's how it looked when I finished. 


I've been seeing robins wherever I bird lately, while my aunt in Iowa is watching for their return. They're on their way! Had four at the oasis today being harassed by mockingbirds.




Friday, February 19, 2021

Remembering Dennis Shepler

Yesterday while I was taking my long journey to town, a dear friend was taking his own journey into death after fighting Pulmonary Fibrosis for many years. He was a talented artist who designed my Christmas Mountains Oasis T-shirt.



He loved the oasis and visited many times. This photo is from May 2016.


The last time he visited, due to the altitude, he struggled so hard to breathe that I feared he'd die there. I urged him to leave immediately.  We stayed in communication, never knowing which  "Love you" would be the last. He was 73. Rest in Peace. You will be greatly missed!