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Thursday, May 24, 2018

Big rain in Alpine

Yesterday, when the oasis got nearly half an inch of rain, our place in Alpine got only a quarter of an inch. But today it made up for it. Got one and a quarter inches, while nothing at the oasis. Nothing forecast for the next ten days either. As soon as the new pump arrives tomorrow I'm heading to the oasis.

After the rain there quit last evening Mac took a few photos. Here are a couple of them.



And the Bell's Vireos today...


Back in Alpine it seems the huge rain storm caused critters to seek refuge in the house. Here's an unknown moth and lizard on the dining room wall.




Wednesday, May 23, 2018

A little rain!

The oasis got close to half an inch of rain. A much welcome relief from this parching drought. Watering had managed to keep things alive but the trees are very sparsely leafed out. The ground was too dry for any runoff, but that's OK. It's just May. Plenty of time for the tanks to fill yet this summer.


Mac didn't take any photos of the storm and I was in Alpine, but above is a shot Don Baucham posted of it on Facebook.

In other good news, I had a well company test the pump that didn't work in the stucco tank. It was fine. That means the problem was the control box. Since I ordered another pump, the new one, when it arrives Friday, will be my backup. Now I ordered another control box so I can replace the one that comes with the new pump since I'll be using it on the old pump. I don't want the backup pump to not have a backup control box.

Kelly's hummer cam is up and running for the hummingbird season now. Here's the link if you want it.

http://cams.allaboutbirds.org/channel/50/West_Texas_Hummingbirds/

It still hasn't soaked in (no pun intended) that I won't have to water for nearly a week now. Won't know what to do with myself.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Sheer adversity

Well, I managed to get my trees watered today. Sheer determination and sheer exhaustion. My new pump will arrive Friday so I'll be good on watering until then. Just hope when Mac and I get it hooked up it works.

I'm really excited about a new book coming out in November.


Here's Mac's contribution for the day. Every day is Christmas in the Christmas Mountains.

Common Ground-Dove
Birding has really slowed down now that migration is over. But nesting birds everywhere.


Monday, May 21, 2018

Triangle Market

I cane across this old photo of the Triangle Market (my son's store in Alpine) that is probably close to 100 years old. The sign reads "New Modern TRI-ANGLE CAMP."


For comparison, here's how it looks today.


Sunday, May 20, 2018

Pump went out

I think I screwed up and ruined the pump in the stucco tank. Not knowing that, I went down to water today and couldn't. So I rushed right back to town with the old pump (in case my son can get it working) and ordered a new pump. What happened is that when I fixed the leak in the line to the pump I cut out the part that leaked. That shortened the line to where the tank needed more water in it in order for the pump to stay submersed. I didn't want to keep that much water in the tank. So the other day, Mac and I added a section of pipe to the line. Then I dragged the pump out into the deeper water. Mistake. I should have waded into the muddy water and lifted the pump to the deeper water and then set it on a rock to keep it out of the mud. It seemed to work fine the next time I watered, but today it didn't. I pulled it out and it was full of mud, so I assume it burned up the motor.

I think I can go a couple more days without watering, but if I don't have a working pump by then, I'll have to stick one of my little sump pumps into the big tank. Then with enough length of hoses, I can manage to water everything. It'll be slow going and take days, but at least I shouldn't lose any trees.

On a more pleasant subject, Mac got a photo of a fox in the very top of the apricot tree. Mac uses a big lens so he couldn't get the whole tree in the picture. I'd say the fox is about 12 or more feet above the ground.


And I love these photos Mac took of a Bell's Vireo taking food to the nest. It's a big stick insect of some kind. Appears the vireo removed the legs and antennae. Took one of the nestlings a long time to eat the whole thing.






Thursday, May 17, 2018

Electrical problems

All the Big Bend area had power outages this afternoon and Alpine again this evening, so my blog is late tonight. Not that there's much to blog about. I rushed to town to start drying apricots but with the power out they've been mostly languishing in the dryer thus far.


And I have a strange bush at the oasis. Years ago when I was in E TX I brought home seeds, or maybe a small plant, of a Coral-bean.  After watering it for years and never having it bloom, I gave up and quit watering it a week or so ago. Today I discovered it was blooming! Hidden down under acanthus that had overgrown it, but nevertheless, blooming. Go figure!


There's been a bunting at the oasis feeders that I can't quite ID. The wing bars made me think Indigo bunting female, but after Mac sent me these photos of it tonight, I'm thinking female Varied Bunting. To be sure I sent these pics to Kelly, but I don't see the throat as being white enough for an Indigo, or enough of an eye-line for an Indigo. 



Whatever she is, she seems to love the rope I installed for raising and lowering the bucket feeder.

UPDATE: Kelly confirmed it's a Varied Bunting.