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Wednesday, July 8, 2015

A very memorable day

My sisters called me early this morning that we got about 2" of rain. I would have rushed down there but I had a Dr appointment in town at 11 AM. So Hugh helped me load the dryers with peaches. I waited an hour at the Dr's, pacing like a caged animal. Finally she saw me, looked at the skin spot, said she was 99.9% sure it wasn't cancer or pre-cancer, and I was out of there in a flash. Came to the house and changed into work clothes, checked the dryers and instructed Hugh to turn them off in an hour. They could wait until I got back. Just gonna service my hummingbird feeders. Be back in 4 hrs.

When I got to the oasis the feeders were already covered with bees, but the stucco tank hadn't caught much water. Everything else was brim full. I desperately wanted to salvage what water I could so I devised a plan. I would get both 3" gas pumps going and pump water for the hour it would take to do the feeders, then gas up the pumps and leave them running after I left until they ran out of gas. That would be 2-3 hours. Can pump a lot in that time. I can't get back down until Monday, by which time the water in all but the lower dirt tank would be gone.

Well, all didn't go according to plan. I couldn't get the first pump started so decided to set up my big HEAVY electric pump. It weighs a lot but I lugged it to the tank, got out the long heavy hoses and extension cords I would need. Hot, muggy, tired, and hungry.

I went back and fiddled with the gas pump again and discovered I had mentally reversed the choke and gas switches. So I got it running, lugged all the electric stuff back to the shed, then started the pump in the upper dirt tank. That pumps the water to the lower dirt tank and from there I pump it into the stucco tank. Got the bright idea to just attach 3" hoses and pipes to the outlet in the lower dirt tank straight into the stucco tank and I would have twice the water surging into that tank. It took a lot of rigging and hose clamps, and lugging all that 3" stuff back out of the shed again, but I finally got it going. Not until I'd been in and out of the water a bunch because the outlet that I hooked up to was under water. I was eating up hours like crazy, of course.

Rushed through changing the feeders, all 14 of them that I had just cleaned and filled yesterday. Seemed so long ago. Hubby was calling asking dryer questions when he could reach me.

I had gotten 1.8" of rain and the road in needed work bad but no time for that. The reason the stucco tank didn't fill up is because the bulk of the runoff came from the east arroyo where the dirt tanks are, not the west arroyo where the big tank is. Enough ran down the west arroyo that it filled the first two tanks but didn't make it all the way to the third [stucco] one.

Anyway, the plan was to leave both gas pumps running water into the stucco tank after I left. But it bothered me so much to leave the one with all the clamps. I've learned those clamps are prone to pop off the pipes I use and that would lose all that water. At least if I let it go into the lower dirt tank, that holds water pretty good, I'd have enough to top off the stucco tank when I get back. Besides some years I get more than one rain. So right before I left I dismantled it and toted it back to the shed.

 After being gone from Alpine for 6½ hours, I headed out, very, very reluctantly. It had only been a few hours since the rain fell and already sage was blooming and dragonflies were everywhere. And no time to even take one ode photo. Here are the photos I took today. The first is an unusual ocotillo bloom I spotted on the side of my road in. It looked golden in the sunlight, but is actually orange, I guess. The ocotillo are long past blooming, so it's just some kind of fluke.

And here are a few random shots of the post-monsoonal event at the oasis.

Soapberry thicket between upper and middle dams

Wildlife pond. Water will clear up in a few days.
Arroyo on right. Spillway into big tank center and left

Big concrete tank. Lots of dragonflies.

Hugh did pretty good with the dryers. He only burned about 6 peach slices. I've been know to burn a few myself occasionally. And since I wasn't there to pick peaches and load dryers I won't have to get up in the night to service them. Works for me.

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