We hope you all had a good Fourth of July. Ours was quiet, very quiet. Since it was on a Friday I was on duty, available for the public, to help them in anyway I could. I started at 6 AM by going on patrol. In fact I did all of the patrols, Kepps, Clowards, Bulls Fork, Ritter Bench, Tex Creek, Meadow Creek, Indian Fork, Cove Creek, I mean I did them all! Looking for people for the surveys that I have to fill out. While on patrol I did find large infestations of Hounds Tongue & Burdock so I cut them down and threw them in the back of the pickup so they could be burned. I did get carried away as I was gone for 7 hours. In that time I saw absolutely NOBODY at all. I did find 2 cars down at the junction of the Willow & Tex Creek’s so I had a couple of forms to fill out. After I ate I went back out and did the whole patrol again. There wasn’t a soul on the property except for a few animals and myself. I don’t know why there isn’t anybody here this year other than it being so dry and dusty it helps to keep the ATV’s and motorcycles down. Of course in the towns around here there were all kinds of goings on and each one had its own fireworks display. Walt & Sue came over for dinner about 7 PM and we enjoyed talking about what is and isn’t happening. Walt said there wasn’t any traffic by their place either. We made arrangements to meet up on the hill after dark to see the fireworks in all of the cities and ranches around the area.
Trouble with that was by 9 o’clock I was already sawing logs and missed the “rockets red glare”. The whole weekend was like that with only 1 other vehicle spotted and he was a long ways from me.
On July 3rd Sally & I went over to Kelly’s Canyon which is just a few miles away. What a scenic area as the Snake River winds about giving an almost lush appearance after our “high desert” area. They have quite a nice ski area and lots of fishing from drift boats as the people tried to outwit the elusive trout with their flyrods. Probably only 10 air miles away and such a difference in the vegetation. A beautiful RV Park with a GREEN golf course, hot pools, swimming pool and water slide and PEOPLE, real people. We stopped and visited with “Workampers” and had an enjoyable time and of course invited them to COME ON OVER!
I’m now in the bird feeding business, as they want to trap and band some Doves. They gave me a trap and some feed and I fixed it so the birds can come & go as they want and have as many as 8 at a time in the trap. We might be having a problem though. You see I’m running out of feed for the critters and no one seems to give a damn. I never saw such a place. You’ll never believe it but, the feed just showed up and they say Shane has the leg bands.
None of the help worked Thurs., as it was a holiday. They work 4-10 hour days so they got a bonus.
Terry did come out and was going to do some spraying with an ATV but evidently when he got to where he was going to spray the sprayer wouldn’t work. He returned it to the shop area and didn’t leave a note or any thing so I didn’t know about it until Monday when Trent started messing around with it and found out it had a broken wire, such is life.
On Sunday I was checking all of the Kiosks for their maps & information when up on Harris Bench as I was walking up to the map box I spied a rattler laying right where I wanted to go. I had the truck parked only about 10 feet away from him so I got a shovel and walked back towards him. Up until this episode when people said such & such a snake was aggressive I had always said “yeah“. As I started back towards him he was approaching me menacingly as only a serpent can do. I held out the shovel and he immediately struck it, HARD. All the while he was approaching me and encroaching in my territory. When he struck the second time I hit him (I aimed for his head) about 12 inches behind the head (he was quick), with the sharp edge of the shovel, just enough to slow him down so I could finish the job. When I cut off his rattles I counted 13 which is a large amount for this area.
I have to admit he was the meanest looking thing I saw this weekend. I did see two-buck mule deer and it looked like they might have been 3 pointers (6 eastern). Also earlier I saw a doe eating contentedly in a field.
Our fire that we had did (officially) about 200 acres of devastation. I imagine fish & game will have to replant and that is going to be quite a job. With the steep canyon walls probably at 45 to 50 % it is going to be quite a task. Some prime wildlife habitat was lost because of somebody’s carelessness. The only thing I saw when I went down in the area were 3 badgers, with the ground being black and their white and tan coloration they were easy to spot.
We are planning to go to Lander, Wyo. On the 21st of this month to visit some friends that we met in Texas when we were “Workamping” there. Ed & Alice are enjoying life in the mountains this summer. Walt & Sue bought a trailer a couple of weeks ago and are anxious to try it out. We’ll pull ours out of storage and meander towards Lander.
I think were ready to go except for the water and hooking the batteries back up. I’ll probably have to wash the dirt out of the fifth wheel on the back of the pickup as it has really gotten quite dirty. I greased it up this spring, wasn’t thinking, and of course the grease has collected a lot of dirt.
This summer has just flown by and we haven’t been anyplace nor done anything like we wanted to do.
I met the new sheriff’s deputy today and he told me they caught the culprits who started the fire. Two guys “boiling crawdads” and the fire just plain got away from them. They’re going to try and get a few hundred hours of community services out of them, if the judge goes for it. They’ll get to replant the fauna in the canyon.
Also 6 gentlemen from the Kelly Canyon RV park and hot pool showed up today to look things over. The manager as well as 5 workamper men came to see what Sally & I was talking about the other day when we saw them on their home turf. It was enjoyable as we talked and they told me where they were from and that was all over the US as I showed them the buildings and equipment..
Thursday, July 10, 2003 Low 41.9 High 100.6 Yesterday it got just about as hot but it was cooler as it was only 94.8. All of the help were over to Painted Porch spraying along with the crew from the county’s spraying division and I was told they probably sprayed about 2000 gals and a lot of that was with the back packs. I know for a fact that the same crew numbering 15 could spend several days there before they covered most of the area.
There have been no doves trapped because of the cages, handling, and the heat. Trent says the cages must be checked every hour or the birds will die. That makes sense to me and Trent is the only one, maybe Shane also, that is supposed to do the leg banding until we learn how to do it correctly.
Miracles still happen out here at Tex Creek, after I’d just about given up on any humanity and the help surprised me big time today. You see they use the truck #G50, Monday through Thursday and it is usually a mess when I get it on Thursday nights. So bad in fact that I just open the doors and literally hose everything down. That way it has a chance to dry all night and in the morning I can turn the 2-way radio on and everything is okay. TODAY they cleaned it out even the toolbox in the back. They took the shop vacuum and sucked all of the dust out of the cab and the toolbox. Also I noticed that they shoveled about a bushel of caked dust out of the pick up box itself. What a difference it is to get in a vehicle that is half way clean. There is NO WAY you can get one dust free out here but this is close to it. I’ll “Armor All” it tonight and then each day when I drive it also. The dirty truck I have complained about all season, Thanks guys.
Friday, July 11, 2003 Low 41.9 High 100.3 This morning before it got so HOT about 6:30, I spotted what I thought was smoke off towards the south. There was another fire yesterday on private land and I’m getting nervous. I took right off and after I went for maybe a mile I could see that it was clouds. I’m sure there must be a name for them because as I watched them they took on the look of clouds that were dropping rain and then all of a sudden the moisture evaporated before it hit the ground. It was quite a phenomenon. Since then I’ve learned it is called Virga. It happens a lot out here in the dry country and the natives think nothing of it. As I was outside of the truck another truck pulled up and it was a county employee using a GPS and mapping all of the roads in Tex Creek. They are actually going to put section numbers on the map so that when you call dispatch you might even have them understand where you are. As we were talking another vehicle pulled up and it was a fisherman going down to Willow Creek for small mouth bass. He was out of Rexburg and said he was fishing down here yesterday and found a deep hole with rainbows and bass in them. He said he took home one small mouth that measured a little better than 16 inches. He also said there was a lot of willows and rattling reptiles down in there (I chickened out immediately). As I was leaving that gentleman (he was following) I saw some kind of bird and immediately stopped and got out. As he came up he was asking what I was looking at and I pointed out a large (very large) brood of birds of all different sizes from 1 adult to some very small. I told him I thought they were Chukar (Hungarian Partridge) and he said he believed I was right. There were perhaps 30 to 40 birds, probably more than one brood, and when they were reaching the top of the hill (Mt) we could here the chuck-chuck or clucking sound the adult was making. I know they hunt them in different areas and I’ll have to admit I’m not man enough to traipse after them where these were going. The first time I’ve ever seen this type of bird and I’ve been told there is not many around here. In fact I got so involved I forgot to take a picture.
Saturday, July 12, 2003 Low 42.3 High 103.5
If we complained because it was to cold you should hear us now. There is no humidity in the air and it sort of takes care of the sweating. The heat just sucks the moisture out of your system before you even begin to think of it. I drink a lot of water, lemonade, ice tea, and root beer but “Gatorade” really does quench the thirst.
We heard from Joe Gerdes today and think that his prostate (cancer) surgery was a success. Now I’ve got another favor to ask. Some of you remember the story about the preacher and I going hog hunting down in Texas about 5 yrs ago. We met a crazy texican by the name of Frank Torres. It seems he is in the hospital with some kind of infection. He is the director of the Willacy County Ambulance System in the Raymondville TX area. Since then we found out he was bitten or stung by a spider or scorpion while working in his crawl space and he is on the mend.
Sunday, July 13, 2003 Low 49.7 Low 97.4
A real welcome from the heat. A strong breeze with the cooler temperature sure made it more comfortable. I don’t want to say there is nobody out here but I did 8 live surveys and 2 parked surveys the last 3 days and drove 300 miles to do it. When I used to drive truck I used to get the international 1 finger salute more often than that.
Monday July 14th, 2003 Low 44.1 High 97.2
So nice seems like fall as you can breathe quite easily. Also it acts like fall as we’ve had our first MAJOR cattle trespass today. I counted 61 cattle in our alfalfa field. They weren’t hard to count as they were lying down all contented and peaceful like. Of course they were my friends cows, Gaylen Stucki’s. As I sat there watching them most of them had to come up by the truck to say hello,
where you been and all the like. I swear some of them wanted to give me a “high five” as they hadn’t seen me in so long. Nobody
answered the phone at Stucki’s so I called Terry at home. He told me not to worry too much about it and he’d try calling later, you see I have to use the cell phone and I imagine it gets a little expensive. They were starting to check out another field but I told the critters not to go there and they turned around. I even laughed at that.
Tuesday, July 15, 2003 Low 44.9 High 103.1
I checked on the cows this morning and they all had a good night, lots of water and good green grass compliments of Idaho Fish & Game. In fact they were all lying down in our campsite #5, the only one with good shade.
It is a good thing we could breathe yesterday because it hurts today! The air is so hot it is almost like smoking a flaming cigar (I tried that once). We pulled our trailer out of storage and set it up at the Ririe Dam and I bet it was 10 degrees cooler there. I had some exterior work to do on it and Sally cleaned the inside for our foray as we meander to Lander, Wyo. Next week for a mini vacation. Don’t laugh I think I deserve a vacation. I feel I am good as a fireman, mailman, teacher & etc. As I do all of those jobs also.
Wednesday, July 16, 2003 Low 48.8 High 105.8 HHHHHOTTTTTTTTTTTTT!!!!!
They tell me that if you think it is hot here, try Lander, Wyo. It figures that we try to get away into more pleasant climate and we go from the frying pan into the fire. Today Sally went into town and I messed around with our home on wheels. I tried to replace a check valve (I didn’t have the right one). I washed a lot of the dust off of the outside and got the refrigerator working and then read about all of the action at home in the Fremont, MI area about a state trooper who was killed while trying to make an arrest. It is always interesting in all cases that the culprit (who was killed) was a really nice guy while the trooper was a very nice person. Isn’t it ironic that we only remember the good things about a deceased person (usually).
This weather has got the mountains moving. In the heat the rocks expand and at night when it cools down 40 to 50 degrees the contraction does something and the rocks are falling into the roads. Now if we had a nice rain it would lubricate the surfaces and we could be like California and have a real movement (pun intended).
Yesterday on the way to the trailer there was a very nice sized bald eagle on the edge of the road. We were just a few feet from it when it became airborne. Today it was a rattlesnake. I think the eagle went south to where it might be cooler. Bald Eagles are fish eaters so it was unusual to see one along the road and it was all to quick for a picture.
This morning they were going to trap doves, somehow word got out and the temperature got up high enough and they didn’t trap any. We could easily trap a dozen a day right here at the house but we’re not qualified to band them. So the trap is under the deck out of the way.
Thursday, July 17, 2003 Low 59.7 HIGH 106 HHHHOTTTTTTTTTER.
What can I say that’ll make me feel cooler?
It didn’t really cool down last night until about 5 or 5:30 AM. We don’t have a fan on at night because we don’t have any electricity. BUT if it doesn’t cool down tonight we’ll have a fan on, I betcha!
Early this morning our Cow moose with the twins showed up. Nobody had seen them in at least three week and we were beginning to wonder if both calves were still living. They are looking healthy and that is good very few moose twins survive the first summer. We’ll keep you posted as we find out.
Friday, July 18, 2003 Low 53.8 High 104.2
Since the AC went out on the truck that I drive I haven’t been doing as much patrolling. After 10: AM it is toooooooooo hot so I park it. If you run with the windows down soon I and the inside of the truck are nothing but DUST. The shop feels real cool but I don’t have any thing to do in there until my supplies show up. I’m supposed to make some signs but there are no bits for the router, I don’t even have light bulbs to change the burned out ones in the other buildings. I’m told it is not a priority so I just twiddle my thumbs while I wait, just like a good state employee. Only they‘re paid hourly.
This morning about 7 AM I met Walt over on Gun Barrel RD. He and his dog Tiny were riding their ATV going out to fix fence. He pulled right up beside me and we started talking about the lack of water (heat might have been mentioned). We’d been there maybe 5 minutes when I looked over his shoulder and told him to shut-up!
There was a moose coming out of the woods towards us. She was in no hurry and we could tell it was probably about 1 yr. old so there was no calf. She proceeded to start to eat the succulent wet weeds growing in the creek. He said “I didn’t bring my camera”! The following picture is of that moose as she ate breakfast about 20 to 30 yards from us.
As we continued on up to the top of Meadow Creek it was uneventful until we were coming down and we saw another slightly larger moose.
Just before sundown Sally was riding with me when we spotted the cow moose with twins. I snapped quite a few pictures of her until they were to far away. They did not turn out! Somehow I’d knocked the adjustment off and didn’t notice, but I wasn’t excited was I?
Saturday, July 19, 2003 Low 56.2 HIGH 106.2 HHHHHHHHHHHHOTThis morning I met Shane and his dad at 7 AM here at Tex Creek so that Shane could saddle-up and we could get 4 errant cattle that are still on WMA property. I took an ATV on a trailer and they took their horse and a motorcycle. I went ahead and found the critters and they meandered after them almost like professionals. While they were gone I replaced a fence post and tightened up some barbed wire that the cows had stretched out over night as they tried to get out of our place and head home. If I hadn’t fixed the fence so well yesterday they would have been on the other side. They were gone about 90 minutes and when they came back they did not have the cows. The gutless motorcycle wouldn’t climb the hills and they both said “we should have had 2 horses”. We still have the errant cows enjoying Idaho Fish & Games wonderful grass and water. I understand that Fish & game can charge so much per head per day for those animals. Even if it is say $1.00 a day per head, that soon adds up and the owners would retrieve them.
I ate a couple of eggs for breakfast 10:00 AM and by then it was up to 91 degrees. I made a quick sashay up to Meadow Creek and
Cove Creek but saw nothing but some ruffed grouse. (Hey Doug, did I spell that right)?
Tonight on patrol I saw 1 moose, 1 deer and 1 badger and oh, one very large bird of prey sitting on a rock out cropping a long way away. Even through the binoculars all I could tell was that it was large and probably a Golden Eagle.
Sunday, July 20, 2003 Low 61.2 HIGH 106.4
It is hot! The humidity is up quite a bit and it is very easy to work up a sweat. I started a patrol at 6 AM and did them all. I was back by 11:30 AM, had lunch walked outside and immediately came back in. It was too hot. I looked at the thermometer and it showed 104. I said a couple of choice words and sat down. These buildings we’re in are really insulated and quite tight but after more than 7 days of over a hundred they even start to get warm.
I said let’s go to our RV set up overlooking the Ririe Reservoir, turn the A/C on and cool off before we head off to Lander tonight. It took Sally only about 30 seconds to answer and we loaded up the truck and left Tex Creek and the oven like temperature.
Love to All
Darrell, Sally and Aimee (dawg)