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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The definition of STUPID

Once again there are "cute" pictures of people living with deer, being licked by them, petting them and allowing the deer into their homes.  We have a term for these people:  Idiots.

First, even Walt Disney had Bambi playing with other animals, not people, and Disney was the ultimate "warm and fuzzy brainless" guy out there.  People do not interact with Bambi, except where a hunter gets Bambi's mother.  People and Bambi were a bad mix.

Second, deer are WILD animals.  There are people injured and killed by "pet" deer.  Here are a couple of links:

Individuals who allow deer into their homes and up close in their yards lack any sense whatsoever.  The deer can seriously injure children and sometimes adults.  Deer have ticks that cause lyme disease.  Perhaps that's okay?  Lyme disease is just part of beautiful nature and your three year old hospitalized for lyme disease is no big deal, right?  It's far more important to foster emotional stupidity in your child than responsible, rational thought.  And in the end, having the deer in your yard and taking pictures, posting on youtube, sending emails are far more important than the health and welfare of your kid.  Kids outgrow cute, deer do not.

I post pictures of deer on my blog, yes.  I want to make it very clear I do NOT name the deer, pet the deer, let the deer in my house or any other emotionally gratifiying yet so stupid actions.  The deer are in my yard because I have tall sagebrush and trees, plus a small "pond".  The habitat is favorable.  I do not feed the deer.  I chase them away from my trees if I see them eating (I may take a photo first, then yell.) The deer laying against my house will jump up and run if I open the window, just like a wild animal is supposed to.  They are NOT pets.  

One year during hunting season I actually carried a gun everywhere in my yard because some of the deer had become aggressive.  One doe in particular would stomp the ground and snort at me.  I actually was afraid she would attack when I came around a blind corner of the house or garage.  

Message here:
Deer are NOT pets.  Only very stupid people make them into pets.  If you are one of the stupid people and the deer injure your children or you or give you a disease, check the mirror.  YOU injured your child or made them sick, YOU injured yourself or made yourself sick.  Hopefully it was worth the internet fame.  It certainly proves how little people care about wildlife and their own families.

This picture is take with a telephoto lens from my bedroom window.  Cropping makes the deer look closer.  This is as it should be.  

I have written about this in the past, and the damage the deer do to one's yard.  People who have deer licking their faces and checking out the barbecue have deer feces all over their yard.  Talk about an invitation to disease.  It is difficult to fathom the romance in a yard full of feces, wildlife in one's home and inviting injury and disease to fall upon one's family.  

Two days ago, Wyoming resembled the 1930s dust bowl.  We had a high wind warning and around 4 pm, the wind hit a real high.  Dust was blinding in areas.  Earlier, when getting the groceries out of my car at 2:30, I had difficulty walking against the wind and was pelted with sand.  By 4 pm, the blowing dust had greatly increased.
Part of the reason for the dust is a decade-long drought.  Rain was almost nonexistent this summer.  We got half an inch in July.  Snow is also noticeably absent.
The other factor is the construction of subdivisions and the continual encouraging of horse ownership.  Subdivisions disturb the ground and open up sand for blowing.  Horses eat 40 acres to the ground and allow the dust to blow around.
I realize people have to live somewhere.  Part of the problem is Wyoming allows subdivisions of 35 acres or more to have nothing but a blade-cut road that is never maintained.  This exposes miles of sand to the Wyoming wind.  However, there are millions to be made by selling off ranches in 40 acre plots.  Maintaining roads is expensive and cuts into profits.  Money has always been more important than conservation and with the internet, one can easily sell land not suited for multiple residences to people who see a low price and buy in.  Californians have done this for years.  Celebrities help sell plots in the desert as home sites.  How to stop it?  Smarter buyers would be the only chance.
As for horses, I can provide much photographic evidence of damages, if anyone wishes to see why I make this claim.  A look on Google maps will show you which homeowners have horses--the brown, barren lots have horses, the greener ones do not.
Since pictures are said to be worth a thousand words, here goes:

I lightened the pictures to help show the sand.  This was close to sunset and the sand in the air made it darker still.

I'm not good with a video camera, so please excuse the funky breaks and feet!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Wasted spending on so-called animal control

Again, I am faced with Natrona county Wyoming spending thousands and thousands of dollars and wasting thousands of gallons of gas to pay people to drive around in a truck and tell the citizens of the county "There's nothing I can do."  These individuals make a good wage and have benefits with the job.  To drive around and say "There's nothing I can do."  WHY?

I find it impossible to fathom why the city fathers feel throwing thousands of dollars into a program that involves nothing more than telling people there's nothing they can do is justified.  It's just flat out stupid.  I can find no other term that fits it.  The people who support it are wasting tax money and cheating the residents out of real services the money could provide.

Game and Fish does the same thing.  Forget reporting wildlife harassment.  If they don't see it, it didn't happen.  I advise watching the illegally running do that Metro refuses to deal with slaughter the deer and rabbits in your yard.  It's natural, remember.  It's not like anyone cares.  They CLEARLY do not.

Again, if you plan on moving to Natrona county, learn to love wildlife slaughter, your yard destroyed and your own pet unable to use your yard because the only thing Natrona county cares about is paying people to drive around and do nothing.  Welcome to Wyoming, where we don't give a crap about law-abiding citizens rights, only the lawbreaker with the killer dog.

Have a wonderful life here.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

It's summer, now it's winter!

Life has been interesting here. We added on to our cabin so we have a separate bedroom. Picking up the bed and putting it away each day was quite time-consuming and crowded. Now the bed can stay up. It's also elevated—we're getting too old for sleeping on the floor! Dusty likes it because there's enough room she doesn't have to hide in her crate to avoid getting stepped on!

On our trip to the ranch on Labor Day, we decided to go out through Medicine Bow, then up the Fetterman Road (which is marked as a county road but has no winter maintenance. The photos show how winding and narrow it is. We drove through the fire area. This fire burned in a mosaic pattern—large areas untouched, other areas completely black. It was a surprise to me. I had only seen fires that burned everything like the Coal Mountain fire and the Casper Mountain fire six years ago.
Mosaic burn-Arapahoe fire
Dead trees-Arapahoe fire

Complete burn-Casper Mtn
Complete burn-Casper Mtn
Speaking of Casper mountain, Sunday (9/9) the mountain caught fire. I was writing this while watching the fire on the east end of the mountain from my front door. It was quite spectacular. The temperature was 90 and we had a 25 to 35 mph wind. There was little hope of containment. However, cooling weather on Tuesday allowed the firefighters to slow the spread significantly. Part of this fire burned in a mosaic, too, though the east end of the mountain was totally devastated by the fire.
Mosaic burn Casper Mountain
Mosaic burn Casper Mountain

While on Laramie Peak, we got a flat tire which did respond to fix a flat. The tire had a bad sidewall and I needed new tires on front, so I bought four used tires on 9/5. Saturday, 9/8, while heading to the ranch, we went across a cattle guard and hit a bur on it, instantly flattening the rear tire. After the inflator failed, we tried fix-a-flat. You know you are in trouble when the fix-a-flat just squirts out the hole in the tire. We dragged all the stuff we were hauling with us out of the back and installed the donut tire. We then repacked the car and began our slow journey home. Monday thereafter, I bought two new snow tires and put them on the front, keeping the remaining tire from my previous purchase for a spare. So much for the new tire idea....

We caught another swift fox in our critter trap. I don't know if a swift fox is big enough to take on my ducks, but I thought it's probably no safe for the fox being in the development. There are too many big dogs. So I took him out to an open field and let him go. September 15th we caught what looked like the same fox! Guess he didn't learn the first time!  We turned him loose again.
Guess returning was a BAD idea!

There are a large number of birds around our place. Wilson's warblers are migrating through. They are so tiny and cute. When I was weeding the garden, they would come in and sit a couple of row over and eat seed off the weeds. As long as I didn't move, they just ignored me. It was so cool! Sunday, there was a woodpecker in our poplar tree (I didn't get a picture due to camera failure). There are several species of sparrow and several meadowlarks here also. One meadowlark keeps ending up in the covered part of the duck pen. One time the ducks decided to attack the bird and I stopped them. This did not keep the meadowlark from coming back, however.
I also did not get a picture of the bittern that landed in our windbreak twice.  I have kept watching, but he has not returned.  We are a long ways from water, though I do have the tiny, ornamental pond.  Maybe in a drought, any water counts.
Wilson's warbler

The deer are also here sometimes. They are changing to fall/winter color. Saturday, two fawns were in my front trees watching me pack my car! Many times they seem to not fear me at all. Or they like my trees and shade more than they fear me!

We flipped our old metal shed on its back and put a pallet floor in it. No photos—things were going to well to pause for pics! We also finished the other shed, so I have plenty of storage room now.

October 2: Gardening is over now. In a typical Wyoming weather pattern, today it's 80 degrees with a red flag warning (fire danger due to high temperatures and low humidity) and there is a freeze warning for tomorrow night. Gotta love the drastic change.

I did not get much from the garden. It was so hot, there was .4 inches of rain all summer and the weeds ran rampant no matter how hard I tried. I will take a summer of next year and try to kill the weeds before gardening again. We talked to weed and pest and they helped us with a plan to get rid of the weeds so we can return to gardening.

Wild turkeys

I have a few more things to do before the cold weather hits, so I must sign off for now.  I'm putting a bunch of photos in from here on.

Fall on Casper Mountain
Angry bunny
Fall on Casper Mountain
Fall on Casper Mountain
Casper Mountain fire aftermath
Angry meadowlark

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The heat goes on!

My apologies for the title.  I just could not resist!  Things continue to be very warm.  It was over 90 degrees 25 days of July.  Worse yet, the rain just does not come.  We had .4 of an inch and that is it.  My garden is hanging on but just barely.

The good news is there's no grass to mow!  Nor is there grass to burn should another prairie fire start.

The ducks are doing their job and eating bugs everywhere, though mostly in the shaded windbreak.  They know where to be when it's hot.  I tried letting them in my little pond, but that was a mess, so they have a couple of small concrete mixing tubs they can play in.  They still have to stay in their pen if I am not home.  So far, nothing seems to be bothering them, but I made it this far, so I don't want something killing them now.  The covered pen has worked well.

baby sage grouse

Critters continue to come around in spite of the heat.  July 27 we had a baby sage grouse in our yard.  We saw it again the next day by the duck pen, but not since.  This morning, a doe, yearling and fawn were drinking out of our pond.  (The fence I used to keep out the ducks was too tall and the deer kept mashing it, so I folded it down for the deers.  The ducks can't get over it even at that short level.

The most unusual visitor was a bull snake that crawled up the side of the house and was sitting on the A/C unit.  This was about 8:30 at night.  Half an hour later, we saw the snake again on the other A/C unit.  I have not had a bull snake climb up and peek in the window before!

We are running three A/C units at various times to keep cool, when the swamp cooler does not keep it cool enough.  We have had trouble with the swamp cooler throwing water into the bedroom, white build up getting thrown everywhere and it not being able to cool that whole house.  Also, when the larger forest fires were burning, we used the A/C to minimize the smoke being pulled into the house.  This summer has been an expensive one for electricity.

It's been too hot for road trips.  We did drive over to see the old coal mine at Glenrock, which now is covered with those huge, white towers that honor Al Gore and his save the earth campaign.  I liked the mine better.

Oh--my lawn mower runs like a diesel engine!  I am waiting to see how it finally dies.  So far, in spite of mowing the windbreak's tall grass and a couple of rather rough areas in the yard, the thing continues to run.  I got rid of my old mowers and cultivators to reduce clutter around here.  Actually, I got rid of a carload of clutter twice so far this summer.  I am reclaiming my house, one box at a time!!

dust storm

one of the many fires

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Summer and wind and dry

Summer is basically upon us, though the weather gets warm, then hot, then windy, then cooler.  It's a roller coaster.

This year we have six ducks for insect control.  It was much warmer this spring and the ducklings could go outside at four weeks.  We kept them in the garage until they were old enough to go outside.  The pen we made was easier to clean and deal with than last year's was.  The pen consisted of two pallets covered in plastic, then a fiberglass and wood framework for the sides.  The sides moved from one pallet to the other to allow for easy cleaning and transfer of the ducks.  Instead of the usual rodeo trying to snag ducklings that do not want to be snagged, we just lifted the sides and slowing moved the whole thing to the clean side.  It was super easy.  We also put chicken wire over the duck pen due to the dog problem last year that claimed 50% of our ducks.  So far, the dogs have remained at their homes and the ducks are out eating bugs and swimming in their little pools in our windbreak.
Inside pen
Outside pen

Ducks in the pond they are now banned from!

I am putting in pictures of five goldfinches at my pond (which is now fenced because six duck swimming in it requires daily cleaning and I don't have 35 gallons of water to use daily to keep the pond clean), deer flaked out in my yard, a swift fox we caught in a live trap (and released) and photos of the dust storms.  It's shades of the dust bowl returning and now there are fires burning in the mountains.  We are definitely back in a drought.


Deer relaxing under my bedroom window!

Dust storm

Wind and dust

The garden is doing well.  I put Miracle Grow garden soil in my rows and my greenhouse, which seems to help.  Watering is a challenge--winds of 35 mph just suck all the moisture out of the ground.  This year I am using a hoe and scissors (you may laugh, it's okay!  I just cannot pull weeds due to hand damage and scissors work well!) with no powered cultivator other than a Black and Decker 18 volt cultivator.  This works somewhat, but the tines are like egg beaters and really don't kill weeds very well.  It does fluff soil so the water sinks in better, which is good.

That's it for now--the wind has come back up to 25 mph and I have to move the water in the garden.  The wind has been brutal and continues to be so.

Swift fox in a trap

Nighthawk on my driveway fence

Thursday, May 10, 2012

It's spring, sort of!

It's heading toward spring in Wyoming, which means it's 80 degrees some days necessitating air conditioning and then the furnace runs at night!

We now have six ducklings.  It's warmer this year so they may be able to move outdoors sooner than last year.  Plus, they are growing faster than our last year's batch.  This morning, I noticed some of them "quack" now instead of the "peep" they make when young!  Ducks are a real challenge to raise as they have to be kept out of the weather until they have their adult feathers.  We designed a cage that is 4x4 sitting on an 8x4 platform.  To clean the cage, we just move the cage from one side to the other.  We line the bottom with cardboard and then newspaper and dry grass (if I have time to cut some).  This eliminates the need for "duck wrangling" every time you clean the cage!  Ducks are not really fond of being caught, though they do adapt over time.

The photograph above is of windy Wyoming with
little rain.  The dust blows everywhere.  The wind
has been fierce this winter, resulting in many days
looking like this.

The photo to the right is of yaks we saw on the way
to the ranch.  Yak raising is probably well suited for Wyoming.  The critters are adapted to high altitudes
and cold.

At the end of the month, we will be adding on to our Hut in the Basin.  We need a "bedroom" so we don't have to set up the bed all the time.  Due to work schedules, we usually only get about one day and one night at the ranch, so we don't want to spend time setting up a bed.  Plus, we can use a larger bed if we have more room.  We were trying to get down to the ranch earlier this month, but the last of three failed attempts started with the brake pads scratching on the car's rotors necessitating a return to Casper and replacement of said pads.  So we will wait until later this month.   :)

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

I'm still here!!!

It's been a very long time since I updated this page.  We gave up on the livestock when we had only one duck left.  It was very lonely and I didn't see what good having one duck would do.  Also, the owner of the dog was taken to court and finally tied the dog up.  Hopefully, next year we will have better luck.

There was a lot of snow earlier in the year and we went out to take photos of Pathfinder Dam going over the spillway, as it did last year.

The pelicans were all over this year.  We saw huge groups every time we went out there.  They have little fear of people.

We had a bull snake that developed a taste for baby birds.  I had seen bull snakes on nature shows raid nests, but this is the first time I ever saw it in the real world!  This was the snake cleaning out a Loggerhead Shrike's nest.  The adult birds were VERY angry and squaked the whole time.  The snake ignored them most of the time.

The bull snake later found an easier target--a bird house with sparrows.  I don't know if the babies had hatched yet and I suspect the snake ate both the female sparrow and the eggs/hatchlings.  The snake was not at all bothered by our watching this.  It was really interesting, unless you were sparrows.  I would note the sparrows did not put a fight and flew off when I started taking photos.  Hubby was home to see this nest clearing--he was at work when the first one happened.

I painted the garage this year.  I made it stand out so our house would be easy to find.  Or that's the excuse I used!

We did well in hunting season.  The three deer living in our yard are no longer living there!  It won't take long for others to take their place, I'm sure!  We opted not to hunt antelope at the ranch, since we had meat left from last year and really didn't need any more.  We have to take the truck to the ranch to hunt and with gas over $3 a gallon, it did not seem worth it.

The Hut at the ranch is now insulated.  That should give us a longer period where we can go down and stay overnight.  Without insulation, the temperature could down to 40 degrees or less at night.  Even with a propane heater, it still was quite cold.  The walls are now pegboard on top and painted waverboard on the lower wall.  Plus, we also added another window for better ventilation.

There have been some awesome rainbows this year!  It was wetter and warmer this year and we have had almost no snow.  The wind has been very strong this year, starting the first of November.  It even blew over the "Golden Arches" sign at one of our McDonald's!!