Things are slowly grinding along out here along the Rio Grande Valley and Big Bend Basin area. This last week included the execution of several ranch projects around the headquarters and beyond. The first of which involved the redirection of some water lines in order to drain the large supply tank that provides fresh water to the headquarters. It had become overrun with moss and sediment and required cleaning. In order to drain the thousands of gallons of water into a usefull place we linked it with a line that would flood the yard and water the grass. It took two full days to complete the task and then another half day of scooping and cleaning out the tank itself, which rendered a mass of great natural fertilizer for the garden area.
Friday included an all day excursion down into the bowels of the Rio Grande Valley on a quest to extend Andy's mountain lion trapping campaign. This area is an extremely harsh piece of the Texas Desert and if it were not for the Rio Grande itself, nothing would survive. The descent into Reagan Canyon is long and winding, with steep cliffs and bluffs above and below most of the way. Toward the bottom the valley flattens a little and rolls into the river. It is down here in this mountain terrain where the Texas Bighorn Sheep restoration project is going on, an effort to restore these animals into this once natural habitat and also a big reason for Andy's trapping efforts. Along the way we saw the last of the once populated wild burros, solitary, and watching us pass from a ridge. The wild burros were once hunted down, killed and disposed of by potential ranchers years ago. Now even those attempted human settlements within this harsh region lie in ruins, extinct. But not Pedro, the Last Burro, he was there, then he wasn't, like a ghost who could not be removed.
Toward the end of the day we also ran across a small group of wild cattle. They bore no brands and were not very friendly at all, bucking and kicking at the mere sight of our presence, most never seeing a human in their lifetime. It was a long and hot day, but by dark we had made it back to the truck, our mission into the canyons a successful one.
Saturday was another all day expeition into Alpine to gather supplies and groceries for the ranch. I was able to acquire some 1/4 inch mdf board to mount some paper paintings I'm working on, and a new pair of work gloves. Mesquite and the thorny brush of the region seem to destroy gloves faster than you can put them on. We also acquired several plants for the garden, the first of the season, despite the cold front that was hitting early yesterday morning. I'm looking forward to getting them into the ground in a few days and even more so the homemade hotsauce that they'll hopefully produce by summer. By the end of the day it was afternoon drinks at the White Buffalo Bar and dinner at the Famous Burro in Marathon. Then, the trail back to the headquarters, I've got to get more paintings working, clock is ticking.
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