Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The wind is back!

Jeremiah is rocking and rolling – weather reports tell us to expect gusts up to 60 mph the rest of the week, of course with blowing dust. A huge dust devil wrapped itself around Jeremiah yesterday, slinging sand and small rocks.

Birds are my main entertainment

I must report that some of the White-wing Dove have figured out how to get into the window feeder. It only took them three weeks. First they got good at landing on top of the feeder; once two of them briefly balanced on the top.

Here the dove is trying to figure out how that other bird got in to get the goodies!

Birds I’ve enjoyed these past two weeks

Green-tailed Towhee

Red-wing Blackbird

Yellow-head Blackbird

Lazuli Bunting (migrating through)


Bullock's Oriole

Rose-breasted Grosbeak

Black-headed Grosbeak

Vermilion Flycatcher

White-crown Sparrow

My volunteer time

It’s been a fairly quiet two weeks at Pancho Villa State Park. During that time I’ve had four all-day shifts in the park’s 7,000 sq. ft. Exhibit Hall. This facility is all about Pancho Villa’s raid on the village of Columbus in 1916. Visitors come from everywhere.

If you are not familiar with this historic event, here’s the info from the park’s website.

“On March 9, 1916, soldiers led by Mexican Gen. Francisco “Pancho” Villa attacked the military camp at the sleepy border town of Columbus, New Mexico, killing 18 Americans.

“The park is located on the grounds of former Camp Furlong from where Gen. John J. “Black Jack” Pershing launched 10,000 troops on an 11-month, 500-mile pursuit of Villa into Mexico. The Exhibit Hall tells the story that begins with the 1910 Mexican Revolution and ends with Pershing’s command of the Allied Forces when the U.S. entered World War I.

“The Exhibit Hall contains a full-size replica Curtiss JN-3 “Jenny” airplane used by the 1st Aero Squadron; a 1916 Dodge touring car, the type used by Pershing for a field office; historic artifacts; military weapons and ribbons. An armored tank stands as a sentinel outside the facility.

“With only rudimentary initial instructions, military recruits were given orders to drive vehicles and fly the airplanes, which had not been previously tested at high altitudes. As a result, equipment modernization and mechanical specialization during the 1916-1917 expedition period proved essential to U.S. military success during World War I.

“At Pancho Villa State Park, several buildings date from the time of Villa’s raid and are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. These include the 1902 former U.S. Customs House, two adobe structures dating from the Camp Furlong era and Camp Furlong Recreation Hall.”

A hoe, two rakes, a picker-upper and three hoses in a wheel barrow

That’s what you’ll see me with most mornings between 6 and 8 a.m. Park Manager Alex Mares asked volunteers to “adopt” some campsites, watering trees and cleaning up cactus patches. I have 14 sites and about 50 trees. Once I had trenches built at each tree, it’s just a matter of moving hoses around to get the watering done.

The cactus patches take more time – the record frost combined with the ongoing drought killed off quite a bit of cactus. Using my tools I remove the dead cactus pieces, tumbleweeds and leaves and rake into piles. Hector, our seasonal worker, comes around and picks up my piles. This morning I finished the cactus patches in and around my campsites.

It is enjoyable work, mostly because the weather is cool, the wind has not started up and the patches look so much better when I’m finished. It can be treacherous, though. The patches, made up of many individual plants, are pretty close together – I have to be careful not to back into the plant behind me. Even with my sturdy leather gloves, I manage to get some cactus spines in my fingers.

Other bonus entertainment includes the jackrabbits and cottontail rabbits frolicking about, the birds, and people walking by. As I raked in one area, I uncovered a Horned Toad who paused long enough to have his picture taken before scurrying away.

Every once in a while I come across a flower or two. Actually most people would call them ‘weeds’ – but as long as it has a flower, to me it’s a ‘flower’.

Surprise visitors

Four members of the local Winnebago camping group – the Border City Travelers – surprised me with a visit. Charles and Norma and Darryld and Dottie came by. We had a lovely visit. Charles and Norma are in their fourth year as campground volunteers at Rockhound Park. Darryld and Dottie live in Las Cruces.

That’s it for this time – my computer has been acting up and I don’t want to press my luck.

I am happy and satisfied with my life. And I’m blessed with energy and enthusiasm and a huge sense of curiosity. I enjoy being helpful and know I’m making a difference.

Success depends on the degree to which you are at peace with yourself. If you have people around you who love you, and you have peace with what you’re doing, it doesn’t get any better than that.

--- Og Mandino

Based on the above quote, I am successful!