Spring and First Summer Update of 2014

After no appreciable rainfall since early October 2013, beginning this May the rains started in earnest and to date we have been blessed with almost 11 inches of rain (year total.)  Before the rain, the grass on the ranch was completely brown and we were afraid that more drought stress on the trees would push more of them into dying.  Just when we thought it was going to be another horrible year with no grass for the animals, God opened up the heavens and sent us what we almost constantly pray for – rain, glorious rain.  The pastures are green and the animals are looking very healthy and fat.

So that’s the big news of the month for us, there’s actually lots that have been going on with us and the critters, so let’s dig in…

We went to a nearby RV get-together with our San Antonio-based Winnebago club on a

3-23-2014 - baby Sunny is born!

3-23-2014 – baby Sunny is born!

mid-March weekend and returned home on a Sunday.  We were putting things away from the trip, looked out to the front pasture and there’s a BABY DONKEY.  WHAT?  We were wondering if the jenny was pregnant or just way over weight and thank goodness she wasn’t way overweight.  That’s the good news.  The not so good news is the baby is a boy and we will have to get it gelded later this year, oh well, we had a 50-50 chance of it being a jenny and not a jack.  But oh my gosh he’s cute and soft and literally growing like a weed.

Today we had our veterinarian make a ranch call to give the adult donkeys their booster vaccines, immunize the baby (“Sunny”)  for the first time and to worm all three.  Even though the donkeys were in a small pen, the Doc and I had our hands full trying to get a noose around the adults and then to grab and hang on to baby Sunny (the ‘baby’ is probably the size of a Great Dane dog but stockier).

Sunny is three months old here

Sunny is about two months old here

While we were trying to catch Moonpie (the yearling), I was standing with my arms outstretched trying to cut off his avenue of escape and he ran over me and knocked me to the ground, I got up and then the jenny ran me over about five seconds later and knocked me back down to the ground.  Good grief donkeys, calm down.  Doc, the donkeys and I were thrilled when the event was over and I could release the donkeys from jail, this was worse than trying to herd cats.  (They were penned up for a little over two days and the three of them ate an entire bale of hay, holy cow guys!)

So then in late April we point the coach/Jeep/us to the west and head for Moab, Utah again for an FMCA 4-Wheelers rally.  We’ve gotten to know lots of the people and really enjoy the

John on an overlook in Moab - it snowed on us (this is early May!)

John on an overlook in Moab – it snowed on us (this is early May!)

camaraderie and how well everything is organized and managed.  I’m now the club’s webmaster so I appreciate the confidence they have in me.  The club is growing at an exponential rate, we seem to add 20-50 new members every few months and the total membership now

Two desert flowers, Jane and the other kind!

Two desert flowers, Jane and the other kind!

measures about 400.

This is what a totaled custom Jeep looks like after a big oopsie

This is what a totaled custom Jeep looks like after a big oopsie

There was quite a bit of drama this year at Moab with three rollovers on the trails, well, actually one of them was a pitchpole backwards.  John Cox was climbing a very steep grade on the hardest trail in Moab and was backing up to reposition for another try and he went backwards down the grade, hit the bottom and flipped backwards (check out this video, he’s near the end.)  I know John and he’s an excellent driver, had an extremely well built and capable trail rig but things happen.  John only had a bump on the head and he’s okay but his completely custom built $100k 4 door Jeep is not okay.  The flip actually broke the Jeep’s frame and I just heard the insurance company totaled the Jeep, so John is having another Jeep built – I hope to see it this October when we return to St. George, Utah for more wheeling.

Me going down Wipe Out Hill

Me going down Wipe Out Hill

Then another guy (I know him fairly well) made a mistake on a hard trail (before the rally officially started) and wound up on on his roof.  Yikes.  He has no roll bar (bad mistake)

Pier rolls over but he's fine

Pier rolls over but he’s fine

– you can’t see from this picture, but the passenger side of the windshield is almost completely flattened.  Fortunately his wife was not with him or this situation could have resulted some serious injuries for the passenger.  The other rollover resulted in some relatively minor damage, I just talked to the Jeep’s owner and he expects to get it back from repairs very soon.

Here’s one video of me doing a couple of difficult obstacles:

On a less exciting note, I’ve been getting into some arts and crafts projects with the new

My copy of a cat made from sheet steel with a plasma torch

My copy of a cat made from sheet steel with a plasma torch

plasma torch (a Hypertherm Powermax45) and some other new tools (a midi lathe and scroll saw – a man can’t have too many tools.)  I’ve made some metal art from sheet steel and I’m having fun making whirligigs from some plans I purchased.  This fall and winter I’ll be crankin’ up the tools and will be making many more of each.

One of the whirligigs I made

One of the whirligigs I made

We head out early next week for the summer, first stop is Amarillo to have a fun July 4th with some dear friends, then we point the bus north to Forest City, Iowa for the Winnebago Grand National Rally, then we are going back to Montrose, Colorado for about five weeks to run around the San Juan mountains with our Jeep club there.

God Bless, do good work, and be kind to everybody (oh, and pray for our country – it needs it desperately!)