Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Wild Horses of Arizona

You know what family is? It's drilling a hole in the exterior wall of your house to string a cord with which to share your internet connection. It might not say that in the dictionary, but that doesn't make it any less true. Anyway, now that my trailer is conected to the world, I better get the word out. It's my duty to warn people. Not about drilling holes in your house, about not forgetting to temper enthusiasm with a dollop of caution.

For some reason, it's hard for me to believe that there are real live wild horses here. I mean, I already had to grapple with the fact that there's more trees than cactus- my mental image of Arizona the desert really clashed with the reality of it's biodiversity. (Don't even get me started on the mind boggling FREE HEALTH CARE.) So when I saw the horses there was no way I was going to miss the photo op. First I had to lay on the ground and roll under the barbed wire fence that borders the forest. This made me feel really cool, like some hardcore safari-ing professional. Or like an action hero. I took a few shots, but was way too far away, so I started creeping towards them. Luckily I was downwind. There were seven, and they all had their heads down as they foraged for lunch. Hunched in a crouch, I scurried from tree to tree, closer and closer. They were all beautiful, reds and buff and a black one that I decided was the alpha male. Which is funny, because it could have been a female at the bottom of the totem pole for all I know. Us humans anthropomorphize on a whim, 'kay? I also decided the light one was the head female.

I had gotten pretty close when she saw me. I froze by the pine that suddenly seemed like inadequate cover. Then she telepathically communicated to her partner my location, and then he too was staring at me. 'Cause I know the wind didn't change, and I didn't make a sound, right? It had to be telepathy. Suddenly the big black beauty took a few steps toward me. There was maybe 75 feet between us. I became aware of how gigantic these wild animals are. It was like they were growing right before my eyes. My heart pounded quicker. These are wild animals!! Was I too close to his herd? OMG- would he actually charge me to defend them? Could I dodge his charge? Grab a branch and swing up into the tree next to me? Would I be stuck there for hours? Should I grab a stick for defense? Adrenaline surged.

I picked none of the above. Instead I started backing up, maybe too quickly, and definitely stupidly, heck, it was pretty dumb to stalk GIGANTIC WILD ANIMALS in the first place. His eyes never left me. My eyes never left him. In fact, I almost tripped over a log because of it. I kept backing, and he didn't take any more steps toward me, though that didn't remove my heart from my throat. Finally, at about 200 feet I turned (my back on a gigantic wild animal) and all but ran back to the fence, dropped, and rolled under to safety. The horses went back to grazing. Another silly human successfully chased off. And another silly human plans to buy a telephoto lens. Amen.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Freak Snowstorm hits AZ

Its seventy five degrees out, not a cloud in the deep blue sky, and supposed to hit ninety tomorrow.

Four days ago it snowed.

I know the reaction to snow isn't supposed to be, "Woohoooooo how cool!!!!!!" But hey, I've never lived where it snowed, well, not since age three, and who can remember age three? Potterman and I ran out to disconnect all the hoses and bleed the irrigation pipes so they wouldn't freeze and crack. It was very exciting, battling the forces of nature for survival!! The sun came out about fifteen minutes later.

Since then it's been warm and almost summery. The smell of sun baked pine needles and the sounds of birds are what I've gained for the loss of traffic, maniacal cat targeting drivers, and the melodious whine of leaf blowers. You'll have to pardon me, it may be quite awhile before the shiny rubs off, if you know what I mean. I'm a bit taken by this place, to say the least. When I went hiking the other day, the loudest sound (and it startled me until I identified it) was the dog's leash brushing my leg.

Oh, the cats, by the way, are adjusting quite well and are already replacing Mom's dog as my hiking companions.

Also, I've been named "The Finder". Today I found a small bird's nest on the ground, complete with tiny bird skeleton. The nest is about 4 or 5 inches in diameter, and the tiny vertebrae are 1/16th of an inch. Sad, but also... pretty darn fascinating.

Yesterday I saw a hawk chasing a crow, and they were about the same size, but the crow was on the run. The hawk was doing barrel rolls and even flying UPSIDE DOWN as the crow strafed, dived and dodged. Several times they were actually grappling with their legs entangled and their claws striking at each other's body. All of this about forty feet off the ground. Just when I thought the hawk was gaining the upper hand, a second crow flew in to rescue it's brethren and together they chased the raptor far off into the distant horizon. Wow.

And I haven't even shared my wild horse adventure yet.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

AZ Update

Well. I have been in Arizona for one week now. I love it. Except for one thing. I love the smell (that sounds kinda weird, huh). I love the view. I love that the word "traffic" has no meaning here. I love that my backyard consists of hundreds of square miles of state forest. Even the elevation is fine- and I have ALWAYS had pretty severe altitude sickness, but not this time (!). I don't even mind that the only place to buy beer is two miles away, well, if you're not down for bud or miller, yuck. I am in heaven.


Today the phone guy came out, HALLELUJAH INTERNET!! I AM FIENDING. Oh, what's that?
"Your phone line is working, you will have DSL within a month."




So, I'm on my Mom's internet connection right now... and I, apparently, am a snob. Because if it ain't DSL, it ain't internet. :(

Anyway, I HAVE been doing a lot of hiking, which is where I found the elk skeleton, complete with record breaking (well, almost) rack. I rule. I carried this thing about a third a mile, and MAN did it get heavy!!!! I also had the most gigantic grin on my face the whole, sweat dripping walk back. I haven't gotten altitude sickness, but I DO get winded right quick. Anywho, can you believe this find??!!??????????

Twelve points on the sucker! I found it down in a ravine, where I saw the antlers gleaming white. I thought at first it was just some bleached branches, because there's a lot of dead trees, fallen and standing, from the fire, and they bleach quick here. But when I investigated, I could not believe it. There was no way I was leaving that skull. And so, four days here, and I'm already a native. Heehee.

We staked out the foundation of my cabin today. As soon as I get the gol durn internet happenin, I will give y'all some updates! Okay, I COULD steal my mom's computer again soon. But I think that would just make her fiend instead of me. Well, the pace of life here is gloriously slow, so I guess I can just chill.



Wait, I mean...