Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Irrigating, Bones, Cows, and More

 It was my husband's day off and he said he just needed to spend "a few minutes" irrigating. I raised my eyebrow--as much as I could raise just one eyebrow--and pursed my lips. "Plus driving time," he amended. I sighed and agreed to go. If that was the only way we could spend time with him, we might as well make the best of it. I grabbed my camera, as I figured there would be a good chance of some fun photo opportunities.
 The kids were happy to go on a little trek, Desert Boy in his new cowboy boots that are too big (but much preferable to his better-fitting gym shoes), and Desert Girl in her ladybug irrigating boots. She's been wearing those almost every day for over a week. The kids are getting pretty good at negotiating barbed wire.

 While my husband moved irrigation dams, I found myself interested in pollinators on the rabbitbrush. The huge eyes on the fly help explain why it can be so hard to get one with a flyswatter--they see it coming from a long way away!

 Here's a different fly. Although we often think of flies as pesky, most are actually really important to the ecosystems around us, helping to pollinate and perform other functions. If we could just put up signs at our houses and campsites for them to stay away!

 The kids trailed Dad, checking out the sprayed thistle on the way.

 At our next site I found some lovely sunflowers attracting a wide variety of insects.

 At our next stop (oh, yes, we had many stops and driving over bumpy tracks!),the kids spotted something that they had been looking for. It was across the ditch, so they needed help getting over.

 Daddy's hip waders made it easy.

What were they looking for?

 Why, bones, of course! We didn't find any at the first site, but we did find a couple at the second site, along with a dead cow that will be a good bone source in a couple of years. The kids occupied themselves with taking bones over to the edge of the ditch and matching them up. Some of them came home with us. Desert Boy still lists paleontologist as one of his top ten career choices. (National Fossil Day is coming up on October 17--we'll be celebrating!)

 My husband didn't want to carry me across the ditch (why not?), so I wandered down the track to the next stopping spot.

 I found a lovely cow out in the meadow.

 Then I came across a crowd of cows near some dead trees. This used to be a homestead, but has long been abandoned. Although the humans had fled to more populated places, the cows were happy hanging out there. Most of them took a break from chewing their cud and got up to take a look at me. Cows are curious creatures.

 As I watched the cows taking a few steps and pausing, looking at me, then taking a few more steps, I started thinking of them fashion models.

 Here's one sauntering through the meadow. Swing those hips, babe! Show off that eartag.

 They have the look down pat.

 Hello, ladies.

Before they could get really close, my husband came with the kids and the bones. Some of the bones were a bit on the smelly side and we had to leave them behind. Another year and we'll pick them up.
This turkey vulture may help clean those bones.

It was a fun morning. Even though it took a few hours instead of a few minutes!

1 comment:

John Mosley said...

Paleontology? What's not to like? You already stop for dead beasties. You even take them home. You got this down.

I still play with rocks. Growing up is over rated.

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