Quote of the Week, Perhaps a Bit Longer

"The biological community is a vast and complicated system for sharing and distributing the energy of the sun among a diversity of life forms." ~Martson Bates

8/12/09

Desert Heat

Sorry it's been awhile since my last post. Things have become busy and my schedule has been thrown out of whack. Dan recently got a job and is now the Publications Coordinator for the Basque Studies Center at the University of Nevada, Reno. It's a perfect job for him which is great. We have been trying to figure out what to do though. We want to have Bodie in Reno with us but we need to figure out a place where we can all live. Currently we are staying at the condo (where it's impossible to have a goat) and Bodie is staying at Dan's brother's house (which is for sale, but has a nice fenced in area for her to stay in). We visit her a few times everyday, but we would rather have her with us. On top of that, I'm looking for a job. I'm not sure what I want to do, I want something flexible, yet challenging and enjoyable. We'll see.

The week after the wedding Dan went to Reno to figure out what was happening with his job. He wasn't quite sure if he would start on Monday or Tuesday (the 3rd or 4th) or the following week. It ended up that he went in to work on the 4th to fill out a bunch of paper work, but he wouldn't start work until Monday the 10th.

While he was gone I was in charge of irrigating and changing the water on the alfalfa fields. Before Dan left he showed me where I needed to go and what I needed to do. I have helped irrigate before, so I was confident in my irrigating abilities, but I have never done it by myself. When I have gone with Dan in the past we have never had many difficulties, but of course, the first time I go to irrigate by myself a problem arose.

I was at the bottom of the Wilson Place - the alfalfa fields farthest down the desert and farthest away from the ranch. A few moments before I got to the place where I needed to change the water I noticed the truck was driving funny. I made it where I was supposed to change the water and noticed that the back right tire was completely flat, not just a little flat, but totally flat. It was around 2:30 in the afternoon, about the hottest time of the day and it wasn't just me, I had Dusty with me too. I debated limping the truck in very slowly on the rim, but I drove about 20 feet and realized that driving back was not a possibility. The ranch is about 4.5 miles from where I was, not a huge distance, but I had no water, was wearing my black rubber irrigating boots and there was no water for Dusty between where we were and the ranch.

Nothing makes you appreciate the desert heat like being unexpectedly stuck in the desert, at the hottest time of the year, at the hottest time of the day and having no provisions. I could tell right away that this trek was going to be hard on Dusty. He is a 9 year old black lab who loves to run and play, but does not do very well in the heat. He started breathing pretty heavy soon after we got on our way and he wouldn't just walk with me, he wanted to run. With the hot summer sun beating down on us, it wasn't long until he was completely overheated.

We were about halfway to the ranch when we came across an old flatbed trailer that had broke down in the desert. By the time I got to it Dusty was already hiding in its shade, his breathing heavy and erratic. I decided to take a break in the shade as well and let Dusty cool off and get his breathing under control. We sat there between 10-20 minutes until Dusty's breathing sounded more normal. Luckily, there was some water in the fields that are close to the ranch, when we reached the water dusty drank a whole bunch and laid in the water for a good five minutes.

When we got home we both collapsed, the walk wasn't too bad for me, but I was so worried about Dusty. The next day I realized that I got badly burned on my neck and shoulders, I had no sun screen with me either. Dusty and I were both fine, but the experience made us really appreciate the desert heat and how much we need to respect it.

2 comments:

danwinnemucca said...

i'm so glad it ended up OK. It is always a long walk and hot out on the desert where the fields are! and of course it was also a day when nobody else was around to help you out~

Erin said...

aw, how scary. i'm glad you and dusty are both ok. i remember taking ozzie up mount rose a few years ago with only one big bottle of water, thinking that was enough for both of us. By the time we reached the top, the water was gone and ozzie was panting big time. we obviously both survived just fine, but i remember feeling so bad for ozzie. i don't think either of us had ever been so thirsty before. on our way home, i stopped at mcdonald's and got the biggest glass of water and let oz go first. he drank for a solid minute and then barfed it all over the passenger seat about two minutes later...typical oz :)

i'm glad you're ok. and congrats to dan on the new job!! sounds cool and right up his alley.