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A trip into the Desert

Nubsnstubs

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Yesterday, being Christmas, I decided to treat myself to a trip to get a few pictures of these animals plus hoard some more Cholla. 9B8E3FBD-185A-4E1F-8102-C78B81D71AC4.jpeg BFE84BF4-B614-4BC6-B5B2-AE3779C73F59.jpeg
In particular, this guy. You can't see it because it's right foot is in a hole, but that right hoof is what I believe is called a "Club foot". The poor guy walks on the leading edge of the hoof. When I first saw these animals on the 5th of December, this guy walked perfectly without a limp, so it's probably not a big deal to it. Anyway, I developed a liking for it and went out to visit. All the other animals came to me, but this guy looks to be shy. I couldn't get it to move towards me at all. So, this is the only picture of my favorite of the bunch. Didn't mention it before, but all these animals are rescue animals that were in abusive environments previously.. C689D014-2249-40A6-B12C-D49B8C6355D5.jpeg

When I got there, 1 horse, 1 mule, and 5 cows had gotten through the fence. I don't know why,but I only have one picture and it's only one cow. that one stayed around with the horse and mule the whole time I was there. The other 4 cows decided to leave and headed north, disappearing into the desert. D7DCF90D-09A2-4670-B1F3-BF09C0CAF5CB.jpeg
I met the owner back on the 5th, but can't remember his name. He told me I was welcomed there anytime, but I didn't get any contact info. I now wish I had as his animals are escaping and that's not good. One thing, his property is at least 5 miles from any highway. There's enough grass for the cows to graze on, so they might not go far.

Now, on to the Cholla logging expedition. Being an old man with sudden urges, I stopped to do the thing and Lookie here. The bottom one is CylindroPuntia Fulgida with a trunk at the base of 5+". The one at the top is CylindroPuntia Versecolor. It's trunk is also over 5" near the base. This variety is a much more solid wood the the Fulgida. I got about 6 of them on this trip as I fell into a forest of them. Notice the 3 Fulgidas behind the downed Versecolor. Two are alive, and the one near the fence is dead. The trunk of the closet is over 7" diameter. The one at the fence was supposed to have been poached, but I forgot about it. My truck was full anyway, and there is always tomorrow. D632A104-17DB-444B-A617-AA433C9AF099.jpeg
Another picture of Kitt Peak. From where I took this picture is exactly 19.38 miles to the Sun Scope, the building built at an angle. The dome on the right is the Mayhall scope built by the U of A. I love that mountain range. The bottom picture was taken with my phone camera while driving. Bad, Bad! There are windows of when to get a good picture because the scopes look like they disappear during the day during full sun. Cloudy days are best, especially when there are broken clouds.
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After getting enough Cholla off private property, I decided to do some exploring instead of heading back home. Home is east, but I had never taken any of the dirt roads west. When I say dirt roads, they are usually a dirt track with bare spore where tires wore down the vegetation. Anyway, I made my way out, but as heading west, I found a treasure for @Mr. Peet . Ocotillo stump about a foot long with one stalk that was about 2" OD. There is another, but it got buried and I didn't want to dig it out. You can see the root almost touching the one pictured. Hopefully, this will add to your collection, Mark. 7F12A788-AD34-4982-B3D2-C494D05490A4_1_201_a.jpeg FD1526BD-5C70-47B0-B810-5E345224C539_1_201_a.jpeg

Somewhere near the drive through the desert, I saw this white vehicle just above the trees. Wow, I'm closer to the highway than I thought, I said to myself. As I kept driving for another 2 miles, I discovered it was Border Patrol helecopter searching the desert. I guess I was on the fringe of their search area because they didn't pay any attention to me at all. I even stopped and got another Cholla I couldn't resist. I saw the chopper at least 3 times before I got to the road. When I got there, I certainly figured I would be searched, asked what I was doing, asked about weapons and any other questions LE would ask someone that would be in the area of their search. Here's the chopper after I got to the highway. 12B1D010-4A12-448C-B386-5D56F43FF183_1_201_a.jpeg

When I got to the highway, there was one BP facing south toward Mexico, and another with a horse trailer facing north. They were also at the gate/cattle guard at the entrance to the King Anvil Ranch, which I have permission to collect off of. I waved as I went by, and saw another BP vehicle hiding behind a tree less than a 1/4 mile from the other two. As I was driving home, I remembered that I hadn't gotten the Chollas that are in the picture after the cow picture.

No problem, I'll just take Diamond Bell Road east across to Sierrita Mountain Road, turn south and drive to my stash. While on this trip, I had onXhunt on and was using the tracker. The road up ahead just barely crossed into a corner of BLM land. So, when the tracker noted I entered BLM, I stopped and started searching for more wood. Now, does anyone else see a problem here?? My truck is already loaded, and I'm looking for more.

Anyway, where I stopped and crossed the road to explore north side of the land. I found what in my opinion is rarer than than Hens Teeth. A Palo Verde with burls on it, plus several limb galls. Two galls had fallen off the tree and were easy to get. I looked around for more burled trees and found about 4 more. The only problem was I was on a paved road out by Diamond Bell, a residential area out in the middle of Nowhere, Arizona. Population there is just about 100 houses, so maybe 200 people.

About the time I figured I would poach one large burl/gall, I headed back to the truck parked on the road. A car went by. I had the two galls in my hand. They looked closely and drove on. When I got my saw out, and was walking across the road, another car went by and the driver saw my saw. He was also on the phone. Paranoia set in, but I persevered. I figured if anyone was going to turn around and come back to see what I was doing, I would use that dead cow I just found there as an excuse for the saw. There were bones everywhere.

I waited about 5 minutes, and then cut one large gall/burl off one tree. Got it into the truck, and explored the south side of the road. Found about 4-5 more trees with burl and galls. There were also several long dead Palo Verdes with burls. I got out my saw again and cut one. After that, I figured I was pushing my luck and took off to collect my stash alongside the road. Retrieved it and headed home. Picture of my Booty next post. ........... Jerry (in Tucson)
 
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Nubsnstubs

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Post #2 My booty pictures 2770050B-2926-41CD-B104-39954F53EDC9_1_201_a.jpeg

One Palo Verde trunk burl and the 2 galls.
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The galls.
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Another Palo Verde burl. The very green piece seen to the bottm left is the poached PV limb gall/burl.
EA2BE165-D407-4BDC-A34C-F06FED1AFD23_1_201_a.jpeg


When I say poach, it just means I don't have true permission to collect because I haven't been able to find out who owns the property yet to get permission. So far, everyone I have asked, have always said "take as much as that dead crap you want. It's all a fire hazard, so help yourself". If there is a sign that states Private Property, I don't go onto unless I see someone there. Then I'll ask and will normally get permission. Ninety percent of the land in the area is totally devoid on human habitation. The only thing that makes it not pristine desert are the roads and property stakes you find when walking the land.

Blm land allows a person to collect dead cactus woods. I haven't asked about dead trees as at the time I wasn't interested. Thanks for reading my book. .............. Jerry (in Tucson)
 
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Nature Man

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Looks like you did quite well! Can't imagine anyone objecting to your harvest! Chuck
 

DLJeffs

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Love the little burro. It sounds like you would enjoy reading a book titled "Running With Sherman". It's about a rescued burro and the guy who rescues it gets told that burros need a job or purpose. He decides running in the Leadville burro race will become his burro's purpose. Really entertaining read about burros.
 

Nubsnstubs

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Love the little burro. It sounds like you would enjoy reading a book titled "Running With Sherman". It's about a rescued burro and the guy who rescues it gets told that burros need a job or purpose. He decides running in the Leadville burro race will become his burro's purpose. Really entertaining read about burros.
Sounds interesting, but with the computers on the scene, I haven't been able to keep my mind in a book more than 30 minutes a year. Heck, I can't even read directions on how set up a phone, and that's pretty important. I did read all of the decendants of the Clan of the Cave Bear books by Jeane Auel.. That was before woodturning and computers though.
While I was out there with the animals, this little guy would subtly turn his head and lower his eyes when I directed any comments towards him. It also could be a her, but I prefer to call it Him rather than it not knowing what "it" really is................ Jerry (in Tucson)
 
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BangleGuy

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I really enjoyed your adventure blog! I have collected cholla in the Tucson area in the past, but am not familiar with Diamond Bell. Is that down by Sahuarita? The ideal collection spot would be when a new subdivision builds out and the dozers show up, but my timing is always off for these areas.
 
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trc65

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Loved reading Jeane Auel, those are great books!

Enjoy reading your travelogue as well, and seeing the pictures. That landscape is very foreign to me. I've traveled through some desert areas, but never had time to explore. If i hadnt seen some of the products of your foraging trips, I'd swear all you had were bad examples of firewood.

Sounds like you had a very fruitful and enjoyable day!
 

Nubsnstubs

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I really enjoyed your adventure blog! I have collected cholla in the Tucson area in the past, but am not familiar with Diamond Bell. Is that down by Sahuarita? The ideal collection spot would be when a new subdivision builds out and the dozers show up, but my timing is always off for these areas.
Eric, Diamond Bell is out west near Three Points or Robles Junction. Go south 3.27 miles on Sassabe Road, turn left and go another 3+ miles to the DB neighborhood. I just counted about 200 properties there with homes built in the 70's with all the modern conveniences. Water, gas, electricity, and sewage make it a pretty nice place to live. The only drawback is the closest real grocery store is 15 miles away. There is of course little general stores that sell pastries, coffee, water, some frozen meats, gasoline, propane and then horseshoes, shovels, feed and some sheet metal for small buildings..
The place where I get the Cholla and visited the animals probably has a thousand properties that is totally off the grid. Of course, only a handful have people living on them. You see a lot of Solar dishes and windmills with generators. Water is delivered because wells have so much red tape to clear before permits are issued, and now they are possibly over 30 thousand or more, depending on the depth, and if you are lucky to have a pocket of water under your property.
I did see a huge drill rig set up on the southern end of these off grid properties yesterday. Looked like some enterprising went through the red tape and is drilling for water. One day maybe that area will at least have running water....... Jerry (in Tucson)
 

Mike Hill

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What kind of wood is on top of those "mountains". Any high altitude junipers?
 

Nubsnstubs

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What kind of wood is on top of those "mountains". Any high altitude junipers?
Mike, I believe there are Junipers on top, with possibly Ponderosa Pine, Pinion Pine and some Oak. Those are the Baboquivari Mountains where Kitt Peak observatory is located. The northern end of this mountain range is on an Indian Reservation. The southern ridge line is the reservation boundary about 10 miles south of the observatory. There will be No Trespassing signs or locked gates on any road that might give you access onto the res. The eastern face is what you see in the picture, and to my knowledge, there are no roads leading to the top. If there were, I would know about them.
Last year I did find a huge Juniper log in the area I was just in on Christmas day. I don't know why anyone would transport it from somewhere, and then just leave it to rot in a wash. Doesn't make since. It was about 24-30" OD and 8 feet long...... I split it and gave the other half to the guy that was with me. No bark on it at all, but definitely a juniper.

To the Southeast of Tucson is the Santa Rita mountains. Access is a lot better there. I've crossed these mountains about 5-6 times in the 47 years I've lived in Tucson, but needing native lumber never crossed my mind. I had no interest until about 8 years ago. Found a huge Oak that had 3-4 18" diameter galls. I wanted so bad to break one out of the tree, but couldn't reach it, plus A forest service truck kept driving by.

You are still on my list for Texas Ebony when I cut some more if you still interested. I cut up one log the other day and boy, was it cracked. ........... Jerry (in Tucson)
 
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BangleGuy

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Eric, Diamond Bell is out west near Three Points or Robles Junction. Go south 3.27 miles on Sassabe Road, turn left and go another 3+ miles to the DB neighborhood. I just counted about 200 properties there with homes built in the 70's with all the modern conveniences. Water, gas, electricity, and sewage make it a pretty nice place to live. The only drawback is the closest real grocery store is 15 miles away. There is of course little general stores that sell pastries, coffee, water, some frozen meats, gasoline, propane and then horseshoes, shovels, feed and some sheet metal for small buildings..
The place where I get the Cholla and visited the animals probably has a thousand properties that is totally off the grid. Of course, only a handful have people living on them. You see a lot of Solar dishes and windmills with generators. Water is delivered because wells have so much red tape to clear before permits are issued, and now they are possibly over 30 thousand or more, depending on the depth, and if you are lucky to have a pocket of water under your property.
I did see a huge drill rig set up on the southern end of these off grid properties yesterday. Looked like some enterprising went through the red tape and is drilling for water. One day maybe that area will at least have running water....... Jerry (in Tucson)
@Nubsnstubs Thanks Jerry, now I know about where you go. I have found some good spots North of Benson, where Redington Pass ends. I am in town for a few day’s and hit the Woodcraft store and Woodworkers Source. I picked up a nice piece of mesquite and a few saguaro staves to experiment with. Have you ever turned saguaro?
 

Nubsnstubs

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Answer to BangleGuy.


Yeah, once I made a 3/8 x 12" dowel from a piece. Looked like it was a pretty bland piece of wood. I have some pretty big sticks of it, some being about 2 x 4" wide and quickly tapering down to about 1 1/2" OD.

So, in town is where?? If it's Tucson, PM me with contact info, and if you have time, let's make a meeting happen. If you can, please be in a truck.. ............ Jerry (in Tucson)
 
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Nubsnstubs

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@Nubsnstubs Thanks Jerry, now I know about where you go. I have found some good spots North of Benson, where Redington Pass ends. I am in town for a few day’s and hit the Woodcraft store and Woodworkers Source. I picked up a nice piece of mesquite and a few saguaro staves to experiment with. Have you ever turned saguaro?
South of Benson towards Fort Huachuca is a canyon with a lot of Walnut. I got a bunch of that once, and still have most of it. I rarely get out to Reddington Pass. If I do go out that way, it's mostly for a change of scenery. There is so much near where I live, all I have to do is pick and choose what I want. It just can't be on state land because of the laws. ....... Jerry In Tucson)
 

BangleGuy

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Answer to BangleGuy.


Yeah, once I made a 3/8 x 12" dowel from a piece. Looked like it was a pretty bland piece of wood. I have some pretty big sticks of it, some being about 2 x 4" wide and quickly tapering down to about 1 1/2" OD.

So, in town is where?? If it's Tucson, PM me with contact info, and if you have time, let's make a meeting happen. If you can, please be in a truck.. ............ Jerry (in Tucson)
PM sent
 
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