I’ve nicknamed my trail cam, the “Bunny Cam”. It is unbelievable how many rabbits are in the sagebrush by the Dove Hills. You can’t walk a straight line without stepping on one every three hundred feet.
I recently retrieved my trail cam from its second stint documenting the events that pass on my ranch while I’m not there. I shouldn’t have been too surprised, … rabbits happen. It took pictures of rabbits running; rabbits sitting; rabbits eating; rabbits socializing, and rabbits drinking after the rains. Rabbits, rabbits, rabbits.
Yup. Lots of rabbits up at the ranch.
The prepper in me likes seeing this many rabbits hopping around the ranch. In the unlikely event that a Zombie Apocalypse style world evolved, I’d easily have enough rabbit meat to feed my family. Jack rabbits can have diseases and parasites, but if you cooked or boiled it thoroughly, my opinion is that that would kill anything icky in the meat.
The rabbit disease issues usually occur during the summer, and are caused by ticks, so when ticks have been dormant for a couple of weeks, the rabbit meat is usually good. If you are forced to eat rabbit meat when ticks are active, then make sure you don’t get any blood and guts on exposed skin before boiling or thoroughly cooking the meat. That won’t be 100% guarantee of safe meat, but you’ll stand a better chance.
My trail cam caught other activity in the clearing. It’s not all rabbits. I caught my first coyote on camera. I have been hoping to catch one on camera for a while now, but this is my first one. I was starting to wonder if someone had killed them off in the area, or they had moved to a different range, because I haven’t been hearing them yelping up in the hills or down in the wash this year.
I’m guessing this is the same coyote crossing the camera multiple times.
I only saw these three pictures of a coyote on the ranch during the multiple weeks that I had the camera in this location. I feel pretty lucky to have caught it on camera.
The camera also got a visit from a bird.
On our last visit, my daughter and I began work on a modified swale in the wash. There is far too much water running through the wash to do a normal swale. Our intent is to slow the flow of some water, while not interfering with the natural runoff.
On this visit, we discovered the jack rabbits loved our work on the swale. It must be less dangerous to get a drink out of the swale than the raging river running by the swale.
Even in its beginning stages, the swale must be working. By far, the muddiest place on the ranch in our recent visit was the swale. Supposedly, once fully finnished, I should be able to plant fruit trees on the downward side of the swale. I’ve seen it done on YouTube, so it must be true ; – )
I’ve been extremely excited about the wash after discovering how wet some parts of it are just a few inches under the sand. I figured I’d give a few trees a try—including a cottonwood, a Chinese elm, and a common hackberry.
One of the hackberries from earlier this year has survived the summer heat. I find the hackberries slightly less hardy than the Colorado pinyons, but the hackberries seem to be able to survive the harsh conditions out at Dove Ranch. I plan on planting more of them as I learn tricks for keeping them alive.
We’re trying something new with our planted trees. I’m adding wood chips in and outside the cages to keep the ground moist. From what I’ve been studying on swales, I think that lots of organic material is a key to healthy, fast-growing trees.
Unfortunately, I damaged the roots to my Chinese elm pretty severely while planting it. I don’t expect it to survive. We’ll see on the next visit.
I admit that getting a Cottonwood to survive on its own at Dove Ranch is a long shot, but I have high hopes. Besides, if I get it to survive, my wife (who absolutely loves Dove Ranch) can’t tease me anymore about having no trees on the ranch.
I bought a cottonwood to take up to Dove Ranch with me a few days before my trip, and the hot weather had killed it within 2-3 days. So, Esther and I stopped by the nursery for a new one on the way to the ranch. The big question is, Will this cottonwood survive even until my next visit?