Moby Goes for Isolation

Feeling guilty, but ultimately deciding it would be okay, we took our self-isolation on the road and headed for Owyhee Canyon country. We volunteer with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife to count sage grouse in the spring, so we were performing an essential activity. And . . . if you really want to avoid Covid-19, hang out here with the cows and coyotes.

No people, no news; instead–flowers, hawks, and calves.

We took a short-cut and stumbled upon this crumbling homestead. When it’s a long way to the nearest tree–but rocks abound–you build your house with stone. This homestead features a large barn and unusual two story house.

Access to the upper story is via ladder on the outside wall.
The rock walls are still solid, but the wooden roof and inner walls are falling down. Looks like the third little pig was right: bricks are better than straw and sticks.

And most surprising of all, just down the road from the house and barn, we found a rock dam.

Notice the water line on the rocks in front of Larry. This small dam wouldn’t
have held much water, but likely enough to irrigate a few hay fields below.

We walked up the swampy creek behind the dam. Calli might not be the world’s most obedient retriever, but her exuberance reminds me to have a little fun each day.

And lastly, here’s a general list of all the animals we saw our collective spring trips to the Owyhee region. My personal favorites (or non-favorites) are in bold.

  • Mammals
    • Badger
    • Coyote
    • Mule deer
    • Antelope
    • Belding’s ground squirrel aka sage rat
    • Marmot
    • Cottontail rabbit
    • Jackrabbit
    • Chipmunk
    • Horse
    • Dog: our own
    • People: almost none
    • Cows: lots and lots of ’em
  • Reptiles
    • Rattlesnakes (2)
    • A snake Larry calls a rubber boa
    • Lizard
  • Amphibians
    • Tree frog
    • Frogs that live in a reservoir and are very loud at night
  • Invertebrates
    • Ticks (too many to be happy about)
    • Dragonfly
    • Butterfly
  • Fish
    • Small mystery fish Larry caught in the West Little Fork of the Owyhee River
    • Rainbow trout (which we ate)
    • Catfish
  • Birds
    • Birds of Prey
      • Prairie falcon
      • Red-tailed hawk
      • Golden eagle
      • Kestrel
      • Northern harrier
    • Birds Larry preys upon
      • Sage grouse (Larry doesn’t hunt these)
      • Hun
      • Chukar
      • Dove
      • Quail
    • Ducks Larry preys upon
      • Merganser
      • Mallard
      • Bufflehead
      • Wigeon
      • Cinnamon teal
      • Greater Scaup aka blue-billed duck
      • Canada Goose (not a duck, but seems to belong here anyway)
    • Shorebirds
      • Curlew
      • Seagull
      • Sandpiper
      • Willet
      • Blue heron
      • Killdeer
    • Birds I don’t know how to categorize and don’t want to look up even though Larry keeps suggesting I go get the bird book:
      • Sandhill crane
      • Horned lark
      • Meadowlark
      • Robin
      • Raven
      • Vulture
      • Magpie
      • Violet Green Swallow
      • Brewer’s blackbird
      • Red winged blackbird
      • LBJs (Little Brown Jobs: small nondescript birds Larry doesn’t know the names of)

12 thoughts

  1. The homestead is remarkable and the photos are great. Wonder when the whole thing was built. Was it on BLM land? Go Calli. Go Moby. Nice work, Janene.

  2. Quite a list of critters! I can almost smell the sage and hear the hawk’s call. Thanks for taking us along. Nancy

  3. Clearly that dog needs some more exercise. Thanks for a nice post. I hope you saw lots of sage grouse.

  4. Love Calli’s independent streak! Hope we don’t have to wait too long for another adventure.

  5. Great to see someone enjoying the open land. Amazing what all you saw in a place so void looking. Stay safe and healthy.

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