Borrego Springs, CA

Friday, November 21, 2014

Life on the refuge

I’m certainly enjoying my first winter in the desert here at Imperial NWR, but life is not all roses as they say.  Tonight I want to tell you about a few of the things that aren’t so great.  First of all, I have next to no cell phone service here.  That can pose problems.  I can very seldom call my kids or take care of business over the phone.  I switched to AT&T on Robyn and Dennis’ family plan to save about $50/month.  Luckily I kept my Verizon internet service, and that does well.

Then there’s the water problems that seem to be the bane of my existence the last eight months or so.  First I had the brown water problems at Tamarac NWR, then the water pressure problems in Casa Grande, and now getting consistent water is a problem.  Didn’t know it until I arrived, but we must each haul our drinking water from a small reverse osmosis machine in the kitchen of the volunteer building.  I can deal with that.  Had to do the same thing at Anahuac NWR.  However, every week or so, the well water out of the hookup at the rig quits.  Couple that with the leak in my fresh water tank, and the result is no water in the rig at all.

That happened again yesterday afternoon, and there was no water available anywhere on the refuge until about 10:00 this morning.  (no water means no flushing, etc.)  Ugh!  I’m working on the fresh water tank problem, but I have no control over the well problem.  It was interesting when 60 or so fourth graders arrived from near the border this morning.  They couldn’t use the bathrooms and the bus had to go another four miles on the very bumpy and rustic overlook road to the two pit toilets at the Painted Desert Trailhead.


I’m also having a challenge with my hummingbird feeders.  In the last few days bees have invaded us.


             I just refilled this feeder yesterday.  The liquid is clear, but sure doesn’t look like it now.


Can you believe the number of bees that have drowned themselves in just 24 hours?  I find it astounding.  I think I’m going to have to take the feeder down.  There are so many bees that the hummers can barely get in for a sip.  I don’t know if my friend Marilyn can tell me what kind of bees these are, but I sure don’t want to cause their decimation.

None of these small issues are enough to make me pack up and leave, but I sure would appreciate a consistent water supply.  And with the cold front that has hit the country, I’ll barely mention my beginning battle with the mouse population. Sad smile  When you live on a wildlife refuge, you have to expect some things.

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On a lighter note, I’ll leave you tonight with pictures of a couple of the road signs I encounter every time I go to town in Yuma.  I’m guessing that not too many of you have to watch out for burros and tanks crossing the road!

Thanks for stopping by… talk to you later,  Judy


  1. That is an astounding number of bees! So sorry for your water problems, hope resolved soon.

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