Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Sage, Salt, and...what's in that Photo?

Alvord Desert Salt Flats

The Herd Management Areas (HMAs) in Oregon are spread out over several miles throughout the southeastern part of the state. Rolling hills, high buttes and deep valleys, with nothing but sage brush and a few sparse juniper trees cover the landscape. From atop a high hill you can see the great nothingness of Harney County.

Darling was excited as we headed towards Foster Flat when she spotted the great salt flats of the Alvord Desert. Next trip, we'll head that direction.

A place Darling and I had always wanted to visit but so far had not, was the Burns Cemetery. Always a great place for exploring old headstones and local history, this particular trip yielded another little something to capture our attention.

Known to the locals as Sage Rats, there were little ground squirrels darting in and out of holes and sage as we walked. My friend Andi happened to call while Darling was busy photographing these cousins of the prairie dog. I wanted to catch one for a pet. Andi said that was a great idea. I asked how to go about it. She offered a .22. Ha ha, Andi. I didn't bring a gun with me, so I guess we'll just have to settle for shooting with the camera.

Seriously...I think I need one!

It's a 550 mile drive from Burns to home. With our slow start visiting the cemetery, the wild horse corrals, and our stop to vacuum out City Boy's car (no, I was not spilling potato chips all over the place...why do you ask, City Boy?) it was nearly 9:00 by the time we drug our weary but happy bodies back into our own little house in the pacific NorthWET and placed the little bitty Scan Disk from the camera into the computer. And what, do you suppose, were those shadows so far out in that desert?

Warm Springs Appaloosas


CTG Ponies said...

Yeah, wild horses!!! Glad that you did indeed catch a glimpse.

Paint Girl said...

How cool is that!
And what would you do with a sage rat? I mean, they are kinda cute, but I don't think I'd want one of them hanging around here! LOL!

Tracey said...

What do you mean, Paint Girl? I was going to offer one to you as a welcome to unemployment gift, lol!!!

Melanie said...

When you wrote "Burns" on your comment, I was like, "as in Oregon??" What could she possibly be doing down there?? LOL!!!

Okay...I snooped around and figured out what you have been up to lately. You got to go down and visit a fellow blogger too??? How cool is/was that?

I also wholeheartedly agree with you that the sorrel gelding with the blaze-a few posts ago-has totally awesome feet and could go all day. Where is he??? I need him!!! :)

Callie said...

Nice photos! Sounds like fun, I need a vaca........those critters look like our gophers, but only a little bigger.

Tracey said...

Melanie, I'm happy to enable you into that lovely gelding...just give me the word, lol!

Callie, these are called gophers as well. I think they get about 8" long including the tail as adults. At least that's what I've read.

Pony Girl said...

Oh, those sage rats look kinda like prairie dogs...too cute!
Wow, those were the wild Appy's, eh? Wish I could have seen them up close! I would LOVE to see a band of wild Appys. Do they ever round those ones up for adoption? I have never seen an Appy up for adoption!
When driving to the Parelli event last May in Redmond, Oregon, I fell in love with eastern Oregon. It's just such a different feel than our PACNORWET, eh?!