Sat 7/9

My good friend Jared and I went out on the ranch to do some casual prospecting for fossil bone today, his first day here.  We flew a drone over a large butte to take a look at what was on top and some of the hillsides that looked inaccessible.  Really neat to see the footage live and get very close up views.  Not sure it can substitute for actually walking up there but gives a pretty good overview of the terrain and anything obvious that may be sticking out.  After the drone we walked the same area we had just filmed and prospected for any sign of fossil bone eroding out.  Over a pretty large area we only saw two small fragments of bone.  So no luck at this spot I’d never walked before.  That’s how it’s done, look for “promising” areas then walk and walk and walk around, over and through them.  

Here are some photos from today’s walk about.

There’s Jared in the distance prospecting for fossils
This face of the butte is what we refer to as a “Black Diamond.” Try sliding down that!

Here’s a photo of what happens to ancient fossil bone that’s been preserved safely underground for millions of years once it gets exposed to the surface and has to brave the elements (rain, snow, wind, freezing & thawing and cows walking on it)

The bone that had been preserved now has a short shelf life and quickly starts to break up and turn to fragments that are uncollectable and will soon become part of the earth.  

And lastly a shot of Jared helping with a ranch gate. There really are not that many rules on the ranch but leaving gates that keep cattle in the pasture they’re supposed to be in exactly how you found them is a cardinal rule. If open, pass through and leave it open, if closed when you approach you open it, drive through, then get out and close that gate – no exceptions. So here’s Jared figuring out the combination of this gate; every gate has a different and often creative mechanism for latching it shut. Many involve strands of barbed wire and are stretched tight! Practice makes perfect and everyone eventually figures it out.