Wednesday, December 28, 2011


Snake Valley has lost too many good people this year. Here are links to their obituaries:

Marilyn Ambrose, from Baker

Grant Anderson, from Callao

Reuvo Bagley, from Callao

Genevieve Baker, from Baker

Guy Baker, previously from Baker

Ladd Davies, from Burbank

Sharlene Eldridge, previously from Baker

Doris Genz, from Baker

Bret Layland, from Callao

Dave Person, from Baker

Joe Schuh, from Baker

Gene Skinner, from Baker

Marilyn Sims, from Callao

Velma Timm, from Callao

Lorene Wheeler, from Garrison

Lee Whitlock, from Baker

We miss you and will remember you always.

(I apologize if I've missed anyone. Please leave a comment and I'll incorporate that person into the post.)

Friday, December 23, 2011

2011 Baker/Garrison Christmas Program

Tuesday night was the night for the South Snake Valley schools to do their Christmas programs. EskDale preschoolers were first up on stage. What a bunch of cuties!

Then it was time for the elementary band and orchestra. They are making good progress!
Next up was Garrison elementary (grades K-2). The kids sang, played their recorders, and performed an original play. It was fun watching them.

Last, it was the Baker elementary school (grades 3-6) performing. They have some excellent actors! And the elf costumes were fantastic.

After all the entertainment, Santa came for a visit. The kids were happy to line up and tell him what they wanted for Christmas. I'm not sure if they mentioned if they had been naughty or nice!

Monday, December 19, 2011

2011 Christmas Bird Count

 Today was Snake Valley's 2011 Christmas Bird Count. We had a good turnout, and despite the early-morning inversion and frozen state of most of the water bodies, we found 56 species. Above is a Bewick's Wren I found in a juniper near a spring. I was excited to see it because I don't see wrens often. They are cute, with their striped tails held at such a funny angle.

 This mountain bluebird provided some contrast with the winter scenery.

 We might not be New York City, but we still have our pigeons!

 This western scrub-jay was all puffed out to keep warm. We never got over freezing during the day. I'm sure glad I don't have to stay out all day and all night like the birds!

I saw more white-crowned sparrows on this count than any other. One flock had 61!
You can see a post about the 2009 Christmas Bird Count here. It includes more info about why Christmas Bird Counts are held and where you can participate. They are a lot of fun!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Lunar Eclipse

 Early Saturday morning we were  lucky to experience a total lunar eclipse. It's the last one till 2014, so I was eager to witness it.
 I realized I should have started taking photos earlier, because the cool thing about any eclipse is watching the shadow move. Just seeing it at one point in time isn't particularly awe-inspiring.
There will be lots of astronomical events in Snake Valley this year, including several star parties, the Astronomy Festival June 14-16, and a Transit of Venus viewing June 5, 2012. Plus probably some more!
It's time to learn some more about the big universe we live in.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Giving Thanks

Well, it's Thanksgiving week, and I've been spending some time outside. Seeing the beautiful scenery of Snake Valley makes me very thankful that I live in such a beautiful area with so many good people. We are lucky to have such clean air, unclogged roads, amazing night skies, and abundant wildlife.

I'm also thankful to all those who attended, testified, and served as counsel during the recent water hearings in front of the Nevada State Engineer. The six weeks of hearings provided information so that the State Engineer can decide how much water to allow to the Southern Nevada Water Authority in Spring, Dry Lake, Delamar, and Cave Valleys. Public comment is being accepted. Comments must be received in his office by December 2 (so send them this week!). Address: Jason King, Nevada State Engineer, 901 S. Stewart St., Suite 2002, Carson City, NV 89701 

Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Harvest Festival

 The Baker/Garrison Schools Harvest Festival was held last Friday night. This is a potluck dinner followed by an auction. As everyone arrived, they headed up to see what would be for auction and to plan their bidding strategy. There was an excellent assortment of homemade goodies.
 The Torres boys had fun bidding on a variety of items later in the evening. First came the delicious food. I was impressed with the quantity and quality of all the great food.
 Then it was time to start the auction, with Wheeler as the volunteer auctioneer. She did a great job! Although the schools had only had four items donated by Tuesday, on Friday night there were over 150 items, so she had a lot of auctioning to do!
 Kate showed off the goods to their best advantage, using her immense theatrical talent.
 The kids enjoyed playing around in the back.
 The auction was well-attended, and there were a few items that were fiercely fought over. It made it entertaining.
 My daughter, Desert Girl, had some of her biggest laughs.
I think it was because she had found a new friend.

What a great evening! The Baker/Garrison schools will put on a Christmas program in December at Baker Hall and then the winter carnival with games and food will most likely be in February. I'll update the calendar on the right side of this blog as I learn the dates.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Halloween Festivities

 We have a lot of fun at Halloween in Baker. There was a Halloween party at the community center, with lots of treats, homemade goodies, and even some crafts.
 It was great to see all the fun costumes.
 Prior to that, most of the kids in town went on the Halloween Hayride, which went from door-to-door for trick-or-treating. The weather was awesome!
It's probably a good thing Halloween only comes around once a year, as all the kids really loaded up on candy!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Beautiful October and a Cool Link

This has been a wonderful October in Snake Valley, with lots of warm weather. Although many of the high elevation leaves had their colors shortened by an early October snowstorm, the lower elevations turned brilliant and stayed that way a long time

One of the things I learned in October is about the Utah Digital Newspapers Library. You can search through newspapers for over a century. I typed in "Snake Valley", clicked Exact Phrase, clicked Go, and found several interesting entries. I will try posting some in the future, as they give a very interesting view of our valley.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Ranching Exhibit Metalwork

 The other day, as we were coming down the mountain, my son wanted to stop at the Ranching Exhibit. We hadn't stopped there for at least a year and had some extra time, so I was happy to oblige. I quickly remembered why I like stopping there. The views are fantastic, and worth taking a few extra minutes to enjoy. And then there's the exquisite metalwork, designed and made by Kathy and Bill Rountree.

The amount of detail is fantastic! Just take a look at that lasso. Or the reins. Or the spokes on the wagon wheels. There are three scenes--a barn and farm animals, the one above of moving cattle, and a third of sheep herding. I don't want to show them all here right now in too much detail. Instead, take the time to check them out yourselves! And the best part, the Ranching Exhibit is open 365 days of the year, 24 hours a day. Of course you might be able to see better in the daylight!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

First Snow

The first major snow of the season has arrived, depositing many inches of snow on the mountain peaks. We drove up the Wheeler Peak Scenic Drive on Saturday and found a couple inches of snow at Mather Overlook, with the road beyond closed. The forecasters say that this year may be shaping up to be another La Nina, which could mean we could get a lot of snow again. On the other hand, we know how accurate forecasters are for this area! We'll just have to enjoy each drop of moisture we receive.

Don't forget--comments are due October 11 for the DEIS to protect the bits of moisture we have in this area. You can email them to: Comments to the Nevada State Engineer are due December 2 (no email comments accepted by NSE).

Saturday, October 1, 2011

White Pine Public Museum

 While we were visiting Ely, we stopped at the White Pine County Public Museum. It has a large collection of Mrs. Hesselgesser's dolls from Baker (which I somehow didn't manage to get a photo of), along with a lot of other assorted exhibits.

 With mining being such an important part of the economy, it was only fitting to have a large section dedicated to rocks and ores.

 The most prized part of the collection is the Cave Bear, a Short-Faced Bear that was found in a cave in White Pine County. Since my son has decided that he wants to be a paleontologist when he grows up, he was so excited to see it!

 First Lady Pat Nixon was from Ely, so there was a section with several photos of her.

I had two kids with me, so we didn't spend too long inside the museum, but headed out to the various other attractions.
 These included a jail cell and one of Ely's wonderful murals:

 This large structure is a water well driller.

 We also found the old one-room schoolhouse from Baker, donated by Sam Smith. Do you know more about it? If so, please leave a comment!

 The inside was really small, which I guess would make it easier to heat. Somehow I have a feeling there were more than four students when it was actually used.

Also included is a model of the Baker school house that replaced the log cabin one. This school house has been torn down, but the bell still remains at the current Baker school.

The museum has lots of other exhibits, I feel like we only had a quick look at them and will need to go back again for a more thorough exploration. Admission is by donation, and the White Pine Public Museum would love to have more visitors, so go take a look!

Thursday, September 29, 2011


We still don't have a recycling location in Snake Valley, but at least it's become easier to tote our recyclables with the opening of a recycling center in Ely. It's a partnership between the BLM and J&M Trucking.

It's super easy--just pull up and put your recyclables into the correct containers. I usually have my kids with me, so I'm hoping that they are learning some good lessons. I grew up recycling, so it was hard to come to Snake Valley and not recycle. I cringed many times when I threw things in the garbage can, knowing that they could be recycled. I realized that the long distances just made it economically unfeasible, but I'm hoping that this Ely solution will help remedy that. Kudos to the BLM for making it happen!

And many thanks to J&M for being involved by hosting the containers and then hauling the recyclables to recycling facilities. For more info, click here.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Post Offices on Shaky Ground

Let's hope the shaky state of the post office is just temporary!
 Both of the Snake Valley post offices, in Baker, NV and in Garrison, UT are on the list for post offices to be studied for closure.

Residents are not happy about this, as both these post offices serve as central parts of their communities. Many folks who can't travel to Ely or Milford to do banking get mail orders at the post offices. Great Basin National Park sends money orders frequently. Large packages that wouldn't fit in a parcel box are picked up. Certified mail requiring signatures is picked up from the post offices.

A meeting about the post office will be held next Monday, September 26, at 6 pm in Baker. Residents are urged to attend.

Here's some more info:
The following is a letter the Postal Service sent us a few weeks ago.
It states that you have until September 14 to get the questionnaire in,
but you can also bring it with you to the Community meeting set for
September 26th, next Monday.  The meeting will start at 6pm and is
scheduled for only an hour.

It is also suggested that you contact our Congressional delegation:

District    Name            Phone
1    Berkley, Shelley
2    Amodei, Mark
3    Heck, Joe

(202) 224-6244
Web Form:

Reid, Harry - (D - NV)

(202) 224-3542
Web Form:

Postal Customer
Baker, NV 89311

This letter provides notice that the U.S. Postal Service is conducting
a discontinuance feasibility study of facility operations at the Baker
Post Office into the Ely Post Office.

The office is being studied due to declining office workload, which
may indicate that maintaining this facility is not warranted.

A discontinuance feasibility study involves a review of delivery and
retail operations of a postal facility. The purpose of the study is to
evaluate the facility's operations in a continuing effort to meet customers' retail
needs, improve productivity, increase efficiency, and cut costs.
Customer needs have changed dramatically. Many customers receive and pay their bills
online and communicate by email and text  message. In addition, many
customers demand easier, more convenient access to Postal Service products and
services when and where they want them - online, on their smart phones and at
the stores they frequent.

If a decision is ultimately made to discontinue the Baker Post Office
and you are a Post Office Box customer, you will have the option of  Post Office Box
delivery at the Elv Post Office To request delivery, submit a request for
establishment of rural delivery service, PS Form 4027, Petition for Change in Rural
Delivery, is available at the Baker Post Office. The Ely Post Office has retail
hours from 830 to 1700  Monday through Friday and 1000 to 1400 on Saturday, which is
76,0 miles away. Retail services would continue to be available through a
variety of channels beyond traditional brick-and-mortar facilities,
such as website, non-city delivery carriers. stamp consignment
locations. and Stamps by Mail, Fax, and Phone.

We value your opinions during this review process. As the Postal
Manager responsible for all Post Offices in your area, I would like your
input concerning your postal needs. We encourage you to complete and return the
enclosed survey in the pre-addressed postage-paid envelope provided. Your responses
along with others received. will be included in the study and considered
carefully before any final determination regarding discontinuance is made.
Please submit your response no later than 09/14/2011.
A community meeting will he held to explain the study findings and to
address community concerns. Postal representatives will be at the  Baker Hall
on 09/26/2011 from 6 PM to 7 PM to answer questions and provide
information about our service. You may wish. to discuss and submit your
questionnaire at that meeting.

Written comments may be hand-delivered to the Baker Post Office or
mailed to:

District Discontinuance Coordinator
1001 Sunset Rd
Las Vegas NV, 89199-9998

The study consists of a publicly available record, so please be
advised that any information or responses that you furnish will be
visible to others.
A proposal that further explains the nature and justification of the
proposed change in service and requests for customer comment may be
posted prior to the community meeting. Comments received from the
questionnaire, community meeting, and proposal will be considered
prior to making a final determination,
If you have any questions concerning this discontinuance feasibility
study, please contact Loretta Kirkpatrick, District Discontinuance
Coordinator Contact at (702) 361-9204.

Robert Reynosa

Manager, Post Office Operations

What the proposal fails to mention is that if mail is delivered to homes and businesses instead of to the post office, it will take the contractor longer, and a new contract will have to be written. This will not result in the approximate $60,000 per year savings the post office expected. Instead, the contract will be for more.

In addition, the role of the post office in a small community is huge, as it is the natural gathering place.

Some additional ideas for how to save our post offices are found here on this blog

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Snake Valley Triathlon

 Due to scheduling conflicts, the Snake Valley Triathlon was pushed back into September, which meant that the water at Silver Creek Reservoir was a wee bit chilly (that is definitely an understatement). Nevertheless, a few brave souls decided to give the triathlon a try, swimming across the reservoir, running about 2.5 miles down to the substation, and then riding a 10.8-mile triangle route that ended up back at the substation.

The weather was perfect for the run and bike. My husband "lost" the camera, so we didn't end up with too many photos.
The top three finishers pose after the event.

Next year we'll try to have it in July or August. The weather for the bike and run may not be quite as nice, but at least the water won't be so chilly!

By the way, for those of you interested in Snake Valley races, EskDale is planning a 5K/10K Turkey Trot on (or near) Thanksgiving. Stay tuned for details!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

The Icehouse

There's a new business in Baker this summer, the Icehouse. It's behind the Silver Jack in downtown Baker and is home to local arts, crafts and antiques.

The Icehouse is an old building and a great venue for showing off some of the local talent.

Jody Person runs it and has a smile for every customer.

Items range from artwork, rope baskets, sage wreathes, jewelry, and old bottles.

The eye-catching colors of this spread greet the customer immediately upon entering the building. Jody has over wares from over 30 people in the Icehouse.

The swords are a fairly new addition and are getting a lot of attention!

The bamboo squares can be used as wall hangings or table tops.

A variety of rocks occupy one table.

Homemade jams and jellies, salsas, and pickled beans occupy another.

I always have to walk around the small store a few times to see everything. The bags are made by a sewing machine operated by solar power.

A display of giraffes and other intriguing metalwork caught my eye. The sales help African women.

This is a great place to get wedding, birthday, and other gifts. Plus it helps support our neighbors. Be sure to check it out soon!