Shootin' the Breeze

and random targets

Archive for the month “May, 2014”

The Mower

We have two lawnmowers.  One is me, the person who mows the grass (and weeds).  The other mower is a machine, gas-powered and, well, somewhat unreliable. We have on the ranch one small engine mechanic and it is not I.

Since our annual John Wayne Barbeque is planned for May 31, Miss Sugar sweetly suggested that it would be a good idea to have the grass (and weeds) cut for the convenience of our guests and to improve the ambiance of an outdoor party.  Since she is making pies and several side dishes, I agree that it is reasonable for me to help with the preparations in this manner.  After all, she is just a girl and cutting grass (and weeds) is a manly task.  Some wimps use riding mowers, or even self-propelled mowers.  Not me.  I like to push my mowers.  The party is in honor of John Wayne, not Pee Wee Herman. 

The lawnmowing machine has been stored in the barn during the winter.  It has been stored in the barn during the spring.  It is now nearly summer.  The rains have made the lawn lush and, to my dismay, tall.  That is my own fault.

I checked the oil, added gas from an old gas container that has been stored for several months, pushed rubber bulb thing that squirts gas into the thing-a-ma-gig, pulled the cord, and it started right up.  For ten seconds.

I kept trying with the same results time after time, meeting the definition of insanity about doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.  So I tried something different.  I tried to adjust the throttle.  Same result.  I dumped out the old gas and got some new gas from the pumps at The Forks, our nearest convenience store.  Same result.

I confessed to Miss Sugar that I had failed and offered to take the lawnmowing machine to the lawnmower repair guy in town, a mere 25 miles away.  I would do it on the condition that I could get the pickup truck started.  Those diesel engines can be difficult to start when the glow plugs need to be replaced, as they do in our truck. I will get Sugar right on it.

As when the pull cord to the mower needed to be replaced last year, Sugar took matters into her own hands, literally, concerning this latest mechanical problem.  She worked on the lawnmower with my able assistance.  (He also serves who only stands and waits.) She told me to get a narrow paintbrush from her art supplies and stuck its wooden handle into the secret compartment that houses the secret part that controls the speed of the engine.  It kept running.  I did not need to go to the repair guy.  I had visions of buying a new lawnmower.  Sugar just saved us hundreds of dollars.

So, I mowed for a few hours.  It was slow going in the tall grass (and weeds).  I only have about three-fourths of the “yard” left to do.  I mow a couple acres around the house and leave the rest for livestock to graze. I would let them graze around the house too, but Sugar does not like horses or cows knocking over the birdbath, stepping in the fountain, and stuff like that, which has happened in the past when they have gotten in the “yard” accidentally. I think I can get the mowing done by Saturday so Sugar will be free to cook.  I will try to light the smoker for the barbequing of the pork if Sugar will take a break from baking pies and show me how. 

It’s complicated.

Stern Warning

When we took our male cat to be neutered this week, we encountered a stern warning on a sign by a parking space in front of the Cat Rescue Spay & Neuter Clinic.

The parking sign said:  “Parking for Cat Rescue Only.  Violators will be neutered and towed.”

Tough town!


Paternity and Child Support

Miss Sugar examined The Yellow Cat With The Broken Tail, who shall hereinafter be referred to as simply Yellow Cat.  Her opinion is that Yellow Cat is a female feline.  Part of the basis of Sugar’s opinion is that Yellow Cat appears to be in a delicate condition.  She has what the celebrities refer to as a “baby bump.”  It is Sugar’s opinion that Yellow Cat is expecting.  Now The Baby Kitty we already have will be a big brother, or sister, as we can’t tell which.  They will not be biological siblings or even step siblings.  They will be in the same foster family however.  Maybe Yellow Cat will officially adopt The Baby Kitty, soon to be known as The Big Baby Kitty.

I have a theory about why Yellow Cat appeared on our porch on Tuesday.  My theory has to do with paternity and child support.  

Those of you who have read other blog posts concerning The Prodigal Cat are aware that he disappears for periods of time.  We learned in March that he has another family.  Since bringing him back here at that time, he returned three or more times to our neighbor’s barn.  Now that they know where he belongs, they call us.  Our neighbors are not exactly “next door.”  They are about two miles away by motor vehicle, on a route that requires going over a bridge under which a river flows.  Prodigal Cat might take a shortcut, but somehow it must cross the river. 

Back to my theory.  I suspect that The Prodigal Cat impregnated Yellow Cat and she decided to track him down.  She found him here.  She does not want to raise his progeny alone, so she came to move in with him here at Cross Creek Ranch.  She is looking to him for child support.  She refuses to be cast aside.  She insists that he live up to his responsibilities.  So here she is.

Ironically, the day after her arrival we taught The Prodigal Cat another lesson about the consequences of unprotected sex.  We taught him about birth control.  We had him neutered. 

Now The Prodigal Cat can focus on parenting and staying home with his beloved. 

No more cattin’ around. 


Cat Tales

Now we have three cats — The Prodigal Cat, The Baby Kitty, and, as of yesterday, The Yellow Cat With A Broken Tail.

Yesterday, the yellow cat showed up on the porch.  It looks like it has “been around.”  It has a scar on its face and a broken tail.  Miss Sugar fed it and it purred.  Beau chased it up a support post on the front porch and finished its lunch.  Miss Sugar put it in a little tool shed on the property.  It seems to like it.  We wonder whether someone dropped it off.  We do not exactly live on the main drag. 

Today, The Prodigal Cat is having surgery.  We brought it to The Cat Rescue Spay & Neuter Clinic at 7:00 a.m. this morning.  It was in a cage in the back of the SUV, crying all the way.  Maybe it heard us talking about its fate.  I did not comfort it.  I suggested that it run for the hills, but I was obligated to leave it in the cage.  I feel as if I am betraying a fellow male.  I am breaking The Golden Rule.  I certainly would not want this “done unto me.”  Our thinking is that it might stay home when it loses its interest in dating females. 

The Baby Kitty is oblivious to the life experiences that the senior cats have endured.  Its day will come. 

Oil Change

I am an excellent reader.  When the “service engine” light comes on, I recognize the words, but I do not know what they mean.  I do not know what automobile maintenance I have neglected.  Not knowing, I keep driving because, well, ignorance is bliss.

Sugar, my handywoman wife, is more concerned about earthly things than am I.  I have faith that mechanical devices can, well, heal themselves.  Plus, we have the Gold Plus AAA membership for roadside assistance and towing. 

So Sugar, who is also an excellent reader, saw the dashboard warning and decided that we should take our car to the dealer to be serviced.  So we did.

It took about twenty minutes for the service department to change the oil and do whatever mysterious manipulations that resulted in the service engine light going out.  Apparently, all is well.

During those twenty minutes, we were invited to wait in the area where coffee and cookies are available.  That area is, coincidently, immediately adjacent to the new car show room.  Persons who bring their vehicles in for service are allowed to loiter by the new cars.  One can either do that or watch the Food Channel on the overhead TV in the waiting area.

During those twenty minutes, Sugar found a car that she liked, a used one on the lot, and wanted to make an offer.  So we did. 

After a few hours, we drove it home.  No, Sugar drove it home.  One of us had to drive the car what brung us.  You remember — the one that has its service up to date. 

Next time that light goes on, I will secretly take the car to the dealership by myself.

New Psalm

O Lord, you know my circumstances.
You protect me in ways I sometimes do not see.
You protect me from enemies whom I do not know.
I praise you Lord for guarding me.

O Lord, you know my circumstances.
You guide me in ways I cannot know
For your wisdom is above all.
I praise you Lord for guiding me.

O Lord, you know my circumstances.
You walk with me along dangerous paths.
You guide me and protect me.
I thank you Lord for loving me.

O Lord, your wisdom and strength
Preserve your people
As we look to you
For our salvation.

The Duke on Courage

“Courage is being scared to death and saddling up anyway.”

— John Wayne,
American actor

It is good to remember the distinction between just plain not being afraid and courage as overcoming fear.  Who is braver?

If a person is not afraid of horses, for example, and in fact loves horses, then getting on a horse is not an act of bravery, it is just a way to have fun.  Some bronc riders are fearless; others have fear but are courageous.  Observers can’t tell the difference.

This principle applies to more than physical courage.  If a person is afraid to make a difficult telephone call, but does it anyway because it needs to be done, that person is showing courage by facing what is feared. 

It is appropriate that an actor who played roles of brave characters reminds us that we can act brave even when we are afraid. Acting brave can be courageous.

Trapped on Mothers’ Day

I made reservations to take Mother Sugar to a brunch on Mothers’ Day.  What a nice husband!  How pro-active!

But alas, we missed our reservation. 

We could not get out of our own gate, our new electric gate, designed to keep out intruders, kept us in.  So did the snow.  Maybe the issues are connected.

Here in Colorado, we are getting a heavy, wet snow on Mothers’ Day.  Something shorted out on the gate.  We will figure out how to get it open, I suppose, but not in time for brunch.

Beau the Wascally Wabbit

I know, I know — a picture is worth a thousand words,but I did not have a camera with me to get a photo, so we will have to go the word route.  Use your imagination to picture this:

Beau is a Yellow Lab who weighs around 80 lbs.  (I do have photos of him and The Prodigal Cat).Pussy 

We have been orienting our two cats, The Prodigal Cat and The Baby Kitten, to live in the barn by keeping them in cages in a stall, hoping that by eating and sleeping and, you know, using toilet facilities there, within cages, when released, they will hang around.

Yesterday was a big step in the cat orientation because we let them out of their respective cages.  Under our watchful eyes, the cats got along and, more importantly stayed around the barn.  So far, so good.  Our plan was to continue to feed them in the cages and lock them in at night.

When my wife, Sugar, and I leave the ranch, we put the dogs, Beau and Sadie, in another stall in the barn, for their own good, where they have water and food. 

We were fixin’ to leave.  As I have been trained, I went to put the dogs in their pen, the stall.  Sadie was lounging on the deck outside the kitchen door.  She followed me to the barn.  I did not see Beau, so I called his name.  He did not come.

When Sadie and I reached the barn, I was relieved that the cats were playing in the sun.  However, I was concerned that I did not see Beau.  I looked into the stall where the cat cages are.  Beau looked back at me.  He had not barked.  He had not whined.  Maybe he was embarrassed.  He should be.

Beau was in the larger cat cage, which was designed and formerly used as a rabbit hutch which then was on a stand but now is on the floor of the stall.  It, the rabbit cage, is maybe 18″ wide and 18″ tall, and 30″ long.  It has a door on one end.  Beau had apparently pushed through the wire door, bending it into the cage, and then the door closed behind him when he somehow turned around, leaving him trapped.  The apparent motive?  Eating cat food. 

I don’t know how long Beau was imprisoned in there.  The Baby Kitty enjoyed the role reversal.  It jumped on top of the cage.  Beau was humiliated.

I called to Miss Sugar, laughing.  She laughed too, as she figured out how to open the rabbit hutch door. 

Cwazy Wabbit!


I read that Wal-Mart has some stores in Canada with on-site lawyers offering legal services at discounted rates.

I have witnesses that I thought of a similar idea several years ago.  When a grocery store building across from the Courthouse was vacant in my town, I jokingly suggested to some lawyers that we could lease it, set up various departments, such as Wills in aisle 5, Divorces in aisle 9.  I said the sign should say Law-Mart, just reversing a couple of letters from Wal-Mart.

It didn’t catch on.  Now it is clear that I was ahead of my time.

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