Shootin' the Breeze

and random targets

Archive for the month “September, 2014”

First Date Disaster

It is lucky for me that my wife was ever born.  Allow me to explain.

Her parents, Ginger and Bob, recently celebrated their anniversary.  They reminisced about their first date.  It was a blind date.  It was a disaster.  Nevertheless, Ginger gave Bob another chance — and the rest is history, including the birth of three children, one of whom I married.

Are you wondering why that might not have happened?  If you were in Ginger’s shoes, one date like her first with Bob   might have been enough.

I don’t blame Bob for being nervous.  He was only 19 years old at the time, hardly a man of the world.  He was out with the prettiest girl he had ever seen.  It was a double date.  His friend had fixed him up with Ginger, who, like his own date, was a nursing student.  Bob had been skeptical about being fixed up with a girl he had never seen, but when he saw his date, he was well pleased.

He was well pleased, but not what one might think of as cool, in the sense of suave, as he was trying so mightily to be.  He wanted to impress his lovely date.  He did impress her, but not in the way he intended.

At some point in the evening, Bob got up from the table to go to the restroom.  As he returned, his friend signaled Bob that his fly was unzipped.  Bob got the hint.  Subtly, after he sat down, Bob zipped his fly.

Later, he asked Ginger to dance.  He stood up to pull out her chair.  In the process, he pulled the tablecloth off the table, knocking over glasses, spilling drinks, and breaking plates — for Bob had zipped the tablecloth into his pants.  What a sophisticate!

They are still laughing about it five decades plus later.

Fixin’ To Travel

For some reason, Sugar, my wife and supervisor, believes that our travel trailer needed new fold-down steps, just because I drove away with them down and bent them by striking a post. And not only that, she was insistent that we replace the jack that some  folks say is preferable to using sheer might.   I don’t mind lifting up the trailer to put it on the hitch, but Sugar is just a girl and wants modern conveniences.  You probably think that I was somehow responsible for bending the previous jack.  You are correct.  Well, technically, I did not bend it, the concrete bump I drove over when leaving a gas station is what bent it.  You see where this is going — Sugar made me replace it.  So I did.

Sugar did not like our tires on the truck merely because of wear from a couple or maybe seven or maybe eight years.  So we got new tires.  Because I married a sissy girl.  Safety is a big concern for her so it is for me too.

Now let’s talk about glow plugs for the diesel engine in that truck with the new tires.  Sugar likes the truck to start on cold days.  I don’t mind spending a half hour getting it started.  Those old glow plugs and I understood each other.  But no, Sugar wanted new glow plugs.  So we got us some.

Get the picture?  You won’t be surprised that we got new stabilizer bars for the trailer.

So we are ready for our next trip.  I sure hope I don’t break anything.

Feline Martial Arts

It seems to me that cats invented mixed martial arts. 

I have been watching our cats, Jiggy and Camo, fight constantly yet playfully.  They box, wrestle, and it appears that judo is also in the repertoire of each. 

They are very acrobatic and athletic.  I am impressed.

They kinda remind me of myself. Except I don’t bite.

The Bridges

A river runs through it — it being a corner of our place. Our Labrador Retrievers enjoy that feature of ranch life. But this is a story about a cat.

Beau, our male Yellow Lab, has taken upon himself many responsibilities. Some of them I share with him. For example, at the crack of dawn’s first light, he barks. Since we let the dogs sleep in the house to prevent fraternizing with coyotes, his bark requires me to get up and let him and Sadie go outside. Sometimes I return to bed, but if I slumber too long, Beau barks again from outside. This is my signal to feed him and Sadie on the back deck. I also put out food for the cats, in the elevated feeding station described in another blog. Beau is very vocal and very bossy. He has a routine. He likes all of us to follow his desired routine.

This particular morning, I did not return to bed. I gallantly allowed Sleeping Beauty aka Miss Sugar, my hot trophy wife, to sleep longer, and to sleep, I had hoped, undisturbed. So I fed the dogs without prompting by Beau. Nevertheless, as I was making coffee, I heard him bark again. He sounded troubled. It reminded me of Lassie, or Rin Tin Tin, or Bullet. What is it, Lassie? Is Timmy in the well? Yo! Rinty! Bullet, show me where Roy is! Beau ran to the river. He barked at something on the other side, wanting me to look. So I looked out and saw why he was barking. One of the cats was on the other side of the river. That bothered Beau. Maybe he wanted it to come for breakfast, per the routine. But now the cat was stuck on the wrong side of the deep waters. This was a job for SuperDog!

Beau believes he is responsible for the safety of the cats. I was fascinated to watch him swim across the river and come up the bank to where the cat was crying. The cat was directly across from the house, but the direct route meant swimming across the water. Apparently, the cat forgot where it had crossed the river. To get back to the house without getting wet, it needed to go to one of the two bridges, neither of which are by the house.

Beau sniffed it and then trotted toward one of the two bridges. He wanted the cat to follow him. He did not swim back across because everyone knows, including Beau, that cats do not enjoy swimming, hence the problem this particular cat was facing.

I have a lower opinion of the cat’s intellect than does Beau. I went to get my rubber irrigation boots on so that I could walk to and over the bridge, which is past the barn. I did not want to walk barefoot in order to rescue the dumb cat.

Instead of needing to rescue the cat, by the time I got to the bridge, the cat was already on the house side of the water. He had, as Beau desired, followed Beau across the bridge. Now who is the dummy? I guess it is me! The animals had solved the problem with no help from me. It seems that Beau at least is capable of critical thinking and problem-solving.
beau and cat
Below you can see the bridge they crossed. This is me riding Scamp another day. Some horses don’t like to cross bridges. I think the hollow sound of the clopping of their hooves and maybe looking over the side spooks some, but not Scamp. Beau is with us in this photo too.
scamp crossing bridge
the bridge
Above you see the other bridge, the one the county road crosses over. We don’t like our pets out on the road, so Beau made a prudent choice.
This is one of the waterfalls about three miles downstream. The cat probably would not have enjoyed going over the waterfall. Thanks to Beau, the cat did not have to find out.

Homeland Security on the Range

911 sign
Our place is adjacent to a large ranch of 16,000 acres or so. It is not all fenced along the county road that passes through. This is known as open range. Cattle are sometimes in the road or crossing the road, so drivers of vehicles must beware. There is a sign that warns about “Range Cattle.”

It is beautiful country, so some folks passing through want to leave the county road and drive “off road.” Since it is private land, not a public park, it as as rude to do this as it would be if I decided to have a picnic in the backyard of someone in a subdivision, or go for an uninvited swim in their pool. The difference is that on the ranch trespassers are bolder because they are less likely to be caught. After all, they see no houses around. The cattle do not tattle.

In particular, there is a part of the ranch where the Overland Trail passes through. There is a place on the Overland Trail known as Signature Rock. (There are many Signature Rocks on many trails.) The soft sandstone allows a person to carve his name and often the date. It is interesting to see names carved in the late 1800s.

It is so interesting, that some people drive up this piece of the Overland Trail with four-wheel drive vehicles to reach Signature Rock. The problem is, the old wagon ruts from the Overland Trail can be damaged by new ruts from modern vehicles.

What to do to prevent further damage to the Overland Trail? Someone on behalf of the ranch put a gate across the trail at the access to it by the county road. There used to be a sign that said, “Posted No Tresspassing.” The sign is gone, but the gate remains. The gate is locked. Unfortunately, the gate is not attached to a fence.
gate overland trail

Apparently, it works so well that there is a second gate, similarly set up without connection to a fence on either side.
gate to nowhere
locked gate

I hope they work and that no one dares drive around either of them.

At our ranch, we still use fences. We even attach gates to them.

And we have signs of our own. See below.
shotgun warning

Sugarcoated Art Auction

kober art old friendsThe painting above is by Art Kober. It is called “Old Friends.”

They say that if you want something done, ask a busy person. So they asked my wife, Sugar, to recruit artists for an art auction to raise money for a local volunteer fire department.

I am capable of doing one thing at a time. I can watch television at night and, if I push myself, maybe eat a snack while doing so. That is how I multitask. Sugar can watch TV as she works on her computer at the same time, contacting a network of artists to ask for their participation, posting images of the artwork on a website she created for the event, and advertising it via social media. It took dozens, maybe hundreds of hours, from March through August. Then, of course, she (we) spent two days at the event — one day setting up the framed pieces in the tent the day before the auction, and another day helping the auctioneer, welcoming the public, and chatting with the artists who attended. Many of the artists were from out of state, as far away as New York and Oregon, but a few from Colorado and Wyoming made the trip.

There were over eighty pieces hung in the tent. There was a live auction of about fifty and the rest were hanging all day for the silent auction. The sales amounted to $27,000.00.

I am proud of Sugar! It isn’t the first time, of course. I am kind of used to that feeling.

Check out

Plum Good Eatin’ Doggone It

Our friend Berni gave us a big pail of plums as well as a plum crumb cake dessert.

He has a plum tree in his yard.

We have a Yellow Labrador Retriever named Beau in our yard.

I have mentioned Beau in other blog posts. I also recently wrote about Beau’s indiscriminate dietary choices.

I know what you are thinking. You suspect that Beau ate that plum good plum dessert. He did not. Not yet anyway. That is because the dessert is safely in the refrigerator.

One might think, as did I, and as did my trophy wife Sugar, that a pail of fruit would not be targeted by a dog. Dogs are, after all, meat eaters, and in recent years, dog food eaters. They should not, in my opinion, and in Sugar’s opinion, be attracted to plums. But he was.

I first noticed on the kitchen floor what looked to be kibbles of dog food. I was wrong, as is often the case. If the small objects on the floor were pieces of dog food, the dogs would eat them. These objects were, I discovered when I picked them up, plum pits. Plum pits! Beau had eaten several plums and spit out the pits.

We can all agree that those who spit on the floor are guilty of very poor manners.

Still, he does exhibit very good taste, doggone it.

Point of No Return

girl with puppy
The young teen had her puppy on a leash at the summer festival. The puppy was being exposed to a crowd of people, strange smells, and loud sounds, including music. I guessed that she was socializing the puppy. She kept reassuring him and he stayed calm, trusting her apparently.

It was a German Shepherd, about 12 weeks old, she told me. The puppy did not pull on its leash, even at that young age. It was sitting right by its owner’s leg, alertly taking it all in.

A dog lover myself, I complimented her well-behaved pet. I told her it was a good-looking dog and seemed very intelligent. Thinking of a stereotype for the breed, I even asked whether she was training it to be a guide dog.

“Not exactly,” she said. “This puppy is blind. I suppose you could say that I am guiding him.”

“Oh my,” I exclaimed. “That was kind of you to take on a blind puppy.”

“Well, I did not really mean to do that. We bought the dog from a breeder, and later learned, from our vet, that he is blind. Something seemed wrong. When we told the breeder the puppy she sold us was ‘defective,’ she offered us the opportunity to return it and get a different puppy from her next litter. But, of course, we were too attached by then and decided to keep Buddy.”

She hugged him. Buddy smiled.

“You are a good boy, aren’t you, Buddy?”

He is. And his owner is a good girl. They make a good pair. Bless their hearts!

I believe that God knew who this puppy needed and who this young woman needed. He was the matchmaker and God does not make mistakes.

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