Shootin' the Breeze

and random targets

Archive for the category “adventure”

Beau Gets a Friend

ballbully

Duke is not a puppy.  He is a six year old German Shorthair Pointer.  Miss Sugar, my kind-hearted wife, saw on Craigslist that Duke needed a new home.  (I do not understand why she was looking at pet ads on Craigslist.)  As an historical note, we previously were owned by another German Shorthair Pointer, Rover, who was a wonderful dog.  Rover and Max, pictured above, got along well.  Sadly, both have passed on.

German Shorthair Pointers like to run.  They probably need to run.  The family that posted the ad had decided that their living situation was not meeting Duke’s needs for lots of room to run.  We have lots of room to run so Sugar said we would take him.  That happened yesterday.

Duke adjusted well to our family and home immediately.  We introduced him to Beau and Sadie, Yellow Labs, and the horses, and even a cat.

We took all the dogs for a long walk in the pasture, with Duke on a leash, to show him the place.  We took a chance letting him off the leash, hoping he would stay by the other dogs, and he did stay by them, sort of.  He runs circles around the rest of us.  Literally.  He runs in big circles.  But he came back.  That was yesterday.

Today, we took the crowd out for another “walk.”  Even the cat came.  Beau spotted some Pronghorns (antelope) and Duke was glad.  They chased the fastest land animals in North America.  Beau gave up after awhile.  Duke did not.  The Pronghorns and Duke all disappeared from sight.  Sugar and I worried that we had made a mistake letting Duke off the leash.

To our relief, he eventually returned.  Sugar met him with joy.  The prodigal son returned.

In the house, Duke is a gentleman.  He has accepted us.  And we have accepted him.

Beau seems glad to have another buddy.  They are both “sporting dogs.”  So they have that in common.  They are supposed to be bird dogs, of course.  That is what the antelopes would like them to be.  The rabbits in the vicinity also feel strongly in favor of these dogs sticking with retrieving birds.

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Pecos Bill and Me

There are tall tales about Pecos Bill, a famous Texan, like my own trophy wife, Miss Sugar.  This here is a true tale about what I done, just like old Bill.  I done it at the urging of Miss Sugar.  I’d do anything for that gal.

The reason I am writing this now is that a good friend of mine called me to say he enjoyed reading Sharpshooter, which is a true story as well.  His only question was why I used any tool to kill that rattler I wrote about.  He asked that because, growing up with me and all, he is very aware of how quick I am.  So is Miss Sugar.  That got me thinking about what I done a few years back without no shovel, nor gun either.

If y’all have read some of my previous posts, you know that Miss Sugar and I live in a log cabin in Colorado.  Miss Sugar loves birds.  She feeds ’em and takes pictures of ’em.  Well, one time some birds built a nest on a light fixture above our front door.  It was pretty smart of them bird brains cuz that light is beneath our porch roof out of the rain.  Miss Sugar occasionally checked on the eggs in the nest and, after they hatched, she would hold a mirror above the nest so she could look at the baby birds per the photo above.

Well, one fine day as she checked on the bird nest, she saw something that bothered her a mite.  What she seen was a mean old snake climbing on the logs aiming toward them baby birds.  So, since I’m her hero and all, as reported in previous posts, she decided to casually mention to me that it appeared a snake was fixin to bother her favorite birds.

I caught her subtle drift.  As always, I come a runnin’.  What she had carefully described in colorful language was indeed true.  A damned snake was slithering up the house to the nest.  I did not have time to get a gun or tool.  My favorite gal was upset.  So I did what any fearless hero would do.  I grabbed that snake by the tail, swung it around and around with centrifugal force so it  could not bend back and bite me.  I knew what to do because I had read about Pecos Bill doing the same thing.

After a few swings around my head, Miss Sugar suggested that I quit showing off and let go.  Which I done.  I let go with an appropriate wrist motion, sending that snake off the porch a ways, where it landed on the ground.  I went down the porch steps to finish the job.  Miss Sugar confidently assured me that it was a bullsnake, not a rattlesnake.  They have similar patterns.  She called her brother Mike because he knows about stuff like that.  He agreed that it was surely a bullsnake.

Now there is a difference or two.  One is that bullsnakes do not have rattles.  Another is that they are not poisonous.

So I went over to the bullsnake.  Apparently, it held a grudge.  It coiled up, imitating a rattler.  It was so good at imitating that I imagined I could hear rattles.   It opened its mouth and flicked out its forked tongue in a threatening manner, revealing its fangs that Mike and Sugar knew were not poisonous.  Silly me.  I felt like a big old chicken.

If I was as brave as Pecos Bill, I’d of picked it up again, just for fun.  But since I already had saved the birds, I kilt it with that sharpshooter shovel I wrote about in my blog called Sharpshooter.

I cut the rattles off the bullsnake because everyone knows bullsnakes don’t have rattles.   This one had not gotten the memo.  At least it wasn’t poisonous.  That could have been dangerous.

What Pecos Bill did was very dangerous.  What I done was similar, but, like Mike told Sugar, was perfectly safe.   Those rattles almost fooled me.

Sharpshooter

This is a re-blog of a story that fits the subject matter of Deadly Dangers at Cross Creek Ranch, yesterday’s post.

Shootin' the Breeze

My trophy wife, Sugar, was outside with the dogs while I watched Chisum.  As it turned out, viewing the John Wayne movie was a good way to prepare for my imminent deadly showdown.

I heard my wife’s alarming scream.  Then she called out to me, “Al, come out here.  Hurry!”  I moseyed up from the couch, ever obedient, ever vigilent.

I still did not know what she was frightened about.  (Girls can be overly dramatic and mysterious).  I empathetically inquired about what was troubling her.  Her response was not responsive to my question.  She uncalmly commanded, “Get a gun.”  Well, that was the main idea.  She was much more eloquent.

As an aside, in order to give some background to the scenario, I want you, gentle readers, to be informed that Sugar grew up in Texas.  Also, she is of Italian extraction.  You may combine your prejudiced stereotypes as you imagine  her emotional communication.

Further, Sugar’s…

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DEADLY DANGERS AT CROSS CREEK RANCH

Beau’s trip to E.R., described in my prior post, reminded me of another Yellow Lab’s experience at a summer party.

Shootin' the Breeze

              It was high noon.  Miss Sugar, my trophy wife, was fussing in the kitchen when she hollered, “Big Bronc, they’re coming!  Lots of ‘em.  You better be ready.  I’m gittin plumb nervous.”

           Soon they commenced to coming up our lane to the ranch house.  Dozens of folks arrived in waves.  We was surrounded.  

            Me and Texas Bob took our stations, him by the cantina, me peeking out from inside the house.  We was ready, providin’ there warn’t too many of ‘em.  I lost count at 65.  That seemed about right for me and the little woman and Texas Bob.

            Also, Texas Bob had brung a woman with him, as was his way.  She was a spunky redhead, a fancy dresser, name of Ginger.  I’d seen her before.  Once down in Fort Worth Stockyards, at the Cattlemen’s Club, Bob and Ginger was there with me and Sugar and…

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Beau Visits E.R.

Beau hat

The meeting was scheduled for 1:30 p.m. at a location in another city about forty miles from our home.  I wanted to leave in plenty of time, so I let the dogs out around noon so they would have a restroom break before being left in the house for a few hours.

As it turned out, the restroom break was not what I expected for the usually exuberant Beau laid down on the porch and would not go down the steps.  When I urged him down the steps, he laid at the bottom and whined.  I got him to go another ten feet into the yard and he laid down again and whined again.  I had to decide what to do.

I decided to put Sadie, who seemed fine, back in the house and Beau into my car.  I drove away with him and wondered if I could make the meeting on time if I took him first to the veterinarian on the way.  I decided that he is more important than this important meeting with the C.E.O. of a new hospital, but maybe I could still make the meeting.  I called the vet clinic, arranged to drop Beau off on my way, and did so.  Of course, I could not merely drop him off.  We had some paperwork to take care of.  They weighed Beau.  He weighs 90 lbs.  Then he laid on the floor in passive resistance mode.  We coaxed him into an exam room. Still it went pretty fast and I got away in time to make the 1:30 meeting with the C.E.O.

I called my wife and told her Beau was at the vet’s.  Sugar called to see how he was doing.  She authorized x-rays in order to determine the reason for his gastric distress.  We both went to get him at 5:00 p.m.  Thankfully, he seemed to be feeling better.  The x-rays did not reveal any tumors or even pantyhose or 3 lbs of three bean salad, which have been discovered in other Yellow Labs we know, but I digress.  See https://cowboylawyer.wordpress.com/2012/06/04/deadly-dangers-at-cross-creek-ranch/.

Without  going into a complicated medical explanation, I will simply report that Beau seems better after the treatment by which he was treated.

The veterinarian included in the diagnosis that Beau is a funny character.  (We knew that already).  We were told that he would not walk on what he had determined to be “the carpet of death.”  I do not fully understand, but apparently Beau refused to walk on a certain carpet and they could not make him do so, being 90 lbs of dead weight when he passively resists, like protesters of yesteryear.  See also, https://cowboylawyer.wordpress.com/2016/02/19/a-canine-follower-of-gandhi-2/.

Sadie was glad to see us all come home.  All is well that ends well.

Making Rounds

Some professionals with important responsibilities “make rounds.”  Physicians make hospital rounds.  Security guards make rounds.  Military personnel go on patrol.  Beau and his assistant, Camo the cat, make their daily rounds by patrolling around our ranch.  It kind of ticks me off.  I will explain.

Beau is a Yellow Labrador Retriever.  God designed him to, well, retrieve.  God invented other breeds to patrol.  For example, Great Pyrenees dogs patrol the perimeter.  We used to have a half Pyrenees/ half Australian Shepherd who could both herd and patrol.  Beau has refused to accept his designated role in life.  So has Camo.

Each morning at first light, Beau and Sadie wake us up by shaking their collars.  They do not bark.  They do not scratch at the door.  They shake their collars and have trained me  to respond by letting them out.

Sugar, my sleepy wife, has trained me to get out of bed and attend to the needs of the dogs.  I let them out the front door and, as they go around the house to the back door,  I prepare their breakfast.  I feed them on the deck.  So far so good.

However, after breakfast, Beau and Sadie leave the deck to do what nature calls them to do.  I stand in the kitchen watching through the windows.  I watch Sadie come back and let her in.  I watch Beau, joined by Camo, go on patrol.

That would be cute if we had a regular yard.  Their patrol  takes a long time and involves crossing a bridge, disappearing in the woods, checking out the barn, and sometimes going out on the road before coming back up the lane to the house.

The tour takes about 20 minutes, during which time I look out windows on each side of the house, sometimes losing sight of the pair.  All the while, Sugar is in bed.  All the while, I am eager to return to bed.  All the while, Beau and Camo take their sweet time.

I suppose I could do a few hundred push-ups while waiting, but then they would be out of my line of sight.  Being the sentinel is as important as being on patrol.

Snowed In

beausnowrun

We woke to snow and it kept coming all day.  What do we care?

We have wood to  burn.  I think there is plenty of propane in the tank.  We paid the electric bill.  And have a generator too.  We have hay in the barn.  We have groceries, including dog food and cat food.  If we brush off the satellite dishes, we have internet and TV.

I still have to go outside.  The horses rely on me to throw them hay and fill the heated stock tank with water.  They appreciate my care.  We have relationships.  They have independent personalities.  On the other hand, the barn cats, who also have personalities, are less appreciative.  Rather, they believe that they are entitled.  They scold me when they should be worshiping me.  I doubt many barn cats have a covered bed heated by an electric blanket.

A snow plow went up our country road.  We could get to the highway if there were not drifts on the lane.  But we don’t need to go to town.  I got a call that the Rural Land Use Advisory Board meeting was cancelled.

I shoveled off the deck three times but it does not appear that mattered.  It is deep with snow again.  An avalanche slid off the steep metal roof.

Sugar made soup and grilled cheese sandwiches for lunch and we had leftover ziti and Italian green beans for supper.

Being snowed is kinda fun.  Especially with Miss Sugar.

Miss Sugar’s Kangaroo

kangaroo

Miss Sugar loves animals.  Well, many species of animals.  Some, not so much.  Rodents are not on her list of beloved animals.  I know what you are wondering, Gentle Readers.  You are asking, “What about kangaroos?”

It is interesting that you should ask that very question.  I know the answer.  Sugar once tried to love a kangaroo, but it did not work out.  I shall explain.  Pay attention.  What I am about to say might prove to be of considerable value to you in your future dealings with kangaroos.

Sugar saw an advertisement for a feed store that was selling baby kangaroos.  I have been to many feed stores.  I have never seen kangaroos at any of them.  Sugar and daughter Michelle went to see the kangaroos.  Michelle wanted one.  They were selling for only $600  each.  There were four to choose from.  Those of you familiar with the market for kangaroos know whether $600 is a good deal.  T his was Sugar’s first shopping trip for a kangaroo.  Michelle’s too.

At the feed store, Sugar, who has a way with animals, used her charm on one of the kangaroos.  She usually makes animals feel comfortable.  When I say animals, I am referring to dogs, cats, horses, and even cows.  Surprisingly, Sugar’s technique did not charm this particular kangaroo.

It grabbed her with its front claws, stabbing Sugar’s biceps.  As it held Sugar, preventing escape, the cute baby kangaroo kicked Sugar in the stomach with its powerful hind legs.  Sugar fell backwards.  Her arms were bleeding.  Everyone in the feed store laughed as Sugar jumped up, saying, “That thing attacked me.”

And that is how Sugar saved $600 and that is why we don’t have a kangaroo.

I’m okay with it.

Kick-boxing Kangaroos

Our Signature Rock

Signature Rock

There are many “signature rocks” on many trails.  They are places that pioneers and later passers-by could carve their names into soft sandstone.  Near our house, a part of the Overland Trail has a Signature Rock.  We often take ranch guests up there.  Today, Sugar and I went there with the dogs.  Here are some photos so that you might feel you have vicariously traveled this portion of the Overland Trail.  Note the ruts from 140 years ago.  She even took a picture of our house as viewed from Signature Rock.  The final photo is of another landmark on the Overland Trail — Steamboat Rock.

Cross Creek Ranch from Signature Rock

sinature rock on overland trail

initials on rock Roberts sig

more signaturesoverland remnantsoverland trail rutssteamboat rock

Miss Sugar Visits The Line Shack

lineshacklonely

In many of my previous posts, I have alluded to the fact that Miss Sugar, my hot trophy wife, is a feminine female.  She has another side.  (When I say another side, I am not referring to Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner’s two sides.)  I am saying that Sugar is sort of a Tom-boy in that she is fun to hang out with and do stuff that two middle school boys would enjoy.  Tonight we had a little adventure.  It was an adventure which many women might not have considered fun, or so Sugar tells me.  She suggested that not all women would have fun hiking past two dead cows to get to an old line shack far from civilization.  Do you think she is pulling my leg?  I invite comments from my readership on this question about what women like because I thought I am an expert on the subject until Sugar shook my confidence.  So, dear readers, even if other women would not have enjoyed this adventure, at least Miss Sugar did.  Or so she told me.

Now I will describe the adventure.  But first I will describe the setting.

We live only about twenty miles from the metropolis of Fort Collins, Colorado, rich in Old West lore.  Our little ranch is adjacent to a 16,000 acre ranch that goes back 143 years, still in the same family.  We are the last place on the road we live on, which means we had to put in several power poles to bring electricity to where it had not previously extended.  Prior to building our house, only buffalo, pronghorns, deer, elk and, later, cows occupied the land.  Beyond us is open range, which means there are no fences.  Cattle cross the road when and where they please.  Drivers must beware.  Cattle and wildlife have the right-of-way.  The Overland Trail passes through the historic ranch as well.

James Michener’s book, Centennial, describes the area and when the TV mini-series based on the book was filmed, many scenes were on the ranch.  (Remember, no electric poles and lines spoil the view).  My friend Rodney was an extra in the series, cast as an Indian riding a horse.  This was an area which was indeed Indian hunting grounds.  There are teepee rings near our home.  Teepee rings are in clusters, indicating a portable village was in the area where the buffalo truly roamed. The grass in our pasture is a species known as buffalo grass.  There is a buffalo jump on the ranch.  The Indians would run a herd off a cliff and butcher them at the bottom.  The ASPCA would not endorse this technique.

Cattle replaced the buffalo.  The ranches were so huge that the cowboys charged with taking care of the herd could not easily go to town, or even to the main ranch.  So little cabins known as line shacks would be roughly built for the cowboys who had to stay with the herd in winter months, sometimes snowed in.

A few miles from our house, on the open range, we came across an old log cabin with only one window in each of two walls and no windows on the other two walls.  It appears to be an old line shack.  It fits the need of providing shelter in a very remote pasture close to a stream of water and protected from the west wind by a hill.  It is far from any grocery store.

Of course, we could not drive up to it because it is off the county road.  We had to hike.

On our hike we passed two dead cows.  All that is left is hide and bones.  And the putrid smell of death.  I think the coyotes did their job as scavengers.  Miss Sugar held her nose and hiked on.  She brought her camera.  She looked inside the shack and inside the barn.  Here is a photo she took.

line shack

So, if you are looking for ideas for a Saturday date night, take your date to an old line shack rather than dinner and a movie.

lineshackal

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