Shootin' the Breeze

and random targets

Archive for the category “animal stories”

Equine Companionship

Walked out in the pasture

To clear my mind

To enjoy God’s outdoors

Walking alone through the grass

When I heard the hoof beats.

Two geldings ran up to me

Inquiring about my presence

And whether I needed friends.

I did need their acceptance

And their comfort.

They each sniffed my hands

And my hair, letting me pet them

Even hugging their necks.

It feels good to know they care.

One can have a relationship

With horses as well as dogs.

Another Bat Bites the Dust

antlers

Warning:  If you are a lover of bats, the following post contains disturbing material.

An erratic flight pattern by something crosses the TV screen in the dark room.  We know what it is.  We have had this experience many times before.

I turn on the lights in the room and we try to spot where the creature has landed.

My wife, Sugar, is my spotter.  She tells me to look at the third log from the top, right of the smoke detector.  I grab my trusty Red Ryder BB gun and take aim.  POW!

The winged creature drops to the floor.  The wings close around the body of the deceased.  It is a goner.  Another one bites the dust.

Not everyone shoots BB guns inside one’s home.  But I ain’t everyone.  I am a special marksman living in a log home with high ceilings.

We like bats flying around outside, presumably eating bugs.  But inside?  That’s where I draw the line.

Beau’s Hot Tub Etiquette

bunkhouse

We have a log bunkhouse on our ranch.  It was the original homestead cabin, but has been refurbished except for the logs themselves.  The roof, electrical, plumbing, and storm windows are all new.  It has a bathroom.  It has a sauna.  We advertise it on Air B&B.  Our guests seem to like it.  My wife, Sugar, goes overboard in the hospitality department.  She is a wonderful cook.  It is more than “bed and breakfast.”

This past weekend we had guests from another state.  They were recently married.  Both husband and wife are engineers.  Smart couple.  Supposedly.

For engineers, they failed to foresee obvious dangers.  They failed to account for our dog, Beau.  Big mistake!

Beau is, as loyal readers recall, a Yellow Labrador Retriever.  He retrieves items whether or not he has been requested to do so.  Hence the problem.

The young couple took advantage of the opportunity to relax in our hot tub located in the courtyard.  Beau took advantage of them.

They wore robes and sandals.  They carried towels.  Beau watched.

He watched more carefully than they did.  They placed their towels and robes over the cantina bar next to the hot tub.  They put their sandals on the step up into the hot tub.

Beau waited from them to get into the tub.  He waited for them to relax.  He waited for an opportune moment.  He caught them unaware.

Then he grabbed a robe and ran.  When the husband got out to fetch it from Beau, holding a towel around his waist, Beau circled back and grabbed the remaining towel, having left the robe 50 feet from the tub.  Faster than the man, Beau got a sandal before he got back.

Sugar looked out a window, observed the chaos, and intervened.  She retrieved the items for the couple.  They decided that they had relaxed enough and returned to the bunkhouse.

Beau had a wonderful time.  He hopes they come back to visit.  Fat chance.

Beaurunning

 

Internship

puppy

Sugar and I went on a little weekend trip to Vail. Ski season just ended. Many places in the village were closed but enough were open. Few people wandered the area. By the melted skating rink, a young couple was playing with their Golden Retriever puppy. They said it is 8 weeks old. It is as cute as any puppy you have ever seen.

There was an older dog, a Black Lab with a gray muzzle , who was also by the rink. He had a squeek toy that his owner was throwing. The Lab would fetch it gladly, then squeek it again so he’d get another turn. The puppy watched and tried to join in, but he was not fast enough. The older dog could even catch it in the air. The puppy did not have a chance.

Yet.

Now he has seen how it is done by an expert.  Wait until next year, after he has completed his internship.

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.

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…

View original post 812 more words

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…

View original post 585 more words

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.

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