Shootin' the Breeze

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Archive for the tag “colorado”

Miss Sugar Visits The Line Shack


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.


Old Yeller, New Yeller

This is about when we first got Beau from the shelter, as a companion for Sadie, who was grieving. Here ends the Beau marathon, at the beginning.

Shootin' the Breeze

All Americans of a certain age, as well as others around the world, cried when watching the Disney movie, Old Yeller.  For those of you above that certain age, you will recall that after Old Yeller’s sad, sad, sad demise, a neighbor girl brought over a yellow puppy, apparently sired by Old Yeller, but her well-intended gift was initially rebuffed by the boy mourning the loss of his Old Yeller, who was, as the movie theme song stated, “Best doggone dog in the West.”


I know the feeling.  When our Old Yeller, named Max, died, I was not ready to try to replace him.  It somehow seemed disloyal.  Nevertheless, out of concern for Sadie, as described in
we adopted another yellow dog from the Cheyenne Animal Shelter for lonely Sadie to have company.  His name is Beau.

Beau Tie

Unlike Old Yeller and Max, Beau is not yet worthy of the…

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Beau Helps Garden

It is too early to garden, but this post fits in the Beau marathon as a supplement to other stories involving water and hoses.

Shootin' the Breeze


Here in the high country, we have a short growing season.  In her valiant attempts to have a garden nevertheless, my wife also has to contend with wildlife helping themselves to various delicious plants.  In particular, rabbits eat vegetables and flowers.  Consequently, Miss Sugar has a box, pictured above, to protect her modest garden by raising it above rabbit level.

Sugar’s parents, Bob and Ginger, while visiting from Texas this past week, helped plant some tomatoes, squash, and strawberries.  They are experienced and helpful.  Beau is not experienced in gardening.  Neither is he helpful.

garden dogs

Sadie, our other Yellow Lab,  is not particularly helpful, but, unlike Beau, she does not harm the project.

Beau decided that Bob was being selfish with the hose.  That is one thing with which Beau will not put up.  He wanted a turn with the hose.  He grabbed it.  Bob did not share.  A tug of…

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Jail Bird Dog

More Beau stories — the marathon continues. One loyal reader has accepted the position of President of the Beau Fan Club. Bless her heart! She might resign when she learns of his criminal past.

Shootin' the Breeze

Retrievers are considered bird dogs because they are bred, and should be trained to (guess what!) retrieve birds.  They get the birds that hunters shoot, often swimming out to get the birds that fall into a pond or lake.  That is their purpose, when given the opportunity.


But who hunts every day?  So, during their days off, Retrievers look for other tasks for which they are fitted.  Often they fetch balls, sticks, or frisbees.  All such activities are appropriate and can be very fun for dog and owner alike.

Beau is a Yellow Labrador Retriever.  As I have written in other blogs, he is a water dog.  He can swim.  He can also pull on hoses and plumbing devices in order to free water that is being otherwise directed for human purposes.

Since getting him from the animal shelter, we have wondered about Beau’s life story.  We have…

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Cowdog! — or not

More Beau stories re-visited. This post is about another activity he tried.

Shootin' the Breeze

cattlein hayfield

Here in the ranch country of northern Colorado, many ranchers find canine helpers to be useful when working with livestock.  There are dog breeds that are genetically talented and, when individual dogs are properly trained, they can be very helpful.  Such dogs keep the herd moving or herded up.  They often nip at the heels of livestock being loaded in trailers even.  Very impressive.


Among the breeds used as cowdogs and sheepdogs are Australian Cattledogs, Blue and Red Heelers, and Border Collies.  Yellow Labrador Retrievers are not usually included in that list of working breeds.  Labs are considered sporting dogs, hunting dogs, and bird dogs.  They are not working dogs.  They are playing dogs.

Beau is a Yellow Lab.  He is a swimming dog and, indeed, a bird dog.  He is also good at retrieving.  For fun.  He only does things that are fun for him.

Retrieving is not the…

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Beau Helps Sugar

The Beau marathon continues. Here is another life lesson that Beau taught my wife, Sugar. I offer it so that you may avoid the problem she encountered.

Shootin' the Breeze

I regret that I cannot publish this as a photo-journalist.  Unfortunately, I was not present during the events described hereinafter involving my wife, Sugar, and dog, Beau.  This is what we scientists and anthropological researchers call an anecdotal narrative.

It is really Sugar’s anecdote, which she described for me as I listened with grave empathy.  I am writing this narrative about her experience in order to help mankind and add to the knowledge of the world for this and future generations.  Many cultures pass down stories as a way to keep an historical perspective.  That is my noble purpose.  My intent in sharing what happened to Sugar is in no way intended to embarrass her;  rather, it is for the greater good of civilization.

So Sugar was preparing our RV for a trip (while I was in town practicing law) and one of her self-appointed tasks was to stick a…

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Oops, Beau Did It Again

Continuing the Beau marathon, today I am reblogging a post about a theft from FedEx. Yesterday’s post was about a similar target — UPS. Both really should use armored vehicles when coming to our ranch. Oh, and they better bring enough guys, such as a guard to go along withe the driver/deliveryman. Maybe more….

Shootin' the Breeze

A while back, I wrote about Beau and the UPS Driver.

Today, FedEx delivered something to our ranch.  Second verse same as first.

While the delivery driver was on our porch handing my wife the package, Beau was in the truck eating the driver’s lunch.  When are these drivers going to learn to shut their doors when they visit us?

The photo below shows Beau in the truck and his accomplice, Sadie, outside the truck as a distraction I suppose.  (You can enlarge the photo by double-clicking it.)


The stolen lunch might have been Beau’s way of helping the driver lose weight. If you are having trouble losing weight, come to Cross Creek Ranch and we can arrange for Beau to eat your lunch every day.

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I have decided to present a “marathon” of Beau stories for the next several days since many readers seem interested in his personality disorders and there are some new followers who did not read these posts when initially published. I hope they bring some smiles, even to those who have read them before.

Shootin' the Breeze


I write so much about Beau, a trouble-making yeller dog, that I have been accused of making stuff up about him for entertainment purposes.

I deny making up anything that I have written about him.  I have not exaggerated anything that I have written about him.  I have not written about even a portion of the mischief he has caused.  I am not creative enough to make this stuff up.

This very day, within a matter of minutes, Beau committed several misdeeds, which I will describe as they are fresh in my feeble mind.

As I was working in my home office inside our house, Miss Sugar, my lovely yet hard-working spouse, was working within earshot of my office window, vacuuming out the Ford F250 Superduty Supercab pickup.  She was vacuuming dog hair from the truck’s upholstery.  She said she was sick of getting dog hair all over her clothing. …

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Spoiled Cats

cats on hike

Miss Sugar goes overboard in every endeavor.  Most recently, she provided to our barn cats what no other barn cat in the history of the world has ever possessed — a heated blanket in a box, which is elevated on a platform, which is accessed by a ramp, which is in a stall in the barn, and because it is in a stall, requires an extension cord from the electric blanket in the stall to a GFI plug twenty feet away.  Also on the platform, which prevents trespassing by dogs, who cannot go up the narrow ramp, nor under the stall door, there are food bowls, in which she puts formerly dry food which has warm water added to make it more appealing.

Sometimes I feed the cats.  Unlike Sugar, I put some dog food in their bowls.  No, I do not bring warm water from the house to the barn.  So call the Humane Society.  They will give Sugar an award and me a citation which I will vigorously defend by calling as defense witnesses several neighboring ranchers who will describe that I am complying with the standard of care for barn cats.

Bed and Breakfast and more

“It’s always somethun.” Roseanne Rosannadana (SNL)

My wife is a multi-tasker. I, on the other hand, am satisfied to do one thing at a time, and that one thing is often a non-productive waste of time. For instance, I can watch TV in the same room as Sugar while she is making jewelry and planning a craft show and creating a website for the event.

For Labor Day weekend, Sugar recruited artists to submit their work for an art auction that benefited a local volunteer fire department. She contacted dozens of artists through her connections in the northern Colorado art community, but also got submissions from all over the country, including New York, Oregon, Texas, and Wyoming. She had images of the paintings on a website she created for the event. I helped too — I hung up pictures before the auction — one at a time. I think I hung over 100 framed art pieces. I was really something. You should have been there.

Now that the art auction is over, Sugar is organizing an Octobercraft event at the community center for later this month. She did it successfully last year. I helped too — checking in vendors, which was a very important task and suits me as I could only check in one at a time. You should have been there to witness my reading skills. I had a list and I not only had to read the vendors names, but also had to verbally communicate in order to tell them their respective booth numbers. Not just anybody could pull that off, but I did. There was even a lady whose name was not on the list but wanted into the show. That is where I drew the line. No last minute entries. I called the Sheriff when she wouldn’t move her car. She looked like a terrorist to me. One can’t be too careful. We don’t want strangers infiltrating our country craft shows.

So, you are wondering about the title of this post. I am getting to it. I entitled it B&B because in her spare time Sugar advertised our bunk house as a “bed and breakfast.” Actually, she is misrepresenting the situation. She is making dinner too, not merely breakfast. And, she will pack a lunch if guests want to go for a hike. We have a couple coming this weekend from Georgia for their first wedding anniversary. I hope they won’t mind having all meals included. You have likely noticed that Miss Sugar has a tendency to go overboard.

And, like at all bed and breakfast facilities, they can go on a horse ride, which is my department. Aren’t you impressed? What would Sugar do without me? For one thing, she would be hanging pictures by her lonesome.
B&B ride

Couple on first anniversary.  They say they want to return for their second anniversary.

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