Shootin' the Breeze

and random targets

Archive for the tag “cross creek ranch”

Springtime in the Rockies

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Two days ago, when I left for work at 6 a.m., it was snowing.  Two hours later, my wife reported that we lost our electricity.  When we lose electricity at the ranch, we also have no water because we have a well and the pump requires electricity.  Of course, we were not the only folks experiencing an outage.  It was widespread.  Because it is late May, and we had 80 degree weather a few days ago, the snow was wet and heavy, and the wet snow broke many tree branches and, apparently, power lines and even poles.

We have a backup generator.  Unfortunately, it requires gasoline and pulling a cord to start it.  Miss Sugar tried to start the generator but was unsuccessful.  So, she wisely left before the snow got worse.  She was smart to do that because shortly afterwards the highway was closed behind her.

Sugar booked a bed and breakfast in town, where we stayed the past two nights.  This morning we came home.  The highway was open, our road was plowed, so we made it back okay.  Our own unplowed lane was tough to navigate, but we made it to the house.

We called some friends who live a couple miles away.  The have been snowed in since Thursday.  They  endured the loss of electricity.  They had groceries.

We now have electricity.  The pasture will be green from all the moisture.   I shoveled off the steps and hot tub.  No one feels sorry for someone with a hot tub.

Life is good.

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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.

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

 

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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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

A Baby Left On The Doorstep

Yesterday, we were fixin’ to leave the ranch to go to town when we heard a knock on the door, which is unusual because we have a locked gate and a sign that says, “Patrolled by shotgun three days a week.  Guess which days.”

Anyway, this brave soul had parked his vehicle outside the closed gate and climbed through to walk up the lane.  I opened the front door and he said that he had a calf in his car and was looking for the owner.  He said it was caught in barbed wire close to the highway.  He saw afterbirth, but no mother cow around.  So, he scooped it up.  All the fight was out of it, he said.

I told him it was not ours but I thought I knew to whom it belonged and opened the gate remotely by the magic of electronics so he could drive to the barn.  It was in the back seat of his Jeep Cherokee.  We put it in a stall.  It was big for a newborn, probably 100 pounds, but it still had the umbilical cord so I reckon he was right about its time of birth.  It is a Hereford.  Those have cute white faces and red bodies.  My wife, Sugar, immediately wanted it as her own.  Her mothering instincts kicked in.

hereford calf

We went into action.  We drove to a farm and ranch store twenty miles away.    We bought colostrum, which orphaned calves need within the first few hours of birth, and milk replacer for on-going nutrition.  We hurried back.  Sugar got started with bottle-feeding the baby.  I called Zach, the ranch manager for the big (16,000 acres) ranch bordering us.  He had been looking for the calf.  Zach said it was born around 6 a.m.  He said the mother somehow got across the highway and then couldn’t figure out how to get back.   Zach said she lost her baby last year too and that it died.  Surprise!  (My next call should have been to Social Services to report her unfitness and neglect.)

Zach said the calf was born right by the highway fence.  He had the problem with the mother leaving and then when he came back to the calf, it was gone, taken by the Good Samaritan in the interim.

Zach and his five-year-old daughter came over with a stock trailer.  The calf stood up on shaky legs and even stepped up into the trailer with little help.  Since it has a mother, such as she is, the milk replacer is unnecessary.  So was the colostrum.

Miss Sugar misses the calf.  She was hoping she could keep it.  I reminded her that at 3:00 a.m. she will be glad the calf is with his mother.  For the first couple days newborn calves need to be fed every two hours, then tapering to three times a day for the duration until weaning.  Sugar might have even expected me to take a couple shifts.  We were spared.  So was the calf, provided his mother can handle the job.

P.S.  Zach told me the next day that the mother and calf have hooked up.  He is now nursing.  That is preferable to bottle feeding every two hours.

bottle calf

Another calf another time.

Showdown at the Cross Creek Corral

Stump Kitty

Yesterday, I wrote a post called “Pussy Cats” about a strange cat intruding into our barn.  For those of you loyal readers who have been waiting with bated breath concerning the effect on our resident barn cats, you are free to unbate your respective breaths, for I will now tell you a harrowing story of bravery and redemption.

Those readers who missed Episode One need to catch up.  I will help you.

Previously on Shootin’ the Breeze:  A large yellow cat visited the barn.  It was in the stall where we feed our barn cats and provide a warm bed, heated by an electric blanket.  The yellow visitor was growling inside the stall.  Our resident cats, Camo and Jigsy, were thwarted from entering because entering required going under the stall door, a dangerous route making them vulnerable to ambush.  So they skedaddled up to the house to tattle to Miss Sugar.

After personal investigation, I reported on the situation to Miss Sugar, and was summarily sent back to the barn to protect our precious pussies.  By then, the yellow cat was out of the stall, sitting on the stack of hay bales, still making noise.  It was not still growling, as our pussy cats were no longer there.  It was meowing in a whiny manner.

I petted it while wearing gloves.  I planned to pick it up to put it in a pet carrier and remove it.  When I changed my motion from petting it to reaching under it to pick it up, it tried to bite me.  Actually, it did bite me, but the teeth did not penetrate the leather glove.  Still, I felt a pinch and checked to see if skin was broken.  It was not.  I do not want rabies shots.  I’m not drooling too bad yet.

The cat climbed to the top of the stack.  I did not follow.  I let it be.  I warned it, “This ain’t over yet.  I shall return.  And you better not be here when I do unless you want more trouble than you can handle.”  It listened to what I said.  “Don’t make me tell you again,” I added.  “Around these parts, folks call me King of the Wild Frontier.”  That gave him something to think about.

I returned to the house and found Sugar leafing through my life insurance policy.  She told me that being attacked by a rabid cat might qualify for double indemnity, you know, as an accidental death.  She was reading the fine print, making plans.

In the morning, when I did the chores, fighting through the fever and hallucinations, I could not find the yellow cat.  I like to think that my loyal buddies, Camo and Jigsy, drove away the yellow cat, probably as revenge for its attack on me.  They might have laid down the law — saying perhaps, “This barn ain’t big enough for the three of us.  Git off of this ranch or else.”  And the yeller coward left.  (Or it might have left due to the stern talking to it received  from King of the Wild Frontier).

I think I will be all right.  My damaged finger did not swell up.  Sugar put the insurance policy back in the drawer.  She should have known that I’m too tough for some wild beast to take down.  Maybe our barn cats are not pussies either.

Kitty in snow

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

gardentop

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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