Shootin' the Breeze

and random targets

Archive for the tag “King of the Wild Frontier”

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

Davy Crockett Quote on Big Government

Davy Crockett

Remember that a government big enough to give you everything you want is also big enough to take away everything you have.”

Davy Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier and United States Congressman from Tennessee

Home on the Range

Here is a riddle.  What is both old and new?  What was built in the 1800s and by me?

The answer is that our home, which was old, became “new” through an unusual process and sequence of events.

 President Abraham Lincoln signed the Homestead Act, which allowed settlers to claim 160 acres of land and eventually own it after meeting the requirements of the law by staying on the land a requisite number of years. 

Pursuant to the Homestead Act, a log cabin was built on an original homestead in the area of what is now Estes Park, Colorado.  Later the homesteaders built a larger log house.  I did not build the cabin or the house, nor did I claim the homestead.  Someone else did all that before I was born. 

What I did was rescue those buildings when a developer purchased the last eight acres of what had been a 160 acre homestead.  Over the years, the homestead was cut up into parcels that became valuable parts of the Village of Estes Park.  The last eight acres were across from a golf course and up the street from the high school and the fairgrounds.  It became a desirable spot for building condos across from the golf course, or so the developer thought.

The Village of Estes Park interfered with his plans when the board refused to approve a demolition permit for the log structures on the old homestead site, which was probably unconstitutional since the homestead had not been designated an historic landmark.  The developer offered to donate the buildings to the town if it would move them off his land.  “Put them in a park if you like them so much,” he told the board.

Around that time, I came along.  As self-proclaimed King of the Wild Frontier, I offered to move the buildings to my land, which is in the same county as Estes Park, on the condition  that the Larimer County building inspectors would look at the buildings as they stood in Estes and pre-approve me for moving them to our ranch.  I knew we needed a new foundation and new plumbing and electric and new roof and new windows, and I knew we could not move the 30 foot high stone fireplace and chimney, but I wanted the structure of the logs approved.  I did not want to be told after moving them that the beams were not engineered correctly or according to current codes.

Well, the building inspectors did approve my proposal and the developer was glad to get me to do the removal, which turned out to be a complicated project.   That is when I became a contractor. 

I took a friend of mine to see the buildings before I made the deal, to ask if he thought it was worth doing.   He had moved a cabin out of the mountains himself, which he used as the core of a house he built.  An old cowboy, Ray offered, “Me and Brian could move them for you.”

Brian had just graduated from high school.  A rodeo bullrider, he was a big help as an acrobat tearing down the steeply peaked roof.  Ray and Brian and another guy lived in the original cabin while they took apart the larger one log by log.  I rented a crane for the job.  They numbered the logs. for each wall in order to put the walls back together in the same order.  It took from November 1992 until February 1993 to take it apart and get it off the Estes property. 

The small cabin was not disassembled.  It was jacked up and moved intact, then placed on a new foundation.  The big house was moved by log trucks.  It was too wide and tall and heavy to be moved in one piece.

Then the fun began of putting them back together.  I will write about the rest of the process in serial style.

DEADLY DANGERS AT CROSS CREEK RANCH

              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 we had a good old time.  Now we four was going to have a different kind of party.

            The womenfolk tried to help, but they was just gals.  Bob and me would have to “do the heavy liftin” as far as taking care of the situation.  The way I looked at it was, we’d done it before so there was no need to think we couldn’t handle this situation just like we done other times.  As you can tell, I don’t scare easy.

             So what are you’all thinking we was facin’?  The people surrounding us had been invited to our annual John Wayne party, this one to celebrate the 105th anniversary of his birth.

              We had a band.  Karen aka Sugar had been preparing food for weeks, baking and freezing a score of pies and all.  She done what she could, but of course I was  the one who set up the folding tables and chairs.  I unloaded the keg.  I dished out the barbequed pork.  Karen only made a dozen or so sidedishes and her special Texas  barbeque sauce.  I appreciated that minor assistance.  Like I said, she done what she could. 

             Texas Bob manned the cantina bar, like the experienced barkeep he is.  He served beer, margaritas, sangria, sweet tea, and lemonade.  He was very popular.  But the meat was my department.   A feller ought not to delegate the biggest job.  That buck cain’t be passed if Big Bronc wants to keep his title of King of the Wild Frontier, assumed by him after the untimely passing of Davey Crockett.

            Anyways, I expect none would argue when I tell ya’all that a good time was had by all.  No brag.  Just fact.

            After the crowd thinned out, Bob and me loaded the chairs and tables into my Ford F250 Supercab shortbox pickup truck.  We picked up the garbage bags too while the little ladies messed around in the kitchen on account of they ain’t no dang good at loading pickups. 

            Sugar and Ginger got along like peas and carrots.  Some say Ginger made her way out West by way of Jugtown Mountain, New Jersey.  If that ain’t true, it should be.  It is well known that Texas Bob is Miss Sugar’s Daddy.  The DNA results proved that.  As for that Ginger woman, the rumors are that she might be Sugar’s biological mother.   Regardless of whether the rumors are true, Sugar treated Ginger just like kin.

            You might be wondering why this tale is called Deadly Dangers at Cross Creek Ranch.  I’m fixin to tell you why or I’ll be a blue-nosed gopher. 

             Recall what I said awhile back about Miss Sugar making a bunch of side dishes.  Well, one of them was something called Three Bean Salad.  (This writing technique is called foreshadowing.)

            I reckon I might not have done a proper job of securing those garbage bags.  A couple days later, Max, our ten year old yellow lab, seemed bloated and was having trouble breathing.  We speculated that he might have been bitten by a rattlesnake.  (See also Sharpshooter blog.)  We took him to a veterinary emergency room where x rays showed that it was not a bite by a snake, but rather, lots of bites by Max as he consumed “leftovers.” 

           He had surgery.  The doctor told us that she recovered from his stomach a couple pounds of deadly Three Bean Salad. 

            As a result, I’m betting that our next party menu will not include Three Bean Salad.

           

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