Shootin' the Breeze

and random targets

Archive for the tag “Pecos Bill”

FIRE department WORKS on the 4th

On the 4th of July, the fire truck came up our lane, siren blaring and lights flashing.

I told them to go away.  I had not called them.  I had the situation under control.  How ungrateful!  I know.

I stood with my garden hose, controlling the burning pit.  So what if black smoke was billowing skyward?  That was just from the tires.

Apparently, some busybody saw the flames and black smoke from the highway a mile away and tattled.  Someone cared about us.  What do I care!

Getting a burn permit is really complicated.  It was way over my head, something I never covered in law school.  So, like the heroes in countless westerns, I took the law into my own hands.  I would have gotten away with it too, if only the smoke did not rise hundreds of feet.  If only no one noticed.  If only no one cared.

Sure, if it had been a fire threatening our home or barn, we would have welcomed the help,  but this fire was my own controlled burn, started intentionally in order to dispose of scrap lumber and old Christmas trees and branches and stuff we did not want.  The county charges to take things to the dump.  I was being economical.  Burn permits cost too.  Like I said, I was being economical, if illegal.  I was absent from law school on the day they taught about burn permits.  Ignorance of the law is my excuse.

Plus, I’m not that bright.  You can ask anybody.  My mother can tell you stories of my risk-taking that will curl your hair.  Miss Sugar, my wife, can too.  Anyone stupid enough to swing a rattlesnake over his head is stupid enough to play with fire.  For an explanation of the rattlesnake reference, see:  https://cowboylawyer.wordpress.com/2012/06/18/me-and-pecos-bill-5/.

The firemen decided to put out the fire, despite my assurances.  They also gave the impression that this was not how they had intended to spend the 4th of July.

If they didn’t want to be there, then why did they empty the tanker truck on my little old fire?  Oh, well, at least we got the pond we always wanted.  For more on the pond, see:   https://cowboylawyer.wordpress.com/2013/06/15/beau-aint-no-lassie/.

Afterward, to rub it in, they parked the truck on the bridge and re-filled the tank by pumping water from the river that runs through our ranch.  It took a long time for them to steal our water.

I felt embarrassed.  I felt foolish.  Miss Sugar assured me that I was just that — foolish.

I apologized to the firemen.  I knew them.  I used to be on the board for the volunteer fire department.  As their attorney, I got grants to purchase the first trucks.  (I had attended class on the day they taught about grant applications.)  Twenty years ago, I helped build the station, like an old fashioned-barn raising.  I lifted the trusses for the roof, using my brawn.  They wouldn’t trust me with power tools.  So, I have a long history with this local volunteer fire department.

That might be why they gave me a break.  I was not cited.  I was not billed.  I was lucky.  I was sorry.

I wrote a letter to the fire department, in which I thanked them and apologized profusely.  I was repentant.  Sort of.

This happened several years ago.  After all the wildfires last year, even I know better than to burn trash when the grass is dry.  Next time, I will wait until it snows and keep the tires away from the fire.   However, I won’t get a burn permit.  That is where I draw the line.

Miss Sugar and the Lawnmower

Miss Sugar doesn’t cotton to rattlesnakes.  She has killed a few, both with a shovel and her .410 shotgun, but she is, after all, a girl.  She doesn’t have the flair for it that I have shown over the years, such as described in my post called Me and Pecos Bill.

As a scared little girly girl, she wanted me to cut the grass (and weeds) that are closest to the house so the snakes would have no place to hide in our immediate vicinity.

So I said to Miss Sugar, with indisputable logic, “I would love to cut the grass (and weeds) Sugar, except I can’t start the lawnmower on account of the starting cord does not work right.”

I even showed her the mechanical problem.  “See, Sugar, the cord doesn’t re-wind so i can’t get a good pull and, not only that, since you are just a girl, you can’t do it either.”

That was a thoughtless comment.  One should not tell Miss Sugar that she can’t do something.  Of all people, I should have remembered that.  I sure do know it from countless other similar situations.

So, Miss Sugar worked on the mower.  Successfully.

“There’s your trouble,” she explained, pointing to something mechanical.  “Give it a pull now.”

The dang thing started.  Dang it!

So, I just finished mowing.  Now I will go have a big glass of Miss Sugar’s good lemonade.  I’d fix some myself if I knew how.

Double Tough Hombre

The two links below are related.  Each was written last summer.  Each describe my bravery and skills as a modern-day Pecos Bill-type cowboy action hero.

I am re-posting them for the convenience of those readers who have more recently started following my blog and foolishly believe that they have better things to do than go through the archives to read all of the 220 previous posts.  This double feature will help you catch up, as ya’ll have been longing to do.

These are true stories about life on Cross Creek Ranch, in northern Colorado.  To borrow a phrase used by Walter Brennan in The Guns of Will Sonnett, “No brag.  Just fact.”  You can look it up.

https://cowboylawyer.wordpress.com/2012/06/02/sharpshooter-8/

https://cowboylawyer.wordpress.com/2012/06/18/me-and-pecos-bill-5/

Let’s be careful out there!

Me and Pecos Bill

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.

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