Sunday, July 26, 2015
I had stumbled upon Green Mountain in 1970 when on my way to the Grand Tetons and then the Pacific coast. I went back for the first time last year, forty-four years later. A few things had changed — like a rudimentary BLM campground about half way up that hadn’t been there on my first trip — but for the most part not much had changed. Many of the larger trees had been logged off and had been replaced by second-growth, now thirty or so feet high.
Last year we had camped at the edge of a flat meadow, at the very top of the mountain at slightly over 9100-feet. The Green Mountains are home to 300-400 wild horses, mustangs, that have been there for a very long time. One band of them would come out onto the meadow almost every day, graze for an hour or so, and then go off to wherever they had come from in the first place.
Wednesday, June 17, 2015
A few days ago I was on my motorbike going to a distant pasture and I ran over this fellow. I saw him too late and all I could do was avoid putting on the brakes. I stopped and went back. He seemed unhurt, and very angry at me. I was glad I hadn't hurt or killed him as he is a bull snake and an excellent mouser. Some folks value them because they believe they kill poisonous snakes. We have no rattlers here so that's not really a reason for me to protect them.
I called Jack over to see the snake and was very pleased to see that he didn't want any part of it, staying very close to me in the proper heel position and just looking on with mild interest and, I imagined, some distaste. I can smell a large snake myself so I can imagine what it must be like for dogs. Some dogs have to be conditioned to avoid snakes, but Jack has been blessed with some aversion towards them since puppyhood— something I have been happy to encourage.
And darned if the very next day I didn't run over another one on the road, also on the moto-pony. Again he was uninjured and again he was very disappointed in my treatment of him. In both cases the heavy lugs on the tires and the soft ground kept them from being injured. Of which I am glad.
Monday, June 15, 2015
These events are the 'social events of the season' and I get a chance to see neighbors I haven't seen since the last one. It's a time of good fellowship, gentle ribbing, and hard work. Two batches of 250 calves each were handled between about 7 in the morning and noon. It went very smoothly and no one got hurt. That is how a rancher evaluates his branding: if no one got hurt, it was a good 'un.
Since we don't know what the infection was I will have to keep a close eye on him in the weeks ahead. But for now 'all is well' and I couldn't be more pleased.
Monday, May 25, 2015
Yesterday, though, we got the first weather window in a couple of weeks: a lovely Sunday afternoon with warm sun and balmy breezes. It allowed me to get out and do some jungle-hacking with a weed-eater as well as a few more outdoor chores. But then, as the day waned, the sky 'stormed up' and it looked like a return to the days of gloom and rainfall. And, sure enough, it rained again over-night.
We'll be needing dogfood toward the end of the week, rain or no rain.
Friday, May 22, 2015
He developed a cough on our trip. Not extreme, but intermittent. At a recent routine exam/vaccination visit to my vet, he thought some x-rays might be in order. The radiographs revealed spots on his lymph nodes.
Since we had been in the desert Southwest, and since Jack had been digging in pursuit of the elusive marmot, Desert Fever of course reared its ugly head. A serum sample was sent off to the vet school clinic at Fort Collins. A week of tenterhooks, for me, followed.
The report came back negative for VF. That's good news, in itself, but opens up the specter of lymphoma. My vet, in whom I have great confidence, felt that Jack was not presenting as had most of the dogs he had seen who had turned out to have a lymphoma condition. So a 21-day course of antibiotics was launched, to combat some other, unknown, infection. Jack is on day three. At the end of the 21-days a new set of x-rays will be made. If there is no improvement it will mean a trip to Fort Collins and an aspirant biopsy.
I am so afraid of lymphoma. My last three males died of some sort of cancer before their time.
Fortunately, Jack shows no sign of illness except for an occasional gagging cough. Today a bit of that, y'day none at all. I do so hope that is a good sign. He is active, appetite good, spirits normal. I would give a finger or two to keep it that way.
Thursday, May 21, 2015
When I got home I made the decision:
I found myself wanting to explore more of the desert than I could manage on foot, so I decided to buy a bicycle. I made the trip down to Yuma and came back with a nice hybrid mountain bike.
The bike worked a treat, but I found the going (i.e., pedaling) pretty hard work on most of the desert terrain. As much as I liked the bike I realized that if I were to have real access to the desert I would need something that catered a little more to this Ol' Guy's abilities. The story continues...
Wednesday, May 20, 2015
Tuesday, May 19, 2015
They have different hunting styles, those two. Em stays erect and moves gracefully from thicket to thicket, head up and alert. Jack, on the other hand, 'does the lowdown.' When he gets birdy he crouches as low as he can get and glides across the ground. When he's really on the prod he scrapes his chest.
I love watching them work.