Sunday, July 29, 2012

Trees? We got trees.

I've been taking some ribbing on another site where I posted an image of a lone tree in a great big surround of bare prairie. So I herewith append proof positive that we do indeed have trees. Usually when you see a large stand of trees out here, like the one I live within, you are seeing the remnants of an abandoned homestead. But in the case of the trees in the picture above, I suspect it was more like "Hey, I got these pines left over." There's not a thing anywhere near them. Just cows.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Jack's passion

Funny about dogs. They all have their "things." Jack's are, in order, (1) the truck, and (2) the Rhino. Things that cover ground and go places! Jack's a motor-head.

My truck lives in the shop building, sometimes not coming out for three weeks at a time. But when I do pull it out, getting ready to go somewhere, Jack will not leave it! He stays close by, just in case I might try to sneak off without him. Going in the truck is his Number One Thing, and sometimes I give in and take him when I hadn't intended to. It'd be much more comfy if he stayed at home, but that's not His Thing.

I have a crew cab, with the back seat made down to a flat area for the dogs. Nirvana for Jack is to be back there with both rear windows open so he can ricochet from side to side taking in all the smells and all the sights.

I give in much too often, but hardly ever feel any guilt about it.

A domestic dispute

Or maybe a home invasion.

The other day I noticed a commotion just beyond the autogate. Turned out that two cock pheasants were having an argument. They went at it for quite a while before they eased off and drifted away into the sunflowers out of the frame on the right. No blood and no feathers that I could see, but it was definitely serious business.

(One head is at 12 o'clock on the "mass" and the other at 3. Click to enlarge.)

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

And the beat goes on

Heat. Lots of it. A dry, aggressive assault on the senses. When out in it, you get the feeling that things could spontaneously combust at any moment. At the time the picture was taken, my indoor reader registered 117° for the sending unit up under the eaves, shaded, on the bunk house behind the main house. The humidity is about 15% and has been as low as 7% so far this summer. This is weather more typical of the Atacama or Death Valley. I'm starting to wonder if we are the new Anasazi.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Hot & grumpy

Our heat wave continues. This afternoon my outdoor temp reader registered 116° and I consider that a trifle warm, even for Arizona where I used to live. Jack is always up for going out and running around but the others would just as soon stay inside and snuggle up to a fan. I'm trying to discourage Jack from doing too much wild dashing about, too. Even for a young, vigorous, healthy dog it's just too hot for that stuff.

I have to cross an open-range section of the buffalo ranch to get to the main two-track and this fellow was standing right on the edge of the road. I paused only for a moment and then moved on. These citizens are usually pretty docile but it just doesn't pay to make assumptions about something that weighs two-thousand pounds and might be feeling a trfile peeved about something or other. I like my own space and I also believe in the Golden Rule.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Mighty dry

It's about as dry as I can remember. No rain in a long time and none in sight. Critters are staying pretty close to the watering holes. Grass is poor and getting poorer.

Hot, too. With the exception of a few days early last week we have had about three weeks of 100°+ temps. Got up to 114° one day. The old joke about "110° in the shade!" "Well, stay outta the shade!" just ain't funny. Well, a little funny.

We need about a week of steady, soaking rain.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Emma's snake "thing"

I think I've posted before about Emma and snakes. That is, when they meet Emma terminates them with extreme prejudice.

Late last month I might have gotten some insight into what goes on in her mind. I was sitting on the front deck, enjoying a beautiful, mild late afternoon. The dogs were amusing themselves. Em was alone out front about 60 yards and seemed to be interested in something in the grass, circling it, going in, jumping back a little, but not really very excited about it. At first I thought it must be a snake, but then I was sure it was not because she was not diving in for the kill. A turtle? I keep binocs on the table next to my chair but couldn't see enough of it to tell what it was.

Emma got bored and left the scene, and I decided to walk out and see what it was. A mistake, as I should have put Em in the house. She saw me going out there and tagged along. Sure enough, it was a snake: a big bullsnake, maybe 4-1/2 feet long. When I got about ten feet from it Emma sprang into action, charged in, grabbed it, flung it about, and killed it pretty definitely dead, dead, dead. This despite me telling her to drop it and back off. Once committed she cannot be called off a snake. A bird, yes, but not a snake.

Then the penny dropped. She hadn't been all that interested in it before I appeared on the scene. She sprang on the thing when I approached it. My theory is that Em is protecting me, or the other dogs, from something dangerous. "If you're too dumb  to keep away from these things then I'm just gonna have to protect you from yourself by killing it!" she seems to be saying. Makes sense when all the evidence is in, I think.

Yesterday morning, from inside, I noticed Emma and Jack and Mags at the bottom of the steps up to the deck milling around and apparently mildly interested in something under the steps. I stepped out onto the deck and Em body-blocked Jack away and almost broke her silly neck getting her head under the second step and came out with another bullsnake, smaller this time. But just as dead by the time she had finished her business with it.

Been away

Been away for a while and when I came back I couldn't get into the blog to post anything. Weird. But I shifted from Safari to Firefox and managed to get in— at last for the time being. I'll be posting a few things in the next days and I apologize to regulars who may have checked in and discovered I was being a slacker!