One of my neighbors also has a Shorthair and he and his and Jack and I spent last Sunday tramping the hills and doing a little bird hunting. It's very pleasant to have 90,000 acres all to yourself. There were plenty of birds. One rise had at least fifty birds and most of them appeared to be roosters. The dogs had a wonderful day and it was great fun to watch their pleasure and enthusiasm.
A very welcome thaw over the last couple of days. Almost a heat wave compared to what we have been having. 35° at 10 a.m. is a gift indeed. Today it pushed up toward the mid-50s by noon with wonderful sun and balmy breezes. The dogs were over the moon with happiness. I could hardly get Jack to come inside all day.
We usually have a False Spring in January. Sometimes it lasts a week or more. According to the weather boffins this one is supposed to come and go for a while. As long as it stays within reach that’s OK by me.
Jack and Emma don't take No for an answer when it comes to the afternoon ramble. We GO, and that's all there is to it. Mags, however, has been begging off in the intense cold we have had lately. She has no tolerance for it, and more than once I have had to carry her back to the house when she bit off more than she could chew in her "go with" enthusiasm. She's a pathetic sight hobbling along on what she claims to be frozen tootises.
If you click on the picture of Jack and Em it will enlarge and you can see the deer up on the mountain, watching our progress down below. The dogs more or less ignore them, even when they're in the yard. They do not chase them, and I'm glad I never had to break them of that bad habit.
I guess that's what some folks would call where I live: "the unpopulated zone." But that just applies to people. Otherwise, there's nothing unpopulated about it.
I had to go to town on some errands y'day, something I rarely do, and on the way home I saw the scenes above. The mulies, 16 of them, are clustered near an old ghost town about three crow-fly miles from me. The antelope were a couple miles north of that point.
I glassed the deer to see if any of them were from my bunch that hangs around the house. None were that I could tell. That's probably because when I got home I found my nine all hunkered down on the front yard. The antelope bunch was one pod of a large herd of about a hundred that split up as my truck got near. They are lots spookier and more skittish than the mulies.
Sub-zero almost every night. Even Action Jackson doesn't want to stay out for very long. We still get our daily ramble but lately they have been very short indeed. We're do for a False Spring and it could come at any time for all of me. -16° gets old mighty quick.
Yesterday when we went out for our ramble (the same day we discovered the GHO), the dogs had been very antsy about getting out of the house and went right to the old shop/garage that is close to the house. Later I discovered the reason. I saw a shape against the dying light and when I went around to the other side I found a cat up in the shop 'attic' watching me through the copious spaces in the ramshackle old building's shake roof.
It didn't seem particularly alarmed and I chatted at it for a few minutes. I'm not really keen on having cats around, but if they are pulling their end and stay out of the way of the dogs (and do not use the garden as a sandbox) I try to be tolerant. I have no idea where they come from, but they rarely stay long. Eventually the coyotes get them.
By the way, that old dilapidated, dirt-floor shop building, about 15x20', is said to have been the first building on the place. The original homesteaders lived in it for the first two years while they were proving up the place. So says their grandson. This would have been about 1913. Those would have been some hard, hard winters.
Every day in the mid-afternoon, the dogs and I go for a ramble. There are days when, frankly, I would rather not, but Jack demands it and the others follow his lead. On every walk there is something going on. The other day I discovered that jack rabbits had moved into the bale area east of the house. They've never been around this close before. That same day I discovered we have a Bald Eagle hanging around. On another day I had to shoot a porcupine to keep the dogs quilless. Then there was the coyote confronted at a distance of six feet. Always something interesting going on.
Today it was a young Great Horned Owl sitting in one of the cottonwoods. Most of the older GHOs won't sit still for me and the dogs being too close to them, but this citizen just sat there as if he figured we were no threat at all. Quite small, too, so I figured it for a newcomer. As long as they behave they are welcome.
Afterwards the dogs discovered a stray cat in the old garage. Another visitor. Are we popular, or what?