Monday, June 24, 2013
This is itself was strange, as usually Em will just dive right in, oblivious to bites, and terminate a snake with extreme prejudice. But this time she was standing off and barking. I didn't want her to kill it, so I started down the steps to close the pen gate so she couldn't get at it. Just as I expected she would as soon as she saw me coming she lunged at the visitor to grab him. I had already figured out some time ago that she is far more ruthless with snakes if I am close by. Her protective instinct is flattering but a little too destructive for my taste. This time I managed to call her off and made her keep her distance while I swung the gate closed. She continued to bark but obeyed when I called her inside.
Jack was there the whole time, standing shoulder to shoulder with her but not barking or lunging at the snake. He was very interested in Mr Slithers, but wasn't making any moves toward it. I like this aspect of Jack's personality: He is by no means timid, but rather he is careful and thoughtful about interlopers and "strange things," without the instinct to dive straight in that has made Emma such a consummate murderer of reptiles and assorted other critters. Jack watches, circles, ponders, and as likely as not comes to get me. "Come see what I found!"
When I went back outside, the snake was gone. This is not the first time I have seen him on the place, so I'm hoping that maybe Em is mellowing in her old age.
For those who might not know... A bull snake (Pituophis melanoleucus sayi) is a non-poisonous snake that is a great exterminator of rodents. For that reason alone I like to have them around, but in general am not a snake fan at all.
Sunday, June 16, 2013
In July and August and early September I mowed my out-front 1/3 acre of grass (as I call it) once. So far since the post-winter growth has started I am on my fifth cutting. It can look like the end of the world, but with a few drops of rain it springs to life. Surely one of the great strengths of this environment over the centuries.
Stephen Crane (author of The Red Badge of Courage) has a poem...
A man said to the universe:
"Sir, I exist!"
"However," replied the universe,
"The fact has not created in me
"A sense of obligation."
So much for me and my over-worked mower.
And we are now in the season that makes this "desolate, God-forsaken place" a paradise-garden of great beauty. This is the prairie rose (Rosa blanda), just one of many lovely spring flowering plants on the High Plains. We only look God-forsaken and desolate to those who are poor lookers.
Thursday, June 13, 2013
I was hesitant about adding a third dog, but considering Emma's age it was the right time to bring him on. Today, I am glad I didn't listen my Sensible Self and went ahead and brought him into the family. He has been a blessing from the first day.
I've never had a dog -- and I've had quite a few -- that matured so quickly or bonded with me so completely. He's one of those so-called Once-in-a-Lifetime dogs that I have been fortunate enough to have had more than one of. His even temperament, sweetness, intelligence, passion for work, and good sense of humor has endeared him to everyone who has come to know him.
So here's to you, buddy. Happy birthday and many, many happy returns!
Sunday, June 9, 2013
Of course, it can also bring a bit of "sky terror" as unpleasant visitors sometimes drop out of those aerial displays. My friends in Oklahoma have had it real bad. So far where I am (knock on wood) we have been lucky, despite lots of activity and some heart-in-mouth moments.
But the last few days have been about as close to perfect as I could imagine. Temps in the 70s, brilliant sun, little wind. Hard to beat it when it's like that. Makes up for a lot.