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.
I am working on cleaning out and rearranging my shop building. This deceased citizen was in the bottom of one of the boxes I am triaging and discarding. There was a kind of macabre beauty to him and so I had to photograph the corpus. Few small corpses survive so well. There were evidently no flies available to give him the last rites so I assume he perished during the winter. He will have no sarcophagus, and no tomb, but he has been memorialized, in a way.
On Friday I went to a roundup and branding that I have attended for almost a decade now. It's always a good event, attended by a fine group of riders and ropers. And of course the BBQ at the end is worth the trip alone!
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.
I am very happy to report-- ecstatic would be more like it!-- that Jack is doing fine. The vet prescribed a one-month of antibiotics and at the end of that, late last week, his x-rays showed no signs of the spots that had appeared on the first set. That means that what we saw on the films was not cancer, but rather some unidentified infection that the drugs knocked in the head.
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.