The Honeymoon - Home on the Range Blog at - 292323

Home on the Range

The Honeymoon 
Dec. 17, 2012 10:56 am 
Updated: Dec. 28, 2012 8:37 pm

For the most part, the romance between EmmaLou and Bennie wasn’t one of those Harlequin Novel types, (which neither Emma nor I read) or even something suited for Hallmark Channel. They spent a couple of weeks in the pasture ignoring one another, tolerating each other over a meal, while Sushi made eyes at Bennie and flirted shamelessly, refusing to leave his side and preferring his company over that of her mother.

Finally, the day came when Emma made up her mind it was time. I caught her batting her eyes at him and showing off her ankles in the morning, so I kept close watch on the little couple to see when she would actually be in ‘standing heat’.

 Later that afternoon, I went out to check on them and there were NO cows in the pasture! The Maremmas had followed and with deep, throaty growls, shot past me and disappeared into the willows in hot pursuit of something. These dogs are such order nerds, that someone being out of place is enough for them to get out of sorts. I hoped that it wasn’t the cows they were after, because they could, hypothetically chase the bull right through the fence and out of Emma’s life. I headed that way and as I passed the shed, I could see EmmaLou peeking out the door, which is uncommon modesty for a cow. At least she made him take her 'somewhere nice'. I suppose the old 'kill shed' could be mistaken as a  bovine honeymoon cabin. I never did see any actual concrete matrimoninal type activity taking place, due to their insistence on privacy, but I assume it occurred that night because the next day, they were back to not speaking again.

I’ve been having problems with small ‘junk birds’ getting into the chicken pen and stealing my expensive feed. I kicked the chickens out so they could forage to avoid wasting money. They promptly went to the self dispensing dog feeder in Bruno and Cletus’ dining room, finding it tipped just enough to where they could see and steal the DOGFOOD. It dawned on me that if chickens could be trained to play the piano OURS could learn to eat out of a self dispensing dog feeder. So we purchased a small one on the last trip to town and it has been working out fabulously, right from the start. We must have MENSA chickens.

I’m sleepy today. The “polar bears” were in with the sheep last night. Around midnight I could hear Cletus barking his high pitched, half baying, hysterical bark which continued for a few minutes...then Bruno joined him. If Bruno is barking, it means things are serious. Cletus, like myself, can be a bit of a drama queen...or prince, as the case may be. Whatever it was they were challenging would just not go away. I was tired and didn’t want to get up, but I also didn’t want them waking Randy up. He gets a little grumpy at things that wake him...he probably wouldn’t be the best neighbor if you owned an LGD in town.

I’ve been sleeping in the chair because of my back lately. Wide awake, I listened a bit longer and the barking became more urgent. The dogs were both locked in the 1 acre pasture with the sheep, which is not far from our bedroom window. Because the object of their concern was clearly not leaving, I figured it was not a coyote, nor a bobcat, most likely not a raccoon, nor a deer. That deduction left me with one other likely thing, so I suspect it was another cougar. 

I finally decided, since the intruder was obviously feeling pretty invincible with the dogs trapped behind a fence, the best way to change its thinking would be to turn them loose. I feel fairly confident doing this, because they prefer to use no more pressure than required to remove a threat. Physical engagement is their very last option. Once that they could confront the intruder with a little more authority, it quickly moved on. Tonight though, I will keep the dogs in. Chances are it won’t come back now that it knows the dogs might be more trouble than its worth to take one of my sheep, but there is also the possibility that if I locked the dogs OUTSIDE of the fence and it is, indeed, a cougar, it might realize it could handily jump the fence and slaughter my sheep, unmolested, while the dogs carry on, unable to stop it. The joys of ranch life! One more LGD would surely be nice, but with only 10 small animals, I think we need to make do with just the two polar bears.

Since I was already awake, I read on my kindle for awhile and had a hard time getting back to sleep. I was just about to nod off, when suddenly a large spider climbed up the back of it where I couldn’t see and popped up on the top of my kindle, right in my face. I screamed in terror, threw the kindle, which caused the light on it to disconnect and plunge me into darkness. Shaking and hyperventilating, I found the light cord hanging from the ceiling, pulled it and to my horror, saw the spider on the floor coming after me, making loud squeaky noises. I saw 2 pair of Randy’s boots...the ones I am always complaining about him leaving in the living room. I grabbed one and set to actively defend myself. I slammed it down on top of the intruder 10 or 20 times. With each slam of the boot it emitted another loud squeak. Finally, it was no longer fact it was no longer recognizable, at least not to anyone but me. I heard one more squeak. That’s when I realized I was the one making it. I shakily put my kindle back together as best I could and was pleased to see it all still worked. Tearfully, I shook out the blanket I’d been using, just in case he had been a scout and there was an ARMY of them waiting to come for me and satisfied there were no more, climbed back in my chair. Now I had the heebie jeebies and couldn’t sleep. I must have finally dozed off about 5 or 5:30.

I had been dreaming of enormous spiders and around 6:30 I awoke to something cold and heavy landing hard on my chest, pinning me to the chair. I awoke instantly to find Randyman had gone out to feed and decided to let the Maremmas come in for a little visit. My 120 lb.Cletus, happy to see me but finding me tipped back in a recliner, figured the best way to get his ritual hug was to rear up and flop his entire upper body ice and all, across my lap and chest. He even gave me his very affectionate, trademark cold nose to nose touch. As I was working on pulling some oxygen back into my lungs, Bruno came at me from the side. Being much more gentle and deliberate, he just repeatedly goosed me with his cold nose. Then, like the well disciplined fellow he is, he sat and stared me down. I peeled Cletus off of me, bent over and gave Bruno a hug and so began another day.

It wasn't long before I was reminded that I wasn't the only one who'd had a long, hard night.

Dec. 17, 2012 11:03 am
Bennie Looks very studly
Dec. 17, 2012 11:38 am
wonderful- as usual- how is the finger and nails-?? i love when you share pictures of the "polar bears"-judy
Dec. 17, 2012 11:43 am
Good for Emma, use him and lose him! :)
Dec. 17, 2012 11:51 am
Love reading these,when will you write a book?Love the pictures,pink collar on the cows neck is cute.
Dec. 17, 2012 11:53 am
petey, that post was EPIC! My daughter will growl at me for the use of an over-used word, but, really, it was epic! I'll have to show this to my older daughter who reacts to spiders like you do, but with a little more emotion. Seriously.
Dec. 17, 2012 11:54 am
Yeah! About the pictures... How do you get them to show up in the post? Mine are always at the end.
Dec. 17, 2012 12:17 pm
Oh Petey, I love your blogs and reread them, often gleaning something new. I am so arachniphobic that I insist on having the house sprayed inside and out every three months. We have the cleanest eaves in the neighborhood! Living in the mountains, the insects are Jurrasic Park size! I shudder at the thought of the wolf spiders! They're the size of a small tarantula and carry their hundreds of babies on their backs. Yikes! My scalp is itching! On the other hand, after thirty years, I wouldn't think of leaving our beautiful mountain, so I guess it's shut up and put up!
Dec. 17, 2012 1:07 pm
1 night of courting? Too easy all around. I remember leaving the bull with our milk cow for a week as she teased, showed her ankles, batted eyes, then said -not yet:)
Dec. 17, 2012 1:22 pm
I am glad to see I'm not the only one who recognizes the threat to humanity that spiders present in any size. :)
Dec. 17, 2012 1:44 pm
Petey, I'm with you on the spider issue. I absolutely detest the little beggars. A tiny spider can cause me to scream, then freeze and shake, then sweat. Not a pretty sight. Once when I was walking down the street a spider lowered itself down and dangled in front on me. Well, I started the screaming thing. A few neighbors came out to me yelling "spider! spider!" They actually laughed and went back inside leaving me to deal with it on my own. I moved the following season.
Dec. 17, 2012 2:02 pm
Love your stories; many times I wish I could come visit you for the many adventures you have. Thanks as always for sharing.
Dec. 17, 2012 2:09 pm
rosebud! LOL! I don't blame you one iota for moving. You just can't be expected to live with neighbors like that! misty, we'd have a great time CathyMyers- I would be wearing a stainless steel shark suit if they had those wolf spiders here! Doc, i post the blog to my blogspot address first then I cut and paste it here. Alex-do I dectect just a HINT of male aversion? LOL Manella, It's a long slow process on the book...King Sparta-he is indeed a studly bull and thank you Nanny-the finger is looking great!
Dec. 17, 2012 3:02 pm
Awwww, petey, love the last picture--made me chuckle!
Dec. 18, 2012 5:47 am
Petey once again you have made me laugh. I can just picture you battling that spider. Seems funny to me that a farm girl would be afraid of them. They never have bothered me because I figure I am way bigger than they are. My son is terrified of them and all bugs. Glad you survived your ordeal and that your kindle was o.k.
Dec. 18, 2012 12:59 pm
What IS IT with chickens and dog food? I *love* for my chickens to day range but they are eating Sasha's dog food and pooping all over my freshly painted front porch!!! Still giving their eggs each day though so I can't complain too much... :)
Dec. 18, 2012 1:24 pm
the spider story cracks me up. I am the spider killer here in the office. I am also of the opinion that if I am bigger than they are all is good. We have terantulas here. My husband started out the front door the other night to take the dog out and one was right out side the door on the roof of the porch. He quickly shut the door and I had to take the dog out.I did got out another door on that one though.
Dec. 18, 2012 5:27 pm
iceemama-big difference between spiders and cows/cougars, etc. Real animals never have more than 4 legs...evil ones have 8, excluding butterflies and get my drift...
Dec. 18, 2012 5:30 pm
The porch pooping is a big no no. I had chickens in the back yard in CA and it looked like an ELEPHANT had pooped there! Earwig diet must cause gastric distress or something...but yea, the eggs help :) Char, I wound up on a roof one time, unable to get down because of a tarantula. BTW...did you know THEY CLIMB????
Dec. 19, 2012 8:18 pm
Great post, petey! Those pups are some of the hardest workers ever!! Love how they greeted you in the morning. I can't imagine a home without a pup or two (or more!!). They do love us unconditionally.
Dec. 28, 2012 8:37 pm
I adore your "polar bears" and the photo of one of them (Cletus? Bruno?) crashing on the couch is fantastic.
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About Me
Kids are raised, we are ranchhands on a 250,000 acre working cattle ranch 110 miles from the nearest small town, so we raise a lot of our own food, vegetables, fruits, milk,eggs and meat. Love riding and working cattle, but find myself spending a lot more time in the kitchen, and the garden.
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Having 2 Jersey cows as well as milk goats, playing with fresh milk is a hobby, making our own butter, yogurt, sour cream, cheeses, soap and all the other great stuff you can do with fresh raw milk.
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Homemade from scratch...anything! All traditions are sort of gone by the wayside, as we live so far from family now
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Most things from this site, this has been the best thing the internet has had to offer!
My cooking tragedies
A layered Jello dessert...the middle layer never set, so it did the 'ooze-wiggle'...and...well..I liquified a couple of chickens on 2 different occasions, turning them into a black gel. Moral of that story is, don't start cooking then go clean barns!...and there was the time that my kids were helping me make Thanksgiving dinner and SOMEbody (who resembled my youngest son) forgot to put the sugar in the pie!!!
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