The Caliche Times Vol  2, No  4     9/5/99
(c) Jerry Davis


Brush Hogs and Flint Rocks

Well, this area is still dry and most grass is dead.  We are pasture mowing and trying to keep down the risk of fast moving fires.  We only mow if we have a 200 gallon orchard sprayer filled with water along side of the mowing.  If the brush hog hits a flint rock maybe we will be on top of the situation and put out the fire in a hurry.  We are warned that with grass and weeds in its present condition that it isn’t likely that one can be stomp out a fire.  The flying sparks from the stomping activity will continue to fly ahead of the main source of the fire.

Comments about "The Cow that got Caught" and others:

In reference to the story about the "Cow that got caught", my rockhound friend and cattleman, Don Brenholtz said "Them old cows may not know what you are saying to them, but it seems to calm them down if you talk in a soft voice. Don't hurt nuthin’ either if you happen to be the cowboy who brings some cubes around once in a while."

Our daughter Sharla, "Boy howdy, that cow was lucky you found her. I'm glad she cooperated enough to let you get the hook out. "

Ron and Phyllis Graham, "If anyone can't find your place in the trail of white dust, they'll arrive at ours!"

  "There's Nothing to it, It Will just Slip Right Off"

Me and Louisiana Tom (the fellow that works for me) have been finding a lot of use for the expression "There’s nothing to it, it will just slip right off."   When the double width bush hog broke down last week and we had to replace the double asbestos clutch pad,  we had a little trouble with the spline hub. The fellow at the Massey Furgerson dealership said "There’s nothing to, all you have to do is use a pry bar and put pressure on it and it will slip right off."  Maybe it would have slipped off back during the days before rust.  Tom and me stressed and strained over the spline hub that wouldn't budge for two days.  We managed to tear everything else off the shredder until we were able to make room to replace parts we needed to replace.  Had to do some welding to get things back to normal but that old hub never did "Just slip right off."


Hunting Leases Available:


Ants Make a Move

We got 0.35 inch of rain this week (9/7/99).  All ants decided it was time for the colonies to spread.  Termites, Fire Ants, Red Harvester Ants, "Sugar Ants", Wood Ants and all others not mentioned, decided to make a move when the moisture was available.  We don't have anymore ants than we did before, just more homesteads now.  We have two "Horned Toads" and they are working full time during this move.  We had to quit poisoning ants because of the decreasing numbers of Horned Lizards.   The poison never did bother the ants anyway.  Poisoning ants just makes them nervous and they hide out for a few days.


The Stuck Up Hoot Owl
The Owl that Didn't Give a Hoot


It was early in the morning when I noticed the large paper feed sack hanging on a fence by the road.  It seemed a little different than it did when I saw it in the ditch beside the road the day before.  A little while later, as I passed down the road, I could see that the piece of paper was something alive hanging on the fence.  Then I was close enough to see that it was an owl hanging there.  It's wing was entangled in the barbed wire.  

The Approach

As I approached the owl, I could see that the animal had given up hope and had accepted its fate of being hung till death.  Birds don't take stress well and it would probably take only a short time compared to a mammal for it to "pass on by".   The eyes were dead-set on me as I fumbled through the toolbox of the pickup for a pair of leather gloves.  After putting on the leather gloves, I reached for the wing of the owl expecting the owl to come "unglued" and to "bite and fight".   Much to my surprise, she kept her magnificent claws locked one to each of two barbed wires, and her free wing perfectly still.  Her beak however did send me a greeting of "clack,  clack,  can you help me back?"

The Steel Glare With No Soul

The steel glare from her eyes stayed locked on mine and I could see into hers.   What I saw, were the brilliant colors of polished gold and black with no soul visible in their depths.

Torn Flesh and Hopeless Entanglement

I could see the flesh of the wing was torn and the feathers and flesh were hopelessly entangled with the barb of the wire.  The bones of the wing while showing, seemed to be intact.   I had a linoleum knife in the tool box, so I retrieved it to see if I could release the feathers from the barbed wire.  I placed my left gloved hand over the face of the owl to keep her calm and protect her from seeing what I had to do.   The owl didn't flinch.  With the linoleum knife in the right hand I began to work the blooded, wet feathers away from the barb.  A few minutes later the wing was free and I am holding the giant bird in front of me, its wings spread wide as it could reach. 

The Owl Crunched Down

Suddenly, the owl crunched down on my gloved finger as if to say "it is time to turn me loose now".    I raised her high above the fence and shoved her forward into the air and released.   She caught the air under her huge wings and settled to the ground about twenty feet on the other side of the fence and turned about to face me.  A lot more staring takes place.  I have done all I can think of to do for the moment so I wish her well and leave. 

Sinbad The Cowdog Makes Observation

Sinbad The Cowdog is observing all this and I am hoping he doesn't have an idea in his head to investigate.  We return to the house and I can observe the owl still in the same location for a period of about two hours.  Apparently resting from the ordeal.

She Flew The Coop and Gave a Hoot

The next time I look, the owl has "flown the coop."  If the wing heals and the infection passes, I expect the owl will "give a hoot" late at night as she checks for crickets and mice under our guard light.


Terms Defined

Brush Hog - a type of tractor-pulled weed shredder.    The term Brush Hog used in this case as a general descriptive name and not a brand name.

Sugar Ants - little black ants that sneak into the kitchen when you aren't looking and look for goodies.

Horned Toads - usually called Horny Toads, are really Horned Lizards.  Their favorite food is ants.  They lay soft white eggs in the soil that later hatch into very small Horny Toads.

Pass on By-  to die.

Flown the Coop - flew away.

Give a Hoot - give a hooting owl sound or just care about what happens.