Saturday, November 22, 2008

Hunting Near An Active Volcano is Dangerous!

I was out earlier this week checking the progress of the citrus trees. I am excited by the number of fresh, juicy oranges, lemons and grapefruits that will soon be ripe for the pickin’. While taking inventory, a shot rang out. I ducked! Seconds later, more shots. I hit the ground! Holy shit!

Laying on the ground and biting the dust during shotgun fire is a weird experience. All kinds of things run through your mind – like, when is it safe to stand to a crouch and run like hell for cover. After a few minutes, I bravely headed back up to the house. Half way to the security of hiding in my bathroom with the door locked, another shot rang out. And, it was much closer than the previous shots. I hit the ground…again!

If I could just reach my truck, I would honk the horn to let them know there are people in the general vicinity. I began crawling along the ground like Rambo. Man, am I out of shape! Belly-crawling takes a lot of energy, especially when your heart is already pumping 90-to-nothing. Okay, I…can…make…it. Not to mention, this would be an inopportune time to meet up with, yep, a rattlesnake. I had to put that fear behind me and continue crawling.

I finally made it to the truck, but why in this world did I lock the damn thing? I’m out in the middle of nowhere, last check - zero crime. Just a little further and I’d be in the house. (And, speaking of bathrooms…) I finally reached the door, whew, safe and sound. I grabbed the keys and ran back to the truck as if I were Flo Jo and could outrun the spray of speeding bullets. Adrenaline, obviously, gives me a false sense of my true abilities. What a rush!

Looking like some whacked out cartoon character - dirt on my face and clothing, darting from cactus-to-cactus and then fumbling with the keys - just to honk the horn. I decided to play a little tune rather than laying on it, figuring they’d think someone was in trouble and come running to help. So, I played “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap”. I kind of got into it, I was singing along as I beeped. It was a difficult selection to play on the truck-horn, but effective nonetheless.

I did have enough sense about me to know they weren’t shooting at me, I hoped. But, who wants to be in the line of fire? I walked back into the house and checked the Arizona Game and Fish site and discovered it was deer season. (Reminder to self: Print and post hunting schedules to refrigerator.) The landscaping hides the ranch house from all angles, they probably weren’t aware they were so close to anyone’s home. I’m sure they were aware after my tribute to AC/DC.

As I thought more about the hunters, I decided putting signs up along the property line might be a good thing. I wondered what would capture their attention. You know, so they’d be more careful. I went back to the computer and began designing warnings to hunters. Here’s a few I have placed in clear plastic sleeves and posted along the fence:

If You Want To Keep Your Privates

Hunting Near An Active Volcano
Is Dangerous!

Armed Wildlife
On The Premises

And, my personal favorite…

I Don’t Hunt in Your Front Yard
Don’t You Dare Hunt In Mine!

I can only assume these signs are working, no shots have been fired anywhere near the ranch since their placement. And, if I do here shots again, I already have my next truck-horn song prepared – “Janie’s Got A Gun”. I did hear a truck stop down on the road late this afternoon. It was really quiet and out of the silence came laughter from a couple of guys - the truck then pulled away. I high-fived myself and went about gathering wood for my evening fire. Ahhhh, life here at the ranch is good.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Makin' Lemonade From Lemons!

My lemon tree is full of luscious fruit...
just ripe for the pickin'!

It's humbling when your time and effort by blogging actually inspires others. This morning I was nominated for the "Lemonade Award" by Red, SassynSappy. I am thrilled and also touched that someone recognized my struggle and my triumph in my post, Meanwhile, Back At The Ranch...

I am inspired by the many who share their story by writing or through their art within this community. They are givers. I'm constantly amazed. I am passing this award nomination along to those who have touched me, made me laugh and/or "wowed" me. Thank you!


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Western Daze

Things here at the ranch are becoming somewhat routine. Like the herd of 30-some-odd javelina that come through daily, the skunk that comes to the door nightly and the occasional sighting of wild burros. However, last night and early this morning were definitely out of the ordinary.

Around 2 AM I awoke to the sounds of howling, squealing and barking. I grabbed a flashlight to investigate, opened my window and no more than thirty feet away was a pack of 12 or so coyote. Okay, its nothing more than a pack of coyotes having a feeding frenzy. A couple of them actually paused for a few seconds and stared into the light then returned to their feeding. This went on for about 20 minutes before they left my front yard to find other prey.

I went back to bed and, just as I was returning to my dream-state, I heard the yelping of a young pup, he had been left behind. Oh, boy. This pup carried on for, what seemed like, forever. I figured, with the pack just down the canyon, they would return to rescue the little fella. But, no! It was 6 AM when quietness finally returned to the canyon.

As soon as the sun was up, I went out to the front yard looking for whatever. Interestingly enough, the coyotes left no trace. No carcass, not a bone, nothing. Okay, at least they left the place clean. I went up to the porch swing to finish my coffee. I was watching a hawk hunt when I heard, "Hello to the house". Huh? Now, wait a minute, what in the hell is someone doing out here at this time of the morning? And, on foot?

I walked down the front steps and looked across the orchard towards the gate. I could see a young man dressed in cammies standing at the gate. So, I hollered back, "How can I help you?" He proceeded to tell me that he had high-centered his truck yesterday up in Walker's Gulch and had no cell signal to call for help. Well, no shit you don't have a cell signal; you are at least 45 minutes from the closest highway and you're surrounded by mountains. "Come on up", I invited him. As he approached the house, I knew he was harmless.

He was a clean cut guy in his mid-twenties; newly married, I figured, still wearing his wedding band. He told me it got dark on him fast and he had slept in his truck. I invited him in to use the phone to call his wife plus I gave him a cup of coffee. I offered to take him to his truck to give him the nudge he needed to start his way back home. He grabbed his backpack and, as he swung it over his shoulder, I noticed the .45 on his belt. Great, I thought! "I'll grab my gun and meet you outside." Once inside the truck he asked, "Seen many rattlesnakes?" Jeeeeeez!

We headed up the canyon and I played tour guide. "Yep, this ranch over here is 2460 acres and this one over here is 16,640 acres - largest operating ranch in Arizona." The road is single lane and winds through the main wash of the canyon. It's rocky and, in places, you hold your breath. We met up with a few cows along the way that were headed to the watering tanks. About a half hour later we arrived where his truck sat. I checked my odometer, good grief, this guy had walked 6.2 miles. We hooked a strap between our bumpers and jacked his truck up a bit to allow for clearance over the rocks. And, in a matter of minutes, he backed right out of the mess he was in. We then made our way back to the ranch without incident.

As I entered my drive, I honked and waved and he stopped to thank me once again. I came back up to the house, still a little dazed from the lack of sleep from the night before and this morning's adventure, I decided to rest. All-in-all, it was another beautiful, peaceful day.


Monday, November 10, 2008

O' Brothers and Sisters - Bloggers Unite, Refugees Reunited!

This poem is dedicated to the tens of thousands war-weary citizens that have been displaced amid the surging violence behind the Congo's refugee crisis. I hope the powerful message this poem delivers will serve as an inspiration to those fleeing fighting rebel forces and raise awareness for the basic rights and freedom to which all people are entitled.

O'Brothers and Sisters
by Bhuwan Thapaliya

Your eyes, your face, and your grace
they look like museum specimens,
so lifeless and antiquated they are.

Your behaviors and modes of life,
makes me feel that you are
a mere replica of the living corpse.

Your arms, your legs, and your fists
they look like hollow straw
beaten by the frost of time.

O’ Brothers and sisters!
Listen, listen to me please!

“Stand up for what you believe in
and then fight for your rights.
Speak up for what you believe in
and then shout for your rights.

Then those who are weak
will get inspiration from you,
and in the future
they shall rise from their slumber too.

There are millions of unfortunate ones,
who are left behind by the human rights.
Think about these people, and act.”

Brothers and sisters!
Listen, listen to me please!

There is an eternal joy
and a real power for standing up
for what you believe in.

There is a silken pleasure
in doing the thing
that you think is right
for the betterment of us all.

Let the humanity’s will be done.

Let there be freedom amongst the earthly stars.
Let the blazing humanity burn the suppressor’s core.

Let the sons and daughters of this earth
dwell under the perpetual light of the liberation.

Brothers and sisters!
Listen, listen to me please!

Don’t cry, sob, and break out.
Don’t act as a half-starved limping snail
and let your life pass away
in a succession of listless restrains.

Gather strength from within you
Don’t let anybody suppress you.

Believe in yourself, my friend!

Empower yourself
to fight for your rights.
Copyright 2008

Bhuwan Thapaliya
Born in Nepal in the 1970’s, Bhuwan Thapaliya was
raised and educated in Kathmandu. He studied economics and finance before
turning to poetry in his mid twenties. His writing is imbued with the art and
culture of Nepal that he grew up with but he is eminently qualified as an
Oriental and as an Occidental poet, for his poetry truly represents a marriage
between the traditions of East and West, and in a way that is immediately
appealing and cohesive. Bhuwan is not just a poet; he is a man with a mission,
seeking world peace. He is a prolific poet and is writing his own Everest, but
his writing is not only about statistics. It is about spreading the message of
global peace, universal solidarity and love.


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