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Summer is here — unfortunately for Cooper. The heat wave hit, and we found our first rattlesnake near the house. And when I say we, I mean Cooper. And when I say found I mean he sniffed it out and when it put up a ruckus, he realized that this was no false alarm and ran for his life. Literally.

I had a friend here riding, and we were just a few hundred yards down the road from the house when Coop discovered the snake. I got down off my horse to see if I could manage to kill it with a large rock. That’s a no.

Not for lack of effort, though.

I found a rock almost as big as my head to throw at the thing, but apparently snakes have an innate sense of when actions are meant to kill it. Somewhere during my big league wind-up, it uncoiled and started to dart away. I don’t even think I hit its body very squarely.

I went back to the house for a more effective weapon in the form of a hoe, but by the time I got back the snake was holed up in the thick underbrush of a chokecherry patch. I could hear it, but not get the brush pulled away good enough to find it.

I explain all this in a rational tone, but my heart was going pitter patter after seeing how sick Cooper got last year. The snake was originally coiled in some taller grass/weeds along the road, which is right under the one-strand electric fence we have around a section of land we’ve reseeded. And then there’s a 3-foot span of hip-high grass and alfalfa. And then the thick grove of chokecherry brush.

This means I had to reach under and over the electric fence to poke the hoe in the tall grass and alfalfa in the reclamation, then I had to duck under the wire and stand in the 3-foot wide area of tall vegetation between the wire and the brush where the snake was now rattling (but I couldn’t see). I knew damn good and well that if the snake slithered out after me the wire was going to both hinder my flight and shock the hell out of me. Literally.

My mind kept saying, “Snake in the grass. Dumbass. We have these cliched sayings exactly because they are based on universal truths. Snake in the grass. Watch yourself. This is really a bad idea, dumbass.” Snake in the grass. Pitter patter, thumpity thump went my heart.

Of course, I didn’t have to worry about Cooper because he beat me back to the house when I went for the hoe.

Baby scared, cuz he’s smart enough for his own good at: pam(at)viewfromthenorth40.com.

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Remember our friend Amy Bishop, our scary gun-toting, murdering Alabama college instructor friend who went on a rare women’s shooting rampage and killed three colleagues? It seems that the cops have revisited the mysterious 1986 shooting death of her 18-year-old brother and all fingers are pointing to Bishop, in the family home, with the shotgun. Evidence for the case comes complete with a copy of an article, hanging on the wall in Bishop’s childhood bedroom, of the shooting death of actor Patrick Duffy’s parents — the description of which sounds remarkably like the scene of Bishop’s brother’s death. Imagine if you will that Amy Bishop is your mother. Creepy, creepy, creepiness.

Then there’s the case of Mexican bullfighter Christian Hernandez who, at the beginning of his bullfight match, swirled his cape once in front of the bull, dropped it and ran from the arena. He admitted in an interview with The Associated Press that maybe he wasn’t cut out for bullfighting saying, “I didn’t have the ability, I didn’t have the balls, this is not my thing.”

I couldn’t resist writing about him, so see it all on the Write On page. And forgive me for kicking the guy while he’s down.

And if you want a bizarrely heartwarming tear-jerker of a news story, read about this 84-year-old Australian guy who has, for several years, been quietly working to talk people down off the ledge — literally, because his house is right next to a popular launch pad for people determined to jump to their death. It sounds grim, but I swear it’s a nice story.

Bring a tissue at pam(at)viewfromthenorth40.com

A few weeks ago, I thought of the “The Last Samurai” when the young Samurai, Nobutada, tells the Tom Cruise character, “Too many mind … mind the sword, mind the people watch, mind enemy — too many mind.”

I’m simple folk. I can’t think on too many things in my brain at one time. I start doing things like having to shampoo and condition my hair two maybe three times in one showering because I can’t remember if I did it. So literally, maybe I just did each once, but I don’t have a clue what the truth is. I turn on the oven to get the ribs cooked in the morning before the sun heats the house, and I forget to put the ribs in the oven, and it remains thusly until John discovers my blunder. And I do some other thing like those things and forget what it was.

Then I become convinced that I should be very very scared that I have too many mind … and none of them are worth a damn.

Reminds me of the good ol’ days, the stressed out days, the very days that thoughts of which give me hives. I think that in those days I short circuited something important. Maybe it was like an over-mind that linked all the other minds into a cohesive unit, like a computer network server of the brain. Now every once in a while the personal computer minds each get their shit together enough to think their own thought, but it doesn’t get fit into a larger scheme of things because the server brain is fried. Fuh-ried, I tell you. Nearly worthless at this point. Too compound the problem, some of the stand alone mind units are, frankly, a little short on power, memory and storage capacity so those thoughts get a little frazzled around the edges.

Oy, whatever, I put last week’s column on my “Write On” page. I don’t know if it will be in contention for next year’s MNA awards or not — since I added the word naive to it before emailing it to work, but I didn’t proof read that page, so I didn’t remember to double check the spelling. So it went to press as “niave.” So now I’m all Ugh-o-mania.

Too many mind, not enough thought at: pam(at)viewfromthenorth40.com

killdeer and shy babies

I don’t know what you’re talking about officer. I’m not trying to smuggle anything across the fenceline.

What d’you mean, what do I have under wear? Hahahaha — I just said underwear.

No, I don’t mean to make light of the this topic with a federal boarder patrol agent … it’s just that, uh, I have this deformity, yeah, that’s right. I’ve had this deformity for a long time and I’m just pretty sick and friggin’ tired of having to explain it to everyone.

I have eight legs, get over it! You’re a professional!

In fact, I used to have ten legs, but one pair wandered off into the grass somewhere.

Yes, they wandered off! They’re legs, that’s what they do.

Legs can be handicapable too at pam@viewfromthenorth40.com