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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

A ditch made memories come flooding back.

Sunday, the week after Brad's wild ride on a completely naked Foxsun, I decided he was worth keeping an eye on. I had my camera ready for some great blog footage in case he did something crazy again. They always say you have to watch out for the quiet ones.

I asked him (or as he put's it 'barking out orders') to help me lift some rotten old pallets I was always tripping over near the corrals.

Pretty soon thing's got interesting.


I said. "Hold on. I'll get a bucket and the shovel to pick him up with". When I turned back around our little dare devil had nabbed him.

It was just a young Bull Snake. They are non venomous. But Brad picks up Rattle Snakes like this as well.

He dropped him in a mineral tub. I shouted out, "Can he jump out of that tub"? To which Brad replied, "Snakes don't jump", like I'm stupid or something. So I said, "You know what I mean, IS HE GOING TO BUGGER OFF out of there"! Brad never replied because he was probably thinking what a twit I was. We continued to pick up the pallets. Well he did anyway, I had three horses to irritate as they tried to eat.

A little while later I heard Brad saying, as he looked in the tub, "Snakes gone". "He must have jumped out then" I replied. Well little Snaky, as he become known, kept showing up under stuff Brad was picking up and Brad kept putting him back in the tub he couldn't jump out of.

Pretty soon Bobby got wind that something was up and put her nose into the tub to sniff the snake. Bull Snakes have this thing they do when they are threatened, they pretend to be a Rattle Snake by making a rattle sound and shaking their tail. I said to Brad, "Only an idiot could be fooled by that" as Bobby leaped back. Bobby has been bitten by a Rattle Snake and remembered it hurt like hell. I took the tub and put the little fellow somewhere were he could find a place to hid and didn't have to spend the rest of his life jumping out of tubs.

Next we drove along the levee because Brad had to close some valves in the main line.

This is the freshly burned off main irrigation ditch.

When there's lots of water in the creek we irrigate from this ditch. Brad's grandfather dug miles of irrigation ditches by hand in the 1890's. Back then he could only flood irrigate. We flood irrigated the draw and part of the flat all the way up until the 1990's. I am fully trained in the ancient art of flood irrigating and irrigated many acres this way the summer of 1988 while pregnant. It was refreshing to sit in the outlets and cool off on those hot days. You see lots of little animals as the lands fill. Snakes get flushed out along with all kinds of rodents. I had a family of baby gophers floating along in my straw hat like little sailors. It was a fun job and I always seemed to have an adventure waiting for the lands to fill.

I remember one cold morning I needed to take some boards out of the main ditch and my belly was too big to stand on the dam and hook the boards up with the shovel, so I slid down the bank and into the water. The cold water came up to my chin and William went nuts kicking. I was responsible for running the farm that year. Brad had to travel a lot and would sometimes be gone all week. Even the boy Keegan had gone to England for the summer.

I flood irrigated, primed pumps, replaced risers which was very hard to do because I would get stuck in the mud up to my knees. I drove tractor to do thing's like baling hay or burning ditches. I had to climb all the ten towers on the circle (center pivot irrigation system) many times to work in the tower control boxes testing the micro switches and even doing some fancy by-passing fuse operations. I even rode on the local fire truck squirting out fires. Two weeks before William was born I went out with my shovel to help the local volunteer firemen put out a wildfire that had spread to our place. They were mad at me but I told them it was just a beer belly (like most of them had). For goodness sakes after what William had been through all summer, me swinging a shovel about wasn't about to shake him loose.

It's seems like I was a different person then and lived in different place and time but the funny thing is even though it was so long ago and so much has changed the one thing that's the same is dear Foxsun was there with us, standing near his little horse house watching all the goings on. Keegan is married with his own family. (He's still in Iraq). William is in his second year at university. (Next year he's going to study for a year in England)! And I feel like I put in a full days work if I feed the horses and gather the eggs. Yet there's Foxsun still standing by his little house as if time has stood still. (Until he goes back out with the cows).

Back to keeping an eye on Brad. I was ready with my camera in case he fell in the ditch but no such luck.

There used to be a 6" main line going across the creek and you'd have to walk across it to get to the pasture on the other side. It was fun to throw rocks right into the water next to the person trying to get across. The first time I came to the farm Brad gave me the grand tour and a can of beer. I don't drink so a little beer goes a long way for me if I do have some. I decided I could walk across the main line better without shoes using my monkey like feet to grip the pipe. Half way across here come the rocks and I would have stood a better chance if it wasn't for the fact I was tipsy and gripping on to that can of beer like my life depended on it. What kind of person thinks it's funny to see their brand new girlfriend fall in the creek. And you wonder why I'm hoping to get a picture of him falling in the ditch!

No such luck. The man's a pro at walking the plank. Notice the red thing on his hand? That's vet wrap he uses to bandage his badly cut hand he acquired bailing off Foxsun last week. I wish I could have got a photo of that!



Here he is by the creek.

The willows are getting all leafy.


Andrea -Mustang Saga said...

That's a lot of work to do while carrying a baby!

I love all the pictures.

Lea and her Mustangs said...

Love your pictures, even the red vet wrap. We use it for alot of things including bandaging. Hope to see you this weekend.

Cheryl Ann said...

I've found two snakes right by the water faucet near the mustangs! Both harmless. Oh, and a MOUSE jumped out at me the other day! Eek! I love the pics of him on the boards! Great balance! There is a rattlesnake vaccine here for dogs...did Bobby get that? You mentioned he was bitten by a rattlesnake. Ugh. I always look at their heads...triangular...GET OUTTA DODGE! Danger!

arlene said...

Brad and I took over the farm officially in January 1988. I was to be the farm manager while he did other thing's to get us going. Problem was it was January 1988 that William became more than a gleam in his dad's eyes.

I had to keep going or we'd have lost everything. We hired some boys to move irrigation pipes but that was it. The following year Brad's dad came back to help.

So you use vet wrap too. It's good stuff. We also use pallets and baling twine to fix fences.

I've had three dogs bitten by rattlesnakes. Two dogs were bitten more than once. I notice after the first bite the others are not as bad.

Bobby was bitten on the side of her face (she was protecting her nose lol). She's been under the influence of snake venom for awhile when I saw her. (William told me she'd been going nuts and barking at something 'ages ago' then started acting funny). I started off to the nearest vets 35 miles away but after about 10 miles saw I was about out of gas. I thought about it and decided she was over the worst of it and by the time I drove all the way into town to get gas and then went on to Ritzville it would be another hour or more. I told the vet this and he advised just to giver her Benadryl.

The first dog I had bitten, I panicked and drove 80 miles an hour to Ritzville. I must add; she'd been bitten on the nose and was so swollen in her throat area I was worried that she wouldn't be able to breath. The second time she was bitten it wasn't as bad and by the third time it was nothing.

Also Brad's grandfather had a bull bitten on the nose and the bull died. That was like a hundred years ago and he never got treatment because there wasn't any.

I've never tried the vaccine because I think Bobby vaccinated her silly self.

Cheryl Ann said...

Arlene, that's interesting about the snake bites! The vaccine shot here is about $27.00, but the treatment if a dog isn't vaccinated is $750.00!!! There's a sidewinder loose somewhere on the ranch, but, with 4 dogs up there, it stays hidden. I've seen its tracks twice. Fortunately, it is away from the horses.

arlene said...

I have a feeling that our rattlesnakes are not as venomous as they are in other parts of the country.

When my fist dog was bitten on the nose, all she received was a shot at the vets and it was pretty cheap. The benadryl seemed to do the trick for Bobby.

Ever since I've had free range hens I haven't any snakes in my garden. Before the hens I was catching up to five rattlesnakes a year around the house. There is/was a rattlesnake den above the house in the rocks and these cute little babies were showing up at my house. Baby rattlesnakes are more deadly than older ones because they cannot control how much venom they inject like the older ones, so you get a full dose. The big ones can bite and not give you any venom. Also the older snakes seem pretty laid back because they seem to know they are bad mofu's. (If you know what I mean).

Watch out for that sidewinder. He's scared of being stepped on by the horses no doubt.