Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas Day Walk Along River Road

Christmas was warm and sunny, a good day for a walk along River Road where we live in Bozeman, Montana

Barkley needed a little reigning in at first

River Road follows the Gallatin River 

And runs along the pastures of the Kelly Ranch
There was a unicorn in the pasture by the stone house, looking for his lost horn

We walked five miles.  So we were glad to get back to the Double Ditch Ranch and build a fire in the fireplace

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

In praise of public works

The New Croton Dam was built 1892-1906 largely by stone masons who were brought over from southern Italy without their families.  Each stone weighs 2,500 - 3,500 lbs.
Instead of a device designed to hold 34 billion gallons

What was once Croton River is now 20 miles of Croton Lake
of fresh water for New York City,

As schoolboys we climbed up the spillway
think of the New Croton Dam as a sculpture.

The closer you get,

the more beautiful

it is

Friday, November 25, 2011

Deer murder at the Double Ditch Ranch

Tuesday morning I went out the back door to get the paper and there were some big feline tracks.  My size 13 boot is on the right. (these 1st 3 pictures were all taken the day after the attack so the evidence is a little fuzzy.)

Later that morning we found a flattened deer at the bottom of the ditch behind the house.  In the summer, the ditch looks like an English trout stream and it is full of trout.  But it's drained in the winter and the deer use it as a highway. 

  The victim looked like it had been flattened by a 500 lb. eagle.

Indeed a bald eagle showed up the next morning to help the magpies, bobcat, and fox clean up the leftovers. But he was a long ways short of 500 lbs. and he swore he was not the perp.  No way he could knock over a full grown deer.

Our rancher neighbors say, no question, it was a mountain lion.  Joe Axtell, whose ranch is next door, lost 35 sheep to a mountain lion two winters ago.  The mountain lion didn't eat the sheep, he just killed them for fun.  Joe and his neighbor, rancher Dan McReynolds, hunted it down and shot it.  They had it stuffed and it now stands in McReynold's living room.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Deer Stories at the Double Ditch Ranch

In the summer there were fauns in the pasture

And young bucks

Our first snow was in October

This morning we had our first real snow, a momma and her twins

Barkley and Kathryn loved it

It is very beautiful

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

We woke to a throttled scream on the Double Ditch Ranch

        The scream wasn't human, but close enough.  We startled up from our bed and ran to the back porch.  The villains strolled out from behind the cottonwoods wearing feathers.  Three sandhill cranes: Mom and Dad and the kid who was probably the one that was yelled at, following behind.

 Maybe they saw us, watching from the back porch.  Whatever, they took off to wake up some other ranch.

There were a lot of deer last night.  Bow and arrow season started last week but we're still more than a month away from gun season.  These fawns are still innocent of winter.

These young bucks are horny teenagers, showing off to the pretty young does in by the fence.

Something startled them and they were off in a flash of tails.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Raptor Rescue at the Double Ditch Ranch

Maybe the bird was dazzled by the rainbow. Or just missed a chickadee and dove down the chimney at its usual 40 MPH

We heard it in the fireplace the next morning and called Raptor Rescue.  We expected a SWAT team with helmets, bullet proof vests and shields.  But it was mild mannered Cynthia who showed up, armed with a towel.
Cynthia dove headfirst into the fireplace
"It's OK," she beamed.  It was a Kestrel, the smallest falcon on the continent.  Only weighed around 4 ounces. Not much bigger than a sparrow.
Cynthia stretched one wing then the other and felt the raptor's legs and feet for broken bones.
It wasn't hurt just filthy from a night in the fireplace
Cynthia let it go.  "It won't do that again," she said.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Dog is my Navigator

                The dog and I cleared out of South Bend, Indiana and drove to Rochester where I took some shots of the house where John Logan, of A Mighty Fool Stunt, grew up.  It was only 4PM the dog said go for it so we drove 300 miles to get to the great Commerce Street Bar & Grill in Plankinton, South Dakota.
                 But it was closed for two weeks while Chef Ted was in France. 
                "Hit the road," the dog said. "I'll navigate."

                                                                                   The next thing I know we're in The Badlands. 

 "No sweat," the dog said, "I''ve been here before. "

Monday, June 20, 2011

Barkley Stays in Beagle Heaven.

This is where Barkley stayed while we went to my college reunion

  Clover Hill Farm is a beautiful horse farm next to Williams College with a grand view of the Berkshires in all directions.

Carolyn Henderson, who owns Clover Hill Farm said, "Oh there's always room for another beagle.  She has four. 
Barkley, the dog, slept with her and Snoopy, Lucy, Charlie, and Ladybug. Under the covers. $15 a night

This is where we stayed.  Normally $59 a night, the motel gave us their special reunion weekend rate; $159 a night. 

Monday, June 6, 2011

These sweet little towns: Miracle Cure at The Commerce Street Grill

You never know what the road is gonna serve up
After lunch in Sundance, Wyoming, Barkley had a pee in the park and seemed just fine.  (stay with us it gets better.)

After we crossed the Missouri river Kathryn had a hunch about Plankinton, South Dakota, and we pulled off the highway.  Look closely and you'll see the last of the wedding party carrying on behind the Ponderosa. 

So we pulled up in front of the Commerce Street Grill.  A place you might miss walking down the street. And is worth, in the words of the Guide Michelin, a journey.

Barkley commenced to shake, cough, and gasp for air.  (The little dog had disappeared from our locked hotel in the morning (still a mystery how he got out) and who knows what happened.)
This coughing and shaking goes on for a long and worrying while. Siezure, burr up his nose, cardiac event. Dr. Quack is no use at all.
A lanky 6'6" cowboy, looks like a former tight end, strolls over, kneels over Barkley and places his fingers on the dog's spine, just above and below the dog's shoulders and Barkley is transformed. Cured.  Happy.  Turns out the lanky gent is a BEST chiropractor of a special kind, he owns the restaurant the chef Ted Jude is a former Fairmont group chef and we have a world class dinner with fine wine.
After dinner Barkley had a stroll in the empty lot next door and we were all just fine

Friday, June 3, 2011

We're not in Palo Alto anymore

We sold our house in California, took the money and ran.
We stayed in Motel 6s along the way because they're cheap and allow dogs.  The dog, we learned, is a terrible driver
We arrived on May 26, our ninth wedding anniversary. There was hail, 50 mph winds and rain.  A bighorned sheep would have turned back
The Storey Hereford Ranch cattle stopped by to say hello
We are in the great caldera of a Karakatoa
Our new neighbors are curious
Let me know if you know what this red throat, dagger beak bird is
The robin on her nest was worried
Kathryn is very happy
We leave for Williamstown, MA in a couple of hours