Saturday, October 22, 2011


Occasionally my dad would purchase a cow or two at the local cattle auction to increase our dairy herd.  One time he bought a young cow that produced a lot of milk but had a mean disposition.   We guessed she had been abused by a former owner since she plain didn’t like people.  We kids learned she was easily threatened if we carried a stick, even a small one.

In the spring new calves arrived almost daily and I loved the new babies.  Although our cows were protective of their shiny black and white toddlers most of them allowed us to pet and handle them.  So when I was helping bring the cows into the corral one evening I was attracted to a new calf.

Suddenly I realized this one belonged to our cranky cow.  She lowered her head and charged.  I don’t think I even touched the ground as I shot across the barnyard.  Ornery was right behind me as I rolled under the fence.  I don’t remember screaming but my mom heard me and was out of the house and dusting me off before I knew what had happened.  We tried to gentle down our grouchy cow but Dad finally had to sell her.

There was another time my mother came sprinting in response to my scream.  Not all our fields were well fenced to contain the cattle.  Some were surrounded by a single strand of barbed wire, but that wire was charged with a pulse of electricity.  The cows and the rest of us, including the dog, had a healthy respect for a one-wire fence.  Accidently touching the wire would give a surprise shock we didn’t forget.

One evening as I was bringing in the cows from pasture I decided I could jump a big puddle across the path.  I missed the jump and instinctively stretched out my hand to steady myself only to have it close around that electric fence.  Standing in water must have really increased the buzz because I let out a yell that brought Mom in a hurry from a hundred yards away.  I had recovered from the shock by the time she arrived.  I think I was more surprised at how fast she could  run.

Illustrations are watercolor pencil on paper from my sketch book.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Monday, October 17, 2011


Continued from previous post:

While the guys played in the mud, moss and fish slime I had plenty of time to
 kick back, enjoy the scenery and observe the local residents. 

The morning mist gradually melted off the mountains, just recently dusted with snow.

Plenty of birds came and went.---I think these are coots.

Seagulls cruised the vicinity, probably hoping there would be hand-outs, 
left overs or tossed trash fish.

Loons swam by, their familiar call whistling across the water.

I was thoroughly enjoying the romantic sound until Beavis quoted the line from 
"On Golden Pond" in a quavery Katherine Hepburn voice, 
"The loons! The loons, Norman! They're welcoming us back!"

When the fish stopped biting at the first location we drove to another site.
DH pointed out the "eagle tree" and sure enough there was a big, dark
golden eagle perched there. 

He was giving us quite a stare down. 

After it snows the guys come back to this same place to ice fish.
Last winter there was a bald eagle the guys named Charley 
who helped himself to the trash fish that got tossed on the ice.

I was sitting in my camp chair waiting for some fishing action when I saw what
I thought was a small boat moving through the water about a hundred yards away.
When it reached the shore I could see through my zoom lens that it was a huge

bull moose with a giant rack of antlers.  He walked up the shore

...and wandered off into the trees.  Wow!

Now I'm trying to talk myself into tagging along on an ice fishing trip
so I can get my own pictures of Charley.  The last time I went with them
I nearly froze solid, but I really, really want some good photos
 of a bald eagle.  I'm going to have to think about that some more.