It’s been awhile since I wrote anything.  I’ve been busy as hell.  But I find myself with some time this evening to tell you a short (ish) story about the rattlesnake situation out here in the prairie lands. 🙂  (Keep on reading this one John… it’s a good one) 😉
    I hadn’t given much thought to the fact that the prairie is loaded with rattlesnakes.  Well… it is. Bwahahaha. XD So my buddy and I are in the barn one day when we hear the distinct rattling from somewhere in between us.  There isn’t a lot of room to move around in the barn, and it’s pretty messy after years of not being touched.  So we carefully moved away and tried to look for the snake without endangering ourselves too much.  We had already relocated a few young snakes this season, but sometimes, they are in places where it’s unsafe to let them live.  Well, we found him in the middle of the pipes too far away for us to grab him with the snake grabber.  Well… we couldn’t leave him in the barn because of the danger.  Don’t get me wrong, all rattlers are dangerous, but the two types we have out here are no joke.  Western Diamondback and Prairie Rattlers.  They have both Neurotoxic and Hemotoxic venom.  You have about 2 hours to get treatment if you get bit… otherwise you’re pretty screwed.
    Being the awesome farm boys we are, we fashioned a long hook so we could scoop him out of the pipe and dispatch him.  Well, you know how farms have a lot of old equipment on them?  There just so happens to be an old broken tractor in the way so we could get him with the hook, but when pulling it out, it would get hung up… putting us in pretty decent danger.  Add to the fact that I’m holding the flashlight and can’t see the damn thing so I keep moving a bit when my buddy needs the light.  The snake was pissed!!  I would love to claim I’m so awesome that I wasn’t scared at all… but I was shaking pretty bad.  This was the first grown rattler that I had ever dealt with.  The babies aren’t so bad.  A rattler can strike up to 2/3 of it’s body length, so a one footer isn’t too scary… but when dealing with a three or four footer… it’s a little different. LOL
    So here we are, trying to figure out what to do when my inner redneck shines through.  “Hey… you got bird shot for your shotgun?” I ask.
    “Yep.  Guess I’m gonna go grab it.” replies my buddy.  And oh how the fun started.  I’m sure you all know how strong steel is right?  Well imagine shooting a shotgun into a steel pipe that’s six inches wide, and about 20 feet long.  My buddy comes back out and shines the flashlight into the pipe.  “There he is.”  Then he turns to me and says,”You might want to plug your ears.”  They were already plugged.  He raised the muzzle, took aim, and BLAM!!!  The sound was deafening even with my ears plugged.  “Son of a bitch!!”  he screamed when he looked again.  “The bastard is still alive!!”
    I’m not sure how much you know about the physics of birdshot, but ponder this for a moment.  Have you ever skipped a stone on water?  What about 30 or 40 stones at once?  Well, bird shot isn’t enough to damage the steel, so if the angle of the shot drives it into the steel, it bounces… at about 427 meters per second. So here we now had a very pissed off snake, who was probably reeling from the concussion… but he didn’t take one hit from the shot.  What a lucky snake.  If I got shot at, I can say with certainty that I would get hit with almost every piece of shot in the damn bullet. LOL So he shot again… and again… and again.  If he wasn’t so pissed off, I would have been rolling on the floor laughing.  My buddy is one of the best shots I have ever seen, so to see him miss so bad, and get so pissed was frigging hilarious!!
    After five shots, he finally took of it’s head… and 3/4 of it’s body.  It was a scary ordeal, but of course, as we leave the barn, and walk a short way out into the field… we find another snake.  This was much easier to get rid of.  I grabbed it with the grabber, and he lopped off it’s head. It turns out that it’s much easier dealing with a snake when you’re out in the open and not in some super close quarters. Now… being that we live on a ranch in the middle of nowhere, we don’t like to waste things.  I had done some studying on how to cure snake skin, and I had always wanted to try eating snake.  The grilled snake was amazing, but the skin curing is a story for another time.  I might write a post on that shortly, as I’m at the end of my day and I’m not too tired yet.
    I hope you have enjoyed the story.  There should be plenty more of them as I find the time to write more often.  I’ve had a few cool adventures out here, and I’m sure there will be many more.  🙂  I’ll leave you with a shot of the snake on the grill we made, and a shot of Ranch hand Grinning Bear. 🙂
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   Nothing quite like some fresh grilled snake. 😉
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I think the straw hat suits me. 🙂

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My view of the sunset when looking West

     As I sit in the chair and watch the beautiful sunset, my mind looks back on the last two weeks of my life.  My body is sore, there are aches in places I didn’t even know I had, my hands are becoming calloused again.  I have learned many things in my short time here… and there are many more to learn.  But I have noticed one thing… it’s quiet.  Not devoid of sound kind of quiet, but the quiet that comes with being away from cities.  There is a highway that intersects the land I’m on, but being a city boy, I’m used to the sound of cars.  But our nearest neighbor is two miles away.  I have always wanted that kind of seclusion.  

     I awake in the morning, and step outside to watch the sunrise and listen to the animals prattle on about whatever it is they talk about.  Sometimes I cry because of the beauty of it all.  Have you ever seen something so beautiful that it made you cry?  It’s actually a good feeling.  Not like that crappy feeling when you cry because you’re hurting.  After watching the animals for awhile, I have breakfast and get to work.  Work could be anything.  It could be fixing the barb wire fence where some jackass drove through it, remodeling a room in the 130 year old house, or digging a big ass hole for the start of a foundation (btw, holes are dug with a shovel here for most part) LOL
     There are many things we do here, and there will be more as we get the place up and running.  During my spare time I can usually be found learning some type of new skill.  I have taken a liking to survival skills.  I have learned how to make fire from multiple different starting points. IE: magnesium stick, flint and steel, etc…  I’m learning and practicing some tracking skills, and I have learned (in theory) how to gut, skin, and cut a rabbit up for food… and to tan the hide.  (If I’m going to hunt rabbit, there will be no wasted part)  I haven’t hunted rabbit yet, but eventually the time will come.  I also know how to skin and cook rattlesnake.  They’re all plentiful out here.  I am also learning the different leeching processes for removing the tannins from acorns so I can learn to make acorn a part of my diet.  The natives used to fight over some of the old white oaks because the health benefits were so great. 🙂
     It’s not all roses though.  There are downsides.  There are Coywolves out here.  That is a wolf and coyote hybrid, that are pretty much all the bad things about the two animal wrapped up into one.  They will attack you if they get the chance.  So you need to be very aware if you’re outside of the house at night.  It’s nice being far removed from neighbors… but that also makes us vulnerable.  There have been times when people just come on our property.  Some are harmless, and then there are some like when the two guys were looking at my bosses truck, and one was trying to distract my boss.  I miss my son more than ever. (He is doing well though)  And let’s face it… there’s no way I’m going to meet a woman out here on the ranch.  I’d have to go into the city if I wanted to meet a woman… but I’ve got too much on my plate already. LOL  I’ll live though. 
     I better get outside, as I’ve already missed the sunrise while writing this.  Have a great day everyone. 🙂
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The Ranch House
 
For as long as I can remember, I have always wanted to live on a ranch or farm.  I remember going to visit my Grandfather as a child.  He was a “Man’s man” as they say.  He knew how to do everything.  Cook, hunt, build things (everything from supplies such as wood, metal, stone, etc)  He knew everything I’ve always wanted to know.  Well, I grew up, graduated high school, met a wonderful woman, and had kids.  One day everything went to shit.  I have gone on this rant before so I won’t bore you with it again.  But needless to say, I ended up moving in with my father’s brother, who married my mom after she left my dad.  We was messed up from years of drugs and drink.  

     Well, some time ago, my ex wife (whom I have a good relationship with) asked if I would be okay with her and my youngest son moving overseas for awhile.  After a long decision making process, I decided that I couldn’t let him miss the opportunity to see another country.  Well, time went on, I kept working, chasing my tail, trying to keep up with my bills and the like.  My uncle got an abscess in his tooth, and even after seeing the dentist and getting antibiotics, it kept getting worse.  He wouldn’t go to the doctor.  He ended up 
dying a horrible death.  The tale of his death is another story; which I plan to write at some point.  Shortly after, I was informed that my youngest son wouldn’t be moving overseas, but he would be moving about 2100 miles away.  He was moving to the other coast.  I was, and am, glad for his opportunity, but I miss him dearly.
     I was given an opportunity from a lifelong friend to move to his ranch, and be a ranchhand.  What kind of moron would deny himself the opportunity when it finally presented itself?! LOL  I have been on the ranch now for about a week, and every day has brought me new lessons, skills, and a sense of accomplishment that I haven’t had in a long time.  This ranch was left to it’s own for about 50 years before my friend came here.  There are no animals yet, except for the cattle that someone pays to use our land to let them graze. There are very few fruit trees left.  My days so far have been spent doing everything from fixing barb wire fences, building foundations for structures, and learning construction and finishing techniques while helping to remodel the living room.  The old phrase, “You learn something new every day” really applies out here on the ranch.
     I don’t know what will become of my blog.  I haven’t had the inspiration to write lately, and when I try and force it, nothing comes of it.  I have a lot of work to do here, and while I have tons of time, I don’t usually feel like writing after 12 or 14 hours of work in a day.  I have awakened early this morning to write this quick piece and let you all know that I’m alive and well… and living the dream. 🙂
 
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The Lake on the Property