Pine Gulch Forest Fire

I was on our north patio late afternoon/early evening in later July and was admiring borderline-storm-clouds over the Book Cliffs.  The Cliffs are the natural northern border of the valley our town (and environs) are located in.  I saw a … Continue reading

The PeaFowl Dynasty Finally Ends

There was once a large flock of peafowl.  Lots of p-cox, and lots of p-henz.

In/on a several-acre estate south of U.S. 50 in Orchard Mesa.  We moved to the neighborhood in 1992, next door to the Peafowl-Preserve.  There were many dozens of the critters – which roamed from their property-of-origin freely into and onto all adjoining properties.  They were pretty prevalent up to a quarter-mile in all directions – except U.S. 50 where the chances of crossing that 4-lane thoroughfare alive were not very good.

Kevin was the last, sole, surviving member of a tribe which at times had more than 150 members!  I will not detail the reduction, the downward-depopulation-trend, the gradual diminishment of the horde, but about 10 or so years ago he made our property his “home base.”  The flock had diminished to less than a dozen then, and the vulnerable females went extinct first.  Vulnerable?  When they’re caring for their chicks they are easy prey for coyotes and foxes and probably other predators.  A couple years ago there were just three peacocks remaining in the neighborhood.  One established his home base at a house directly opposite the pond from us, another stayed in a large undeveloped area to the east of us, and Kevin spent his nights high in a cottonwood tree next to our house.  Each of these three was fed by whoever happened to live the closest – I know the Kevin-to-the-east would show up for dinner at the house adjoining the open area  further east; the across-the-pond Kevin had to have been similarly cared-for; and “our” Kevin would, practically daily, either approach us when we were near the garage or come and look into our kitchen door when it was feeding time.

Last October a predator apparently surprised the “next-to-last Kevin”.  Ironically, the evidence of this was just below the tree “our” Kevin spends the night in.   This incident is detailed in

https://betunada.com/2019/10/11/death-and-resurrection-of-kevin-the-peacock-color-satyrday-derive-over-the-grand-mesa/

Yes, for most the day we thought a predator had gotten Kevin.  Turns out that “the other Kevin” must have been below Kevin’s tree when attacked.  I saw my neighbors digging in their yard, and presumed they were burying the hapless unfortunate prey.

This time (June 28) I was at home early Sunday afternoon.  Betty was not at home.  I heard Kevin squawk from the yard next door, one of our dogs became very alert and riled – the fur on her back bristling, one of our cats, also outdoors, fluffed up its tail – an indication of acute apprehension.  Kevin came running into our yard, circling the house to the front side, collapsed onto the lawn.  He lay as if asleep, wings out, the “full bloom” of tail-feathers spread out behind.  He was dead.  Betty came home shortly thereafter – I hoped Kevin would pop out of unconsciousness or whatever, but no.

We did our “ritualistic” burial in the desert, on a bluff overlooking the Gunnison River, marked by a sort of pyramid.  (I will add on to the marker each time I happen by.)

The “scare-crow” owl does not deter Kevin from getting atop the hot-tub ~

Blurry Kevin, caught mid-head-shake.

Apparently K is impressed by Betty’s gardening prowess (or lack of, prowess).

Kevin roosts on a favorite camping spot, while Annie gets the car.

Proof that the scare-(crow)-owl doesn’t work.

 

i suspect nobody is in control

For those of you who’ve seen “So I married an Axe-Murderer” — there’s the scene wherein the protagonist’s father (also played by Mike Myers) goes into another of his rants, wherein he talks of the REAL POWER which runs things … Continue reading

3 Round-ups ?

3 Round-ups

Livestock retrieval?  Bringin’ in the cows ?

Well, one cow.  Whatever …

This past weekend I went on a road-bike ride.  Parked the car at the intersection of Kannah and Purdy Mesa Roads.  I hadn’t been on a ride in that area for a while and intended to do a short loop – go up Kannah, switchback up Purdy Mesa, then back down to the car.  I had barely gone a mile and was passing another ranch to my left.  Kannah Creek Road hugs the right edge of the valley, with the irrigated bottom-properties to my left, and Kannah Creek pretty much at the toe of the slope on the other side.  It was (and is) calving season, and I get a kick of seeing the cows with their newborns.  A man was bringing hay to the cows in the fenced-in field.  As I passed, I saw him get off the tractor to round-up a couple cattle outside of the fenced-in area, but still within his property’s gate.  I continued up the road, enjoying the mother-offspring pairs in the field.  About a quarter-mile further I startled a little brown calf out on the road along the fence.  I debated about continuing to ride, but within a half-minute decided to go back to inform the rancher of this.  As I turned, the calf started running away – fortunately back towards the ranch gate.  I rode just fast/slow enough to continue chasing it, hoping it would turn into the ranch-gate.  It did.  The rancher looked up, gave me a wave of appreciation, opened the gate, and presumably a mother-child re-union ensued shortly thereafter.

 

A few years ago I was up above the location mentioned previously, riding my mountain-bike up the dirt-&-gravel Land’s End Road.  I passed an open flat area where people frequently set up camp – usually hunters (must have been the autumnal season).  I saw a few people out among their tents and trailers, and it appeared they were looking for something.  They weren’t looking at the ground, but scanning about, so it probably wasn’t a lost wallet.

A couple switch-backs later I’m feeling my usual borderline fatigue, eyes focused on the ground just ahead.  The road surface (hardly dusty due to recent-rain-congealed soil) was pretty optimal for maintaining and showing tracks — of vehicles, the occasional deer crossing the road, and horse hoof-prints with a snake-like line between the hoof-prints.  I put the proverbial two-&-two together, and deduced that a run-away horse had just been walking/trotting up the road, with the tether-rope dragging behind – as there were no vehicle marks more recent.  A turn or so later I saw the horse ahead, and somewhat surprisingly, did not startle him/her as I passed.  I got about 20 yards ahead, laid down the bike, and, again, was lucky that I was able to approach the horse without spooking it.  I grabbed the tether-rope and was able to lead it … where?  I was briefly overwhelmed by considerations as to how to go back down to the camp with the horse.  Abandon (hide) the bike?  Nah, I found a nearby wide spot on the road and securely tied the rope to a tree, but off the main roadway.

I then pedaled (coasted, actually) the half-mile or so down to the level meadow-y area and approached who seemed to be the “main man” of this temporary village.  In retrospect, I was just a little dismayed that he didn’t show even a semblance of appreciation – that this dirty sweat-soaked mountain-biker (of all incomprehensible personages, I suppose) would tell him that his horse had been (1) found, (2) tied-up, and (3) safe, about ½ mile up the road.

 

The year was either 1966 or ’67.  I was in high school, and, of course, living with the family in our house in Evergreen.  My mother’s sister, Babs, had come out from Florida to visit and stay with us for a week.  When it came time for her to leave, I was asked to drive Mom and Babs to the Denver airport.  Mom was going to reciprocate Babs’ visit and stay in Florida for the following week.  Evergreen is in the mountains not far from the big city and the airport was on the other side of Denver.

We went in my car.  The car was given to me by my grandfather, a 1956 Buick Century (special?) – it would be quite the classic collector’s item today.   I drove as safely and prudently as I could.  (Well, what do you expect? — my mother and my aunt.  Not my usual thrill-seeking moronic teenaged passengers).  I dropped both of them off at Stapleton (this was, as you might have surmised, many years before DIA).  Driving back home the 40+ miles, mostly along somewhat ‘back roads’ (this was a few years before the Interstates, and C-470) I felt … PARANOID.  I don’t think that werd (‘pear-annoyed’) was a commonly utilized vernacular back then … didn’t our present society become more-&-more paranoid during the psychedelic/marijuana-smoking era of the 1970’s?

Maybe this feeling was enhanced by the 6-pack of 3.2% Coors beer I had hidden in the car before the drive down.  Having seen Auntie Babs and my mom safely (?) off at the entrance to the airport, I opened the first can of beer to drive home.  Yeah, it had to have been in the summer, and it was hot, and I was thirsty.  I skirted what I (at that time) perceived to be the “main roads” so I could motor along noisily (& drinkingly) in my V-8 muscle car on more remote roads.

I gradually drove my circum(ad)venturous route around the north, and then west edge of the Denver metro area, until I could finally go up U.S. Hwy 40 towards home.  The paranoid feeling didn’t diminish at all – I wasn’t really doing anything wrong, nor driving too fast, and halted for most stop signs, but I continually worried that the police would stop me.

Back then the ‘shortcut-road’ to get to U.S. 40 to go up the mountains was an ill-advertised  gravel road between U.S. Hwy 6 to the US40 frontage road.  I knew that shortcut well.  Turning off from US6 onto the gravel road, I felt that I was finally free from whatever ghost or demon or unbenign spirit which had been haunting me.  I sped around a corner and had to stop in a hurry as there were four or so law-enforcement vehicles blocking the road!  I could hardly believe that the police had arranged such a large-scale ambush for me!  All the cars’ lights were flashing, and a couple policemen hurried over to my car.

“Could you park your car there?” one asked, pointing to a space between two of their vehicles.  I was, of course, stunned but quickly learned that a couple dozen horses had gotten out of a pasture further down the road – and were being herded towards us.  Our cars pretty much blocked the road between the fences on either side, and there was an open gate a few yards away.  I was asked/instructed to stand in an open space between two of the cars, and wave my arms to prevent any errant equines from slipping through.  A couple minutes later the herd came thundering toward us, followed by some cowboys on their horses.  As planned (and hoped-for) the runaways went through the gate, which was quickly closed, and our job was done.

One of the cops shook my hand and thanked me for being so quickly and surprisingly drafted for my involuntary public service.  Turned out to be an interesting and, sort of, fun day.

 

Christmas/Hanukkah in Portland (OR), 2019

This just-past Christmas (& Hanukkah) we spent a few daze in and around Portland, OR.  Our daughter and husband had “something” planned each day, and shortly after arriving we watched the grandsons display their climbing adeptness ~ Amazingly, no-one, not … Continue reading

1-million-centimeter bike race @ 10,000-feet elevation — nude, under the fool moon

Little is actually known about Rosco Betunada and even less is factual. At the age of 15, Mr. B. incorporated a regimen of distance-running into his direction-less and futile life – and now, many years later, Mr. B’s life remains … Continue reading

DEATH! and resurrection, of Kevin the Peacock (& “color Satyrday” d(e)rive over the Grand Mesa)

Last Satyrday I went outsighed to feed the dogs and commence the daily “outside” chores.  The dogs were really interested in signs and scents and such in the lawn to the north of the house, and … I noticed not … Continue reading