An Early Morning Stroll

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Before the sun came up this morning, I found myself wandering around our backyard with a little bit of spare time on my hands…

That hardly ever happens, especially this time of year. It seems like nearly every single morning I’m running like a madman to get the chores done and then rushing through some urgent gardening task or another, then sputtering my way through a cold shower, grabbing a handful of fresh produce for my lunch, and finally sprinting out the door so I can catch the bus on time.

This morning, however, things were markedly different. Continue reading “An Early Morning Stroll”

An Uninvited Dinner Guest

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It was a hot, dry, dusty August evening. The bright sun was beating down hard, and everywhere you looked, the land was parched and wilted and yellow.

I opened our back door and stepped out onto the patio to fire up the old grill and cook some dinner — but as soon as the door was open, I was met with an eerily familiar sound:

“CH-CH-Ch-Chhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!”

My first thought, illogical as it might be, was that our propane tank had sprung a major leak (I guess I just had grilling on the brain), but the more I listened to the strange hissing, the more the hairs on the back of my neck began to stand up, and I had the strangest feeling that I’d heard that sound before…

Then it dawned on me.

RATTLESNAKE! Continue reading “An Uninvited Dinner Guest”

A Good Dog

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I know this post is titled “A Good Dog” — and I know there’s a picture of our dog, Ryu, up at the top — but can I just talk about runaway chickens real quick?

I swear, there’s nothing in this world quite so disheartening as watching the feathery backside of an escaped chicken flapping away into the distance. It’s disheartening because if you’ve ever tried catching a runaway chicken, you know it’s gonna be at least 10 minutes of frantic chasing before you even come close to catching the dang thing. And that’s if you’re lucky!

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There’s a famous scene in Rocky II, where Rocky’s crusty old trainer, Micky, sets a hen loose and tells him to go chase it down:

“First, because I said so. And second, is because chicken-chasing is how we always used to train in the old days. If you can catch this thing, you can catch greased lighting!”

If truth be told, there’s been more than one occasion out here on the old homestead, when a chicken escapee (in every case a rooster) ended up taking a .22 caliber hollow-point to the head — because it was easier for me to just shoot him and throw him in the stew pot than it was to chase him down and put him back in the coop with the rest of the flock.

Unfortunately, sniping wasn’t an option a couple weeks ago, when TWO of our chickens got loose… Continue reading “A Good Dog”

Can’t Fix STUPID!

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MAAAAAaaaahhh!

I was jolted awake by a shrill, blood-curdling wail. My eyes snapped open. I jumped out of bed and ran to the open window, pulse racing, adrenaline pumping.

What in the world was that terrifying sound?!

I frantically surveyed the backyard, trying to figure out which animal was being murdered. But the only thing that met my eyes was a beautiful June sunrise. Perfectly peaceful and serene. The birds were twittering. The chickens were scratching contentedly. Everything appeared normal.

In fact, I was just about to shrug it off and go back to bed. Maybe I’d just been dreaming…

And then it came again:

MAAAAAaaaaahhh! Continue reading “Can’t Fix STUPID!”

Jumping Through Windows

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Back in my college days (some 10+ years ago) I lived in a small, out-dated basement apartment with 3 other guys. I’d never met a single one of them before moving in. And, to be quite honest, even after I got to know them, I kinda went out of my way to avoid spending time with them.

Don’t get me wrong, they were all pretty great guys. I certainly didn’t dis-like any of them. It’s just that, as a general rule, I’m not a very social person.

I would go home to my parents’ house almost every weekend (free laundry is the best!), and quite often, as soon as my homework was finished on any given week-night, I’d grab my backpack and take off to spend the night up in the mountains by myself — usually showing up to class the next day with grass stains on my knees, pine sap on my shoes, and smelling like a campfire. As a matter of fact, I later found out that my roommates usually referred to me as “Mountain Man Nate.” Continue reading “Jumping Through Windows”

Breath of the Wild

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I skidded to a halt at the top of Big Hill, and stood there, panting. Using the back of my palm, I wiped the sweat off my glistening forehead. Before I could even turn around and whistle, I was joined by my dog Ryu, who was also panting up a storm.

For the past half an hour, we’d been running as fast as our tired legs would carry us, and scrambling up whichever random deer trail caught our fancy, steadily zig-zagging our way to the top of our little backyard “mountain” — (if a 1.5 mile, 1,200 foot climb can really be considered a mountain) — and now we’d reached the top! Continue reading “Breath of the Wild”