Thursday, February 26, 2015

One's enough...

One summer the Cowman and I setup cowcamp in a fifth wheel on a ranch in SE Oregon.  The ranch had a small but nice RV park in the middle of it.  Most of the RVers were there for the summer, so everyone watched out for everyone else.  There was a big center lawn area with a bonfire pit  and a club house with laundry facilities, and  hot showers. 
I met a couple of knappers there and they showed me where to find obsidian and how to knap obsidian knives and arrowheads.  I never came close to being as good at it as they were, but it was interesting to learn. I still have a few of my points.

Just over the ridge from the park was a small draw ringed by pines and Junipers. A tiny creek wound through the draw and was surrounded by a stand of Quakies.  Many with carvings on them.  There must have been a homestead there at some time as a few pieces of foundation from a log cabin could be seen.

After a long day in the saddle I would often take Max, the wonder cow dog, and a rifle and go there to explore. Or just read if there was enough daylight left.  
painting by Carrie L Ballantyne

 On one of my trips around I came on some big nests up in the pines. When I got back to camp I asked the Cowman what had made them. "woodrats," he explained. 
Thereafter we always opened the hood on the pickup before we took off in the mornings to make sure they hadn't made nests in the engine overnight. 
 One night as the Cowman and I were playing a game of Cribbage we heard a small scratching noise under the sink, damn mice.  We thought we had done a fair job of sealing up the trailer so no mice could get in, but after that the Cowman got some high powered glow in the dark poison and put it in a bait station under the sink. No more scratching, or signs, so we kinda forgot about it. 

After one very long day, as we sat at the dinner table playing the four millionth cribbage game, an unholy noisy ruckus came from under the sink.  The Cowman signaled for quiet, tiptoed over to his boots, grabbed one and headed toward the door under the sink.  He pulled open the door, and there was the damn biggest woodrat. He must have been chowing down on the bait, cause he positively glowed green.  He took one look at the Cowman and launched himself at him.  So, there is the green glowing woodrat attacking the Cowman, while the Cowman is swinging his boot, trying to get the upper hand. Round and round they went, with neither having much success other than to wreck havoc on the kitchen. Max who had been sleeping by the door came to stand by me and watch the show.  Finally the woodrat made a mad dash back under the sink and escaped back outside through a small hole in the wall.  The Cowman gave me the steely eyed look, and said "don't you dare laugh". I busted up laughing.
We never saw another that summer, I guess one was enough.


  1. I laughed my ass off with that one. Thanks!

  2. Great story -- and things like that are the very marrow of life.

  3. ha-- great story!

    And having just pulled three dead squirrel babies out from under my car hood, I can attest to the VERY wise decision to leave your pick-up hood up overnight...

  4. You made me dig out my dictionary with a few words. So, what does the babe have to do with wood rats? And I also laughed my A$$ off.

  5. Such a funny story. Did not know they attacked and who knew they could glow?
    That is one amazing looking hat and painting.

  6. Great story BJ. My sister and her husband were driving in downtown Portland when they smelled something burning and pulled over to find a rat's nest had been built and caught on fire. Set off a round of trapping with vigor.

  7. ROTFLMAO! I can imagine... Good thing he didn't pull a .45 and cap that woodrat...

  8. Now I feel even better about trapping my mouse. If left alone he could have grown into a similar monster as your wood rat. Talk about nightmares. (I would have laughed at the Cowman too.)

  9. When hubby and were newlyweds, we live in a very old house that had tin ceilings. At night, it sounded like a herd of elephants stampeding above us. Turned out to be a mama mouse and her brood.

  10. I do not know what these are and glad I have never met them, but now in a week or so I will have to post my Florida rat story.

  11. That is a great story and the painting is stunning. Having lived all but 10 years of my life in the city due to my work - I enjoy you those memories.

  12. BWBANDY: Thanks.

    MARCIAMAYO: You are most welcome!

    LL: Memories of laughter are the best kind, I think.

    JENNY: Get that trapline going...

    ODIE: So, what were the words you looked up? The painting depicts the style of dress indicative of the region. Laughter is good for the soul.

    ARKANSASPATTI: Thanks, I like her paintings. I have a similar vest & wild rag, but covet that hat...

    CELIA: Portlandia is always an adventure in the human condition. Last time I was there...the naked men on bicycles were riding...

    OLDNFO: Glad you enjoyed it!

    GRANNYANNIE: You did good!

    CHICKENMOM: Been there, done that, don't care to have it happen again.

    TABOR: I look forward to your Florida rat tale...

    BRIGID: There were a few times when I lived in the city. One of my promises to myself: Never again, I require open spaces.