Tip for the day

Isn't it strange that evolution would give us a sense of humor? When you think about it, it's weird that we have a physiological response to absurdity. We laugh at nonsense. We like it. We think it's funny. Don't you think it odd that we appreciate absurdity? Why would we develop that way? How does that benefit us? I suppose if we couldn't laugh at things that don't make sense we couldn't react to a lot of life. I can't tell if that's funny or really scary. Calvin

Don’t struggle to change. Struggle strengthens what you are trying to change.
- Cheri Huber

A day without laughter is a day wasted.
- Charlie Chaplin

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Sunday, June 3, 2012


Invisible snake

This is another old one, I'm still updating my blog and cleaning it up.

It's almost hunting season here and I am pretty depressed about not being able to go this year. I just had knee surgery. I started thinking about all my memorable hunting trips and wrote this.

I found a rattler in the back yard a couple years ago. I chopped off its head, put it in a box, put the box in another box and put the boxes in a trash bag so the trash men don't grab it. I don't like snakes. I don't even like pictures of snakes. Everyone tells me they are Gods creatures and tell me about ecology and their right to be here, inform me of the odds of being bit by one and blah blah blah. I don't care. I don't like snakes. What in the hell was God thinking! (That was kind of a religious joke, if you missed it.) Here in the high desert mountains of Colorado, I have seen more rattlesnakes than any other kind of snake. I've never been bitten and don't plan on it. For me the only good snake is a dead snake. Yes, I know how that sounds.

My friend Buzz and I hunt in places that have lots of snakes. We go where the elk are. Or at least Buzz thinks they're there. 

Archery season is early here and the temp is usually pushing ninety by the afternoon, so I'm always worried about snakes. The snakes are denned up by the time winter gun season rolls around so other hunters laugh at my fear of snakes. I always warn them about snow snakes, and tell them about my grandaddy killing one during a blizzard in about 1930.

I advise them to take a hair rope with them next winter because snow snakes are timid and no one knows if they are poisonous. They laugh nervously and return to their beer. They may not believe me but I can make them think I believe me. I've seen more than one snake bite kit in a persons vehicle after having heard my yarns.
Buzz is a crummy hunter. He never ever shuts up. That's why I hunt with him. I on the other hand, am an amazing hunter. I know just how to stay away from elk. I hunt with Buzz. I'm old now and mostly go just to see the animals. I have all the racks I want and I hate killing things. I love the meat and I love finding them, but I really hate cleaning them and dragging them out, even so it's my job to do something macho so I can drink beer, lie and play poker with the guys. That's why I hunt with self-bows. (a hand made bow made of one piece of wood or one held together by sinew, very primitive, and very little power or accuracy compared to today's bows.) It's cool because people think you are too good of a hunter to use modern equipment. 

I carry some aspirin in a nitro glycerine heart medicine bottle in case Buzz accidentally falls off a cliff arrow first and kills an elk that happens to be wandering by. 
I would just pull the bottle out, kind of grab my chest and say, "I better take a couple of these nitro pills before we start carrying it out." That way he would feel guilty and not let me carry anything. Needless to say I haven't had to use it yet.

Buzz cracks me up. He takes hunting very seriously. He spends entire weekends tuning his arrows and new fangled glass laminated longbow. He practices for hours and spends more than my annual income on archery gizmos and camouflage. He washes all his clothes in no-scent soap. He cleans my truck with it every hunting season. He sprays all kinds of scent killer stuff on his boots and clothes before we go in the forest, lights up a cigarette and says "Lets go get'um grampa." Unnoticed, I rolled my eyes. They got stuck in the back of my head for a minute. When he looked at me  I just nodded my head and smiled.

On a slow day (they're  all slow days with Buzz) 
Buzz will regularly look at my feet and yell "Snake!", where upon I invariably do my snake dance which consists of jumping ten feet straight up in the air and somehow teleporting about ten yards away.  I think it's the only reason he hunts with me. 
Buzz is a physicist. He calibrates radiation for medical equipment. I have no idea how that makes him a physicist. He doesn't have fuzzy hair or smoke a pipe. He says watching me helps him understand the laws of physics better. He also claims to have improved my reflexes by about two hundred percent. Some where in physicist heaven Albert Einstein is smacking himself on the forehead.

One day he'd made me jump quite a few times and I was frankly getting pretty cranky about it. I'm older than Buzz and a lot of times when Buzz took after a trail I'd tell him I would go around the other side of the mountain or whatever, and then instead I'd go back to camp and eat something or take a nap, so that's what I did that day. Sitting in a lawn chair at camp, I had gotten a pine martin to almost start eating out of my hand by throwing crumbs of donuts at him and we had become pretty good friends. I named him boogie because he could climb faster than any animal I've ever seen. A pine martin is about three feet long and very thin. It's kind of like a ferret but bigger. They are usually only found in Wisconsin, but I've seen seen some critters  that look just like them here in Colorado so I assume that's what Boogie was. It was a very special treat.

Buzz came back to camp with, Surprise! nothing but blisters. He took off his boots, grabbed a donut, and asked what I'd been doing. He declined some of my excellent creek coffee. He never really got the knack of straining the pebbles with his teeth I guess.

I told him I fell and decided to come back to camp. Concerned, he asked how I fell. I explained I was climbing this cliff, when I noticed a vine in my hand. After a second or two I recognized it as what was supposed to be holding me up and then I shot back down to the bottom, jarring my old, bad leg, "You know the one that hurts every year? Well, I limped back to camp and put it up in the air and put some ice on it and I feel considerably better." I tell him something similar every year, sometimes twice and every year he buys it. Physicist my butt! He's dumber than a Yugo full of anvils.

I started to talk about snakes and I asked him if he had ever seen a furred snake. He started laughing, but I stuck to my guns and told him about my grandaddy killing one in 1931 the year after he killed the white snow snake and how they were very rare and almost extinct nowadays. I think he almost believed in snow snakes too. About that time Buzz made a phhhhbbt noise, set his donut down on the stump next to him and sure enough, Boogie darted out to snatch his donut off the stump.

It took me a while to get Buzz out of the truck. (Why would you lock the doors to get away from a snake?) After a while he started acting peculiar. It was nice to have him back to normal again. 

I'm sure he knows about the speed of light and laws of gravity better than Einstein now. He didn't bother me with snake sightings after that. It was a great year, we didn't get anything.

This is really a corn snake,
but I wonder what would 
happen If I told my friends
 it was a snow snake?
These are the size rattler I see the most. They are almost invisible, twice as venomous as a full grown one and don't make enough noise to react fast. Many get to be six feet. I don't worry much about the big ones. They warn you off.  My grandad had a big manilla envelope marked "Rattlesnake eggs: Do not open." It contained a contraption made of rubber bands and paperclips that made a rattling noise when you opened the envelope. I lost a few friends showing them that envelope.

This is Mike Hays, my friend and owner of Black Canyon Bows.
I think he makes the greatest bows in the world.
I have owned about forty bows and have shot about two hundred.
I have a bow he made eleven years ago and have never found a bow to match it. It's just like the one he's holding. They are rugged too, I ran over mine with my truck once and it didn't phase it. I have had two other bows that disintegrated when I strung them. Much more expensive bows I might add. If you want a bow, call Mike.  

This is unsolicited, He doesn't even know this is here. 
PS he just made me a very light fast recurve bow I can pull. He just gave it to me. 


  1. Well, maybe you can just catch lightening flies this season.

    1. Anything is better'n hunting with a gun.

  2. Great write! Tahnx. Don't like snakes either, and those rattlers look real mean.
    Not too happy about the dead bear, I must say, but then, to each his own. Wouldn't think of killing one with an arrow for sure! At least a 303, or 7.62.... anyway.

    1. Actually bears here are pests. I can't tell you how many times our trash has been ripped up, or horses scared off. If there are too many they start coming into town. The licenses are all limited. If we didn't kill some there would be famine and it is a painful death. We would never kill an endangered species like a wolf. There are very very few licenses for mountain goat, lions,bighorn sheep, and moose, and they cost a fortune. You can only draw for one every eight years and the odds of getting a draw are very low. I think they only issue about twenty sheep licenses a year. Believe me, if bears were scarce no one would hunt them and hunters are the only true conservation supporters here, everyone else here just bitches. No one but us puts up any money. I'm less happy about a billion chickens packed together and cattle crammed on one lot. Besides I don't really try to get anything any more, but I still love archery.

  3. Really great post you had me to the very end. Until I saw the picture of the lass with the bear. I got teary-eyed and wanted to bitch-slap her. I guess I don't have the heart or stomach for hunting

    1. OK, OK, I get it. took off the bear. Do you only have Teddy Bears there? In Africa, no one seems to really understand what bears are like.

    2. Please do not censor your blog on my behalf. I'm just one person's opinion. WTF do I know. You put whatever you like on your blog, dude. Really, i didn't mean to offend

    3. Actually the leaders of the hunting community recommend that hunters not even wear camouflage in public and to be sensitive in all situations. I forget sometimes. These are great people and friends and I got defensive.

    4. No need to lose the bear pic - I don't care either way. We don't have natural bears in Africa - more's the pity.

    5. Ah well, I've found a couple of friends like snakes now. I didn't think any one really liked snakes. Doh. I'm doing my next article on clubbing baby seals.

    6. So this cute little cuddly white baby seal walked into this club.....


  4. I LOVE snakes but even I shuddered at the picture of them in the large den.

    1. I imagine you don't live in a desert prairie filled with rocky outcroppings you walk through all the time, having to watch where you put your foot. I've found them in my crawlspace.
      I see rattlers so often on the highway that I won't even chase a hubcap into a bar ditch.

      Actually not that many people die from rattle snake bite any more. There are so many here they have pretty much ruined me and made me somewhat bias against all snakes. I'm sure there are many cool ones, like the corn snake above you can get in pet store. My brother has lost a couple dogs from bites, but dogs are stupid and harass them.

      I remember grandad used to throw bull snakes in the silo's to take care of rats.

  5. My father has had both his knees replaced. He's 73 and is running again. I'll wish you the same kind of speedy and full recovery.

    But I won't wish any of your snakes dead. I have loved snakes since I was a little girl and my parents had to DRILL it into my head that, no, I could not have the rattlers as pets.

    Just the other day, I pissed off some old timer in a beat up Dodge with an itchy trigger finger when I was busy ushering a 5-foot bull snake across the road, thus preventing him from his sick satisfaction of killing it. I hate deliberate, purposeless cruelty. It makes my blood boil and my own trigger finger itch.

    But I also believe that people who hate snakes are responding so some deep, ancient fear. My husband has it. First time I stopped him from killing a rattler on our front porch, I thought he would leave me. But now he has gotten the hang of relocating them, although he shivers and shakes for about an hour afterward. I welcome them in an area where Hanta Virus reigns and squirrels wreck the plumbing.

    Nature's pest control.

    1. I make fun of me being fat and hating diets but I have lost twelve pounds in the last three weeks and plan on losing a hundred more. I gained about sixty laying down for a year or so. I would kill to run again. My knees are actually pretty good but the surgery activated a type of calcium crystal gout that flares up if I use them too much. The crystals can tear up the ligaments and muscles and there is no cure or preventative like regular gout.