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October Observations

Story ID:6490
Written by:Kathe M. Campbell (bio, contact, other stories)
Story type:Only Here
Location:Butte Montana USA
Year:2010
Person:Granny Hook
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October Observations

October Observations

October Observations

October Observations

October Observations
by Kathe Campbell

It seems today, Halloween, October 31st, is an ideal time to round up my October adventures, if not for your pleasure, but maybe some of my family will peruse the events and mention aloud . . . "Wow, I never knew that about Granny Hook this fall!"

I luxuriated in the first brilliant sun-drenched days of October by lounging on my 7,000 ft. mountain deck in shorts and a tee engaging in a favorite pastime, checking out the wildlife. A pack of wolves were spotted over at the spires just a few miles away, making me mighty nervous. The donkeys and I glanced the beauty of a cougar trotting down the ravine as though it had a destination in mind, hopefully not my duck pond. Snorting and nostrils flaring, my longears served up a wet storm, like the time my champion black jennet (female donkey) tangled with a bear.

The neighbors warned of another black bear skulking around in need of clawing through and scarfing up almost anything from anywhere before hibernation. This young sow seemed brassy and undaunted by we fellow woodsy residents, breaking into a recently closed cabin and causing havoc. She had handily peeled back siding and shingles and ransacked what was left in cupboards. My garbage is stowed in my tack room over at the log garage, but it occurs to me I should have heavier doors. Right now I'm so happy with a mended fence or two so expertly reinvented by granddaughters and boyfriends. It was materializing as another sit up and take notice October.

Warm weather had finally arrived in the seventies after another cool, wet summer in Montana. My evening vespers begging a perfect Indian summer, Mother Nature had graciously come through. I'm still watching mulie deer fawns grunting and grating their brand new stubby antlers just like the old October warriors primed for battle, red red robins bob bob bobbin' along after a second hatch, and of course that pair of coyotes that regularly feign midnight howls as if they were a half dozen. Much of the wildlife just sets my cork a bobbin' but they were here first - I guess.

The pesky gophers went down under mid-August, and this year I missed the usual young gray and white feathered raptors with feet tipped like tiny daggers sitting atop my fences anticipating lunch. They're getting adept at turning varmints into a prey's worst nightmare. The kitties and my beloved male Keeshond are standing at pond's edge lapping up savory duck soup while their indoor water bucket remains fresh and cold from the well. There's no pleasing some.

I said good-bye to my lovely big curved log gate structure that Pops built thirty years ago. She succumbed to a parade of bugs boring into the logs and doing her in. I told my family they must come soon to knock her over before she fell on me, or God forbid, they could set me out beside the road in a Hefty bag. They didn't waste much time toppling her over, setting new posts in cement, then rehanging the double gates. Threatening death sometimes pays.

Soon after bow season opened, my darlin' daughter rings me to say she bagged her bull elk. About time I tell her as she is one of Montana's women archery field champions. Not my cup of tea, for this seventy-eight-year-old gal did duty as camp cook serving up the family's fill of wild game over many years. Furthermore, lest an ugly divorce, I ruled that duck hunting was strictly taboo by anyone in our clan.

Now and then native mallards skid on their heels across my pond to steal a few bites of cob, this year no exception. A slightly built rather colorless male flew in for a bath and make goggly eyes at the lovely ladies. He gorges his craw so full that liftoffs amount to little more than twenty or thirty feet, so has now decided to stay. I have charming new blue and black Swedes that seem to add a certain soupéon in the water to stimulate wildlife and dog and kitty pallates. My hand-burned sign attached to an adjacent tree says it all . . . "Duck Soup Waterfowl Refuge." Must be the more ducks - the better the soup.

For as long as I can recall, God's creations have been a source of solace, inspiration and adventure, and now my home and companion in the wonderment of it all. Though I encroach, I obey the order of things, and I do it well, for the human spirit needs places where vistas haven't been rearranged by the hand of man. Unlike strict cartoon rules where the prey is never caught, that principle doesn't apply in the real world of carnivorous characters upon my northern Rocky Mountain rest.

As mentioned earlier, the bane of my days has become the North American coyote. He's a long, slim, sick and sorry-looking skeleton, a living, breathing allegory of Need and Want, for he is always hungry. Snuffling primeval scents, my dog races under the east pasture gate to chase off a pair of intruding dogs, but suddeny turns tail and runs for home. Funny how confronting Wile E. Coyote can change a determined mind so fast.

"Look here, Kath," my veterinarian urged. "See these two large, deep and wide upper canine teeth bites? That's coyote, and I've rarely seen a domestic pet survive their savageness. My heart sank as I spoke with soft reassurances to my big cole black kitty who laid so still and sick with severe abscessed bites across his back.

Absent from under beds or outdoors, Spook hadn't been seen for over a week, nor had he come racing home at my incessant calling. Then suddenly he barely crawled through the doggy door and sprawled across the living room carpet to soak up the afternoon sun. He had escaped the predators and waited somewhere, most likely in a tree, before attempting an escape. I fell to the floor to greet and pat him, but he howled in pain. My inspection turned up nothing visible in his mass of long hair, and since he refused to eat or drink, I made an emergency appointment with my vet.

But it couldn't have gone smoothly. After wrapping Spook in a towel, I arose from the couch and tripped, taking the cat and my big heavy coffee table with me. My ankle screamed, but Spook and I had an appointment more important than a sprain. After a couple days at the vets, he improved and I brought him home to do antibiotics and carry him to his water, special food and potty box. That was almost twenty days ago -- and me? Well, my whole leg swelled so badly that the skin on my ankle broke open big time and I ended up with the works at the hospital. Spook and I are both scarred, but well on the mend after a first snow flew, and melted.

So ends October and the beginnings of a warmish and sunny November with the occupants finally negotiating on all fours -- or twos?