Saturday, March 29 – Monday, March 31
The crew and I laze around our camp on BLM land south of Congress, Arizona. The weather has been beautifully warm and sunny. My weather widget says, as I type this, that balmy days are coming to an end with a high of 59 degrees for Wednesday. Also we may get some rain.
That would be good.
The cattle are running low on forage. They lick the dry ground with their big tongues as they tear up tiny tufts of dry grass. Not that I feel very sorry for them, given the pests they make of themselves. They’re getting on my last nerve. Hang on; I shall explain.
Experiencing a little bovine drama here at camp . . .
Remember the party of five cattle that I shooed away from our camp the other day? That’s them at the left side. Well, they come back and stare at us, just like before.
This drives Bridget and Spike nuts. They bark their fools heads off and the five cattle respond with puzzled looks, unmoving.
Bridget retreats and lies down next to my chair.
I feel sorry for Spike and his pathetic efforts. I put down my book, take off my hat, and, waving it wildly, run at the cattle, hollering, “Go on! Get outta’ here! Go, go, GO!” They turn and hoof it down the slope with me chasing after . . . oh, about fifty yards or so.
I trudge back to our campsite, give Spike a compensatory pat –“Good try, boy”– and sit down with my book.
A few minutes later, back they come.
The five of them stand shoulder to shoulder with pissed off faces. Spike crouches on his haunches and stares back at them. Bridget worries. I read, or, more accurately, I try to read. It’s impossible with bovine glares drilling into my head. All five take a step forward.
“Go ON!” I yell, getting up from my chair. Off they trot, stopping periodically to look back at me, as if to say, “Ya’ know? You’re rude.”
Well, too bad.
The day ticks happily along with no sign of cattle. Good. La-dee-dah-dee-dah. Oh, happy day . . . boondocking in the desert . . .
I’m inside the BLT when Spike commences to bark. Now what. I recognize his panicky, I-don’t-think-I-can-bluff-my-way-out-of-this bark. I run outside and see why.
The five visitors from this morning have brought a few of their friends.
“Oh, no,” I groan. Spike nonchalantly strolls under the BLT, effectively communicating that this is definitely my problem, not his. Bridget looks up at me with that face that says, “What are you gonna’ do, RVSue?”
I stop counting heads at seventy. I figure at least 150 eyes stare at us. Suddenly Spike darts out from under the BLT. Gee, what’s this? A renewed sense of responsibility? A resurgence of canine courage? Spike’s gonna’ be a hero and save the day?
Apparently Spike remembered he left his beef bone lying on the ground between the outdoor mat and the menacing chorus line of cattle.
He dashes out, grabs the bone, and totes it to safety under the BLT where he remains to guard it. Gee . . . Thanks for the help, Spike. Again I take off my hat and wave it about, arms flailing overhead, approaching the cattle with the fiercest body language I can muster.
Sheesh . . . This morning I chase five away from our camp. This afternoon it’s an effing cattle drive!
“Hiiii-yooooo!!!” I holler and off we go in a thunder of hooves and dust . . .
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