Friday, June 9, 2023

My Home


I live about 25 miles east of Salida now, on a 3.3 acre place. I'm on Cottonwood Creek, and my eastern property line is the middle of the creek. This is facing west, with a nice view of the northern part of the Sangre de Cristo Range.

I have great neighbors. We get along, cooperate, and respect each others' privacy. We get a little bit of ditch water, and we have to communicate about that.

There is a community here, but very small. Houses are pretty well spread out up the creek. To the east of us is a big area of rugged BLM land of the piñon/juniper variety. No houses for miles in that direction. If you go 3 miles south up the creek you run onto BLM land, then State Trust, then Forest Service, then the Sangre de Cristo Wilderness Area. To the west is ag land and disbursed residences. Half a mile north is highway 50 and the river. I'm at 6600 feet elevation.

I moved here in March of 2021. I have a cheap security camera setup, 3 cameras with motion sensors. I have seen fox, coyote, bear, lion, skunk. The most troublesome are the lions. Especially for a goat rancher. In early March a lion took one of my goats, a nannie named Maude. I bought her from a stock sale with her sister Marilyn and bottle fed them for about a month then weaned. When you bottle feed an animal, you will forever have a special relationship. It made me sad, but it was because I didn't put them inside that evening until twilight.

Later last month my oldest cat Butters didn't come home. He showed up on the security cams in the week following, so I thought he might have made it and would show up one morning. But it's been a week and a half. He's always been independent, and he just would not come in that night. And the lion has come back at least once since Marilyn was taken.

These videos were captured by my home security cameras. They are close to my house, in the 2nd one he walks 10 feet from the door I use to come and go. Roughly 4:25-4:30 am. 

At the beginning of 2022 I adopted a shelter dog, a boy I call Fred. I had him DNA tested to confirm my theory that he had a lot of Great Pyrenes blood. Yep, half. Other half is a combo of Australian Shepard, mini Aussie, and Border Collie. Those herding breeds may have provided Fred with some of his abundant intelligence, but his personality is 100% Pyrenes. He's a goddamn magician. He finds things, makes things disappear, he gets into and out of locked things. Leave it on the counter? Sure, it's Fred's now.

Pyrenes were bred to be livestock guard dogs. Since he had figured out that an open window with a screen in it was just an open window, I knew I needed to get him a dog door. I mean, he's already destroyed some screens. And in summer the windows are open, period.

So that morning was one of the first when he'd figured out the dog door. I was asleep, but I woke up because of the racket outside. He went out there and started barking his big, bad dog bark. 

To see what happened a few minutes after my cameras by the house picked him up, one of my game cameras captured a fleeting glimpse of him heading for the woods and willows down by the creek, and he wasn't waiting for Fred to catch up to him. To see the action you have to look carefully at the lower right. He's gone within a second.

My home is in a wild place. Salida gets some fat lazy bears that want to cruise the alleys for garbage, and deer so tame and stupid you could punch one in the face if you want. Here the deer are wild and wary. We also have bighorn sheep, and elk now and then down from the high country. Lots of cows and pasture land. Irrigation ditches running with cold water.

No pizza. 

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