Mom had a great story to share about her walk last evening.
She set out about 7:30 p.m. with her usual menagerie; Jeter (the Alpha), Red, and Lily. Lily is a ranch guest, hanging out until her humans are able to move into their new home.
Mom and the dogs walked out in the pasture along a fenceline. About a mile from the house Lily began to bark at something along the fence. Mom was curious, so she and her group moved closer, to within 15-20 feet of whatever Lily was barking at. Then several interesting things happened.
Jeter, the big, tough Alpha Male of the dog pack, tucked his tail and headed for home at full tilt, scampering for all he was worth and making like a scalded cat.
Mom moved closer to see what the fuss was all about. Lily stayed in place, staring intently at the spot. Red moved in with mom, and they both started as soil began to fly up from the soft blow dirt alongside the fence. Red began to growl.
From the spot in question, right in the middle of the fenceline, a badger popped its head up, hissed and snorted, and glared at Red.
Red tried to attack, but mom held her back. Jeter's departure makes it seem that he's tangled with a badger before. Lily's caution proves that she's the brightest of the lot.
Mom was disappointed that she didn't get pictures. She had her phone, but also had her hands full keeping Red from being badgerized.
I'm envious, for I've only seen a live badger once before, and that was 50 years ago. I see their digging every day, but badgers are nocturnal (mostly, I guess), solitary, shy, and grumpy as hell.
Overnight the temperature fell into the mid-60's, which was nice, but then a Longhorn wind out of Texas began to flood in from the south, bringing warmth. I try not to complain too much -- it is summer after all -- but I like my nights cool. It was already nearing 80 degrees when I got up at 5 a.m. Did someone say grumpy?
I got out and dug thistle all morning, finishing the bulk of that chore for the year (I hope!). The thistle I dug was on the neighbor's place, and upslope from our south unit.
I can't really expect the neighbor to take care of it as she's got a lot of challenges which just have to come before thistle. So digging it myself is a chore, but it's also in our best interest.
And it's a good workout!
On the way home this evening I got some good shots of Pronghorn.
Also a jackrabbit.
Some people say the two beasts are closely related -- enough so that they occasionally cross-breed.
Tomorrow I'll haul all the thistle I've chopped to the landfill, and that will be that. It'll be good to get back to working on fence.
Thanks all for the thoughts and prayers for Dad. That means a lot, more than I have words for.