Mole Hunting Wing Man


If I haven’t said it before, I’ll say it now…
To be a rancher in Wyoming…
You must be flexible.
Not gymnastically flexible.  Most ranchers have to take a few steps before they can straighten up to full height after sitting for a bit, much less do a back flip!
Flexible with your schedule.
We were going to move the heifers to the mesa pasture today.
The pump that feeds the devil-roll-line irrigation system went kaput.
Vernon took it to town today.  The boys cut hay and baled hay.  Victoria came home and we finished up some details on the wedding.  Arranged for a porta potty.  Called on the flowers.  Sent emails.
I also spent the morning trying to get hold of a *person* at Panasonic to complain about my Lumix camera AGAIN.  When I finally managed to talk to a living breathing human being, I asked if they were making them to last only 3 months because that is all these two cameras accomplished.  Boy, is that aggravating!  I love it otherwise, but gee, lasting only 3 months is kind of a big deal.  Panasonic receives a C- for its grade today.
I also am returning a split riding skirt I thought might be fun to wear to the wedding.
Maybe when I was skinny, but definitely not now!
That company, Wild West Mercantile, deserves an A+ for its support and return policy.  Yay for them!
I did NOT take photos today.
But I DID have an experience that was memorable.
While the guys were struggling with getting the pump going (or not) at the roll line, I was messing around with my dogs.
Moles have invaded that field and the boys always complain about them.  They dig and leave molehills, eating grass and alfalfa roots, creating a bumpy surface on a smooth field.
Elsa led the way, snuffling and sniffing her way until a fresh enough scent captured her attention.  Dally and Lucas would be on her heels, each taking a different hill to dig and corner their prey.  Within a short stretch of time, a mole waddled his little way out across the cut hay which provided him with no protection!  I called their attention to it.  “Mouse! Mouse!”  Lucas was closest and he was on it!  Snapcrunch.  Dead mole.  Elsa quickly moved over to it and it was her hors d’oeuvre for the evening.
I moved back to the holes they had dug and kicked back in the red dirt.
We were off to the next spot.
Elsa got a hit on a scent and went to furiously digging.  There were some holes by the molehills and I stood on them thinking I’d block two escape paths.  La la la.  Oohhh!  Lucas found something, so I walked a dozen feet away and watched his awkward digging.  He was doing his best, but I was his wing man, gonna back up my boy if another mole escaped unnoticed.
Elsa barked.  Elsa REALLY barked!
Could a mole have escaped the master hunter, eh, master huntress?
I sauntered over a few feet.
How dumb could I be?  Those weren’t mole holes next to the mole hills, those were snake holes next to the mole hills!  I was standing there just a few seconds ago!  I HATE BIG SNAKES I HATE BIG SNAKES.  Little ones I can pick up and hold, BIG ONES that can be rattlesnakes, NO WAY.
The dogs encircled it, barking and watching.  I told them to “LEAVE IT”.  They did.  The snake’s tail was still in the hole, and I could hear “SHSHSHSHSHSHSHSH”.  Was it a muffled rattle or hiss?  Since the roll line was right there with a pitiful stream of water leaking from the sprinkler, I splashed the snake with some water and he coiled himself, pulling his tail out of the hole.
I sighed.  It was a bull snake not a rattlesnake.  Not that I cared too much, but a bull snake is a *relatively* good guy eating moles and mice and they aren’t dangerous.  I still didn’t like him.  Neither did the dogs.  They laid down and kept watch.  I waited for a bit… hoping the guys would call me back down the line, which they eventually did.
We left the snake in his shallow dugout… I wasn’t about to fill that hole back in with its occupant there!  Our enthusiasm for mole hunting was dampened and we were happy to leave that spot!  I was EXTREMELY glad the snake hadn’t crawled out one of those holes I was standing on and near just a few minutes before.  See, it pays to be wing man!

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