Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Wildlife census report, June 2012

If Smooch looks a little weary, it's because she's been working overtime on ranch security. Between the snakes on the porch and the pronghorns on the perimeter, the poor dog never gets a break. It's been a very busy month for wildlife here at the 7MSN and time for an official census report.

Many of you assumed yesterday's "He's Back" post would be about the neon-orange-tailed bullsnake living under the air conditioner. I'm happy to report that he was caught last Friday, driven wayyyyy down the road, and released. Which is the only good thing about the recent onset of near-100 degree weather. I started using the air conditioner, disrupting the dirty rotten scoundrel's environment, and was able to catch him.

All was peaceful and harmonious for almost 24 hours, then Smooch alerted me to a rattlesnake in the back yard. Can we take a moment for a shout-out for Smooch? Nothing gets past this dog, and she has gotten the snake-alert thing down to a science. She does her snake bark until I come outside, I tell her what a good girl she is, then she runs in the house while I go catch the snake. What a team.

Anyway, I caught the rattlesnake, dumped him in the tupperware snake box, then put the box in the back of my truck. He would be going for a very long ride the next day...

...when I drove out to the highway to meet my visitors to lead them back in to the ranch. I thought they might want to have the the full ranch experience, so I let them have a look and listen before I released him. Hostess with the most-est, that's me.

The swallow population is eternally grateful. No more snakes crawling up the stucco walls to eat them. For now. And yes, those dark hairs you see are from Hank's tail. We're all about recycling here at the 7MSN.

As for Turtle Steve, he usually shows up for two reasons: 1) company's coming and 2) it rains. When Lucy and I spotted him a few days ago, we had gotten two-tenths of an inch of rain the night before and company was expected the next day. I can set my clock by this guy.

Unlike Mr. P, who remains elusive. I truly believe he got sick of me talking to him and asking him to pose for pictures. He wanted his privacy. Who could blame him?

I haven't seen him lately, but I know where he lives. The bottom of every cholla in the vicinity has been stripped like an ear of corn.

The pronghorns are everywhere this time of year. I love it when one poses outside the bedroom window long enough for me to find the camera and take a picture.

Then there are the ravens. As soon as it started getting really hot, this trio took up residence in the corral. They're no fools. They hang out all day drinking out of (and pooping in) the stock tank.

They're flighty devils, though. Last night I tried to sneak up on them to take pictures. Inch by inch, step by step, I walked toward them with my camera glued my face, oblivous to all else. Just as I framed the perfect close-up, a dozen big black ants started crawling up my bare legs. I was standing on an ant hill. How special. I screamed and jumped around and scared Lucy and the boys, and the ravens flew away, and I started to itch and scream some more. It wasn't pretty. I'll take a rattlesnake over black ants any day. Quoth the rancher woman, nevermore.


  1. Two thumbs up for Smooch! What a great helper and what a neat team you two make!

  2. I thought "He's back" was going to premiere the return of your carrier pigeon.

  3. Never a dull moment on the 7MSN eh! I wonder if Tupperware will come a calling ;p

  4. Ants crawling up your leg? poor rancher woman !
    ((( )))

  5. I was wondering what happened to Mr. P! Glad you were able to take inventory, but too bad about the ants! I've done that a few times myself!

  6. Yay Smooch! I know we see a lot of these pictures because you saw it first. You and Carson are lucky to have each other.
    Most-est Hostess...If I ever made it to the 7MSN, don't feel like you'd have to give me the snake experience. I'm so impressed already. Too funny, though.

  7. Smooch is an excellent companion, conversationalist, and bunk buddy. I can attest to that. As for snake patrol, I'll have to take your word on that one - thank goodness!

    I loved this tour and a large part of what makes the 7MSN such a heavenly place is all the animals that also call it home. I was just commenting to The Frenchman the other day, how I've never seen so many ants as I have here lately. And, we have the nasty red ants.

  8. Life in the country is never a dull moment!! Love the update on all the critters hanging around the 7msn. I hope you didn't get hurt too bad from those ants. It sounds like it would have hurt. :(

  9. Thanks for the wildlife update! I believe this is not the first time that your focus on obtaining the perfect shot has led you in a pile of ants! Hope you are ok and did not need too much benedryll!

  10. Love the animal update. Good thing you have Smooch to keep things square between you and the snakes.
    I thought of you and Steve when I saw this.

  11. Smooch deserves an ultimate treat!!! What a great dog. You are lucky to have such a wonderful team member :-)

  12. I think its amazing that a turtle can survive out there. I thought they needed ponds and water to live. And as beautiful as the sky is out there, I couldnt handle the snakes, bugs, and cactus. Smooch is brilliant!

  13. Loving today's blog. Starting with Smooch to the dirty rotten scoundrel, rattle snake, Hostess with the most-est, cute little swallows recycling, Steve!, Mr. P, the ravens (I love crows and ravens) and then finally ending with the "ant dance". I think I know that dance. ;o)

  14. Dare I ask how you coaxed the rattler into a container? Please be careful!

  15. We call your Wildlife Census a 'Bioblitz' here in England. I've done two this year (including one that lasted 24 hours!) and they're great fun :).

    I was curious as to weather your turtle had returned so I am glad to see him in this blog :).