Wednesday, October 15, 2008


So far it had been a quiet morning. After a cool evening and night, the sun was warming things nicely. The forcast was for a high of seventy nine. There was a heavy dew during the night, and the morning mist was beginning to clear, helped by a light, mild breeze.
Thinking the grass would be dry shortly, I lingered over email and paying a couple of bills. A third cup of coffee was in order as I dawdled over getting stamps put on a couple of envelopes.
Yep, a quiet, laid back day off was looming over the horizon, and I was going to soak it all up.
Sugar the Rat Terrier squirrel dog had spent the night in the house. A rare treat for her. She was ready to go outside when I opened the door, flipping the coffee pot on as we went by. I left the door ajar a bit so Sugar could come in when she was ready. Computer on and email checked, breakfast finished and Sugar forgotten. She didn't come back in. Which is a bit unusual. Her habit was to come back in with her shiney coat all wet from hunting in the dew, wanting to be dried off with a old coarse textured deer camp towell. She didn't show up for that, and I forgot. I was engrossed in bill paying.
With a cup of coffee in one hand and the stack of bills in the other, I headed up the driveway to the mailbox, opening the kennels of the other squirrel dogs. Barking, yipping and bounding ran rampant as the pack was released into the fresh morning air.
Continuing up the drive to the mail box, the dogs raced ahead. Each of them choose a special fence post or flower by the mail box to hike a leg on. I was just a few steps short of being at the mail box.
Movement coming fast towards me up the county road caught my eye. It was Sugar. She was running as fast as she could. Low to the ground. Ears pinned back. Not making a sound. At first I thought something was after her, but she wasn't running quite like that.
All of the other dogs were focused on their flower watering project, and hadn't seen Sugar, yet. When I finaly realized what was actually happening it was almost too late for me to do anything about it.
A grey Squirrel wasn't visible to me because of a fence post, until it was very close ! Sugar had catching it on her mind and was totaly focused on that ! The squirrel was within ten feet of me before I saw it. And I was between it and the large red oak tree at the end of the driveway. That squirrel was going to have to climb me in order to escape Sugar !
Instantly pandemoneium broke out. The other squirrel dogs cut their water off and leaped to intercept the fleeing grey squirrel, and I was at the intercept point !
It was a whole lot like when some GI would throw a beer can into the rapidly whirling ceiling fan of a Saigon bar, hollering loudly, "IN COMING" ! Everyone would try to uproot the tables and chairs attempting to get under them. The same type of drill here !
Coffee going one way, mail the other, I hit the ground. The squirrel had nothing to climb, so it bounded over me, to the red oak. The dogs all in pursuit, jumped over me in their rush to the tree.
It was loud and exciting to the dogs. And there I sat. In the middle of the driveway. Astonished that neither the dogs or the squirrel had scratched my eyes out in their frenzied chase.
Unhurt, I began to laugh loudly over the scene we presented to the world, and no one was there to enjoy it but us.
The squirrel was safe in the tree, the coffee stained bills were in the mailbox, and the dogs and I were on our way back down the driveway, when I remembered the song about the day that the Mississppi squirrel went to church, and got up the guys pants leg.
The dogs kept looking at me as I laughed. It was as though they were saying, " what are you laughing about ? The squirrel got away !"

Friday, October 10, 2008


Clang !I nearly jumped out of my skin ! The Squirels have been working all up in the giant Oak trees around the house and I should have been expecting it. Clang, Clang ! Still I jumped. By then I had figured it out. The Squirels were agitated by my being under their tree ! Sugar, our Rat Terrier and Squirrel Dog was with me as I went into the Oliver shed. It is a large carport type cover for our travel trailer. Origonaly made large enough to accomidate a 34' Motor Home, it now "swallows' up our much smaller Oliver Travel Trailer. The sound of the acorns hitting on the sheet steel roof just echoed on the inside where we were. Sugar had figured it out before I had, and was already outside peering intently up into the large white oak tree.
First one, then another of the red squirels began to chatter and fuss at Sugar. She challenged them with a few choice barks. Clearly her message was, "if I get a chance, I'll get you !"
An older, heavier, grayer, boar squirel took the challenge up. Coming part way down the tree, twitching his tail provacatively and scolding Sugar loudly, he responded. Sugar closed up to the trunk of the tree, stretching her front paws as high up on the bark as she could, snapping and barking her wrath at the cheeky interloper.
I slipped away long enough to get a lawn chair and a cup of coffee.
It was a grand old time that these two veteran's were having. They weren't going to get too close to each other. I had seen them at it before.
A younger red squirel began to cut loose acorns and twigs, dropping them near to Sugar, heaping more agitation into the furious contest over the dominion of the territory.
Sipping the coffee, I went over my "getting ready for winter" chore list, while enjoying the ancient test of wills between rivals.
Harm's Weigh had been Winterized, with the bilge checked and dry. Engine drained. Mooring cover in place, under the boat shed. Firewood put up. And on and on with the list. The next on the list was bagging the roof turbines on the attic of the house.
Suddenly the old red squirel had enough, he also had Winter chores to finish. Back up the tree he went.
Sugar followed me as I went to get the ladder to go up on the roof. It was time for us to get back on the job also.
The leaves are falling some, and the acorns are beginning to also. Winter will be here before we know it in the Ouachita Mountains.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008


It was a rainy part of the day, at RVER II, ( River Valley Egg Rally ) in VanBuren Arkansas. The rain wasn't blowing, and the barbeque grills were a' smokin' under the awnings. Some had started a domino game of chicken train in the meeting hall, some were involved in needle work and chatting. Some were just napping.
I had other plans, however. Before leaving for the rally, I had loaded several nearby geocaches into our Magellan GPS. Though we had been very near to one of the geocaches while eating a meal at Rick's Ribs barbeque place, we had not had a chance to look for the cache. I was going to look for the cache in the rain. Everyone seemed to be busy and I had just checked email on the laptop, the time seemed right.
Sitting at the small dinette in our Oliver travel trailer, I turned on the GPS.
When the GPS had "found it's self", it indicated that we were within a foutrh of a mile of the geocache.
Though it was raining, it was a gentle rain and wasn't too chilly. I grabbed the Jeep keys and pocketed the GPS. Dressed lightly wasn't a problem, I didn't even take a rain jacket.
Placing the GPS on the dashboard so I could monitor it, I noted that I was within one eighth of a mile of the cache when crossing the Fayetteville Highway.
Navigating in towards the geocache, I turned in by the barbeque place. The name of the cache was pass the barbeque. And I did. Soon I was as close as the Jeep could get me to the cache. I waited for a bit of a heavy shower to pass. The GPS began averageing over and over, becoming more and more accurate about the location of the cache. Stepping out of the Jeep with the GPS in hand as the shower let up, I noted that the 100 foot proximity alarm went off. Getting close now !
The geocache was a .30 calliber ammunition can and it was full of geoswag. The log book was in a ziplock baggie and was clean and dry. Geocachers from all over the United States had visited the cache. The log book was a good read by it's self. Spreading the swag out inside the jeep so I could sign the log in the dry, I found a rare thing. A PATHTAG, loose in the wild. At first I couldn't believe my eyes ! But there it was. Pathtags are highly sought after trading coins that usually are not found loose in the wild !
Though we had only time for one geocache at VanBuren, it was a sure nuff' deuzzie'
The PathTag belonged to a Retired Army Airborne Ranger that was Artic trained. The PathTag wasn't logged in the log book. It had just simply been dropped in the cache amongst the geoswag. Later I talked to a couple of the cachers that had been there just before me. Somehow they had overlooked the articabn pathtag.