Monday, July 02, 2018

we are into a new month; june was nothing special. we were cleaning out some land way out in the country; there are about five acres of mostly pines and an old hunting cabin. the owner was a welder and had a lot of old scrap metal around. one piece was a huge iron culvert-looking tube, almost impossible to carry. there were hundreds of tubes, in piles, on the ground, mostly covered with pine needles.

that and what we call slash piles, all or mostly sticks, in big piles, leftover from somebody cutting down big dead trees. these sticks, i figure, i'll burn eventually. one truckload at a time, i'll take them into town, and burn them all winter if i have to, in the woodstove; they'll keep us warm. but my wife has another idea. they're creepy; they're unsightly, we need to get them out of there.

the land is way out in the middle of nowhere. you cut off the main highway, and go through about fifteen miles of national forest, and you come to this valley, this canyon, and the canyon runs behind a range of mountains, but is squeezed, to the north, by the reservation. it's private up there; we stay out of there, but that mere fact means not many people come back to this canyon. it's not on the way to anywhere. they are by and large leaving us alone, and we are leaving them alone. and we have only a small community of folks along this canyon, and a number of cows.

the mescalero, of course, have a long history - there were three major tribes of apache, geronimo being in the chiricahua, and the mescalero being up here in our territory, between ruidoso and cloudcroft. in this case, the mescalero got choice mountain property, and, they take care of it, so that now the road through the reservation is one of the prettiest roads i've ever been on. it could be, that the money they make from various casinos, helps to take care of things. they have signs on the back roads, telling us to stay away unless we have business up there, and we don't, except for us, it might be the shortest way from here to there. i'm interested in the mescalero, would like to know about their language, but, i can read a sign too, and i generally stay away.

the hunting cabin has two solidly made rooms together, and an old shed, but it had no plumbing and inadequate electrical, so we set to that right away. we cleared out an open spot by the house where we could park. we had a couple of enormous dead trees taken down. we brought in a dumpster and filled it up.

but when we were cleaning out the old iron culvert pipe, i saw an enormous snake. his diameter was about the size of a softball. but he had an enormous rattler on his tale, and he put it up, and shook it loudly. it was an impressive sound, a clear warning.

he went away, and so did we; we stopped clearing out the iron pipes. they are still there, as far as i know. my friend who was helping me, wanted to kill him and make a snakeskin belt. mostly what i wanted was for him to not get any of us, while we were clearing the place out. we were too far out in the middle of nowhere; too far from a hospital. and he was enormous. one of his bites would have done us in.

we were messing with his home, no question about that. he lived under that pipe, and when he had to disappear, he disappeared under a number of the other ones. it was a whole home under there, and there weren't any mice, anywhere to be found. he'd taken care of that. who knows if he's still there. it's his business, and if he would choose to go find another home, not under the cabin, i'd be much obliged.


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