Tales from the O-NO Ranch | TheFencePost.com

Tales from the O-NO Ranch

by Mad Jack Hanks
Wellington, Colo.

Gentle readers, from my front porch I can view much of the Front Range with an unobstructed grandeur as if it were a giant painting. I have spent many a summer’s eve watching the sun set behind the beautiful Rockies. I have seen a good many other things in the process.

I remember the old coyote that lumbered down the road and stopped right across from my house to try and dig up pocket gophers. He was ragged looking and appeared as if he sure “nuff” could use a good meal. I watched with interest as he would dig for a moment and then stop long enough to look over his shoulder at me. He knew I was there and apparently just didn’t care one way or the other.

The thought crossed my mind that I should get the 44 mag and send him to coyote heaven, but then again, here he was, this old reprobate, losin’ his hair, skinny and needing some company, just like me. I watched in amusement as he dug until he decided dinner would not be served, at least here, so he trotted on down the road without ever lookin’ back.

There was another coyote that snatched a newborn antelope away from his mother and began to drag it away still thrashing about, bleeting a muffled cry of desperation. The first thought I had was, “Great Scott, this is like watching the Disney channel.”

Mom and one of her friends came to the rescue with heads lowered and stomping their front feet. Ole Mr. Coyote just ignored them the best he could, knowing he had an easy meal here and he wasn’t about to be intimidated. I rooted for the mom and her friend as they would timidly charge at the beast trying to look as dangerous as possible. The coyote would drop the baby only when he grew weary from draggin’ it through the tall grass.

The two adults at some point realized that their attempts to save the baby were futile and after chasing the coyote for 60 to 70 yards, the friend left the mom and went about her business. Mom followed and watched for another few yards and then she, too, retreated to the spot where the baby had been snatched and stood looking bewildered.

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Ole Mr. Fox come trottin’ down the road one summer’s eve and shot me an awkward glance as he went about his business. It was just too hot for him to be concerned about me and he had business somewhere to attend to.

I have also seen much needed rain come rushing across the foothills as if it were on a desperate mission to cleanse the O-NO Ranch with a downpour. For some reason it just never made it here and I would show God my frustration by acting like a spoiled child.

I have watched many, many fires start up in the foothills as a result of lightning. I have watched neighbors as they rode their ponies down the road and I have watched some neighbors (city folk moved to the country) speed down the county road as if their shirt tail was on fire. Hurry, hurry, hurry, we must hurry wherever we go … no time to stop and smell the wild flowers.

I wrote not too long ago of counting 103 antelope as they moseyed from north to south to get to better feed grounds this last early spring. What a sight. I have watched the Bald Eagle circle overhead looking for any movement whatsoever.

The front porch has been my refuge for many things. The worst was when the coroner left with Little Miss Martha that cold January night. I sat down on the porch just for a moment, knowing my life would change forever. There are places that I just prefer to be at special times and my front porch is one I cherish.

Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion and I’ll c. ya.