The Joy Of Ranching
by Calendar Hacksaw
My spread is called the "Twisted Sisters Ranch," aptly named for a pair of towering, sentinel Ponderosa pines which tower above the cabin and threaten to one day reduce it to rubble. The "twisted sisters" have been misshapen by the forces of nature: lightning and wind, so they no longer resemble any illustration of the species that could be found in a library or textbook.
The ranch is located along the lower reaches of Drooling Springs, about one mile due south of Jayne Meadows. At an elevation of 7,000 feet, it enjoys a commanding view of Walker basin and the Caliente Refuse Collection Point. The weather is defined as "alpine/seasonal," which means there are only two good days each year, both of which are impossible to predict.
Before 1 bought the ranch, it was referred to by the locals as The Harris Place." "Harris" was the name of the guy I bought it from. Now that I own it, the locals call it "the "Old" Harris Place." Only if and when I sell it will it ever be known as "The Hacksaw Place" or the "Twisted Sisters."
The ranch has been mine now for about eight years. I acquired it during a bout with depression during the Bush Administration when I feared that Oliver North would mention my name during the Iran-Contra hearings. Granted, Colonel North had never heard of me, but my name - consisting as it does of two common nouns - frequently slips from the lips quite unintentionally. I couldn't afford for that to happen again, but needed a secure place to hide out just in case it did.
I drove up from Megatropolis and stopped at a fast food outlet near Bodfish. Getting out of the car to stretch my legs, I was approached by a pillar of the community. The following conversation ensued:
Pillar: Howdy, pardner. Been on the road awhile?
Rube: Yup; just cone up from Megatropolis.
Pillar: I used to live down there, but now I live up here. Whatcha doin' up here?
Rube: Lookin for a piece of property to buy.
Pillar: Well, I've got one I'll sell ya.
So I gave the pillar the money and he gave me the deed, and it was a done deal. I'm certain this grates on the nerves of the Walker Basin Association of Realtors, but that's the way real estate transactions happen some times, like it or not. I like it.
Now, with eight years of experience under my belt, the ranch has become quite successful and supports a herd of some 5,000 lizards. These are "range fed" reptiles, and are prized by gourmets over the so-called "production" lizards turned out by the big farms in Weldon and Bear Valley. Mine are also easily recognizable by the distinct "TSR" brand, which pretty much covers their hides from nose to tail.
The soil at the ranch is quite rich, comprised of a balanced mixture of decomposed granite, cigarette butts, and deer mice droppings. It supports a variety of wildflowers, which my wife dries during the Summer months, makes into arrangements in the Fall, and then disposes of at the first hint of winter. She has a mental block which prevents her from visualizing the objective of this endeavor, and I am doing my best to keep it that way.
All of my neighbors on the mountain are raving lunatics, and I would prefer to keep that intact. It is a strong deterrent to thieves and windmill energy companies.
The leader of the lunatics is a very large Russian immigrant woman named Sidartha, who drives a Humvee and claims to have served two terms as President of the United States, While collecting ground squirrel pelts near my place one day last Spring, she accidentally shot herself in the thigh, calf, and foot with one round from a .38-caliber Smith & Wesson. Not wanting old Sidartha to hang around my place all afternoon, I used my cellular telephone to call 9-1-1 and request a Medivac helicopter.
I tried for 20 minutes to explain to the 9-1-1 dispatcher where I was and how to get there, but he didn't seem to recognize any of the familiar place names. Finally, in desperation, I provided him with my Section number, Township, Range, latitude and longitude. The dispatcher was quiet for a minute, and I sensed he was thinking real hard.
Finally, he figured it out. "oh, I know where you're at," he exclaimed. "You're up at the old Harris Place!"