Sunday December 16 2012
I named him Fluffy. What choice did I have?
He came down from the mountains in the falling snow. Food is scarce up there. Water scarcer. I knew he was on his way when the horse herd flipped out, big snorts, heads popping up over the brush high in the air,
running toward the guest,
then in circles,
then away again,
then circling the wagons.
He bulled his way through a fence onto our acres, then wandered down the road toward the house looking somewhat bewildered at the horses' reactions. He was, after all, 4-legged just like them.
He was a young bull, 2 or 3 years old, not too concerned by a human on foot getting closer and closer, so either he's wise beyond his young age, or he's decidedly unworldly and innocent yet.
I waved at him to follow me, and he did, on down the road to the house where I opened the electric white tape fence for him (so he wouldn't just walk right through it and bust it). He passed through the gate, which I closed behind him since the horse herd was now hot on his heels,
and he made himself at home around the house: a drink in the crick, morsels of green grass on the horse pasture (he popped through the white tape fence to get on there), hors d'oeuvres of green hay leftover in the wheelbarrows,
picnic on the back yard lawn. It was a haven for a young bull lost and alone in a snowstorm.
He was itchy, oh so terribly itchy, and found the rough bark of our cottonwood trees excellent for scratching that thick fluffy head and thick hide of his. He looked so vulnerable scratching his itches.
He tuned in to my frequent visits and conversations; he puzzled over the horses' strange reaction to his presence in their reserved pasture. Tex remained on permanent high alert during Fluffy's meanderings,
and on one occasion when Fluffy wandered back into the horses' grass pasture, the rest of the herd took sudden interest in him (especially with a sturdy wooden fence separating them), particularly Mac the former cow horse who is now afraid of cows.
Eventually the horses got bored with Fluffy and they went back to eating their hay. At one point Austin the crippled dog thought he'd go out and have a conversation with Fluffy before I called him off and sent him back up on the porch.
Fluffy had a grand time meandering the Owyhee rancho, grazing here, scratching there, making himself at home. I tossed some hay out for him in the front pasture - and opened the gate so he could come and go, so he wouldn't bust the tape fencing. He may as well stay for dinner, if the local rancher doesn't make it out tonight to fetch him home.
And then I started to wonder when was the last time I've had steak for dinner. Now, where's my knife and fork?