May 25, 2011



Wow! What a rain! If you keep a journal, write this one down. It is probably a rain of a lifetime. I’m not sure just how big an area it covered, but I was as far south as Saloon No. 10 in Deadwood to the Canadian border since Friday. And I was never out of the rain in that three-day period. Reports were ranging from a couple  of inches to nearly eight inches in spots. There are a lot of fields that will not see a tractor and drill this spring. But there are a lot of alfalfa fields that have a great chance of a wonderful hay crop. Problem is feeding hay is crowding cutting hay.
Making the drive from the Canadian border to the Black Hills, you could see a lot of drainages that for years you did not know existed. Vast bottoms were covered with water. The creeks and rivers were beyond their banks. Dams and dugouts were overflowing. Wild flowers that have lain dormant for years were beginning to blossom. I don’t know about you, but I would dang sure rather wait for it to dry up than to wait for it to rain. I’ve done both. And I’ll take the rain. But then, I don’t live in the Mississippi Valley. Or the Mouse. Or the Red River of the North. Every place I’ve ever lived, the rain falls and it runs downhill.
One day last week, Shirley and I were going to tag some calves. Well, Shirley was going to tag some calves. We were over by the round pen looking for a rope, and I turned to say something to Shirley. As I turned to speak, I saw Shirley petting a deer! Scratching it on the head and back! A little yearling buck. As usual, Shirley had a little cow cake in her pocket,  and the deer nibbled on that. It was about a half mile from the house and hung around there a couple days. We determined it must have been bottle-raised by someone, and dumped out by our place. Shirley thought it was neat. We bragged to our friends how Grandma was a “deer whisperer.” The grandkids thought it was cool.
The deer has now ventured over to our yard. Last night, it ate Shirley’s tulips. This morning, it ate the petunias. When I opened the door this morning to let the entryway air out a little from wet jackets and boots, the deer came in and wandered around the entryway. As I write, it is munching on the freshly planted trees on the south side of the house. I think it is testing Shirley’s love of wild animals. We have an old picture of Shirley’s mother, Dorothy, standing by a white-tailed buck she shot back in the early forties. I have a picture in my mind of Shirley standing by this little button buck…Never mind.
That reminds me of a fishing story. A true fishing story. Ten years or so ago. I don’t know how many of you fish. A fishing license in North Dakota costs like fifteen dollars. And for an extra dollar you can buy one for your spouse. Shirley doesn’t like to fish. Or maybe she doesn’t like the beer. They kind of go together, you know. Anyway, I had purchased a fishing license. A license. For me. Because, like I said, Shirley doesn’t care for fishing. We had gone with another couple. Up on the lake.
It was a beautiful day. Water was clear. Winds were light. Sky was clear. Beer was cold. Shirley had a good book along. So as we fished, she sat reading a book. I convinced her to at least hold onto a rod while she was reading. Fine.
In about five minutes, here came the Man. The Man with a badge. The game warden. In a boat. That should be illegal. He came to check our licenses. No problem. At least for me and the other couple. Not the same for my spouse.
When she found out I hadn’t spent an extra dollar to buy her a license, the fish hit the fan. Our State Representative got her name in the paper, and a hundred-dollar fine for fishing without a license. Which is a lot better than I got by with.

Looking for a dry spot,