Saturday, October 20, 2012

Going from Warm to Hot

The day started out quiet with my sleeping in to about 8 AM.  I've worked six out of the last eight days.  8 AM is late when compared to my usual 4 or 5 AM wake-up.  It felt good!  After a leisurely shower, I had breakfast while I figured out how to pick my favorite channels on our new satellite TV setup.  I then puzzled my way through a Sudoku puzzle while I had some coffee.  A co-worker got me curious about Sudoku, and I've found them to be fun and challenging.  This particular puzzle lays unfinished on the table - it's a harder one - and may not get finished.  I then turned my attention to deciding what to do with myself for the day.  Sassy needed to be exercised.  I have a whole host of things I should get accomplished on this current break.  Unpacking more boxes from the garage did not top the list of choices for the day.  I decided I would try to locate the name of a person who Justin told me breeds rats.  This person lives in the Rushford area.  Justin gave me the phone number some time in the recent past.  I had put the info in some terribly safe place . . . so safe I can't find it now.  A few calls helped me track down the name of the person, and I had an agreement to come purchase a rat or two.  I asked, and he also indicated he owned the woods around his home.  He said it would be OK to bring Sassy.  Cool!  I had a place to fly her . . . and I'd get some trapping rats as well.  Time to get moving! 
The gentleman, Greg, has a brother who works at the same hospital I work at.  He and his brother breed exotic snakes.  They also breed rats to feed their snakes.  He showed me his set-up.  It was very nice, with a temperature and humidity controlled room.  He also showed me several of his ball pythons.  I've owned a couple of these snakes before.  I like them because they don't get as large as many of the other python species.  He has several color morphs.  They are all lovely, healthy specimens!  He even has several "baby" snakes that hatched recently.  After selecting a couple of rats, we went outside to poke around his woods with Sassy.  His children came along to kick through the brush.  We did not find any rabbits today, but his oak woods are filled with squirrels.  After about 10 minutes, Sassy pursued one into the high branches, and as smooth as you please, she had her first squirrel catch of the year.  I was quite impressed!  I still think her weight could come down a little more . . . but apparently she is motivated enough to make a go for the tree rats.  I traded her off on a leg and slipped her catch into my bag.  With only a small reward I let her keep flying.
Greg's children were curious and adventurous.  His daughter Isabelle, on the far right here came into the woods in her shorts.  I consider what we walked to be pretty good "bunny-tat" as there was lots of briar.  Surely this young lady got some scratches on her legs, but she did not complain at all.  Later back at the house she let me meet her two ferrets.  His older son, Brady, on the far left in this picture, was very excited by the hawk, and called at her to follow us.  He also wanted to return to the woods soon after we got done, to try his own luck at getting some of the squirrels with his treasured .22 rifle which he received recently as a gift.  Gregg (jr), in dad's arms above, was also talkative, but many times I was not able to understand his soft childish conversation and questions.

We walked a little longer, and I was beginning to think Sassy was not very motivated to keep hunting, as we flushed several more squirrels which she did not engage.  I was just about to call her to the lure, when she did move up and handily snatched another squirrel from the top of a tree.  I didn't really expect her to do so well today.  I though I'd be lucky if she caught a couple mice, but instead we scored two squirrels.  Greg's family was impressed.

I have an invitation to come again and try for some more squirrels.  He also indicates his neighbor has lots of acres, and he would be happy to introduce me. 

Thank you Greg for allowing me to hunt your land!  Thank you for the rats!  And thank you for letting me meet your family.

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