You may recall that Part 1 left us with an empty alfalfa field, cranes flying away, and our dear friend, Payne, has just arrived on the scene. Payne came bearing good news and some helpful insight toward the happenings of the local crane population. Payne said that he had been out looking for antelope the night before on a friend’s property, and instead, he had found about 50 cranes. 🙏 Woo! Praise Jesus!
We told Payne that we had to be sure to stay on deeded land per the laws of the fowl life. Payne said that he would take us to the owner of the property and introduce us/get permission to hunt. Then he would take us around and show us the boundaries of the deeded piece. No problem. (Sounds promising, so we caravan ourselves down the road to his friend’s place.)
We arrive at Ron’s* house, and are greeted by quite a sight. Every type of animal you can imagine is free-roaming the property, there’s a freshly butchered cow out front, and all sorts of stuff piled around. By “stuff,” I mean cars, car parts, farming equipment, fencing supplies, ramshackle buildings, stacks of animal feed, miscellaneous carcasses, and general evidence of a life lived to the fullest. Maybe not the most organized life, but a life well-lived nonetheless. If you have read Harry Potter and remember Harry’s first impression of The Burrow, it was indeed something like that.
*Again, names have been changed to protect the innocent.
We avoid being eaten alive by two dogs with their hackles up and make it to the front door. We can hear piano music playing inside. We knock, and the door is immediately opened, and we are, uh, “greeted” with “WHAT DO YOU WANT?”
I look up and take in this very tall, very ‘life-well-lived-but-seen-a-lot-of-shit’ kind of man that is towering over us from the doorway. I glanced back down at his shoes and noticed blood splattered all over them. My eyes got big, and I said, “DON’T SHOOT!” and threw my hands in the air.
WHAT?! Don’t judge me! What would you have done?! He took me by surprise, and I couldn’t help myself! It was the first thing that popped into my head, and my mouth accidentally let the words get out. Hahahaha.
Luckily, Payne was there to do introductions, and we asked if we could shoot a crane. Ron, who I now realized had no teeth whatsoever, said he didn’t care what we shot, but if we wanted to shoot one of his sheep, we would have to buy it first. Hilarious. After talking to him for awhile, I decided that Ron is one of my new favorite people.
Did you ever read the book, The BFG? (If you haven’t, that stands for the Big Friendly Giant.) We decided to rename Ron to The BFG because it’s so fitting. He really is a very friendly guy, trapped in what I’m categorizing as “an alarming body.”
Anyways, Payne sort of showed us around, with a few waves of the arms, vague directions of where some boundary fences were supposed to be, and some pointing at where the cranes had been. Off Payne goes. Jared and I look at each other. Neither of us had really understood what was going on, so Jared got his phone out and did some quick research. We easily found The BFG’s property online and were able to accurately pinpoint the boundaries. Then we set up camp and waited for some cranes. We did actually end up finding 11 cranes, but they were off of The BFG’s property. (Would you expect anything less?!) We threw in our cards and went home to feed horses and take a quick nap. This ‘getting up at 4:30 in the morning’ business is not for the faint of heart!
We decided that we would go back to the BFG’s that evening and hope that more cranes came in, as Payne had said they would. About an hour before dark, we had over 100 Canadian Geese and nearly that many ducks landing around us, but not a single crane. I decided to practice pulling up the shotgun and leading the birds for practice. I got pretty good at pretend shooting them all, and then it was dark. Still no cranes.
Jared and I left for home, with a new plan to implement in the morning. We went to bed early so that we could be back out there early the next morning, well rested, gun loaded, and ready for war. 🔫