Dee, the caretaker of the ranch in the hills just beyond us, came over last week to help Big Dog rebuild the greenhouse. They put in steel bars to reinforce the flimsy aluminum and turned the thrashed sliding doors into regular hinged doors. We still haven't figured out a way to latch them together, but bungees work fine for now.
"Look, Dee's brought you some venison!" Big Dog shouted out to me from the greenhouse.
"Yeah, it was a good deer season. I think we have our meat supply for a while," grinned Dee.
I cringed a little inside, wondering if he had gotten The Sisters, as I had been calling our frequent cervine visitors, but graciously accepted his vacuum sealed offering.
"My wife found a dead bear in a ravine the other day. I saw her walking up, carrying something that looked like a wadded up blanket or something and it was this bear!"
"I had no idea there were any bears left in these parts. Didn't they kill all the osos in Los Osos long ago?"
"It was the first one I'd seen around here, dead or alive."
Dee must have cut off the bear's paw because later on, over an end-of-the-day beer, he proudly brought out three bear claws from a tin can. They were giant. He told us his wife's got the rest of the bear "cooking" in a drum so she can use the bear hide. We talked about the other wild animals around here: the wild boar our nursery neighbors caught and how violent it was, the mountain lions and bobcats all the ranchers shoot around here.
"It's terrible how they'll just kill for sport. It's not even for food," Dee shook his head.
Yes, Dee is a New Age Redneck. He doesn't have much formal education, but he knows so much more than we do about the sun and moon and stars. He fells trees and chases trespassers with a loaded gun, and then the next week, he'll go and gather jade in Big Sur and craft them into delicate jewelry. He kills animals, but only for food and, like the original inhabitants of these lands, he will use every bit of his kill. I am fascinated by him and all that he knows and am plotting to be his newest good friend.
Labels: friends, Ranch