Saturday, June 21, 2008

Dreaming of a New Barn & More Mountain Lion Stories at The Lazy Vegan

Boulder, the mountain lion wanna-be

Another HOT day here at The Lazy Vegan...making it really hard to summon up any energy to do any work outdoors. So, I didn't! Other than going out to measure the current little donkey barn and then the cabin and compare measurements...the cabin is nearly nine feet bigger and definitely more spacious. It is not out of question that we could renovate the cabin that is close to our bedroom & make it the new donkey barn...I would feel much better having the boys that much closer! Randy said we could always take the upstairs bedroom and give Paco & Luigi the master bedroom downstairs...not a bad idea at all! While researching barns I came across some sites with plans for a combo house/barn- so people can live with their horses! For now the idea of a new barn must remain just that- an idea.

Also today I stumbled upon website after website with more mountain lion stories...WOW. The stories are definitely out there and I'm just glad that mine ended up being pretty simple- I still keep thinking about what MIGHT have happened and can't believe I went back outside three times- and with a camera! Anyway, more stories toward bottom of the blog- they're not graphic, just close encounters...

The cabin already has the perfect barn door- a dutch door!
If you can try to look around all the junk stored in the cabin, you can see how roomy it is. And the floor is cement- PERFECT for a barn (we'd put down the stall mats and pine shavings on top, of course).
The french doors could be replaced with a real barn door.
And look how close it is to our bedroom!

Solo helped me measure the current little barn.
I tried giving Paco and Luigi a carrot today. They're just not big fans of carrots. I think this is unusual for a donkey!

Weegie loves to scratch an itch on the bench!

Solo has the front row seat for the view and cool breeze.

Prince Boulder. I can TELL he still misses the girls.
One happy donkey.
My reading material!
Bravo is concerned about me- too much mountain lion worrying!

Some mountain lion close encounters...
2001 January. At about 7 a.m., a woman walking her dog along a wooded residential trail was attacked by a mountain lion in Banff, Alberta, Canada. She stumbled across a cougar and its fresh elk kill. Cheryl Hyde, 37, who works at Banff town hall, said it walked right up to her, and at first she thought it was a big dog in the pre-dawn darkness. When she realized it was a cougar, she started screaming and backing up, but backyard fences blocked her way. She slipped on the snow and fell, kicking at the cougar to stop it from pouncing. Neighbor Gary Doyle heard Hyde's screams, flew out of bed, threw on his housecoat, fell down the stairs, knocked over a piano bench, put on his shoes, and ran out the door. Doyle opened up his back gate where the cougar had the woman and her schnauzer backed up against the fence, pulled the terrified duo into his yard, and slammed the gate shut. Neighbors said they saw the cougar slink away, but reported seeing it in the area later that morning. Park wardens closed the trail and removed the 200-pound elk carcass so the cat would not return for its kill. Source: (Scott Crowson and Grady Semmens; Calgary Herald; Encyclopedia, Herald files: 01/03/2001)

22 July. Before sundown, Ranger Jeff Thompson in the Buffalo Peaks Wilderness within the Leadville, Colorado, Ranger District, was stalked by 4 cougars on Rich Creek Trail, with one of them charging him and grabbing his sleeping bag that he used to make himself look larger. He had hung his food in a tree at least 200 feet away from his tent after dinner at about 5:45 p.m. and gone into his tent early because the bugs were so thick. He was reading a book when he heard some noises that were not loud enough to alarm him. But he stopped reading 3 or 4 times and would listen for about 5 seconds. Finally he heard a noise that made him scramble for his tent zipper and look out. He saw a cougar approximately 10 feet in front of him. Realizing laying down in a tent was not a good situation, he calmly and slowly stood up. He tried to make no sudden movements, and he did not look it in the eyes. Once he stood up, he saw 3 more mountain lions, 1 to his left and 2 to his right behind a couple of trees about 30 feet away. He knew he should try to look big, so he reached down and grabbed his sleeping bag and raised it into the air. His shovel was leaning on a fallen tree about 5 feet behind him, so he also backed up to grab that. He made noise banging the shovel on a rock, and 2 of the lions slowly walked away. Another one ran towards him. The lion that ran at him grabbed his sleeping bag out of his hand, damaging the bag. He took the shovel and struck the lion on the back. The lion then scurried away to meet the other lions which were heading for some thicker trees about 100 feet away. After they went in to the trees, he began to pack up. He decided to leave some gear and especially to leave his food hanging in the distant tree in order to move quickly and get out of there. As he started down to the trail, 3 of the lions came bounding down the hill to follow him. He made a lot of noise to try to scare them away, but it didn't seem to bother them. Thompson then decided to call for his partner on the radio to make him aware. He was camped in the Mount Massive Wilderness and had already turned his radio off for the evening. Thompson then called for anyone out there, and John Markalunas came back and offered any support he could, including a helicopter. After about 20 minutes of being followed, he crossed a creek and waited to see if they would cross with him. When he didn't see them for a couple minutes, nervous because he was running out of light, he started to run for the trail head. Once he started to run, he made significant distance and got back to the truck just as the light was fading away. He called Pueblo, Colorado, dispatch from the truck, told them he was safe, and proceeded to the office. Sources: e-mails from Linda Dickman; 08/14/2005 and from Rick Casey; 09/14/2005 that recount this story, allegedly written up by Jeff Thompson, himself.) (Phone call from Jeff Thompson; 11/19/2005)

2005 In Western Merced County of California my brother and I were stalked by a mountain lion for close to 2 hours. We were in there looking for deer for the upcoming rifle season. I was armed with a bow and arrow in case we saw a wild pig. The mountain lion encounter never crossed my mind because they always run away, right? Well, my brother was laying down sleeping a couple hundred yard from where I was glassing an area [scanning with binoculars] for deer. I returned to awaken him and tell him there were two deer on the hill above him. We decided to walk out because the sun was going down, and we were going to be walking in the dark. As soon as we started up the hill above where he lay, I noticed a cats head. I believed it to be a bobcat, so I told him to get out the video camera. Right after he got it out of his backpack, I identified the cat to be a mountain lion. It stood up and walked up the hill, staying very low to the ground in the dry grass. I saw its large long body and enormous tail and knew it was, indeed, an adult mountain lion. He lay in the grass with only the top of his head showing again, and I then knew he was not afraid of us. We needed to be careful. I gave my brother my hunting knife before the trip and told him to stop filming and be ready to fight off this cat. After we made some noise, the lion slowly disappeared over the hill. My brother had to go in the lion's direction to head out. We went side hill to the north and stayed on alert mode. To make a long story short, the cat appeared 5 different times and jumped across the dozer line road we were walking the last time in the dark. I was yelling and making noise the whole way out, snarling and growling and constantly scanning with my flashlight. I think we were lucky to get out of there without any physical damage. I have always been fond and interested in seeing a mountain lion because the are so hard to see in the wild. I have changed my mind and hope never to see one. There were two deer within 500 yards of him, and he choose us as his prey. Luckily we were heads up and did enough to keep this lion from attacking. I thank god that my brother came with me because I have no doubt that this lion would have attacked if I was alone. I wonder if I would have killed the lion would fish and game believe that it chased me for 2 to 3 miles. It was a serious threat to me and my brother. If I had an opportunity to kill this lion I would have. I am willing to risk the fine or jail time to come home in one piece. Mountain Lions and Cougars are not animals that you can count on running away from humans.

Here is a photo of a house/barn combo- the living quarters are above:

This is hilarious!

Living with Horses - Literally!
Story by Kay Whittington
Many horse owners are bringing their horses “home” by building houses with attached barns. Here are some things you should consider before you join this growing trend.
For anyone responsible for the daily care of horses, a house and barn combination offers many conveniences. You can perform routine chores such as feeding and medical care while being protected from the weather. One owner of a combination facility said, “I don’t like rain, I don’t like mud and I don’t like cold. This facility comes as close as you can get to turning horsekeeping into an indoor activity.”
Breeders have even more advantages. Foal-watch duties are simplified when you can step out of your house directly into the barn—a huge improvement over a cot in the barn aisle on a cold night. The same is true when handling any medical situation that requires constant vigilance or round-the-clock care.
When your house and barn are attached, you will hear noises from the barn when you are in the house. While this could be annoying during a suspenseful episode of Law & Order, it can be a blessing when a horse gets cast in his stall and the noise of his thrashing against the wall allows you to reach him before he hurts himself.
Such facilities have less-obvious benefits also. Gil Ryan, an owner of a combination facility, said that the barn’s wide aisle way makes a great place for the Ryans’ small children to play when the horses are all in stalls or turned out and serves as a perfect place to entertain friends without regard to the weather.
Rudy and Benita Watkins keep Arabians in their combination facility and enjoy having their horses so close that they actually have a window from their bedroom that opens into one of the stalls. One of their horses would knock on the window so that Rudy and Benita would open it and the horse would “watch TV” with them.
Combination facilities primarily come in two styles. One places the living quarters and the barn on a single level, with the house and barn sharing one or more walls. The second places the living quarters above the barn, using its loft space. A lesser-used split-level style keeps some part of the living quarters on the ground floor but extends to a second floor in the barn’s loft area.
Many who have built one of these facilities love it and have no regrets about the decisions they made to build it. However, you should be aware of disadvantages to this kind of facility, most of them financial.
Dennis Rusch of Morton Buildings said that about 5% of the barns Morton constructs each year contain attached living quarters. Often these consist of small apartments, but some incorporate full-size houses into their plans. Whenever a client asks for a house and barn combination, Morton account representatives discuss some of the problems to ensure that clients are aware of the potential drawbacks. They emphasize four main areas of concern: 1) future marketability, 2) loan difficulties, 3) insurance and 4) noise and odor control.