Tonight's "sunset". At least it was sort of raining. Nighty night. Here's a Tom Waits song I never had trouble appreciating: https://youtu.be/Q5N0HTjiRP0.
There's a young mountain lion hanging around the ranch. I saw it last week as I drove up. It was sitting at the edge of the driveway. It got that disgruntled look that cats get and scurried into the brush.
At first I thought it was a deer. Then, like Cletus the slack-jawed yokel in every horror movie, realized, "That don't move like no deer." It had to be pretty young, as it still had it's dark markings and wasn't as large as a full-grown mountain lion. Which I've also seen.
It was up in the Blues in eastern Washington. We had driven into the mountains for the day, and had just stopped to put snow chains on when it stepped into road in front of us, no more than 30 feet away. We all stared at each other for awhile, then it continued across the road and disappeared into the woods on the other side. It was big. Really big. Bending down on the ground with my back to the woods in order to put on chains was more exciting than usual that day.
The owner told me today that they've already lost a chicken who refused to go into the coop one evening a few days ago. The life of an adventurous free-range chicken is severely truncated once night falls. Could have been anything really. Fox, bobcat, owl, coyote. Maybe even that mountain lion. It's probably just coming down the creek to drink water, but I'm sure a chicken snack is always welcome. Circle of life.
Fortunately, they rarely go after healthy adult horses. Most of the time when they do, they're sick or injured. Then, it's usually more of a suicide by horse situation. If a healthy mountain lion attacks though, the horse is generally out of luck.
The owners do have a young grandson who lives on the ranch with his parents, and is outside by himself a lot. I'm sure they'll keep him inside for awhile. Someone else saw the cat a few days before I did, so it wasn't a one-time visit. That's fairly unusual. Hopefully they'll find a live-trapper, not a hunter, to catch it if it keeps stopping by. Never a dull moment.