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3/17 & 3/18/10

3/17/10, Snyder, TX - I took a day off in the wonderful company of the Seyler family. I had my mind set on shoeing both Bob and Bill, but my back settled for just doing Bob - Bill will have to wait until next day off.  While I was shoeing Bob, the Seyler girls took Bill and Doc for a spin.  The girls had a great time.

All in all, it was a very relaxing day.  I got a chance to enjoy some really nice company, and the horses had an opportunity to lay havoc to a couple of nice round bales of bermuda hay. To cap the evening off, there was a great barbecue with some friends with one of the best Texas Beef Briskets you could possibly eat.  The Seyler’s were really great hosts!

3/18/10, 9 miles east of Gail, TX - This was a really nice and an interesting day. It was tough saying goodbye to the Seylers, but we pulled out and hit the road at about 9 am.  A couple of hours later, I was amazed and really grateful, when I was pulled over by two different gentlemen in the space of 5 minutes.  First Jerry stopped me and said that he liked what I was doing and gave me a very nice cash gift.  Then, 300 yards down the road, Robert pulled me over, and also gave me a very nice cash gift.  I had met Robert’s wife two days previously in Snyder, and he also liked what I was doing.  Thank you very much!

For lunch, I stopped on the side of the road, next to a windmill, and had a sandwich and a cocktail, It was a very relaxing and tranquil setting. The terrain is changing yet again. It’s becoming dryer, with a lot more sagebrush and a new type of cactus - I think it’s a type of Staghorn cactus.

A bit further down the road, I stopped on the top of a hill to give the horses a breather.  That’s when I met Tom Vestal, a Rattlesnake hunter from O’Donnel, TX.  Tom has been catching several hundred snakes a year since he was 12 years old.  He’s done that for pest control, venom collection (to make anti-venom), and for the local rattlesnake roundup. I watched Tom catch a couple of nice Diamondbacks, along the side of the road.  I learned more about rattlesnakes in the next half hour they I have in my whole life. This is real handy information when you’re camping out with horses. According to Tom, April is the month to watch out for - that’s when they’re breeding.  Right now, they’re still hind of tepid, and only coming out of their holes to catch the heat of the afternoon sun, but in another month, they’ll be much more active.

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The Seyler girls taking Doc and Bill out for a spin.

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This little girl really liked Bill

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Tommy Seyler’s daughter getting comfortable, while she enjoys being with the team.

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Lunchtime break next to a windmill and stock tank.

Tonight, I’m camped on a wide right-of-way, where a Farm Road joins with the highway. The Sheriff and his wife stopped by to say ‘hi’. One of his Deputies cruised by, so he had to come out and see the sight (me).  Gail (population 700) is the only town in the county.

The team has a large electric playpen, and there’s a deep puddle of water across the road, that I can walk them to for a drink.

Right now, one of the bright planets, is just setting over the City of Gail, which is very visible, 9 miles away.  This was a really great day!

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Part of the changing & drying terrain, a new cactus (I think a Staghorn).

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Sagebrush is becoming quite common

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Doc says, “A kid a day, keeps the horse doctor away”.  This is 5 year old Kaden, who was out running around with his dad.

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Western Diamondback Rattler, one of the catches for the day for Master Snake Hunter, Tom Vestal, who has been catching rattlesnakes for over 50 years.

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Another Rattler, which has come out of his hole to soak up some sun.

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As long as they have a road between them, the team can care less if Tom want’s to catch a few rattlesnakes.

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In over 50 years of catching snakes, Tom has never been bitten.  It’s a good thing, because he’s allergic to the anti-venom.

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Settled in for the night - Bob having a philosophical moment - he’s prone to them you know?