Tales of Imnaha Canyon: Moonshine causes the feathers to fly

Jackie Peart Chieftain correspondent

"I always like being in a place where the cowboy hats out number the ties." President George W. Bush

This morning, I picked up the quail feathers all over my bedroom floor. Why quail feathers all over the rug? Well, since you ask, I will share.

Last night My Hero and I were all snuggled in our king size bed, sleeping peacefully, when all hell broke loose. I must set the stage for this. We sleep with the door to the balcony open for the breeze and to let our cat, Moonshine, in and out. She and the pup haven't come to terms yet. She was gone for over a week, so when she came back, I remembered how I used to put a ladder up to the window of the cabin so she could come and go during the night. She, according to Shirley Scott, (animal communicator), was a monkey in her former life. She goes up and down ladders with great abandon. We now have a ladder for her to come and go by leaning on the balcony rail. She can peer down at the pup with a smug look on her face.

Anyhow, when all this commotion broke the silence, I sat up, pulled the cord to turn the light on, and there was this scene. The cat had been hunting out in the driving rain, caught a quail and brought it into our bedroom. There were small feathers gently landing on the rug. Moonshine was lying there licking her paw and watching the quail. The quail was on its back, breathing but not moving. I did the only smart thing.

"Jim!" I yelled (like he was asleep). "Do something!" He got up, picked up the quail and walked, buck naked, into the rain on the balcony to let the little thing loose. The quail could still fly. And it did.

I grabbed the cat, closed the door and used my shirt to dry her off. She was dripping wet. No, I wasn't being nice - she was going to be getting on our bed where she sleeps. But no more hunting!

I know you are wondering why our cat must leave our warm, cozy house to go out in the driving rain and hunt to feed herself. The answer is, she doesn't. Guess who has a full dish of cat food on the floor in the kitchen?

Final Bear and Rattlesnake feed?The Bear and Rattlesnake Feed is going to be held on September 18. We call it Canyon Days because it also involves a parade and the rodeo. Sally and Dave Tansey started the Bear and Rattlesnake Feed years ago, as a novel fund-raiser for the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation. Dave became an official Ugly Bartender because of the money they raised. In October of 1986 a total of $1,169.50 was raised in Imnaha. Then, sometime later, the profit from the Feed was given to the scholarship fund for the Imnaha Grade School.

It is an effort of many people. From storing donated snakes in the freezer, to skinning and cooking them. Next comes cutting, seasoning and a wrapping the bear meat. Grant Warnock has a method for cooking the bear that actually pressure-cooks it.

The meat is cooked in an underground metal pipe topped with a heavy lid. Get this: the lid is so heavy that he has to use his tractor to lift it. Donated salads and homemade bread adds to the feast.

This will, unfortunately, be the last year the Feed is put on at the store. What I am saying is that this may well be the last unique Bear and Rattlesnake Feed.

When driving down the canyon, no one looks at the centerline. In the daylight, your eyes take in the feast of color. The sumac leaves are starting their red change-over, the elderberry trees sport blue-colored berries and there, beside the road on the left at about the 22 mile post, is the most beautiful horse I have ever seen. Bronze. Yup, Bronze.

The way that horse's coat gleams in the sun with this unusual color is breathtaking. The deer apple trees are laden. I call them deer apples because last year we picked up lot of windfalls and fed them to our roving deer.

Jackie Peart is a correspondent for the Chieftain. Her e-mail is jpeart@eoni.com

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