The temperature will soar to 38C today. Sitting by the lake all day cannot be justified without having had a good brisk walk first. Better to get it over with in the early morning while the air is cool. As we move away from the lake, the heat begins to build. The aroma of sagebrush wafts from the ditches where it grows unhindered. The silvery leaves of the Russian Olive Tree are trembling in the slightest of breezes and Quails are scurrying away as they sense our approach. The distant rhythmic ticking of a lawn sprinkler is reminding us that we must water our own garden when we return. The narrow road gently curves downward as it approaches the lower benches of orchards. In a marshy spot, a Red-winged Blackbird calls for his mate, and there is an echoing answer. A very distant and muted drone announces a rare early morning water skier, but soon fades futher into the distance, leaving only a barely distinguishable wake visible only between the rows of apple trees as we gaze out onto the lake.
As we approach another bend in the road, the pungent and earthy smell of horse manure announces our arrival at our distance marker. Today there are three horses in the field, all curious as to these strange creatures who usually are in the vehicles that speed by. They come to greet us at the fence and somehow know that we have wind fallen apples from the orchard stuffed in our pockets. They crunch on them eagerly, and one apple escapes and rolls down the steep slope in the pasture. The big Bay runs after it but the old grey mare stays behind, either too hot and lazy, or knowing that there may be more, and easier to reach.
And then I do it. I shoot the old grey mare. A glancing blow, only a partial head shot, but the deed has been done and I wander back to the cool of the lake with my trophy, ready to frame and hang in my gallery.