Tuesday, January 27, 2015

More bang...

Mt Shasta on the way to the range

The weather has been mighty fine, yes we need more rain for the cow feed. I'm all hat no cattle now, but will forever be calculating feed conversion ratios. That aside it has been spectacular weather. Just being outside and enjoying the beauty of this place is Awesome.

Mt Lassen on the way to the range

T is back from his travels with his lady, and in prepping for his week at Front Sight he asked if I wanted to go to the range with him.  Yes Siree! Range bag and I will be waiting at the curb.  
First day I shot like crap, would have been more productive in some ways to nail a cow pie to the stand and throw rocks at it. 
cow pies at the range
Thankfully T is the most patient of one on one instructors. I know how lucky I am to have him willing to spend the time with me. Plus he has me shoot whatever in his arsenal he is working with, giving me a much broader experience than I could ever afford otherwise.
Rifles, and shotguns and I get along well. Ring that gong! The pistols are another story. Still love the little Sig, but it's pricey to shoot. Sooo, when I went to my friendly Local gunny store for more ammo, I got a Walther P22.  It was a studied purchase and I'm anxious to get it to the range. 

Second day on the range was a little bit better, T changed up my drills and I tightened up the pattern.  But the little Sig sure didn't like the ammo I had switched to, another lesson learned. 
As soon as T is back from Front Sight and I can pickup the Walther, we will go again. In the mean time there is lots to practice and learn.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Bookn it...

My first time at the book club's regular gathering went fairly well.  I only had two glasses of wine with some sort of brie concoction in between them, so this time I made no mention of hot romance novels. We each gave a synopsis of the book for this month.  Thankfully, I was next to last, and by that time I had gathered my wandering thoughts enough to sound "somewhat sane" (somewhat). The others had more wine then I, so didn't appear to notice my ineptitude.
They seem like an interesting group.  They are nine bright articulate women. I know, I know I thought the same thing... What the heck is Brig doing in this group? 
Interspersed with and following the book reviews we got onto the topic of local politics.  A very lively and informative discussion followed. Most of us agreed that we can do little to nothing at the state or national level, but locally we can make a difference.  If we don't try then we will never succeed. Some very solid solutions to local issues were put forth, and I'm interested in seeing them come to fruition.
I haven't belonged to a group of anything in quite a while.  Partly because I've been there done that in the ranching business, and partly because I'm leery of the machinations involved. Or I've simply been lazy about making the effort. Maybe it's time to again make the effort...

Oh, and my turn to pick the book of the month is coming up, so if you have any suggestions...

Thursday, January 15, 2015


Mom passed away Tuesday morning January 13th at home surrounded by love.

Dad is doing good, keeping him busy and looking forward... He is already making big road trip plans for us to attend an extended family reunion at the S Dakota ranch in early summer.


Monday, January 12, 2015


photo by J Cano

Things are a little crazier than normal around here at the moment.  Dad is slowly recovering from bronchitis, mom is fading with dementia (she has been totally bedridden for the last year and unable to do anything for herself), and I'm working a crappy little head cold. I'm not on any type of medication for anything, so I don't want to take cold medicine as it knocks me out, even in low doses.

In order to keep Dad from outdoor projects, he and I have been going through the boxes of family pictures and putting full names, places, and dates to as many as possible. The process is slow as there are some great stories about my dad and my paternal grandpa that I have never heard before.  So much history there that I want to share with my children.

Things may be thin on the ol blog for a while...

so, HERE  is a rerun of a day full of sunshine, horses, cattle, green grass, rolling hills, gunships, and laughter... 

Friday, January 9, 2015


The true meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit. ~Nelson Henderson

Having planted at least one tree at each cowcamp, I know that holds true for me.
I try never to go back to see how my trees are doing. Besides some are planted in places that only I know. Though I did recently look at a topo map of the last cowcamp the Cowman and I had.  I planted 9 redwoods, 3 raywood ash, 3 black pine, 3 cedar and a fir there and a small orchard of threeway fruit trees.  They are all gone except for a couple of the ash and the fir.  I don't know why.  A lot of thought went into their placement and they were growing well when I left.
When I was designing landscapes to help pay the bills for the cows I loved the process of finding the right trees for the owners and the land. A landscape with good bones endures.

While scanning the topo maps I found a large acreage that I, long ago, designed for a doctor and his family.  The thing was that after many hours of work on that design, he said he didn't care for it, and would not be paying me more than a small consult fee.  More than the money lost I was crushed that he didn't like the design.  Now, looking at that plot of ground... I know he copied the drawings and had it planted exactly as designed. It is my design and the bones of that landscape have stood the test of time, I'm more than happy with that.

And with a touch of the hat brim to LL:

Good Timber

by Douglas Malloch

The tree that never had to fight
For sun and sky and air and light,
But stood out in the open plain
And always got its share of rain,
Never became a forest king
But lived and died a scrubby thing.

The man who never had to toil
To gain and farm his patch of soil,
Who never had to win his share
Of sun and sky and light and air,
Never became a manly man
But lived and died as he began.

Good timber does not grow with ease:
The stronger wind, the stronger trees;
The further sky, the greater length;
The more the storm, the more the strength.
By sun and cold, by rain and snow,
In trees and men good timbers grow.

Where thickest lies the forest growth,
We find the patriarchs of both.
And they hold counsel with the stars
Whose broken branches show the scars
Of many winds and much of strife.
This is the common law of life. 
“The true meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit.”

Nelson Henderson - See more at: http://www.savatree.com/tree-quotes.html#sthash.tQKU470I.dpuf
“The true meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit.”

Nelson Henderson - See more at: http://www.savatree.com/tree-quotes.html#sthash.tQKU470I.dpuf
“The true meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit.”

Nelson Henderson - See more at: http://www.savatree.com/tree-quotes.html#sthash.tQKU470I.dpuf
“The true meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit.”

Nelson Henderson - See more at: http://www.savatree.com/tree-quotes.html#sthash.tQKU470I.dpuf

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Yes Ma'am...

Dad's sick, has a slight cough and much weaker legs. He was running a fever last night and not doing well, so I called the EMT's to come check him out. 
 After a lifetime with the Cowman I pretty much know the routine, having been on a first name basis with scores of EMT's, ER docs, and helo drivers between San Luis Obispo and Southern Oregon.  God I miss Doc Charlie... when the Cowman would have a really bad reaction, he thought nothing of driving out to the home ranch in the middle of the night to give him an IV glucose push, and hang around til he was stable. 
 I had given Dad Ibuprofen and was pushing the pedialyte, but wasn't sure if that was enough. The EMTs checked him over. His vitals were good, lungs clear, and he was not disoriented or showing any signs of stroke.  After talking to the ER doc, and with dad's refusal to be transported to the ER, he said I was doing everything I could and to get him to his primary care doc as soon as I could arrange it.   
Dad felt somewhat better today, temp is normal, legs are not quite as weak, he's eating good and I'm still pushing the fluids.
Finally, got an appt for him with his local primary doc, tomorrow evening!  Which Dad is not happy about because he thinks he might be late to poker night with the guys...
I really need to find at least one more relief caregiver for mom, as the one we have is not always available on short notice.  And try as I might I can't be in two places at once.

It would be nice to have Two Ponies Joe here for some cowboy medicine man input.  A quiet Indian cowboy, who seemed old at the time, who taught me how to fix a prolapsed heifer slicker than snot, and a bunch of handy poultices. He would have an opinion on what to do for Dad.
And say what you will about the VA but I really like the clinic here. They have been wonderful to Dad. Late late last night the advise nurse called,  because she had been contacted by my out of state SIL. I gave her all the info on what had transpired that evening, and she said, "you have done everything right, and you are doing everything that can be done, so my advice to you is to just tell your SIL to f**k off." 
"Yes ma'am, I will." 

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

dash away...

 she's look'n for a dashboard... got any suggestions?

Since the Corpsman is now stationed on the other coast, and has a sweet Canadian girlfriend to look out for him, not so many packages are sent to miserable places.

Another bunch of helo flying, gunny "sons" are back in CONUS as well!  What great guys, and do they ever have stories. Stories, that I'm not sure they even tell their families, but, somehow feel comfortable enough to tell their "mom".
They never asked for anything, other than to know someone far away cared.  The stories, pictures, letters, and e-mails they sent made them mine. Most stay in touch and keep me up on what is happening in their lives.  They do way more for me than I ever did for them. 
I don't think much of what I sent my "sons" was on the approved list...

but, the pictures and videos of their smiling faces said they approved.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

old scars...

After a fitful night of bad dreams, I awoke to the pain of old scars and old memories. I got up and dressed for the morning Willie run out in the cold crisp air. Hoping to out run it, which never works, but doesn't lessen the try.

Making my bed the minute I get up is a habit that I long ago stopped trying to break.  Willie waited quietly for me to leave the room before he tunneled back under the duvet. Temping to climb back in, but weekends are all me, so there is no time for lollygagging abed.
Scars: physical ones, I have a lot of.  They are mostly from horses, cattle, critters, machinery, tools, and those moments when common sense was left behind.  I never thought about them much till recently when I was at a gathering of women. They were not pampered women, yet none of them had scars everywhere.  Their hands were without scars, as were their arms, legs, and faces. The scars don't bother me, though I have scars on top of scars in some places. They cause no pain... except for one old one that should I forget is there will occasional remind me. Though, I sorta would prefer to be able to say when asked by a grandchild about one of them. "Oh, that was gotten while helping a heifer to calve", or something half way noble.  Instead of "Well I was leading a colt when he suddenly spooked and drug me a ways before I could get him stopped", or "that was from a Banty rooster attack."

This morning's scar pain, radiating fiercely across the top of both shoulders was likely stress induced. It has been three years... gone... some scars are not of the torn flesh kind.  Even Dad noticed and was concerned, damn, because it is not his doing or even anything to do with here.

An extra run with Willie, where I heard a bell cow in the distance, and seeing the start of the wild flower seeds I scattered on the trails last fall, did wonders to mitigate a bad start.

Friday, January 2, 2015


 Iron Canyon sunset on the Sacramento River photo by Chris Austin

"THIS YEAR 2015"

Dad is going to catch a Salmon

while I'm driv'n the boat (ol ugly),

there will be no losing of the most expense lures known to man,

there will be no unsecured lures
flying in the face of the boat driver (me)
while I'm trying to full speed plane over riffles,

there will be no fouling of the intake
faster than I can flip over the side and clean it out,

there will be no opening of a chew can
if you are seated directly in front of the boat driver (me) while we are hauling ass up river,

there will be no need for a 911 call from the boat,

there will be Prayer, often, and fervent for those immortal words... "fish on". 

   on this day 01.02.2015

In raising a toast back to my BIL Don (The consummate outdoorsman) on his first day of retirement...


In wishing my older BIL Jeff (The man of science & c'gars) a very Happy Birthday...

Jeff is the one without horns