Pelicans at Sunset




With processing the replacement heifers behind us, irrigation water off and the ranch in the capable hands of Terri Drewry Blanke and Allie Fry, Robbin and I slipped off to the 70° weather of Cambria for a couple of days. Mid-week on Moonstone Beach was relatively quiet, sparsely occupied for the most part by old people and their dogs with only a couple of gangs of unobtrusive city urchins learning a little about the beach and the unpredictable habits of waves.

It seems the only chance I get to read much beyond a long poem is when we get away from home. Though I’d seen the movie “Cold Mountain” years back, I began the written version while were there, enthralled with Charles Frazier’s prosaic style, chuck-a-block full of similes and metaphor à la the vernacular of the Civil War period. I ought to finish the book this weekend and catch the movie one more time on HBO.

We also managed to over-satisfy our ambitious quest for of seafood that ought to last us for quite a while. We’re glad to be back home, rested and ready to get back into our ranch routines.






An unrelenting beast serene, the sea
laps land into sand–and man’s short trail
of broken glass into translucent jewels–

yet neither heart nor compassion
ride upon her constant undulations
cresting white before they crash

within the foamy broth of time, stirring all
into another fresh instant. It should be
she, when we pray for storms, or for

relief from lustful passion. I do not care
to know her well, embraced inland
at a distance, my words come carefully.




Dead cedars, yellow pine
roll off the mountain
on trucks, great rounds felled

after drought
down a narrow road
to be ground

into toothpicks, I’m told.
Under the leaky flume
on the Middle Fork,

a Kenworth edged
the ’57 Ford wagon full
of kids and groceries

to a stop, red bark
dripping, hanging like hair—
we held our breath.

Breaking black silence,
a diesel rumbles upcanyon
at four, piggyback, phallic

trailer tongue angled up,
pointing to Eshom
as headlights pass,

to remove the last
to Ghost Dances past.


Summer Heron




Our Future




According to my records, we’ve only had two days since the Solstice under 100°, but the mornings have been fairly cool from first light until 9:00 a.m. This morning was no exception, simply a beautiful Sabbath.

We’ve kept our replacement heifers close to the corrals since they were weaned in May and June, waiting for their Bangs vaccination for Brucellosis and second round of shots, deworming and fly control that has entailed pumping water daily. We’ve had a lot of eye problems due to foxtails and some foot rot due to bacteria encouraged by the wet spring. Having them close by has helped us gather for doctoring.

We think this year’s heifers are exceptional, both in genetics and temperament. They have gotten to know the Kubota since they were calves, and then again when it brought hay everyday to the weaning pen. So we utilize the Kubota when we gather—they come to it naturally.

Saturday, after Friday’s processing, I led the bunch off the dry feed and irrigated pasture, fed some hay, ready to open them to 300 more acres of dry feed and another source of water, our irrigation pond. By this morning, they were exploring the shore of the pond when I arrived to see how they were doing. Naturally, they all gravitated to the Kubota to discover tall, untouched green feed in the spillway of the pond where excess water flows back into the Kaweah River.

Followers of this blog know it’s all about the girls, our prejudice for females—after all we are a cow/calf outfit. Though we were quite pleased with our steers, it’s not about bragging rights as to how big or nice they were in the sales ring—just an annual dividend, they pay our bills. It’s about the girls, two-thirds of which, with a little luck, will be with us for ten years. They become our future.







Clinging to a willow branch
above the cattails, singing
across the pond at dawn,

this world is small enough
for herons and mud hens,
a loan goose and bullfrogs—

all the drama necessary
for a rich full life
of trying to get along.






The poles were new
after the Flood of ‘55
serving granddad’s pump

in the river,
serving cross-arms,
serving Osprey

nests of sticks
and burning-up

into a hard rain
of spring, 2010.
Platforms now above

the wires, they watch
from a distance
of distrust.






The barn light
leaks off the metal roof
a golden stream of rain,

black silhouette of hills,
a carcass slumbering
beneath first blue.

Breeze down canyon—
dogs bark,
chatter of raccoons.


Wordless Wednesday: Deacon in the Garden








Busy with cleanup,
little time to say hello
or come much closer.