Early morning dew,
a long leafless shadow falls
between young girls grazing,
sprinkled black on green
dreams, a young man’s heaven
that still works a world away
from almost everything.





Prodigal parents
away with rain, we become
heaven’s disruptions.


Vernal Equinox, 2017



Not a normal spring, Robbin and I made the loop of Greasy Creek yesterday with 750 lbs. of salt and mineral. We’ve not seen the cows and calves since before we left for Elko at the end of January, due to high water in Dry Creek, a huge rock on the Mankin Flat Fire Road, and overall conditions too wet to travel.

We flirted with having to walk home before we reached the corrals where I emptied 6.85” from the rain gauge, a total to date for the season of 24.03”. Not unlike the Paregien Ranch, we can’t get to the corrals with a pickup or gooseneck, so branding the rest of our calves is not a consideration. Furthermore, we’re too late in our grass season for our 500 lbs. bull calves to effectively recover to then continue to gain weight again.

Our dilemma as delineated in the March 11th post is moot at this point, wet roads and weather having made the decision for us. More storms forecast with unsettled weather for the next 10-12 days, with all the colors of spring waiting to unfold. These toms were courting the hens on Greasy Creek yesterday, finding a bare spot in the road to fan their tails, drag their wings and gobble in unison, as the heads of hens watched from the tall grass.





We had to shout around
the fire, the browning beef,
our quartette of comedy competing
with tree frog symphonies,

layered orchestrations beyond
the edge of dark up to our feet,
interrupting, croaking rudely,
demanding their moment on stage.

It’s how the world works,
taking turns—now is the time
for art—to find the common heart
of humanity that can bring peace.





No clock, no time—
free to look down
canyon home, the road

beyond to Lemon Cove
tied to railroad towns
up and down 99

two thousand feet below.
Through 150 hazy years,
much the same

to native eyes, to the wild
that have survived
our good fortune.





We’ve been sharing ranch life with our dear Canadian friends Denise Withnell and David Wilke from Cowboy Celtic for the past few days, exhausted as they head home to Victoria. Like kids, we’ve been having way too much fun while getting very little work done. Taking them on a tour of the Paregien ranch to put out salt and mineral while assessing the practicality of branding our bull calves, we found roads still too wet in places for a pickup or gooseneck.



With two saved from oak tree entanglements, they had to endure my rant about why mylar balloons ought to be illegal.



Thank you, dear friends for helping to prove that you’re never too old for a picnic.






Obstacles enough to keep this slow dance
interesting, to claim dexterity replayed,
we watch ourselves as movie stars sans

parade, glitter, or colored tabloid poses.
But the tempo and the tune are changing,
gearing-up with heavy guns for more

profitable exchanges, backroom deals
to satisfy the planet’s oligarchy, a lust
for luxuries yet to be imagined by mortals.

Frolicking pawns in this ascent towards
godliness, without remorse we emulate
with more consumption than the future

can afford for one last bash, the flash
of Armageddon, the sort of souls
the righteous have been waiting for.


Busy in place away from the mainstream,
we are forgotten shepherds tending flocks
on uneven ground, looking to the sky

for rainstorms, for a sign of the tsunami
we trust will roll over us in canyons
of little consequence or significance

for bigger fish to fry. We have survived
what the crumbling skeletons of trees
have not—we have learned to adapt.


You and I, dear friend, who do we write for?
Who among the muses sits closest to our senses?
Who among the deaf do we want to hear

these word games, these songs in praise of grit
and grace, the heartbeat drum off wild tongues
we’ve tried to tame with a clever vernacular?

For the few of us, I suppose, we sing new songs
to the same old choir, the brother and sisterhood
of the page, for the ricochet of words

in one another’s minds, we reach to validate
some sane compassion common among us
before the storm, the holocaust, whatever.





Summer water banked
above thirteen thousand feet
to leak as needed.





How many head
in a lifetime counted
through a gate—

daughters of daughters,
all the young mothers
and their babies

flow in a stream
of concentration, all
the loose ends of living

in a larger world
shut away, yet
clamber for attention.

Phones are ringing
in your mind
you dare not answer

until you’re done—
good practice
for the rest of your life.





Behind the barn and horses
grazing evening time, beyond
our chorus line of sycamores

locking hands gleefully,
young mothers pepper green,
return home to fresh feed

with branded calves—slope bare
for years without rain.
Breathing deeply, we inhale

all before our eyes—
herd and family without
the scattering sort of bulls,

they glean the sweetest first
before working
up the mountain gradually.

We want to freeze the feeling
in a photograph forever,
knowing we cannot.