Monthly Archives: March 2013


Happy Easter!



We’re happy with two-tenths early this morning and hoping to be under the right thunder cloud today.


They gobble in the dark before daybreak
to the tinny sound of a light shower
in the gutter’s downspout, little waterfalls

of sound just out-of-sync, impromptu
choruses as I play solitaire listening to it rain.
Toms up-early, fanned and dragging feathers

in the wet popcorn flowers, drooping fiddleneck,
there is nothing more to do to improve
the moment, canyon sighing with gratitude.

Easter Turkeys


Robbin looked up from her desk this morning to see two toms trailing four or five hens. New totems for us, an affirmation of sorts that we are not hampering the biodiversity of the place in which we live.




Listening to cattle speak
with your eyes helps see:

we are not so different,
not so smart,
not so unique.

Young mother
standing in the open gate
watches her calf play
at a distance for an hour
before dark, before bed—
makes no sound.
Just waits.

Cows hear no clock ticking,
have no hands to chase,
take all the time they need
to think
to the rhythm of grazing—
to ruminate in shady space.

These huge beasts come
at their own speed
when they want—
or curious
nose a pant leg,
reach with rough tongue.
Some become pets
to put big heads
in my lap.

Cold winter,
dry spring,
little grass—
someone has to go to town.

These late calvers,
first-calf heifers
have begun to shine,
look like cows,
show personalities.

Cash thin,
we weigh the market.
You suggest
we hold them
a little longer, until
the calves grow up—

so much depends
on a little rain
Easter Sunday.

Pale Owl’s Clover

Pale Owl's Clover


For what it’s worth: there seems to be more Owl’s Clover than in recent years, preferring, apparently, hard, dry times and the beaten track. Most all of the clovers are strong feed and doing well, but the cattle seem to leave Owl’s Clover, as well as most wildflowers, alone.


No butts or beer cans
                    behind the gate
                    behind the lock
                    behind the sign
beyond what you can see—
it is not perfect private property,
                    nor always.

A plane lands in the pasture
                    because it can
                    Sunday morning
                    playing early
                    while I’m working—
                    leaves tracks
                    in the dew.

I know their faces now,
                    say their names
                    hauling cattle,
                    crawling up and down
                    the mountain—
                    slow low range,
                    four wheel drive:

                    Brewer’s Lupine,
                    Pipe Stem Clematis,
                    in new places.
                    Pale Owl’s Clover
                    along the dirt road—
                    cold, dry year.

I am relieved, pleased
                    to see them return
                    despite the weather
                    despite the cattle
                    despite us

feeding weeds and grass to people.


                         If you love mushrooms
                         you’re already a billionaire.

                              – Nanao Sakaki (“No Trespassing”)

O’ time, like storm or stagnant air,
in my face or hanging-in there:
I was young once and ignorant,

or just brave to fill a sack
with freckled-faced mushrooms—
always more than I could eat

until my belly ached
with their wild richness sliced,
butter and garlic steaming

in a slow frying pan. After
hunting and picking ducks
with my grandfather, we filled

buckets in the Los Baños fog,
sharing wealth that made
my folks sick to think

of my making a mistake.
I was young once and ignorant,
but now just plain lucky!


Pretty Face



March Bloom 2013


Near the equinox, first foothill row
of South slopes turned
light-brown in a haze,

tan against the North green
and the yellowing West
facing Valley towns and orchards

about their business. A pale moon,
just shy of full, floats on a light-blue
page beyond ridges become one line

darkening. In this evening
of light, we speak poetry
with cigarettes and red wine.

‘Ripe for a rain,’ you grin pleased
to improve my alliteration,
my half-hearted hope for relief

as dry gloaming fades
to hide our short grass.
No other human ear for a mile

and only barren heifers at the fence,
dogs listening in their sleep,
I proclaim loudly, feeling pagan,

searching for any sign that might
bring a slight change—
‘A moon rising for a rain.’


McKee Branding 2013 – Robbin’s Picks

This gallery contains 26 photos.


Kenny & Virginia McKee Branding 2013

This gallery contains 14 photos.