Monthly Archives: May 2013

Sharing A Meal



While putting out salt and mineral, I interrupted some Turkey Vultures and a bear cub, before the latter retreated to his own tree.



The phrase in my head,
the last line to the chorus
of an unwritten song—

my upbeat blank sheet
that needs to smile
at the truth, to be both

pleased and vulnerable, a
Bobby Bare song that applies
to loving and dying well—

when it’s all done,
there’s nothin’ more
to leavin’ than goodbye.

Perhaps her eyes go
early in the first verse
to search unfamiliar scenery,

then his retreat
to the wordless sounds
of rivers and streams—

one we can all sing
when there’s nothin’ more
to leavin’ than goodbye.


Endorphin bound, we humans
sometimes pack compressed loads,
test the fabric of mind and flesh

like the old joggers focused
on the haze at road’s end
as footfalls pump within their brains.

Blaze orange and magenta tunics,
fists like pistons she can feel
in the corner of her pasture,

one lags the other, but coming
closer, blowing harder
as she wheels to get away

through two fences, wire screeching
into the roadway. They pursue her
without stopping for two miles—

before she gets to ground she doesn’t
know, then leaps another to get free.
It’s contagious, all that determination

up and down a road that is no secret
to armies of Harleys and bright-hued
bicyclists, daredevils on crotch rockets,

four-wheel drives dragging trailers
of more toys within the stream of weekend
Christians speeding towards their God.

We have become the obstacles, or part
of the scenery they never see. We pray
before we cross the road to changing times.



It’s been a long week thus far, but with cooler temperatures: yesterday’s high of 95° and 58° this morning at 4:00 a.m. as we prepare to ship our Wagyu X calves to Snake River Farms this morning. We shipped another load of cull cows to town yesterday as well as eleven grass fed steers to Yosemite Valley Beef in Merced. In the mix we we are weaning a little bunch of calves that have just now begun bawling a mile and half up the road. At the welcome end of yesterday, I looked up to see this Egret, that has been staying out of little camera range, at the end of the lane. I noticed him earlier while watering the corrals to keep the dust down for today, wondering what the sudden attraction was.


Also while waiting for the truck driver for the grass fed steers to call, one of the Roadrunners was just outside the door, surveying bird nests in the eaves.


The grass fed steers and I wait to load while the driver finds his way.

Mothers’ Day

Turkey Hen

Turkey Hen

Like the Roadrunners, the turkeys are having a pretty good year on Dry Creek, this one nesting I presume, but no toms that I’ve seen. 102° yesterday, I’m trying to get out a little earlier in the morning to feed the calves in the weaning pen, irrigate and pump water for the cows waiting to be sorted tomorrow morning. Kubota-time easing from pasture to pasture and back and forth across the creek, now diminished to a few holes of water that concentrates the ducks, killdeer, herons, redwings, etc. I packed the big lens this morning to catch this hen at breakfast about 7:30 a.m.

Wooly Mullein

Verbascum thapsus, May 11, 2013

Verbascum thapsus, May 11, 2013

Wooly Mullein, Dry Creek - May 11, 2013

Wooly Mullein, Dry Creek – May 11, 2013


Canada Geese



We awake again surprised, full of wonder
with the first and second barefoot step,
not quite ready for reality to ambush us

with awe. Changing water on the pasture,
an egret lifted above me from a pond
of cattails and coots, redwings and bullfrogs—

flapped and circled to stand off in the dry grass
until I passed through this little heaven,
this inefficient accumulation of water,

to return when I was gone. There is no reason
to fear here, each of us tending to our business,
staying out of one another’s way in a dance

I haven’t learned in town. A man must
get out early in the summer, make necessary
circles that he can’t pay anyone else to do.


Into the dumpster
just to pick up
what’s scattered
down the road.
Pay our bill.

Into the dumpster
just to pick up
what’s scattered
down the road.
Pay our bill.

Repeat refrain
over and over again.

                                for Waste Management



I’m not sure how many Roadrunners we have around the house at the moment, but at least two nesting pairs and two juveniles that were hatched this year. They’re harder to count than cattle, one the run, often in different directions. The one above is taking what appears to be a gopher to a nest in the rocks and Live Oaks above my office window. Earlier this morning, it was a snail. In their beaks, they will beat their quarry senseless, side to side on the ground, until dead. Roadrunners don’t appear to use the same nest twice, and now that I know I have one close by, I’ll keep the camera ready.