Monthly Archives: August 2019

First Wagyu X Calf 2019



As in the past, we record our first Wagyu X calf and first Angus calf born as part of the age and source verification process necessary for the buyers of our calves to market them for export and domestically. Though born on August 28, 2019 to first-calf heifer 8144, I hesitated to post it because it arrived two weeks early. We had another Wagyu X calf born prematurely this year on August 14th to live only a couple of days.

It’s not unusual to lose the first calf born to a first-calf heifer when social urges outweigh maternal instincts, the calf too often left alone and subject to predating coyotes and eagles. Once a couple of calves are on the ground, the heifers begin to form nurseries. This morning another calf was born prematurely. It’s survival appears doubtful.



We put the Wagyu bulls out on December 13, 2018. With a nine-month pregnancy, due date for our first-calf heifers is September 15th, give or take a week. Quick to confirm that there were no other bulls anywhere near our first-calf heifers to produce a calf at this time, we’re left with a mystery.

We’ve read recently that unusually hot weather can shorten bovine pregnancies. Even though the rest of the U.S. has had a miserably hot summer, our summer has been relatively mild with the usual week to ten-day spells of temperatures above 105˚. Another factor may be that some Angus bull breeders are pushing for ‘calving ease’ bulls by selecting genetics for shorter pregnancies to produce lighter calves. Our Angus heifers may have these genes.

We have no answers, watching our heifers closely.





Night stalks the day,
tracks the last light
over the edge
of our horizons
a slice in time away

from calvy cows
that graze the gloaming
before bedtime,
rest upon the hard
clay ground of home.

Among the gray hairs,
walkers and wheelchairs,
our game of chance:
the heartbeat’s thrill
with wild circumstance.




 Photo: Brazil Photos/LightRocket via Getty Images


                                                                                you lift your faces
                    and let it drench you in evening prayer.
                                        – George Perreault (“April Winslow: Waiting on a Rain”)

Nothing good about the Amazon
burning better than expected:
a fifth less oxygen,
drier Gulf storms
from the llano to California
to stream our cheeks with prayer.





Before we traded ranches,
your mother witched a well
that artesianed into a trough
to water cattle, that overflowed
to fill a pond twenty-four seven
without turning a wheel.

Before we traded ranches
you had tenants
that wanted more
to irrigate cannabis
with a pump and gas generator—

pulled granite sand and pebbles
to dam the crack
where water ran underground
from Sierra peaks
to the wellhead freely.

Married now to a generator,
storage tank and pump,
I pack gas and oil,
carry electrical testers,
tools and spare capacitors,
for a second well we drilled
too deep for solar
to water cattle in a trough
that never overflows.






The Emperor vines were a hundred years old
when I was a teen learning to irrigate
granddad’s thirsty vineyard, whole pump
down five furrows—hope and wait.

You had to fill the deep sand up
before it carried water down the vine row.
In the old days, Coffelts spread the pump out,
then went fishing in the pines for two weeks.

Much has changed the way we think
about water—wells deeper, trees on drip.
The earth sinks with the weight of farming
until nothing’s left to keep it up.





Much like cattle,
the sounds we make
speak more than words
that often skirt the truth—

that cannot release
the real stress like
the intonations of
a moan or groan.

Between us
another language
animals comprehend,
and when surprised

or truly overjoyed,
a melody of accents—
sweet poetry that will
never grace a page.



reblogged from December 24, 2017





Blueberry moonrise
never in the same place twice—
acorns ripe in oak trees.





Four-point buck, horns
dull just out of velvet
five weeks before season opens—

quick hoof thump
of my old heart
upon the hard ground,

I smell venison marinade
over an open flame,
taste the back-strap melt

upon my tongue,
wild cunning juices
surging in my veins.

I become young again
and shoot
through a camera lens.





Had we fish to stupefy
with turkey mullein seeds
the late rains have left

in turquoise waves
above the knees—
we could be native.

Instead we feed
the squirrels beneath
these fuzzy canopies

where shotgun hunters
will wait for mourning dove
to light and leave.



Croton setigerus: a native of the western United States, and found commonly from southern California north to Washington, particularly in the more arid locations away from the coast.

I don’t ever remember Turkey Mullein, or Dove Weed, so tall and thick and claiming such large tracts of dry summer pasture, or its color quite so blue—worth journaling, I think.





When we were children,
we played among the wrecks
of old cars and horse-drawn

wagons with wooden spokes
that hemmed the orchards
that sustained us—families

scattered round distant towns
we could visit
with ripe imaginations.

Bigger now, cities spreading
like amoeba ingesting farms
and one another, like wildfires burning

closer as convenient conflagrations
that have erased the landmarks
where we hung our memories.

It could be creeping senility
that I embrace, a watercolor wash
across pastoral landscapes

rather than the spinning pace
of progress—perpetual motion
like the galaxies of space.