Author Archives: John

Mother’s Day

Echinopsis Oxygona

The Echinopsis’s delicate, one-day bloom usually occurs around Mother’s Day, reminding Robbin and I how each of our mothers showed us the way.  

Happy Mother’s Day!

Shipping Wagyu X Calves

Terri Blanke and Allie Fox photos

Great day for the crew as we shipped our first load of Wagyu X calves yesterday, but one month earlier and 100 lbs. lighter than usual due to current drought conditions.  Drier than 2013 with only 6” of rainfall for the season, we’re trying to conserve what grass we have.  Today we’re preg-checking their mothers as we begin to reduce the numbers of our cowherd.

Gerald Haslam

One of the Central Valley’s most prolific writers, died at 84.

https://www.bakersfield.com/columnists/robert-price-gerry-haslam-s-valley-was-a-place-of-renewal-and-comfort/article_41dbcd52-9f27-11eb-8d61-03cd5e2f0f42.html

MY FATHER’S WAR









Left arm numb

I worried some

after the Covid shot.

Long wire gate

it took the two of us

to close—

guitar-string tight

well past

the railroad tie braces,

it still aches

like my father’s war

I’m still fighting.

7thArmored Division

trapped after leveling 

St. Vith.

With such legacies,

how will we ever learn

to get along?

            for Ken Rogers

Nest Building

Good entertainment, the house finches are now busy collecting nest materials that continually rain down from the rafters.  This ambitious female is retrieving what she dropped. (Click the photo to enlarge.)

Purple Chinese Houses

With so little rain, it’s not been much of a wildflower year—even the most common Fiddleneck and Brodiaea are scarce and on short stems.  But we began yesterday with these Purple Chinese Houses (Collinsia heterophylla), a wild gather as we collected the last of the Wagyu X calves for their EID tags and second round of vaccinations before shipping to Snake River Farms.

My Happy Birthday Song

Many thanks to our good friends Denise Withnell and Dave Wilke, aka Cowboy Celtic, for their birthday wishes.

RAGS

Mountain raised,

Colonel bred,

the old man gets the call,

show her how it feels

to really watch a cow—

to hold on

when he cracks back,

hear him nicker

under his breath

when he’s done well.

No better feeling 

with your clothes on.

            for Allie and Fairlea Smart Pic

HOUSE FINCHES





He waits upon the beam

that holds the rafters up,

dry weed in his beak.

He chirps incessantly

as she constructs a nest

with what he brings her.

He seems to have forgotten

the ear-piercing love songs

from her red-breasted suitors

prancing on the railing

now that he has a partner

to get the real work done.

SPRING 2021






Short-stemmed wildflowers
attempt to act normal, draw
eyes from bare hillsides.