REPRIEVE

 

 

She didn’t stay long
or leave much in the way
of puddles,

her fine gray mist
to brighten green,
settle dust

and relieve the pain
of waiting
for a well-begged rain—

a sniff and taste
to lure us closer
toward our reward

like this cold dawn’s
chimney smoke,
flat to the ground,

drawn up-canyon
following her
discarded clouds.

 

     February 23, 2020
     0.15″

OUT OF DARKNESS

 

 

Alone in the dark
that shrouds anemic green
and short-stemmed fiddleneck
thinking February seed,

               the joyful gurgle
               of a shrinking creek
               gulps over cobbles

               to sit beside me
               on a cold and moist
               down-canyon breeze.

               Painted black,
               all sounds normal
               as if a sign.

Alone in the dark
I color hillsides leaking
beneath gray skies.

 

THE FAR CRY

 

 

A single pod of seeds, the bare
redbud volunteer, come spring,
will obscure my view of the road;

the world beyond this black morning—
beyond the owl in the oaks above me;
the cobbled mumbles of the creek.

With the hillside chorus of coyotes
and canyon’s replies, the ridgeline
holds-up heaven’s brilliance

in a sky of stars—unabashed
and unafraid of any circumstance
that may engulf us all.

 

2nd Branding Greasy 2020

 

Despite warm temperatures and no rain for nearly 30 days, the calves have grown since we branded last in Greasy on January 9th.

 

Father and daughter, Garth and Audrey Maze pose before we start.

 

 

 

 

 

With a great crew, we made short work of big calves and were down the hill by noon. Thank you all.

 

FEBRUARY 2020

 

 

Another cold dry front
rests upon the tops of hills,
shapeless clouds, a haze
upon steep south slopes,
red clay like brick—
green pales to gray

               as we brand calves
               one by one
               we may sell early
               with their mothers.

I brace against the familiar
drama, growing numb

               as my stiff new rope
               slides through the palm
               of time’s softened hand,
               warming as it searches
               for my frayed
               wrapped-cotton horn.

               I quote my elders
               dead and gone
               as they visit
               the branding pen.

Don’t worry, Dofflemyer,
               E. J.’d say.
It’s gonna rain.

It takes years to get here
with cows we like—
unwritten contracts
they understand

               as we discuss
               our options
               of who goes first
               and who gets what’s left
               of hay.

Of the two of us,
I am the dreamer
and believer—

a luxury
you have allowed me
               facing facts
as I grow gray.

                              for Robbin

 

PURE LOVE

 

 

She was there
always for her kids
and theirs and theirs

with open wings—
quick to feed
and defend them.

Scrappy daughter
of the Dust Bowl,
rest in peace.

                    for Ila Jean Fry
    January 17, 1926 — January 17, 2020

 

Obituary

 

Turkey Fight

 

On our way to gather the cows and calves for branding last Friday, we ran across two turkeys fighting within a rafter of twenty or so young toms along the creek.

 


                                                            (Click to enlarge)

 

It was a quiet combat for dominance, yet none of the rest seemed disturbed nor cared about the outcome.

 

 

But as I began to photograph the battle with my point and shoot, the group slowly dispersed to leave the two toms battling alone.

 

 

It’s that time of year, I suppose.

 

Cowgirls

 

 

We branded a little bunch, the last of our Wagyu X calves, yesterday. It was a beautiful morning, despite our hillsides turning as we wait for rain. Three girls roping, Corrine Ainley Manes and Terri Blanke above getting ready to bring one to the fire.

 

 

Corrine Ainley Manes catches two.

 

 

We even had time for Robbin and Heston Manes to get reacquainted, glove on his right hand just like Mom.

 

 

Audrey Maze throws a perfect loop to help the day run smoothly. With plenty of help on the ground, we got the work done and had lots of fun. Thank you all.

 

Elko – My Favorite Kids

 

 

Always a joy to see Brigid & Johnny “Guitar” Reedy at the Gathering, to see how they’ve matured both on and off stage. Performing at the Gathering since she was two, Brigid made the cover of Alta Magazine on January 1, 2020. Now 19, she and Johnny (14) have been writing their own songs and Brigid has been writing a little poetry as well. A great show Monday night! We also caught a set with them on stage with Ernie Sites and the Sagebrush Ramblers at the the Stockman’s.

All recent history, we’re branding calves this morning.

 

There Was A Day

 

 

Last night of the Gathering, I was surprised by this poster in a window of the Pioneer Hotel. Click to enlarge if your dare.