Tag Archives: photography

BLOND ON BLOND

 

 

Taking the cows home
a week after weaning
snakes easily over the saddle
and down to the water
of collected dreams.

I remember yellow
Euclid trucks dumping
layers of native pasture
armored with rock
across the river in ’59,

flooding shoreline picnics
and ground squirrels targets
where the Wukchumne camped—
where Loren Fredricks
never learned to swim

afraid of the three-foot carp,
sun-dried, he had to ride upon
in a horse-drawn cart
up Dry Creek to Eshom
before he became a cowboy.

Snow stacked high
on the Kaweahs, we held
the water back when Visalia
was a town, spread the city out
with no water in the ground.

               Blond cowgirl
               on a palomino
               in the wild oats
               above black cows
               and Lake Kaweah—

taking them home
a week after weaning
snakes easily over the saddle
and down to the water
of our collected dreams.

 

APEX AND RANGE

 

 

The ridges are crowded with generations
of relatives and old friends
who came with this ground—

               a native ascension
               a pardon from heaven

for those whose roots won’t let loose
of the baked clay and granite
the weather has chiseled

into crumbling headstones. Easier
to hear their voices, feel them near
as I grow older, closer to them.

 

SHIPPING DAY 2005

 

(click to enlarge)

 

Privilege and luck
to know and work with fine men
while getting older.

A part of them sticks
to the sides of gaping holes
they have left us with

to load semi-trucks
with ripened grass on the hoof—
cowmen to count on.

 

 

Returning home yesterday after a moving celebration of the life of Earl McKee, Robbin went through some her photos trying to determine the age of our old dog, only to run across her photo of Tom Grimmius and Art Tarbell on Dry Creek, two more from the old school that are no longer with us to help get the job done. Reminding me of H.C. “Bud” Jackson’s “The Good ‘Uns” about Cleo Denny and other local and progressive cattlemen, published in 1980.

 

Range Magazine, Summer 2019

 

Carolyn Duferrena Photo

Robbin and I had a delightful visit with Carolyn Dufurrena here on the ranch last August where she interviewed me for this article in Range Magazine,
“Bard of the Southern Sierra”.
My thanks to C. J. Hadley for her continuing support of the people, the lands and the wildlife of the West—
“The Cowboy Spirit on America’s Outback”.

 

Bequette Corrals 2019

 

 

The original board pens were old when they were moved here in 1959 to accommodate the construction of Terminus Dam. Since the 90s, we’ve slowly replaced the boards with pipe. Two weeks ago, we finished upgrading these corrals with time enough to electrify the covered working area for the hydraulic chute and scales. We needed facilities to efficiently process and ship our Wagyu X calves. No two corral set-ups operate the same, even if copied exactly, as the landscape where they are located seems to be a factor in cattle behavior.

 

 

As required by our contract with Snake River Farms, yesterday we finished administering a second-round of vaccinations two weeks before we wean and ship two loads of calves to Idaho. It’s been like learning a new dance in these pens as we process the calves and deworm their mothers, experimenting as we go with what seems to be easiest on the cattle. After today’s fourth bunch, we’ve got our basic footwork down. A small, but nice set of pens for about sixty pairs, about as many as we want to do in a morning.

 

 

CANDELABRA

 

 

Wild inspiration
to ignite each arm of grace
with blooms for a room.

 

PERCEPTIONS AT DAYBREAK

 

 

Three greenheads beat wings up canyon
into the rosy hue of dawn clinging to the ridgeline—
predecessors leaving me to shape the last
couplet before I find my place among them.

I catch glimpses quaking in the leaves
of a redbud, in the shadow of an oak trunk
and especially reflected in the eyes of cows
awaiting direction as proof of the spirits

that occupy this place, my home—that wish
to appear through cloudy lenses of my own.

 

PERSPECTIVE

 

 

Crowded outer space,
red sputniks and satellites
between us and God.

 

ECHINOPSIS IN MAY

 

 

One-night bloom well-spent
at once—a dazzling display
of brilliance gone limp.

 

IN THE THICK OF IT

 

 

A short leap before
we look back, freeze and believe
we are invisible.