Tag Archives: Temple Grandin





Robbin and I know where we belong, that we have grown old while the world has changed around us. We think of our parents and grandparents, understand their frustrations with progress.

The Academy of Western Artists “seeks to preserve the traditional values associated with the cowboy image despite consolidation in the cattle industry and changes in contemporary society. The group hosts an annual awards show.”

Yesterday, with two of our cattle neighbors, we were headed to Forth Worth to meet my son who had flown in from San Francisco, where I was to receive the Buck Ramsey Cowboy Poet of the Year award and have some fun. This morning we’re on Dry Creek, he’s in Fort Worth.


We know the feeling of corrals
in airports, and prepare ourselves
to be bunched-up, to wait in lines
at every gate—to follow rules

for humans. We should have known
red fire trucks as an omen,
but we loaded-up, anyway,
found our seats and waited.

I was a mountain man in another life
dodging Indians and ole Ephraim,
knew them all and their stories
and started reading. About the time

Hugh Glass met the grizzly’s cubs,
the captain came on the intercom
to say it’ll be a short, or long, wait
to leave for Dallas, to find the trouble

with the engine gauge, maybe just
a loose wire. I am a slow reader,
but by the time they started patching
Hugh Glass’s bloody body up,

we deplaned to rebook our flight—
190 head, three hours in the lead-up
to be processed. No way to get
to Dallas and keep the four of us

together, no other plane to haul
the human cargo—no way to share
awards and ceremony. (They kill
the man
, anyway, Jeffers said.)

Way Out West beyond the claustrophobe,
we should be proud of plans
that we expect—that have to get—
the work done, where we depend

on few, but in the corrals, numb
humans herding humans used to
to corporate calculations failing—
we treat ourselves and cattle better.

                                          for Temple Grandin



A skinny but energetic Hispanic
calls me ‘Boss’ before I step out
into the concrete chute of the Ford garage,

hackneyed patronage I ignore while urgently
scanning the lead-up for a familiar face
in a frightening blur of new ownership—

almost forgetting the smog check I came for,
and an upfront inspection for the cause
and cost to repair the feed truck’s

St. Vitus tap dance on the asphalt
at speeds over thirty after a life
on 4-wheel drive dirt, loaded

with hay or towing a gooseneck. Time
for maintenance for the unretired—
Temple Grandin knows I need a hug.

Doing Fine


It tried to rain. We grinned with glee last evening as it played upon the metal roof and dotted the deck—like kids, we grabbed our drinks to stand out in it: an immeasurable amount. Ever optimistic, Robbin suggested I free the dead bees trapped in the rain gauge. Though not enough moisture to settle the dust or change the smell of things, it was trying—it hadn’t forgotten how.

Waiting to hear the latest weather report, we’re exposed, like everyone else, to the news, mostly bad news and extremely bad weather other places like the devastating blizzard in South Dakota that killed over 20,000 head of cattle last October. Or the 2011 Texas Drought that cut the state’s numbers by 600,000 head. By comparison, we’re doing fine despite the dusty poems and photographs within this blog.


As a result of our reduced numbers, warmer weather and more alfalfa hay, the cattle seem to be doing fine as well. We know that our calves will be lighter this spring, and not as many cows will breed back to calve next September. We also know that selling cows to buy more hay is not a sustainable business model, but for the moment, most of our cows are OK.

We’ll miss our friends and extended family at the 30th National Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko that begins next week. NCPG We so wanted to listen to Temple Grandin deliver the keynote speech on Thursday, January 30th. More than any other individual, Temple Grandin has beneficially influenced the handling of cattle in the United States and around the world. Her methods are humane, proven and profitable. The keynote should be uploaded to the website and YouTube by Thursday afternoon.


Or if we’re busy feeding at the time, other performances are always available at the NCPG’s Broadcast. Also available at the Gathering, thanks to the valiant efforts of documentary filmmaker Paul Moon, is my audio CD in absentia, ‘Streams of Thought’. Dry Crik Press


So all in all, we’re doing fine.