An old cowboy wandering the west with a batshit crazy dog and a fine Buckskin Mare in a Lakota LQ drug around by a tired ol' Dodge Pickup.

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

The Sky Above and the Stones Below

This old cowboy has been running uphill packing baggage he should long ago have set down.

I sure wish life was more like the stock market... you know, that selling short setup... where you can somehow turn a profit by losing money?

Yeah, that would be fine, 'cause I have that doin' it wrong part nailed.

Circumstance having caught my foot and drug me all the way back to Missouri some 3 years back... I've worked at a dozen different trails to break out and go Home....each and every one a miserable bust.

Homesick for the west, the fresh obstacle of a 21st century plague has me aching for a culture lost to the people of this century.

Lost to them, but it still lives. It's kept alive by a hardy few who preserve that western character and its clear eye in secluded spots across the west. They live their lives as they see proper, Free on the Land.

I saddled this Bronc, and this Bronc I'll get rode. I vow.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Ya'll May Be Right!

... and I DID fall on my head one too many times...

But when I crash and burn that very last time I think all will be able to agree that it wasn't for lack of trying!

Working on those decisions I mentioned... and it's a piece of work, because the wrong ones I made run deep and take some diggin' to reach...

To read how things are just starting to shake out follow on back to my Old Blog... It's a continuing story... 'cause I'm whipped to a pulp... but I ain't done yet!

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Not Much New... Still Running Against the Wind...

Been I believe the longest time I've gone without a post since I started blogging back in 2006 or so...

Truth be known, there wasn't a lot more than just day to day livin' goin' on to write about. And the day to day is getting pretty tough.

I started on this chapter of my journey back in the late winter and spring of 2015. Goin' back to horse I said. Lordy, I had no good idea just what I was steppin' into.

It's been a steep climb with a hard wind in my face ever since. That wouldn't be so bad if I was gaining. But when you look up in the afternoon, and you're lower on the mountain you're climbing than you were when you started that morning... and those days start to run on as the normal way of things, at some point a buster has to stop and take a sharp look at things.

I made the choices I did 2 1/2 years ago based on the idea that even if I couldn't grow my income I'd be able to sustain it where it was. Yeah? Well I was wrong. Wrong as hell to be more accurate. The harder I've worked at it, the further it sunk. At this point off better than 35%.

A whole conglomeration of things has tagged me faster than I've had the ability to adjust. The growth of Smartphones and FB and google's dance have decimated website advertising income. My book sales have fell off heavy. Though reviews are as good as ever, each new book enjoys a shorter time in the sun with a smaller impact...

Compound that with repetitive expensive repairs on top of a real steep vet bill... and it'll dent a man's spirit.

Considering I wasn't near to riches to begin with losing a third of income and more just ain't a sustainable deal on top of the increasing expenses. You get to feeling like a feather caught in a blender!

A fella can only run hard for so long... only I'm finding in this deal they ain't alowin' the guy to stop and catch his breath. Soooooo...

That leaves me with hard choices that'll have to be made this summer and fall. Not sure what those choices all are just yet... I only know that to keep on keepin' on as I've been doing to save face and not be a "Quitter" is well... it's just dumb.

Talking about much the same thing quite a while ago (yup, I also apparently am learning disabled) I said the first thing to do when you find yourself in a hole is to quit digging.

Good advice. I sure wish I'd been listening! Seems like all I did when I stopped was change shovels... and then went back to work with a bigger spade!

At this age I'm weary of lost causes...

I've got another Harvest I'm lined up for up in Sidney starting again in September. I'll be wearing out pencils and erasers cipherin' and cogitating through the summer trying to work out a trail, as I finish out my work here for my daughter... and sometime in the fall, when I look back and see where the trail lead me... I'll know which way I went!


Saturday, April 29, 2017

Missouri Mud

Been raining for 12 hours or so. Poor Cora is standing in a sea of mud down in the round pen.

Same story since I got here. For weeks and weeks the Sun has come out and sets to drying things out - 'bout the time this Missouri clay dehydrates enough to be safe working her... it starts raining again.

Only managed maybe four rides since I left Arizona... 

This time it's one of the heavier downpours. Roads getting flooded out.

Might be green here, but I believe I'll keep good old Arizona Western brown. Only good use for water is washing your feet... and ruining good whiskey.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Arizona and Montana are Where My Heart Lives...

Whittled a project the last day before I hauled out.

 Some time back I built the first evolution of a braiding stand. Trouble with it was that it was just too bulky a set up for my cramped and limited cargo capacity.

I ended up a few months ago cutting the working bits out of it... hoping I'd come up with a better idea.

Finally, either sippin' a brew or a shot of vodka ;) I hit on an idea.

I took those working bits and whittled on them a bit to organize them in a way that they can mount up on my stitching horse to do my braiding.

Wasn't but a day or so after I done that when I up and decided that I'd ought to be goin' if I was goin'...

... and so with my rig loaded with me, Arlo and my Cora... we went.

 I'm not truly certain that a Missouri summer is a deal I'm ready for... Yet something inside calls for me to go and do what my Daughter might need.

We left Cochise and started rolling east bound for New Mexico and Missouri off beyon. Ambivalent about both the summer and the truck we made the first day without issue. I'd decided to run a two day run in three or four... to make the trip as easy as I could on a mare that don't care for trailer travel. That's doing a 1200 mile run in 300+- legs.

That afternoon we rolled into a "Horse Motel" in south New Mexico. I'm one for boondocking. Not paying precious cash for an overnight nap. Just a man, free on the earth... but when you've got a horse in the trailer out back, her needs override your own.

So, this trip I found a "Horse Motel" just up on the north side of Alamogordo. Turned out to be the best night of the trip... and if they were all like that one... I'd never change from it.

Surrounded by horses, and horse people taking care of their own animals... that feed their souls and give them the strength to continue on in this insane world... It was a fine and restful evening.

*Copper Penny Ranch in Alamogordo*
A soft night. A cool brew watching the New Mexico sunset sitting outside the rig on a lil' patch of grass. My mare Cora was off just a short ways in a solid and safe pipe corral. All was good.

Yeah... right up until the next morning when she'd already decided she was done with interstate travel. Took better'n two and a half hours to get her loaded back up.

Ok fine... she's in the rig and we can still make the next stop, Amarillo, a good long while before dark so off we go.

The day rolled by with little issue beyond the necessity to be on guard for them that have no ability to operate a motor vehicle and no understanding that as drivers they are a threat to all unfortunate travelers that cross their paths. In spite of the efforts of morons in 3000 pound cars attempting to defy physics and the ability of 17,000 pound plus rigs to maneuver and stop, we split the wind to a spot 75 miles west of Amarillo.

It was 'bout there that I glanced down and saw the voltage gauge telling me there was none. Or no more than 'bout maybe 10 volts. Now... knowing that it should be up better'n 14 and that the fuel pump requires juice, as well as the computer that runs the whole dang show I'm thinkin' that bein' too poor to pony up the tariff to renew that Horseman's towing service might could have been a genuine political error. 

Yeah... running down the road with a pony in the back and really not wanting to spend the night on the shoulder of I-40 with not enough for both a tow bill AND a fresh alternator... that 75 mile run into the west side of Amarillo was a fun ride.

But! We made it without a burp. I got plugged in at the noisiest "Horse Motel" you could imagine that was arranged alongside an on ramp to I-40. I Won't complain though. Cora had a big pen, noisy as it was and we were off the road ok. Being plugged in juiced the batteries up so I could run the five miles to the nearest parts house - where I swapped alternators in the parking lot the next morning that was a Sunday.

But then... of course... Ms. Cora maintained her growing Hell Bitch rep. This time it only took a half hour... I learned/remembered a trick in Alamogordo that I used sooner in Texas... and we were on the road again. Late but rolling. (I had the hunger to return to Horse an rekindle my horsemanship... Ms. Cora is doing her part to make sure I've plenty of inspiration!")

Goin' down the road I decided rather than make another stop, If Cora was going to be a Diva... she could Deva along for a LONG day rather than another 300 mile haul... That would put us into Missouri late... but we'd be done rolling for a long while... So I set about to making that long haul...

and then... Oklahoma... Well... CRAP!

Two axles on the truck... two on the Lakota... it'll cost a fella $22 to get from Oklahoma City to the Missouri line. That's right... TWO toll sections at the rate of $11 bucks each...

Wouldn't chap my hide so much if I wasn't payin' out so much in Fuel tax, Fed excise on tires, registration fees, et al...

Oh well... it just teaches me to be more careful on route selection through Oklahoma...

... and we rolled on... until I look down... a hundred miles or so from the end of the trail... and another light is blazing on the dash...

This time it's the "4WD" light... now, four wheel drive should not be engaged on dry asphalt... tears stuff up... I'm road weary, beat down, cross eyed tired... and I believed the damned light.

So I slowed up, pulled off... and no matter what  I did I couldn't get the rig out of four by... and wondering how in the hell it got engaged in the first place! and it "Felt" like it was in. I swear I could feel the tugging and vibration of 4wd. Ended up running the last 75 miles or so at lowest legal interstate speed, hoping it all don't blow to hell leaving me stranded.

Made it... and two days later a "Motorhead" my kid knows looked at it and told me it's only the gear position sensor that indicates in or out of 4wd had failed... OOOOOFFFFFF... Made for a rough end of trip but Good News!

Well... been here 10 days or so... ten days of rain and mud! Lost some ground on Cora. Haven't been able to swing a leg 'cause of the mud and weather! Hoping for tomorrow...

...Felt like I needed to do something productive... so I got my Tooling muscles warmed up and started work on the first Pictorial Carving I've done in years...

Been working the last few days between squalls to get some new critter pens and a raised bed garden built for my Missouri Daughter... and knocked out a few thousand words on a "Ben Jensen" story.

One thing the whole deal has shown me... I belong straddling a kak out on the desert... or up in the High Lonesome... struggling down the super slab dodging prius suicide drivers and forcing my Buckskin into the unnatural confines of an Aluminum box rattling down the road at 65 mph doesn't bring me the salvation it once did.

Arizona winters and Montana summers has a sweet sound...Those runs, spring and fall make sense to me, and I can deal twice a year... but two runs now I've been forced to take athletic evasive action to avoid killing morons who seem to have no knowledge of what "Yield" or "Merge" mean... or the reality of physics.

The first time it was only me. But this trip there was a horse in back. One of these idiots cause injury to one of my horses? The Sheriff will be doing an investigation... I Vow.

*One of the Few Breaks in ten days of solid wet and overcast*

Now... if this cold, wet, muddy stuff will yield me some time for Cora and me to put on some Missouri miles, my grump will fade some.

Ms. Cora... The ONLY time a feel right... is when I'm out there with her... Soon as I step back into -THIS- world... and I'm off... wrong, out-of-time...

My task is to find the way to ride out my string... with her and any others I'm fortunate enough to roll into my string... and push -THIS- world away... 

- Brian

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Chasing the Wind and The Road Leads Me On...

Seems like I'm never gonna figure out just what it is I'm gonna be when I grow up... Cowboy, Soldier, Writer, Leather Carver... Drifter...

I keep running at it but when you've a bad case of AADD compounded by a Cowboy's restless feet it's purt near impossible to stay focused on any one thing long enough to say "This... This is what I'll be doin'..." and so I keep on following that "Road" that leads me on, wherever it takes me.

Which in a few days it will be pulling me along again...

*Life seen through a horses ears*

Cochise Camp will be left to bake in the sun for another season... or two...

*Cochise Camp
About the time I started to think about which way I'd wander north again, and all the twists and differences that wandering with a horse aboard would require... another trail forked off that hadn't been figured in.

Family needs draw me back to Missouri... and this time for the summer. Whew. Summer in Southwest Missouri is something I'm not so sure I want to experience! By October, I should be pretty good at finding a cool brew, a chair and some shade!

Thinking of cool Montana High Country will make that Missouri sojourn all the harder. Because, if Arizona is my first Love, (for places) Montana is its twin sister.

Been working on some small projects to take myself in other directions and keep the issue confused as much as I can...

Needed/Wanted some slobber leathers for reins on a snaffle, so I whittled up a set.

Needed to reawaken my old leather carving skills a mite as well.

They're ok... but still need to "wake up" a bit more!

Hoping to do quite a bit more carving in the coming months. It will be a nice brain freshening exercise as I keep Cora working and I keep my own work on the next book going.

"They say there's a place where dreams have all gone__They never said where but I think I know..."

Time will tell if I've any idea where the buggers are hiding...

... got to get to packin' gear away for the 1200 mile run to the Ozarks... It'll be a slow trip. Just 300 miles or so a day. That's long enough for this mare to stand in the back. Hauling don't really shine for her so I want to take it a little easy on her and let her "season" a bit without beating her up too bad.

... and I can roll slower and easier on my poor old truck... maybe this years harvest can go into a bit of "restoration" work on it. Better that than the price they want for "new" these days!

Unless of course my published stories suddenly caught fire and left me with a pile of cash that needed disposal! :) Ha Ha! The last book, "For My Horses" is coming close to release on March 20. It's sold the most on pre-order so far so that's a good thing! I just need to keep up that momentum this time and get the next book coming along and ready to go!

... there I go again... this way, that way... flit flit flit... I'm as fickle as a school girl! ;) So I'll just hustle my fickle butt off toward Missouri and see where I end up.

Anyhoo...This run, I'll be using two or three "Horse Motels" for my night the road stretching out in front leads me right through where wall the awful fires have devastated so many families... pretty much shrinks my lil difficulties into a proper perspective.

- Brian

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Books and Buckskins

In between jogs across the desert I've managed to get my next story published. for my Horses is now available for Pre-order purchase at Amazon and also in the Smashwords network.

The book will be released on the 20th of March 2017. If you pre-order now it will automatically download on the release day. The benefit for me is that all the pre-order sales will be "registered" on that release day which gives the Title a real kick in ranking, helping a lot with visibility.

If you know anyone who enjoys western stories whittled by genuine cantankerous old busters... share my link with 'em. Me and the critters I feed will all be very appreciative.

If you've not read any of my stories you can go to my author page at Amazon and download for FREE the first book of each series; A Matter of Honor and A Pair of Second Chances... see if you like 'em... can't get hurt much considering they're FREE! ;-)

In the mean time, while I wait for the book to be released, I'll get back to Cora. She and I are doin' 'bout five miles a day now. Not lengthening the distance any but little by little picking up the speed. As she catches on to my cues, and as I get sharper again at clean cues she's getting into fairly decent shape.

And now that the work on "for my Horses" is mostly done... I'll start digging into Ben Jensen's next story that's scattered around in my lap top!

- Brian