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, 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

Thursday, March 2, 2017

This Road That is Leading Me Home

It's been 98% fine, and the 2% not so has actually been good.

Fact is it's required me to reach down for a lot of long unused memories to read this horse....Takes some time to reawaken those things!

A few days into this deal, after Cora came home we made a discovery. 

There's a saying around the Ranches that the only good paint horse is a dead paint horse... For a lot of the older Riders In the Cowboy world....Mares aren't so far from that.

My Cora is pretty much an example of why. Uh Huh... she's juuuuust a mite hormonal. 😎

That's the only downside of a mare... 'cause truth be known, the fillies can out move the boys... right up until their hormones kick in once every 14 days give or take, and get in the way for the next 3 to 8 days depending on the mare.

I've had lots of mares..lucky for me most you never knew when they came in... but this gal? Not so much. Yeah, she's Captain Call's Hell Bitch... just a Buckskin. 😆

Well, I put her on some herbal stuff that's got the rep of working pretty often so we shall see. She's due to come back in now in another few days... and we'll see how it works after her being on it since her last heat.

Otherwise she's been awesome. We're doin 'bout five miles a day now. Been bringing her on real slow. Between her coming 5 in another couple months and me needing to get my own self in shape I'm not risking injury to either if I can avoid it.

Takes a horse 4 to 6 months to come close to best condition... young horses are at far greater risk of injury. Since she's old line breeding she'll tend to be a little longer maturing. The nice side of that is, if you don't get foolish they last well into their twenties. 

That pretty much means this pretty girl will outlive me! :)

She don't much care for the dog... but for the most part she tolerates him. Even at lunch time.

- Brian

Monday, February 13, 2017

Back Where I Always Belonged

*Arizona Winter Camp Sunset*

This has been one of those "Bow your head grit your teeth and ride into the wind" deals for sure. I stepped out to make some big changes more than two years ago. Every time I got close or seemed to make significant progress__WHAP! I'd get smacked.

More than once I came close up to quittin the deal. But I didn't...

Met Cora in the summer of 2015. She was just a long 3 then.

*Thanksgiving 2016*

Things come apart and I figured late last winter that I'd lost her... the gelding, Cody Jack did get lost to me... and that still cuts.

When you keep even the tiniest spark of Hope alive, sometimes things will find a way to work out a little.

Somehow, just in the nick of time Cora found her way back to me just before thanksgiving... or I found my way back to her.

In the intervening year, she got a little tubby...  and she's winter shaggy...

I chose to have a guy I found restart her for me... she had some issues that had developed when she was gone. After all the ordeals...I had decided my head wasn't in the "right" place to do those things my self and be fair to her. I felt like she deserved a good and proper chance without all the fool jiggin' around everyone's been doin' with her.

Well he did what I wanted... and she's back now...

With her on the "diet" I put her on in November and a month under saddle with the fella I found that does things the way I would, she's calm again and willing... and some of that soggy belly is working itself off...

Best of all... For ME...

*First ride in TOO long*

I'm finally, after all the struggle and strife... Right back where I've always belonged.

There's quite a bit of work for me to do. I've got some little effort to make to get my feet, my hands and my head all going the same dang direction!

But if she'll give me a little slack to get my crap in one sack, and I put out the effort... It's looking bright! She's one of the better horses I've ever owned... and them that let her slide away from them, will learn I believe to regret their mistakes.

We've had a couple light rides... the weather isn't co-operating again. Into the second day of rain. It's times like this that I sometimes wish I was rich and had a nice big covered arena! :)

But there's no lack of work to do. I buttoned up the last chapter of my latest book; "For My Horses" a few days ago. The editing and book cover work is proceeding leading me to believe an early to mid March Publishing date is pretty doable.

It's not sunny in the desert but it's feeling pretty fair just now.

- Brian

Thursday, February 2, 2017

They Make a Good Fit

Filled one of the truck bins this morning for the first time. I thought I had it calculated pretty close - and I was right!

Four 80# sacks of Alfalfa pellets fit in a bin. That's 640# of feed on the truck... and another 480 or better in the trailer bins.

Which is pretty awesome. That means while I'm still with only Cora, between the two trailer bins and these two truck bins I'll have something better than two months of groceries for her - anywhere I go. 

Checked up on Cora again this morning... She'll be coming home next week. Friday maybe. Going up to ride myself early in the week. I'll be glad to swing my own leg over the saddle on her...been a long time working to get here.

Makes me kinda nervous actually. Been pretty close before. 

Just pull my hat down, suck in some wind and ride it out I guess.

Long way to go yet and obstacles showing up on the horizon... but one way or t'other... it'll get done.


Sunday, January 29, 2017

Horses and Dogs, Batteries and Kaks,

Checked up on Cora the other day. She'd come along well enough to be hauled to work in the Stockyards a bit moving cattle.

She's coming along fine... mostly. Turns out she puffed up a leg there working the cows. She's been standing in a pen for way too long. Since a year ago really... so she's soft.

Didn't go lame but one leg filled a bit. Just showing some puffiness. Exercising a bit of caution, her "training" is pulled back for a few days to make sure it remains no big deal.

Still ten days out or so I suppose. It all just stretches my impatience that much tighter.

Can't just sit around tapping on a keyboard so I got the battery box partially bolted in place.

It still needs some bracing to complete the mounting... I'm planning on a couple of bars that'll reach up and attach to the rack above it. That'll stabilize a tiny bit of  'rock' I can find in the mounting.
Whether here or on the road... It's nice to seldom need to fire up the generator.

I've been running it some this past week. Between the cloudy weather and the cold nights, I've been using more power than is very comfortable for only two batteries.

Once I set two more batteries in that new box I believe I'll have sufficient stored amps to take a lot of stress off that part of the rig.

 While waiting on Cora's education, and my own Physical rehab to get us in the proper place, been working on my gear a little. Decided I needed to make a small modification to my old Wade saddle.

Decided I needed to make a small modification to my old Wade saddle  A nice new set of stirrups. 

I've ridden Oxbow stirrups since forever... and I like 'em. On rougher colts and in rough country, they're great. Hard to lose one when things get western.

Thing is that can make 'em just a lil bit risky at times too.
If you come loose, with that stirrup locked up against your heel, a fella can sometimes get hung up in Oxbows.

So I swapped out to a flashy new set of Stirrups.  4" Brass Monel Bell style.
I expect I'll adapt pretty quick. I'm thinking the increase in comfort won't be too hard to accept...

... and what with my ambitions slowin' up... having little worry about a hangup won't be a bad thing either.

Only been able to put my feet in 'em with my kak settin' on the stitching horse... But honestly, I believe I'll like the change.

Now, If I can just get me, the dog and the horse to quit busting things__ so we can start putting some miles on together...

... and NOT miles with a truck and trailer goin' down the road...

I'll be a lot happier... I think.

Yesterday I guess I felt the need to reinforce the idea that Cora was maybe a little sore from working good after taking it too easy for too long.

Been slacking on my own rehab the past few weeks as I keep trying to push along with the book. The past few days I've been pushing to make up for that...

*My old Wade looks good with Brass Bound Stirrups*
Yeah... good move.

Dug and hauled several barrow loads of dirt from rat hills... to fill in and build up the pedestal for the cistern.

Then had to pack it in and tamp it down in and around that pedestal base.

uhn huh... last night I was chewin' ibuprophen like chicklets...

Gettin' older don't improve a body's ability to heal one damn bit.

Speakin' of healing... Arlo's comin' on fine. Actually better than that. He's healing up from his lil' didoe amazing.

I figured he'd be most lame for a few weeks. He don't think so.

I've had to let him out a bit more than even I thought would be good just to keep him from goin' psychotic on me.

Here it is ten days or so since he got crunched so hard and he's down to pretty much not even a limp. He run around for several days on three legs. That foot never hit the ground. Now, he's only got a once in a while very slight limp... so that's a good thing.

He still likes to try his new found lap dog thing... for about six seconds... and then his squirming returns and I'm done with that!

Rumors of a Missouri return are already percolatin'... changes there have moved the construction schedule up that poverty had hung on a peg... so we'll see what the coming summer holds... Cora and I have GOT to put some miles together under saddle before we go anywhere!

- Brian

Monday, January 23, 2017

Well, What a Week That was...

It got so tumbled up not sure which was first. I think it was the battery box...

Was so windy and stormy had to work in bits and spurts trying to get a battery box built so I can expand the battery bank into a more serviceable setup.

It waits now in the back... for enough good weather to get out and install it. In amongst that lil chore the storms kept rolling through, disrupting my labors.

Then as it happens, 'round about here there's a fella that's a free grazer.

All this land about is private ground in small pieces. 99% of which is un-occupied. Over west a bit is a guy with but a few acres. Only, he pushes more cows than that ground can feed out onto where they poach the grass off these hundreds, thousands maybe, of acres of ground that he dont own, and don't rent...

Thing is, in Arizona it's a "fence out" state. If you don't want the cows, it's the victims duty to fence 'em out... only I lack the $1800 or so to string the wire clean around my lil' five acre patch of dust...

Ok, fine.

Right up until they come stompin' through my camp bustin' things up, and mostly wrecking the stone deck I'd built. It was just fine for a 160# man... but wasn't arranged to support 1200 # cows...

 ...A few rocks chunked off their hides moved 'em off... but they come right back... and more deck busted up.

So then Arlo ran out one afternoon to chouse 'em away__ and got tangled up in a small bunch of 400-500# calves...

Somehow he managed to let one fall on him. Thought he'd busted his shoulder for a long while. No way to get him up in the truck. Little peckerwood bit me two holes worth just trying to check him out.

Now four days later he seems improving a lot. Almost starting to use the leg again. Looks like just a real rough sprain, maybe a small tear of some sort. So now two of us are lame... Been just a week or so over a year since I busted up my own shoulder. It continues to heal. Maybe... but it's damned slow about it.

Then along came another set of storms that had me wonderin' was this aluminum trailer sealed up well enough to float! Had to run the generator a couple days for the first time in several weeks. The solar couldn't keep up through the clouds.

The time clustered up inside served well enough. Have made good progress toward completing the next book. Sitting at maybe 7/8 or so. Never really know till the characters tell me that's it and they're finished with their story!

Yesterday when the sun finally came out I set about a change I'd decided on. It's come to me that I've little likelihood of staying here for long. I'm too restless a rover... so I chose to simplify my "developements".

Rather than building a tower for the cistern I filled in that premature footer and rearranged the block to form a plain old simple and low flat pedestal. Only have to pour on some concrete to make a smooth platform.

And with all that time to sit and cogitate I also chose to extend Cora's time with that young buster to a full month. Better she has a solid and secure restart. Some problems got created by whoever it was where she was sent this past summer, and is taking some slow and careful work to erase.

Time spent in that now will benefit me down the road... I've only got to exercise a mite of patience... which has seldom been my strong suit...

Today is Monday... yesterday late, That old shoulder was achin' from movin' stone and block. I'd come to wonderin' if it was near enough to beer thirty to imbibe a nice bottle of Scottish Ale, especially if I sat outside in the sun listening to Brenn Hill on the stereo. Nigh on to the moment that I nearly decided that it was... BuhWHAM!!!!

The whole friggin trailer shook and rattled. The dog yelped and tried to climb into a drawer and hide__I run outside and looked south to see a big Ol' pillar of grey smoke risin' 50 or 60 feet into the afternoon sky several hundred yards away on the other side of the highway... Not something a guy like me needs of a Sunday afternoon...

Some Yahoo set something off to tickle his need for big bangs and smoke... It's happened twice before. I'm thinkin' that mite could be he should ought to have the same experience... maybe, Oh... 'bout 2 a.m. of a coal dark mornin'.

*Moonset behind the Dragoons*

*Arizona Sunrise*

*Another Chiricahua Sunrise*
 The sun is shinin' and it's back outside for this pair of lame rovers...

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Sunrises, sunsets... and More Horse Feed...

*Sunrise over the Chiricahaus*

A couple of folks made comments on feed for the road on the last post...

There's lots of issues dealing with horses on the road. The two most critical, to my mind being feed and water. Throwing curves at horses concerning those two things will flow out and cause a nomad unwanted difficulties.

Stability/consistency with feed is a pretty strong need. Change their groceries sudden like and the incidence of colic and other troubles goes up fast. On top of that, the need to control the spread of noxious weeds is something a responsible horseman needs to keep in mind.

A huge amount of graze is lost every year to the spread of inedible or even poisonous invasive weeds.

So... like Karen said, there are sites where certified hay producers are listed. My trouble with the hay has mostly been the nearest producer that actually has some left in his barn always seems to be a hundred miles away...

The option, like Stymie mentioned is Hay Pellets.

*Moonrise the night before over the same Chiricahua Mountains*

Right there is a big 'cultural' issue with many horsemen, that I tee totally get. I'm not one who is much for gimmicks and gadgets. I like old time ways... right up to that point when some modern creation actually is an improvement.

I fed pellets, years ago in Arizona. It was, and to large degree is still the only way you could reliably get good quality feed on the desert. A heavy % of the hay in Arizona is grown for dairies. Results in some pretty nasty forage if you try and feed that to horses.

Over time I learned there are a great number of advantages to pellets... Simply said, all things considered, hay pellets whup long stem hay pretty much on every count.

Straight off horses fed pellets have a significant reduction in the incidence of sand colic and also founder. Horses eating hay off the ground tend to suck up a lot of sand in the process, pellets pretty much eliminate that. Founder is reduced by the better nutrient 'balance' that is built into most pellets. There is a reduction in starch in many brands that contributes to a reduction of founder.

For the traveling horseman a HUGE benefit is the reduced space required. Pellets occupy about 1/2 the space required for the same weight of baled hay. In the tight confines of a trailer... A BIG plus!

...and That is a giant Convenience upgrade. Life being as tough as it needs to be all on its own, finding ways to soften the road is a valuable plus. 

 With my setup, the side compartment divided up into a pair of feed bins and two four foot boxes on the truck I can carry just about a full month of groceries for two horses... and No need for a high dollar roof rack for half as much hay...

... and the PITA of getting bales up there... and the feed back down twice a day... or ... more!

Some folks complain that pellets lead to boredom... Yeah? well... a hay eating horse that's left standing in a stall 24/7 is about six minutes less bored... and truth is, it's far easier with hay pellets to break the days feeding up from the standard twice a day... to the FOUR feeds a day that I use.

Best way to deal with boredom is... put your phone down and saddle 'em up...

Feeding as I do not only breaks up the horses day, but it puts the feed to him in a more natural volume spread across the day, rather than the heavy slugs loading up their guts of the same weight in a twice a day regime. Result? = less boredom and even greater reduction of colic and founder.

Some complain about the cost of pellets... I'd say sit down and do some calculatin'. By the time you factor in the waste reduction ( horses eat all the pellets - not shoving stems away or dropping as much as 25% on the ground as they eat to be walked into the dirt and lost.), the feed efficiency (my experience has been that a significant reduction in weight is fed due to the grinding of the feed to smaller pieces to pelletize resulting in better feed conversion), the absolute convenience, consistency and reliability of the feed all shined up by far less worry of colic... I kinda see them as cheaper, not more expensive.

The last plus ( and a big one for those like me that like to stay out in Far Country) is that although only a few brands of pellets have gone through the certification process, the Forest Service accepts (again, in my experience) most all pellets as weed free for their purposes due to the manufacturing process that destroys the vast majority, something over 98% of viable weed seeds. Pretty much equal to any certification process of baled hays.

Yep... I'm a firm believer in the benefits of feeding pellets.

*The Dragoon Mountains under a soft sunset*

Time to get back to work, spring comes fast... need to get back to forming up the battery box for my battery bank upgrade, keep on tinkering with the stone for that cistern project... and... I need to decide if  enough time has passed to check on how my Cora is doing... Trying hard to not to be a pestering owner with the guy ;)

- Brian

Sunday, January 8, 2017

A Restless Nomad I Will Ever Be

Reset my camp today. Turned the rig 'bout 90° putting the door toward the morning sun.

Didnt really think about it before I did it... but that's the way a lot of tribes set their camps__always with the door to the sunrise.

Makes pretty good sense for me don't it? I mean, I live in a Lakota trailer, I've gone back to horse... 

No matter much the system pressures me to rejoin "their" herd or how hard I try to convince myself I'm wrong in my ways and should settle somewhere...I can't do it.

I'm a nomadic horseman, kinda like that Lakota tribe, in a way__ and will always be.

Cora is at a fella's place 45 miles north for a bit. I decided all things considered I needed to play this time 'round real careful. No mistakes... so she's getting a decent restart under a younger butt with more bounce...

... while I continue to prepare for our wandering future.

It's not as easy as it once was to be a gypsy horseman. You can't just stop wherever you please.

Where the trees provided shade along a creek that watered your horses and the grass that fed them.

Today you have to plan out your route fairly careful. Know where you'll stop and for how long.

Know where there's water, where there are pens for your stock, or where you can set your own, and you must carry your feed with you...there will be little if any "free grazing" to be had.

If you will be on any government ground, with few exceptions, you got to have certified feed. Certified to be weed free.

Finding purveyors of certified feed is another whole skill to hone.

You can still "boondock" like I've been doing for years... there's just more to consider when you're hauling horses along too.

It's all a mite intimidating if you think on it too much... (a fault of mine) so I've kinda just deliberately  quit looking at too much of the big picture and spend more time with the Lil details of day to day.

The reward for it all are the whickers  you get out of the dark when you step outside at midnite... or walk up in the sunrise with their breakfast in a bucket.

...and watching the trail unfold before you looking through a horses ears.

Stepping out into another unknown is as always, kinda spooky... but it let's you know you're still alive.

...and for a fact, if you're not a little scared by what you're doing, than you might want to take a good hard look at things. It could be you've safetied up and quit Living!

- Brian

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Chilly Nights and Mexican Backhoes...

Haven't really had any tough cold nights this winter. Quite a bit of rain, but little bitter cold... even by Arizona standards.

Still, I had some difficulty gettin' the backhoe to fire up this morning. Had to use several extra ounces of starting fluid so I could get started on an outlaw cistern pedestal/tower.

Yeah... I'm an outlaw these days. Simple truth is they won't just let a man live, free on the earth, any more. They got to get "their cut"...and that just gets what few teeth I have left twisted edgewise...

I'm just minding my own business camped on my own patch of dust out on the desert... no part of no soh-sigh-uh-tee has any claim to a cut... beyond the tax I already paid just days ago for the "rent" to camp on my own dirt.

So... I just go on about my livin' if the parasites don't exist... I'll be Free for a while... 'till the egg suckers take notice...

The plan with this project is to lift the cistern so gravity will let me move water into either the rig or water troughs for horses, without having to use a pump.

As for bein' Free, Hell, it's even against the law to "live" in an RV in most "jurisdictions" ... haha... I wonder if they've any idea the storm they'd stir up if/when they went to trying to enforce that lil' violation of the "Right to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness"?

And just when was it that "inalienable Rights" got converted to regulatable privilege?

Well, enough gas, that backhoe is warmed up enough to run a mite, I think, so it's back to work!

- Brian