Thursday, June 24, 2010


The Big Herd was on the move today, and spent most of the day on the high hills overlooking my place from the east. They have almost 100,000 acres to wander around in and so they get over by me only every couple of months or so.

The big old bulls, like this fellow, are pretty solitary and tend to keep to themselves, not too much interested in what the herd is doing, although they do of course keep tabs on them.

It was easy for us to almost exterminate an entire people when their main source of subsistence was so concentrated, and so vulnerable. Not so easy anymore what with McDonalds, Walmart, and MREs by mail order. But despite our best efforts, Tatanka lives, and his numbers increase. And the irony is that he and his might be flourishing when we have quaffed our last oil cocktail and, for whatever ultimate reason, joined the ranks of the extinct.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Prairie Rainbows

I like 'em. They're nice ways to end a pleasant day, and out here you can almost always see both ends.

Thursday, June 17, 2010


For the last couple of days I have been sorting and filing images and other files from four different stand-alone hard drives that have been accumulating "stuff" for over ten years. There's a staggering amount of material to deal with. Where did all this stuff come from?

Some of it is pictures of dogs. Yesterday I found a particularly moving one. When I got my first Shorthair I was concerned about how the resident Rottie, Vito Luigi, would react to an interloper. Shouldn't have given it a thought. He thought she was the greatest present I had ever bought him!

From the first day she came into the house Vito made Róisin Dubh (roe-SHEEN doov, "dark Rosaleen") his number one priority. And she loved him back. The relationship of those two is one of my fondest doggie memories. Both of them were very special critters in my life. They're gone now, but never ever to be forgotten.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

No ponies for them!

Kids out here are special. They ride like Comanches, work alongside the grown-ups, and pull their own weight -- even if it is only about sixty pounds. As long as we have kids like this there is hope for the country. I'm just keeping my fingers crossed there'll be enough of 'em.

A great branding

I went to a really fine round-up and branding just the other day. This one always draws some great riders and ropers. We filled the branding corral twice, starting at a little after sun-up and finishing by eleven-thirty. Then it was back to HQ and an excellent meal and some good fellowship, characterized by tall tales and friendly lies. If there is a "social season" out here it would have to be the round-ups and brandings and the attendant camaraderie. It's sad to think they are part of a vanishing America. But I plan to enjoy it while it's here!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010


Well, sorta. Prairie tapas, best I can do anyway.

Tapas is a wonderful Spanish culinary tradition. It's an informal meal, usually evening, built around an array of finger-foods combined in various fashions. I was told that tapas as a tradition originated when small "covers" of finger-foods, such as slices of jamón serrano (a delicious dried ham) or bits of toast, would be used to cover glasses of port and protect them from flies and other pests drawn to the sweet, fragrant wine.

One of my favorite restaurants in Ireland was a Spanish place that served tapas, as well as a great paella among other goodies, and port out of the barrel that had never seen glass before José set the glass before you.

Living where I do now I have to "make do." No jamón serrano available, nor pickled octopus. So I improvise, because I like the spontaneous creativity and informality of a tapas supper even when I am alone.

The one I have pictured above is a quick-and-dirty that is nevertheless very satisfying. This one consisted of a main element of a scrumptious venison sausage (made with honey), lightly grilled in an iron skillet, and served with two kinds of crackers, and two varieties of cheese (extra sharp cheddar and a fine jalopeño jack), plus green onion shoots and a snappy wasabi paste. A glass or two of red (merlot in this instance) completes the menu.

Tapas is the most civilized of meals. You build your bites according to your taste of the moment and none of the preparation need interfere with conversation and camaraderie (not really a problem for me, with my dogs the only companions usually available).

Variations are endless. Canned smoked oysters. Grilled smoked mackerel. Thin sliced cappacola, prosciutto, or pastrami. Grilled, spiced chicken breast medallions. Canned crabmeat. Even thin-sliced crispy-grilled Spam! The sky's the limit where tapas is concerned, even when it's exported to the High Plains of the U. S.